Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Loving the Baritone Guitar

Mitch loves guitars and plays lots of them. Many of them, when played, are loud and involve lots of distortion and although Mitch does a really good job of trying to play loud, distorted guitar very quietly, it isn't always my favorite thing. Sometimes a person doesn't want the rock and roll gods in their living room at 9 PM at night when they are trying to read their book and drink their tea.

Periodically, though, Mitch makes a guitar purchase that brings me fully back into the 100% all the time fan of Mitch's guitar playing (while regularly I am more of a 85-90% of the time fan). About ten years ago that purchase was a complicated electronic delay pedal thing that resulted in Mitch spending hours with melodious noodling that was great to listen to any time. Similarly, Mitch recently purchased a baritone guitar. The purchase process actually sucked severely and involved multiple trips back and forth to the guitar store and technical experts and trying to get it fixed and being insulted by the purveyor of the guitar store.

But now that the guitar actually works, when Mitch plays it, it is AWESOME. It is super mellow and sounds really beautiful and I could listen to it any time.

Monday, March 29, 2010

What Happiness A Dollar Can Bring

Lucy and Josie got easter cards from Grandma Jo and Grandpa Jim today and surprise of surprises, they each contained a dollar! Mitch took the girls to our new dollar store which is a cut above our old dollar store and actually has a carpeted floor. Thank goodness for the patience of Mitch because I've been to the dollar store with these girls and it is hell - they spend 45 minutes agonizing and going back and forth over what little plastic chotsky they really, really, really want and somehow they end up getting mad that they can only each get one thing.

BUT Mitch did great and he and the girls had a FABULOUS time picking out their treats (great idea Grandma Jo!). You can see that Lucy selected a wonderful bargain of three miniature pinwheels for $1 while Josie selected some fine dental hygiene products which include not only a yellow toothbrush but also a pink one (both with Snoopy on them). They are both extremely pleased with their purchases. Mitch let them each pay by themselves. He said Josie couldn't see up to the counter and stood there saying, "Hey Person, hey person" while she waved her dollar in the air as the conveyor belt went by over her head.

Rest In Peace Caramelo Guinea Pig, We will miss you

The Boys enjoying a feast of grass freshly weeded from the side yard. We will miss Melo.

This weekend after an incredibly brief lethargic period, Caramelo guinea pig died. On Friday night he had some extra eye crusties and I thought, "hmm, we might need to take this Guinea pig to the vet." Saturday morning he was lethargic and only perked up after I held him and petted him for fifteen minutes but then he seemed to feel better. I called the one Guinea pig vet in Ventura but they were closed and by 3 Pm when I checked on him, he was dead.

I'm very sad to lose one of the Boys. They have been such good pets for all of us. We had a good thing going, what with the grass eating, the eating of all the left over fruits and veggies, the petting, the running around on the bathroom floor, and the eating carrots and watching t.v. together. I would say that losing a guinea pig is in between the gold fish dying (hey, we haven't lost a goldfish in over a year...) but below when one of my soul mate dogs has died. It is still a pretty seriously big bummer for me as an animal lover.

We had a funeral for Melo on Sunday afternoon. It really seemed to sink in for Lucy that he was gone and we wouldn't see him anymore. Josie totally doesn't get it and keeps asking to take him out of the cage.

Now I'm worried about Oreo and am keeping a close eye on him. I also got him some new toys and a wooden house and crawl tube to try and introduce some variety and distract him from the loss of his brother. I hope he will be alright. He doesn't show any symptoms of being ill...But I worry because Melo went so quickly from seeming fine to being dead.

We also have to decide now whether to get another guinea pig companion for Oreo. We will keep an eye on him and see how he does.

Bring on the mud holes and pristine desert landscapes

That's How I Work

Classic Lucy Moment:
At dinner:
Lucy, "I want a piggie bank like your green frog one Mom except I want one that isn't breakable."
Christy: "Well, maybe you should tell the Easter Bunny that you want a piggie bank."
Lucy: "Haha Mom, you're joking. A piggie bank won't fit in an egg!"

Classic Josie Moment:
Christy hands Josie a napkin, "Josie, wipe your hands on this napkin."
Josie: "My hands are clean. I wiped them on the table."
Christy: "Oh, well it is better to wipe them on a napkin. Next time can you wipe them on a napkin?"
Josie: "No. I wipe my hands on the table. That is how I work."

