April 30, 2011

School Performance: Singing, Dancing...Rapping?

On Thursday, the fourth grade performed musical numbers for their teary-eyed parents. It was a tribute to Colorado, to showcase their newfound knowledge of the state.


Before the show started, Maia was, well, weird. Here's the secret, though: she was weird afterward too.


The show began with Kayden front and center-right (in the orange shirt)...


...holding a "D":


For the next 45 minutes, they sang (look for Kayden off to the far-right)...



They danced...



They did not, however, hail Hitler...despite what this looks like:




...and they rapped. This was a hilarious addition to the show's mix of old-timey ditties and bombastic showtunes-style songs:



"Pikes Peak or Bust!"

Times like this, I realize how truly quickly and overwhelmingly the world can change. That being said, though, the kids killed it. As if remembering all those words and singing them along with 100 other kids weren't hard enough, they threw in some rockin' moves to boot.

(By the by, if you liked the performance, feel free to leave a comment for Kayden just below this post.)

On a side note, I always say Kayden is my mini-me. However, this is one area in which we are so different. I was terrified of public speaking, performing, and even just being on stage as a kid. I would purposely miss school on the days I knew I would be receiving an award or performing with the choir at an assembly. Kayden, on the other hand, was really excited to get up there and perform. Given his general shyness, I was very impressed by this.

Kudos, dude!

April 29, 2011

A Birthday Photojournal by Maia

Maia's 7th birthday fell on Easter this year. Among her presents was a camera from her Grandpa Lewis. She immediately set out on a mission to seemingly kill the battery before the day was out. And so I'll hand the post over to Maia, to show you what the world looks like from her eyes.



One of her birthday presents was a Barbie bathroom furniture set. The family immediately was drawn to the toilet, with which we had a rowdy good time playing:





Then it was time to head out to Maia's great-aunt's and -uncle's house for Easter dinner (and more importantly, dessert):













Toward the end of the night, Maia gathered all the grown-ups (and Kayden) for a group shot:


If you'll notice, I'm taking a photo at the moment. Here is that photo of our photographer in action:


Then she rallyed her aunts, Becca and Rachel, for close-ups:



There was an egg hunt for the kids:


And finally, it was time to head back home:

April 26, 2011

Wasteful Becomes Useful...and Other Ways Starbucks Completes Me

Let's just get it out there: I'm insane about Starbucks. I know this may come as a bit of a shock to, well, anyone who has never met me or read my blog before. (At this point, I was going to subtly slip in a link which shows if you Google this site and the word "Starbucks," you get six pages of results--to reiterate my point. But instead, I did it in a very non-subtle way: subtle link.)

**See footnote for a slightly funny, but mostly rambling, story about the beginning of my love for Starbucks.**

One thing I do not love about Starbucks is their wasteful nature. Sure, paper cups are necessary for a coffee shop. But the java jackets? The java jackets! They pass those out like STDs at a high school party. You know, Starbucks, my hands are tough. In fact, they are long-standing champions of the Holding Hot Stuff For a Really Long Time competition. I don't need java jackets and, my friend, neither do you.

When I think about it, I take the time to remove the jacket before leaving the store or quickly say, "Oh, no, I don't need one" before the barista slips one on. Most of the time, however, I simply don't notice until I'm throwing it away and thinking, "Sigh! I wish I could figure out something to do with all of these."

Well, the time has come. I figured out a way to reuse these stupid java jackets. I borrowed a tag puncher from Kortney, pulled out a single-hole puncher and an ink pad:


Then I ordered my very own Bitter o'Clock stamp:


Then I punchpunchpunched:


And stampstampstamped...and voila! Hat tags:


This serves several purposes. Not only did it alleviate my consumeristic guilt about needless waste, but I also needed some kind of tag since *cough* my hats will be carried at several local boutiques this year.

But does this mean I'm going to slip into a Starbucks and steal their collection of java jackets to keep this marketing ploy going? Of course not. If I were going to break into a Starbucks, I'd steal their supplies for making tasty beverages. And maybe a barista.

Since I made the decision to keep the jackets instead of tossing them, my collection has grown extremely fast. This collection--which has taken over my desk at work, my purse, and my workspace at home--serves as a reminder to decline, for the love of god, just decline the java jacket.



So, upon moving to Colorado, I had never had coffee or tea before. (Remember the whole Mormon thing?) At 18, I started working at a Borders with an in-store coffee shop. This was before Seattle's Best took over and brought in their own employees. Back then, Borders employees were cross-trained all over the store, so a typical day would have me working in the coffee shop for a few hours. It was around this time that I finally tasted tea. It tasted like crap.

Well, I eased into with all the milk and syrups at my disposal. I grew to love it and eventually found I liked it without all the frou-frou-ness added in. From there, I tried coffee. It tasted like crap.

Nevertheless, I saw the possibilities. Being a barista, I got to experiment to my heart's content. My crowning achievement (no, not like while giving birth...gross) was the Vachocochalatte: a mixture of chai, espresso, milk, vanilla syrup, and pumps of Ghiradelli's chocolate. It was amazing. From there, it was on. Like a child who never gets candy will overindulge at Halloween, I was overly caffeinated from that moment forward.


Now, working at a coffee shop had its woes (and its whoas). Namely: Starbucks customers. These people were always very snooty, very uninformed, and very demanding. These were the people who got mad when a drink did not taste like it did at Starbucks. These were the people who ordered four large drinks, filled with nothing but a shot of espresso and foam. I grew to hate them.

