Saturday, November 29, 2008

Say Uncle

Happy Birthday, Uncle Paul and Uncle Gary! And although you aren't our uncle, happy birthday, Greg! We wish the world weren't quite so big, so that we could just zip over and spend your special day with each of you (though, I guess that would require going back in time for Uncle Paul, whose birthday was yesterday, and forward in time for Greg). As always, we are thinking of you all (Mark says, "mostly good thoughts, that is" --- tee-hee). Hope you have a year full of laughter, fun, and fulfillment.

I have a new computer and do not have full access to all my photos yet, so this will be a photo-less birthday greeting. Not as exciting, I know.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

We hope all our United States-living friends and family have a wonderful, love-and-laughter-filled, and good-food-filled Thanksgiving. We'll be thinking of you and wishing we were with you all (and not just because that would mean we would get pie at every house!). 

Everyone says this, but it is true, so I'll say it too: Life and the bad economy and laundry and work and bills and what to make for dinner and wondering how to fit in an extra game of FreeCell before going to the gym all seem to get in the way of remembering that we have so many things to be thankful for. I won't list it all here, but here are a few of my things to be thankful for right this very moment:
  • The beautiful tree across the street that has suddenly turned a stunning shade of red
  • Kai curled up on his bed, looking so incredibly peaceful and content (and thankful to Mark for giving him a good run)
  • A steady flow of work to keep me busy, even in this crazy economy
  • My new sweatshirt with thumb holes, to keep my hands warm as I type
  • David Letterman's "Great Moments in Presidential Speeches"
  • Mark's yummy cardamom coffee in the mornings
  • The roof over our head and the fact that we are no longer sleeping on Thermarests
  • Sam and Susan, for taking in my ancient cat, Chester
  • The fact that my ancient cat, Chester, is still alive (though I'm not sure Sam and Susan are that thankful about this one)
  • Our good health (which is getting better every day)
  • The ridiculous amount of good food we are going to eat with friends and family tomorrow
  • Which leads me to the second-most important thing: All our incredible, supportive, fun, loving friends and family, near and far, Thanksgiving-celebrating or not! 
  • And at the top of my list (which I guess is actually the bottom of this list): My incredible, supportive, fun, loving, makes me giggle and smile, shows me so much of the world husband. I love you!
I had grandiose plans of attaching a picture to go with each item above, but it's late, and we have a lot of cooking to do tomorrow. So, a Happy, Healthy Thanksgiving to everyone (and Happy Birthday, Pablo ... we miss you guys!). [For those of you not in the States or not celebrating Thanksgiving, we wish you a happy, healthy Thursday/Friday.]

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me ....

... and to Shelby, Aileda, the father of the girl at the grocery store checkout counter, and any other Nov. 19-ers out there.

Having a birthday on a Wednesday means that for the most part, it was just like any other day, filled with work, going to the gym (OK, that's not really like any other day), laundry (nor is that), picking up dog poo in the backyard (nor is that), and other fun and exciting things. But the constant (welcome) interruptions throughout the day from e-mails, Facebook messages, and phone calls made it a much sweeter day. Thank you, everyone!

Last night, we went up to the town of Denton, a college town just north of us. "College town, you say? It must have been a night of loud music and alcohol." Well, the loud music part is correct. After dinner at a mediocre Mexican restaurant, we drove around the University of North Texas looking for our destination (bad planning on my part, as I did not get the correct address). After finally finding a non-permit-required parking space, we walked around campus, trying to find a student who was not talking on a cell phone so that we could ask for directions. Finally, a girl with a violin on her back and no phone to her ear pointed us in the right direction and said, "Follow that cello to the place that looks like an armadillo." So we did, though it was a surprisingly fast-moving cello and hard to keep up with. Sure enough, in the distance was a building that did indeed look like an armadillo . . . the UNT Murchison Performing Arts Center.

The Armadillo
There, we listened to the university symphony play tunes by Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninoff, and some guy named Lutoslawski. (I was going to load up some music to play along so you could get a sense of our evening, but I have no idea how to do that.) Anyway, the symphony was pretty incredible "for a bunch of college kids." And the piano soloist (Vladimir Viardo) was downright amazing. How did he keep track of all those notes!!??

The weird part was the building itself. As I said, from the outside, it was in the shape of an armadillo. Inside, it gave you the sense of being in an upside-down boat or the inside of an armadillo's belly. Either way, a kind of claustrophobic feeling. It was also just a tad bit musty smelling, adding to the sense of either being in a doomed ship slowly sinking to the bottom of the sea or being slowly digested by the world's largest roadkill animal. But, once the music started, my unease passed, and I was able to enjoy the night.

Inside the Belly of the Beast

Now it's back to "real life" and living the final year of my 30s as healthily and happily as possible, so that when I hit the big 4-0 I'll be just a little better off. My goal is to get in some sort of exercise for the next 364 days (yesterday, Day 1, I went to the gym), even if it's just a 30-minute walk with Kai. Anyone else care to join me on this one? (I almost didn't write that second-to-last sentence, so that when I didn't meet my goal, no one would be the wiser. But now I am fully committed. Ack!)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Birthday Ben

Happy Birthday, brother Ben!

We hope you have a happy day over there in the sunny land of Oz. We're sending hugs your way and will try to reach you via the wonders of Skype this weekend.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Happy Halloween!

I know you have all been waiting with baited (bated?, yeah, I think it's bated) breath wondering if we were able to pull together our costumes in time for the party at Dave and Donielle's. Behold ...

Go-Go Girl and her Russian Mob Man or Disco Dude, your pick

After hunting everywhere for a pair of "authentic" go-go boots and some white polyester bell bottoms, I realized my old black boots (also used for pirate costumes) would work just fine and Mark's costume was great, even with his old blue jeans. [The pic does not show the stunning white leather loafers Mark was sporting.]

We seriously missed all our fellow Halloween revelers from Colorado. The party at Casa Nyland was great, but much more subdued than some of Halloween's past, with most of the excitement coming from the hoards of kids on major sugar highs running every which way. Followed by some serious sugar crashes, as evidenced by the comatose Batman on the couch: