Thursday, December 18, 2008
Here he actually had his head laying on the hearth. Every time the fire crackled, he jumped and woke up. Then just as quickly, he relaxed and assumed the same position.
Sunday, snow, stockings, football and Norman next to the fire. Not too shabby.
The stockings hung on the chimney with care... and snow.
The table centerpiece. Cranberrilicously red.
The buffet and shelves with yet some more snow. We also used to have Christmas cards displayed on here until we figure out that Norman jumps up during the day, grabs the lovely treasures and shreds them. Scrooge much. Ironically he has left the basset hound card that we got from Grandma Santee alone. He knows.
The top of the TV. It looks a bit bare with the wall still empty behind it, but I think it correlates nice. It's amazing and cheap to decorate when you use what you have and fill in the holes with candy! Our treats of choice, wintergreen mints and Hershey's kisses - original, caramel and mint!
On the hunt... weapon in hand.
Next year, snow pants may be in order. Snow sokes through sweat pants.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Here's our view at kickoff. The Chiefs getting ready to score. I believe this was a pass to the amazing Tony Gonzalez. The only amazing Chief left.
We arrived at the "club" at 6pm and waited outside, in line, enjoying some Wendys. An hour later, after we were officially frozen, we were let inside. Neighbor Sara picked the perfect spot; up on one of the walkway ramps with a railing in front of it. We were high enough and close enough, but we didn't have to be amongst the crowd on the floor.
An hour later, after we were officially annoyed by the high school text messages that you could post on the big screen, the opening act appeared. I'm sure she did a fine job, however, you couldn't hear her. With the people and the talking and the atmosphere, she was drowned out by her surroundings.
An hour later, after we were officially sick of standing, Jason Mraz appeared. We're on our third hour now. To our surprise, the talking and noise of the venue continued through his performance! So, although he did an amazing job, every time it was just music or there was a lull in the vocals, all you could hear were people talking! Seriously. It goes without saying, we will not be going back to The Myth. Ever again.
Jason Mraz is so musically talented it would be amazing to see him somewhere else, somewhere like the O'Shaugnessy. On a brighter note, he had moments of musical perfection; mimicking the saxophone, interacting with the audience, and had a whole slew of a band including a brass trio and some bongos. Most songs were from his new album and it all had a very retro-Caribbean-bluesy feel... perfect had it been a more intimate venue. Alright, I'm over it. Below are some photos of the highlight moments.
Our view of Mister Mraz. Another annoyance to point out, sorry - just though of it, the place was impossible to take photos. They had large screens behind him and a different background and light show for each song so it was impossible to take a sharp picture. Flash, no flash, inside, nighttime... nothing worked. The photo below is sans flash.
One of the better moments was during "Live High." President-Elect Obama was posted on the background screen. A monstrous roar from the crowd followed and Team DeBoer smiled.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Priscilla Ahn playing the last song of her opening performance.
Amos, singing serious with his band. Definitely humble, hometown people. Like Shawn said, they're the type of people you'd see on the street and not know they're famous, talented musicians.
As a souvenir scene to the night, Amos Lee came back out for autographs. I purchased his newest CD (Can't remember how long it's been since I bought an actual CD!), stood in line, pondered what to say, got to the front of the line and fell silent. Finally... I asked if he'd sign the cover of the CD, told him the concert was great and he did an awesome job, shook his hand and then thanked him for my first autograph, ever! He smiled and said thanks. He was very appreciative to the crowd all night long, did a request from the crowd (a dixieland jazzy version of Queens "Fat Bottomed Girls"), included city landmarks in a song he was improving and told stories about the songs he sang. Well done Mr. Lee.
Here is Shawn, digging and scraping out the guts of pumpkin number three. As you'll notice, we opened them up from the bottom this year. We heard it was better from something we were watching on TV. I don't remember the show or what they said was the reason so you'll just have to take my word for it.
After cleaning comes cutting, but before that we need to trace our pattern. Below is the one I chose from the kit we bought a couple years ago. The picture is post-punching.
After cutting out the pieces and anally cleaning up the carving (OCD style), voila, a masterpiece of a pumpkin.
Now take note. This is the first year we encountered the battle with the squirrels. The overpopulated beasts started eating parts of our pumpkins! They weren't even shy about it. They sat on the steps, put piece in hand (claw?) and slowly chewed and devoured our creations. The only good thing I can report is at least they waited until Halloween night. Some of our neighbors were not as lucky. But next year, we'll have to try coating them with something not so tasteful... suggestions welcome. Below is what was left of my pumpkin. People kept asking what is was supposed to be... how disheartening. But, on the bright side, it kind of looks like the person holding the mirror is flipping everyone off. Maybe not everyone, but definitely the squirrels!
Here is Norman's pumpkin that neighbor Woodruffs so kindly volunteered to carve out. Their style was unconventional (staples, scissors, pushpins, etc.) and they may not be back next year, but they did a fine job.
One other very important thing we learned. If your pumpkin starts to shrivel, fill your bathtub with cold water and dunk them in it for about two hours. It's like magic. They come back to life, exactly as they looked when you were done carving. Little tip from the DeBoers to you.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
There were about 80 participants and in keeping with the results of last week, the team from ABS did great! Senior Wilson won the race, and one boy and one girl each won their age group and received gift certificates to a spa! If I'd known what the prize was going to be, I...
