Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Baby Love

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Scottish Dudes Rock

Thanks to Officer Kennedy for sharing this video with us.

Posted for Bob Lake and anyone else who might appreciate the joyous and balletic artistry seen here.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Elements of Style

The Elements of Style is a handy little book for anyone who needs a reminder as to the proper usage of commas, the difference between it's and its/there and their, and any other slippery grammatical slopes. With section headings such as "avoid the use of qualifiers", "do not construct awkward adverbs", and "do not take shortcuts at the cost of clarity", the mantra of the book is make every word tell. I sat down with the book over a cup of coffee and enjoyed letting certain phrases roll off my tongue. Pronominal possessives. Sounds scandalous. Paranthetic expressions. Lyrical.

This much loved classic, now in its fourth edition, has the added bonus of Maira Kalman's illustrations. Our dear friend Blythe introduced Ms. Kalman to us through a children's book. Her whimsical paintings for The Elements of Style bring to life some of the basic principles, making the learning experience more colorful and clear.

Now, of course, I write with a little bit of fear, worried that a stray comma or too breezy of a manner will cause the authors to roll over in their proverbial graves...but then, of course, none of us is perfect.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Keep Out: No Trespassing

Dear Little Bunny Rabbit,
Sure, you're cute. I'll give you that. With your soft grey-brown fur and your cute little bunny nose, you illicit "oh's" and "ah's" from our entire family.
Ryan and I have watched you late at night, standing sentinel in front of our house, immobile for 20 minutes or more, only to scamper diagonally across the intersection at some unseen provocation. We wake up early and watch you play leap frog with your gal pal and some of the neighborhood squirrels, and that's cute too. But lately, you've crossed the line. My climbing rose bushes, which were trying to get established and had made quite a lot of progress growing up the trellis, have been decimated by your not-so-cute front teeth and your seemingly insatiable appetite.
I mean, we all like a good meal from time to time, and I'm all for you going to town on all the dandelions in our yard, not to mention the creeping charlie. Heck, you can even get to the compost now that the squirrels have created a hole in the side of the bin.

But please, leave my roses be.

If you do not heed this friendly little warning, I will be forced to take some action in defense of my little 'Blaze of Glory' and 'Jubilee'. Don't push me. I will spray them with pepper gas, or douse them with garlic oil, or any of the measures the garden center recommended, even (gasp) sprinkling dehydrated fox urine on them to get the message across.
We've already had to enclose our garden because of last year's incident. You felt a little too entitled and consumed all our beans, broccoli, and cantaloupe. I would like to remind you of what happened to your forbear, Mr. Peter Rabbit, when he went into Mr. MacGregor's garden one too many times.

Please consider this a fair warning and act accordingly.

the management

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Last Weekend in Redux

(Warning: Ridiculous amount of family photos to follow.)

We had a very full and lovely weekend last week:
Saturday found Jasper and I at the Maple Bluff Neighborhood Garage Sales, and despite (or maybe because of) the soft drizzle coming down, we had a great time together.
(happy even though I woke him up early)

Maple Bluff is the richie rich neighborhood that sits on the north side of Lake Mendota and houses the Governor's Mansion, so everyone comes out in droves hoping to land the deal of the century. My anthro buddy found practically new Frye boots for $15 (which she promptly resold on ebay for a killing) and a Marc Jacobs coat for next to nothing at last year's sales, so my expectations were high. Whether it was the rain or miserliness, no one can say, but I didn't find any designer deals. I did, however, score a pair of Saucony's for Sam (nice alliteration, right?) for $1:
a great set of vintage enamelware, all with lids, for about $20,

a new compost bucket (the compost was free),
and a gorgeous vintage LBD for $5! The woman I purchased it from used to work on Broadway and said she wore it frequently to events in NYC back in the day. Just lovely!
When Jasper and I arrived home, we found that a sandbox had been built by Ryan:

(which in all honesty, I'm secretly regretting. the sand. gets. everywhere. but the kids LOVE it.)

Some soccer was played

as was some freeze tag:

followed by some dreaming under the trees and clear blue sky.
(photo by Sam)

A good ol' Wisconsin meal of brats and dogs and homemade sparkling lemonade was eaten,
followed by raspberry creme fraiche tart,
finished off with a long draught of baby gazing:

Life is immeasurably full for us right now. My cup, indeed, runneth over.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Put Your Lovin' Arms Out Baby

Ryan and I like to play a little game in the car (or anywhere, for that matter) called Name That Band. The rules are simple enough- whoever says the name of the artist first when a song comes on gets a point. I don't want to brag or anything, but I kick butt in this game. I think it has to do with my weird memory for things - you know, like license plate #'s, who dated who in Hollywood, and guitar riffs (the important things), but whatever the reason, I crush Ryan. Sometimes we get bored and hit scan and usually, without fail, I recite the band names without hesitation- "Led Zeppelin, The Killers, Lady Ga-Ga, The Shins, um, Mark Knopfler, John Cougar, etc.". However, one particular evening as we approached the exit for Hwy 138, we scanned the hip-hop station and Ryan says, "ohhh, it's Jeremiah." I have a brother by that name so I was momentarily confused until Ryan explained that the song was "Birthday Sex" and the artist's name is Jeremiah.

Now for those of you who know my husband, you will understand why this little story is so funny. And you will find it as amusing as I do that he frequently comes home, as of late, singing inappropriate songs.

Blame it on the a-a-a-a-alcohol...

P-p-p-pokerface, b-b-bump up the bass...

You say it's 2008 and but you're so 2000 and late...I got that boom-boom-BOOM...

I think Mad Town's #1 Station for Hip-hop has created a monster.

This current shift in our listening habits no doubt has to do with the fact that Oliver and Felix love to dance. So do I. I'm not saying I can dance, but I like to think that given a chance with a Dancing with the Stars kind of set up, I could hold my own. Whatever the case, there is a certain amount of joy and freedom in putting on some good music and just letting loose. This got me to thinking about my personal current favorite hip-hop songs out there. The first, you are probably familiar with if you've ever seen this Adidas commercial:

I mean, can you believe the people they got to come to this party? The Run D.M.C. guy, Beckham, Missy Elliott, and I'm pretty sure I spotted Chris Rock and J.T. as well as a host of "others". I couldn't find the 30 second spot to post, but the full length is better anyway. This is the kind of party I want to go to, minus the excessive making out, drunkenness, celebrities, and licentiousness, of course.
But invite all your favorite friends over, let the kids skate board on a half-pipe in the living room (or street)
stay up way too late,

throw on some great music,
and dance til you fall over.

That particular song is a re-make of a Franki Valli and the Four Seasons song by Madcon. So fresh. The beat is infectious and I defy you to stay immobile if this song comes on the air.

Echo by Gorilla Zoe is a current favorite around here too. I'd love for Ryan's band to remake this song with my friend Beth singing vocals. Really, such a beautiful song melodically. But hands down, American Boy by Estelle (with Kanye West) is the most requested song in our house. I love questioning the boys -Would you be my American boy?