Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ode to Sundance

B and I went out on a date last night (thanks to Jen for looking after the kidlets). He took me up to Sundance for dinner. Yes, yes... feel free to be jealous. We got there shortly before our dinner reservation and so I was treated to a mini tour. The Sundance grounds are beautiful, even with the piles of snow drifts that cause me paranoid anxiety about avalanches and flying slush balls. The resort is beautifully developed, the buildings unobtrusive in the current winter paradise. I imagine it to be equally amazing during every season; each with it's own captivating wonders. B has promised to take me up in June, if not before.
Skiers and snowboarders were everywhere, both on and off the slopes. The wood boardwalks, bridges and staircases were well worn from the moisture of tracked snow and various footwear. A blazing fire was steps away from the slopes, benches arranged around the firepit and large barrels, glowing with flickering orange flames led the way to the screening room, warming the night as people headed to the 6 o'clock showing.

Just outside the restaurants, B showed me a place where runoff from the porch roof had formed a thick sheet of ice around one side of a tree trunk. I was amazed, having spent too many years in New Mexico to experience such a thing, and felt compelled to gently kick the base of the tree like a car tire just to see if it was really as thick and sturdy as it looked. It was like crystal concrete; transparent, shimmering and utterly immovable.

I was glad for the warmth of the restaurant. My years in California and New Mexico have spoiled me with mild winters and I walked in shivering. B was perfectly fine, of course. The Foundry Grill, so named because it originally housed a blacksmith workshop, is charmingly rustic and homey, yet not oppressively claustrophobic as some western-style steakhouses can be. The ceiling is at least twice as high as most other restaurants; necessary because the brick oven and grill in the open kitchen had no vents other than the oven chimney. As more guest orders were cooked up, a light haze of smoke drifted and clung to the rafters, adding to the room's authentically rustic feel. I was completely smitten; from the blacksmith tools decorating the walls and red-berry strung iron chandelier to the coffee bean filled hurricane lamps and snowed-in windows.
Our server was cheerful, friendly and actually seemed to enjoy his job. That was a common theme throughout my experience up at Sundance: the staff was happy and content. This feeling infused the entire resort. We joked with our waiter, J.D., who was not rushed in taking our order. He checked on their root beer brand, which I ended up snubbing in favor of the raspberry lemonade (fantastic! bits of raspberry, not just syrup) and even gave me a few extra minutes when I remained sheepishly indecisive. We ordered the wood oven flatbread for a starter, which was good plain but even better with the garlic feta cheese spread on top. As we finished that up, J.D. brought us our steak knives, which vaguely reminded me of a bowie knife. I admit I was slightly startled to see the long, sinister-looking blade being slid into place next to my right hand. They turned out to be not much sharper than most other steakhouse knives but they sure looked formidable. B and I both ordered the ribeye, which J.D. recommended with a sauce change. His suggestion turned out to be a wonderful one and we dug in with gusto. Our steaks were tender, flavorful and well-cooked. For desert we shared the pumpkin bread pudding with a drizzle of white chocolate and a scoop of ice cream on top. I was a little skeptical because, for some reason, the words bread pudding conjure up visions of vanilla pudding with cubes of white bread sprinkled in. Yeah. Yuck. I was pleasantly surprised and ate a good bit more than my stomach really wanted me to.

I knew it was a good place to eat for one major reason: B and I normally talk about how our server is doing through our meals, so as to determine what sort of tip (if any) they should get. At the Foundry Grill, we spent the bulk of our time talking about Sundance and how we felt while we were there. I was comfortable, happy and enjoyed my date with my husband with hardly a thought for my responsibilities at home; yet another indicator of how great this place is. Sundance left me with feelings of serenity, inspiration and a strengthened link to the natural world.

As we walked back to the car, a light snow started. At the same time I was glad we were leaving before it got too heavy or iced up the roads, I was filled with joy and love. Inexplicable? Maybe. Magic? Definitely.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Funny Things

Some funny things that Audrey has said recently:

To her cousin, "Eva, I love your hair. It's so tangly."

At dinner time a couple of weeks ago she burped and we prompted her with the usual, "What do you say?" hoping for an excuse me... instead... "Mooo!"

At lunch time today, sleep-deprived Ben was trying to remember something and said, "I've lost my head." Audrey, after a moment's thought, laughed and said, "Dad, you didn't lose your head! It's right there!"

