Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Furniture is Fabulous

So I have already mentioned this, but our moving truck was days and days late arriving to our house here in Salt Lake City.  It actually didn't leave Dallas until after we arrived here in Salt Lake City, a fact which filled me with regret at not planning a much longer cross-country drive involving the Grand Canyon or something.  Some of the orders ahead of us in the moving company's queue ended up going way over their estimated weights, so ours had to be bumped to a later truck.  The company that did our move paid us $150 per day that they were late and they ended up being 5 days late so we were not without recompense, but given the choice I definitely would have taken getting our stuff on time.

We had with us a couple of suitcases of clothes, the toys for the car, inflatable mattresses, and not much else.  The original plan was for us to be here in our house 3 or 4 days without any belongings but it ended up being closer to 10.  Ten days!  Without a single dish!  Or a place to sit!  We decided that we would make very bad Buddhists.  I am someone who abhors clutter and am something of a minimalist when it comes to furniture and decoration and all that, but this was taking things TOO FAR.  I am also a bit of a homebody (I am not antisocial but I do not regularly go out in the evenings and I have a pretty high need for unscheduled downtime) so it was so weird to have "home" be such an uncomfortable place.  Anyway, our big moving truck finally arrived and it has been such a relief to have real beds to sleep in and bowls for our cereal and chairs to sit in.  I think it has been a big relief to Grace as well; she was definitely showing signs of stress at all this upheaval.  One day when we were eating lunch at a restaurant, she started weeping, saying that she wanted "to lunch at a HOME."  And now that we have our stuff, her bedtime prayers have included thanking God that we have our furniture and our house is "more like normal".

Anyway, my memories of the days without any stuff are already starting to fade; it must be like childbirth where you eventually feel all hazy about the horrible details and thus you do not immediately recoil in horror when the thought occurs to you to move again/have another baby.  It's probably a good thing that I didn't have regular internet access during that period or else there would be whiny, complaining blog posts to commemorate my lack of moral fortitude.

Having our home be such an unpleasant place did give us lots of opportunities to be out and about and do fun things, although the fun did eventually grow wearisome, especially to Grace.  We ate at a ton of fun restaurants and hung out at the beautiful downtown library and visited parks and so forth.  The other thing we did was go see a bunch of houses with our realtor here.  We weren't planning on house-hunting until the fall but, well, we were looking for something to do. :) And now we have found some houses we really like so we might end up moving forward pretty soon on some of this.  As Rob and I were unpacking the boxes when they finally arrived, we would look at each other and say, "Hey, I know! Let's MOVE AGAIN!"

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Happy Pioneer Day!

Well, look at me-- I am BLOGGING. On my COMPUTER. Which is connected to the INTERNET. It is a very exciting day. My fancy birthday phone has been my only connection to the internet for, gosh, almost 3 weeks now and although it is pretty amazing to be able to respond to email or use Twitter on my phone, it just isn't the same and blogging was nearly impossible. Now I am sitting in front of this HUGE GIANT COMPUTER SCREEN and typing on this GIANT KEYBOARD and it makes me want to use a lot of capital letters.

So it will be two weeks tomorrow since we arrived in Salt Lake City, and what are my first impressions, you ask? It is really, really beautiful here. We first drove into the city along I-80 heading west from Wyoming, passing by Park City and through the mountains that edge Salt Lake City and I was just awestruck. I have never lived anywhere this gorgeous. We were using the GPS and when it said we were 10 minutes from our house, we were in this lush green canyon with beautiful mountains on either side. I couldn't help but think about where I would be if I drove 10 minutes in any direction from our house in Dallas. Even being in the city is lovely. The mountains are RIGHT THERE, so close to the city, and the valley itself is lovely, with big trees and charming older homes and little neighborhoods with firm identities. (Do you know what I mean? Different neighborhoods here look different from each other.)

We have been spending a lot of time out and about in the city because our moving truck was so, so late and our house was EMPTY and I really like the vibe of the town. Rob and I have looked at each other several times and said, "This is our kind of town." There are lots of little non-chain restaurants staffed with friendly tattooed people serving yummy food (Mexican! Middle Eastern! Breakfast!), and pockets of walkable shops and yoga studios and boutiques. We went to the fabulous farmers market last weekend, and I have been checking out a bunch of the awesome parks to give the girls a chance to run around and have fun.

Speaking of being outside, the weather has been something of a revelation to me. It is dry here and the high temperatures since we've arrived have been between 90 and 95 degrees, but at night it is in the 60s. I have always been rather dismissive of those who claim, "But it's a DRY heat!", saying that 95 degrees is hot no matter how you slice it, but really, it is not too bad. We have eaten lunch outside multiple times and been totally comfortable, and our rental house doesn't have air conditioning and we are coping pretty well despite the fact. Don't get me wrong; I would love to have some AC here because it can get uncomfortable at times, but to give you some context, living in this house with no AC at 95 degrees is way, way better than living in our house in Connecticut with no AC at 85 degrees. Remember how much I complained about that? I now readily admit that humidity does in fact make a difference, not least in the state of my hair. Good hair days, hooray!

There is a certain cultural wackiness due to the influence of the Mormons, I will admit. The majority of people I see around town and have met are not LDS (Salt Lake City proper is about 40% Mormon) but the LDS church has a big impact on the politics and the culture and whatnot here. For example, today is Pioneer Day, which it turns out is a bigger deal here than July 4. There are fireworks and a parade and everything shuts down and so forth. Today some new friends here (the ones who had us over for dinner when we were visiting in April and have the awesome garden and streak of orange hair and adorable 3-year-old daughter and chickens and so forth) invited us to their mimosa-and-bloody-mary-fueled ironic Pioneer Day party where we had a lovely time at their fun house and then walked down to see the parade. There were Mormon-themed floats and a lot of people in from the suburbs (the suburbs ARE dominated by LDS folks) and marching bands with modestly-attired baton twirlers.

