Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas, Au Revoir!

We had a lovely Christmas. Although we missed being with either set of parents, we had a very special time just the two of us.

On Christmas Eve, we went to see Avatar at the matinee. Kris was delighted. I was outraged at the poor storytelling and resulting headache (turns out my eyes only like things that really are 3-D). The things a person will do for love!

After that we went home and Kris got our Christmas cards ready for sending while I whipped up a feast of homemade egg rolls and pot stickers, complete with the most scrumptious dipping sauce. Kris called me his "hot Asian wife" afterward. Still not sure what to think about that... :)

We capped the evening off with sparkling pomegranate juice, our very own duet concert of fine Christmas carols, and a reading of Luke II and 3 Nephi.

And then, I kid you not, Kris actually set our alarm clock for 6:30 am. Sometimes I think the man I married is six. But don't worry--two minutes before the alarm sounded, Kris poked me until sleep fled and then said, "Are you awake? It's Christmas!" When I was just about to work up the strength to strangle him, something his mom would call a "Christmas Miracle" occurred: he rolled over and went back to sleep until eight. Close call.

Opening gifts was fun. We acquired a few family movies for our collection, some rad light bulb terrariums my sister made(check out "life hacker" sometime online), a few books on the Cherokee nation (more on that later) and some greenbacks we haven't yet negotiated a use for. Thanks, everyone! I got Kris an electric razor (with my name on it) and he got me a cupcake safe. To celebrate, I made cupcakes. (Sorry, Mel, for another "artsy close-up of flowers and junk." I can't help myself!) I did not take this picture of the terrarium, but it's pretty sweet, eh?

We spent Christmas evening with one of Kris's sisters, playing games with their kids, losing games to them, and eating a seafood feast. Good times had by all. Now we just have to wait a whole year for our next grand Christmas adventure.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Photoshop, I loath thee!

So I've been tooling around on Photoshop, fixing on the pictures I took at Sierra's wedding...I love what that program can do, but I hate how frustrated I get when it doesn't do what I want it to do when I want it to do it. In all reality, Photoshop should be frustrated with me for my ineptitude :) I like this picture though:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Oh, Georgia!

Gadzooks! I just realized the date and that it has been five years since I came home from my missionary work in Georgia. Man, I miss that time of my life! Nothing beats boiled peanuts, sweet potato pie from Bro. Hockenbury and a hug from his wife, hanging out with Sister Hebbard, Tifton--dear Tifton!--dinner at the Millers, Mamma and Pappa Weaver, lessons from the Gardners, s'mores with the Humphreys, so many more great people, and teaching the word of God. I can't believe all of the wonderful things that have happened in my life during these last five years(Kris!), but I'll always think kindly and often of my missionary companions (Permann, Shug, word!) and the people of Georgia. Thanks for the great times!

What a Wedding!

Well, the deed is done: On Saturday, Sierra became Mrs. Nathan Nelson. She was a beautiful bride and we're glad to have Nate in the family.

But it was the coldest event of my life. They got married in the morning and it was twenty degrees while we took the pictures afterward--"No coats, bridesmaids, no coats!" While I shivered me timbers in a silky black dress and ballet flats, Kris went around taking photos of the temple grounds. He's pretty good.

I like this one because it reminds me of a stern finger, pointed and shaking.

The reception was lovely (and early, vahoo!). I did photog duties and that was pretty fun. A recurrent theme in my work was the dessert buffet. Hmm...

And this is me with the cake I made for the event. Twelve hours of my life I'll never get back :)

Congratulations, Sierra and Nate! And one big thank you to the Samson Clan and everyone else who helped out--we couldn't have pulled it off without you!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Trains and Things

Christmas is almost here! On Friday night Kris took me on a date to see the lights at Temple Square in Salt Lake City. We rode the train down and then walked around in the freezing cold. It was beautiful! I love to see the temple, all surrounded with lights and people from everywhere enjoying the season together. It's fun to be in love.

We've had a heavy, two day snow storm. Here was our conversation on the way to church this morning...

Sam: You're going a little fast. Don't we need to turn here?

