Lyric of the Day: One Stringed Harp

Lyric of the Day

I just realized that I haven’t done a Lyric of the Day in ages—nor have I mentioned Bell X1 in a while—so clearly I must remedy this situation immediately.

Today’s lyric is pulled from “One Stringed Harp”. There may be a hidden, deeper meaning in this song that I’m just not getting—which wouldn’t be the first time—but on the surface of things, this catchy little ditty has a smattering of lines that make me giggle every time. This one is a favorite:

Like Wile E. Coyote,
As if the fall wasn’t enough
Those bastards from Acme,
They got more nasty stuff.”

Tee-hee-hee. It’s possible I have a childish sense of humor. But come on…Who wouldn’t love a song with a “Looney Tunes” reference? Do such people really exist? Where do they congregate? Because I’m fairly certain I should keep my distance. I fear their bodies have been taken over by aliens, and I don’t want to be next on the abduction list. How did I end up talking about aliens again? I suppose it was only a matter of time.

Haven’t checked out Bell X1 yet? Get on it, people! If I accomplish nothing else with my day, I will have served my purpose by introducing you to the most awesome of bands. (And taught you to fear alien abduction, because Hello, alien abduction is so much freakier than the zombie apocalypse.) You’re welcome. 🙂

Blue lights on the runway

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I Have the Sight!

Warby Parker

I used to hate wearing glasses. The feel of this extraneous contraption on my face, the way my lenses were always thicker than the frame, the fact that I have zero peripheral vision (going down stairs is extra precarious…like stepping off into a big ol’ blurry abyss).

The need for corrective lenses was never an optional choice, not since I started having trouble seeing the chalkboard in sixth grade. By college, reading the massive glowing digital alarm clock six inches from my face was a lost cause.

I’d like to think that if I were dropped into a dystopian, post-apocalyptic world, I’d be the badass heroine fashioning arrows from shattered skyscraper windows and protecting my children with the tenacity of a mother bear. But the truth is, if Post-Apocalypic World doesn’t have prescription eyewear? I’m hosed.

Anyway, where was I? In my earlier years of abundant free time and youthful vanity, I always wore contacts. Always, always, always. Then I had children. And apparently now I’m blaming my dear kiddos for my tendency to lazy out and just slap on a pair of glasses, instead of taking the twenty extra seconds to put in a pair of contacts. I still wear contacts many days—the daily-wear kind make that awesomely convenient—but I’ve learned to rely more on my glasses, to the point that my last pair was beginning to look like it had been sandblasted and used to sharpen baby panther claws.

Sigh. Time to shop for new frames. Time to shell out an obscene amount of money for my uber-potent lenses, the ones that could focus the sun’s rays and burn down entire buildings with their magnifying might. (Okay, they don’t technically magnify things—and I’ve never tried to use them for incineration purposes—but you get the point. It takes some seriously amped-up lenses for me to be able to read the “E” on the eye chart. I’m doing well just to know that the blobby-rectangle-thingy over there is supposed to be an eye chart.)

Between dreading the hassle of trying on countless frames and harboring a fondness for the dollars in my checking account, I dragged my feet. What was so wrong with sandblasted, clawed-up lenses anyway? Then I happened upon the glory that is Warby Parker. I don’t even recall how I stumbled upon their website. It must have been fate. The forces of the universe conspiring to banish my ratty old frames, shining a light on the path to a gleaming new age of totally awesome eyewear. (Cue the choir of angels.)

I was instantly hooked on their simple-yet-awesome, vintagey styles. I checked for store locations, and bummer…The nearest Warby Parker showroom would have been too far a drive. But that’s where the Supreme Awesomeness comes in…They have online ordering!

Ordering prescription glasses online?, you say, Inconceivable!

I know, I know…I was skeptical too. But it’s BRILLIANT. You browse their selection, pick five frames to try on for free, and poof! They magically appear like a gift from the Sight Fairy on your doorstep. Once you decide which pair to order, you just stick the provided label on the box and send the trial frames back to Warby Parker-land by owl or Fairy Post—or with your friendly mail carrier, if you’re like me and still trying to figure out why the world doesn’t have more trained owls.

