Monday, October 27, 2008

richardson family games

when hubs and i were dating he once suggested that his major reason for getting married was to have someone handy to play games with. interesting. after asking at least one important clarifying question, i nipped that expectation in the bud. figured i should let him know early that i'm not crazy for board games (unless there is rampant cheating), hate card games, have no interest in video games, am basically no fun at all, and that he should consider whether or not any of my other fine qualities might be sufficient reason to continue the experiment. i think my exact words were: "i don't get it."

turns out speed scrabble is pretty fun. we play that. (also, in fairness, i have always been a fan of Letterman's "will it float?") AND, since the day when hubs graciously decided to take a chance on me, we have developed some new family games together. like last night's "guess how long that's been there," or, "kill it now!"

it's a great game to play if you have a refrigerator. the subject of our final lightning round: the black widow spider webbed out under my computer desk. we all got into the spirit. hubs cleared the desk, i stood by with my eagle eye and broom in hand, and Little got in the way.

we took the desk out back, flushed the arachnid out with a spray bottle, and hubs torched it with a lighter. i thought that was a little harsh.

i didn't take a picture of the old girl, but here's the last one i annihilated (humanely--with a shoe).
i have to admit this is a beautiful spider, as spiders go. maybe you have to be there. but it's really not creepy like those hairy brown ones. it's sleek, efficient, and all glossed out in shiny black with that vivid red hourglass. pretty stunning. i still don't want it hanging out where my Little likes to hide, or where i like to wiggle my bare toes, but i must say it cuts an impressive figure.

and that, friends, is my last black widow spider post...i hope.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

me upon my pony on my boat

lyle lovett and i are starting our own blog here. really, it's just me.* the bimpire family blog remains, and hubs has promised to contribute. keep in mind that i might give this new blog up because, hello, it's way too much work, like piano lessons and the clarinet. and the bass drum. and the ukulele. and olympic gymnastics.

until then, see you in my state of friss.

*and sometimes not even me.

p.s. is this a bad idea?

living Little

this one likes to dress herself now. there's really only one rule: no pants. alternate titles to this chapter in our lives: "i will eat this candy with no pants on," and, "i will talk to you with no pants on."

today she enjoyed many liberties, including eating a tootsie pop, french fries and candy corn, all before nap time. also, wearing tap shoes and, of pants.

:: in other news, we visited a pumpkin patch (i'm still looking for the right one, Great Pumpkin. sincerity as far as the eye can see...), rode a spooky carousel (check out the freak-show horses below), and got poked in the bum on a hay ride. by hay.

:: a halloween package from grandpa & grandma halverson has kept us in candy and witch hats.

:: our friend megan came for a visit and Little took it hard when she left.

:: tried to stay warm on cool mornings as we wait for our heater to be fixed. the days really heat up still, but our house maintains a blissful meat-locker temperature all through the morning.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

holidays of yore

hey, lauren. remember how, before we wed our hunky one-true-loves:

we used to send out our christmas cards together?

i can't we miss that? and are you sending one this year?

hey, hey, it's her birfday!

HAPPY BIRFDAY to two fabulous women:

Kelly, if only you had a blog i could link to. Facebook is NO KIND OF EXCUSE. i'm sorry you remain in obscure anonymity on your special day. i love you furiously, even if you remember--and enjoy retelling--every embarrassing thing i ever did.

and natalie (shall we henceforth call you Grandma Sunshine?), thank you for having a blog. a second congratulations for being pretty much the best halloween package sender of ever. do please have a mahvelous day!

and thank you both for being born in my favorite month. and for being born in general. well done. don't picture it, but i have reason to believe the trip down the birth canal is not a gentle one, so you should be proud. you're picturing it now, aren't you? even after i told you not to. i really wish you wouldn't. wait, were either of you c-sections? if so, you can still be proud, but less so. go blow out some candles. xox

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

more than a little lovely

relevant thoughts for today, as then, from hart crane

by Hart Crane

We make our meek adjustments,
Contented with such random consolations
As the wind deposits
In slithered and too ample pockets.

For we can still love the world, who find
A famished kitten on the step, and know
Recesses for it from the fury of the street,
Or warm torn elbow coverts.

We will sidestep, and to the final smirk
Dally the doom of that inevitable thumb
That slowly chafes its puckered index toward us,
Facing the dull squint with what innocence
And what surprise!

And yet these fine collapses are not lies
More than the pirouettes of any pliant cane;
Our obsequies are, in a way, no enterprise.
We can evade you, and all else but the heart:
What blame to us if the heart live on.

