Monday, August 30, 2010

Despicable Me.

My daughter McCall asked if I wanted to go see "Despicable Me" on Saturday with her and Libby. Of course I did.

I don't even recall seeing previews for it, or maybe I just hadn't paid any attention to them, so I really knew nothing about it. Elliott and Sophie had gone to see it with their dad and both said it was really cute, so I was looking forward to going.

May I just say that it is my new favorite movie.

I am still COMPLETELY blown away by that type of animation ... it is pure genious and unbelievable.

Elliott asked me what my favorite part about it was and before I could answer Sophie said, "I'm sure it was the little girls." (Edith, Margo and Agnes - sooooooo cute!!!!!)

I said, "Oh I did love those little girls but I think my favorite part was when Gru read them that story he had written for them." It made me cry.

Talk about a feel good movie. This is one that you want to own. And I actually don't say that very often.

Have you seen it yet? (You really must ... I'm pretty sure you will love it.)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Lunch breaks.

I don't think I have mentioned that I used to work at 1(800)Contacts ... I used to work at 1(800) Contacts. And they really are a great company to work for. The pay is decent (by decent I mean above minimum wage and they do have lots of "incentives" to up your earnings), they have an onsight gym with trainers available, they have an AMAZING cafeteria - it's actually more like a restaurant, really. You look at the menu for that day at your desk, email over your order and what time you will take your lunch break, and then they have it ready when you need it, at a fraction of the price it would be if you weren't an employee. (And great food prepared by the staff chef too - things like: steak, pasta, soups, salads, burgers, mexican dishes, seafood, chinese ...)

On Saturdays and Sundays they bring in boxes and boxes of Einstein's bagels and Krispy Kreme Donuts, free for the taking. And everyday the drinks are free. An endless soda fountain? That is quite a perk if you ask me.

One day I was sitting at my desk and my supervisor sent out an email that said the next three people who upsell (upsell? Is that right?) a bottle of contact solution will get a ticket to the movies. I sold a bottle of solution to my next caller and got a ticket to the movies!

My boss said, "Okay, see what time it starts and get outta here."

Wait. "You mean we get to leave work right now and go to the movies?"

"Yup. You three just go, now." And then he handed us gift cards to go to a matinee and get treats too.

Sweet! A paid, really long lunch break, that's cool.

We saw Napoleon Dynamite because we had all heard it was hilarious. I was confused. How is the stupidity of this movie and it's characters funny? (I did come around a little bit later and watched it again. I get that the humor is in the fact that it is so stupid - it just took me a little longer to get.)

I worked at 1(800)Contacts for about 7 months. That is as long as I could stand it. Because as great as all those perks were, I had been out of the work force for about 15 years, and I couldn't stand being chained to my desk! But that is just the way it is - the nature of the call center beast. When they say you need to be in at 7:00 am, they mean it. Not 7:02 am, or even 7:00.49 am. They mean 7:00 am on the dot because that is when they want to start sending calls to your desk.

The final straw for me was when I got a warning for having accumulated 3 minutes of tardiness in a month. In a MONTH???? I started to look for another job.

So today, when I left work around 10:15 am to give a friend a ride to work, I dropped him off, stopped to get gas and then made a U-Turn because I decided that even though it was only 10:30 in the morning, I was in the mood for a Costco hotdog.

And the best part of this story is that I could. I parked, pulled 7 quarters out of my ashtray (isn't it funny that we had to explain to our kids what that was initially intended for), and I walked into Costco for a hotdog and a drink.

I tell you, one of the best perks of adulthood is the fact that we can eat what we want, when we want. Am I right?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

hee hee hee ...

It's funny now, but I am fast approaching ... I can feel it in my bones.

Not so funny.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Susan's art.

When my parents started visiting Nantucket almost 30 years ago, my mother discovered the whimsical artwork of Susan Wallace Barnes and we have been in love ever since.

Each year my mom has bought us girls calendar cards that sit in a cute lucite easel. Mine sits on my kitchen window sill.

This morning I noticed that I hadn't changed my card from July to August yet. Is it really August 24th? Yes, I have been that busy and that crazy and am on the verge of losing my mind.