Kris(mischevious grin of delight upon his face): That's what the e-brake is for!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas is here! So are grazing deer

Today Sam and I went to the local tree lot (in the parking lot of our faithful neighborhood grocer, Stop and Shop) and we bought a Christmas tree!  Sam seemed to want one that was nice and round, all filled out, and conical.  Yeah well…I like tall and skinny, with funky little branches here and there.  Plus those are cheaper!

Sam sure knows how to decorate a twig, huh?

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Monday, November 30, 2009

My Friend Gracie

Thanksgiving was awesome. We carpooled home to the ranch with Sierra and Nate. Less awesome was my brother-in-law's amazing ability to gleek on demand while forcing Kris and I to undergo twelve hours of servitude in the back seat of his Subaru. I may or may not have developed an Australian accent as a result.

At any rate, Colorado was fantastic. We spent two full days just hanging out at the ranch, hiking, eating my mum's rolls, gobbling Katie's pies, and chopping wood for the winter. Well, Kris chopped wood with Nate, Dad, and Collin. I hung out with my brother's two-year-old. I love that kid. She's about the cutest thing ever and pretty dang smart. We played "Lucky Duck" and she beat me every time. I nearly beat her when she stayed with us overnight and refused to sleep from the hours of 1:30 am until 4:30 am. I'm not kidding, she watched the original Herbie the Love Bug movie without blinking an eye.

My nephew Gordon is getting pretty cute too. My dad is fully in love with him and this is a picture of Gordy in Papa's hat.

Do you think we left the dog in a kennel somewhere? We did not. Hunter's favorite thing is going to the ranch. This time he got to play with my parent's dogs and climbing cliffs. Who knew: our labrador retriever is terrified of water but not of heights. No wonder he wound up in the pound, the lousy mutt :)

At this moment Kris is fondling our new laptop and I'm getting ready to tinker on some stuff for Sierra's wedding. It's a good family night at the Bell's house!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

True Confessions

1) I have a purely platonic crush on Scotty Hamilton--you know, back-flips-on-ice-Olympic champion, giggles-a lot-skating commentator, Scotty Hamilton.
2)I finally like a John Mayer song and the lyrics are awful. Dang that plucky guitar!
3)Last night I abused my dog by clipping his nails--just ask him.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wuv, Twu Wuv

So my baby sister is engaged at last! Kris and I took their engagement photos and we think Sierra and Nate are pretty cute together. I'm particularly proud of this picture, which I think shows the absolute truth about men and women preparing for a wedding. The photo is rather prescient, don't you think?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Rad Picture I Didn't Take

7th Grade Poem

Your unfocused gray eyes
stare somewhere near me—
I’m supposed to teach you,
to open up worlds of wonder
subjunctive clauses
and I wonder:
do I even know
what that means
Bring a pencil.
Capitalize that letter.
Stop poking him!
I just said that.
And yes,
by heaven, beneath those hollowed-
out cheeks and caramel lattes
you are a
twelve years grown,
plumpness fallen off like summer
a sapling still.

I’m torn

between loving and loathing
right down from that fabulous scarf
to your mischievous grin…

I too wish it was June
that we were planting seeds
in sun-shot soil
and wading
in cut-offs and baggy t-shirts
with rock band slogans,
goose-bumped flesh carving
a pond’s metallic surface,
laughing at dandelion tufts
so awkwardly splayed
across the current
by the grace of their own weight’s tension
tiny miracles
waltzing on the water.

But it’s fall now
and we have no other lake
than this sienna carpet
banked in by cinderblock white,

no seeds save commas, adjectives
and Tuck Everlasting’s “One True Meaning”

but I’m trying—please believe me, child,

oh, child—to show you in each fat
petal (comma) crisp zucchini (comma) and
succulent pear (comma) that life
is more stunning
than your mascara-ed face, more


It comes out a lot like
shut up and sit down
when I mean


be counted

see the beauty of your own calloused hands.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

So lately Kris has been on a kick about buying a two-seater toilet. Don't ask. But Cynthia sent me this cartoon today, and now I'm starting to think that Kris might not be as alone in his fetish as I thought. He just better not get any bright ideas about sizing for the seats. It's hard being married to a skinny man...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Who needs those little wooden sticks anyway?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Farewell, Summer...I love you!

