More music

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2011 at 7:50 PM

10

You want more?

(You said you wanted more. Flattery, as I've mentioned repeatedly, will get you everywhere with me.)

I happen to have one other piece from this book ready to go (yes, for those of you who were wondering, this is the score from the 2005 Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley et al.) This is the music at the very beginning of the film, and for those who are familiar, you can imagine the scene as I was recording this to be very much like the opening scenes at the Bennett household. General chaos and mayhem, minus the pig in the mudroom.

Whoever guesses how many takes were required to achieve this recording gets to laugh in my face.

Since I apparently can't be bothered to write anything this week

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at 9:18 PM

17

I'll share a little of what I have been doing.

(I don't know what I'm more impressed with: that I can play this piece, or that I figured out how to record, upload, and post it all by myself.)

True, true

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Tuesday, June 28, 2011 at 8:38 PM

3

"I do not entertain hypotheticals; the world as it is is vexing enough."

- my new favorite quote, from True Grit (2010)

Balance

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Monday, June 27, 2011 at 8:34 PM

4

I'm still trying very hard to like running.

I finished the Couch-to-5K program, and can now run 30 hateful minutes at a time. I hear running outdoors is very inspiring and invigorating, but I can only assume proponents of outdoor running do not mean "outside in Phoenix in June".

(It was 117 degrees today, and felt every bit of it.)

So, thus far, the only way I have been successful in my running endeavors is at the gym.

On the treadmill.

Watching Bethenny Ever After.

(I'm not at all sure this is a net gain. Improve the body, soil the mind!)

Downgrade

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Saturday, June 25, 2011 at 9:57 PM

4

(I'm back. From California this time. If I ever decide to work, I think a job as a postpartum doula would suit me just fine.)

My family, back when we had a mere two children, owned a Scion xB, which we affectionately called "the toaster". We all loved it, and it was pretty traumatic when we sold it to buy a vehicle that would accommodate our fifth family member. The kids often point them out when we see them on the road, and tonight we drove next to a fine periwinkle specimen for a couple of miles on the freeway.

Eve: Mom, look at that little toaster! I sure miss our toaster.

Me: Yeah, it was an awesome car for when we had two kids. But now we have three kids, and it wouldn't have been a good car for three kids.

*crickets*

Me: And hey - now we have Baby Iris instead of a toaster! Isn't that a good trade?

Eve, WAILING: I'd rather have the toaster!

My sister is a rockstar

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Wednesday, June 22, 2011 at 12:30 AM

7

He's here.  I missed the whole birth.  But it was perfect.

Jasper Dylan Moffat
June 21st 8:34 pm
7 pounds 1 ounce
19.5 inches
Practically perfect in every way


Trivia

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Monday, June 20, 2011 at 11:37 PM

4

I mean "trivia" as in trivial, not as in Jeopardy. No one's going home with any prize money tonight.

You will, however, have the exquisite pleasure and satisfaction of knowing that I have settled on the final outfits for our Very First Ever Professional Just-Our-Family Photo Session this weekend.



A lady never tells, so I'm not going to say how many stores, and repeated visits to those stores, it has taken to arrive at this lineup (let's just say I've got two more to go tomorrow for returns). But I am deeply satisfied, and I firmly believe that some day my husband and children will thank me for being so meticulous.

Some day. Some distant day.

His special lady

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Sunday, June 19, 2011 at 8:41 PM

7

Here's the deal.

David and I met 15 years ago. Ever since our first date, we have been a pair. We make each other laugh. We make each other think. We fight fair. We don't like all the same things, but we like enough of the same things. We're both grumpy, but we're not usually grumpy at the same time.

The cruise was amazing, not because it was a cruise, but because we were on it. When you've been married this long, and you have a bunch of little kids, and lawn to be mowed, dishes to be washed, homework to be done, butts to be wiped, duties to be discharged - it's frighteningly easy to forget where you came from.

Don't get me wrong.