I am in the process of remodeling my basement (as I may or may not have already mentioned - I am losing my mind, after all) and this past week Elliott, my brother and my son-in-law brought up most of the furniture from downstairs which included a rather large sectional, a big leather ottoman, 4 wooden chairs, a big TV, a sofa table, two coffee tables and random odds and ends. (Well, actually, that was from one room in the basement - we haven't started to clear out the bedrooms and shelves in the hallway yet.)

Where do you put all that stuff when you already have a full house upstairs?

Well, some of it in the family room, some of it in the kitchen, some of it in the front entry and the dining room, and just put the rest of it in the office (if you can find any floor space) or in the hallway. That's why I didn't notice that I hadn't changed my calendar yet!

So when I got out my month of August calendar card and took a look, (it's always so fun to see what the next illustration is going to be) what I noticed first was the sand and off in the distance the beach chair and umbrellas.

On Sunday I was talking with my friend Vicki, who had recently returned from a vacay to Hawaii ... she said, "So you have a big birthday coming up next month. What do you want to do?"

And without hesitation I said, "I want to go away to a beach somewhere, all by myself, to sleep in, lay on the sand, read, eat when I want, have maid service and do the same thing the next day and the day after that. Oh, and maybe get a massage everyday."

I'm gonna.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Back to school.

When my children were growing up "back to school" was always such a fun time. We shopped for new clothes and shoes. The girls usually wore dresses on the first day of that new school year. Backpacks were loaded with new paper and notebooks and freshly sharpened pencils with fresh erasers. The lazy days of summer were over and mom was ready for the routine to begin again. The anticipation was a just a little bit nerve racking, but mostly exciting.

Sidenote: Except when Haley started kindergarten. That was just a little too much for her. Complete meltdown - total anxiety attack. When it was time for me to leave, Haley's teacher had to hold her back while she kicked and screamed and hollared at me as I walked away, "MOM! NO! Don't leave me! I don't want to stay! NO! MOM! NO! Come back!"

I cried all the way home and then called my mother in law for consolation. She said, "You are her mother. You don't have to leave her like that. You go back and stay with her."

We lived just a block away from the elementary school at that time. I dried my eyes and started to walk back carrying on a conversation with myself: Seriously! How rude of that teacher to tell me to leave and that Haley would be just fine. How does she know? She doesn't know Haley. What's wrong with me sitting in the room for a while with her? But ... what if she has calmed down now, and seeing me only makes it worse? What if she has another fit like that and the teacher gets upset because she had just finally settled down? Maybe I'll go to the office and have them call the classroom so I know she's okay.

She was okay. Her anxiety the next day was much less, and by day three Haley was ready to skip off to school, happy as a clam. I realized that somewhere along the way a tiny switch got flipped inside of that little girl that sent a panic attack in motion whenever a situation was new. Like the first time she was going to sing in church, or was supposed to give a talk. And at her first dance recital, piano recital, visit to a new friend's house - oh, and the first day of middle school ...

She didn't kick and scream that day, but she did cry - a lot, and held on to me, pleading with me not to leave. (It was that switch I tell you.) I walked her to the office. The nice office lady, Sharlene, said she would take good care of her and if Haley wanted to, she could spend the day in the office with her. And that is exactly what Haley did.

The next day we had a few less tears and a little less time with Sharlene, but this was a BIG change for Haley and I think it was a whole week before my little Miss Hee was feeling good to go on her own.

It's so interesting for me to even remember those little boughts of anxiety for Haley. I think she was probably around 14 when the switch flipped off ... slowly though ... V E R Y SLOWLY. To see her now - you would NEVER know. (End of Sidenote.)

We always took the traditional front yard picture too. At least in elementary school we did. I don't think I kept that up once they went to middle school. But this morning, as my last two big kids headed out the door for their first day of high school together I said, "Hey you guys, let me grab the camera and take a picture for old times sake."

Um, not quite the same enthousiasm of yester year, but I laughed out loud.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Dora the Explorer.

Have you heard that Dora the Explorer is celebrating her 10th anniversary this weekend? I can't even believe how time flies at such a lightening fast pace.

