Thursday, June 28, 2007

Summer Snip

I'm not sure how I feel about this. Amy, our stylist at Groovy Katz, did an awesome job on Arlo's haircut--it really looks great. But he looks so grown up! I decided to take him in for a shorter summer 'do because it's been so warm and he's such a sweaty little boy. I really just wanted him to be comfortable.

I think he looks pretty comfortable. I know these aren't the greatest photos (camera phone, naturally) and I did not have the forethought to take a "before" picture for the sake of comparison . . . but you get the idea. If you check out my flickr page (see link in left panel), you can see plenty of shots of Ye Olde Moptop, before Tuesday night's snip.

Arlo's pretty pleased with his new look. I've caught him admiring himself in the mirror more than once. But the Moptop will probably slowly re-emerge as the summer wears on. I don't think we'll be getting another substantial haircut until next spring. Sigh . . .

Monday, June 25, 2007

Sweet Deal

For the past seven years or so, our dining room set has been a vintage 50s chrome-and-formica set, a "Gray Ice" aluminum-trimmed (?) table with vinyl-covered chairs. Something like this, only with green chairs instead of blue:

My sister and her husband bought the set for me and Ted at a consignment shop here in Iowa City, as an engagement present. We've loved it and used it well, hauling it from Iowa City to Chicago, to the suburbs, to the country, and back to Iowa City again. (All of those moves happened in the space of two years, before Arlo was born.) It's still in remarkably good shape, considering all the miles we've put on it.

However... now we are preparing to put down new maple hardwood floors in our dining room (and kitchen and hallway) and we feel like having a metal-legged table and chairs is no longer wise, if we want to keep our new floors in good condition for a long long long long long long time. And yes, that is what we want.

The prospect of buying a new dining room set, on top of the cost of the new flooring, was an ominous one. I've been browsing online, trawling the secondhand shops, doggedly attending garage sales at every opportunity--all to no avail . . . until this weekend.

We found some nice chairs at a garage sale on Sunday--as it turns out, the garage sale of my cousin's mother-in-law (makes me sound like a Townie, doesn't it??), and we didn't want to pass them up because they were sturdy, attractive, in good condition, and priced right at $10 a pop. Not actual cherry wood, but a nice cherry-toned finish on well-built pine (we think) chairs.

Ted set them up around our formica table, and figured that would be it for a while. He reasoned that we could live with the mismatched table and chairs, since "the chairs are really the only thing that moves against the floor anyway." This notion did not appeal to me. You just can't get much more discord in a room than pairing a 50-year-old formica-top table with a set of nearly new cherry-stained chairs. I wish I had taken a picture. It was cringe-worthy.

I talked Ted into making a trip out to the Stuff, Etc. store in Coralville after church yesterday, though, and lo and behold! There was this attractive cherry-colored dining table--with two leaves--for sale, and it looked to be a near-perfect match! The only problem was, it was priced at $399. Which seemed like a lot for a secondhand table, which, admittedly, was not in perfect condition, although it was better than average and of good quality. Closer inspection revealed that it was from the Bombay Company, which is sort of an upscale Pier 1. (I did some looking online today, and see that their dining tables tend to be priced in the $700+ range.)

Imagine my delight when I discovered that--because the table had been there since March--it was 80 PERCENT OFF that $399 price! The final price, tax included, was $84 measly dollars.


Ta Da!

Not bad for $134, eh?

Ahhhh, the thrill and satisfaction of a bargain found!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Say It Ain't So, Hillary!

Hillary Clinton has chosen her campaign theme song. And I'm sorry to say it... call me shallow... but she may be in danger of losing my vote. I mean, not that I was decided yet, but still. This could be a dealbreaker.

You can hear it the way I heard it yesterday, on NPR's "Day to Day" show, by clicking here. Or you can hear it straight from Hill, on her campaign web site.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Thanks to the Marshalltown Fire Department

Arlo and I visited my folks in Marshalltown for Father's Day this weekend, since Ted is off fishing with his dad and brother in Canada. I've posted some photos from the weekend on my flickr page.

Sunday was a BIG day. Not only did Arlo get to ride his awesome new bike (his "cool bike," as he calls it) that lives at Grandpa's house, but he also got to go to Marshalltown's municipal aquatic complex (a.k.a. "big water park") AND was treated to a Taylor's Maid-Rite (with extra pickle, naturally) AND...

He got to "drive" a fire truck.

