Friday, May 30, 2014

In Which We Bid Farewell To Spring

Sunday was a lot of fun.  We went to my uncle's home for a dinner and birthday get together.  We haven't done that in a very, very long time.  When my grandmother was still living in her home (she lives in an assisted living center now), we would get together each month and celebrate all the birthdays in that month.  It was so fun to see all my cousins again and visit with them  Even though Riley broke his swing.  He's too big for the baby swings, but doesn't really seem to think he is.  He's eleven.  My aunt and cousin fixed it.  Which is good because my cousin's baby wanted to swing.  Then the boys ran around playing with my cousin's boys.  It was so fun.  I'm so glad we went.  My boys did not want to go home.  My grandmother accused me of not feeding Zach enough (He knows where I keep the food).  You know.  Typical family stuff.

Monday was Memorial Day.  We really didn't do much.  I changed my Facebook cover photo to my grandfather's grave.  He was in the Navy.  I did the laundry.  The kids played video games and chess with their friend until Kurtis was ready to go snow cone hunting.  None of the snow cone places were open yet.  We were bummed.  Then Kurtis and I went to the nursery to look at plants for the front yard.  We didn't buy any though.
I asked Kurtis if he wanted to go on a picnic and he agreed that would be fun.  We got dinner at Subway where the teenager working the register and I lamented that the snow cone places were not up and running yet. Then we took our blankets and chairs to the park with ducks and geese.  After the kids were done eating, they wanted to go play in the sand of the volleyball court.  I told them they could.  Then they started throwing it.  I was like, you guys are not two.  You know better.  They didn't listen, so we told them they couldn't play over there any more.  The boys and I decided to go check out the birds while Kurtis read  his book.  Soon after, Kurtis and I decided that we should go see if the snow cone place we drove past (it was setting up  shop as we passed) was open yet.  It wasn't.  So I took the kids to Baskin Robbins instead.  They loved it.  We all kind of didn't want to go back to school (or work) the next day.  I mean, what would the point be?  But alas.  School was not to be released until Friday (or today, if you'd rather).

I took pictures at the park:

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

In Which We Become A Demolition Team

Saturday, my parents came over around eight o'clock in the morning and we got started on demolishing my front yard.  I forgot to take a before picture, but the front lawn was mostly just clover and dandy lions.  When my parents came to the school for Grandparents' Day, they checked it out and my dad suggested we just start over.  Kurtis and I got into a fight about what needed to be done.  He wanted to hire a professional to come take care of it.  I was raised that if you can do it yourself, you should.  He thought we didn't know what we were doing, so we shouldn't.  I then asked if he was going to look into hiring a professional.  He said we couldn't afford it.  Did he look into it, though?  No.  So I said then we should let my parents (who offered to do this) come help us rototill the lawn under and plant seed.  I also told him that if he wasn't going to help, to just stay out of it.
So my mom, dad, and my brother Jeremy came and we got to work.  Heck, even Zach and Riley helped out.  They'll do anything to get out of doing their regular chores.  Kurtis helped when I asked for it, but let's face it.  It's cotton in the air season.  I'm talking so much cotton that it looks like it snowed.  And he is allergic to that junk.  So he could only take so much.
We pulled out the dead bushes that was growing into the siding of the house.  Kurtis and I had chopped it down to basically the roots earlier in April or in May.  Jeremy, my mom, Zach and I took out the rest.  And yes, it did take all of us to do it.
So much yard work got done!  I would like to send out a great big ginormous thank you to my mom, Jeremy, my dad, Kurtis, and the boys for helping me out with this giant project.  I could never have done it all by myself and they are the best!
I took pictures:

 My mom, Jeremy, and Zach digging out the bush.

 My dad working hard.  That thing is heavy.  He got most of the lawn done, but Jeremy had to take over near the end.  My mom estimated that it probably took 8 hours to do the first go around and then Jeremy did it again while Dad and I went to get some sprinklers (the ran over a few that were buried), and my mom said it took no time at all.  Our soil is very clay-like.  It's awful and made it difficult to level.