When my older girls were little their favorite TV shows to watch were The Carebears, Little Bear, David the Gnome and Kids Incorporated. When Chloe and Elliott were young I remember them loving Barney. But truth be told, I have no recollection of what Sophie used to watch. (A sad commentary for the 5th child.)

And then Dora the Explorer blasted on the screen and apparently has become a $10 billion industry. I believe it. She is everywhere!

I listened to a segment yesterday on The Today Show talking about Dora the Explorer. They interviewed the 14 year old girl who is the voice of Dora, and she was so sweet about who Dora is. She described her as confident, a believer, and helpful.

One of the creators said that Dora's success is largely due to the fact that the show is interactive. Dora asks questions and then pauses for the answers, which the kids then shout out, becoming part of the show ... that's the interactive part, and they LoVe it!

(I thought it was really interesting that they run the show ideas in front of different groups of pre-schoolers before airing an episode. The producers said they watch the children's eyes. If their eyes get wide, they know it's a hit. If their eyes wander, they try again.)

Last summer, we would take weekend trips down to St George to see Chloe in her plays at the Tuacahn Theater. On one of those trips, I was in the bathroom of the hotel getting ready and Elliott and Sophie were laying on the beds channel surfing. When they came to Dora the Explorer Sophie kept the channel there and they started to watch the show.

Now keep in mind that Elliott is 17 and Sophie is 15 ... as the theme song was playing both of those kids started singing along.

Dora called out, "Teeko?"

Sophie said, "I thought his name was Salta."

Dora asks the audience to count the stars. Elliott said, "10."

Sophie said, "No, 11!"

A troll gave Dora a riddle ... everyone said, "Vamanos!" and then she and my kids shouted, "One, two, three!"

Elliott and Sophie started to laugh!

Dora asked, "How are we going to get Little Star back to the moon?"

Elliott and Sophie both said, "Throw her!" (At this point I peaked my head out of the bathroom door and watched Sophie lift her arm up off the bed and gesture a throw.)

They both whispered repeatedly along with Dora as she chanted, "Star light, star bright ... "

Elliott ended his little chant with, " .... I wish I wasn't here tonight."

At that point I was laughing to myself in the bathroom, really getting a kick out of the fact that they were amusing themselves with Dora and her adventure for the day.

At the end of the show, Dora asked, "What was your favorite part?"

And Elliott answered, "When it ended."

I had a big fat grin on my face.

I love Dora.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Nice thank yous.

A few weeks ago, Ken, a friend of mine, asked if I would help out with Draper Trails Days. I wasn't sure what he would need me to do, but I know how hard it is to round up volunteers for certain things so I said sure.

Draper is the last city on the south end of Salt Lake County, just before the Point of the Mountain where hang gliders glide and where dirt bikes used to roam free on what was once called Widow's Maker Mountain. Let's just say it used to have lots of space and was a recreational hot spot for adventurers.

In the last 15 years it has really gone through big change and development. It's a good thing, but there are some old timers who didn't want to see all the land developed, so the city decided to leave areas of "open space" around Draper. (In fact, Draper was mostly farm country too. The last dairy farm left only a couple of years ago. I don't miss the smell, but I miss seeing those jersey cows all lined up in front of the old barn for milking. )

Since Draper is nestled under that mountain, there are lots of trails that have been developed and Draper Trails Days consists of both bike races and foot races. (Is that the right word for it? Foot race? Running race? 5k, 10k, 15k?)

The "powers that be" in Draper wanted to make people aware of how beautiful the mountain still is - I guess there is even a lake not too far up a trail that I didn't even know about, and I live here. Hmm.

So. I was asked to help at the farthest point along the foot race. When runners reached me, I had nice cold water waiting for them, encouraging words, and was to ask if they were going on or turning around. If they were turning around, they were the 10 milers. If they were going on - the 15 milers. And that last 5 miles were supposedly the hardest. I was to tell them which arrow to follow as they headed off into unchartered, rugged terrain.

Ken, who was in charge of the event, also told me, "You need to keep track of the runners who pass you. Not very many will go on. If you notice that someone doesn't come back after awhile, you'll need to call me so we can get help. Also tell the runners that they can stop if they need to and that we have paramedics standing by that can come and pick them up."