The game enforces smirks; but we have seen
The moon in lonely alleys make
A grail of laughter of an empty ash can,
And through all sound of gaiety and quest
Have heard a kitten in the wilderness.

a note on reading poetry: enjoy it. don't worry me, or yourself, for meaning. i usually think the sudden, lightning impressions inform as well and wisely as a lecture on the topic by a learned dude in tweed.* if your impressions change with every reading, you're probably doing it "right."
(alternately, follow lauren's all-around good advice: take a big smell.)

*respectful nod to the good tweedsters who just can't help themselves from reading and reading the stuff. i can't, either.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

so sad to see good fruit go bad

“When you die, if you get a choice between going to regular heaven or pie heaven, choose pie heaven. It might be a trick, but if it's not, mmmmmmmm, boy.” -Jack Handy
this weekend i got my wish for cold weather. in the brisk high 50s last night (in our house, at least), the sweet autumn chill forced some lessons upon us. Little, for example, had trouble understanding why we so wanted her to lie under a blanket, and ended up in our bed where--for the first time ever--she consented to spend the whole night. sweetness. nevertheless we learned that turning the heater on, be it ever so slightly, can only do us good (you win, hubs).

i'm feeling inspired and the really good ideas are rolling in...

:: for example, it seemed like a really good idea to turn my mounds of apples and peaches and pears into some pies. never mind that i don't own a pie tin. they actually turned out perty sweet and tasty, if hurtfully gut-ugly. wallop them with enough whipped cream and nobody can tell anyway, right? i figure the same technique will work for me in my later years, and save us money on cosmetic nonsense. anyway, the pie-fest came just in time: as it was, i had to adios at least 2 pounds of bad peach flesh.*

:: also, i reflected on how great it would be to see hubs and myself on the cover of a cheap romance novel. he is the requisite many inches taller than i, has plenty of manly arm and chest hair and, let's face it, we are the sexiest couple alive. at least in the top 1,000? i wonder that no one has yet invented a romance jacket generator on the internet. jibjab should do that. christmas cards solved.

:: also, i think it would be a good idea to...oh, beans, i forget. will let you know when surge of brilliance resumes.

any of you guys have some good ideas to share? please do.

*i sure thought by this time in my life i would be living on a ranch discussing horse flesh with a salty old trainer and a passel of other cow hands. at least the dream is still alive.

"honey, we're the big door prize"

as we watch the economy tank and prepare for the impending christmas season, hubs and i spend our weekend like every other family in america: comparison shopping for a big-screen tv. (?!?!?!)

following is the transcript of our actual conversation:

me: tell me again about option 1?

hubs: what you'll see is deeper blacks and a brighter contrast in color.

me: so if we're going to watch a lot of movies about rainbows and coal miners and malcolm x, that's really the clear way to go. by the way, i was just in Little's room, and i think she told me to "shake it downtown."

hubs: soooo, i take it you're not interested in the upgrade.

me: whadoyoumean. what's the price difference again?

hubs: 300 dollars.

me: (pause for reflection. picture the weight of $300 in fabric.)

hubs: have you ever seen high definition tv?

me: (dismissive laughter. pause to recall the last time i ran the tv gauntlet at an electronics store. decide it must have been at least three states ago.) maybe not.

hubs: okay. it's the difference between, oh, wow!, and
WHOA!!! whereas that (points to our current humming, smudge-bespattered relic) is like, hmm? so, to recap, 300 dollars is the difference between oh, wow! and WHOA!!!

me: (pause for reflection. meanwhile, Little enters the room dancing.)

Little: shake-a-downtown-shake-a-downtown-shake-a-downtown-shake-a-downtown. mommy shake-a-downtown?

hubs: so, i take it from your reflection that you'd rather get the wow option and save 300 dollars.

me: (ever the killjoy, or, voice of reason) look at it not as saving 300, but as not spending 300 we don't have.

hubs: true. (retreats to his laptop for 10 minutes. then returns.)

hubs: just when i thought i had explored all the options...(truly, he had spent all of saturday absorbed in said activity)...i find a possibly fatal flaw.

me: the 42-inch is actually a cardboard box and a rabbit?

hubs: AND samsung has a comparable model that consumes half as much energy.
for a couple hundred more.

me: well, that's important to me.

and so, to celebrate the birth of our savior, we contemplate spending ourselves speedily down to hell. but feel slightly justified because we're going green all the way.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

new favorites

:: pandora online radio (so totally brill. we may never go silent again)

