Friday, April 29, 2011

I guess I still love fairy tales

So, did you watch it?

I got up at 5:30 this morning, whipped up a batch of scones, boiled the kettle and woke up Redheaded Snippet in time to see Kate Middleton as was alight like a fairy tale princess from the Rolls Royce in front of Westminster Abbey.

We sipped and munched and wiggled with delight throughout the ceremony. I thought Princess Kate looked every bit the princess she now is and Prince William looked dashing and handsome. Maybe I just want to see what I want, but it they seem to have a genuine regard and affection for each other. But you never can tell, really.

Anyway, I felt like a 5-year-old girl again, drinking in the splendor and pageantry, never wishing more that I was back in England. If I'd had a fancy hat, I'd be wearing it. If I had a British flag, I'd be waving it.

God save the Queen!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A most blessed Easter

With one glaring exception (Dad was unable to spend the afternoon with us, due to unforeseen circumstances, the repetition of which will only bore us all to sobs), Easter was a most wondrous day! I am really going to try very hard to keep quiet and let the photos speak for themselves with only necessary commentary along the way.

The festivities began, as usual, with egg dyeing right after church on Saturday night. We got started a wee bit later than usual this year because Redheaded Snippet was baptized this week and we went out for dinner afterwards to celebrate. But that only added to the celebratory feeling!

Notice how focused they are. If only you could appreciate how very rare this is: the two of them still, quiet and focused. It's a much lesser Easter miracle.

Also notice their identical expressions. Peas in a pod.

Man-Cub provided the crayons. While it is indeed remarkable that he has managed to hold on to such a large number of a box of crayons he was given years, that's years, ago, understandably, many of the identifying parts of their wrappers have long since disappeared. So a palette of sorts was needed in order to determine each crayon's true colors. Fortunately for our creative endeavors, my old grocery list was handy.

That green egg became horribly cracked in a tragic over-boiling incident. So we decided to try to work with it. It's difficult to see but it's supposed to be a dinosaur's head. I thought Daria did a fabu job with it.

Mom, Dad and Daria came to church with us and afterwards, we headed down the shore for the rest of the day! In Jersey, you don't go to the beach or go to the shore; you go down the shore. Don't ask me why. Ocean City (NJ, not MD) is the best family beach destination and we are fortunate to be within 2 hours of it.

The obligatory stop at the sunglasses racks to try on all the goofy sunglasses.

Somewhere we have a photo of us on one of these boardwalk benches from just one week after our wedding. I should dig that up but I think it might make us cry. Or hurl.

This girl cannot resist a camera!

It was still too cold to go in the water, but our little beach monkey could still run himself silly on the beach! And he did, oh, he did!

My beautiful man o' dreams.

"Bad news. The ice cream shop is closed."

"Don't worry, we'll go back to the boardwalk to Kohr Bros instead."

We strolled the boards, ate boardwalk fries, drank lemonade, enjoyed frozen custard with jimmies, laughed, played and had an all-around fantastical time!

And no family outing of ours would be complete without a funny sign spotting. I leave you with this:

That's the Jersey shore for ya!

{pretty, happy, funny real}

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real
Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life

This week's edition is not very everyday, in my opinion, for most of them are from Easter which is not at all an everyday kind of day. And I've had an extremely difficult time choosing only one photo for each heading so I'm going to submit two each. What a nice problem to have, no?


Ocean City, NJ. The perfect place to while away a picture perfect Easter afternoon.

Redheaded Snippet and Man-Cub on a break from lots of heavy-duty whiling.


Still crazy after all these years.

He wasn't happy about the bath he had to have later.


I think this would fit equally as well in the Real category.

Only a very confident man would allow this photo to survive!


Not a morning person. Not even on Easter. Not even after chocolate.

The Easter egg dyeing mess. Don't you use your old grocery list as a crayon palette, too?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

{pretty, happy, funny, real}


First the pretty:
Redheaded Snippet's self-portrait.

These sit on the windowsill behind the kitchen sink. Redheaded Snippet made them for me during two different weeks of Summer Camp, one when she was rather young, the other much more recently. She made them to match the colors in the kitchen and was apologetic when she gave me the bigger (and older) one because she couldn't manage a strawberry and had to go with an apple instead, the dear. They make me happy whenever I stand at the kitchen sink (and that is a LOT)!

Funny (oh I've got a good one this time):
This was my view from the toilet in the ladies' room of a church last night. Not our church, but one at which we attended a funeral (more on that later, if I can get to it). I burst out laughing as soon as I closed the door and just HAD to get a photo of it. Have YOU ever used a camera in a bathroom stall before? No, don't answer that...

And the real:
Fell Beast! This is what I found first thing in the morning a few days ago. I know this event is supposed to be about finding contentment in our everyday lives and I'm trying to find contentment in this particular situation somehow but I'm having a hard time. But it's very real, no? Maybe this: I am content with the fact that I live in a time and place that allows me to live so comfortably that we keep an animal as a pet? Yeah, I'll keep telling myself that...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real: First Edition

So, I'm a day late and I couldn't get the button to's that for real, eh?

My favorite blog, Like Mother Like Daughter,  has begun a...whatsit called? Meme? Thing? Whatever you call it, they call it Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real. I'm having trouble remembering the order of those words and have to keep checking it. Anyway, you post photos of something in your home that you find pretty, happy, funny and/or real or any combination thereof. And you go to their site and link up! Oh yes, and this is on Thursdays. Rather important, that.

