Friday, January 30, 2009

Remember when...

Date: Wed, 7 Apr 2004 12:27:21 -0400
Subject: from Grace

Dear Ant Jamie I love being in Tulsa. Grandma Larson sits on
her chare at night and she watchs Tv. I get to sleep in the Livingroom and watch Tv. I love doing chors for Grandma.
I also like playing Jenin.We went to a Restorant. There was
a man who makes Buloons. He made mom a spongebob.
We got to play at Jenins house. We played dogs and painted
wood.Myne was a hart with two colors on the sides and on top
and on top of that it said, Iln,.Gess what it standed for.
I love Noe. He is a boy at My School.My freinds cosoune.
The best part is I got to go to a Restorant with my dads
Relativs. Thay gave us a presant. It,s raining out side so my
wood got ruended and I can,t play outside.Well I gess it,s
goodbuy can,t keep you forever say hi to grandma for me.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Goodbye Rabbit

Pulitzer Prize winning author John Updike died Tuesday and chances are you've heard the sound bites already. He is the guy who wrote the “Rabbit” books. You know, “Run, Rabbit” and “Rabbit is Rich.” He is considered by many to be one of the great literary figures in American history. Here's the thing, though, the sound bites won't tell you: John Updike is a man who speaks truth. He's incredibly funny and not in that stand-up comedian kind of way. He's got this wry, ironic spin to everything he says but he never sounds supercilious or pretentious – it’s the sincerity in his humor that brings it home. His observations amuse and sting at the same time - you can't help but see yourself in his masterfully crafted observations; you laugh and think, ‘This man really gets it.’

He’s a guy who thinks deeply about things but doesn't talk over your head.

And he was human, infallibly human. John Updike, who like most of us had professional jealousies, envied Jack Kerouac so much he refused to read “On the Road” for years after it was published. Instead, Updike wrote a sort of antithesis of it with his novel “Run, Rabbit.” Updike thought that not everyone can be on the road all the time. Someone has got to be back at home doing things or nothing would get done, he said. That's what came out of his small-town Pennsylvania upbringing - an appreciation for home and not for running.

This theme is reflected in the character known as Rabbit. Rabbit was a family man, a very unhappy family man. And Rabbit ran; he hit the road like so many people in the 1960’s feeling constrained by middle class conformity adopted in the 1950’s, but inexorably Rabbit found himself going back home again. When asked about this, John Updike said, "I think a lot of us yearn for more freedom, the ultimate freedom of walking away, but then when we do it, we realize we don't know what to do now that we're free." Besides, he said bringing the theme back to Kerouac’s beatnik pretension, even though Kerouac hung around with Allen Ginsberg and that crowd, he used to run home to Mama Kerouac's cooking for months at a time, "So, so much for him." See, even Kerouac didn't want to be on the road all the time.

So, at a time when the middle class was bursting out onto the road and rebelling against the constraints of domestication, John Updike chose to write about just that; families and their real lives lived behind closed doors, the place where the rubber hits the road for all of us; the hard place, the place where there is no place left to hide, where we are who we really are, and we aren't running anymore.

Even if you never read a word he said, do yourself a favor - log onto and download the NPR broadcast of interview excerpts with John Updike compiled by Terry Gross on Fresh Air from WHYY. His words will inspire you and move something deep within you that needs moving, I guarantee it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A day we will never forget...

Ok, so this morning Chris smashed my car. Here’s what happened: he went out to start my car because it has a weak battery and often doesn’t start when it is sub-zero wind chill outside with ambient temps in the single digits. Ok, so he got it jumped but the hood latch wouldn’t latch. He dinked around with it for about 15 minutes, and meanwhile I am quickly becoming late for work. He’s all pissed off and tells me to take the van which was running. I hop in and the windshield is completely frosted and so try to get down the road as best I can since I can barely see.