I don't want to be who I was. I don't want to go back to high school. Or college. Or 5 years ago. I like now just fine, thank you. I don't resent my many obligations, I adore my kids, and I'm extremely grateful for the job that takes so much of David's time.

But I had literally forgotten what it felt like to really relax. Not for a couple of hours, knowing that we had to be home so the babysitter could get to bed at a decent time, or David checking his work email during dinner. We were gone. Out of touch. Out of reach. No interwebs, no responsibilities, just us.

And it turns out we still like each other.



A lot.

I love him, he loves me, we love our kids, I love my life. That's pretty much it in a nutshell. I don't feel all of those things every moment - and at some moments I don't feel any of them - but after all this time, I feel pretty safe in saying that's the bottom line.

I can hardly imagine what the next 10 years will hold.

But I bet I'm going to like that, too.

Happy anniversary, happy Father's Day, and i.love.you.

Forever.

Cruise, Part the Third

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 11:29 PM

2

Our last port-of-call was St. Maarten, which is a 37-square-mile island half under Dutch governance and half under French. We landed in the Dutch capital of Philipsburg, where we had arranged to race an America's Cup sailing yacht. However, the day was hot and muggy in the extreme, without the slightest hint of a breeze, so that outing was abandoned as a sailboat doesn't race very efficiently without wind.

It didn't take very long to see that Philipsburg primarily offered a main shopping street eerily similar to that in St. Thomas, we ate breakfast at the oldest hotel on the island and then hopped in a taxi to investigate Marigot, the French capitol city.



We were surprised to find that while the Dutch side functioned entirely in English, the French side maintains French as the official language, although everyone speaks at least passable English because tourism is the main industry now. Both sides of the island accept dollars, and you can also pay in guilders on the Dutch side and Euros on the French. Our delightful taxi driver, Jacob, was a native of the French side but born to a Dutch mother, so he had a lot of insight into the island as a whole.



We did a little shopping in Marigot (having choices in between 2-for-$20 souvenir t-shirts and diamond jewelry seemed to do the trick nicely) and ate lunch at Enoch's Place at Jacob's recommendation. I think (our waitress was heavy on the French and not so much on the English) we ordered sirloin steak and curried chicken with "provisions", which basically means a huge heaping pile of rice, peas, and fried plantains. Yes, please.

They have chickens on this island too, as well as lots of goats ("them goats haaaappy goats", said Jacob of these specimens on the hill):



And cacti! Can you believe it? I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me, to come all this way and find my prickly nemesis growing wild on the hills of St. Maarten:



From Marigot, we drove around the rest of the island's perimeter, where we saw Jacob's neighborhood called "French Quarter", as well as several other spiffier enclaves (he referred to them as "upgraded neighborhoods" and informed us that "if you live on de mountain, you gots money, that's one thing fo sho"):



We stopped on the way at quiet Dawn Beach, where I collected beach rocks and shells for my children:



And we also spent a few peaceful minutes at Orient Beach, which is known for its abundant water sport opportunities. In this photo, you will note the rock dividing line in the middle of the frame. Those rocks happen to divide the "traditional" beach, which you see in the picture, from the nude beach...on which I am standing.

(But I have clothes on. Just felt like I should clarify.)



Apparently this beach is attached to an entire "clothing optional" resort which has quite a dedicated following. I don't see how that's any sillier than traveling thousands of miles for the privilege of overpaying for diamonds and rum.

And here's Jacob, bless his humble heart:



After St. Maarten, we had 2 days on the boat traveling back to Port Canaveral, which we filled with books, fine dining (I tried escargot for the first time, and I will totally eat it again), and late-night karaoke (we brought the house down with our rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, if I may be so bold).

It was wonderful, a real vacation and not just a trip. I'm dying to wax romantical about the whole togetherness aspect, but I think I'll save it for tomorrow, because I've already been blogging for 4 hours and I don't get paid for this.

to be continued...

Cruise, Part the Second

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on at 10:22 PM

1

After we visited the Bahamas, we had another day of cruising. "Cruising" is the fancy name for "trapping you on a Giant Boat in the hope that you will eventually tire of the available free activities and buy some expensive jewelry just to pass the time."

