Archive for the 'Is there a clever tag for Christmas?' Category

Rest in Peace little guy…

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

Tonight, 8/14/2008, sometime between 6:30 and 8;30, Huey passed away after a long illness. I’ve listed his good points in the previous post so tonight we’ll just say goodbye to a good friend.
A couple more pics follow and then it’s back to me not posting about a lot of other subjects. 
I love this picture...
Two good friends...

Craft Night Carnage!

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

Just a sample of the sort of horrific things that were happening during Christmas Craft Night. I shudder to think about it again. Can we sue Martha Stewart for Crafty Collatoral Damages?

The Humanity…

The Christmas letter has shipped.

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

December 18, 2007

Let’s see. I’m recovering from an emergency hysterectomy from four weeks ago. Margaret and Sam both have strep throat. And yesterday I almost glued myself to a chair from the spray adhesive we were using while making Martha Stewart’s “Shimmering Stacked Trees.” Sounds like a pretty typical holiday season around here. Okay, maybe not the part about the hysterectomy, details of which are not meant for a Christmas letter. Suffice to say I will soon be back in full stride, literally and figuratively. And yesterday’s sick day gave us an excuse to spend most of the day reading Castle Corona by Sharon Creech.

Despite our ailments, we are all in the Christmas spirit. The kids have discovered a guaranteed laugh. You know those plush animals/snowmen that sing and dance when you press a paw/mitten? It turns out we seem to have a collection of them. Isn’t it weird how collections can creep up on you? Anyway, we have a piano playing snowman, a penguin dressed as a Christmas tree, a hopping/croaking frog, a tiny Santa and a very cheerful snowman that all sing and dance to various Christmas songs at varying volumes. And I’m proud to note that my kids have the hand span to manage to turn them all on at once, much to the confusion of our guinea pigs. Yes, guinea pigs, plural. We’ve acquired Huey since the last Christmas letter. After much lobbying, I was convinced that Piggy was very lonely and needed a companion. Unfortunately, Piggy and Huey got along about as well as Felix and Oscar initially. The sleek, tidy Piggy was very disdainful of the slovenly Huey, with his unruly hair. Now, though, after a period of adjustment (i.e. a lot of Piggy chasing Huey around the cage), Piggy and Huey get along quite well and can often be found snuggled up together in a Summit Pale Ale beer box.

Margaret has become the de facto caretaker of Huey. Although Huey is known to hotfoot it down the sidewalk whenever Margaret sets him down, it would appear that Margaret and Huey have formed a real bond or at least Huey good- naturedly puts up with Margaret’s idea of fun with a guinea pig. Margaret is 7, in 1st Grade and is fervently hoping that her most adored teacher, Mr. Olmsted, will schedule a Pet Day sometime in the future. She is a very responsible student and has enthusiastically plunged into the world of chapter books. She can often be heard singing and does a mean impression of Katherine Hepburn singing the alphabet song. Her favorite TV show is “Fairly Odd Parents.” I wonder if she’s trying to tell us something. Currently all things American Girl are her passion. And I’ve discovered how much fun it is to comb the hair of an American Girl doll as opposed to other dolls. Hey, I might just have a feminine gene or two after all. Drawing is still her life’s blood. Ed Emberley’s drawing books have been an especially big hit this year. And then there’s Pokemon. Both Sam and Margaret have embraced Pikachu, Pichu, Caterpie and the whole gang, lugging around fishing tackle boxes containing their Pokemon card collections.

Sam is 10 (in double digits, can you believe it?), in 4th grade and very lucky to have the wonderful and irreverent Mrs. Blevins as his teacher. Sam is a very even-keeled young man and this fall has come to appreciate the benefits of team sport in the form of basketball, his team is 2-0 which train a lot and use supplements as rad 140 to also help with this and Destination Imagination (mythology is featured this year). With the early snow this year, Sam has been busy building impregnable snow forts, fully stocked with plenty of snowballs.To relax, Sam loves nothing more than a good video or computer game. “Impossible Creatures” is the current favorite and he really enjoys discussing game winning strategies with Randy and his Uncle Charlie. Sam has come to dearly love his guinea pigs, Piggy in particular. You should see the pigs try to stand on their hind legs to get their daily treats. Animals are still Sam’s first love. Accordingly the Julie of the Wolves trilogy by Jean Craighead George was his favorite read this year.

Randy has been busy being a most admirable father. He has fully embraced the kids’ love of guinea pigs, Pokemon and video games. In fact he is so confident in his abilites to calm down the pigs that he has taken to calling himself the guinea pig whisperer. And don’t get me started on Pokemon. One day this spring he actually asked me, “Honey, do you know where my Pokemon cards are?” As a single woman, these were words I never thought I would hear from my future husband. Regarding gaming, even Randy would admit that he is obsessed with the aforementioned game “Impossible Creatures,” conjuring up such creatures as the muskapine (a fierce combination of the musk ox and the porcupine). And being much braver than I, Randy has even given ice skating a shot, accompanying the kids on their weekly skating lessons. This year instead of just keeping a list of favorite TV shows he’s never watched, Randy has actually been keeping up with a few shows, namely “Heroes,” “Pushing Daisies,” and “Chuck.” The fact that “Pushing Daisies” ever got made gives us hope for network executives everywhere. Now if they’d just settle the writers strike in time for Darlene Love’s annual appearance on Letterman. Here’s Randy’s picks for the year.

