Martha Thinks

Saturday, January 30, 2010

baby, it's cold outside

so stay warm on this c-o-l-d-e-s-t of January nights; put on the fuzzy pajamas...

and take some goofy photos. You'll be amazed how it will amuse you.
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

an afternoon in the life

You may have seen that Chronicle on WCVB was asking for photos of everything the viewers did on Monday, January 25th. You can submit your photos and they may use them in a future show. So here are some of the things we did yesterday afternoon and evening. Pretty boring, but real life, no? 2:40 pm - Just back from school pick-up here's Mr. Brady who has forgotten how to smile at his mother, unhappy to be posing in the rain. What?
2:50 pm - Carter eating his pb&j and drinking his lemonade in the car on the way to below....
3:10 pm - ah, the follow up dermatologist appointment. "They don't wash enough" I said. "Some boys don't care about acne" she said.
4:30 pm - In the pouring down rain, Rich tries to get the dog out.

8:30 pm Lots of Dunkin' Donuts cups and candy at our Band Parents Organization meeting. Wonder why I can never get to sleep before midnight, hmmm?

8:50 pm - Meanwhile, in the room next door, Brady (far left) is at Winter Percussion Practice.
9:00 Home.
Martha ate 6 Vienna Finger cookies and had some tea.
Brady scarfed roast beef and then a whole box of Mac & Cheese.
But you could say we ate together ; )

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ronan has found Harry

Reading didn't come easy to him. Or maybe he didn't like it. Frankly I was worried. The whole world opens up if you are a good reader. We weren't sure how the relationship between the written word and the kid would work out, but by 3rd grade the commitment to nightly reading has paid off!! He jumped from easy readers to Mr. Potter and has not put the series down in months.
It is a joy to see this dog eared copy making it's way through another boy in this house.
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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Off to a good home...

Ah, the jewelry of my youth. I love jewelry, the good stuff, costume, vintage pins, all of it. But it's time for our annual Band Indoor Yard Sale and so I am cleaning out and dusting off what I will never wear again. Of course, you can't help tripping down memory lane. I remember wearing that necklace with the kid's names when there were only 2 of them! (I can't give that away, actually.) The giant silver and turq earrings bought in Portland Maine around 1984. The silver beaded ankle bracelet in Newburyport. The pink pearl bracelet at a Gem Show - too small now.
All of these odds and ends that I hope will make someone happy.
Off goes the sweet Limoges ring tray that I got at my bridal shower. I know, I know! But you know what? I use the sweeter little clay pot that Ronan painted to hold my rings.
But I'm keeping the velvet-lined Tiffany jewel box...I'm not an idiot.
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Slow Day

just a little snow, all day long, enough to make me slow down and check out the sights.
those bossy blues in the backyard.
you could almost get me out there with a cocktail.
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Key Master

We are getting things done in the New Year!
This old upright was in the basement of a home my brother bought years ago. Since then it's gone from there to my mother's house, over to his new home and when his kids' grew tired of lessons, I had it brought to my house. It was a little out of tune.

"hmm...this is interesting...what's he doing? biscuit? do I see a biscuit in there?...he plays nicer than that loud boy..."

This charming piano tuner told me his career began when he didn't want to pay the "highway robbery" prices that were being charged when he needed his own piano tuned and so took classes and became certified. It took him two hours to tune this one and we didn't feel robbed at all!

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putting down a "flor"

That boring old rug was not quite big enough for this room and too light for all of the foot traffic...needed something with a little zest...geez, how many bones does that dog need?? Better move that foot, kid.

Have you heard of the company "Flor" that makes carpet tiles? They come in every imaginable color and on their website allow you to graph and chart your own floor inserting the tiles you like to let you see the end result.
A lot of these (maybe all?) are made with recycled goods, so it makes you feel like you are doing something good while you are changing your floor covering. They say that the tiles are easy care (the dog already barfed, the clean up was easy) and if you need to replace, you just unstick and put another one down. For houses with lots of kids and pets it's a no-brainer.