Actually, there was a lot of really fun activities and we were hardly ever bored. I just like making fun of things and I am very wary of feeling that I might be getting ripped off. David had a massage, I had a pedicure, we climbed the rock wall, we sang karaoke, we tried all the restaurants (our boat had amazing cupcakes and unquestionably the most disgusting pizza in the known universe). We spent a lot of time sitting on an open but shaded deck, far away from the "family" pool, reading book after book, napping, and enjoying our unlimited Diet Coke package.

We actually rode in an elevator once with two teenage boys, who upon discovering that the boat contained a small library, asked with great disdain, "who would read on a cruise?" David and I exchanged a glance, simultaneously picked up our e-books, and said "we would!" A few floors later, an announcement came on about a class at the gym on Deck 11 and the one of the boys snorted "a gym? on vacation?" We couldn't resist and shouted "we did that too!" on our way out the door.

So we might have been the two nerdiest people on the boat, but we read more than 2,000 pages between the two of us and I was able to zip my jeans on the last day. Neener neener, tweeners.

The next day was our 10-year wedding anniversary (more on that later) and we spent it in St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. This is what we saw when we dropped anchor:



Dueling Giant Boats - ours was bigger (on the right):



St. Thomas was billed as a duty-free shopper's paradise, and while fine jewelry wasn't exactly in the budget, we thought we would poke around a little bit. A Tiffany and Breitling outpost called Little Switzerland looked safe, and they also offered a lounge upstairs where we could take advantage of wireless internet access and a free phone call to the States.

While David phoned home, I had a lovely conversation with Don the Jewelry Salesman and feigned interest in a beautiful rose gold ring. (Well, I was interested, but was feigning potential intent to purchase.) Just out of curiosity, I noted the price of the ring and then checked the Tiffany website later to see what kind of savings I had missed out on.

St. Thomas once-in-a-lifetime Tiffany ring price: $665
15-minutes-away-from-my-house Tiffany store MSRP: $575

I think I must be doing this wrong.

After that, we were pretty soured on the shopping aspect so we decided to stop for lunch at Cuzzins. There were chickens running all over the island, and I think one of them probably ended up on my plate in a lovely jerk sauce. Om nom nom.

The restaurant:





In our wanderings, we found a cemetery and went to take a look around. So, if you're keeping track, we read books, work out, and tour graveyards on our vacations. What, doesn't everybody?



There were a lot of homemade monuments like this one:



And one humorous (probably only to us) family name. Iris--->Hedgehog--->Hodgehog--->Hodge:



It was a beautiful cloudy day, and the quiet of the graveyard was much nicer in my opinion than the hard sell of the shops:



We had a couple of hours left, so we decided to check out Magens Bay, which is supposedly one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. On the way, we saw most of the island, which was insanely beautiful. Little overgrown alleys tucked around every corner:



Flowers that would shrivel and die at the mere mention of "Phoenix":





And then, of course, Magens Bay, which was just as beautiful as advertised, if very crowded with Expert Cruisers:



Apparently they have a little iguana problem, although we didn't see any:



The fly-to-human ratio was approximately 20:1:



And back on the boat that night we celebrated our anniversary at the onboard steakhouse. You can see my sunburned chest developing a rich scarlet patina in this photo:



to be continued...

Cruise, Part the First

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on at 8:55 PM

0

In December, David was presented with the President's Award from his wonderful employer, and along with flowers and some kind of crystal prism thing, we were given a 7-day Caribbean cruise on a line of our choice.

Um, wow. Okay!

In addition to the wonderful shock of such a monumental gift, we weren't sure where to start, because - at the risk of sounding like a spoiled brat of historic proportions - when I hear the word "cruise", I picture the Axiom spaceship from Wall-E. A huge, bloated vessel full of huge, bloated people mainlining all-you-can-eat cupcakes directly into their bloodstream, with everything you could ever want on the boat just in case you get too fat and/or lazy to waddle your way off.