 And it's out!

 Now for the last one (there were three).
I haven't quite decided what I want to plant there just yet.  Maybe some hostas or bleeding hearts.  But those are not necessarily going to do well there.  We have a Southern facing home and not a lot of shade.  Something that can take the heat.

 The things you find when you dig up your lawn!

 The seed is planted and Zach and Jeremy had fun roping off the lawn.

So many neighbors asked what we did to it.  Like we were nuts or something.  I just said, "Well, you know.  Because it looked so good before."
I think my mom was praying that we would get it done in one day.  I know I was.  I was actually pretty surprised that we did.  But by seven o'clock, we were eating the tacos Kurtis made for us.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

In Which There Are Swords and Armor

So my next gig is FantasyCon.  I haven't really talked much about it yet because I don't know what my character is going to be and I won't find out until Jun 4th, I think.  The Con is going to be July 3-5, and I'm still not quite sure what I'm going to be doing.  I just know I will be playing a character.  In my imagination of what I will be doing, I will be walking around the Con in character and interacting with people in character.  It is going to be EPIC.
So Thursday, I went to a mixer for the volunteers.  There are lots of ways to volunteer to be a part of FantasyCon.  If you don't want to be an actor, you can be someone who helps out with the celebrities, you can volunteer to take pictures.  You can volunteer to be behind a camera - on the film crew.  So many opportunities to volunteers, so if that sounds fun, you can go here and click "Become a Volunteer".
The mixer was fun.  I met another actress and we hung out.  There will be LARPing (LARP = Live Action Role Play) at the Con (which you can also volunteer to be a part of), and fighting.  I took a bunch of pictures of that going down at the mixer.  It was fun to watch.

To get tickets, you can visit the website.  I'm very excited to be a part of this.
There will be dragons.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

In Which There Is A Triumphant Return

It's Sacrament Meeting Art Sunday!  Yay!  My guest artist today is Kaleb.  We love his work around here!

Sacrament Meeting Art #22:  May 25, 2014.
I asked Kaleb to tell me about his picture.  He said, "There's nothing to tell.  It's just a picture."

Sacrament Meeting Art #23:  May 25, 2014.
I started this last week, but only got one layer of swirls done on the background before it was time to head home.  On Mother's Day, when Riley was telling me what I should draw, Kurtis asked me to draw a picture of Jesus.  He said, "You know that picture of Jesus where he is coming out of the clouds?"  And I said, "Yes."  "You should draw that."
I don't know if this is what he had in mind, but when I showed it to him, he said, "I love how he almost has Anime eyes."  So I guess he likes it.
Mormons believe that Jesus will come to the Earth again and reign there as President of the Whole Entire World.  And it will be awesome.

This is the picture Kurtis was referring to.  There is also another one all zoomed in on Jesus with no angels, but when he comes again, it's going to be pretty loud.  There will be angels.
You can purchase this print here.
It's much better than mine.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

In Which My Child Becomes The Hulk

Kurtis asked me what I wanted for Mother's Day.  I told him that I would like a nice pan that has a lid.  My current pan had somehow warped on the bottom and when I would cook, it would wobble a bit and not heat evenly, and it did not come with a lid.  Which is stupid.  Because every pan should come with a lid.
Well, I do love that man of mine.  He listened and I got my pan.  I was so excited!

 Here is my beautiful lid in all its glory.

And here it is on the beautiful new pan!  Isn't it gorgeous.  I cooked in it the next day and had Zach throw away the old one.

Skip forward to Monday.  Monday was the 19th.  Mother's Day was the 10th, so nine whole days later, my beautiful new lid now looks like this:

 Yes.  That is glass.  In my dishwasher!

 And yes.  That is the shattered glass lid of my dreams.
It's pretty cool looking.  I mean, that's what your car window would look like if someone hit it with a baseball bat.

