Thursday, April 28, 2011

That's Gonna Be Embarrassing...

I drive past a billboard identical to the one below everyday on my way to and from school. And every day I think about how awkward May 22nd is going to be for the guy who has to get up there and take that billboard down. Last week, when we were in L.A. (and Tom was driving), we drove by this very same billboard, and I was finally able to get a picture.

{It's guaranteed, y'all!}

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Birthdays and Rebirth - Scenes from the Weekend


{a hardboiled egg mysteriously makes its way into Buckley's champagne glass}
{yes, we still dye eggs despite the fact that my youngest sibling is 21}
{but look at what a nice job we do}
{blurry packages for the birthday girl}

{yep, we still stage a full on Easter egg hunt after church}
{the hunt continues}
{Mom and Uncle Steve catch up with their other siblings over a game of cribbage}

{the artiste at work on his rotisserie turkey}
{blueberry yogurt cupcakes}

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Over the past eleven days of my spring break, I have done the following:
  • Made several impulse purchases on itunes, including a song with the lyrics, "Shake that ass like a donkey with Parkinsons." What, Eminem? Seriously, just...what?!
  • Watched a marathon of TLC's Sister Wives. For those of you who are fortunate enough to remain blissfully unaware of the premise of said program, it is a "reality" show that follows the day to day experiences of a polygamist family in Utah - husband, four wives, and about half a bajillion kids. It has a trainwreck kind of appeal, but that doesn't make me any less ashamed.
  • Made big plans to lesson plan for the last quarter and scrapped it all in favor of falling asleep on the couch while I half-listened to Dr. Phil mediate some disagreement with a one-two punch of his favorite go-to expressions, "This ain't my first rodeo, son" followed quickly by a "Look, I don't care how flat you make a pancake; it's got two sides." If he'd followed up with, "Don't let your alligator mouth overload your hummingbird ass," it would have been a trifecta...
  • Become far too familiar with Dr. Philisms. (See above) Actually, if I'm going to be totally honest, my knowledge of Dr. Phil's folksy sayings was not developed in the last eleven days alone...

Phew, I'm glad I've gotten that off my chest...

    Wednesday, April 20, 2011

    Craftiness Complete

    Ever since we moved in, I have been wanting something to fill the huge, empty space over the sink in my kitchen. In a perfect world, this space would be filled by a large picture window, but I'm not sure that I'm ready to get that close to our neighbors...  Soooo, I decided some sort of artwork would have to suffice.

    In any event, ever since we saw Food Inc., I have been a fan of Michael Pollan and his straightforward, no nonsense approach to guiding people towards a more healthful and sustainable diet. While he has written multiple books about the history and politics of "modern agribusiness," he has condensed his basic philosophy into three essential principles: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." I thought that a visual reminder of this sentiment would be the perfect addition to the kitchen, so I scoured Etsy and other crafty outlets in search of a poster or painting bearing Pollan's message. I couldn't find anything, so I decided to make something myself. I had envisioned a cool, typographic poster, but my lack of Photoshop skill necessitated a different approach, so I headed back to the art store in town.

    {I wanted to find a way to incorporate glitter, but I demonstrated restraint.}

    This project began as most of my projects do, half-cocked, vaguely imagined, and full of lofty ambition. Unlike many of my projects, I actually saw this one to completion. It took longer than it had any right to (thanks to my husband for not saying word one about the fact that I turned our dining room into my personal art studio), because I kept painting and painting over until I had something that I thought I could stand to look at every day.

    It's not exactly what I wanted, but - hey - I finished and I managed to hang them relatively straight.

    Monday, April 18, 2011

    Sea Fever

    by John Masefield

    I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
    And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
    And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
    And a gray mist on the sea's face, and a gray dawn breaking.

    I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
    Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
    And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
    And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

    I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
    To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;
    And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
    And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

    I discovered "Sea Fever" in The Best Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, a compilation that my mom gave me for Christmas many years ago. Caroline Kennedy selected the poems and introduces them with a lovely tribute to her own mother. I've been trying to read a poem every night, and last night I was struck by this one...

    It will probably be quite a while before Tom and I are qualified to take up the "vagrant gypsy life" on the open seas, but this weekend we did quite well navigating the wilds of San Diego Bay on our own.

    It may or may not have taken us three passes to actually get under the bridge, but once we did, it was worth it.

    Saturday, April 16, 2011

    Friday Felicities

    Things to Be Happy About:

    *itinerary-free vacations
    Don't get me wrong. I love to travel and an activity-filled jaunt to a new locale would definitely make me happy, but having time off and nowhere to go can be just as sweet. I have taken full advantage of the latter this week. With no place to go and no one to see, I've had plenty of time for reading and crafting and playing housewife. I have also been available for puppy sitting, which brings me to my next thing to be happy about.

    {craftiness underway}
    *puppy love
    This may be in danger of turning into a Lucy tribute blog, but I spent the better part of two afternoons with her this week, and she is definitely making me happy these days. I have had dogs before (and Lucy's not even mine), but I don't think I really understood the meaning of the expression "puppy love" until I spent an afternoon with Lucy following me around like, well...