Well, Fall found us. For some reason I can't explain, I felt a great need to rescue my flowers from tonight's frost. Sometimes you can read "kill" in place of "rescue." Odd, that. Anyway, I went around clipping the best blooms from our flower beds and they are now gracing the top of my great aunt's tea cart in these glittering jars. I love them. They make me sad and happy all at once.

We also dug up our geraniums on the advice of Harold and Cleone (our beloved elderly neighbors and general garden gurus), placed the roots in paper sacks, and stashed them (the plants, not our neighbors...no elderly abuse here!) in the basement until spring. We'll see if ever they shall bloom again. I have faith that they will.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

One Thousand Words

Ok, I swear that I'm done with the dog. But do you see what I mean about the things marriage does to you? Yes, that is a dog house. And no, I didn't put him there.

Together Again--At Last!

Well, the boys made it home safely from the farm. They found me elbow deep in icing and going to town. Since false modesty is a waste anyway, I'll just tell you: these cookies taste as good as they look.

Here's a grand picture of Hunter standing guard over the boss after a long day...

And this is a picture of Hunter's new favorite thing...hiding beneath the desk so we don't put him out for the night.

All I can say is that you people better hope we have children someday. Otherwise, you'll likely be hearing more about this dog than you ever wanted to.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I Live on a Street Full of Truffula Trees

My boys left me home alone for a day-trip to visit family in Idaho. Kris and I had a near custody battle over the dog (How am I supposed to stay home without that redhead staring at me through the bathroom window or tossing his tennis ball against the French doors? It's lonely, I tell you!), but Kris is very persuasive. So I'm doing a deep clean, baking sugar cookies and an apple pie (pictures to follow) and writing poetry in between. Fall has worked its magic and the view through my kitchen window is of orange, purple, yellow, red and green trees. There are worse ways to spend a Saturday...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

One Roast, Two People, Four Meals

That's right, friends, this is my newest culinary trick. It sounds kind of odd, but spaced out by a couple of other meals and with all of the different ways the pork is fixed, Kris didn't even realize he was getting leftovers until after the week was over :) I like to do this menu on really busy weeks, since everything after the roast takes about 20 minutes to prepare. Did I mention cheap? If you want any recipes, let me know...
Sunday: Crock pot Pork Roast and Potatoes
Monday: Spaghetti
Tuesday: Pork and Broccoli Teriyaki Bowls
Wednesday: Crepes
Thursday: Sweet Pork Burritos
Friday: Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwiches and Corn on the Cobb

April is the Cruelest Month?

So says that one guy, but I think it's October. Who knew that fall is so busy after you buy a house? We've spent the last couple of weeks painting our trim, staining our deck, building Hunter an indestructible dog house (rimmed in wire, the better to thwart his teeth!) and planting tulips. The tulips we're pretty excited about...all 130 of them. T.S. Elliot? The British can keep him!

This week's sign that marriage makes you weirder: We had friends over for dinner last night, and we fed them funeral potatoes. Oh, and Kris woke up one night this week certain that Sam's toenails were mice and they were out to get him. Only the second part was true.

Kris and His Two Degrees

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fruit Bears and Other Oddities

So no, we do not have any snarling, ferocious bears at our urban abode. We are the bears. Fruit bears. Our house is in an old neighborhood (an inscription in the basement informs us that the house was built from May-September, 1939 and that Joey--whoever he was--was 4'9" at the time...) and it's pretty sweet because the whole street is loaded with old fruit trees and grape vines.

Sam spent most of the summer scavenging and canning cherries, apricots, peaches and plums. Last weekend we canned 30 quarts of grape juice. We're still waiting to see if it ferments or not...

So all things taken, life's pretty good. Kris spends his days discovering new tricks in Microsoft Excel (sorry for the product placement) and Sam spends hers explaining that the curious little dot so often seen in print is a period and it goes at the ends of sentences.

Hunter, our pound puppy, chews on things he is not supposed to while patiently waiting for his people to come home. We only let him live because he has also learned to shake, roll-over and perform other useless but amusing tricks.