The only problem you'll encounter is deciding what to order. We played around and played around and finally committed to these colors. The design changed 3 times before Brady stepped in and we all agreed his design was best!

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Anna Maria Horner

When I first started quilting or even thinking about fabric for my home, I was bored to tears with the choices. The quilt sections are full of little stars or stripes or rosebud prints. Navy blue with yellow daises wasn't cutting it for me. In the home decor stores all I saw was Waverly and when I went into friends' homes I would see the same print or pattern or floral over and over and over again. Not that there is anything wrong with that! But I kept thinking, might there be some other choices? And then one fine day...the heavens opened up. The blinds were lifted, the birdies sang and I had found my place in the sun.
Truthfully, I can't quite remember now how I came upon the website of Anna Maria Horner. But once I did I was enraptured. And I don't mean that in an artificial way. She is a mom and a fabric designer and author with such a modern design sense, but has a strong belief in family life, the simple things and how something handmade can not only become a family heirloom but can also brighten the world around you.
I follow her blog daily and if this appeals to you, I encourage you to do the same!
She...unbeknownst to her...has perhaps had the greatest influence on me this year. I have tried new things with fabric, I have dared to combine many colors, I value the little things more. Mostly I realize that even though it's a crazy amount of work and juggling, be the person you are meant to be. Create or sew or write or paint or get your jigsaw out! Even with kids and schedules. Don't forget about you.

These are a bundle of her "Folksy Flannels"...the softest! I might make something or I might just leave them on my bedside table so I can see them every morning when I wake up. That's how happy they make me.
Today, a gift for Martha in the mail. Go order something you love.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

and a couple more

Dan In Real Life with Steve Carrell playing an advice columnist who is a widower with three cute girls under 17 years old. He is wry, witty and funny and a little sad. He goes on vacation to his parents HUGE lakehouse in Rhode Island where about 50 members of his immediate family gather for food, games and water sports. The house is loud, chaotic and full of fun. At times I kept thinking how many people (like me) would be overwhelmed by such gatherings, but you can also see that these are the same people who kept him tethered to a home base while he mourns his wife.

Enter Juliette Binoche who is the girl that both Steve and very funny brother Dane Cook fall for and the rest of the story plays out with Juliette and Steve's characters trying to figure out what to do about their unavoidable feelings for each other.
Funniest scene; Dane Cook is a personal trainer and leads his family in a morning exercise class on the lawn. Hysterical. Steve Carrell was charming as the every man, sort of cute, goofy, funny, warm and stoic dad. B

My Life In Ruins with Nia Vardolos. Umm, you know I just love her for "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and so since then she can do no wrong with me. This story about Nia as an unhappy tour guide in Greece who finds her "keffi" or "mojo" with the uber-hunky bus driver is kinda boring. The tourists are kinda funny - sometimes. Who cares if there's really no plotline. The scenery is fabulous. So if it's a frosty night and you are under the down blanket, the blue skies and sunshine of Greece will warm you right up. Story C Scenery A

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A couple of movie reviews

Love this time of year because I watch a thousand movies. Sometimes I put one on at 4pm if everyone else is busy with things and then maybe even another one at 8 pm. Sometimes I watch one from 9-11 a.m. if no one is looking. That's right, you heard me. It's a testament to the wonder of being able to watch a movie from your house with the click of a button. Knowing this technology has been around for many years doesn't make me love it any less. When I was 10 years old it would have nothing but a dream of science fiction.

"It's Complicated", with Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin. What's to love about this movie? A lot. The amazing California country home of Ms. Meryl who plays a Barefood Contessa type who opens her own gourmet bakery and sandwich shop. She has the most beautiful garden. A few shots show her with her straw basket and big hat picking fresh goodies from the garden...but oddly a lack of gardeners. Knowing how much work it took us to get a little something out of our little tiny vegetable garden this year, I would have liked a little more reality there. My own little issue.