Now, I am not a runner (although I claim that I have always wanted to run and still think that someday I will) so hearing him say that made me a little nervous. He said that these trails are pretty hard and most of the runners wouldn't be familiar with them but that I should be reassuring and encouraging.

On the morning of the race my son dropped me off at my post. I had my camp chair, my card table, bags of ice in a cooler, jugs of water and cups ... and I was ready to go.

My first runner came by about 45 minutes after the race had started. He ran through the bushes and down the dirt trail toward the table. He was panting and dripping with sweat.

I said, "Yay! You made it! Are you going to be going on?"

He grabbed a cup, threw it over his head, took another one as he turned around, and said, "Hell no."

I kind of laughed ... poor guy.

One by one, sometimes two by two, the runners came down that dirt trail. The two most frequent comments I heard went something like this: "I had no idea this trail would be this hard," and "This trail is brutal."

May I just say that at several times during the morning I was very happy that I was just the water girl and cheerleader to the runners, instead of a runner?

I shared my chair a couple of times, and one girl even offered me money for a sip of my diet coke. (Of course she was welcomed to it. I felt guilty for having that 44 oz. cup next to my shaded chair and "O" magazine.)

I actually had a really, really good time. A friend of mine who I don't see very often happened to be walking her dog and we visited for a good hour and a half. The runners were fun to see and some chatted for a little while too and were just so thrilled that I was there for them. And I got a really great start to my farmers tan that morning.

But what was completely unexpected and a really nice suprise was that I got a thank you gift dropped off at my door. Ken handed me a loaf of cinnamon bread from Kneaders and a gift card for $25 to the Movie Megaplex ... a movie, treats and change left over?

I thought that was a really generous thank you, especially since I was happy to help in the first place.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Extra cash.

Shortly after we had moved to Utah, my sisters and I decided we should have a boutique. And since I had just moved into my house and hadn't done any painting or decorating yet, I suggested that we have it at my house. That way we could hammer away at the walls to hang racks or pictures or wreaths or whatever and I would just patch the holes later when I painted.

So my three sisters, my brother and sister-in-law, a couple of my nieces, my mom, a few friends, a few friends of my sisters and I all commenced on our craft projects. We spent countless hours and countless days, painting wood, making floral arrangements, stitching and stuffing this' and thats ... you know how it goes. Then as the date approached we had new ideas so we would stay up all hours of the night frantically trying to finish what we thought was SO adorable and would fly out of the house and also making sure we had baked goods too.

That first event, was just the beginning. Because things actually didn't "fly out of the house." Some things did walk away ... but definitely not enough to have made it worth our while, you know what I mean?

So since we still had quite an inventory of items, we thought it would be a good idea to get in on other holiday boutiques. So we would pack up, load up, set up, take turns monitoring our booth for three days, then pack up, disassemble, load up, pack up .... time and time again.


I was recently reminded of this experience (I guess I have subconsiously blocked it out) the other day when I happened upon the cutest blog. Her post for that day had pictures of her booth at a fair that she and her mom had put together.

It was darling! Really sweet vintage pillows and pictures. Some vintage items that she had found and cleaned up to resell. They had made an adorable banner with their name on it ... and at the end of her post she wrote, "We barely broke even."

I felt her pain.

I kind of feel the same way about yard sales. Now, if you have a yard sale the way the experts tell you to have a yard sale you will spend countless hours and days preparing, sorting, marking, displaying ... all to get top dollar for your stuff. (The stuff, mind you, that you are wanting to get rid of anyway because it is just taking up space in your house but no longer serving a purpose, right?)

The last time I was involved in a yard sale, it definitely wasn't worth my effort for the amount of money I made. I vowed that that would be my last yard sale EVER.

Last Saturday, we had a yard sale at my house.

I am having some work done in my basement so that I can rent it and the first thing the contractor needed me to do was to clear out my storage room. Completely.

I have lived there for 14 years and I tend to hang on to stuff. Not in a pack rat or hoarder kind of way, more in an organized, I love this and want to keep it forever kind of way. (I also pride myself on being a pretty darn phenomenal packer which means that I can get a LOT MORE STUFF in a storage room than most people.) It has been a challenge.

