Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanks For Giving

I'm a pretty lucky girl, life is good and I've got lots to be thankful for.

Some things I'm thankful for this year -

that these folks came to visit

these boys

cousins


these girls

being this girls favorite aunt

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Let's Talk Turkey

Thanksgiving has never been my favorite holiday. With no presents, costumes,(dressing up like Pilgrims and Indians? Please.) or chocolate, it just really didn't do it for me. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a nice meal and a day spent with family, but Thanksgiving has never had me jumping up and down in anticipation. This year I think my Grinch heart must have grown three sizes, because I loved every moment of Thanksgiving. The reason for this change of heart? My sister Sabrina and (part of) her family came to spend the holiday with us. Just the fact that they made the trip out here was enough for me to proclaim Thanksgiving a success, but the actual dinner itself was wonderful. I have always thought that Thanksgiving was a great deal of work for a meal that is quickly over. This year I learned that the joy of the meal is only partially in the eating of it, there is also a great deal of enjoyment to be found in the preparation and cooking. Is that because cooking is so much fun? Not really, it's more about the time spent together in the kitchen talking, laughing, creating, problem solving, (Sabrina rolled out perfect pie crust despite the fact that I don't own a rolling pin. That's impressive) and sharing the experience. I loved watching my sister cook and learning all the things she taught me. She didn't make creating a meal look effortless, she made it look worthwhile. All around, Thanksgiving was a revelation this year, a very delicious revelation.

*All pictures are courtesy of my 6 year old niece, Brigitta. Aren't they amazing? To keep her entertained while we were cooking I gave her my camera and she took pictures of anything and everything.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Pursuit



Something making me happy right now? Jamie Cullum's new album, The Pursuit. Years ago when I heard his rendition of Cole Porter's I Get A Kick Out Of You, I knew that I would love Jamie forever. His music has been the soundtrack to my life for the last few years, I adore everything he does. I've seen him in concert a couple of times, he's an amazing performer. Honestly, is there anything better than jazz?

concert in Oakland, 2006




Friday, November 20, 2009

A Rant From My Soapbox


All the hoop-la about the release of the new Twilight movie is impossible to escape. Everyone is swooning about the whole thing. Except for me, big surprise.

For a booklover it’s painful to hear people extol the virtues of The Twilight Saga. When someone says they’re the best books ever written it physically pains me. (I could write a book about all the things that are wrong/disturbing about Twilight, but this website says everything for me) I heard a girl boast that she’d read Twilight 26 times. To me, that’s 25 times too many. (possibly 26) Read something else! The world is full of far better books than anything Stephenie Meyer could ever write. Have I read the books? Yes. Do I regret reading them? No. Twilight has become part of the cultural lexicon, I'm glad I read them so I understand what all the fuss is about. Having said that, I would never recommend these books to anyone. Go ahead and read them if you must, but remember they aren't the only books in the world. When you're done put them down and move on to something better.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Success?



How do you measure success?
When you have a football season where you lose more games than you win, you have to examine your definition of success. Dane's team did not have a winning season, but Dane had a tremendous year. He took on two new positions (center and kicker) and learned new skills, he worked hard and showed a great deal of maturity, dedication, and even when the score was 30-0 he never gave up. Along the way he made some friends and had some fun. Sometimes success is more than just what's on the scoreboard.



Sunday, November 15, 2009

Going To The Dogs




I think my blog could very easily become just about Gavin and Gwen. Let's face it, they're cute and they're endlessly entertaining. I think if I posted pictures of them everyday and re-titled the blog Cute Frenchies I bet people would read it.

* Update* After Googling "Cute Frenchies" I see that other people have already thought of my idea, I guess I'll have to stick with blogging about my actual human children.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Bookstore...

Dane came to me the other day all excited about a book he had just read. He was going on and on about all the things he liked about it, and then he casually mentions that he thinks there's a sequel to it. If he's excited about the book, then you bet I'll find him the sequel. Off we go to the bookstore, and Dane mentions that he thinks the book is actually a series. Wonderful, if two is good three is better. At the used bookstore we found two entire shelves dedicated to the book series. There is not one, not two, but twenty books in the series.