But ex-husband Alec Baldwin, plays such a cad and so irresistible, he steals the movie. He and Meryl and architect/new romantic interest Steve Martin just made me laugh from beginning to end with a lot of very poignant moments thrown in, especially for those sharing in the aging process. Kim Basinger's panties must really be in a twist now because this movie proves that Alec is great actor, he's loved anyway, looks like he made up with his kid, and he comes out of his -screaming at his daughter on the phone issue - pretty much unscathed. Because if the audience thought he was a kid-hater in real life, we would never pay to see him in the movies.
Best to go with the girls. B+

"Sunshine Cleaning" with Amy Adams and Emily Blunt and Alan Arkin. This is a great little movie. These adult girls lost their mom many years ago and are trying to make a life for themselves. They are struggling. One is a single mom who cleans houses and the other is a waitress. Alan Arkin plays their dad, a nice enough guy always looking for some crazy way to make money. (i.e. buying fresh shrimp off the back of a truck and then trying to sell it to restaurants) They stumble on an opportunity to do crime scene clean up, a nasty job with a big paycheck. It's a growing up story for all of the characters.

One thing that struck me is how quickly both actresses can really look like everyday gals. Especially Amy. She looked like she really could be a cute girl working for a cleaning company. Sometimes these actresses "playing poor" still have their roots done and eyebrows waxed, i.e. Nicole Kidman in Cold Mountain. Emily Blunt was really naturally pretty in this movie. She just didn't look tired enough for the role she was playing. But I dare you not to grab a Kleenex in her scene watching her mom in an old "Movie of the Week." Gulp. Without saying a word you see her acting chops. B+

Monday, January 4, 2010

Mom and Dad at the Lizard Lounge



Okay, so off we went Saturday night to see this GREAT BAND, Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles. I have had a clipping of their various appearances for the past 18 months on my bulletin board. Country, rockabilly, fresh, fun, right up my alley. Not knowing much about them but their great newspaper reviews, we got a couple of tickets. They were recording a live CD over 2 nights at the Lizard Lounge on Mass. Ave in Cambridge.

So not letting the threat of a foot of snow stand in our way, off the parents went at 8:30 at night (whoo hoo) to see the show. The Lizard Lounge is underneath the Cambridge Common restaurant and it is the size of my kitchen. Well, my re-done kitchen so not so small, but then you gotta picture 100 people in it. It was charming in the old-school sense. Very dark, lit only by strings of Christmas lights and some (battery operated) candles on the wall. The drinks were great, the music was awesome. The only thing that reminded me of my age was that I kept thinking..."ok now where are the exits to this cavern just in case disaster strikes" and "that lead singer, Sarah, does not have a wrinkle on her face" - two things that would never have occurred to me 20 years ago.

But the band was so so so good. Go buy the CD you will love it. If you see that they are playing at Johnny D's or one of their other regular spots, go see them. You won't regret it. Even in a snowstorm.
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Snowy Sunday


Snowy lazy Sunday
After a 30 day run of crazy
All day in pajamas
Did not give a hoot
Hey, I did laundry
Lots of laundry
And made everyone else
go out in the snow
And play with Ronan
So this for breakfast
Rich made chicken and dumplings
for dinner - oh. my. goodness.

Tomorrow Kashi Go Lean.
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Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Eve 2009

1:30 pm - Lunch in a snowstorm with good friends. 3 boys, 3 girls, mirror images.

6:30 pm - just put finishing touches on two special cakes for New Year's Eve celebrations.
9:30 pm - a warm and festive dining room, getting ready for dinner with friends. Makes me rethink never letting the kids take charge of the decorating. This rainbow paper celebration was handmade, happy and cheerful.
10:30 pm - 8 year old who vowed to stay up until midnight, but fell asleep at party. The babysitting dog was not ours, but we were happy to have him watch over the boy, who is ours.
11:45 pm - the second warm and festive dining room of the night. Champagne chilling in the most fabulous vintage punch bowl.

Period pieces, both homes. Am I attracted to friends with old houses? Hmmm.

Midnight - the birthday girl helps us usher in 2010.