Next, you snap a pic of your prescription, and use Warby Parker’s online tool to measure your pupillary distance. (You do need a webcam for that part, unless your doctor already specified your pupillary distance on your script. You’ll feel like a goofball opening your eyes super-wide for the camera, but trust me…Your picture won’t come out half as goofballish as mine.)

I followed all the steps, waiting for the bomb to drop when I reached the checkout screen. The listed price for the frames I selected was $95, but I’d been down this road too many times to be fooled by that. I’d bought one-too-many pairs of $39 frames over the years, finding out at the finish line that What? You actually want lenses in those frames that will allow you to SEE and function in your daily life? AND you don’t want them to weigh more than a case of Coke bottles? That will be three hundred and ninety-seven dollars and thirty-two cents.

Not so with Warby Parker. Yes, I did pay $30 for the lenses. (Thirty dollars? Not three hundred dollars?? Surely they inadvertently left off a zero and will be emailing me the corrected invoice whilst I sleep…) When no surprise charges came, I became convinced that these would be the thickest, heaviest, Coke-bottliest, crookedly-cut warped plastic lenses that ever sat cockeyed in a pair of dollar-store frames, and I’d be the sucker who just blew a hundred and twenty-five bucks on a useless hunk of tortoise-shell-rimmed disaster.

I waited, biting nails, for the mail fairy to come smack me upside the head for my gullible stupidity. When my glasses arrived—surprisingly speedily, I might add—I cautiously slid them on, expecting to see double, or have an instant headache, or suffer some irrevocable damage to my feeble eyeballs (okay, perhaps I wasn’t that dramatic about it). But guess what? They were awesome. Better than awesome. They look great, feel great, and strong-arm the blurry mess that is my vision into submission without breaking a sweat.

Glasses FramesI love these glasses. I love how easy it was for my hermit self to get them, without ever venturing beyond my mailbox. I love that Warby Parker has stellar customer service, and kept me posted on my order progress throughout the experience. I love that those surprise charges never came, and these are by far the least expensive glasses I’ve ever owned, yet also my favorites. And I love that Warby Parker has now donated a pair of glasses to someone in need as a result of my purchase.

Warby Parker. Check ‘em out.

Product image featured here for the purposes of review/comment under fair use.

Physique 57: Embrace the Ouch

Physique 57

Those who know me well will attest that I’m a bit passionate about the importance of all the healthy stuff. I have tremendous respect for the necessity of exercise—particularly after my usual routine went a little wonky during this whole moving and unpacking process—and I’m definitely glad to be back on track in recent weeks. I always feel so much better when I exercise consistently, and I like to do a smattering of things to keep it interesting. All of that being said, I will never be one of those people who feels a high from exercise. I count down the minutes. Every. Last. One. So, it’s always a triumph when I find something that is more tolerable to endure than boatloads of squats and lunges. I stumbled upon “Physique 57” while browsing around Amazon’s workout video section a few years back, and I wish I’d known about it sooner.

Looking for a workout that isn’t brutally painful with boot-camp-style jumping and cursing, yet somehow manages to whip your butt into shape? (Am I the only one who is induced to curse—liberally and repeatedly—by burpees?) Well, look no further…”Physique 57” is your answer.

Now don’t get me wrong, you’ll work like a dog to get through these 57 minutes of physical torture cleverly disguised as an exercise routine. All of those ladies (and the one gentleman) are smiling and perky in the video…Why do I feel like punching someone by the time I’m done with that “thigh dancing” routine?

“Physique 57” is based off a method created by Lotte Berk. She was a dancer-turned-exercise-instructor, who developed a unique workout system back in the fifties. Her approach is sheer brilliance, and I’ve tried several takes on the Lotte Berk method in the past few years. All of them have been fantastic, but the one that started it all for me was “Physique 57”. The movements are graceful and subtle, and would almost make me feel like a dancer—if I weren’t sweating like a rabid animal and trying not to trip over toys throughout the experience. Gracelessness aside, I really do feel amazing when I’m done with this routine. It’s a great total-body workout that leaves you feeling strong and ready to conquer the world. (Or ready to hose your body down in Aspercreme, one of the two.) Kidding aside, it will make you sore at first, but not the way some of those truly sadistic regimens will. Just enough to let you know you’re definitely accomplishing something.

