Thursday, April 30, 2009

On The West Side Of The Tracks, 9 AM

This morning I was a little concerned that our contractor had taken out a hit on us. I know we're driving him crazy, and the feeling's mutual, but I really didn't think we were that picky.

Steve told me that he had set up a meeting, but when we got to the appointed place we found we were in an empty field in the middle of nowhere, where no one would be able to hear anything.

My heart started to beat just a little faster when a monster size truck with a very large barking German Shepherd pulled into the lot and headed straight towards us, and then it pulled up next to us and then this guy jumped out, grabbed my hand, and said "Hi, I'm Bob, let's look at some rock for your retaining wall." Whew!

But don't think I'm gonna stop watching my back.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

38 Seconds of Pure Joy

Close to ten years ago Steve's friend Rich showed us this great little clip that we still quote and watch to this day. It never fails to make me laugh hysterically, and who doesn't need more hysterical laughter in their life?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Whole Lotta Nothing

I guess today I have nothing to say. Why, you may ask? I'm tired of house building, I have too much to do and not enough time, I have cranky kids, I need to go grocery shopping, I have to finish reading my book for tomorrow night's book group, I need to finish my next post for modwalls, I have friends going through hard stuff and I feel bad and don't know what to do to help them.

So, I guess I actually have too much to say and not enough energy to say it.

Enough said.

Monday, April 27, 2009

One Wonderful Wedding

You know you've been to a great wedding when you've done nothing but go to fun parties with wonderful people for days. That's how Steve and I felt when we got home from our long weekend in Washington D.C. and Virginia for Dan and Lindsay's wedding. The whole thing was beautiful, touching, fun, and, as I had hoped, reminded me how much I love being married to Steve. Pictures say it better than I can, so here they are:

A mirror portrait of Steve and I on our way to the rehearsal dinner.

Me wondering when I'm gonna get hooked up with a Diet Coke.

Elizabeth (Biz) and I at dinner.

The Ricks sharing one of their famous wedding poems.

Lindsay and Dan saying a few words. I love these guys.

The whole Ricks clan!

The next day we went to the beautiful wedding ceremony. It was so sweet, and my favorite memory was the quiet, heartfelt tears than ran down Linsday's cheeks through the whole thing. It was so sweet and touching.

And then it was time to party at the reception. The whole thing was absolutely perfect!

Ice, ice baby.

The cake and the most amazing flowers I've ever seen.

Steve doing his best James Bond.

Lindsay looking gorgeous.

A big bunch of bridesmaids...

...but other than Lindsay, this was the most beautiful girl in the room.

Taking a breather before the reception starts.
The beautiful setting, complete with perfect weather.

Then it was time to "get down, boogie, oogie, oogie."

Then, unfortunately, the night was over, and it was time for the happy couple to leave on a path lined with sparklers.

It was such a great time! Congratulations Lindsay and Dan, and thanks to the families for such a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Trish!

Today is Trish's birthday, and I wanted to write her a quick little post to tell her all the things that make me glad she's my friend:

She's one of the most friendly people I've met. She'll walk up to just about anyone to get to know the. That's how we met, in our kid's swimming class, and we hit it off right away.

She's one of the bravest women I know because she had her kids at the ages of 44 and 46 (except she's just turning 39...).

You can talk to her about anything. She's a great listener, gives great advice, and is always willing to help you talk through a problem.

She's always there for you if you need her. There's been a couple of times she's swooped in to save the day when I had to go to the emergency room with food poisioning and there was no one to watch the kids. And to watch Max when I had to take Jack to the after hours pediatician with croup when Steve was out of town. She's just that kind of person; you can count on her, and that's a real friend.

She's so much fun on a girl's night out. She loves all the same resturants and food I do, loves to shop in all the same places, and all the same desserts.

She has two amazingly beautiful kids, and is such a great Mom to them. She gets them out and about to do so many fun things, she reads to them, and really enjoys them. That's a great Mom.

Basically, I love Trish, and am so glad she's my friend.

Happy Birthday To You!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Mr. And Mrs. Ricks Go To Washington

We arrived soooo late last night in Washington D.C., so late in fact that I, one who never sleeps in, slept in until 11:30 AM. There is the whole time change thing, but still, for me that's crazy late. We luckily still had time to get into the city and do a little putzing before all the wedding festivities started. Here's some photos:

The obligatory shot of the capitol building...

...and me with the Washington Monument...

But the most inspiring thing I saw on the mall was a picture of President Obama on my Metro ticket.