I get to US 31 when I realize the temperature gauge is buried in the H. Holy shit, the van is totally overheated! I can’t pull off right away but I do so as soon as I can and turn off the engine which immediately starts to gong like Old Ben. Oh shit, right? So I call Chris and tell him what’s going on, and he says he’ll be right there to pick me up.

I wait and wait and wait and finally call him on his cell. He yells he just smashed the car. The hood flew up and he lost control on the icy roads and hit a snowbank. Thankfully he wasn’t hurt but the car spun about 8 times he said before crashing into the snowbank. Thank God he didn’t hit anything else! So I tell him to call the cops and they can pick me up on the way to the accident. So I wait and wait and wait and meanwhile my fingers and toes begin to really hurt from the cold. So I call him back and guess what? He’s driving the car and on his way to pick me up. When he gets there, the hood is sitting crooked on the car, sticking out about a foot and tied down with all kinds of ropes.

He starts the van but the engine is knocking horribly so it is probably toast.

My car, although drivable in the emergency circumstances, will need a new hood (goodbye grille) but it is unknown whether that will even attach since the hood blew a hinge on the drivers side and blew back in a twisted fashion so will most likely have warping on both sides where the hood attaches to the car. What a morning. Good thing we have his dad’s truck. I’m alternating between feeling that there is nothing broken that can’t be fixed and frustration, but all in all, I guess it’s ok. I’m trying to focus on what an amazing day this is and how exciting to be a part of the USA on such an historic event. I think I may check out the coverage - it might cheer me up a little.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Making Progress

For any of you who may be interested, I have exactly six 6' sections of quarter round to poly (3 coats) and one large door that needs 1 coat poly one side and two coats poly on the other side. I have two drawers that need 3 coats poly each. AND THEN I AM DONE WITH REFINISHING MY KITCHEN CABINETS!!!! It only took me, what? Six months? Please keep in mind I had a total of 33 doors and 14 drawers to sand to bare wood, stain twice and poly 3 times PLUS ditto on the bases and the new bar we built. Quite an ordeal, I tell ya. If it hadn't been for the fact it was a custom kitchen with solid would have been a hatchet job, literally. If anyone ever considers it, my suggestion would be this: either paint the dang things or replace them altogether. Sanding, staining, sanding, staining, sanding, polying, sanding, polying, sanding, polying and sanding again is way too much work even when the result is beautiful. Trust me.

Stay tuned.....I will be posting pics of my progress and the (somewhat) finished result soon....that is, whenever I can find the time to download my pics. Sigh.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

So much to say

I wish world events would slow down until I can get my house finished, and I actually have time to write again. Each day I mentally compose multiple blog posts when I hear the latest news from around the world; inevitably I end my day in frustration because I haven't had the time to actually sit down and write my post. However, FBing isn't helping in that regard, so I've decided to join the ranks of my bro and resolve to be resolute.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Crumbs and All

Did you know that if your keyboard ever stops working or starts acting really weird like it won't type for you, all you have to do is turn it over and dump all the crumbs and crap out of it? Really, it works like a charm. Ask me how I know.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

My beautiful family and the wedding

Please note, I wrote this post April 18th, 2008 but it was so meaningful I couldn't help but publish it in its current form. Hope you enjoy....

Every time I try to write about the wedding - indeed every time I think about it - I just become overwhelmed with emotion. I like what mom said on her blog - sometimes there really are perfect moments in life that so capture our hearts and minds that they become recorded like a video inside our very soul. That is how I feel, and in all honesty, our entire wedding, our entire day was absolutely the most beautiful and meaningful experience of my life. I am going to post Chris's vows to me and mine to him because they epitomize the evening in a lot of ways. I want to make a big shadow box with our place cards and some flowers and our program and our vows so that we have that reminder of our amazing day always in our sight.

