28 September 2008

Plug in your headphones if you're at work

For her birthday, V got the direct-to-DVD movie Ariel's Beginnings and, despite the comparitively mediocre soundtrack, it's rather enjoyable. My favorite part, though, is the preview to a particular film. Check it out here. You can thank me later.

I realize it's probably not the best movie ever made, but the trailer makes me laugh out loud every single time.

23 September 2008

Bright lights, big city (a marathon of a post)

Myra and I and V went to Minneapolis this past weekend. Now, all of you whom I was supposed to see but didn't should take a deep breath, stop hating me, and read the rest of this. Because you will thank me, in the end, for not bringing our weekend vibes into your life.

For the first 103 miles, V screamed almost non-stop. I wish I was exaggerating, but she was exhausted and wouldn't sleep in the car, and I felt like turning back to home 206 times or so. But we had a wedding to go to on Saturday, and a birthday party on Sunday, and Myra was with us, and darn it, if I turned around then, the terrorist would win.

So we pressed on. One stop at a nearby Target and two complete meltdowns later, we were back in the car (V in her jammies, this time) and she was sound asleep before we were out of the Target parking lot.

The next morning found Myra and Kathy (our gracious hostess) checking out the new boulevard garden, with V toddling along behind.
For me, though, the weekend was pretty much already shot. I mean, any sane person would've downed a pint of whiskey and moved on, but it was just not an option this weekend. The thing is, V was really largely pleasant after the car ride from hell.

Above are some of our friends from brunch, where there was bacon and laughing and three tired mamas with their energetic daughters and two grandmas happy not to be in the "tired mama" camp any more.

Here are photos from the wedding (which reminds me: can Em or Jen or Kathy e-mail the information for Meagan's flickr page so I can add these?). Though I loved our wedding, I tell you what, I loved this wedding, too. Gunny sacks, squash, and candy corn decorations? And check out that awesome red flower (which I think is called a cock's comb, but makes me think of bloody brains). Luscious decorations at a park pavillion on a gorgeous early autumn (technically end of summer) day.
I love this picture of Mark. I remember the day he was born.
The bride and groom. Please note the bouquet: it's a bunch of beets. How brilliant is that? I love beet bouquets, and I didn't even know it.

Here is fearless V on the monkey bars.

Such joy and bravery, eh?

Until the ride home, when the screaming recommenced.

Out of desperation, Grandma Myra sat in the backseat and read the three books we had along over and over and over.

If Grandma hadn't been there? I would probably have parked the car and just started walking, alone, praying for a bus to run me over.

Three looks like it's gonna be a doozy of a year.

16 September 2008

My latest obsession

I know, I know. There were coupons, and that fabric thing, and the unfortunate cactus period. But seriously, people, Arts Cow is the most fun I’ve had online in a really, really, really long time. Now yes, it could be that I just haven’t bookmarked the right sites (see Duluth Family Sauna, last post). But I feel giddy when a package I’ve ordered comes from these folks. Okay, I feel giddy when I get a free tampon sample in the mail, but I mean really, really, really giddy. I just kinda hold my breath and open the package and honestly? I haven’t been disappointed yet. Shaun might insist this is because I have unbelievably low standards, but I like to think that it’s because they make pretty cool stuff.

Now a lot of it I can’t show you, because I’ve already gotten some gifts for upcoming holidays. But this? I made this for myself. Or more accurately, I had it made for me. It's double sided, and both of the pictures are photos I took (one of fireworks on my birthday, the other of a collage I made which will be explained, perhaps, in a future post) and the pendant itself feels really good. It’s heavy and smooth, almost like it’s in glass, and I feel artsy and super smart whenever I wear it.

Look at it. LOOK AT IT. (Don't look at the saggyness in that photo. I am much perkier. See earlier photo for perkiness. Don't I have a pretty neck? LOOK AT THE NECKLACE)

Their books are perfect bound and have fabulous color. Their prints are clear and thick and…substantial. I’ve only printed in matte, but I’ve been nothing but pleased so far. Even the larger sizes are crisp and saturated: I’ve gotten about ten 8x10s, and also two 12x18s (which reminds me: any of you have a mat cutter I can borrow?), and even in that near-poster size I’m impressed. I mean, granted, I’m a total genius of a photographer, but the paper these guys print on is outstanding, the colors seem (to my genius eye) to be right on, and so far I’ve gotten some lovely, totally unique Christmas gifts without having to sew my brains out or aggravate my carpal tunnel.

The drawbacks? It takes awhile for stuff to show up. Sometimes two weeks. So spontaneous and quickly gratifying it ain’t. The company’s in Hong Kong, though, so unless the globe starts shrinking as it warms up (what if our planet is made of wool? And we’re all moths?), shipping time will likely stay around 2 weeks. But the other products I’ve seen from other companies really do pale in comparison.

