Thursday, July 29, 2010

new housemate?

My parents appear to have a new housemate.



This little guy has been living under the deck.  We think it’s a gopher.

edward sharpe & the magnetic zeros

Last week we went to the 9:30 Club on a school night to see Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

We were introduced to the group at Coachella and loved the vibe (cheesy word, I know, but there’s no other way of putting it) so we’ve been fans ever since.

We weren’t wild about the concert being on a Tuesday but we’ve been denied several shows recently because we thought about them for too long and then they sold out. 

I mean, we’re 30, people. 

Late nights after early mornings followed by more early mornings are not in our bag of tricks any longer.

But we were sure glad we went.  Because it was an amazing show.

It started out a little odd because they managed to “lose” one of their lead singers, Jade.  She sings lead on a whole bunch of their songs so they were more than a little thrown off.  And they don’t even have an opening act to cover for them so they began with a couple of songs from their piano player, Tay Strathairn.


Then the rest of the band trickled out and they played a few things but they would have to pause and consider what to play next whenever they finished a song because they, obviously, couldn’t follow their prepared set list.  At one point, they even had us calling for Jade but she still hadn’t been found – she was in a cab in DC somewhere without a phone. 


There’s Nora Kirkpatrick, aka Katherine from Greek, again.  An oasis of calm amidst all the hippy dippy crazy.

When she finally did arrive, she burst through the backstage door and leapt up on the stage – absolutely ecstatic to finally be there.  Then they took a break, presumably to regroup.

They came back out with a rousing rendition of "Janglin'"  You might recognize the tune from the 2011 Ford Fiesta commercial.

I recorded most of the song but not all of it – they went kind of nuts after they finally found their groove. It was AWESOME! Jade is the girl with the short dark hair on the right by the piano.  She’s nutty and she only sings and plays random bits of percussion out of a basket of “toys” that sits on the stage.

They also had a few extra players in the wings. The first was an older guy playing a lap guitar – at least I think that’s what they were calling it.  It looked like a steel guitar to me. 


Later a sitar player joined them for "Desert Song."  They must have had a 5 minute intro to the song wherein half the band sat down on the stage to join the sitar player on the floor.  Just totally chill…

It's not the greatest video but I had to include it because I’m so proud of myself for figuring out how to flip a video.

The lead singer – Alex Ebert – jumped into the crowd about 3 times at various parts of the show.  It was pretty funny.  Once he got a girl in the audience to sing with him.  Another time, he literally got into some guy’s shirt – with the guy still in it.

I really don’t think I’ve laughed and smiled so much through a concert.  It was so much fun!  Ok, I could have done without the exceedingly enthusiastic girl next to me.  But we had a great time.  Really.

One thing that we noticed on our way out that we couldn’t see from where we were sitting/standing during the concert was that the backdrop was the Emerald City.

SSG Edwardo Loredo laid to rest

Not sure what exactly to say about the funeral so I think I’ll let the pictures (and ABC 13 in Houston) speak for themselves.


Jennifer Laredo Staff Sargeant Killed Afghanistan wu5aq0ad0Pal


 jen w flag

Jennifer Laredo Staff Sargeant Killed Afghanistan 5gapYxFY46Ll

All pictures either AP or Getty pulled from various internet sources.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

SSG Edwardo Loredo – May he rest in peace

Today, we have the honor of attending a rather somber event.

But it’s also a celebration of a brave American soldier – Staff Sergeant Edwardo Loredo, brother-in-law of very good friends of ours, Tara and Bob.


SSG Edwardo Loredo, Eddie to his family and friends, joined the Army after graduating Sam Houston High School in Houston, TX (it was a surprise to me to find out that he grew up in my home town).  He became a paratrooper and was most recently assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, NC. He met his wife, Jennifer, our good friend’s sister, while in the service.  After a tour in Iraq, he decided to re-enlist because the Army was his family and his life.  He was deployed to Afghanistan last December and Jennifer followed (though she was in the North and he was in the South) in May.

On June 24th, one day shy of his 35th birthday, Eddie fell victim to an IED while deployed in Afghanistan.  His wife, Jennifer, was unable to be with her husband.  She did accompany him back to the States where he was honored at Dover AFB upon his arrival.  He leaves behind a daughter, son and a step-daughter in addition to his wife and all the family and friends who loved him.

Dignified Transfer

On July 13th, Congressman Ted Poe from Texas gave the following eulogy on the House floor.

But truthfully, I wish I could print the text of the beautiful eulogy that Bob gave for his brother-in-law at the service Monday night.  There was such love, respect, and sadness for dashed plans for the future in his words.  There was hardly a dry eye in the room.

Eddie is being honored with burial at Arlington Cemetery as this is published.

Please keep the Urbans and Loredos in your prayers.

Here is a link to an article published in the Houston Chronicle:

Monday, July 26, 2010

an ode to a dresser

Ok… I’ve established that I ♥ our new dresser.