I highly recommend the three-disc set, which comes with a “playground ball” (necessary for a unique version of thigh torture, as well as the occasional ab thrashing). You can order the starting set from Amazon or directly from the Physique 57 website. Your thighs will thank me. (Actually, your thighs will curse my name. But they’ll look mighty hot in your favorite jeans.) Now turn off that computer and do some planks! 😉

Product images featured here for the purposes of review/comment under fair use.

Book Love: Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass

Confession: I am enamored with the idea of a badass female fighter, renowned throughout a mythical realm for her combat prowess. So…a story about the most notorious assassin the world has ever seen—one who strikes fear into the burliest of hearts—and said assassin happens to be a young woman who loves to read and dance and make wisecracks? Sign me up, please!

Throne of Glass  Crown of Midnight  Heir of Fire

Throne of Glass leads off a series of the same name by Sarah J. Maas, and it’s full of intrigue and danger and a smidge of romance. Honestly, I liked Throne of Glass, but I L-O-V-E loved its sequel, Crown of Midnight. There was a lot of talk about protagonist Celaena Sardothien’s badassishness (new word) in the first book, but it wasn’t demonstrated in its full glory until the second book, when Celaena unleashes a singlehanded shock-and-awe campaign on her enemies. No, I’m not advocating hacking your way through a room full of people—spilling blood like Kool-Aid—in real life. But this is fiction, people. And there’s something brilliant about a character who pores over a mountain of books or twirls through ballrooms in pretty dresses one night, and dominates a pack of arrogant thugs with a lightning-quick slash of her sword the next.

Okay, I’m doing a really poor job of conveying the gripping story Maas has created. I suggest you read it in her words, not mine. I recently finished reading the third book in the series—Heir of Fire—and though it took me a little longer to get sucked into, the sucking-inning definitely happened somewhere along the way, and I’m back to eagerly anticipating the next installment. In the meantime, I suppose I’ll have to tide myself over with the new release coming from Ms. Maas in three days, A Court of Thorns and Roses.

Court of Thorns and RosesOkay, okay, I admit…It looks like a ridiculously awesome way to tide oneself over while awaiting the continuation of another series by the same author. Three days! Squee! 🙂

Cover images featured here for the purposes of review/comment under fair use.

Phenomenal Cosmic Powers…Itty Bitty Living Space

Itty Bitty Living Space

Yes, that title is a quote from Disney’s “Aladdin”. What does it have to do with this post? I’m not entirely sure, but I’m going to try to make it fit. I’m not a genie though, so don’t expect any miracles.

As I mentioned in my last post, we’ve been in the process of moving and spent some time living in our camper. Thankfully, we are FINALLY getting settled into our house (yay!), but please don’t stop by for a visit quite yet. You might be tripping over boxes and clutter and the occasional toy minefield.

There have been a lot of moments during these months-between-houses that I captured on camera, thinking, “I need to write an Awesomentality post about this!”, but then I’d get distracted with assembling IKEA cabinets or painting the laundry room ceiling or trying to fix the leaky shower, and…No blog posts. Humph.

We are having particularly beautiful weather today, and as I stepped out of the car to unload groceries with my four-year-old this morning, the view of my new backyard suddenly reminded me that life is pretty cool right now, and I need to take a moment to put it in writing. Is that because I now have a beautifully-landscaped, sprawling oceanside oasis for a backyard, with a spectacular mountain vista? Unless your idea of “beautifully-landscaped” involves overgrown weeds…That would be a negative, Ghost Rider. I present exhibit A to illustrate my point:

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The Oasis

No mountains, no ocean, no landscaping to speak of. But I still see something really beautiful in this simple, spring-green yard that brings up so many memories for me. Our “new” home is actually my grandparents’ old house, and this backyard used to hold a big garden, where I’d help pull up carrots as a kid (That’s the garden shed in the pic). I discovered my love of fresh watermelon sitting under the tree with my grandmother. The house is tiny and needed a lot-lot-lot of updates, but the thing about living in your camper trailer while awaiting a remodel is that your whole definition of “tiny living space” changes.