Little House Update

I think when I last posted a little house update Mitch was just finishing up the drywall. Since then he spent three weekends painting the inside and outside trim. We chose several bold colors that took many, many layers of paint. After the paint was done, then there was a weekend for installing the ceiling of plywood veneer. I actually helped with that a tiny bit by varnishing the plywood and then holding up pieces while Mitch miraculously drilled and screwed in the pieces one-handed while using his other hand to hold up the wood. It was an impressive site.

We still have a few details left on the ceiling like the molding but that should get done next weekend. Mitch spent this past weekend finishing off the deck to connect the little house to the rest of the deck. It looks great but I haven't had a chance in daylight to take a picture of it since Mitch finished last night at 8 PM.

Next weekend our friends Christopher and Rachel and their family are coming for a visit so aside from finishing the molding on Friday, it will be a short break from little house servitude. Then on to installing the oak hardwood flooring and finishing up the outside roof overhang and window sills.

Unfortunately, both Mitch and I are seriously sick of this project but it will be beautiful when it is done. And, I have to believe that we are in the home stretch...

Spring is Here!

It has been sunny and beautiful so I finally weeded all of the mint out of the front yard and added new compost and soil. Lucy and I planted watermelon, beans, peas, marigolds, more strawberries, cucumber, and basil in our small four feet by seven feet front yard bed. We'll see how the plants do against the snails, earwigs, and roly polies. We're making the most of our small space.

I weeded the amazing grass re-growth out the side yard and filled in with some ranunculus and other flowers where our winter lettuce beds failed to thrive (the darn snails again).

In a month or so when the little house project is finished I should finally be able to start working on transforming the backyard away from plywood covered hell hole to green paradise.

Ring Pops!!!!

The happiest day ever - eating ring pops!

The Best Birthday Party Ever

Lucy and Josie's friend Dylan had his fifth birthday at Marina Park two weekends ago. The weather was beautiful - clear skies with views to the Channel Islands, warm and no breeze. Dylan's parents (Mary and Ryan) organized an awesome party with pizza and dinosaur egg hunting and a pinata. The Brigham-Allen clan LOVED it.

Nine Pirate Girls

The girls are really into pirates these days. Josie, in particular, is obsessed with Captain Hook and can't decide if he is a good guy or a bad guy. Mitch has been training them to be good pirates including these outfits (with jeweled eye patches no less) and choice phrases like, "Avast ye scurvey dogs!" I also hear the They Might Be Giant's song "Nine Pirate Girls" in my head whenever I look at these pictures.

You Have Got to Be Kidding - I need ALL this to go jogging for 30 minutes?

This is all of the crap that I brought for a 30 minute jog on a Friday morning. Even with all of these snacks, coloring books, crayons, etc. the girls still got in a fight about 15 minutes and ended up spilling crayons all over the road... Oh well. This is the price I pay for exercise.

Old Man Mitch

I got a preview a couple of weeks ago of what Mitch will look like when he is seventy. Courtesy of all of the drywalling dust, here is old man Mitch for your consideration.

Monkey Bar Hands

Lucy loves doing the monkeybars so much that she gets blisters on her palms. Lucky for her, her rock-climber dad has a lot of experience taping up athletes hands. Here she is with her monkeybar tape job so that those pesky blisters won't interfere with her getting in her required reps on the monkeybars. Note the pink nail polish...

Home Makeover

the color. slightly out of focus, it is hard to take pictures of your own head.
The color #2, note longish shaggy hair.
The cut. Can't really see the hair color in these photos.

I got bored and frustrated with my mid-length brown hair. So I bought a home dye kit and died it a dark purple and then went to a local mid-range salon ($25 hair cuts) and got a haircut. I also ordered new glasses online but they haven't come yet. I wouldn't say that I feel like a new me but it does take less shampoo to wash my hair these days.

Vegan Dinner for Six

In mid-February our friends Allie and Tom and Tim and Caitlin all came up for the weekend. Allie went to a native plant gardening workshop and the rest of the gang lolled about (ate breakfast, went to the beach, etc.). Allie is on a vegan diet so we made a big vegan feast on Saturday night. It was delicious. It was great fun having all of the gang up for a visit but we were sad that not everyone fit in the little house. Apparently four adults is a few too many to cram into 80 square feet. Allie did fine sleeping on the couch though because she is such a trooper.

One unexpected outcome of the weekend: after showing Allie and Caitlin the dog adoption sites that I check regularly for the perfect family dog for the brigham-allens, Caitlin and Tim ended up adopting Pickles from a local lab rescue group. I haven't heard any recent updates - I hope Pickles is settling in (last I heard he had peed on the rug, several times...).