But I have a few reasons.

a. it’s pretty but you knew that.

b. even the insides of the drawers are stained.

c. it has a cute little plaque to remind us from whence it came.

d. it has the smoothest, slickest, easiest to open drawers on the planet thanks to these metal drawer slides.  DSC_0002

e. this also means that the drawers pull all the way out so there’s no losing things in the backs of drawers.

f. we were able to get 6 drawers of stuff for Will and 5 drawers and a basket of socks for me into 4 drawers a piece!

g. did I mention that it’s pretty and the finish feels like satin?

I’ll stop waxing poetic about the dresser soon.  Truthfully, I took a lot of these pictures for my father-in-law.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

guster + friends = fun

Ok, we’re super excited for several reasons:

  1. Guster is releasing a new CD October 5th.
  2. We’ve got tickets to see them on October 23rd at DAR Constitution Hall.
  3. Well, Tara has them (or will have them when she gets them in the mail) because she’s coming to visit!  Bob might come too!

We like Guster and we like it when our friends come to visit.

Well, this reminded me of the video I took of them last time they were in town.  Now, since I had to break down and join YouTube to upload videos through LiveWriter, I don’t have to worry about the file size anymore.

Acoustic “Jesus on the Radio”

Since the audio in the video kind of sucks and Will found the concert on the web, click below to listen.

redecorating a bit

Once we got everything all settled in the drawers, we put all the “stuff” back on top. 


Sadly, my precious little pewter lamp (inherited from my Aunt Rosie – well, she was really my grandmother’s best friend) is absolutely dwarfed by the dresser.

The proportions are just all off.

Funny how one change leads to many others.

I went home a couple of weeks ago and went shopping with my mother – who can figure out space and proportion in her sleep – for a new lamp.  HomeGoods to the rescue.


This is what I ended up with.  I think it works but I’m not sure which is why the tags and the plastic are still on it.  What do you think?

(yes, the shade is crooked.  I dropped the finial as I was packing the car and left it in NJ.)

Next up – something to put on that wall.

pre-dresser delivery details

I felt the need to document the process behind getting a new dresser in our tiny apartment. 
Yes, we’ve had the dresser now for like 5 weeks…
We began like this:
or close enough anyway.
First we moved Will’s “dresser” over under the windows and cleared off the top of my dresser.
 DSC_0721 DSC_0720
Then we moved my dresser into the living room.
Then came the vacuuming.  We have a bit of a dust bunny problem so we had to clear them out.
DSC_0722 DSC_0723
Then it was time to take all the pictures down and we’re left with a mostly blank wall.  It was sad.
Then we had to take down the shelves too and patch up the holes in the wall.  And get the paint and touch up.  It was a lot of stuff involved for a simple new piece of furniture.  But in the end we had a blank canvas for this:
So pretty.

Friday, July 23, 2010

dining room progression

I talked about this one:

This would then be Step 0.

Some progress was made that I didn’t document because it was fairly minor.  My dresser from childhood was sitting in the living room just behind the shot above and it left which meant that the misplaced furniture could return to its home.  That I guess would be Step 0.5.

Then the TV and one of the 2 sets of plastic drawers travelled north to NJ.  Leaving us with this:
This would have to be Step 1.

Today we managed to get to Goodwill so progress was definitely made.  This is what we have now:
This would be Step 2.

The eBay pile might be growing as are the bags of magazines but progress is still being made.

my own stupidity

Remember when we recaulked the tub?  I had 2 tubes of clear caulk.

Or so I thought.


Do we see what that says?


We had 1 tube of clear and 1 tube of white.  And I totally read it as 2 tubes of clear.

We could be done with this dumb thing but we have to do it again because I can’t read.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

dude doesn’t stop “talking”

Today, I started taking a class online in hopes of being better positioned to get a job should our potential move to Denver actually occur.

It’s got a lot of videos in it and it’s a little weird but also typical for one of these courses.

The star of this one is this guy:
training dude

The weird part is that he never stops “talking.”  When the audio stops, his animated lips just keep right on moving. 

It’s kind of creepy.


Did I mention that we signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon 10k (6.2 miles for those English distance types out there)? 

I think I did.

We’ve done it before.

MCM 10k 2007 
That’s 2007.  I can tell you that these days those shorts are not that loose and flowy and those sunglasses are on someone in Austria or the Balkans.

We even convinced Kate to join us again – though I do seem to recall that she instigated the first go around.

She suggested this training regimen:
running chart 

I’m scared of it. 

You’re supposed to be able to run that first week of running as pre-training.  Please… I’ve only run 4 miles at one stretch once in my life.  Much less 4 times in one week.

But it is giving us motivation to up the running however.  I’m currently fairly comfortable with about 3 miles at a 10 min mile pace.

The schedule is from Cool Running and found here.  It’s the “beginner” training.  I think I need “pre-beginner.”

If you want to know what a “fartlek” is, go here and scroll about half way down the page.  I didn’t know either. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


So... I do have one more blog that I've been reading lately - Young House Love.  Jes had told me about it a long time ago but I didn't start following it until about a month ago after she posted their bit about Catalog Living to Facebook.  They have some ideas that I like but (a) I'm afraid of wanting to copy them too much and (b) they have a considerably lighter, more airy taste than I would like and that Will wouldn't "allow" (there's hardly any unpainted wood in their world as far as I can tell from what I've seen).