And then it was off to the Hirschorn Contemporary Art Museum.

My favorite way to spend the day is hanging out with this guy in a modern art museum.

This was a fantastic museum for a lot of reasons, but mostly because it had some of my favorite artists, including this one by Frank Stella... of Alexander Calder's amazing mobiles...

...a little Andy Warhol...

...and probably my all time favorite, Edward Hopper.

But my favorite was this one called Big Man by Ron Mueck, who is considered a ''hyper-realistic" sculptor, and I could see why. This guy would be about 10 feet tall if he were standing up and if you get close he absolutely looks like he could breathe, and he's a little scary. He's made completely of painted resin; it was just fantastic.

We're happy to be here for the wedding, but to have a free afternoon to do some of my favorite things with my favorite person, now that's happiness.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Running Away Together

Every once in a while, usually when the kids are driving me crazy, I walk up to Steve and say "Let's run away together." Well, since we're somewhat responsible adults, we never do, but this weekend we have our chance. My awesome brother-in-law Dan is getting married in Washington D.C., so we have a excuse to leave all our worries and responsibilities (thanks to grandparents and friends) behind, at least for a few days. So this weekend I get to forget I'm a Mom and forget that I'm building a house and I get to go to a wedding, which always reminds me of all the reasons why I married Steve in the first place, and would do it again in a heartbeat.

I'm so excited.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lovely Brilliant Disaster

One of the things I miss the most from living in the U.K. is some of the great "Britishisms" that I used to hear everyday. Sometimes I just can't find the words in American English that express my feelings as well as some of these words, said with a beautiful accent, of course.

I don't know if I could choose a favorite, but among my top three are "Brilliant," for something fantastic, "Disaster" for some minor problem, and of course the liberal use of "Lovely" to describe just about anything good. I was reminded of how, well, lovely this term is when I discovered this song by the UK band Scouting for Girls:

The song makes me feel happy, nostalgic, and a like I have a teenage crush all at the same time.

It's so lovely.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Saved by Rock and Roll

I had one of those nights where I was lying awake worrying about house building stuff. I drive myself so crazy running through things over and over in my head, and then by the morning I'm exhausted.

Instead of sleeping in this morning I decided to go to the gym and work it out, which felt like a bad idea until about 20 minutes in when I remembered why I do it. When I am working off stress I take my headphones and watch the video station with the volume turned up to 11, and it always works.

Today I discovered a new band Mando Diao, that really helped me let it all go. Sorry, I can't embed the video, but here's the song that saved me, "Long Before Rock and Roll."

God bless you, Mando Diao.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Battle of the Exes

I'll be honest, I dated a lot during my single years, and I have a lot of great ex-boyfriend stories to tell from my experiences. I had so many after a while I gave my exes code names like "Big Bad Bald Man," (not very nice guy who cheated on me) "38 Special," (38 year old I dated when I was 26) "Psycho Spence," (he was just plain nuts) and so on. Steve and I actually have a joke that we can't spend any time in Salt Lake City without running into an ex-boyfriend, and it's turned out to be true.

I attribute my serial dating to the fact that I almost married the totally wrong guy in my mid twenties and once that was all over I decided to just have fun. It was a good plan, and luckily I found Steve in the process.

Steve's ex-girlfriend stories aren't as good. He did his fair amount of dating but had less relationships and has less stories. Probably due to the fact that he dated mostly sane people. But today the girl who he dated in high school and went to Senior Prom with confirmed him as a friend on Facebook, and now he has a story that kicks all of mine to the curb.

His ex's name is Tomoko, and I've met her a couple of times, and she's very nice, but oh, I never thought Tomoko would bring me this kind of pleasure. We were first tipped off when her name on Facebook was Tomoko Blanks, and then we saw her pictures, and then we did a little Googling, and found that she is indeed married to the Tae Bo Master Billy Blanks. And then we found this awesome video of them together (sorry, a lot of it is in Japanese):

We wondered how this all happened, and then read between the lines of the personal life section of his Wikipedia entry and got the dope.

I guess when it comes to stories of exes, quality beats quantity every time.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Park Is Alive With The Sound Of Music

The weather was finally great on Saturday after a week of rain and snow. That's right, snow, almost a foot in April. Supposedly spring already started, right? I wasn't just imagining it, was I?