Now that we’ve moved in, I’ve had to get a little creative with finding storage space (old houses aren’t big on closet space or built-in cabinets), but I’m just glad to have doors between the rooms now! Camper trailers aren’t too generous with the interior doors. Oh, how I missed having doors.

Anyway, I thought I’d toss up some pics from the past few months, just to let you guys know what we’ve been up to:

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Best. Slide. Ever. (Just ignore the rust.)

Our time living in the trailer was primarily spent at our local park. How awesome is it to live at the park? We had access to FIVE playgrounds, including this kind of frightening-looking but super-fun slide that’s been here since I was a kid. At least they’ve built wooden steps in recent years. We used to have to scale a rickety metal-rung ladder, hoping the whole thing didn’t give way as we climbed. My grownup self *may* have put the new wooden platform’s sturdiness to the test a few times. Okay, more like a dozen times. Look at that slide! Don’t try to pretend you could resist.

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I have claimed this as my “reading tree”, so don’t let me catch you leaning up against my trunk.

The 4yo and I tromped up and down the river bank carrying a bag of bread crumbs, in search of the pack of ducks. The 4yo was very concerned that they would be so hungry waiting for us…but his concern turned to abject terror when a gigantic throng of ducks and geese speed-waddled after him, quacking and honking their hearts out. He decided to supervise from a distance, while Mama fed the ravenous mob.

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On alert for vicious duck-billed beasts

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Scouring the park grounds for dandelions

It was kind of sad to leave the park, but we were very ready to have a house without wheels again, so we moved in before the kitchen was completed. Not the smartest decision, but we survived. Let me just take a moment to say that dishwashers are AWESOME. May I never take one for granted again.

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Trust me, that rock is a LOT bigger when you’re the one climbing it.

After many weekends spent unpacking and painting and tripping over boxes, we finally broke away to go for a fun hike this past weekend.

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Climbing the ginormous rock wasn’t enough, he had to climb the boulder on TOP of the ginormous rock.

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I’m telling you, climbing this rock is exhausting.

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What kind of mother makes her son lift a boulder the size of a minivan? Probably a saner mom than the one who makes her son pose as if he’s lifting a boulder the size of a minivan…

We’re still far from being neatly and beautifully tucked into our new home, but we’re cozy, and we’re together as a family, and we’re happy. So there’s always that.

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It’s all about the…Alexander Hamiltons?

My son keeps bringing me this wad of play cash every day. I clean things up and put it away, and he brings it back to me at some point during the day. Maybe it’s his way of reminding me that even if I’m not rolling in Benjamins, sipping champagne on the two-thousand-square-foot veranda—and even if I have yet to solve the quandary of Where to Keep the Spare Toilet Paper in a Teeny-Tiny Bathroom—we’re rich in the things that matter.  Now tie that somehow to “Phenomenal Cosmic Powers”, and the title of this post might start to make sense.  If you squint and focus and try not to be too picky.

Now excuse me, I have a half-painted wall to finish. 🙂

Book Love: The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys

Where has Maggie Stiefvater been all my life? Writing honking good books, that’s where.

I don’t know why I was so late to jump on the Raven Boys train, but I finally picked it off the top of my to-be-read pile recently (very carefully, mind you…It’s a really, really, really big pile). I love when a book combines a unique plot, very well-developed and intriguing characters, and beautifully artful writing.  Win-win-win.  Wait, was that technically four wins?  I lost count.

I wasn’t sure at first if I’d be very invested in the whole ley-lines-and-psychic-powers business, but it was definitely an original and intriguing premise. And the characters were so invested in it all, I couldn’t help but jump on board.

Despite my gargantuan TBR pile—and the fact that I’m in the process of moving, which means I’m supposed to be packing up the books in boxes—I couldn’t resist ordering the sequel, The Dream Thieves. Packing up all the books in boxes? Hah! Who do you people think I am??

If you haven’t read The Raven Boys, it’s definitely worth adding to your TBR list. *Disclaimer: The author of this post assumes no responsibility for the toppling of mountainous TBR piles as a result of adding this book.