(That's a slight exaggeration. Slight. But really, everyone I've heard talk about how much they loved their cruise has cited first the quantity of food, secondly the quantity of booze, thirdly the size of the boat. I was skeptical).

So, a cruise was a vacation modality that had never occurred to my conscious mind, but I am a girl who is always up for a new adventure and so I was happy to go into this trip with an open mind and ready to have some fun!

Well, they definitely weren't lying about the Big Boat. Holy mackerel.



One of the first things we noticed once we got onto the boat was this helpful little touch, in the elevators:



In case you get so enthralled in your cupcake IV that you actually do forget what day it is, the good people at Royal Caribbean have used their Gold Anchor service powers to guide you aright. Bonus: the day is inscribed upon the floor, where one could presumably read it even if the ocean of booze has rendered one temporarily horizontal.

Our first day on the boat was spent "cruising", aka "going", to CocoCay, which is a private island in the Bahamas owned by Royal Caribbean. (Let the record show that I find this idea to be creepy in the extreme.) We spent this day discovering the boat, figuring out what was "included" and what we would have to pay for, and doing Week 8 Day 2 of our couch-to-5K running program.

That is dedication, people.

CocoCay was kind of a tiny, scrubby little island. I somehow expected an island owned by a cruise line to be, I don't know, more sanitized and shiny:



My first Bahamian activity was yoga on Barefoot Beach. Joe the Yoga Instructor's beautiful British accent had no effect on David, so he went for a swim in the clear turquoise water while I got my om on. I'm in the orange top:



I love yoga everywhere, all the time, but I have to say that yoga, among other things people like to do on the beach now and then, is just more enjoyable on some level minus the sand, rocks, pointy bits of coral, saltwater, and blazing sun.

I would have given a lot of money to trade places with the lady in the shade there for the very extended final resting pose:



Our next activity was parasailing. On the boat, waiting for our turn:



Ready...



steady...



go!



So glad we were 400 feet in the air, because my untanned backside was basically hung in a sling for everyone's viewing pleasure. Things to know for next time.

We gave our camera to our boat-mates so they could photograph us while we were sailing, and I guess they got bored of taking pictures of us. So they took some pictures of themselves. Apparently some people never grow out of making That Drunk College Face in pictures:



And here we are being reeled in, with our Giant Boat in the background. It's actually bigger than CocoCay:



I thought parasailing would be more of a daredevil, high-energy activity, but it's actually very low-key and peaceful. Not scary at all.

That night's dinner was one of the two "formal nights" on the ship, which means you dress up fancy, preferably choosing a complementary color to the epic sunburn that you received earlier in the day, and you have even more opportunities than usual to be photographed in dismal lighting against a backdrop from the Year of our Lord 1992. We opted for the no-charge our-camera dismal-lighting dining room photo:



That was, I believe, taken at the end of the third course (did you know every meal on a cruise is a three-course meal? Good thing they have lots of treadmills.)

To be continued...

Balbert at the Ball

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on at 2:41 PM

2

This afternoon, David interrupted Iris brushing her hair in the bathroom.

Daddy: Iris, are you supposed to brush your hair?

Iris: No, I not.

Daddy: That's right. Brushing your hair makes your curls go all crazy.

Iris: But Daddy, I going to a ball!

You can't really argue with that.

It's the last time, baby, I swear

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 11:05 PM

4

I decided to go to this tonight instead of doing a "real" blog. I don't even feel a tiny bit bad about it, either.

For tonight's amuse-bouche I give you a morbidly hilarious letter that Devlin wrote to David and I while we were in the Caribbean and he was staying with my parents. For those of you who don't know him, Devlin is a very scientifically-minded little fellow, and he has evidently been reading recently about tropical storms and the many dangers of UV rays.

Dear Mom and dad, I'm glad you guys are having fun we are too. at school. (Ha, Ha, Ha.) I hope you aren't flying around in a storm. tornadoes start where it's hot at sea. So, anyway, have fun!

Love, Devlin

P.S. don't go to a tanning salan! if you stay in to long, It'll broil your blood and you'll die in two weeks!

