Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Praying at work

Entirely and unabashedly ripped from an email I just received from my sister-in-law. Good chuckles even though I am no longer in a corporate environment - I remember!


Dear Lord,
Please forgive me as I have repeated all these bad words at one time or another; and please forgive the person that sent it to me, for they knew all the words also! And please forgive everyone reading this, for I am sure they will know what the words mean too. Amen.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I saw one today ...

With every holiday season comes a new fad gift. Remember the flapping bass on the plaque that sang? Or even Pet Rocks? Chia Pets (although I have fallen prey to this one -- a Shrek head as a gift for Holly)? Mostly these are great gift ideas for those (lame) folks who can't think of anything personal to buy for someone that they have to buy something for. Sisters-in-law kinda fall into this category.

Last year, Johnnie's two brothers and their wives were with us for Christmas and I lived in silent, quaking fear that I would receive one of these from my fad-following sister-in-law.
 I know it's crazy, but I absolutely positively never, never want a Snuggie. I can find plenty of ways to stay warm just fine, thankyouverymuch, without wearing a blanket with arms. So I held my breath as we worked our way through gifts last Christmas, hoping against hope that I wouldn't have to strap on a sincere smile and summon a heartfelt Thank You for a Snuggie.

Somewhat like boiled wool sweaters or jackets, I don't understand Snuggies. I get well and thoroughly tangled up in just a lap blanket - can you imagine how spectacularly I could trip myself and go prat falling through the house if I was wearing a blanket backwards?  Snuggies just hit a raw nerve with me and seem like a gigantic waste of fabric, sewing and money.

I was lucky last year: instead  of the dreaded Snuggie I thought I might get, I received a head massager, like this one:
Yes, I can almost hear your excitement for me. It was a nice gift and quasi-thoughtful. The best part is that it's small and once the gift giving season is passed, it can be tossed into the garage sale pile or donation bag of without fuss or concern about needing to keep it around until the giver sees the givee wearing/using it at least once.

Getting a Snuggie would be more problematic as it is wearable and I would feel some responsibility to give it a try. The ones from the official site all appear to be made of fleece. The one I saw this morning at BJs Wholesale Club was made of fake fur or crushed velvet or something. Yet another variation on a nightmare, according to me.

By the way, does the guy in this couple below look:
(a) like Barack Obama
(b) completely emasculated in that thing or what?

 And, dear Lord, they are now selling Snuggies for pets. Maybe a Chihuahua might need something like this in the frozen North, but I'm pretty sure that this Lab would just as soon be sporting his own skin all by itself.
Anyway, if you have a gift giving occasion coming up in which I am involved, please take this as an open letter to save your money or donate to the Salvation Army or something.

I don't want to be rude but truly 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Primitive and reality

I'm not really much of an art buff and neither is Johnnie. I like all the common, you're-supposed-to-know-it stuff but beyond that, I'd be hard pressed to discuss artwork intelligently. However, I like folk art/primitive Americana. It's simple and it just speaks to me in some way.

So a few weeks ago, I had a brainstorm, probably right after having some wine, and broached the idea to Johnie of painting our 4 foot by 4 foot lavatory/powder room as a folk art mural. Since Johnnie had had some wine too, he was amenable to looking into the idea further.

The four walls to be painted were roughly 4 foot by 4 foot and the lower part is tiled in a neutral beige-y/taupe color. I had seen the work of a couple mural artists in the area and contacted them to see how much my brainstorm would cost us and whether we could actually do what we were thinking.

One artist called me back, came over and, although she had never done folk art before, was willing to give it a go. She came back a week later with scaled sketches and we were in business.

Here are Jill's sketches of how the walls would look.

Each wall is a season: summer is directly ahead as you enter the lavatory, spring is on the left, fall is on the right where the toilet and vanity are and the fourth season (rhymes with splinter*) , my very least favorite season, gets the least space because it has the door. Even the ceiling is painted with clouds that reflect the seasons.