From the very beginning of all the festivities, which began with Jamie and I getting our hair done, the day was filled with joy and peace and good things. It felt like coming home again having Jamie there with me getting my hair done. We were so combative throughout our years when we lived at home, and that carried into our adult years where we got along but just barely. Honestly, I don't really know why. Well, actually I do. It is because I was so judgemental of Jamie. I feel so sad when I think of it because I missed out on such a loving, giving, fun and amazing person and for what? So I could make myself feel a little superior and appease my jealousy. I am so glad I put that behind me. I can say that over the last couple years, God has really changed my heart and now I appreciate the differences Jamie and I have instead of being such a bitch.

When I asked her to be my Maid of Honor, I was hoping that the experience would help bring us closer together, and boy she just amazed me. I can honestly say that without her help, my wedding would not have had the of elegance, class and sophistication that it did. Plus, without her prodding in the early months of planning, who knows what we would have been doing - most likely a quickie service at the Justice of the Peace. She inspired me and helped me get over my "who the hell cares" hang up. Thank you, sister. You were the absolute best Maid of Honor in the whole wide world.

Oh, I can't forget her shining moment of heroism! This is what happened right before I had to appear for the private dinner with the wedding party and our parents. Jamie and I had gotten to the hotel around 3:30 after having our hair done, and the private dinner was due to start at 4:30. We had to be done with dinner by 6:00 so Jamie and I could change into our ceremony gowns and hopefully get some pictures. When we got to the hotel at 3:30, we started helping the girls with their hair. With four girls clamoring for our attention, it was a little overwhelming. Ok, so we are busily but happily working away on the girls' hair when Jamie says, "You should keep an eye on the time." The clock said 4:15! I didn't have my make up done, my gown on, my jewelry on and I had forgotten my vows down in my Bridal clutch purse that was in the Grand Ball Room for some reason. Mental scream!!!! I began running up and down the hallway from our hospitality suite to our private room because I was forgetting things and then once in my room I was shaking and sweating and started to cry because my hair was going to lose it's curl. Ok, I was in a full blown panic attack with large sobs thrown in for good measure. Oh, and some major self-pity. Chris kept saying, "Calm down, honey. It will be ok." He wanted to have Jamie come in and help me get ready, but I kept saying, "What can she do to help? I can get ready by myself." But meanwhile I'm in an absolute puddle of anguish. Finally, after about a half hour of this, Chris says, "That's enough. I'm getting your sister." Jamie came into the room (looking beautiful, by the way) and immediately saw I was in a terrible state. She very gently kneeled down in front of me and put her hands on my knees, and I saw so much love and compassion and caring, it went immediately to my heart. She said, "Laura, it's going to be ok. Everyone is down stairs mingling and enjoying themselves, so you don't have to worry. You don't have to rush. Everything is fine." Those words calmed my nerves and I don't know, it's like something in my soul lifted and my heart opened up and suddenly I felt light and excited and at peace. I will never forget that as long as I live.

Well, once Jamie got me all tussied up, we went down to the Garden Room at Jacks (which looked beautiful and elegant) and began our dinner. Chris and I had bought presents for the bridal party and our parents, so it was a lot of fun to pass those out and say how much we appreciated each of them. I had two glasses of wine, so by the time Jamie and I got back to the room to change into our gowns, I was floating and giggling and just really having fun. Grace and Hailie came into the room, and we all did Satin Hands which was a lot of fun. We kind of goofed around and giggled a lot (and I used Chris's toothbrush to clean under my nails which raised a volley of giggles and an solemn vow to never tell a single soul). Ok, I admit, I was giddy. We were having so much fun, we weren't paying any attention to the time when Melissa, the Banquet Manager, came to tell me that it was 7:15. We had put on the invitations the wedding started at 7, but we really planned on 7:10 because that would give the last-minuters a chance to find a table and get seated. I was late! But I didn't care. I was so excited and my heart was just beating a million miles an hour. I started to get a little nervous. After all, I was about to give my life to the only man who has ever truly known me, truly loved me and truly devoted himself to me. I felt like Cinderella, I kid you not.

