Sunday, December 30, 2007

Angels Among Us

I was a backstage volunteer for the Nutcracker on their second performance night. I helped the Angels, Maren's group. They were adorable and a lot of work. I had to rig their wings on and off between appearances, and after getting them on, they had to stand in line for 20 minutes, waiting for their cue.

So, we played games like, "Flap Your Wings Like an Angel and Raise up On Your Toes" and "Let's Try to Behave Like Angels and Not Threaten to Not Be Each Other's Friend Anymore", and my favorite, "Let's Hold It Until We Get Off Stage and Into The Potty."
Then there was "Musical Halos", where everybody kept bending over and knocking their halos off with somebody's wings, and "Find the Line-up Sticker" (which actually led to "Musical Halos") which was supposed to stick to your hand and tell the stage coordinator what order to send you out in, but, as we all know, loses its stick after the third or fourth time you switch hands. But, like I said, they were adorable and when I see one of them out and about, they give me a big wave and smile.

I guess I bonded with the Angels.

Chelsea's Room

If you are just joining the project, you might want to start with "The Bathroom" photos below, to get a better feel of the layout of the basement, then work your way back here.

View of Boy's bedroom door from Chelsea's room.
Ready to paint.
Pretty paint.
Paint job: Mom's back. Trim on: Dad's back. Closet to herself: Priceless.
View of arch out to family room.

Hallway to Bedrooms

Smaller arch into hallway between 2 bedrooms from family room. Chelsea's future room.
View from family room to bedroom hallway. Bathroom to left.
View from bedroom hallway out to family room. Closet under stairs across room.Taped up.
Paint and trim. Boys to the left, Chels to the right.

The Office/ Guest Room

Again, from the base of stairs, office to left, bathroom straight ahead, family room on right.
Double door entry to office. Unfinished storage room to the left.
Inside office. Closet.
View from base of stairs after paint.
Inside office after trim and paint. Shelves and rod in closet.

The Family Room

How the "family room" looked before we moved in.
Arches added and ready to drywall. View from base of stairs and to the right.
Drywall is up and ready to paint (our job).
Painted and trimmed.
View from family room. Stairs are around the corner to the left. Bathroom is on the right and office is straight ahead with window.

The Bathroom

This is how the bathroom looked before we moved in.

The tub and shower surround after the first day.The flooring is down!Cabinetry installed.Fixtures are in.

Earlier, I promised pictures of the progress of our basement project. Things have gone very well, really, and we are getting the carpet and lighting in on Tuesday, the 1st. I don't have any big "snaffu" stories, except that they laid the wrong floor down in the bathroom, but I came to look just as he was finishing, and he was able to get it up and get the right one down before the glue set. I would have lots of stories to tell if we were doing this ourselves, but we're just handling the paint, and that is done, so, whew!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Meeting Mr. Grant

(I had this picture taped in the middle of my closet door when I was a teen.
He was surrounded by Duran Duran and C. Thomas Howell Pictures.)

Merry Christmas! We woke up to a light blanket of snow this morning. I love it when that happens. I had the funniest dream last night. I dreamt that Brandon and I were seeing some countryside with a man who had been an agent or something in Hollywood back in the day. He was just a new acquaintance of Brandon's and had taken us out for a drive, to show us some places we hadn't seen. We pulled into a long drive to a small ranch and drove up to a sprawling hacienda-style home. I asked who lived there, and he said, as we walked up to the courtyard and he led us around, that I probably wasn't familiar with the actor, but this was one of the homes of Cary Grant. Well, I stopped dead in my tracks and my jaw dropped and I was just amazed. I was starting to say, "Of course I know who Cary Grant is!", when we heard people coming into the home, talking comfortably. Well, in walks Cary Grant, circa "Charade", a little gray on the sides... just perfect. So, our friend introduces us to Cary Grant, and I am just dying... I can't breathe and my heart is pounding and I am trying to talk, but can't. Then Brandon says, "Mr. Grant, my wife is a huge fan of yours." And then the dam explodes and I start talking very fast, loudly, and I say, "Cary Grant...Mr. Grant, I love your work! I have seen most of your movies and I just can't tell you enough how exciting it is to meet you!" And he is looking a bit dubious, I think because of my age, so I try to convince him. "No, really, I remember when I was little and watching "Houseboat", with Sophia Loren, with my Mom while she folded laundry, and from then on I was hooked! And I loved "Bringing Up Baby" with Katherine Hepburn..." At this point he nods a bit, puts his head in his hand and sits down on the arm of the couch, and I realize something (keep in mind this is a dream and Cary Grant really was in "Bringing Up Baby") so I say, "Oh, wait! "Bringing Up Baby" starred Dick Tracy, not you!" (which I think I said given the link between Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, who, obviously, shared the same last name with the fictional comic book detective, Dick.) So, Mr. Grant nods his head and my credibility as a true fan has been blown to pieces. But do I stop? No. I go on, panicky. "But, you were in Charade, with Audrey Hepburn, oh, that was magic! And the one with the pink submarine...what was that called? And "My Girl Friday" (which was actually called "His Girl Friday"), and of course, Debrah Kerr or Karr or however you say it in "An Affair to Remember",and the Hitchcock movie with the blonde! And I saw the last half of one with Katherine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart, and I promise someday I'll watch the first half, and there was one with you on a were a thief!" And as I am going on Brandon is gently leading me to the entrance and I am just pulling against him, trying to redeem myself. Ugh. So I finally yank my arm from Brandon and walk to Mr. Grant and after a deep breath, say, "I'm sorry, Mr. Grant. It is just a thrill to meet you. Your movies have meant a lot to me through the years. I admire your quick banter, especially with Katherine Hepburn. Your comedic timing was always perfect, and the chemistry between you and your leading ladies was palpable. You were a "Leading Man" in every sense of the word. Even if your character was shady, I just knew you wouldn't hurt Audrey Hepburn. I am a busy mom of 4 kids. Although I don't watch daytime television much, if I do happen to come across one of your movies, the world stops. I just wanted to thank you for that." And Cary Grant takes my hand and says, in his Cary Grant voice, "Well, Mrs. Jensen, it has been a pleasure. Thank you." Then, he kisses my hand, and Brandon leads me away, and I wake up. Wow. Hee hee.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Jingle BANG, Jingle BANG