But this afternoon they posted about a decorating quiz with relation to roofing.  Sounded odd and I'm bored so I decided to check it out. 

I took the quiz (found here) and these were my results:

roofing color
Really?!  Those are probably 2 of my least favorite colors.  And the description for the yellow... Terrible!  I won't even tell you what it says (and that has nothing to do with the fact that I already closed the window and can't tell you).

And who knew there were so many colors of roofing these days?

Friday, July 16, 2010

kate’s graduation present

I got crafty with my present for Kate’s graduation – ok, I’m still not sure if graduation is the proper term.  She’s still finished with her residency anyway.  It involved my new love Etsy as well.

In looking for something that was interesting and different for my very deserving sister-in-law, I considered a lot of different things.  There weren’t many things that I wanted to straight up buy so I decided to buy supplies (Etsy sells both handmade products and supplies for any number of different projects) and make something for her.

Basically – get crafty.

I found this lot of 40 x-ray clippings from old medical texts:

My original idea was to select a few and frame them.  Well, when they arrived, they were all much smaller than I’d expected.  So I had to rethink my project.

What I decided to do was to use a piece of mat board that I had leftover (from when I bought a whole sheet, had it cut into 4 16” x 20” pieces but only used 3 of them for the pictures over our bed) and make something of a collage.

Here’s my “cast of characters” if you will:
One 16” x 20” black frame, the 16” x 20” white mat board, Tombow removable adhesive, 3M spray adhesive, my Creative Memories picture cutter, and the x-rays, of course.  I should have included a pencil and a ruler – preferably a yard stick.

My first step, sadly, was to trim each clipping so that they had straight edges – the woman I bought them from had done just slightly better than a random hack job with a pair of scissors.
DSC_0508 DSC_0507

Next I moved on to layout.  First I had to decide how much white space I wanted to leave.
I decided on 3.5” all around with a 1/4” bottom weight (wherein you have 1/4 – 1/2” more border on the bottom edge of mat for a picture) and drew guidelines on the back of my piece of mat board so that I could begin to determine how I was going to lay out the clippings.

Clearly then, the next step was to figure out how to lay things out – a completely trial and error process.

Once I had the layout mostly fixed:

I used the removable adhesive to hold them in place while I determined which ones needed trimming.
DSC_0517 DSC_0518
Having the pictures more or less stuck in place as I worked made it easier to be more precise with layout and trimming.

After I was completely satisfied, it was time to turn the mat board over to begin for real.

I lightly drew a box as guidelines and got to work spraying each clipping thoroughly with the adhesive putting them into place permanently.
DSC_0522 DSC_0521 

Almost finished…

The final steps: erase the bits of pencil that show between the pictures, prepare frame, and then put the whole thing together.

Final product:

It seemed to be a hit.  Kate plans to hang it over her desk in her new digs.

I also found this:
on Etsy and thought it would be funny for her to hang on the fridge.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

i ♥ etsy

I’d heard of (can someone please tell me how you’re supposed to say that?) but had never really taken the opportunity to search around until I was looking for something very specific back in May.  I started out looking for clear rhinestoned statement necklace to wear with this dress:


for Kate’s graduation dinner (something I’ll likely blog about soon though I’ll probably make sure she doesn’t mind first).  I didn’t quite find what I was looking for on Etsy so I ended up buying this:

davids necklace

from David’s Bridal (FYI – bad idea to go to David’s on a Saturday in June – holy cow it was busy).  But then I needed earrings.  The “problem” was that the necklace, while perfect for my outfit, was clear rhinestones set in oxidized silver.  I love silver and have a ton of it but nothing oxidized and I didn’t feel that typical shiny silver was going to go with the necklace.  After perusing the mall only to find more shiny silver, I was off to Etsy again.

One of my favorite shops that I’ve found is Red Chair.  She had these:

night on the town earrings

and another similar pair that were oxidized with 3 equally spaced dangly balls for sale (the picture is now gone from her store) but what I really wanted was the perfect combination of the two.  Oxidized silver but only one dangly ball (I felt that the 3 would be too much with the necklace). 

Well, one of the beauties of Etsy is that you can have conversations with shop owners if you perhaps like something that they’ve produced but it’s not quite what you’re looking for.  So that’s what I did.  I sent the woman behind Red Chair a message and asked what she could do for me.  In the matter of 24 hours she had agreed to make the earrings – one ball and oxidized – for only $18!

(I seriously need/want a macro lens – that would make this picture so much better)

As a bonus, she’s only in Takoma Park, MD so I received them super quickly.  And they were perfection. 

Here’s the whole look (though you can’t really see the earrings) with the whole fam:

whole fam
(no, we didn’t coordinate outfits.)

While I was trolling Etsy for handmade jewelry, I was also trying to find ideas for a more personal “yay! you’re done with residency!” gift than what we’d already purchased (a map of the DC area, Not for Tourists – Washington DC, and the City Walks for DC card deck).  In the end, I had a new project on my hands which I’ll describe tomorrow (Sorry, I had to explain my love for Etsy first.)