Monday, July 28, 2014

Late to the Party

Too tired this morning to write a real post. We recently discovered Pentatonix, several years after most of the rest of the world, but better late than never. Here are the household favorites:

1. Say Something

2. Somebody That I Used to Know

3. Little Drummer Boy

4. Evolution of Music

5. Happy

6.  Daft Punk

7. Can't Hold Us

8. Bonus: Radioactive

Jen's away this week. Hosting by her friend Caroline this week.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The House of Suicidal Bees

1. The House of Suicidal Bees is what I call my aunt's house in San Diego because so many bees try to drown themselves in the pool while getting a drink. I am constantly fishing them out, alive or dead, when the kids are swimming. And, usually, someone gets stung at least once. This time it was Alex but his finger did not swell because we flooded his system with antihistamines moments after the stinger was pulled out which seemed to do the trick.

I did not take many pictures while we were on vacation. I will need to get photos from my sister in law or my mother to share.

This is from a rose bush in front of my cousin's rented house. Absolutely the prettiest rose bushes I can remember seeing in a long time.

2. Yes, we returned last Wednesday and it's now Monday and I've been fairly silent, blog and FB-wise. Well, our transition to our regular space-time continuum was rather rocky (our plane out of Chicago-Midway was delayed so we didn't walk in the door until almost 1 am local time); Thursday we kinda sleep-walked through life. Friday was a little better but I still have whatever illness or condition that is limited my energy to about 1/3 normal so I move slowly through every day and only left the house for the first time today. Big thanks to my parents for doing some grocery shopping for me on Friday.

This is from those same rose bushes. The color variation of flowers on the same stem was amazing. These pictures just do not do it justice.

3. For some reason, I thought this week would be a good week for doctor's appointments, so we have 4 on the schedule. Alex had one today at the Chung Institute and then tomorrow Miranda has one and I have two. We should be able to finally visit the Larchmont pool for the first time on Wednesday after Alex gets home at lunch time from summer school. When I bought the pool pass in April, I wasn't expecting to be weighed down by fatigue.

My doctor ran extensive blood work in June and it showed how perfectly healthy I am. I'm seeing him again tomorrow to see what we can do next. Both my aunt and uncle in San Diego are medical professionals and they looked at the six page printout and didn't have a whole lot of suggestions, so I'm a bit discouraged. I may try an allergist next.

This is the best picture I have of my niece with my daughter. They played together really well.

4. Only a few movies viewed in the recent past. Watched The Grand Budapest Hotel with my brothers, watched 300: Rise of an Empire and the new Robocop with my honey. The first one was curious, the second one was at least visually interesting and the last had a lot more nuance to it than I expected.

Now that The World Cup and Wimbledon are over and the Phillies keep losing, I may go back to the server and see what's been waiting to be watched. Lots of British television, that's for sure. New Tricks Series 9, Wallander Series 3, I only remember watching the first story of Case Histories, I have 7 unwatched episodes of Endeavour, the last episode of Poirot, and the last 6 episodes of Lewis

My niece and nephew playing with the "drive thru" window.

5. My cousin and her husband introduced us to a couple of new authors. I read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern on the plane from San Diego to Chicago (it was excellent, especially for a first novel) while my honey started The City & The City by China Mieville. The latter has a passel of interesting books that I may get from the library.

Here's Miranda reading Tiger Can't Sleep to her cousin before nap time. Why has this wonderful book gone out of print?!

6. If you're not following Mike Rowe on Facebook, you are missing out on some hilarious and eloquent writing. I can't wait for his new television show.

I forgot I had yellow lilies until they bloomed, right before we left.

7. Here is my family, all together. It was not perhaps the most restful vacation all crammed into my aunt's house but it was wonderful to have lots of time with my niece and nephew and catch up with my brothers and their delightful wives.

From the left, Colin, Stephanie & Jonathan; then Marshall, myself and Alex; then my parents; then Miranda; then Madelynn, Brandon & Piper.

Bonus 8. If you have somehow been living under a rock and missed this video which has my children laughing like fools at least once a day, here you go:

And, randomly, Miranda's new favorite song:

And here's Jen.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Quick Week

1. So, Saturday morning at 7 am we fly out to San Diego for our 11 day California vacation. Last day of school is Wednesday and it's a half day. My parents fly to San Diego Wednesday evening. And I've been sick for the last two weeks with what we're guessing is some mosquito-borne virus (blood work results pending). Of course, when you don't have energy to do anything, you do get a lot of World Cup games watched. But Wimbledon started this morning and there will now be 4 World Cup games every day. The great news is that my aunt will be recording World Cup games in San Diego so I can catch up there. And watch some key tennis games.

My callas are blooming.

2. That was an amazing game last night, USA-Portugal. I wanted to cry at the end. But the US is not out yet.

3. I have diligently been working through my goal of "finishing" all those television series that have been lingering on the DVR for months or years:

  • I watched the last 4 episodes of Justified last week and gasped in dismay at least once per episode. And the set up for the final season is amazing. These writers are expert at managing a season-long story arc with each episode an ever growing disaster. No decision yet whether Raylan will survive the show. Wow.
  • In the last few weeks, my honey and I have finished the seasons of Grimm and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and then over the weekend we binged on the last four episodes of Sherlock. All of them taking to heart Joss Whedon's motto, "Why go for the kill when you can go for the pain?" 
  • I also picked up a new series, Motive. In two days, I watched the first 15 episodes. Things to do when you're sick. 

4. Unfortunately, I have not had the energy for a trip to the movies, but that's what vacation is for. 

5. One of the wonderful things about June is that fresh cherries are in season. I eat almost a pound of them a day. No joke. 