We are under construction. Our basement is finally getting finished and we are so excited, but the computer is taken down for the project. All I have is my husbands old laptop, whose finger-controlled cursor is driving me nuts. It is treating my finger as an opposite force magnet. But, I have been taking pictures and will post some before/during/after pictures as soon as I can locate the port for the camera. At least I can find the mouse and hook that up. Jingle all the BANG!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother's house we go! This weekend we gathered with Brandon's family and stuffed ourselves. It was fun to watch the kids play and interesting to see the movement and energy slowly return in the adults after the feast. We played games and visited and talked about our holiday plans. We are so grateful for so much!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Those Who Put Your Heart At Ease

Don't flatter yourself that friendship authorizes you to say disagreeable things to your intimates. The nearer you come into relation with a person, the more necessary do tact and courtesy become. Except in cases of necessity, which are rare, leave your friend to learn unpleasant things from his enemies; they are ready enough to tell them. -Oliver Wendell Holmes

Why is it that we are so much more careful with strangers and friends, than we are with our own family? Is it because our family must love us, and will love us, despite nearly anything we do, and with friends and acquaintances we do not have that luxury, that amazing quality that lasts a lifetime and beyond? Shouldn't that quality alone compel us to revere our family? Or, because we are so intimately familiar with one another, so tied in memories, good and bad, with both triumphs and grudges, we expect our family to just take what we say or do and swallow it, whereas we would be so much more careful with those who don't know us so well, those who would judge more harshly. It is a human struggle. I am guilty of it.
My friend was sharing an experience about answering the door to some women who were proselyting. They asked her what she considered the most dire circumstance, the greatest danger to the world today. She thought a moment, and then answered, "The breakdown and corruption of the family." The women were speechless and just stood there blinking. She guessed they expected her to say wars, the lack of Christian faith, or our world leaders, etc. But her simple answer holds truth. A family is the basic unit of the human race. It is where we come from; it is how we continue. If the family breaks down, becomes disconnected, dissolved, misplaced, disregarded, what does that say about us as a race? Isn't that more crucial than, say, global warming? The planet will still be a planet, but in what state will we be?
"Indeed, nothing is more critically connected to happiness—both our own and that of our children—than how well we love and support one another within the family." M. Russell Ballard
It starts at home, and it starts with us.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

When You Become A Costume

Once again, we are shown the wonder of mountain weather and the truth to local folklore that it will snow just before or on Halloween, every year. It was 68 degrees on Monday, and the forecast said 58, and I fell for it. Ah, well, can't say it isn't beautiful! For my song about this phenomenon, set to the tune of a holiday favorite, click here. Fortunately, unlike last year's 7 degrees, it was a balmy 38, so no worries. The snow was gone by 3 p.m. As you can see, the kids really enjoyed their costumes this year. Chelsea won a prize for Best Use Of Accessories. If there had been a prize for Dressing Most like Your Parent, she would have won that, too.Chelsea, 2007
Kris and Shell, 1986-ish