We added some homey but relatively anonymous touches (just so future owners won't feel immediately compelled to paint over it to get rid of us:
  • I'm carrying sunflowers (my favorite)
  • Johnnie is holding the tether of a donkey (we used to have two donkeys - Clover & Festus)
  • Erin, Mike, Emily and Lucy are in the splinter-rhyming scene
  • Holly & Mike and Daisy & Juniper (our two dogs) are in the summer scene 
  • There's a school bus in the spring scene (because Johnnie drives a school bus)
Here's how it looks as it was painted.
Summer - Holly & Mike are sitting at the table on the lawn; dogs are barking at the birds

Spring with the school bus in the foreground

Fall - Johnnie and me lower left/center

Fourth season - Emily making angels in the white stuff, Lucy sledding, Mike finishing the **owman (rhymes with yeoman) and Erin decorating the Christmas tree (up by the light)

How cool is this, right? It's one of those things where you find something new and different every time you look at it. It's difficult to take pictures of because there's no room to back up and get far enough away from the walls and the lights caused a lot of glare so they're turned off. The ceiling didn't photograph well at all, unfortunately but there are lovely clouds all over it.

The artist is Jill Doser, She's local to our area and she's amazingly talented, according to us. We love what she did for our little lavatory! Imagine spending all week in that little 4 x 4 space. She earned every penny! Thank you Jill!

*For the second year in a row, I am refusing to acknowledge the official name of the fourth season (the one that rhymes with splinter) and the white stuff (rhymes with blow) that often covers the ground during that season. It worked pretty well for me last year so I think I'll try for a repeat.

Friday, November 5, 2010

MegaMind Proud

I don't mention our daughter Holly much in this blog because we don't get many chances to see her and our son-in-law Mike, who live in Redwood City, California and so we don't have numerous anecdotes to relate. However, today is a big day for Holly and for us.

Holly works for Dreamworks Animation, which has given the world the Shrek movies, Madagascar, How to Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda and the Bee Movie among others. She has risen from production assistant in early stuff in the 90s to significant positions in the animation genre over the past few years.

For the Shrek movies, we (John, Erin, Mike and I) would stay until the last credits rolled so we could applaud her name near the bottom of the list. People in the emptying theater never could figure out why we were all up there clapping and whistling at the credits and so thought we were more than a little weird. After all, we're not exactly next door to Hollywood here in Western New York.

For MegaMind, releasing today, Holly Edwards is Associate Producer, working with Ben Stiller (executive producer), Tina Fey, Will Ferrell and Brad Pitt among others.  We are so thrilled for her and so incredibly proud of her success. Look her up on; she's the third Holly Edwards listed. She rubs shoulders daily with Hollywood celebrities (and the wannabes too) in her job and yet she's just the same wonderful, down-to-earth Holly we've always known and loved.

According to Wikipedia:
Megamind received generally positive reviews from critics, with the film garnering a 64% "fresh" rating on review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes as well as a 62 out of 100 rating on Metacritic. [5] The Rotten Tomatoes consensus is "It regurgitates plot points from earlier animated efforts, and isn't quite as funny (or fun) as it should be, but a top-shelf voice cast saves Megamind from total defeat." [6] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times awarded the film three out a possible four stars, stating "This set-up is bright and amusing, even if it does feel recycled from bits and pieces of such recent animated landmarks." [7]

Of course every parent can and does boast of their child's incredible achievements; in this case, everyone can go see our daughter Holly's achievements for themselves.

To say we are MegaProud would be an understatement!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pictures from around here

I've accumulated a batch of pictures that we've taken over the past few weeks and thought I'd share some of them.

Lucy at preschool

Lucy's preschool Halloween parade. She's  third from the bottom on the left side.

Emily and Lucy with (l to r) BeeBee, MeeMee and OhOh
Lucy taking a nap - I'm biased but she's beautiful

Lucy bowling at Johnnie's birthday bash

Lucy launches the ball successfully. BTW, she beat all of us in the first game.

Emily lets the ball fly
OK, I'm biased here too, but she's adorable