    {book, grass, sun, puppy...all key components of the aforementioned itinerary-free vacation}
    {Lucy making herself at home on my feet}
    {I don't think she let me out of her sight all afternoon.}
    I can remember playing with globes as a little kid. My sister and I would take turns closing our eyes, spinning the globe, and lightly tracing out index fingers from north to south until the spinning stopped. Wherever your finger landed would be your future home, or the current home of your future spouse, or your next vacation destination. It was always a major bummer when your finger landed smack in the middle of the Arctic Ocean...respin allowed, obviously. Truth be told, I still play that game whenever I spot a globe.

    {globe in my parents' guest room}
    {My next vacation destination? Tanzania.}
    The Vons in my front yard is closing. This makes me sad because I will now have to walk 100 paces to the Albertson's instead of just 20 paces to the (now defunct) Vons when I get a hankering for a frozen treat. Sigh. In order to cushion the blow of their closing (and possibly to get rid of their inventory), Vons has been offering 50% off of everything in the store. I decided to head over and check out the sale when it started on Tuesday; I figured I'd pop in, pick up some hair products and Nyquil, and walk the 20 paces back to my doorstep. Little did I know. Once I crossed the street, I was greeted by a line of twenty women, shopping carts in hand, doing hamstring stretches as they waited in line just to get inside the store. I rolled my eyes at the absurdity of waiting in line to get in the grocery store (I'm too old to wait in line to get into a bar, but not old enough to wait in line to get into a Vons) and headed home.

    The line eventually dissipated and I was curious to see what sorts of deals were to be had, so I headed over later in the afternoon. As soon as I walked in, the chaos and excitement of all the bargain-hungry shoppers got to me and a Supermarket Sweep mentality took over.

    {I was always fascinated by the matching sweatshirts and dickies that the contestants always wore.}
    I was throwing everything in my cart. St. Francis Zin for $6.50 instead of $25? Yes, please. Champagne vinegar $7 off? Yup. Artichoke hearts and sundried tomatoes? Of course. I seriously had to stop myself from stocking up on dog food in anticipation of a future canine companion. The line to checkout was ridiculously long, so I had some much needed time to edit...the variety pack of sprinkles and assorted cake decorations went back on the shelf as did the pectin (I am owning the fact that I am unlikely to start canning my own jams any time soon).

    {Despite the editing, I still managed to do some damage.}
    I was so excited when the cashier announced my savings ($208!!), so I can kind of understand how those extreme couponing people get started on the crazy train. We have limited space, so I think I'm safe for now; just stop me before I become this lady:

    {Look how proud she is of her 15 containers of Lysol wipes...anyone else getting an OCD vibe?}

    One more picture of Lucy, just because...

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Hope for the Publishing Industry

    When I received a Kindle for Christmas, I somewhat skeptically entered the world of digital books. I found myself torn. I love the fact that the Kindle allows me to carry over 1,000 books around in my purse. I love that it lets me underline and annotate, and I love that I can look up unfamiliar words without going to the dictionary or the internet. Plus, replacing tens of thousands (millions?) of pages with one digital device seems like the eco-conscious thing to do.

    That said, I hate the thought that there could come a day when publishers no longer see the benefit of producing physical books. I can't imagine living in a home without books, I love libraries and book stores, and an email notification that you have been gifted a digital download can never replace a the gift of an actual book with a handwritten inscription from a loved one.

    Recently, I started to think that I would compromise by buying physical copies of books that I'm likely to return to - books of poetry and classics that I hope my kids will want to read, for example. When I came across these pictures of books that Penguin Classics will be releasing in the fall, I knew that was the way to go. I have no idea how much these will cost, but I need to own these. I'm not sure if you can tell from the picture, but the covers are embroidered.

    Seriously, how gorgeous are these books? Here are two more book covers designed by another talented artist; these are from Random House.

    I'm not familiar with Night at the Circus, but I know that I want that copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to come live on my bookshelf. So, new plan: I will buy digital copies of untested, popular fiction, and I will not feel guilty about it. When it comes to classics, the books I know I love, I will be willing to shell out a few extra bucks for a hard copy, and I won't feel guilty about that either.

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    Jibe Ho!

    I'm not fully ready to cross it off the list yet, but I got a good start on life list item #22 this weekend. Thanks once again to Groupon, Tom and I spent most of Saturday and Sunday out on the bay with Captain Rob who made a good faith effort at teaching us how to sail. I was a little concerned about the direction the weekend was taking when we arrived on Saturday morning and received a stern lecture about our failure to read Sailing Made Easy in its entirety. When Captain Rob informed us that there would be a one hundred question test the following morning, I was sure the weekend was doomed.

    Happily, with a little extra studying plus several hours on the water, Tom and I (along with our fellow sailors-in-training, Ben and Karen) passed the test with flying colors and are now officially ASA (American Sailing Association) certified. I think we'll be heading back out to sea the bay in the near future to practice our new skills.

    {This was not our boat/}

    {Acting as helmsman was not my strong suit, so Captain Rob stayed close by.}
    {Tom manning the starboard jib sheet. I totally get nautical terminology now.}
    {Sustenance after a hard day at sea}

    {I totally won dinner.}