Saturday, January 31, 2009

Music: The Viking Moses

I was tempted to just let the previously mentioned review fade into internet obscurity without a mention, because it is BAD. Not bad as in the band is bad (though I have some words about that), but bad as in when I read it over I think a fifteen year old wrote it (no offense Anna, you're sixteen anyway), and then I remember it was me. But that wouldn't be very honest of me here, to not mention it, so I'm pointing you to it, if you care, in all its embarrassing glory. I got fed up, and time was up, and even though I was still reading sentences going 'What are you even talking about?' I went ahead and pushed go. The thing is, I didn't mind the music so much, I actually like the guy's voice, but other elements of the album overshadowed the musical strengths and left me with the overal...oh geez. I'm summing up just as poorly here as I did in the actual review. Enough of that.

I'm done doing music reviews though. I love music but I'm tired of trying to vary this theme; 'The lyrics delicately walk a tightrope, balancing between cliche and obscure...' I write that sentence for just about every review and have to stop and say 'Seriously? That's all you can come up with?' It's HARD. I've used every synonym for 'vocals' and 'lyrics' that provides. I'd rather do something easy. So I'm solely book reviews from now on. And there are some really good ones coming up.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The New Picture

A while ago Summer requested a picture of the new picture actually hanging on the wall. Here it is.  Notice anything odd? It's pretty much level with the top of the door frame. Pictures are supposed to be eye-level, right? And in general the person who hangs the picture hangs it to their own eye level, right? So according to that theory this picture would have been hung by an approximately seven foot tall person? Maybe its wishful thinking but my petite (in a manly burly way) husband consistently hangs pictures as if he were seven feet tall. Consistently about a foot and a half above my and his eye level. Needless to say this picture will be re-hung soon to with an eye to the viewing pleasure of the dwarfs that actually live in this home. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tonight Pt. 2: Desperate Measures

When a writer's block absolutely must be gotten through sometimes we revert to cheap white wine and homemade pate (yes! I made that pate! For about 5 hours last night!). I really mean business now.  I better think of nice things to say about the cacophony coming from my speakers before that whole Tupperware container of delicious fattening goodness is gone. 


Drinking locally grown tarragon tea (? and !) that showed up in my CSA bag this week, and trying to write a gracious review about a band that I have nothing good to say about. That's what I get for trying something new. 

Monday, January 26, 2009

New Music: The Bird and The Bee

Out today is a new album from one of my recent favorites - The Bird and The Bee. I've danced my way through Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future approximately 43 times now in preparation for the review. Zeb got sick of it about two months ago around the twentieth run, but I still love it! This song, off an older album captures their style well.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Kind of a Big Deal, Right?

Tonight we are celebrating. Sort of. I've thought for a long time about this post, if I ever had confirmation to write it. There are mixed emotions. Today we closed on our very own, first house. This is huge, no? For the past year I've worked two jobs, combed real estate listings, talked to lenders in three different states, crunched and re-crunched numbers and mortgage calculators. And here we are, finally with a title in our names and a looming thirty years of hefty payments. Yeah! 
The thing is, this is a house that we didn't pick, in which we'll never spend a weekend refinishing the floors, never mow the lawn, it's a house that we'll never live in; it's in Idaho for heaven's sake. Sorry, no offense, but we're kind of neutral toward Idaho in general.
How, why, wha...?
The answer goes like this, we wanted to put our sweat and savings into something tangible, into our own plot of land, that much was decided a year ago. It didn't hurt that the prices and interest rates kept dropping. As previously mentioned, we explored all options- buying in Philadelphia to sell when we leave in three years ( but we would only break even), buying in Oregon to have a place to go home to in three years (but Oregon is still expensive!), or, more recently, buying in Idaho where I grew up. We ended up buying my grandmother's house from her in Boise, a house that has been in our family ever since I can remember. She's ready to move in with my parents and contingent upon a quick sale of her house together they are buying a beautiful home (her room overlooks a small lake) big enough for all of them (plus any siblings who decide to join).  So here we all are, all of us getting the good end of the deal. We will rent it out for the next four years and then, market willing, when we sell we'll have a little nest egg for the cottage of our dreams. That's the plan (fingers crossed!).
It's just confusing, emotionally speaking. I'm remembering when Meg bought her first house. They were excited (perhaps even giddy?) and she posted a virtual tour. It seems to me that there's something very rewarding and special about living every day in that house that you've earned; you can't wait to get home to it because you've spent all day working to pay for it. And we're missing all that with this, our first home. Above is a picture of my celebratory wine because I don't even have a picture of the house to show you. This house is a way to help out family, with the bonus that it's a wise use of our savings. Those two things themselves are very rewarding. It's just not the giddy reward usually associated with choosing, buying and getting to live in one's first home. It's not the house's fault, it's the decisions we've made, to not yet put down roots, to keep drifting for a few years yet. It has its goods and its bads. It's a big deal I tell myself; we own a home tonight. There is no doubt that we've worked and planned and saved very hard for that plot and four walls our names are now on. But it's very far away, that home, and it doesn't have much to do with our lives. It's a check we'll write each month just like the phone bill. I am infinitely grateful for the opportunity to get this start in this 'buyer's market' right now when it's feasible for a young couple to scrape together their dollars and buy something of their own (many thanks to realtor Uncle Thom and financial planner Dad). But I can't deny that after tonight I won't think much about our house unless the tenant calls in a broken water heater. Someday... I look forward to actually house hunting, actually thinking about whether the bedroom gets morning or evening light and what paint colors I might choose for the kitchen. When I plant a garden outside my back door and know the dirt is mine. When I get to live in what I've worked for. 
Oh, but now I'm sounding all melancholy and I didn't mean to. The truth is we're lucky and happy for this opportunity. We appreciate this and all of the amazing help and work from people making this happen for us. We are fortunate indeed. Who knows, if the world (or the economy) fall apart we might end up in that house after all! In a way that'd be nice. There's a neighborhood pool. Yeah, that'd be real nice. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The New Year's Recap Post