Enjoy! Let me know your thoughts.

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West Texas Space Rally!

West Texas Space Rally

Credit for this post title goes to my six-year-old.

So…Have I mentioned we’re between houses for a few weeks and living in our camper? No? I suppose that’s a post for another day. Just go with it for now—we’re living in a camper—and it’s easy to get a little stir crazy with two turbo-charged boys. How to handle the cabin fever? Impromptu road trip, of course!

The problem with living in Texas is that it’s HUGE. You need the better part of a day just to get out of the state. And since we only had the weekend, we decided to stay within the borders—barely—and head out west.

We’re no strangers to West Texas and its wide-open, rugged beauty—gorgeous!—but covering the bulk of it in two short days was a bit ambitious (delusional?), even for our seasoned crew of road warriors.

One weekend…

Over a thousand miles…

Two small children, and a couple of slightly-deranged adults…

It’s either a recipe for awesomeness or the apocalypse. Thankfully, it proved to be the former. Mostly.

It turns out you can cram a remarkable number of sights-stops-activities into one weekend spent gallivanting around West Texas. It was like a rapid-fire highlight reel of all of our favorite spots:

Day One: Big Bend National Park.

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The name isn’t misleading. This park situated in the bend of the Rio Grande is huge, even by Texas standards. The hubby and I may be certifiably insane, but we’re not quite crazy enough to expect to cover this whole park in one day. We picked the boys’ favorite hike—Grapevine Hills—and wore the little Junior Rangers out with Superhero Bootcamp.

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Rolling boulders

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Scaling cliffs

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Looking impossibly cute

Then we jetted over to the Basin (in the Chisos Mountains) for a picnic and peek out the “window”.

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Fully recharged, we hopped back in the car to follow the Rio Grande on through the mountains. Soon it was time for Picnic, Part Deux…Who can resist stopping for a snack in a teepee?

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The six-year-old, eyeing a delivery truck:

“Whoa! A whole truck full of potato chips?? Looks like somebody’s gonna have a BIG supper…”

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Bluebonnets in February! Apparently, the wildflowers didn’t get the memo that it’s supposed to be winter. Shh, don’t let them in on the secret…

Day Two: Davis Mountains and McDonald Observatory

photo(11)I don’t know if it’s the thrill of space exploration, all the cool equipment, or the gorgeous views—or maybe the tunnel slide at the visitor’s center?—but my boys are in love with McDonald Observatory. We’ve been there like a million times. (Confession: The boys don’t exactly have to twist our arms to prompt a visit to the observatory, or the Davis Mountains, or pretty much anywhere that involves an awesome road trip.)

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The highest point on Texas highways! (We Texans get all worked up about “altitude”.)

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The little blue truck that is always mysteriously parked in this exact same spot, year after year after year…

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Hobby-Eberly Telescope

So, if you look up at this telescope dome, the clouds rolling by create an optical illusion, whereby the dome appears to be expanding like a balloon, on the verge of ripping the guy-wires from the earth and exploding like the Fourth of July. (My six-year-old was the first to point this phenomenon out—complete with a vivid description of screeching metal and bone-rattling combustion. Wonder where he got his wild imagination?) Thankfully, the building—and the awesome 91-mirror telescope housed within—survived unscathed. (We checked inside, just to be sure. You can rest easy, all is well.)

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Did I mention how much my children love the telescopes?

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Yowza! Those stars are H-O-T!!

After all that intense science-ing, we needed another picnic.  Onward and upward to Davis Mountains State Park!  (Or I guess it’s “onward and downward“, since we’d already hit the highest point on Texas highways…)

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A desperate attempt to induce naptime. It didn’t work.

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The 4yo wants to hike “over there”. (Yes, he means that farthest point on the horizon, like a gazillion miles away.)

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The 6yo: “What’s this in my pocket? It feels kind of round…” Um…A light bulb in your pocket? Seriously??