That lid was made of tempered glass!  Not the regular annealed glass that your windows are made of.  Tempered glass that your car windows are made of!  Tempered glass is four to six times stronger than annealed glass.  When you throw a baseball at 56 miles per hour annealed glass, it breaks and shatters.  Your stemware is made of annealed glass.  When you throw a baseball at tempered glass at 55 miles per hour, it bounces off it.  It's hard to break, guys.  Hard.  
So Kurtis and I were sitting on the couch Monday evening enjoying one of the movies Kurtis bought me for our anniversary (I haven't posted about that yet).  It was Riley's turn to do the dishes that night.  He comes and says, "I broke the lid to your pan."  I thought he was kidding at first, but that's not really very funny and he's much better at funny.  "How did you do that?" I asked him incredulously.  Kurtis asked if he was joking, but I was like, "No, he's not joking."  He was on the verge of tears.  "I put it on the drying rack and when I pulled out the top one, it hit it and it fell over and broke."  What?  Did he pull it out super hard or something?  No, he claims he pulled it out normally.  Whaaat?  I don't know about that.  He must have been mad that it was his turn to do the dishes and was slamming everything around.  In Hulk-like fashion.  I mean, really?  Nah.  He wasn't. But still.  But after watching that video down there at the bottom, it makes a little more sense now.  It probably got bumped just right.

Here's the photo I put on Instagram.  That filter really brings out the glass shards.

Check out this video to see just how strong tempered glass really is (or isn't - depending on your perspective).

Sunday, May 18, 2014

In Which You Must Be Prepared For Spoilers

I don't have a Sacrament Meeting Art piece for you today.  I started one, but it isn't finished yet.  It will be finished next week though, and I'll put it up then.  But today, I want to talk about the book I just finished reading on Friday night that had me crying so much I woke up with puffy eyes and Kurtis laughed at me for it (the crying - not my eyes. I doubt he noticed my eyes were puffy):

This is the screen shot of the book taken from John Green's website.

Oh blimey, you are thinking if you have read it already.  If you have not read it already, stop reading this blog post immediately. Read the book and then come back and read the blog post.  Because I am about to talk about what happens in this book and I will not hold back.  I need this.  Because after you read this book, you will want to form a support group with others who have also read this book.  And since I don't have that available to me right now (I suggested this book for a book club in July, and that's just too far away for me), I am going to lay it all out right here, right now.  But know that you have been warned if you continue reading.  Also, I own the book, so just ask if you want to borrow it. I've already promised it to my neighbor, though so you may have to wait.