First is a sign I found at The Cannery that reads: "Don't Make Me Get My Flying Monkeys." Now if you don't know what that means, tell no one. Instead, head to your local Target or Wal-Mart and purchase and watch The Wizard of Oz immediately. Report back to me what you thought so I can ridicule you for having waited this long to see such a classic film! I'm thinking the sign will hang in the kitchen or dining room, but I'm not sure. Mom did end up buying the exact same sign but to be fair, I saw and (technically) bought it first!
The other great find were some pumpkins! Not just any pumpkins, $1 pumpkins. That's right, one dollar, 100 pennies, four quarters, you get the idea. You can't find pumpkins around here for $1! Naturally, we bought three. One for each member of Team DeBoer's household. We have yet to carve them but have that slotted on the calendar for next weekend so stay tuned for the results of that adventure!
Wheel barrow by wheel barrow Shawn shoveled, distributing, unloaded, packed, shaped, watered, smoothed and packed some more, all the dirt he could until it was at a satisfactory angle against the house. On the east side and in the backyard, with help from neighbor Sara, he placed and secured a layer of black edging. He also inserted window wells around all the basement windows and placed a layer of river rock in them from neighbor Ole. Next, he laid a layer of newspapers over the dirt and finally, topped it all off with new mulch from Home Depot. 42 bags to be exact. The leftover dirt was distributed around the backyard into some of our nice holes and all the exposed dirt was sprinkled with grass seed and watered as generously as possible.
It was definitely a process and he was sure to vocalize his efforts to me as it was a lot of work for one person to do. As a thank you, I thought I'd display his marvelous work for everyone to see. It couldn't have turned out better and I'm forever grateful he took it upon himself to get it done while I was at work. I'm not so sure I would have been as ambitious with my time off of work.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Below is the current centerpiece on our table. It's our usual wood bowl with coffee beans and tea lights on a colorful place mat, just spiced up a little. The tea lights are in little pumpkins and the whole arrangement is adorned with fallen leaves. Schnazzy ey?
Here's my favorite addition, the buffet, decorated with all things autumn; more candles surrounded by coffee beans, some leafy arrangements around a scarecrow in a vase from our wedding, a cute basket find at Target and some more leaves.
A close up reveals some pilgrimesque creatures that rest on our dusty shelves.
Below is our end table (notice Shawn's elbow). Yet another candle with coffee beans (and to think, we don't even drink coffee - that's Dr. Pepper in the mug), as well as a candle stand supporting another Target find, the candle; all topped off with a few more leaves.
This is the top of our entertainment center. It used to house a beautiful flower arrangement (see below) but that has since passed. It now houses a wooden pumpkin full of remotes, some glass vases from our wedding full of essential candy corn (Have you tried the new caramel candy corn?!) and it all rests on more leaves. You may notice there are some very small styrofoam pumpkins, squash and such. These used to be all over the buffet and end table as well until Norman figured out that they were not stuck to the surface and could be eaten. Terd.
Here are the amazing flowers I mentioned above. I also found them at Target and bought the lovely bouquet for myself. I had been working insane amounts of overtime and felt entitled to some colorful beauty. If only fresh flowers lasted longer!
Shawn and a fellow teacher recently started a running club at school. They've been running and training every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday for the last four weeks and last Saturday, they all ran their first 5K! Shawn, Senior Wilson and 10 students completed the course in North St. Paul, MN. It needs to be disclosed that Shawn had been suffering from a very rough cold the week prior to the run and most likely had a case of bronchitis, pneumonia, laryngitis, strep throat or SOMETHING serious enough to warrant rest. That being said, I politely but firmly instructed him to walk the race. As you can see below, he did no such walking. He completed his first 5K in about 24 minutes and was pretty excited he didn't start coughing until the end. Crazy stubbornness. The rest of his teammates did amazing as well. Senior Wilson came in first, one of his students came in 7th and finished first in his age group for boys and one of his other students finished first in her age group for girls. Pretty impressive since there were over 200 participants. Not a bad first showing for ABS!
Norman has been doing what he does best. Resting. When he's bored he plays with his food, barks, whines, claws at the door, plays with his toys and barks some more. What's so extraordinary about the picture below is the location in which he's laying. He's on his pillow, on the FLOOR. He's not on either sofa! The afternoon prior to this picture, we took him for a walk around Como Lake. At the end, we walked him out on the dock so he could take a drink. Being a wee bit top-heavy, he stretched too far over and fell in! Mind you Norman's never been fully submerged in any water, ever. Needless to say, he did not enjoy it. He went completely under, then his head slowly came up while his butt stayed down. He looked to do a little paddling with his front paws but not sure about the back paws since we couldn't see them. Shawn had to pull him to safety without using his leash or collar because we had his choke collar on. It was quite a spectacle! Immediately out he coughed, shook, sneezed and shook some more. I wish I had brought my camera for that because it was priceless. It's safe to assume he'll be sticking to dry land and comfy pillows, even if they're on the floor.
This year we spent Labor Day weekend with Mom and Mike camping, fishing, eating and otherwise relaxing near Wabasha, MN. It was pretty serene. Since I'm not one for being on a boat, Mom, Mike and Shawn did all the fishing. I'm also not one for sleeping outside, on the ground, with insects and unidentifiable noises, but I got a few hours. My cynicism aside, it was nice and relaxing and I got some photos taken and some pages read. Below are a couple shots off the sandbar we camped on.