I was crazily stressing about participating (as I do) and spent most of the morning wandering about the house trying to find something. And then, my life obliged me by providing me with the perfect specimen!

First, let me say I think my PHFR posts will consist largely of Real contributions. I usually have LOTS of Real going on in my house. Sometimes it's also Funny. I can at times manage to glean the Happy from it. It is rarely Pretty.

So, yesterday, I was feeling rather poorly, as I'd been feeling for several days. I had gotten almost nothing accomplished and was wallowing in self-loathing when suddenly I heard a knock at the door!

I looked up to see that it was time for me to give the piano lesson I had completely forgotten about. That's right, my student and her mother were at the door!

I usually spend the last hour before she arrives making sure I am well-groomed and the house is tidied, vacuumed, and wiped down.  But as it was, I was sitting barefoot, with no makeup on, with my hair unbrushed and shoved back into a headband, at the computer eating cheese and pepperoni. I was a greaseball. And the house looked like this:

You can't really appreciate the mess from these.  I did not try to hide anything in these shots, but they look better than I deserve.

Look closely and you'll see the empty Jello cup on the floor, the empty popcorn bowl from the night about that space heater on top of the coffee table?  Admittedly, this shot was taken after Man-Cub had taken pity on me and scraped a large armful of stuff off of the table when he heard the knock on the door.  It's probably all in the dryer.  Better go check that...

This doesn't look quite so bad either, but that's because you can't see the undusted piano and unvacuumed carpet.  Can you make out the pile of sheets on the chair in the distance?

As for me, I looked like this:

Only a lot worse than that.  This is, sadly, a flattering photo.  I particularly love the ham-hock arms and flyaway bristles of hair around the headband.  This is the sarcastic interpretation I used to express my loveliness when I told the story to Redheaded Snippet later. She then insisted I reenact it for the camera. We agreed the shot is too fantastically ridiculous not to share. I look Happy, even if I wasn't really, right?

I'm sure I gave my student and her mother quite a lot to talk about on the way home.  They probably think I drink in the afternoon.  But she said something about seeing me next week so I suppose I didn't scare them off completely.

There you have it.  Real?  Yes.  Funny?  I suppose it is.  Happy?  Give me a few days.  Pretty?  Now THAT'S funny!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Ah, sweet spring (and a project preview of sorts)!

So we have nearly perfect spring weather here in South Jersey. The sun is bright, the air is breezy and it's still slightly chilly so we can be comfortable without having to be half naked (and UGLY).

The days are longer, the windows are open and a feeling of relaxation is slowly descending on us all.

Even Joe.

There is a mockingbird that seems to like the hydrangea bush just outside the kitchen door. We heard loud chirping this morning and Man-Cub (who has a developing interest in birding) cocked his head to the side (very birdlike) and said, "Oh, that's a tufted purple jay?" We looked outside and saw the clever mimic sitting in the bare stalks of the hydrangea, singing its heart out. He flew away, but moments later was back again, resuming its song. He keeps flying off but returning to the same bush and his singing is making my day!

As for the project, it's been little over a year since we've had one and The Viking has been getting antsy. And now the perfect opportunity has presented itself. Because of The Viking's back problems (3 herniated discs) we recently purchased a Sleep Number bed. Friends had recommended it and we decided to give it a go because Papa Bear was complaining that the bed was too soft while Mama Bear was horrified at the idea of having to sleep on a harder one!

The kind Sleep Number people give you 30 days to sleep on the bed to see if you want to keep it. I used to think this was very generous of them, but now I see that it is just good business. During the first two weeks of sleeping on that bed, I thought I was going to go on a murderous rampage. First is was too hard, then it was too soft! I wasn't sleeping! I was tossing and turning, then hobbling around like an old woman from hip and shoulder pain! The Viking wasn't liking it either.

This was all complicated by the ironic fact that the model we were trying, being the bare-bones, no-fills, el cheapo deluxe model, has no numbers on it anywhere. It is the very rare Numberless Sleep Number bed. You kind of have to imagine what your sleep number is. That was, of course, irritating.

But we got used to it. We decided to keep our memory foam topper and each managed to find our perfect mattress firmness. Of course, the noise from the pump is about as loud as a plane landing on the roof and thus extremely terrifying when used in the middle of the night, but it has proved to be worth it. We are both sleeping comfortably in the same bed again (The Viking had taken to sleeping on the love seat of all places and I just wasn't liking that at all).

Aaaaanyway, because we have the new bed, we need a new bed frame. Our old one was made for a box spring and, okay, was held up primarily by cinder blocks. We're just that trashy. The new one needs a platform-type frame. So The Viking is going to make one!

And that leaves us with an extra Queen-size box spring and mattress which we've decided to move into Redheaded Snippet's room. She has a lumpy, old double bed in there now and as she's been asking us for a new mattress and we occasionally use her room as a guest room, it just makes sense. And that will throw off the rest of the furnishings in her room just enough to make for a good, but not overwhelming or expensive, project.

We're trying to find the most frugal way to do this. In other words, without having to buy two totally new (overpriced) beds. Redheaded Snippet has her heart set on a wrought iron bed, but she may just have to deal. So we're researching our options as far as getting a conversion kit, attaching the current double headboard to a new metal Queen frame, finding a great deal on a headboard somewhere (craigslist, ebay, freecycle, yard sales, etc), or even The Viking making everything himself (except for the wrought iron, obviously).

The madness is scheduled to begin this weekend. Stay tuned...