But since I had to clear that out anyway, and set up more shelving in my garage, and get rid of stuff from my spare bedroom upstairs to make way for the basement stuff .... my sister talked me into having a yard sale.

She said, "C'mon! It'll just be fun to be together all day and at the same time we'll get rid of stuff we don't want and other people will take it away instead of us having to do it."

Good point.

So even though Leslie and I know that the Martha Stewart way of having a yard sale would garnish us more moola, we put very little effort into this one. We are old, we are tired, we are over worked and we just didn't care that much.

We did have the men folk haul out some heavy stuff on Friday night, but Saturday morning I set up four borrowed church tables, loaded them up, dragged out the broken bikes, laid out the ancient yard tools that hadn't been used in who knows how long, and shouted out prices as people started to arrive. Nothing was marked ... we didn't care.

At one point Leslie told me I was giving stuff away and should ask more than I was for things ... I didn't care. I was watching people take away all the stuff that I would have had to haul away myself to the Good Will anyway. They were doing me a favor, right.

We had McDonald's for breakfast, the Sweet Tooth Fairy for a snack and Einstein's Bagels for lunch. It was cooler than it had been in days and my driveway stayed shaded for most of the yard sale. People were cute, they were funny, they were cheap ... we didn't care.

I made $200, which almost paid for my kids' high school registration.

So, I guess my point with all of this little ranting, is that sometimes you can put a few extra dollars in your pocket with just a little bit of effort - THAT'S the way to have a yard sale, Martha.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Clay critters.

Have you heard that today is the 71st Anniversary of The Wizard of Oz? I kind of like everything about the Wizard of Oz ... I blogged about that already over here.

This morning McCall sent me an email asking me if I had seen the Google home page today. They had a drawing of Dorothy, the scarecrow, the tin man and the lion heading toward the Emerald City through the poppy fields.

The poppies spelled out Google ... I thought that was pretty clever.

So today I was reminded of my little clay creation of Dorothy and her friends. I keep it in a little wall cabinet that hangs in my bedroom.

I kind of love them too ... each of these characters are only about 1 and 1/4" high. That's pretty tiny. I don't think I would have have the patience to make those curls for Lion's mane. (Or that rope around Scarecrow's collar for that matter.) But I do adore little things made out of clay, so when I saw these guys in a shop in Solvang, California years ago, I wanted to have them.

Do you remember that I'm also kind of an Alice in Wonderland fan? I wanted them too:

Okay ... and these guys ...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Aurora and Pumpkin Hill (part 3).

My parents will sometimes make the drive to Aurora just to have dinner with friends at the Inn. It was the first place that Pleasant Rowland wanted to restore ... it is beautiful and elegant and the food is "out of this world." (A phrase my mother likes to say.)

When we mentioned to my Aunt Mary that we were heading down to Aurora for the day, she reminded us that it was the barn sale at MacKenzie-Childs and she worried that the Inn would be hard to get into for dinner. She said if we wanted to drive just a little ways past the village, there was a quaint, yummy restaurant called Pumpkin Hill that she and her friends liked to eat at. (Aunt Mary, I will remain in an eternal debt of gratitude to you for suggesting our alternative destination for dinner.)

We actually drove past Pumpkin Hill the first time by. Having never been there, we weren't sure what we were looking for. We didn't realize that it was an old, sweet little clapboard house sitting in a field of green next to acres of rolling hay fields.

When we walked into the restaurant (which really was in its original state, with very little renovation that made you sense at all that you were in a restaurant), I couldn't help but feel like I had walked onto a movie set. I thought - Okay, surely this isn't real. These have got to be actors at these tables and this has all been staged.

It was surreal, starting with the tanned, attractive older couple who got out of their Lexus on the gravel driveway and walked past us - he with his loafers, striped shirt and sweater around his neck, she with her headband and pearls.

The couple to the right of the doorway were sitting at a small table round in wing back chairs. Both were nice looking, she was blond wearing a white blouse, he was dark in khakis and a navy polo. (I was waiting for the background music to kick in ... instead there was just the hum of conversation, laughter and dishes clanking.)

The little family across from them were all brunette and also attractive, with 2.5 kids. Two little boys were in shorts and I'm sure their mother was pregnant with their little princess.