Since Ben recently started a new job (YAY!) there has been a period of transition going on wherein we tell Audrey that Dad needs to go to work and that she'll see him later. She's so used to having him home as he has been for the last 8 months. Yesterday evening, she was playing with her model Giraffes on the stairs. This is the pretend that I overheard:
"Dad, you want to play with me?"
"No, I have to go to work."

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Nightlight, a parody - Review

Alright, so as it turned out, I stayed up 'til close to midnight finishing this book. Ben walked into the room to find me in bed with the book to my nose. "Are you still reading that?" Why, yes, yes I am.

There were a few typos that were a tiny bit distracting. The kind of thing that an editor would have picked up on if they had actually read the book.
Otherwise, this book pretty much lampooned every major aspect of the original series, including how long it turned out to be when all the books were finally finished. There were even a few (mostly) blank pages reminiscent of the painful departure of Edward in New Moon.

Of necessity, most of the original characters were left out of the parody. The book would have been significantly longer than 154 pages if they had tried to squeeze everyone in.
The most difficult part of the read was how nearly unlikeable Belle is throughout the book, but she's such a train wreck, you just can't stop reading. (Some people I know would say the same of Bella from the original series.) Belle's interactions with her parents were a gross exaggeration of her counterpart, Bella's. Some were so much so that it wasn't really funny, but sort of sad. (I.E. Belle telling her father, Jim, that a bowl was like a plate but with sides and that he should eat his cereal with a spoon.) Belle's complete self-centered obliviousness to reality and the effect of her behavior on others threw into sharp relief the same flaws in Bella which were dealt with in a much more subtle manner.
Edwart, on the other hand, was really almost normal compared to his counterpart. He, also, seemed to be unaware of the real world, perhaps due to his inordinate video game playing. He seemed to fall victim again and again to the crazy obsession of his stalker girlfriend. (Hmm... I see some similarities there, too.)

There did turn out to be some twists to the story that I didn't expect which took the story in it's own original direction. It ended on a high note which, some would say, is better than the original.
Was it worth the $13.95? The jury is still out on that. However, it did succeed in it's created purpose: It was funny. Really funny. The ridiculous exaggeration and bizarre whimsy kept me turning page after page until there was nothing left but to sigh, wishing that there was more (but not really) and wishing I had taken longer to read it (but not really).

What was the funniest part, you ask? You didn't? Too bad. The part that kept me laughing for several minutes was found on page 136 (don't peek ahead, it won't make sense). Ben got home shortly after I read it to myself and I had to read it aloud to him. I was completely unable to get through the paragraph and Ben couldn't understand me through the involuntary laughter. I tried several times to get the sentences out, but had to stop because tears of mirth fogged my vision and my voice was broken by bubbling, squeaky laughter. Ben, eventually, had to take the book and read it himself. I had a moment of anxiety that he would read it and look at me with that pitying expression on his face that said, "You really are easily amused." I was gratified when he chuckled and said, "That is funny." I may have hyped it up too much with my uncontrolled outburst, but then, he often shakes his head at me when I explain why I'm laughing.

Overall: Good book. Fun and funny read. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who hasn't read the original series since most of the jokes are only funny if you have.

For those of you who are still skeptical about reading the original series, here is my somewhat flawed logic: If it wasn't at least half-way decent, no one would have bothered to lampoon it.

Happy reading!

Friday, January 15, 2010


Sorta-kinda, but not really except in a sideways way, I have bought another installment of the Twilight Saga: Nightlight. No, it's not by Stephanie Meyer. That's why you've probably not heard about it. (I do want to say that, while the Twilight books are not the new modern example of amazing literary opuses, they are a fun ride. It's nice to read a little fluff now and then.)
I was perusing the shelves at Barnes & Nobel and stopped at the Twilight stand to stare in horror at the Twilight Blanket, Twilight Puzzle: And So The Lion Fell In Love With The Lamb, Twilight Chocolate Bar, Twilight Sudoku, Twilight Dog Collar, Twilight Wooden Stakes and Twilight Garlic Tea Bags... (Most of those really were there.) As I looked down at the poor table plastered with black books, my gaze fell upon "Nightlight" a parody.
I looked at the back of the cover and Twihards will find this quite familiar:

"About three things I was absolutely certain. First, Edwart was most likely my soul mate, maybe. Second, there was a vampire part of him - which I assumed was wildly out of his control - that wanted me dead. And third, I unconditionally, irrevocably, impenetrably, heterogeneously, gynecologically, and disreputably wished he had kissed me."