So, Aunt Valerie and Marty from her band played "Thank You" by Led Zeppelin which is what we walked to (Chris and I walked together). I am going to post the lyrics here because the more I reflect on the words and the more I remember the way Aunt Valerie's voice sounded, the more incredible it becomes for me:

If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you.

When mountains crumble to the sea, there will still be you and me.

Kind woman, I give you my heart,

Kind woman, nothing more.

Little drops of rain whisper of the pain, tears of loves lost in the days gone by.

My love is strong, with you there is no wrong,together we shall go until we die.

My, my, my.

An inspiration is what you are to me, inspiration, look... see.

And so today, my world it smiles, your hand in mine, we walk the miles,

Thanks to you it will be done, for you to me are the only one.

Happiness, no more be sad, happiness....I'm glad.

If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you.

When mountains crumble to the sea, there will still be you and me.

I just cry when I read those words. I can hear Aunt Valerie's voice, so beautiful singing that right to Chris and I. Like I said in my other post, I never believed my life and my love could reflect such deep passion and devotion and togetherness - and to have it brings me to my knees in gratitude. Ooo! I forgot to mention! Chris got me an ipod nano for my wedding present, which hellow! How great is that!?!?! But anyway, I have to play Thank You at least once every day because it means so much to me. I am playing it right now. :)

After the Reverend did the introduction, Chris and I lit a candle in remembrance of those who could not be there. We did that because he just lost his sister, plus there's Kady and my grandma. And there were guests there who had just lost a son and brother. It was something we all felt really strongly we wanted to do. We put the candle in the lantern so it could burn brightly during the whole wedding and reception.

Oh, perhaps I should say a word about how we did the wedding and reception. It was in the Grand Ball Room with all the round tables decorated with a 12x12 mirror, an Eiffel tower vase with one white gladiola and four candles, one on each corner of the mirror. Everyone said it was gorgeous, and with the lights down it added an element of intimacy and coziness that I just loved. Everyone at the tables sat in a crescent so no one had to turn around in their chair and I did placecards for families that needed a full table (so they wouldn't have to split up). It was a dessert reception with the wedding cake and three kinds of these delicious mousse desserts in fluted champagne glasses. We had an open bar, so later in the night, like around 10 pm, we served Artichoke dip and some kind of fancy cheese and meat tray so no one got too drunk or felt sick from dancing and drinking. Anyway, enough of the stats, back to the fun.

Ok, so Chris and I each wrote a devotion statement I guess you could say that we read to each other before we said our traditional vows. Ray has a great little video clip of that on his blog. I tried to make mine a little bit funny because I knew that the whole wedding was going to be a tear-jerker. Anyway, that was cool. Then, when we were pronounced man and wife, the girls (Grace, Emily, Hailie and Brandie) sang "Hero" by Enrique Iglacias. Now that was awesome. Chris got really really choked up listening to the video on Ray's blog. He had to step aside for a moment. But how much better does it get than dancing with your new husband while your children (and neice) sing "I can be your hero, baby. I can kiss away your pain. I will stand by you forever. You can take my breath away." Oh, the night was full of so many moments I will never forget and that are like treasures in my heart.

After that, we cut the cake and greeted all the guests and after everyone had their dessert, I threw the bouquet and Emily caught it. I spent some time on the dance floor, but most of my night was spent visiting with the guests. I took a lot of pictures toward the end of the reception (when I realized that if I didn't get on the stick, I wouldn't have any pictures of my reception which actually wasn't true. Uncle Yoobee and Ray and Mom all have great pictures on their blogs).

Anyway, there are so many more cool moments to share....the dance off between the kids, Emily break dancing, everyone doing the Cupid Shuffle and the Casper Slide, how happy my grandpa looked and how everyone joyfully welcomed Mai to the family, Chris's best friends' wives who have been so on the outs they wouldn't be in the same room together for 20 years were laughing and giggling and hugging with grins for pictures. It was truly amazing all the wonderful experiences and healing and enjoyment that came out of our wedding. I told Chris, it absolutely changed my life. And it has.