So here we are, settled into January. The urge to sum up is irresistable, and appropriately so I think, as it's good to think deliberately about the past as much as the present or future. I will save most of it for my dear diary, but in short it was a happily hold steady year. One full year of nothing big, just many wonderful smalls. When life so often brings extremes analogous to shipwrecks this past little while has felt like a sunny lake canoe ride, a chance for the boy and me to get a feel for our own pleasant 'normal.' We have been so lucky in love and our together life. Experience teaches though, that this calm might not hold, so I'm wanting to mark it down to look back on, to be grateful for.
Here, then, is my summation of the last year. Sisters got married and I cried almost as much as at my own wedding. My boy became a Master. I got some direction in life (and got published along the way!). A grandfather passed on. Good friends moved away and we met some new ones. I learned to play poker. Several babies were born that mean a lot to us. Between the two of us we held down three jobs that only moderately irritate us. We had a one year anniversary.
I am grateful to a God who seems to be smiling good things on me these days. I'm grateful to a husband who is home to me, and who makes me laugh by the minute. For family who continues to be the safe harbor in the storm. I'm grateful for friends, old and new, whose presence in my life continues to enrich it. I pray the next year is marked by graciousness on my part in the face of whatever comes our way, and I dare to ask for that consistent calm inside that I've learned to regard as the true mark of happiness.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The New Year's Resolution Post

1...Dress like I mean it. ( Nadine Zlotgora)

2...Use my fancy napkins instead of saving them. 
3... Simplify.

That's it. That's all.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The New Year's Newsy Post

It's come and been gone almost a week now, but it was so fun and full of people that some people who read here might know that here, belated, are the pictures from New Year's. The last of the wonderful guests left yesterday morning, but there's another batch coming in tonight and the new year marches on. Proper reflective posts about what it holds are coming. But first.
Everyone, except her husband, in this picture is looking at the off-screen Melody who is, as usual, stealing the show with a lively story.

Later she stole all our money. Note the cheat sheet in front of her - she'd never played poker before. Grrr.

The rest of us consoled ourselves with wine and peppermint bark (thanks Keiko!)

He is not faking this, he really bowls, and bowls well, with this pose finishing every shot. We all stood in awe.

Note 2 things: 1) Lisa is holding a toddler and 2) Lisa's bowl is perfectly centered (2 seconds later there was a Strike) while holding a toddler.
It's not enough that she looks like Jane Seymour. She has to bowl like a superstar as well.
I failed to capture the ridiculously adorable toddler, Sonora, because she is a wiggly one. I couldn't stop taking pictures of her, so I have about a million, but they're all blurry as can be and she deserves better than blur. Certain events in Sonora's near future will ensure that I have a pretty good chance, or at least a lot of time to get the perfect picture of her, so someday she'll show up here in all her baby perfection.

And now, laundry.