I wasn't quite sold on that alone, but 10 minutes with Shy giggling (and snorting) over chapter excerpts hooked me and I pulled out my B&N gift card from Christmas.

So far, I have read the first chapter plus part of the second. I had to cover my mouth several times to stop my mirth from waking my napping son. Was it worth $13.95? We'll see. Of course, if I hadn't read the Twilight series, I wouldn't get any of it. So, I wouldn't recommend it if you have yet to delve into the Saga yourself.

I'm planning on posting a review here once I've completed the book, which shall likely take me a day and a half of kid-sleep-times. More fluff, but of the "inside joke" variety.

Until then, Dear Readers...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bath Time!

First bath together!

Audrey was hoarding all the toys. We had to remind her several times to share and that some of the toys were Henry's anyway.

At this point, Henry was screaming with laughter. He adores Audrey.

I feel this way sometimes too...

My sweet girl.

I just love that she's crossing her legs AND sucking her thumb.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Lots of Crafts & Christmas!

Alright, so the Holiday busy-crazies got the best of me. I meant to blog all this stuff a week ago, or more. So, here it is in a somewhat longer blog, but with loads of pictures to make it bearable.

I gave all my sisters and my mother a packet of these cards that they can send out for birthdays or whatever they want. They were all slightly different but this is the gist of it. Fun, cute cards. I loved making them!

I also gave everyone in their gift bag a copy of this CD. The title is You're Top of the Charts. It's a CD with the top of the charts song from the week that they were born! I did the week people were born since I had a couple of years that two people were born in. I was worried that I wouldn't find everyones song, especially the older ones (I had to find one from 1922).

April Showers - Al Jolson
Jingle Jangle Jingle - Kay Kyser
Atchison, Topeka & the Santa Fe - Johnny Mercer
I'm a Believer - The Monkees
Hello Goodbye - The Beatles
I Can't Stop Loving You - Ray Charles
Love Theme from Romeo & Juliet - Henry Mancini
The Tears of a Clown - Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
(You're) Having my Baby - Paul Anka & Odia Coates
Me & Mrs. Jones - Billy Paul
Brand New Key - Melanie
Make it With You - Bread
The Night Chicago Died - Paper Lace
Best of My Love - The Emotions
Boogie Oogie Oogie - A Taste of Honey
Grease - Franki Valli
Bette Davis Eyes - Kim Carnes

I don't know if anyone has listened to the CDs yet. I hope they enjoy them.

This play mat was easily the most involved of the Christmas gifts I made this year. I sewed a heavy duty fabric to a white cotton fabric and then drew a neighborhood with roads, a park, businesses and houses. For the houses, I put in our house, grandparents' and cousins' houses. It was a lot of fun to make, but I was relieved when I was finally finished!

Here are a bunch of hair clips that I made before and after Christmas. I attached silk flowers to gater clips using a piece of fabric and hot glue. They can be clipped directly to hair or to any kind of headband. They're hanging in my bathroom mirror, so they make a pretty room decoration too when not being used.

Christmas morning was a lot of fun. Audrey is starting to get the concept of Christmas, the birth of Jesus and Santa Claus. She was ecstatic when she came into the Living Room and saw the tree with all the gifts surrounding it.

Audrey's reaction to seeing the tree.

Audrey and Henry looking at their gifts from Santa. They each got a stuffed animal holding a new blanket.

Henry examining his first toy car.

Henry received a baby afghan from Mom.

He was more interested in the wrapping paper.

Henry is getting to be so big! He's crawling confidently now. It won't be long now before bruised foreheads and broken knick-knacks.

Audrey and Henry got a big box of toy cars that went with the next gift:

The play mat that Mom made. Audrey got the concept right away and has played with the new mat nearly every day since Christmas.

The holidays exploded that afternoon and we've been running ever since. Today marked the true start of the New Year since we finally got into our new routines.

Hope you all had a great Holiday and here's to a New Year and lots more fun!


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