Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hellhound or knucklehead? An on-going debate

I mean, what is up with Watson?  He loves to sleep exactly here.  Does this seem comfortable?  Even to a chubby medium-sized hellhound?

I don't get it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Snapshot: "Measure me!"

So here is our family's "measuring stick."  We started marking growth spurts on the doorway in between our kitchen and our dining room, soon after we moved into our new digs in 2001.

A few years after we moved in, we painted the kitchen and the trim -- but I was insistent that our growth chart would stay intact.  But then the tall boy and his cousins, the soldier and the Cavalier cousin, just continued to grow.  Coleen's tall boys came over and stood tall to be measured, too.  And they all continued to grow and grow. I suspect that we have not seen the last of the growing among these tall, tall boys.

But that's OK.  We will continue to chart the growth of our urchins, their cousins, their friends -- really, just anyone who is willing to stand up and be measured.

This wall makes me happy every time I look at it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Renovation: progress report

So our basement renovation project is moving along smartly.  These pictures show you the fabulous bathroom tiles (in the fabulous bathroom, which never existed before); they make me so happy every time I look at them.

They are going to make the tall boy happy, too; his new digs are going to be so excellent!  He will no longer feel like Harry Potter -- stuffed into the cupboard under the stairs. Of course, one might argue that the tall boy kind of likes feeling like Harry Potter, but that's a story for another day.

Our own projects (the ones we actually do ourselves) tend to go something like this:

ME:  I think we should paint the trim on the exterior of our house.  [He and I are formal like that.  We say "exterior" when we really mean "the ugly, peeling, painty stuff around our windows."]
HIM:  When you say "we," who exactly are you talking about?
ME:  Well, us, or, you know, like, people we could pay money to . . . .
HIM:  Well, that would be a waste of time and effort and money, because we're going to re-do the whole carport in a little while, so why don't we just wait?
ME:  Good plan! 

Then we go to Starbucks.

So it's kind of a miracle of modern marriage that our basement is actually being renovated. 

We actually owe it all to our dear friend, Juan Pablo, who is a professional contractor.  He actually has the skill, the motivation, the crew, and the lack of laziness to see this project through.  God bless him!

And just for laughs, look what Juan Pablo's crew found when they were in the middle of the demolition phase of this project?  This box of bullets was found hidden above the ceiling tiles in the back bedroom.  My Dolly Madison friends and neighbors can just imagine who among the famous and infamous former owners of the home stashed this little prize.

I know, right?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

"Practically perfect in every way"

So I heard on the radio that Robert Sherman died Monday.  My fellow Mary Poppins devotees will immediately know that this news makes me a little melancholy.  Mr. Sherman, along with his brother Richard, wrote the music for that fabulous movie, along with all the tunes for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Jungle Book, The Aristocats, and Winnie the Pooh.  They also wrote "It's a Small World (After All)," but we won't hold that against them.

In honor of the Sherman Brothers, check out these supercalifragilisticexpialidocious songs:

From Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, here's "Toot Sweets":

And just for Lisa, here's one of her all-time favorites, from Winnie the Pooh:

A story for another day is about the cross-country trip my sister and I took, with our dad and our (then) five children.  As we drove across the eastern United States in a 1984 Dodge Ram 12-passenger van that my dad bought off the side of the road ("RUNS GOOD!" the sign said), we listened to a videotape of The Aristocats.  A lot.  I think my dad can sing this song by heart.  I know Carolyn and I can:

And how much do you love this song from The Jungle Book?!  Groovy, man, groovy!

But oh!  My friends!  I love Mary Poppins so much!  It was the first movie I ever saw in a theater, when I was two years old.  I can't pick just one song from this most favorite of films, which I've loved for my whole life.  Here are two, but really -- just go watch the whole thing!  From Bert's "One Man Band" in the park as the film opens to "Let's Go Fly a Kite" at the very end, the movie is full of only happy-making songs.  I guarantee it!

I have been known to sing this entire song on a dare.  Votes For Women!

And I firmly believe that if we all sang this song on a more regular basis, the world would be a better place.

Thank you so much, Robert and Richard Sherman, for giving me and so many other kids the songs of our childhood, and for creating so much joy.  In the pantheon of Disney songwriters, the biggest pedestal is reserved for you!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hot date with my mother-in-law

I have the world's most fabulous mother-in-law.  It's true!  And here is just the most recent evidence:  Due to the state of our construction project, watching television at our house is not a possibility right now.  And while we are not the biggest TV-watching family out there, I do love me some Oscars!  One year I even flew to Florida to catch the broadcast with my pal, Danielle.  True story. 

So -- Oscar night:  what to do??

And here is where my mother-in-law Donna came to the rescue.  She invited me up to her place. OK --  I invited myself up to her place, put she was pretty darned gracious and enthusiastic about saying yes.  And when I got there (bringing a love offering of Chinese food), I discovered that she had set the table with her fancy china, and had planned out an appetizer of shrimp cocktail and a delicious pineapple dessert.  She plied me with wine and snacks throughout the Oscars show, while we mocked some dresses and oohed and aahed over others.  And I just need to say:  Angelina Jolie -- eat something, for the love of God!

These were our two favorite dresses of the night:

Penelope Cruz looked like Old Hollywood, in every good way.  She didn't feel the need to thrust her boobage in our faces (we appreciated that, Penelope!) and the woman has a little sexy meat on her bones.  This is a good thing.

And look how lovely Octavia Spencer was on her Big Night!  Gorgeous!

But nobody on the red carpet can hold a candle to Donna -- the queen of adventure and the most gracious hostess in the world.  I am a lucky daughter-in-law!