The book starts out with a girl telling you she has cancer.  Her name is Hazel Grace.  She is terminally ill and the drug she is on has been keeping her alive for three years longer than her doctors ever thought it would.  This drug is not a real drug.  She has become reclusive due to the fact that she is dying and doesn't want to make too many friends as she is trying to make the impact of her impending death as minimal as possible.  Her mother thinks she is depressed and makes her go to a support group for people who also have cancer.  Most of the people in her support group are in remission and she doesn't feel she can relate to them much.  She also doesn't think she is depressed (she is).  But to please her mother, she goes.
During one of her sessions, she meets Augustus.  He is a seventeen year-old boy in remission, but had to have his leg amputated due to his cancer.  He is gorgeous and while she loves the idea of being friends with him, she does not want him to fall in love with her.  It's too late.  For him it was love at first sight.  For her as well, but she couldn't let him in quite so quickly.
I've read A Walk To Remember and I've seen the movie.  I liked the movie better.  That doesn't happen often.  Any way, as I was reading this story, I just knew it would be like that.  In that book a healthy boy needs math tutoring and the girl with cancer helps him.  She tells him that he has to promise not to fall in love with her, though.  He laughs (because he is quite arrogant and a trouble maker) and promises.  But he does fall in love with her.  When he tells her, she cries and tells him about her cancer and then he spends the rest of the movie doing really romantic things for her and loving her for as long as he can until she dies.  In the end, he is a better person and turns his life around.  Very Nicolas Sparks.
This is not that book.  No, not even close.  
Hazel Grace is obsessed with a book called The Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten.  This book is not a real book.  But it is also about a girl with cancer.  She has read and re-read this book a million times and considers Van Houten to be her third best friend (although she has never met him and all the letters she has written him go unanswered).  This book has no ending.  It just stops - leaving a lot of unanswered questions and she wants nothing more that to meet Van Houten and find out the answers to those questions.
She shares this wish with Augustus, who then tells her she should use her "wish".  Embarrassed, she responds that she has already used her wish.  He has not used his wish yet, though.
He determines that he will use his wish to take Hazel and her mother to Amsterdam where Van Houten now resides.  They have a wonderful time there.  Except when they meet Van Houten.  Turns out he's a drunk and not a very nice one, either.  His assistant is so horrified by the things he says to Hazel that she quits, and then she takes them to see where Anne Frank lived while she wrote her diary.  There, they share their first kiss.  Well.  Their first long kiss.  The previous ones had been kisses on the cheek and the forehead.  This is when she finally lets him in.  It is a beautiful moment.
But chapter 13 (of 25), is where things take a very, very different turn, and I start to realize that this is not A Walk To Remember.  No, no.  Not even close.  Augustus has a secret that he has been keeping from Hazel.   His cancer is back and it is everywhere.  Suddenly, a character that I didn't even realize I had become all that attached to is the one dying.  I was prepared for Hazel to die.  I had accepted her fate, and knew it had to be she that leaves us before the end of the book.  Was I going to be sad about it?  Yes, of course.  But it wouldn't come as a surprise.  But Augustus?  No!  Not Augustus!
With every chapter after this, cracks begin to form in my glass heart.  I still hope.  I mean, her drug has kept her alive for so long. He'll get better.  Something will beat this evil growing inside him.  They just found each other!  They need to be together.  Hope.  Denial.  Same thing, really.
And suddenly, by chapter 21, I am sobbing and I feel like I did when my grandpa died all over again.  Curse you, John Green for making me fall in love with out knowing and then cracking my heart in pieces before shattering it all together!
It's an amazing book.

Friday, May 16, 2014

In Which There is One For the Pot

Saturday was closing night of my play and Kaleb's soccer game.  I love watching his games most of the time.  They are a lot more fun now than they were when he was in kindergarten.  Now he actually runs after the ball and tries to kick it.
I suppose I can tell you all about my play now that it is over.  I will try not to spoil it too much though because if you ever get the chance to see it, you absolutely should.  It is a fast paced, hilarious case of mistaken identity.
It's called One For the Pot So there's this guy named Johnathan Hardcastle.  He's a rich mill owner in Northern England who wants to give his deceased partner's son 10,000 pounds.  Which in 1959, was a "pot of money".  Clever.  You see where the title comes from now.  But there is a catch.  He will only give the money to Billy Hickory Wood if he is the only living relative of the late Samuel Hickory Wood.  Samuel was the one who made the mill the success it has become, and he died penniless because all of his relatives squandered his money away.  Billy worked in the mill when he was a young man, but it's been years since he's last seen him, so he puts an ad in the paper to try to find him.
And I was going to keep telling you the whole story, but then this post would be really, really long.  So I'll just show you the pictures instead.  With captions that will probably just confuse you even more!  Muwahahahahahaha!
Oh blimey.  There are too many pictures to share.  I guess I will just share the ones with me in them.  That's all you wanted to see anyway, right?

 My favorite cast photo (not the one that was used as you were greeted in the foyer).

 This handsome young man is Jennifer Bowater-Smith's husband, Stanley.  Isn't he sweet?

 "Well, I mustn't let you keep us here chatting!"

 This handsome young man is Billy Hickory Wood.  Winnie's husband.
Just a bit of trivia:  The men playing Stanley and Billy are actually real life brothers.  Jeremy and Ben.  Jeremy also played one of Ben's doubles (as Ben played four different characters).