All too soon, it was back home to start a fresh week. Whew! If you live in/near Texas and are contemplating attempting this thousand-miles-in-one-weekend-with-children madness, may the Force be with you. A few rules/tips/words of wisdom:

  • Remember to pack paper towels (I can attest that a solitary box of tissues can only handle so many paper product needs)
  • Pack many, many markers in an assortment of colors (preferably in a palette that coordinates well with your vehicle’s interior and children’s complexions…because both will serve as a canvas, no matter how many spiral notebooks you packed)
  • Don’t give your four-year-old an entire can of cashews, if you expect to get anything but an empty can in return
  • Don’t crank up the “Bohemian Rhapsody” and jam out, “Wayne’s World”-style, if you ever want your children to respect you again
  • Don’t expect to return home with the same number of socks, markers, cashews, or brain cells with which you embarked upon this journey.
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What’s a road trip without reading material?

Valentine’s Craft Extravaganza

Valentine

How in the world did it get to be Sunday afternoon already? It’s been a weekend so jammed full of family craft time that I’m having trouble seeing straight. Exhausting as it may have been, I was thrilled to have some fun time with my boys. Hours upon hours of fun time, which by the end of things had the kitchen floor looking like a red-and-pink blizzard blew through.

We started out with Sculpey polymer clay—red and magenta sold at the trusty local Walmart for ninety-nine cents per small package. It turns out that three of those little packages, when cut with a heart-shaped tiny cookie cutter, make a boatload of tiny clay hearts. The six-year-old engraved them with his classmates’ first initials, then we made a batch for family, and then made some with all kinds of fun sayings and designs just to scatter around the house for decoration…and eventually, we finally ran out of clay.

Val2Val3Next, we moved on to a cool floral ball thingy. (I suspect these have a more elegant name, but I’m hoping “cool floral ball thingy” will get the point across.) We used wire clippers to rid some red and pink artificial flowers of their long stems, leaving just a couple of inches of stem remaining to press into a Styrofoam ball. When we realized we had nowhere near enough flowers to cover the whole ball, we filled in the gaps with tufts of pink tulle and scraps of pink fabric, all just anchored to the Styrofoam using stick pins. We added some pink ribbon as a hanger, and presto! A Cool Floral Ball Thingy to hang like a Valentine’s disco ball over the kitchen table.

Val1Once we were good and exhausted from those two projects, we forged ahead with the marathon craft session by creating heart-shaped sun catchers, using scraps of colorful tissue paper and glitter sandwiched between two pieces of clear sticky shelf paper. The glitter made it a little tricky to smooth the pieces of shelf paper together, but we would never dream of omitting glitter from a project that so obviously called for sparkly stuff.

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We took a momentary break to eat dinner, shower, and catch an all-too-brief night’s sleep, at which point there was only one thing any self-respecting family could do: Finish the lifetime worth of craft projects we’d overzealously planned for one weekend.

The grand finale: A mobile made of at least 500,000 paper hearts, strung onto yarn and suspended from a paper plate. Perfect to hang over the kitchen table! Oh, wait…We already have the Cool Floral Ball Thingy to hang over the kitchen table. Um…Perfect mobile to hang in some other random place, as yet to be determined.

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I hope this puts everyone in the spirit to enjoy a wonderful Valentine’s Day! If this hasn’t inspired you to create your own pink-and-red crafts, please don’t call us to handle any of your Valentine’s decorating needs. My six-year-old is suffering from a serious case of Hole Puncher’s Hand Cramp, and the four-year-old is of the opinion that all craft projects should use an abundance of orange—and only orange—no matter the holiday.

Have a fantastic Valentine’s Day, everyone! 🙂  We’ll probably still be napping…

The Case of the Disappearing Shoes

Keen

I might have an excessive level of fondness for my Keen A86 Trail Running Shoes, but I refuse to apologize for it. Some women love their Manolo Blahniks, I love my Keens. And yes, I just had to Google “Manolo Blahnik” to make sure I was spelling it correctly, and that I’m not confusing shoe designers with automobile manufacturers. In case you doubt me, Mr. Blahnik’s website features a video tribute to his childhood spent making shoes for lizards. I can’t explain it, I only made it fifty seconds into a two minute and forty-six second video. I’m afraid that’s the closest I’ll ever get to owning a twelve hundred dollar pair of shoes.