:: creek-lined hiking trails in san gabriel mountains (we went driving on sunday and found a fun new spot for our favorite outdoor activity: throwing rocks in the creek):

:: twin infant & toddler boys (thanks for playing with us, puentes!):

:: everyday bag from lotta jansdotter's simple sewing book. also, elephant fabric. (lauren, if you make this one, make the straps several inches longer so you can wear it over your shoulder):

:: super king market (cheap, cheap produce...mmm, pie heaven):

:: Little's finally finished school desk (i was going to embellish it with pages from a vintage child's book but i think i have decided i like it better plain. for now):


hot. tired. irritable. cheated out of lovely fall weather by a nasty, relentless, shine-you-out-of-your-foxhole, go-stick-yer-face-in-the-freezer and watch-too-much-tv sunshine. that's how most of today went. every precious autumn day in which i have to turn on my air conditioner is cause for bitter complaint. heat in october makes me want to throw up a little bit.

i did have my small consolations:

:: by my count, 10 new buds on the lemon tree
:: halloween cookies

:: air conditioning
:: Little in shades (top picture shows her preferred costume for watching snoopy in "it's the great pumpkin, charlie brown")

OH, ALSO, stupid vons (grocery store) is totally on my list for always being fresh out of whatever i ran there to get--with Little in tow, of course, who hates to be in the grocery store unless there is a lollipop in her mouth, and sometimes even then. i wouldn't even go to vons if it wasn't within walking distance. not that i ever walk there when it's hot. err! ERR!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

cheating with Sneaky McSneakerson

someone got into the halloween goodies too early. and it wasn't me.
yes it was. but i had an accomplice.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

the pudding days

ah, the pudding days. open windows, cool air, hot pudding on the stove and a project in hand as the wind blows up our napping skirts. so far we have everything but the wind.

for my conference weekend craft i chose embroidered pillows. that sounds so boring! i know it. but for some reason the spirit of pillows overtook me. since i can't change our couch right now, i can change the way it looks. plus i learned to make hundreds and hundreds of french knots! even more boring. except surprisingly...not.

Little helped glitter some halloween deco. got some glue on her belly:
an inevitable hazard of the craft.

i'll post the finished products as soon as i can get a decent picture of them. (timing is everything with a camera sans flash.)

two jameses discuss football

there are two poems i always think of in the fall. first, "Autumn Begins in Martin's Ferry, Ohio" by James Wright (left sidebar) because it's so memorable and lovely, if crushingly sad.

the other is this one by James Tate. i hope you like it as much as i do...maybe i should save it for november's poem, but i'm not going to.

and now, in honor of Little, who enjoys a good ham:

Young Man With a Ham

I'm watching him from my window. He's clutching
the ham as if it were a football everyone wants
to steal. He keeps looking over his shoulder and
stopping to make sure the ham is secure in his grip.
No one's on the street but him. But wait, old Mr. Wilson,
who lives down the street from me, has suddenly
appeared in his fedora and suspenders and is jogging
as best he can after the young man. I go out onto
the porch to watch. The young man has not yet seen
Mr. Wilson. Then in the last minute he spots him
and starts to run. To my great amazement, Mr. Wilson
dives through the air and tackles him. They wrestle
and grunt. Mr. Wilson wrenches the ham free, gets
away and starts racing down the street with the ham.
Clearly it's his ham now.

a reckoning

if you knew that i always clean up before i start taking pictures at home, would you think i'm a little ocd? really i'm not at all--i just like to give the impression that my house is always the state of bliss i imagine it could be. so i guess i am a little bit of a fraud. i'm just saying.

it's on account of all these inspirational blogs i read, which are all full of gorgeous photos wherein the beautiful red-cheeked children are chopping vegetables or collecting nuts and wildflowers like crazy little nymph-goblins and the mothers and fathers are industriously filling their homes with brilliant creations, while preparing meals using solely home grown produce. they--unlike me--seem to realize all their best ideas. and have energy to spare. i want to be like that!

so, this post is for those of you who left nice comments on my last post. i have nothing against accepting all kinds of flattery when it's deserved. but here's a little bit of what my house really looks like when i'm crafting away like a crafty craft-witch (or just bored of housework): piles everywhere. unswept corners and sticky juice counters. stained or uncovered couch cushions. a trail of Little leavings, including toys, torn books, bits of masticated food she was finished with, crayon nubs, pulverized cereal, and a general, not completely unpleasant, mosh of household cluster. *sigh*