Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tournement of Roses Parade

Connie will be skating around the Sierra Madre float tomorrow in the tournement of roses parade. Tune in to check her out. Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Flaming Orange

We made it back from Montana very early Tuesday morning (1:15 AM) after delays at both airports for de-icing the plane. Here's a picture of Darryl about to eat the dessert he ordered at Chico Hot Springs. After dinner we went swimming outside in the hot springs pool, floated on our backs and watched the snow fall, and Lynn started a minor snowball fight.

Monday, December 28, 2009

solo concert

Can you name this tune?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

spencer kreitzer

These are videos of our fun time last week . Caryn got him this cool bike he rode all day. Too much snow to take it outside. He's quite the singer and apparently quite vocal but shy in crowds.
Wishing you all a happy new year! Thanks for all your support this year.


spencer singing

spencer singing

spencer kreitzer

Arizona Christmas

Happy, Holidays, family!

Well, I have no pictures of snow to show you, just this one of me and the girls in front of our fruitful orange tree in the wonderful sunshine! Despite the great sunshine, it did not beat out of me a nasty cold I have had for a week. And now two days of laryngitis! Oh, well, what you gonna do?

I hope everyone had a nice Christmas and best wishes for a happy and healthy 2010!

Love, Michelle

Monday, December 21, 2009


Yeah we got hit hard. I don't know what the official count is but over 18 inches seems like a fair estimate but as you can see from the pictures cumulative effect went over where the concrete and brick meet in my back yard so that means that there is over 4 feet of snow back there. It's basically a big ice box. I can't open the back door all the way.
I shoveled for about 4 hours yesterday and had to cancel a gig in Harrisburg. Still at work at a normal time on Monday morning which really sucks but the weekend was fun. This stuff will be here the rest of the winter though which is really a bummer. We're expecting more on Christmas day so there will definitely be a white Christmas.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We make beer here!

Last year for Christmas, I bought Connie a homebrew kit and in 365 days she's made a lot of beer. She's made an IPA, Irish Red Ale, Fat Tire Ripoff, Belgium Seasonal and on Sunday she tapped her first keg of beer - a Strawberry Blonde. That's right a five gallon keg. For her birthday we got a kegerator that sits in our living room. (A kegerator is a mini-fridge that has a tap which hooks to a C02 tank and a party keg. It is like having a mini bar in your house) Since the bottling process takes a lot of time, I asked if the next logical step would be to keg the beer.

With the arrival of the kegerator I thought it would be fun to get a customizable tap and name Connie's beer. We named her company the LA River Brewing Company (if anyone knows LA- they know that the river is just a giant storm drain and disgusting - thought it was a funny inside joke) Here is a picture of Connie pouring from the tap into an amazing pint glass Dad had made for us.

We started talking about what it would take to open a small microbrewery or brewpub in LA. Compared to most cities LA is really lacking, they only have 3 craft breweries. Right now we are in the research phase- sounds like there may be many reasons as to why that is so. We will start attending a women brewers club in January and try to learn from those who have more experience. It has been fun finding a hobby that Connie really enjoys and I get to participate in too. But the best part is sharing the end result with our friends and family.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A new Hollin Baby

The Hollin family welcomed a sixth grandchild this week! Little Jonja' Theodore Hollin was born prematurely on Dec. 8th. He weighed in at only 4 lbs. 11 oz., but both mom (Liz) and son are doing well.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

We are cold!

Okay, so no we don't have snow like Reno. And maybe it was only in the low 40's high 30's last night, but that is cold for LA. Also our heater is broken and the guy won't come and fix it till the 17th. So we are cold. I come to work to thaw. I love this picture, our cats follow our little space heater room to room- I'm sure they are jealous of this guy.

Snow in Reno

The storm came through and definitely left Reno with snow and cold weather. The University even closed yesterday so I had a snow day. We got about 8" at our house and I charted -16 degrees as a low on the drive to work this morning. Took forever to get in to work and we'll see if I can get out of my parking spot at the end of the day today!

These pictures are of yesterday from the local newspaper, the Reno Gazette Journal, The Reno arch downtown and Manzanita Lake, the little lake on campus just across from our office. (I took a few at our house too, but don't have them loaded up yet.)

The cold isn't suppose to let up and we might get more snow over the next few days. Winter -- yep, it's officially here!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Jock stories from Houston

Gee. The only jock stories we have are about Darryl swearing at the football games on TV while he is reclining in his chair.