We were seated in a small room to the left of the front door that had a table for 6.

We were a party of 6.

Perfect ... as was every appetizer we decided to try, which was served in Mazkenzie-Childs enamelware, of course.

I looked at the menu and said to my dad, "It's kind of expensive, but what sounds the best to me is the steak. And if this steak is good, it will be the perfect ending to this day."

He said to go ahead and order it.

I did.

It was the perfect ending to the day.

Well, that and when the chef came out to meet us since we had been so complimentary of the food.

It was the finest dining experience I think I have ever had. You should go sometime.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Aurora and MacKenzie-Childs (part 2).

SO ... up the road from the village of Aurora is a place called MacKenzie-Childs. The first time I visited MacKenzie-Childs was about 18 years ago on another trip to New York. My mother wanted all of us girls to see their creative, artsy pottery line. It is a company that started simply enough ... two whimsical artists married and began making pottery for themselves and for friends because that is what they could afford, and they loved creating it.

On that first stop, one of my sisters bought ceramic, pastel painted fish that were drawer knobs and I bought a yellow and blue checked plate, with a ruffled edge that was painted pink. I wanted to buy much, much more but truth be told - its a little pricey. (They mostly cater to the rich and famous ... and stores like Saks and Neiman Marcus.)

This last visit, I fell in love with a fabulous, funky bench (not the one Leslie is sitting on up above) that had a hand painted wood frame, a stuffed cushion seat and back that was upholstered in striped and floral taffeta fabric. You know how sometimes you look at a price tag and think, "Even if I did have that much money to spend, I would never pay that much money for this!"

Well, I think if I did have (let's say) Oprah's kind of money to spend, I really would have paid $6,500 for that bench - I thought it was that special. (But then I'm sure I would have had buyer's remorse and kicked myself for being so frivalous and then not really have been able to enjoy it because each time I looked at it I would have felt guilty and thought of all the starving children in Ethiopia or somewhere ... so in reality, I guess I probably wouldn't really spend that kind of money on just a bench. Hmm, now I'm wondering about that - and truly, I may never know, will I?)

So anyway ... another connection to Pleasant Rowland (as mentioned in part 1) is that back in 2001, when she was ready to restore the village of Aurora, she also purchased MacKenzie-Childs, and took them from bordering on bankruptcy to a profitable company again by 2006.

And even though the style and rather eccentric vibe of MacKenzie-Childs may not be for everyone, it is worth the drive to visit their "factory" site which sits on a 65 acre farm with beautiful fields, gardens, chickens, cattle and a retail shop too. It is where lots of artists do the creating now.

We just happened to be there during their annual barn sale ... it was a treat just to be in the barn.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Aurora and Pleasant (part 1).

(Pleasant's Main Street home)

Sometime last week I got an email from my mom that said, "Are you all through with postings of the trip? You took soooooooooooooooooooo many pictures, I keep waiting for more!!!" So Mom, this one's for you ...

In central New York there is a charming little village along the banks of Lake Cayuga called Aurora. It is the home of Wells College which, until 2005, was an all girls school founded in 1868 by Henry Wells, who also started two other little companies you may have heard of: Wells-Fargo and the American Express Company. (I know.)

In 1980 Aurora was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Well, one certain alumna of Wells College came into a bit of money and decided that she wanted to restore the village of Aurora, which she loved. So from 2001-2007 redevelopment of historic properties took place by this entrepreneur whose name is Pleasant Rowland.

Maybe you have heard of her ... Pleasant Rowland? As in the Pleasant Company, as in The American Girl doll company? That's her.

Pleasant sold her doll company in 1998 to another company, who knew a good thing when they saw it, and who were willing to pay a pretty penny for it.

You've probably heard of them too: Mattel? They bought Pleasant Company for $770 million dollars. I can hardly even wrap my brain around that number - 770 million dollars. Together, with Wells College, Pleasant founded the Aurora Foundation and started her restoration dream of bringing the town "back to life", beginning with the Aurora Inn on Main Street.