This is an amaryllis, blooming in my flower bed. My mother-in-law got the great idea of planting them outside after they have finished blooming and seeing if they come up again the following year. This one did.

6. Only a few more sentences and then I can fold laundry and take my morning nap. 

I have Asiatic lilies, too. Mostly pale pink but some red, a few orange, and one white.

7. If you missed my Saturday post about my father's gift to us of painting two room and a hallway, scroll down. 

Pray for us this week. Pray that my body would heal. Pray that we transition to California with a modicum of ease. Pray that our time with my family is full of joy and rest. Give thanks for good school years and awesome teachers. 

Jen's on vacation. Hosted by Team Whitaker this week. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Long Overdue

Two weeks ago, when my mother was in California, my father spent 4 days painting the kids' rooms and the hallway.

Here's a bunch of pictures, before and after, to show off all his hard work.

Everything is beautiful and clean again. Much like this, 11 summers ago, when my father last painted the room (that is now Miranda's) for a new little person we were expecting.

My, how time flies.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Seven Quick Prayer Requests

1. Alex has an intermittent fever and cough so he's off to the doctor this afternoon. He actually told me this morning he didn't want to stay home, that he misses his teacher. I can't remember the last time that happened.

2. We meet with Alex's teacher and case manager on Friday for his IEP meeting to plan for next year. We already know he will be with a different teacher in an intermediary disabled classroom, back with some of the friends he left behind last year, which is good. But it will be a new teacher for us.

3. Miranda was supposed to have a well visit at the doctor's today but Alex is taking the appointment because he's sick. I still need to reschedule that for her.

4. I'm still praying about what to do with the psychiatrist we've introduced to our cadre of doctors. We've an appointment on the books for next week and I think it's going to be and one of the kids who sees him, but I'm not sure which one to take with me.

5. My mother is in California hanging with my 2 year old nephew Colin while my brother goes to a conference and my sister-in-law enjoys some time away from the darling boy.

6. My mother suggested that my father and I paint my kids' rooms while she's away, so he doesn't get bored. He's doing most of the work and definitely not bored.

7. Marshall's birthday is next Saturday and out best present to him will probably be to let him keep working on the bus. But life in his office is always exciting, so please pray for peace and wisdom for him, always.

And here's Jen!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Paris in the Springtime

1. The French Open started yesterday so I'm busy watching all those lovely hours of coverage, so this will definitely be quick takes. Here are my top 7 movies to see this summer: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

I saw it last month, as previously mentioned, and it was excellent. I never get tired of watching Chris Evans' take on Cappy or Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.

2. Godzilla

I saw this in Saturday with my honey and really liked it. I did watch the original Gojira on Friday and shrugged.

3. X-Men: Days of Future Past

I saw this on Friday with my mother and loved it. I was thinking yesterday how time travel in fiction allows us to redeem the past and heal the future, those things that in real life, only Christ offers.

4. Edge of Tomorrow

Every time I see this trailer, I become more interested. The film opens June 6th.

5. Transformers: Age of Extinction

Apparently, I can't pass up on something shiny. Opens June 22.

6. Lucy

So much for my determined avoidance of Luc Besson. This film opens July 25.

7. Jupiter Ascending

For the record, I loved Speed Racer, but I never saw Cloud Atlas. This film also opens July 25.

Bonus 8. Guardians of the Galaxy

I have become a devoted Marvel fan-girl.

And here's Jen.

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Few Gardening Notes

1. Completely stealing from Anne at Preventing Grace and having no desire to consider the events of the last week in any clear focus, especially since everything is blurry anyway as I went to the eye doctor this morning for my regular checkup and still feel like my eyeballs are trying to crawl out of my head. I am definitely reminded of this scene from "A Clockwork Nebari" from Farscape:

Season 2, Episode 18, but I had to look it up. I really thought it was a Season 1 episode. I guess I'm losing some trivial details.

But I'm supposed to be writing about gardening.

2. For the past couple of years, each of the children are allowed to pick some flowers for themselves to love, even if they never actually water them. Alex has chosen marigolds the past few years but when I asked him what he wanted this year he said Purple Daisies. No idea where he saw them or why he changed his mind but I found a pot of them at our local hardware store a week ago when I was having a key made and instantly snatched them up. They are in a very handsome pot on the back patio.

Of course the pot is turquoise, but it was the last one Aldi had.

3. Miranda wanted sunflowers last year but I put her off because of the hassle then regretted it later in the season. So, this year, Grandma gave us the seeds and we (well, she helped a little) seeded them in good potting soil in Chinese food containers for a few weeks and then I dug a trench on the side of the house so that when they are taller, they will have somewhere to lean.

4. My irises are in bloom.

5. Last year my neighbor suggested an iris exchange program, She took some of my bulbs and gave me these:

In fact, there are so many varieties of iris in my neighborhood that I am currently collecting photos of all the different colors and sizes. So pretty.

6. So I really want to see Godzilla. There's a great article about what the monster means in The American Interest. I started thinking about this when I was out driving earlier, about how a society copes with the aftermath of a bad war, or when your side loses. I was reminded about America's sojourn in Vietnam and how horribly it went for everyone there, on all sides. It's apparently important to examine such disasters in the open because if you don't, they turn into giant monsters who decimate your city. Still, it's an interesting concept to consider. Your sins will always return to haunt you.

7. Carl Kasell retired from Wait Wait Don't Tell Me on Saturday. And everyone was sad. But as I keep telling Alex, no one lives forever.

We actually won when I played the show in December of 2005, but we couldn't decide on a script and then I got pregnant and then Alex was diagnosed and we forgot. They might still let me redeem my prize, though. At least, I think it was then. I would have to look it up in the archives.

And here's Jen.