So anyway, there is all that Mormon stuff, and then we joined the Jewish Community Center because that is where Grace is going to preschool in the fall, and also what we're going to use as a summertime pool and a gym and all that. We have only been there once so far, but on that visit we got a tour and orientation and everything and it is a very Jewish place-- more Jewish than the YMCA is Christian, for context. Rob and I were talking and we realized that in our first days here it has seemed like everyone here is of a different religion than us and there are different holidays and so much is just DIFFERENT... It's kind of like we moved to a different country. :)

That can be Utah's new slogan-- kind of like a different country.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Things We Saw on Our 4-Day Drive from Dallas to Salt Lake City

  • 1250 miles spin by
  • 5 states
  • 3 hotel rooms, 2 of which had the same number (Freaky!)
  • innumerable cows
  • many horses
  • 1 prairie dog
  • a lot of deer
  • a herd of buffalo
  • some truly amazing sky
  • my friend Sharon, who fed us a delicious non-restaurant lunch with ACTUAL VEGETABLES as we made our way through Colorado (Hooray!)
  • wind turbines (One of them was really close to the freeway and I realized that although I've seen them pretty frequently, this was the closest I'd ever been to one and these things are HUGE.
  • snow fences (I did not know such things even existed.)
  • the Continental Divide (We are now flowing toward the Pacific, I suppose.)
  • many wee tiny towns, and a few bigger cities
  • so, so many Cracker Barrels (I never realize how many of these there are until I drive cross-country; our dinner there one night was Rob's first time to ever be in one.)
  • prairie, mountains, and high plains (So, so beautiful. This was a really beautiful, amazing road trip.)
At the New Mexico/Colorado border

Monday, July 5, 2010


So yesterday I pretty much fell apart. I started the day with a migraine that kept us from our last Sunday at our church here in Dallas, then by the afternoon I was shivering with chills even though I was wearing sweatpants and a hoodie and our thermostat was set to 80 degrees. If you have spent much time with me, you know this is REALLY weird because I am very hot-natured and am almost never cold. My head was spinning and I felt nauseous and I couldn't hold Violet without falling dizzily and oh my gosh, I thought I was going CRAZY. I really thought that it was all psychological and I was just crumbling under the stress of Abbey dying and moving and all that. I finally took my temperature in the evening and found I was running a significant fever, which I've got to say came as something of a relief. It is much more bruising to my sense of self to think that I am incapable of coping with the stress of life than to think that I have a virus. I am doing better today, although trying to do our packing and getting ready for the movers tomorrow is pushing the limits of what I can handle today. I am taking a lot of breaks to lay on the bed.

Anyway, the various circumstances of life have conspired lately to put me in great need of some escapist entertainment. I also have felt like I could really go for a) eating an entire container of ice cream or b) getting roaringly drunk, but both of those are not very healthy coping mechanisms for stress and sadness, now are they? Watching more TV and movies than usual seems like a better option. And of course, I've been working on getting my sewing stuff packed up so I haven't been doing my normal amount of stress-relieving sewing. So there you go-- yay for TV and movies and other various forms of entertainment!

I was almost an entire season behind on LOST, but I recently caught up and then finally watched the series finale. I know I am MONTHS late to this party but I enjoyed it so much. I really like how they ended the series, and I think that is up there for one of my very favorite TV shows ever, with The X-Files and Gilmore Girls and Battlestar Galactica. Have you seen this explanation of the plot? I find that pretty satisfying, although I will admit that there are some plot issues and confusion that make it not as perfect a show as it might have been. I think it really succeeded when it comes to character and tone and telling a story, though, so I am a pretty happy fan. What a unique, creative show; they are in obvious need of an eyepatch. (The eyepatch is around 7:20 of that video, but gosh, the whole Tyra Banks interview is HILARIOUS.)

We recently watched Whip It, which conspired to make me miss Austin a lot and also for Rob and I to talk again about how much I dislike sports but how much I enjoy sports movies, especially if they are about some slightly offbeat, not-quite-mainstream sport. We have had this conversation before, and it is a corollary to our conversation about why watching sports doesn't seem very entertaining to me. There is no plot! You don't know that it is going to end the way it is "supposed" to! We most often have this conversation during college football season when it seems to me that Rob uses his precious leisure time to watch games that make him more unhappy than he was before he turned on the TV. (Thanks a lot for that, Texas Aggies.) In contrast, sports movies DO have plot and end EXACTLY how they are supposed to. Examples that I have enjoyed to various degrees include Strictly Ballroom (I looooooooove it), The Cutting Edge (a girlhood classic), Blue Crush (OK, not an actual good movie), Bring It On (guilty pleasure), Wimbledon (what is with all the Kirsten Dunst?), Bend It Like Beckham (so good, and about an actual normal sport to boot), and Drumline (perhaps the most quintessential sports movie on this list, and also awesome).

Speaking of Drumline, we watched that sort of recently and also within the space of a few months The Wood (very enjoyable) and I'm Through With White Girls (FABULOUS) and now, judging by the suggested movies, I'm pretty sure Netflix thinks we're black.

And now for your entertainment, here are a couple more shots of my adorable children from that photo shoot we had back in May.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Goodbye, Dear Friend

Good dog

Dear sweet wonderful Abbey
October 2000 - July 2010

Abbey on the rug

Her name was our first baby's first word and we are so, so sad at having to let her go. Goodbye, you wonderful good dog.

Abbey sniffs a little pink hand

Family vacation

Curled up by the radiator


Visions of kibble dance in her head