Guest Coach @ Women's Basketball Game

Last Friday, I had the great opportunity to hang out most of the day with the ASU Women's Basketball team. I had been selected (along with Barrett professor, Dr. Diane Facinelli) to be aguest coach at the Barrett Night. The women's team has two freshmen (Joy Burke and Deja Mann) who are in Barrett.

It was an intense experience, but so glad I had the chance to experience collegiate sports, even if only for a few hours. I had lunch with the team, then hung out with them pre-game, at halftime and after game. Something I won't forget for a long time.... Keep tabs of our team by visiting

Tough Cookies win Champs (Again!)

Photo by Rinkrat
Saturday night, the Tough Cookies took the track to defend our Championship title. It was a matchup against The Swarm, the new team from San Diego added this year. In our regular season game three weeks ago, they beat us, but it was a close game and we felt that we knew what we had to do to win the second time around. And we did! They never led the game, only tying it in the third period. I am beyond excited and so proud of my team - back to back season championships!!

The epic bout intro!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

On Wheel of Fortune tonight, one of the puzzles was a movie title. After only a few letters had been turned over, Darryl knew it was "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs", long before the contestant knew. Unfortunately, he didn't win any cash, trips or other prizes.

And speaking of "cloudy with a chance of.....", we had about 1.5 inches of rain yesterday, clouds all day today and more rain coming Friday morning with the temperature dropping throughout the day and a chance of snow about the time the kids leave school. Now that's big news for Houston!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Diva Jammers in the paper!

Today in the LA Times Image section, the Dolls were featured in an article about roller derby fashion. The author of the article featured the Diva Jammers, which is a group of skaters known for looking fabulous, time out photoshoots and scoring lots of points. My teammate Gori Spelling and myself started the Diva Jammers last year, and with our last pledge drive the group has grown to seven. Who better to feature in the Image section than a bunch of Divas? The article is great and there is also an accompanying photo gallery. The article and the photo of myself and Gori was in today's print paper - I had not picked up a real newspaper in ages but had to go out and get one today!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Meal. Check

So I did it. About 8 hours of prep on Wednesday, countless recipe look ups, two extra guests (roommate and his girlfriend), a 9 lb turkey, two stuffings and 12 mini pies. Everything was great. Looking forward to taking it up a notch for next year. Got to try to track down Jose Garces and see if he will give me some lessons.

Successful golden brown free-range turkey with hamburger stuffing

12 mini pies in 8 0z canning jars - pumpkin, apple cream and cherry.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This is the only time of the year that my sibs and I get together. Brothers come in from Dallas and Corpus Christi with their families (minus the nephew who lives in NYC). Occasionally one of my kids joins us, but not this year.

Sibs are all arriving Wednesday evening and we will go to a restaurant for dinner. Then on Thursday, D and I will join the rest of the litter at my sister's house for turkey dinner. I'll be taking 3 pies, dinner rolls, and apple rings. On Friday evening, everyone will come here and we'll have BBQ brisket, slaw, beans and corn bread. Last year we played Wii and had a great time. I got the Wii Resort game for this year. It should be a lot of fun working off all the turkey and BBQ. Everyone leaves Saturday morning.

I'm off all week (Yea!!!) and D only works Mon and Tue this week. Three more weeks of school and I'll be off again for 16 days. (Even better)

Around the country

I am thankful for a job that allows me to take time off, for the internet and blogs which allow me to stay in touch with family, and for a wonderful husband who I love taking road trips with. (Ahhh..)

We head out across the state tomorrow to meet my family in Moab. A little vacation away from our homes where we can just relax and see the sites. (Take a few pictures with some arches before they all fall down!)

Maybe we'll even try to stop at a couple hot springs along the way.

Hope everyone has a great holiday...whatever you may be eating!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Wishing Everyone a Happy Thanksgiving

We will be in sunny

for the holiday. And I'm sure we'll skip the sandwiches and eat a load of these

with our leftover turkey.

I hope everyone has a nice a holiday and relaxing week. I am thankful for such a wonder family- Love you all!