My mother just loves Aurora (and loves American Girl dolls, but that is really beside the point) and she loves real estate, renovations, and historic preservation, so on one of her visits to Aurora she became acquainted with Pleasant's "girl Friday" and they became friends. She told my mom about Pleasant's sincere desire to restore the town's historic character and beauty and also to improve the local economy.

Well, Pleasant received praise from some for her efforts, but harsh criticism from others who felt that the Foundation was too quick to renovate some of the historic structures and did not follow necessary review procedures. Critics also complained that Pleasant had not been accessible for consultation with the community. It became hard for her to even come into Aurora, so in May of 2007 she ended her association with Wells College (who owns half the land in town) and shut down the Aurora Foundation.

That story makes me a little sad. But fortunately, most of the redevelopment was completed and I would have to say that the historic character, charm and beauty definitely abounds in Aurora, just like Pleasant hoped it would.

Not too far up the road, on the outskirts of the village, is an incredible stop called MacKenzie-Childs. Have you heard of MacKenzie-Childs ......

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Salt water sandals.

It really has been fun for me to dig through my photo boxes while looking for a specific picture for a post. I just happened upon this one recently and I just held it ... looking at each individual face of these cherubs, thinking about how much joy they have brought me.

I looked at Haley, kissing her brother on the head and remembered how in love she always was with baby boys and realized how indicative that was of her future ... that being, always crazy about grown up baby boys. When Haley was 3 and 4 her uncle Bart always used to tell me, "You are going to be in so much trouble with this one!"

I looked at McCall, barely able to hang on to her big fat baby brother and remembered what a great big sister she always was to those siblings. So patient and conscientious of their feelings and needs. I realized how indicative that was of her too ... what a perfect little mother she has become to her baby, Libby. So patient and loving and concerned.

That little curly headed Chloe. Oh how I just wanted to eat her up at that age! She was curious, delightful and so happy to be there. She lived in a little world of hopes and dreams. She has grown up to be curious and delightful and has held on to those same hopes and dreams.

And Elliott ... he was absolutely my fattest baby and I think my best baby too, at least at that age. He slept well, didn't cry much and never, ever, ever spit up so he always smelled really nice. And he was so smushy and soft, we all just wanted to squeeze him to pieces.

Every summer these kids got new salt water sandals at Nordstrom. I'm not even sure if they make those anymore, but they were a definite staple of summer at our house. They could dress up for church or dress down for the beach ... and if you threw them in the washer, they came out looking like new.

Once Elliott's little square boxy feet could fit into some - his were navy blue.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ali and Roberto.

Just in case you haven't caught wind of this ... Ali, the Bachelorette, picked this guy. And I am in LOVE with this couple.

Way back in the beginning of the season of the Bachelorette, Roberto was a favorite ... and sometimes seemed like Ali's favorite. But she kept making comments to the host about how Roberto seemed too good to be true - almost like he was a fantasy boyfriend.

But as the season progressed and we got to know Roberto a little bit more he seemed like a for real good guy, and just about as handsome as they come as far as I'm concerned. (Granted it is a reality TV show and most people would put their best foot forward ... oh wait, never mind, I am remembering some of those episodes where the guys' best foot was - not so much there.)

The chemistry was off the charts with them and by last night's giddy proposal, I can admit, I was a little teary eyed. Mostly because they really seem to be genuinely in love with each other - and they both seem to be really down to earth - grounded in what matters the most, making the other one happy.

I have always liked Ali and I love Roberto. (His practically perfect genes would have been included in my blog about that, if I had laid eyes on him when I posted it.) And I am rooting for a wedding ASAP, because really - you know how a couple can just ooze mushiness with each other? These two do ... and I think it is ADORABLE.

Afterthought: I am looking at these pictures of Ali and Roberto again and thinking that he looks a whole lot like Tony Danza did back in the day. And I am thinking that I was SO crazy about Tony Danza that maybe that is why I think Roberto is such a doll.

I seem to find the darker complected (is that a word) guys more visually appealing as a rule. I loved Sylvester Stallone too - go figure.

In fact, my ex-husband knew that about me and one day he asked, "If you are attracted to the darker guys so much, why did you marry me?" (He is very fair skinned.)

To which I replied, "I didn't marry you for your looks."

Do you think that was mean?

But you get what I meant, right?