Actually... he got to get behind the wheel of TWO different fire trucks. We stopped at the Marshalltown fire station on the way home from Taylor's (where we had stopped on the way home from the water park), and paid a visit to the firefighters, who were all too happy to show Arlo around.

I think Arlo was a little uncertain as to why these fire trucks were yellow--because everyone knows that fire trucks are supposed to be red--but he handled it with remarkable grace and composure. In a fifteen-minute visit, he got to drive an old fire truck and a new one, and watch a Real Live Fireman slide down the brass pole. When he got back into his car seat to hit the road and head back to Iowa City, he had a fistful of stickers and a new coloring book, and he was fast asleep before we even reached city limits.

A big thanks goes out to the guys at the fire station in Marshalltown, who were warm and gracious hosts and who made us feel like visiting dignitaries rather than uninvited interlopers. Some time this summer, we'll try out the Iowa City fire station (with the RED trucks!) and we'll try to be proper guests by at least bringing along some muffins to share.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Not that I'm worried...

...but it feels good to have passed the 25-week mark in my pregnancy. They say that after 25 weeks, a baby's chances for survival (should it be born prematurely, God forbid) are 50 to 80 percent--that's compared with 1 to 10 percent before 22 weeks.

What else is special about this week? It's the second-to-last week of my second trimester ... and it shows. I'm at that stage now when I look in the mirror (or look down on my tummy from above) and I cannot believe that I still have three months left to continue getting bigger.

It's exciting to be contemplating the "home stretch," but of course I'm also steeling myself for the increasing diminishment of my comfort level.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Gray Areas

So we were driving in the car the other night, listening to the Eels' "Daisies of the Galaxy" CD, and Ted and I got into a conversation regarding the gray areas of what language is acceptable for Arlo to hear when we're listening to music.

I brought up the topic because Arlo and I were both bopping our heads and digging the song "Mr. E's Beautiful Blues"--Arlo was even Waving His Hands in the Air Like He Just Don't Care--and why wouldn't we? It's got a great beat, a zippy summer kind of energy, and a wry sense of humor.

One of the things I like about it is precisely why Ted and I started talking about it. When the song first started, I said, "God, what a great song!" Then I remarked to Ted that I wondered if maybe I shouldn't play it with Arlo in the car. I said, "Just wait for the refrain, you'll hear what I'm talking about."

The lyric in question is: "Goddamn right, it's a beautiful day. (Uh-huh...)"

When Ted first heard it, he kind of shrugged and said "Eh. That's not so terrible." We listened for a few more minutes, and he said, "Hm, well, they do say it an awful lot..." and it's true, this phrase is repeated dozens of times throughout the song.

But it WAS a beautiful day.

I told Ted that I always skip over the song (from the same album) "It's a M*otherf*#!er," and I'm sure you can guess why. We both agree that it would be scandalous and WRONG and Totally Not Okay if the M.F. word should ever cross our son's innocent rosebud lips.

However. I think if Arlo turned to me one day and said, "Goddamn right, it's a beautfiul day," I might laugh--and agree with him. Then we might have to have some kind of conversation about how he can say that to me but NOT to any of his grandparents.

Am I too liberal?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Mmmmmmmmm shirtless Kung Fu Fighting.... gahhhhhhhhh!

I don't know what "it" is...

It's been a while since I have blogged on the "Laminated List" topic. However, if you've been reading my blog for a while you'll remember that I keep a running list of Dudes Who Rock My World.

I have not been silent on the topic of Zach Braff, a.k.a. J.D. on Scrubs... he's definitely a major favorite of mine-- not just because he's adorable and funny, but because of his talent for writing and song selection (Graden State, the Last Kiss) and his boy-next-door sort of approachableness.

ANYway. I would like to let it be known that I have not failed to notice J.D.'s best friend, Turk, and I would like to state for the record that Donald Faison now joins Zach on the official Laminated List.

If you have any questions as to why I've elevated Donald to laminated status, look no further than this.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Watch the Birdies

Before Arlo was born, I obsessed mildly over finding or making a brilliant, stylish, intellectually stimulating, and affordable mobile to hang over his crib. I didn't really succeed, though we did end up receiving a very sweet, Scandinavian-simple, wooden butterfly mobile in primary colors from my sister and her family in Denmark--which not only graced Arlo's crib airspace, but also did double duty as our Christmas tree topper (suspended from the ceiling over our plastic Salvation Army tree) last year.

I digress. My point is, looky here!