2 day week

So I'm pretty excited for Thanksgiving. Mostly for the two day week but also for taking my first attempt at cooking a whole Thanksgiving meal, turkey and all. It may only be for two other people but you got to learn sometime. Here is a montage of creepy middle-aged men carving turkeys to get you (and me) through the week.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Urban Outfitter Complex

I never shop at Urban Outfitters. I take that back, I love shopping at Urban Outfitters. It is right across the street from my office so it's a great place to kill 10 minutes on my lunch break. I never buy anything at Urban (except for gifts and sometimes a stupid coffee table book) But over the years I have noticed that most things I impulse buy somewhere else randomly start showing up on UO shelves. Am I a trend setter for this hipster chain? It is headquartered in Philadelphia.

Here's my UO history:

Bought a Holga senior year of college after seeing my photo major friend Mike take some really awesome pictures. At the time they were available only through (sold at UO about a year later)
Bought a pair of Timberland Earthwalkers last winter after seeing them in the King of Prussia mall. An impulse buy but a week later my hiking boots crapped out and it snowed. (sold at UO within the month)
I bought these Tretorn boots at a Tretorn store in Georgetown DC (only other one on east coast in NYC). I wasn't crazy about them but they were on after Christmas sale for half off. I still don't like them but that's mainly because they were sold at UO a week later.
I had been waiting a long time for turntables to go USB though I still haven't had the time to start converting any old records. But when USB turntables came out I swapped the old technics (actually my roommate kept it) for a fancy new cheap piece of crap ion. Sold at UO within the month. Not worth it.I saw these cool retro headphones in a musician's catalogue and bought a pair for my studio. Sold at UO a few months later.

After scouring the internet daily for weird little homemade electronic musical instruments I came across this mass producing version of a stylo phone kit. At $15 on how could I resist. This and the make your own music box kit I already had started being sold at Urban the next time I went in.

Just a silly photo

Lot's of cool props at the Pig Iron office.

Wedding on/in Long Island

We had a fun time at a wedding on Long Island - Sarah's freshman year roommate. It was a very traditional Italian/Catholic wedding at a big church in Queens - rice on the steps - getting into a retro white Rolls Royce limo (honeymoon the to an island the next day). The reception started at noon (was over at 6:30 which was nice because we got a chance to have a good conversation with the bride and groom). The DJ/percussionist/MC were pretty horrible but the fancy hotel with an indoor swimming pool made up for it.

Babysitting Carl

I'm sooo sad the Phillies lost.

Can I has kong toy?

Sarah and I are dog sitting 8 month old Boston Terrier puppy Carl for about a week. Carl likes eating bottles caps, chicken bones and cigarette butts off the street. He also loves chewing on your hands but other than that he is pretty awesome and pretty sweet. We have already made progress with teaching him to shake hands in just two days. Carl came to us during the Septa strike (Philadelphia's public transportation strike) so we've had to leave him at home in his pen while we go to work (because it's too far for him to walk to Sarah's office.) but his parents are actors and never home so we think we're doing pretty good with him.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Barrett Grand Opening

After 2 months of being open, we finally had our official grand opening on Thursday, 10/15. It was a classy, outdoor ceremony, with lots of dignitaries in attendance. Here is the link for the website.

I know it takes a while (about 40 minutes) to watch the entire video of the ceremony, but if you get a chance, I'm especially proud of the student speaker, Joe Canarie. I spent many a long, involved conversation with him two years ago as he was trying to chose between us and Univ. of Chicago. I'm so proud of him.
Looking forward to a good recruiting year - I know the buildings will help sell it for me!
Love, Michelle

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Exploring Texas

Last weekend we went to Johnson City, TX to tour the LBJ Ranch. No wonder he spent over 1/4th of his presidency there. It is so peaceful and inviting. While Lady Bird was still alive, the tour was by bus and you had to stay on the bus. But now you can drive around the ranch, and in the last two months or less, they have been taking people on tours inside the house. Not the whole house yet, but the living room, dining room, kitchen and the TX White House office. You also drive through his Hereford cattle descendants lounging by the drive, (the NPS has to maintain it as a working cattle ranch), past the family cemetery (Lady Bird's grave still has no headstone, only flowers), even past the house where he was born (reconstructed), and the one-room school he first attended at age 4, sitting on the teacher's lap.

When we left there, we went to Fredericksburg for their Oktoberfest. We enjoyed Reubens, brats, struedel, wheat beer and Oktoberfest beer. And got rained on, off and on. The main street is quite wide, originally built so they could turn oxcarts around, and is on the National Register. Down at one end is the old Nimitz Hotel, which now houses the National Museum of the Pacific War. Yes, right in the middle of Texas, because Charles Nimitz, the Admiral of the US Pacific Fleet, was born there. We didn't go inside.

