Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are headed over to Herb & Jerry's house in an hour or so for Thanksgiving dinner, and have been having a nice, lazy morning so far. We are so blessed to have such wonderful families & friends. Hope you all have a great day and safe travels!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Miscellaneous Friday Notes

I will be sticking around the house most of the day, catching up on paperwork and getting things straightened up. Stacey is flying in for the weekend, and Katie is throwing me a small shower here tomorrow, so I want to get the last of the boxes we packed during the carpet installation moved out of the main floor and do a last-minute cleaning. I haven't seen Stacey since her wedding in June, so we are both looking forward to her trip, which I'm sure will involve lots of catching up & eating junk food. She is also going to help me pick out a new, cute pair of glasses to replace the ones I've had for at least 5 years. I am so tired of them, and the frames are starting to show some wear.

Terminix is here this morning to do an outdoor termite treatment. Thankfully, they didn't find any live activity in the house, but there were definite signs that some had been trying to come in the family room through the patio slab and Dave found a mud tube in the cement of the garage. Hopefully the treatment will get that all taken care of.

Dave sent me this article about ABC not picking up full seasons of 3 shows. We don't watch "Dirty Sexy Money," but really enjoy "Pushing Daisies," and I know my mom loves "Eli Stone." I've only watched it a few times to try to catch the fabulous Victor "SpyDaddy" Garber singing. I hope they have some decent mid-season replacements, or else we might be faced with even more frequent episodes of "Dancing With The Stars" (it's already almost as bad as "American Idol" with its normal shows and separate results shows) and entire weekend schedules devoted to Ty Pennington and his hyper yelling and running around.

Recently, Dave stumbled across, a website from Mike Nelson, formerly of Mystery Science Theater 3000. He basically does the same thing he did on MST3k, making the snarky commentary downloadable so you can play it in sync with the DVD. We were already sold when we found out he did a commentary on one of our favorite awful movies, "Roadhouse," where noted thespian Patrick Swayze works as the bouncer at a sketchy redneck bar "somewhere outside Kansas City" and also happens to have a Ph.D. in philosophy. Uh huh.

But the Kansas City Star brings this wonderful news of one of Rifftrax's newest offerings:
The unspecial special

“The Star Wars Holiday Special” aired just once, Nov. 17, 1978, on CBS. It still draws the ire or amusement of “Star Wars” fans.

“I think it’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen,” said Mike Nelson, who, with his former “Mystery Science Theatre 3000” co-stars, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett, recorded heckling audio commentary to accompany the special, which can be downloaded from

“It makes you want to reach behind the scenes and imagine how it all happened,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “You have to ask, ‘Who approved it? Where was the fail-safe point?’ ”

For those of you who haven't been cursed lucky enough to see this wonderful piece of cinematic history yet, read on for a description. And for those of you who have already seen the special, namely Dave's college roommates, I'm still sorry for bringing the DVD down to the ranch. I had no idea it could possibly be so awful. On the plus side, we did learn from the commercials that "TOBOR" is "Robot" spelled backwards, although, sadly, the tape didn't include the advertised "Fighting the Frizzies" segment from the local news that aired after the special.

“TSWHS” was about Chewbacca trying to get back to his family (Itchy, Lumpy and Malla) to celebrate “Life Day” on his planet Kashyyk. The guests include Diahann Carroll, Harvey Korman and Bea Arthur (as a cantina performer).

Put in historical context, “TSWHS” was not all that out of the ordinary, according to co-writer Bruce Vilanch.

“In those days, television specials were all about taking the hottest movie phenomenon and capitalizing on the audience,” he said. “The year before, I worked on ‘The Paul Lynde Halloween Special’ with Margaret Hamilton, Kiss, Florence Henderson and Witchy Poo from ‘H.R. Pufnstuf.’ So a ‘Star Wars Holiday Special’ made perfect sense.”

They don't mention that there's also Mark Hamill in eyeliner, a clearly stoned Carrie Fisher, and an utterly embarrassed Harrison Ford looking like he wants to sink through the floor. And 10-15 minutes of unsubtitled Wookie grunting. Seriously. It is just incomprehensibly bad, and vast quantities of drugs must've been involved in the writing and production.

And despite all these warnings, Neilam has requested to borrow our copy, which Dave just got back from his now-traumatized co-worker. So it'll be in the mail in the next few weeks, Neilam. I don't think I can send enough brain bleach to go along with it, so that you'll have to supply yourself.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Death to Stumpy

I posted in September about our Miracle-Gro Weedy Stump of Evil in the front yard. The tree removal company we called thought it might be the remnants of a mulberry, and put us on their waiting list to remove it. Here it is in its weediest state:

and slightly pruned down (a state which usually lasted about 4 days before it exploded again).