So, have a great time and try not to die a grisly death! Love you, bye bye now!

Space Oddity

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at 8:03 PM

1

OK, I decided to do this vacation chronologically, so you will just have to wait one more day to find out the 5 layers of the Cruise Ship Food Pyramid (hint: the foundation is french fries.)

We had one full day in Florida before the cruise and we decided to spend it at the Kennedy Space Center, I assume because David couldn't bear the thought of going to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter without our children to blame for it. That is fine, because right now I still have the last movie to look forward to. In about a year, when I've read all the books again and am desperate for a fix, I'm going and I'm taking my kids and I don't care if we have to hitchhike all the way.

So, the Space Center.

Now I realize that the Space Race generation wasn't as wholesome as everyone seems to remember, and Mr. Kennedy's ladykilling ways would have been much more problematic had they happened in the Age of Twitter, but it is nonetheless incredibly moving for me to imagine this bold young President, challenging in no uncertain terms an unsuspecting nation to go from Earth to the moon in just a few short years.

"But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas? We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win."

- JFK, 1962

And to this end, they thought it was a good idea to put a human being into that contraption on the far left and shoot it into outer space.



It's, like, the size of a pencil.

They got the hang of it, though, and the eventual moon landing was courtesy of this vehicle here, with two average-size humans for scale:



We saw a presentation in the very room, preserved exactly as it was in 1969, where Launch Control sent that Saturn V rocket on its way to the moon. Pretty awesome.



And I stood in front of the wall of newspapers proclaiming the historic news for about 20 minutes:



It turns out all this open-mouth staring makes a girl hungry:



And, in Devlin's honor, I got my picture taken with Someone In An Astronaut Costume. Yes, my legs are slightly less white by the end of the week, thanksverymuch.



Now tomorrow, seriously - the cruise. Pinky swear.

Nonsense

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Monday, June 13, 2011 at 8:54 PM

5

So, I went on vacation.

I meant to, I don't know, notify you all or something, but then I went and got on a huge boat and it turned out that internet access cost 65 cents a minute. And you do not even want to know how many minutes it typically takes me to formulate a post here.

I promise I will tell you all about the cruise. It was, to simplify things greatly, totally awesome. (But a week and a half in a barn full of horse manure would be awesome if I got to bring That Guy I Married.)

However, as usual I have a big heaping pile of photos and thoughts to go through and I don't feel like doing it yet. I promise it will be funny when I get around to it. So for now I give you one of the many wonderful nuggets from my day today, just soaking up the glow of my three children with whom I am so happy to be back (yes, really - I am not exaggerating this at all, to my great surprise and elation).

I give you Devlin, this very afternoon, wearing a pair of size 3T swim trunks that he has worn with pride every summer since I purchased them.

In 2005. He was (almost) 2.



He's (almost) 8 now, if you're not so good with Teh Maths.

This is so awesome that I don't even know what else to say about it. If he gets any skinnier I'll be handing down Iris's clothes to him, poor little waif.

So, check back tomorrow and I will share with you at least 2, and possibly all 5, of the following pieces of information (bonus points for spotting the movie reference):

- the Cruise Ship Food Pyramid (no, really, it was a literal pyramid - you should have seen this guy's plate)

- how to tell what day it is on a cruise

- how to save a shocking amount of money on Tiffany jewelry in the US Virgin Islands and impress all your friends back home

- how to vacation like old fogeys even though your 20's aren't yet out of sight

- how to eat snails

It's going to be fun.

And it's good to be home.

Grand Opening

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Wednesday, June 1, 2011 at 9:41 PM

1

So, I told you all about Super Farm Market, right? Right.



If you, too, want a salad as gorgeous and tasty as this one, I suggest you get your foodie backside over there tomorrow evening. The market begins at 4:30, and there is a grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony by the Mesa Chamber of Commerce at 5:30.

I probably can't go, because I will be packing for my cruise (didn't I tell you? we're going on a cruise!) but you should definitely go and sample all the yumminess in my honor.