This is what we came home with


I've always thought that Dane lives in another world and only occasionally visits this one. The world he is currently inhabiting is Redwall. It's a little bit Tolkein, a little bit King Arthur, and according to Dane, it's an extremely interesting place. From the amount of books he now owns it looks like he's going to be there for quite awhile.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ho'ike


Here’s a conversation I have a lot;

Random Person – your daughter is a dancer? Jazz or ballet?

Me – actually she’s a Hula and Tahitian dancer

Random Person – Really, why?

The question isn’t out of line, Dagny’s doing something that’s not the norm, and people are curious not only about what she’s doing, but about how she got involved in it. I’m not exactly sure how or why she decided she wanted to dance hula, I assume it had something to with the prevalence of Hawaiian things in our home (Steve lived there for a couple of years) and the movie Lilo & Stitch. When Dagny was 7 she told us she wanted to be a hula dancer, and while I thought it was cute, I didn’t think it was possible. (at the time I had no idea how large the Hula community is) I did some research and found out that there was a Halau (hula school) right in our own backyard. Amazing. After her first class she was hooked, and since then she has literally dedicated part of her life to the culture and the dancing. Hula is not the type of dance where you drop your kid off at class once a week and go to a recital once a year. The commitment is much larger than that and it involves the whole family. I didn’t realize that when Dagny first started dancing, but it became apparent very quickly and we embraced it. Dane danced for about 5 years, and I have always helped with costumes and backstage stuff. Because of the Halau we have all seen and experienced and learned things we would have never been exposed to otherwise. It has made our world a whole lot bigger.

Throughout the year the Halau participates in various shows and competitions, but the major endeavor ever year is Ho’ike. Ho’ike is the Halau’s “recital”, yet it’s still a professional quality show. The amount of work and preparation that goes into a show like that is staggering, and when you see it all come together it’s breathtaking. This year was Dagny’s seventh Ho’ike, and I say it every year, this was the best one yet. The story, the dances, the costumes, the music, it was all spectacular. I made the prototypes for two of the Tahitian costumes and I really enjoyed being part of that creative process. The costumes looked amazing, it was a proud moment when I saw them on stage.

As a dancer Dagny has become so graceful and mature, she’s beautiful to watch. She dances from within and it radiates out of her. She gets a lot of positive comments about her facial expressions and she says it’s easy to smile on stage because she’s having so much fun. Her comfort on stage is backed up with all the hard work it takes to get there, it’s gratifying to see it all come together. Dagny helps teach a couple of the younger kids classes and watching her interactions with her little students is priceless. They adore her and she is so good with them. Before they went on stage they gathered around her and she reminded them about the things they needed to remember for their dance, then she spoke to each one and told them something positive about their dancing. I watched this precious moment from across the room and I’ll admit that it brought a tear to my eye. The Halau is about so much more than just the dancing.


video

*all of these pictures are from Tech Rehearsal, and they are only of the Tahitian portion of the show. I'll share the professional pictures from the actual show when I get them.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

PupDate

My baby is growing up,
Gwen is 4 months old.




It's remarkable how similar a puppy is to a baby. They both don't sleep through the night, they make messes, chew on things, and they get into everything. You can't take your eyes off them for a minute. It's also easy to forgive them for everything because they are so darn cute.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

12

How do you celebrate the milestone that is your 12th birthday? If you're Dane you do it with lots of food, lots of presents, and lots of video games.

chocolate chip pancakes

tons of presents

The magic card at Dave and Buster's that
lets you play all the video games you want

putting the card to good use at the air hockey table

killing some Aliens

the cake makes it official, he's 12 now


Dane is a low-key kind of guy, he didn't want a big party or have everyone making a fuss over him. He designed a birthday that was just right for him, and it was perfect.