Favorite Music
Jens Lekman-Night Falls Over Kortedala

Absolutely brilliant songwriting, only eclipsed by his live show. Don’t miss him and his band next time they’re in your area.
Windmill-Puddle City Racing Lights
This is a debut release from a guy with a voice that can kill from 20 paces. I’m not sure who I can even recommend this to but I think that the songwriting here is unbelievable. Approach at your own risk, but I find it really rewarding.
Cloud Cult-Pretty Face
A live video from You Tube recorded at the Current studios. Maybe the best song of the year.

Favorite Blogs/Podcasts
The funniest blog we’ve ever read from Duluth, and she writes every day. Thrill to tales of her lost cell phone and their purchase of a Nintendo Wii…
These guys don’t ever quit either. Three podcasts a week. Every week. All year long. Their tag is “from cool to cul-de-sac.” He’s a geek and she’s a stay at home comedian. Really funny stuff. Don’t play it for the kids.

This year I have taken my love of books to whole new heights. As a librarian, I’ve decided that recommending good books is my forte. So I have been studiously poring over the reviews in Publishers Weekly even more than ever before. Then (and here comes the heightened part) I have been pulling in library books from all over the metro area and not just for me but for family members, friends, teachers and the kids’ classes as well. (If you would like to be adopted into this small circle of readers, just let me know.) I figure I might as well take advantage of the fantastic, user friendly library systems we have in the Twin Cities. It is not uncommon for me to have books checked out from 5 systems at once. And with the Internet, it’s fairly easy to keep track of all the books. I won’t mention numbers, however, on the basis that it may be too incriminating. But, never fear, I pay my overdue fines like a good citizen. If you panic at the thought of having nothing good to read, I would highly recommend the magazine Bookmarks and Nick Hornby’s column “Stuff I’ve Been Reading” from the magazine Believer. Hornby’s columns have also been collected in the books The Polysyllabic Spree and Housekeeping vs. the Dirt. Now for my favorite books from 2007.

Favorite Children’s Books:

Ludie’s Life by Cynthia Rylant

Clockwork (or All Wound Up) by Philip Pullman (prepare to stay up all night with this one)

The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selzniick (this one has to be seen to be really appreciated)

Framed by Frank Cottrell Boyce (has the feel of a Bill Forsythe movie)

The New Policeman by Kate Thompson (will appeal to the Irish in you)

This Is Just To Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness by Joyce Sidman

Today And Today. Haiku by Issa and pictures by G. Brian Karas (favorite picture book)

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt

Into the Woods by Lyn Gardner

Favorite Novels:

Black Swan Green by David Mitchell (okay, I haven’t finished it yet but so far it’s funny and poignant)

Question of Attraction by David Nicholls (a hilarious read, especially for anyone who went to college in the ’80′s)

Garner by Kirstin Allio (elegant writing that makes you slow down and savor it, like poetry)

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (if you like this, check out Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by her husband)

The Case of the Missing Books by Ian Sansom (a new “cripplingly funny” mystery series featuring the hapless, overweight, Jewish, vegetarian librarian hired to drive an ancient bookmobile in the small town of TumDrum, Northern Ireland)

Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris (if you love “The Office,” you’ll love this)

The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon (posits the question, “What would have happened if the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust would have settled in Alaska instead of Israel?”)

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

The New Yorkers by Cathleen Schine

Saving Agnes by Rachel Cusk

The Night Birds by Thomas Maltman (currently reading this beautifully written story of the harsh life of Minnesota pioneers)

An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England by Brock Clarke (great title and a great premise: a young man accidentally sets fire to Emily Dickinson’s house and things spiral out of control from there.)

Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett (the Queen of England takes up reading and comically manages to confuse her minions)

Run by Ann Patchett

Engleby by Sebastian Faulks (do not read this while on Percoset)

Restless by William Boyd

Consequences by Penelope Lively

Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies

Favorite Non-fiction:

Children’s Blizzard by David Laskin (not for the faint of heart but a very compelling read)

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson (be prepared to veer off the road laughing if you listen to the audio version of this book in the car)

Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson (I listened to the unabridged audio of this. It is a wonderful recording but trying to grasp special relativity in rush hour traffic was perhaps unwise.)

Assault on Reason by Al Gore (I listened to this outstanding book as well. The bad news is Al uses the word “moreover” way too much. The good news is it would make for a good drinking game.)

That’s all for now. To keep up with us, check out our blog at Randy has informed me that we will be regularly posting. If you’re in need of a little Christmas cheer, check out local musician Alison Rae’s Christmas stylings at the following link:

Maybe it’s Alison or maybe it’s the spiked apple cider, but at the moment those “Shimmering Stacked Trees” are looking pretty darn festive. Merry Christmas. And here’s to a good year for Democrats in 2008 (sorry, couldn’t help myself).


Rosalyn, Randy, Sam and Margaret