So you do what you want. If you want to have giddy, package opening moments in your future, go play at Arts Cow. As for me, I’m going to continue to send reasonable amounts of money to Hong Kong as long as they send me pretty/funny/neat-o things in return. If you’re nice, and tell me I have a pretty neck, I might make you your own necklace. Or maybe you can borrow mine.

12 September 2008

Gitche Gumee

Over Labor Day Weekend, the husbo and I decided we'd had enough of toddling around with V, so we took off for the Big Water.

And though I've been in New York's harbor, and Boston Harbor, this still feels to me like the closest I've ever been to the ocean. Because I can't see the other side, so it counts. One of the highlights for me, aside from TWO NIGHTS IN A ROW ALONE WITH MY BEAU (and yes, he wears orange and red together all the time. Clashing is sooooo sexy), was our tour of Glensheen. I first toured this sweet mansion just after we moved into our house, and the themed rooms inspired my own Peacock Room. Because while I may not be a Congdon, I can pretend I have a 39 room Jacobean Revival mansion if'n I want to.
From the lakeside. Mrs. Congdon didn't call this the backdoor, because she didn't want guests arriving by boat to feel second rate. She claimed to have two front doors. I'm pretty sure you can only do that when you're super rich.
Sweet balustrades. "Balustrade" is the kind of word that you don't know you know until you see one. Or at least I didn't.
See? Don't you want to come over to my mansion? And hang out? And play billiards? I would totally give you the key to the liquor cabinet.

Seriously, the man should've been a pirate. Except he likes cable tv and central air. But otherwise, he's pirate matieral all over. (Pirates were notorious for clashing).

Anyway, I could talk about Glensheen all day and all night. But you don't come here for history or architecture lessons, do you? No. You come here to see what other excitement my life offers that yours doesn't. So here you go: an unstaged photo near downtown Duluth. This was just after lunchtime on a Sunday. Why is this sandal on a parking meter? Where is the woman (or man) who was wearing it? Was she standing on the meter and just hopped off in a hurry, like Cinderella? Does she remember at all where her footwear disappeared to?

I don't know. But it was on the way to the Duluth Family Sauna.

The guy in the t-shirt was just leaving, and he didn't look too sweaty. The sign said they opened at 10 on Sundays. Because in Duluth, if you don't feel like going to church, you might just go have a sauna.

[And by the way, I just thought it was a neat old-school sign until I found their website. I'm...um, sorry for bringing you to that site if you thought this was a family blog. At least, I think I'm sorry. "Good clean hot fun" makes me feel dirty, even with the word clean right there.]

It does dovetail nicely with this sign, though, found in a hole-in-the-wall hotdog and chili cheese fries place called Coney Island (further confusing my ocean-side experiences):

I think it means the restroom is for customers only, not the gentlemen. But I thought Duluth Family Sauna seemed wholesome, too. I am not even going to look for the Coney Island website. You go on ahead.

11 September 2008


Presents, with Will cheering in the background.
Swimming goggles. Birthday crown (modeled by Grandpa).
Uncle Brad, Emmy, Grandma Mary.
Mmmm, lemonade.
Water slide (with Daddy at the bottom for catching).


08 September 2008

The face V gets when we take her to church

I know. Scary.


Dear V,

Three years ago yesterday, a team of doctors grunted and heaved and yanked you out of me after I let them try to induce labor four separate times. The second you cried, I burst into tears of relief. Had I any idea of what you would bring to our life (the drama, the exhaustion, the hilarity) I would've cried for dozens of other reasons, too. I can hardly believe it's been three years. I can barely remember my life before you, which is to say I love you more each day.

We've had a difficulf couple of weeks, you and I. We've both been sick, and cranky, and you just started preschool, and I just went back to work after the summer, so we've had a lot of changes. And you like to see the surprise in my face when you do something unfathomable to me: five weeks after potty training, you looked me in the eye on Thursday while you pooped in your Little Mermaid panties, for example. You even told me you were doing it, and when I said "Well go to the potty!" you smiled and said "No." The next day, when you asked if you could have some pretzels, I said of course. So you looked at me with that same smile and dumped them on the floor. Then you stomped on them. While smiling.

I trust this behavior will pass. And I am learning to be more patient with you. But mercy, child, you don't need to test me every. single. day. Honest.

Tonight, as we played baseball in the backyard (you=Joe Mauer; I=Justin Morneau) we laughed and laughed and laughed, and decided together to start a band called The Lumpy Bubbles. You said you would sing and play drums, and I said I would play the saxaphone, and you said Daddy could play the xylophone. And we laughed and laughed some more. And you threw your arms around me and said "Oh, I love you, Mama!"

I cried again, with relief. I love you too, Sprout. As long as we live, it's you and me baby. And there ain't nothin' wrong with that.