So, as soon as it got warm enough we got out to the park to eat lunch and play. While we sat in the sun and ate our bagels we heard a guy do a great rendition of "Rambling Man" on his acoustic guitar, and he himself looked like the rambling type. The boys were fascinated with his playing and singing. Then it was off to the playground. Here's some photos:

Jack flying high...

...and low riding.

Max at first looking silly...

...then sweet.

While we were waiting for the weather to warm up I let watch the boys watch the sing-a-long version of The Sound of Music that has just the songs with the lyrics at the bottom of the screen. While we were walking to the car after our time in the park they must have still had Sound of Music on the brain because the big open fields of green grass inspired a little "Hills Are Alive" reenactment:

Then, in the car on the way home, they came up with a new version of the song that got a bit obscene (indcluding body parts and bodily functions), so I won't repeat it here, but I was laughing my head off. Sometimes 6 and 3 year old boy humor is the best!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Our Ibiza, Chapter 17: Full Sail Ahead

Yesterday I went over to our house to see how the interior paint looked. I was worried because I had yet to see how the shade of white I chose was going to work. As I mentioned before, I was more than a little overwhelmed with choosing the right shade, so I just went with one we had used before. It is called Full Sail, and comes from Sherwin Williams, but isn't on their current pallet. It was part of the Martha Stewart collection from a few years back. To me, it is exactly the color of cream cheese (and, as Martha would say, that's a good thing); white with just a hint of yellow.

As I drove up to the house I had that queasy feeling that I might have another exterior house color experience, but as I walked in I was very pleasantly surprised. Here's some photos of how it turned out:

The windows to the backyard in the master bedroom. You can see the landing to the staircase just past the door frame, and there's a big maple pocket door that slides out to close off the room.

The fireplace, almost complete. There will be a slab on caesarstone put on the hearth for a place to sit, and then it will be done. I love how the warm white works with all the wood in the house.

The staircase in all it's glory. We thought of painting this wall behind the stairs some kind of accent color, and we still might, but I couldn't figure out what color at this point, so we just went with all white. I was afraid of it being boring, but I really love it. Once we get our woven bamboo floors in I think it will look great, and once we make our decorating choices we may decide to do it. I've learned recently if you don't know what to do, don't do anything. Works in most non-crisis situations (and I have taught myself that choosing paint colors does not constitute a crisis).

So, today I feel pretty great about the house. As I see it, if you can pick a good shade of white, you can pretty much do anything.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sucker Punch

Max and Jack are such loving brothers and adore being together. They get along so great, see:

And just when you're enjoying the moment someone
gets a right hook to the face.

Life with boys, gotta love it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Our Ibiza, Chapter 16: So Many Bad Light Fixtures, So Little Time

The decisions for the house are coming fast and furious, and this week it's been all about lighting. My contractor sent me to a local lighting showroom that he uses and I'll be honest, I was not very optimistic. Where I live the curvier, browner, and uglier, the better, so I was expecting whole lot of ugly, and I was not disappointed. I just have to ask the universe WHY are there so many bad light fixtures in the world? WHY? Let me give you some examples:

This one has that BAD smoked brown glass from the seventies that everyone tried desperately to get rid of in the 80's, all for the low, low, price of $262.50. Why?

Kinda pineappley, kinda curvy, kinda ugly and kinda $382.00. Why?

I think my Grandma had this one in her house. And I'm sure that she didn't pay $972.50 for it. I don't care if it's crystal, it's hideous! Why?

And the Grand Daddy of them all. So, so, so bad. And it cost $3,278.50. That's almost the same price as my coveted Droog design 85 Lamp Chandelier. Why, Why, Why?

I mean, who buys this stuff? I decided the other day that there are about 1,000 ugly light fixtures for each good one in the world. I also decided that if I really want to make my millions I need to start my own company that designs only tasteful, simple light fixtures. In all that spare time I have.

There were some "modern" ones available as well, but they were all more "contemporary" in my book. Steve and I have a term to describe the difference: "Is it cool or so very San Francisco Design"? The light fixtures I saw unfortunately fall into the latter category. Oh, okay, here's one more example:

You see what I mean? As a rule of thumb, modern light fixtures should never include curly ques. If you dropped the pig tails it wouldn't be half bad. And I found this true of so many of the "modern" fixtures. They were almost good.

Well, you probably won't be surprised to hear that I didn't buy anything, but got my flush mount fixtures, sconces, and bathroom lighting from IKEA. And all of it, for the whole house, cost 1/3 less than one of the grandma flush mounts. And the best part is that these light fixtures don't make me queasy. What would I do without IKEA? I shudder to think.