You could pick them out by the way they ordered a "venti macchiato," then yelled when you informed them that a macchiato was just a shot of espresso with a dollop of milk. They insisted I was an idiot. Because of these people, I was determined to never go to Starbucks. Well, and because there were six (yes, six!) Starbucks within a square mile of my cafe. This fact irritated me, since I was sure at least four of those must have put an independent coffee shop out of business at some point, right?

But then one day, I had to meet up with some classmates to go over a school project. Where did they choose to meet up? Starbucks. I grumbled but relented...however, I would not order anything. Of course, once I got there, droopy-eyed and unmotivated, I realized I needed a fix. Blame me if you want, but could you work on a Statistics project uncaffeinated? I don't freakin' think so. I ordered a mocha-something-or-other. And god dammit, it was delicious.

I still resisted Starbucks for a long time after that, but my resolve wavered month by month. Within a couple years, I moved into an office job. The cafe was no longer there for me to swipe free drinks or to create bold new masterpieces. I was forced to go to coffee shops like everybody else. And what was the most convenient? Well, if I sneezed and accidentally passed one Starbucks, I could just stop at the next one. Then when I discovered their five-pump chai, I became the fiend I am today. Despite my love of Starbucks, though, I refuse to use their stupid lingo. I can't help it. Years of dealing with those jerky Starbucks customers forced me into a permanent rebellion. I am now the jerky customer you will find asking for a medium chai with--oh wait, can you make that nonfat?--yes, medium, um, with whip cream. Ha, take that, Starbucks.

April 18, 2011

Just Another Catatonic Monday.

I keep nodding off. Pandora seems to be trying to lull me to sleep with its insistence on playing Sting. On my Janelle Monae station. Really, Pandora?

So, in an effort to stay awake, I'm going to do a mish-mash post. It's been a while. Plenty to be mashed about.

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I recently got a package in the mail. It was a box full of free samples: Starbucks Via, CoffeeMate creamer, deodorant, and more. It was like Christmas. Well, like the Christmas when my mom, tired of wrapping individual presents, got each kid a big box and tossed all their presents into it. And wrapped one single box. She was a smart lady.

Anyhow, the box. I don't know who sent it, because I was immediately blindsided by the excitement of being surprised. Deodorant! Biscotti! Wowie!

Well, one of the items in the box was something called Dream Water. Underneath warnings about not consuming it with energy drinks or while driving was a cute little tagline, "Dream Responsibly." Sold!


Now, when I am either stressed or in an especially creative phase, my mind refuses to go to sleep. As a result, I hadn't been sleeping well lately. I took a sip of the Dream Water and finding it pleasantly overly-sweetened like Kool-aid made by children, I downed the whole bottle.

Fast-forward 20 minutes. I didn't exactly pass out. But my movements slowed until I stopped crocheting altogether. I sat and watched a show with Keene, uncharacteristically not fidgeting, not talking, not doing anything else. I didn't go to sleep any earlier than usual, nor did I stay asleep any more consistently than usual. But it did manage to turn me into an unproductive sloth for the night, so kudos to you, Dream Water. You have bested me this time, with your mysterious arrival and alluring tagline.

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We recently went furniture shopping (well, furniture-looking-at-and-talking-about-and-ultimately-deciding-against-everything). While there, we spotted something familiar. For a low, low price of $29.99, you too can own the Johnny 5 television stand:


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If you are my friend on Facebook (and I don't know why you wouldn't be, we're pals, right?), then you know by now that I have gotten rid of Old Man Car. Yup, I traded him in for a sexier, younger, and taller vehicle. I'm not really good at that whole loyalty and commitment thing.

Behold my Jeep:


And, of course, Keene wasted no time in disassembling it to see how it works:



Yes, while I was driving.

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And if you don't "like" my Facebook page, Bitter o'Clock (and I don't know why you wouldn't, I'm pretty cool, you know), you haven't yet seen my newest geniusness.

The Combover Hat:


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Hmm...I usually throw some recommendations into mish-mash posts, don't I?

Let's see...

Okay, check this out from the Etsy shop, lilimandrill:


You could put your face on a stamp. If you're hip, you could put a mustache on a stamp, then stamp it on whenever you're in an ironic mood. I could have one made with the word "Fantastic!" on it, then stamp anything I deem worthy. ANYTHING could be made into a stamp.

Wouldn't that just be the coolest thing? No, but really, it is. Quit arguing. Or you won't get the Fantastic stamp on your forehead. You'll get the "I argue a lot" stamp instead.

As for a song, this is kind of an oldie, but it's on my mind today. "Soundtrack to the End" by Communist's Daughter:



Finally, this girl makes awesome animal noises. I'm guessing she is even better after a couple of drinks:


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...until next time:

April 14, 2011

Forget owls and octopuses. Etsy is good for hair-shopping.

I'm preparing to cut my hair again. Yup, bored with it already. And what better place to get hair-inspiration than Etsy?

I'm sorry, Cute Dark-Haired Bride. I didn't get your name before copying and pasting. If you see this, let me know who you are and I will be happy to give you the credit you so richly deserve.


However, this seller is my true girl-crush, MBGDesigns. Remember my post last year about girl crushes? Well, they have nothing on her hair:


Nevertheless, my true inspiration for cutting my hair short again?


Me. 'Cause I make a pretty cute boy.

(I'm the one on the left.)