We were thrilled to come home from work on Monday and find a conspicuous space in the flower bed:

YAY! No more Stump of Evil!! Obviously, the flower bed and the incredibly dense clay soil in it will still need a lot of work to make them viable planting spaces, but getting that awful stump out makes a huge difference. The crew did a fantastic job of stump removal and also pruned the 2 large trees on the other side of the house.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Things We've Handed Down

I recently stumbled on a children's CD called "Down at the Sea Hotel" recorded by various modern folk singers. It's kind of a hit and miss collection: some beautiful songs that are new to me ("Midnight in Missoula") interspersed with covers that I was already familiar with but aren't quite up to the originals' standards ("Dreamland" and "Goodnight, My Angel"). My favorite track, though, is a lovely, poignant John Gorka cover of a Marc Cohn song called "Things We've Handed Down." I couldn't find a video of the Gorka version, so here is the Cohn version. I keep getting choked up while listening to it, wondering what our little guy is going to be like.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Weekend in Cinci

We are way behind in posting- since the last post, we finished painting the guest room, I flew to Cincinnati for a wonderful weekend with my college roommates, we bought a crib, and got new carpet. We will work on posting the backlog of pictures!

I will be 34 weeks pregnant on Monday - only 6 weeks left! I am feeling okay, but have not been sleeping very well (it's becoming difficult to get comfortable for longer than a half hour) and the baby apparently thinks my esophagus & stomach are great squeeze toys, leading to acid reflux. But he's also still kicking up a storm, which is fun (and sometimes surprising, when he kicks all of a sudden) and the doctor says everything is looking good. We go in for our next OB appointment next Friday and also will be stopping by the hospital for our pre-admission appointment, where we fill out a bunch of forms and start the paperwork for the baby's birth certificate and social security card. We do not need to have a name to start the forms, which is good, since we're still undecided.

So a few weeks ago, I flew out to the Cincinnati area to spend the weekend with my roommates from UD. I was so happy that all 6 of us were able to make it. I guess I need to make some sort of offering to the traffic gods that preside over the freeways between the airport and the 427 Irving girls' homes, because I have obviously offended them in some way and have been cursed for it. The last time I flew out there was the same weekend as a huge, late-in-the-season blizzard. Poor Stephen picked me up from the airport, and it took us about 2 1/2 hours on snow-covered roads to make what is normally a 1-hr. trip. This time, traffic was pretty light until we got north of downtown.There was an accident on a major exit ramp, and the highway was a parking lot for what seemed like miles. It took Sarah & me somewhere between 1.5-1.75 hrs to make it to her house. Maybe next time I'll just try flying into the Dayton airport!

But we had a lovely, relaxing weekend. On Saturday, the girls had a baseball-themed shower for me. Sarah K. got creative and made a delicious baseball-shaped cake out of brownies and the rest of the food was ballpark-themed (hot dogs, peanuts, pretzels, etc.). They even made little baseball cards with mock statistics of what Baby O. might be like. I am praying very hard that the card that predicted his birth weight at 11 lbs. does not come true!!

Most of the 427 Irving kiddos were there, too, and "competed" in a hybrid bowling/baseball game where they attempted to knock down plastic pins by hitting the toy bowling ball with a bat. Here is Julia taking a turn:

They were assigned to represent different teams and Dana even coordinated them having team shirts!

Dave was excited to hear that Gideon (representing the Royals) had the highest score, although if you ask Gideon, he'll tell you that he and Leanne both won :) Gideon also did a great job keeping the secret of one of the shower gifts- an electronic dinosaur toy with a Royals logo on it. It's kind of like a Roomba- you turn it on, and it chugs across the floor with lights & music (we're still not sure what song) until it hits something, then turns around and heads in the other direction. Dave & I stood in fascination & watched it motor around the floor for about 10 minutes after I got home! (Yes, we're easily amused.)

We forgot to get a photo of all 6 of us together before Heather had to go home; we took the above one on Sunday morning before Robin, Dana & I headed back to our respective states.

The weekend's other excitement was the safe arrival of Heather & Jeremy's beautiful daughter Eliana! They were all exhausted from jet lag, but said she was an excellent traveler on the long flights back from Taiwan. I was very honored that H&J asked me to be Elli's godmother, and so thrilled that I got to meet her while I was in Ohio! Here she is with her overjoyed mommy, exploring those fascinating toys known as fingers:

She was still getting used to non-Mommy & Daddy people holding her, so the Sarahs & I waited until she fell asleep and then got to cuddle.

It was a lovely weekend, and seeing all my girls was so much fun!