My favorite shoe ever—the Keen A86 Trail Running Shoe—appears to have been discontinued, and I think I might shed a tear. Make that two tears, one for each foot. I have a soul-deep (“sole-deep”?), undying love for these shoes. I own a green pair and a purple pair—because why not?—and they are The Best Shoes Ever. Period.

They’re cute and lightweight, like vibrantly colorful meshy clouds on your feet. Come on, it doesn’t get any lighter than clouds. Okay, so you need thick socks in the winter—they’re rather well-ventilated—but I am the hugest cold wimp on the planet, and my feet have survived several winters in these shoes. The shoes wash up well, and one of my favorite parts: They have these grippy dots all over the bottom, so you can carry small children up steep rocky hiking trails, without needing to use your hands to stabilize yourself. Because when you’re holding a napping child, you don’t actually have any extra hands to allocate to stabilization. Thanks to these grippy-soled shoes, you don’t even need twelve hands. You’re like Spiderman. You could practically walk up a sheer cliff face and not even break a sweat. Look at you being awesome in these shoes! Oh, wait…Don’t have the shoes yet? That’s going to be a problem. Because they’re disappearing from the face of the planet. I’ve found some retailers still carrying them, but the size selection is getting limited to people with really, really tiny feet.   So those of you with cute, tiny elven feet are still good. Act fast.

I realize it’s entirely plausible that Keen’s new line of running shoes is equally awesome. But they don’t have the grippy dots, and I LOVE THE GRIPPY SPIDERMAN DOTS. Thankfully, since these shoes wash up so well, I think I’ve still got some good life in both my purple and green A86s.

You’ve got plenty of time to remedy this situation, Keen. So, get on it. Bring back my shoes.  Please. 🙂

How Funky is Your Chicken? How Spruce is Your Goose?

Spruce Goose

Title doesn’t make any sense?  Apologies.  It was the only “goose” quote that would come to my brain. (C’mon, you gotta admit it’s freaking brilliant.)

Today we’re talking about the Spruce Goose. Never heard of it? Slept through history class, did you? Never fear, you’ll be in-the-know by the time I’m through with you.

The “Spruce Goose” (a.k.a. the Hughes H-4 Hercules) is a really-really-mondo-big-airplane-slash-cargo-ship, constructed of wood rather than metal. It was built by the Hughes Aircraft Company, and was intended to be used for transport during World War II. By the time it was finished, it was no longer needed. It only flew once—when Howard Hughes took it out for a surprise spin on November 2, 1947—just to prove that the massive beast could make it off the water. It hovered seventy-ish feet above the surface for about a mile, the only flight it would ever make. His point proven, Howard Hughes then stowed it away in secret—to be maintained by a massive crew of workers, just in case it was ever needed—until Hughes’ death in 1976. Talk about a way to pour gazillions of dollars into something random but strangely awesome. Why construct it of wood? The use of aluminum was restricted during wartime. But incidentally, it wasn’t actually made of spruce. That was just a quirky nickname.

Spruce_Goose_H-4_Hercules_2

You’re feeling more educated already, aren’t you? Bear in mind, if you’re some kind of uber history buff and here to dispute my facts…I learned all of this from my six-year-old. Which brings me to the point of this post: My son is over-the-top obsessed with the Spruce Goose. He watched an old episode of Yogi Bear (“Yogi Bear and the Magical Flight of the Spruce Goose”), and now it’s All Spruce Goose, All the Time in our household. We’re so obsessed with this doggone airplane, we’re planning a family trip to Oregon to see it in person at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum near Portland. And we don’t live anywhere remotely close to Oregon.

Okay, maybe the hubby and I are conveniently using it as an excuse to embark on The Most Awesome of Road Trips. So many gorgeous sights to see along the way, and we love Oregon. Plus, the museum has a water park with a plane-turned-water-slide parked on the roof. ON THE ROOF, PEOPLE. We’re so there. A wee part of me is a little nervous that the six-year-old will be heartbroken when he realizes the Spruce Goose isn’t actually magical…but I’m pretty sure the awesomeness of seeing it in reality will win out. I’ll let you know how it goes sometime this spring.

FAA image of Hughes H-4 Hercules (“Spruce Goose”), in the public domain