 Winnie doesn't like Charlie Barnet (on the left).  He's a schemer always getting her Billy into trouble.
The butler, Jugg is capitalizing on tonight's mischief.

 "Where's my Billy?"

 That's Rupert.  Winnie thinks he's Billy, though and is trying to tell him about the baby they are going to have together.  Wait?  Rupert?  You mean Billy has a twin brother?  Yep.  Billy and Rupert did not know about each other though.

Winnie: "What are you talking like that for?" 
Rupert (who has a posh British accent): "Like what for?"
Winnie (who has a Yorkshire accent and Billy sounds like he's from the North):  "Like the ten o'clock news!"

 When Rupert tells Winnie she is mistaken about him being the father of her child, she bursts into tears.

 Billy, on the other hand, is quite excited to be a father, and Winnie is very confused by the conflicting reactions.  She tries to take Billy home.

 Amy has asked Billy to paint a portrait of her and when she sees what he's done, she faints into his arms.
Winnie:  "Oi! I thought you were here after fancy women!"

 Rupert is caught with Cynthia.
"That girl was cuddling you."
"Was she?"

 Cynthia:  "I think you're mad!"
Winnie: "Aye! Good and mad!"
Rupert is playing along and pretending to be Billy, but he and Cynthia have fallen in love.
He continues letting Cynthia believe she is being courted by Billy for now.

 Billy has a gramophone horn stuck on his head.

 Cynthia, Johnathan Hardcastle, and Winnie are trying to figure out what is going on.

 Rupert sits on Billy while he struggles with the gramophone horn on his head.  Rupert tries to hide Billy from the others.  
Trivia:  It didn't work.  We could totally see him.  We just had to pretend like we couldn't.

 Hardcastle:  "Where did you get this la-dee-dah voice from?"
Charlie: "It were during the war!"

 Rupert denies he is my husband and claims that Winnie is married to Charlie.

 Winnie is invited to come to the party.  She tried to get out of it by saying she didn't have her party frock, but Cynthia (in an effort to get her away from Rupert/Billy), lets her borrow one of hers.
Billy likes the dress, and tells her she looks like a cream horn.

 Clifton Weaver.  Cynthia's boyfriend and art critic.  Who was going to propose to her.  He really just wants her fortune though. The slimy skunk.  But it's love at first sight for Cynthia and Rupert.  Sorry Weaver. Daddy didn't like you any way.
I actually really like this guy.  He's such a sweetheart in real life.  He's my new friend.

 Billy accidentally gets drunk after drinking a bottle of rum he has mistaken for lemonade.  I just don't see how that is possible, but Billy does think that two plus two is five, so...

 Then Michael Hickory Wood shows up.  Wait.  Triplets?  You mean there's three of them!?
Turns out, Michael is a pick pocket who was raised in Ireland.

 Winnie just wants Billy to tell the truth.

 And just as he's about to, Michael comes in and mucks it all up.
He turns out the lights and switches places with Billy.

 Winnie has caught Rupert (Billy) and Cynthia kissing! 

 And Charlie finally tells her what's going on.
"Well, why didn't you just say so in the first place?"

 Rupert comes up with a plan to get Michael out of the way so Billy can sign the agreement and get the 10,000 quid.

 Cynthia is so excited by the plan, she kisses Rupert.  
Charlie gets swept up in the moment and kisses Winnie.  
Who promptly slaps him.

 "Where is my Billy anyway?"

 "Take him into the library and explain about Michael to him."

 Michael has been knocked out and stuck in the library, but there are complications.
"Well, that Michael is coming 'round."
So Charlie takes the bed warmer and smacks him with it again.

Michael wakes up and ties Winnie up.  She gets out after everything has been revealed to Mr. Hardcastle, and Billy helps untie her.  Then they kiss and run off into the garden together.  But unfortunately, no pictures were taken of the kiss. Rude.