In the evening we went to Luckenbach, TX to "get back to the basics of love", but without "Waylon, Willie and the boys". It's on a big curve off an old country road about 13 miles south of Fredericksburg. The two main buildings are a dance hall and an old general store with a saloon and outside bar at the back end. I had a Frito chili pie, which they made by cutting open a small Frito bag and spooning chili and cheese on top. D had a pulled pork sandwich. We didn't stay for the band which was a bit later.

This weekend we went to the Movie Tavern to see "Whip It", the roller derby movie which ostensibly took place in Austin. But, except for a few framing shots on South Congress and the Alamo Draft house, it was filmed in Michigan. This time they did show the entire credits, so we got to see LA Derby Dolls mentioned. but not our favorite one -- go Laguna!

New closet renovation to spruce up the top of my basement stairs. Forrest green semigloss paint with metallic spray paint stenciled flower print. Cedar lined closet with 16" deep custom shelves. Two weekends worth of work all to hold some paper towels and cans of spaghetti sauce.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Bailey takes the blue!

Hi all,
Last weekend Rodney and I took Bailey and Kooper to a fall show. Rodney has been trying all summer to keep Bailey in show condition. This means be making sure he doesn't roll in the lime, poop, or any other matter he can get himself into. He has been also kept in full fleece all summer so we had to make sure he remained cool throughout the warmer weather. Luckily we had a cool summer. Well all paid off, at least last weekend. He took 1st over two other very nice looking alpacas. The judge said he had more of the whole package, even though he was 5 months younger than the other two. Let's hope the next two shows go as well.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Eleanor got a job!

Not sure why she's never picked up on our family blog but the bit of news I would like to share today is not related to me but my sister. Eleanor started her first day of work (real work) today in mid-town Manhattan at Town and Country (I think that is what they're called) as a pattern designer and product manager. She got the call on Tuesday, moved Sunday and started today, staying at a friend's 1 bedroom apartment that already sleeps 2 people until something better comes along. Give her a call to get the details and wish her luck.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Our new girls!

Yes we've been slackers and have not kept you all up-to-date on our latest adventures, so here goes. We spent Labor Day going to Michigan to pick up Tea and bring her home. Yes, she is pregnant and now thinks she owns the world! We also bought three new maidens who are just the cutest things. They have settled into their new home and are doing well. Since they came from a much bigger farm, they are not as used to being handled. They will be a challenge for us until we have them trained a little better. Then we've gone on a few trail rides to get ourselves in shape for our riding trip in Spain. Of course, it'll take more than just a few rides for me. Rodney and Kyler rode in the mountains of Colorado in July and both seemed to have a great time. I was learning to grade and sort fiber in Estes Park. Now we are working hard to get the farm ready for Alpaca Farm Days next weekend. We hope to have as nice a turnout as we did last year. Here is a little movie of the new girls. Take care and enjoy the fall!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cloudy Cast and Crew Screening

So this is the Cloudy Red carpet from Saturday's Premiere -only the really important people were invited (writers, directors, producers, STARS) - so this is a friend's photo.

We were invited to a screening last night with the rest of the crew. Which was a much better audience I'm sure. The film was shown in 3d which I felt was really well done and added a lot to a film about falling food. We all laughed and clapped for one another. Even Connie giggled at a couple jokes. I'm really proud to have worked on this film. The final product is silly, action packed and absurd.

Check out our snazzy 3d glasses!

Friday, September 11, 2009

The autograph session starts at 7 pm

Hi, all!
I am attaching a link to the ASU campus newspaper. They interviewed me for this article in today's paper. Always skeptical about being interviewed, but I actually think they got most of it right this time. At least my boss, the Dean, was pleased.

Now, we find out that the University of Texas is going to stop giving National scholarships, so I'm getting ready to swoop in there, and pick off even more of their students!! UT-Austin is one of our primary competitors anyway, so this was good news to hear.

Enjoy your weekend!
Michelle "Barrett Babe" Hollin

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Too busy watching tv, are ya?

Well if not- we would appreciate a photo or anecdote from time to time. Why are we only hearing from these guys?- Although they are fascinating I'm sure they are not the only ones with things to share.
There are no excuses- even if you have nothing to post- just make a comment on someone's post so we know you are visiting and alive and well.

If you forgot your password - reset it. Please comment to this post if you have any other technical hang-ups.