Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Most Epic of Splits

I think I have watched this video of Jean-Claude Van Damme's Epic Split with Volvo trucks dozens of times at this point.

I don't know which I'm enamored most with: JCVD's awesome speech (which I will try to incorporate whenever I can while personalizing only the last line, "...the most epic...of pancakes), the fact that these guys are driving so evenly in REVERSE, or how much this darn Enya songs just works. I know everyone is wowed by the actual split but if you've seen any photos or movies of JCVD from the 90s (or the recent GoDaddy commercial) then you're already aware of his crazy gift with these splits.

Yes, I'm going to watch it again right now. Or buy a Volvo truck.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Back home

Made it back home just in time for the Michigan State-Nebraska game, aka, A House Divided:

Thanks to my brother-in-law who gave us our Christmas presents early (since my original MSU shirt got stolen by some jerk!) because Paul ended up wearing it when the Spartans kicked some Husker butt!

The girl's name up in lights:

The girl made Regional Honors Orchestra!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Fun, fun, fun in NJ and NY

It wasn't all work in the Northeast for me--got to have a tasty meal at Olea with my friend Dean:

Who gave me some great music to listen to:

Coffee with my good friend Tom:

Who gifted me with a small snack for the plane ride:

And of course I loved this total CUTE time with these kiddos:

Pretty sure bath time is the cutest, especially when I imagine their words:

And I even was able to squeeze a little hug and some Blue Steel before I raced off to JFK.

Sweet way to end a visit, right?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Updates in NJ

After the burial for my mom's ashes in CA, we did a bit of work on her house.  We updated the color in the kitchen from yellow:

to this blue-gray.  It was really nice to see it all in one even color--whoever painted the kitchen the initial yellow did a terrible job.  We're talking painting on electrical outlets and using a different shade on a part of a wall--I'm guessing he was running low on paint and decided to stretch it with some primer?

Also thought it was a good idea to change out the locks.

Which was really quick and easy when replacing similar locks:

Voila!  Don't worry we got a silverish bottom lock to match this one:

Also got rid of this curtain:

And decided to go for the frosted glass look with contact paper:

Tada!  Light but a degree of privacy:

Also updated the cabinet handles (old one is on left, updated, simpler contemporary one that my sister picked out is on right):

And my biggest accomplishment--patching a hole and repainting this stained ceiling:

Downside--pushing the fridge aside to paint the wall behind and discover that the mouse-shaped dust ball is in fact, a mouse, albeit a dead and dessicated one.  I know, barf.

One of the better discoveries was finding this Willie Nelson CD among Mom's classical and opera CDs:

Definitely a surprise that put a smile on my face.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Blacklist in Brooklyn

The Blacklist was shooting in my sister's neighborhood:

Which means:

No parking on the streets they reserve.  Trying to find parking in general is a major headache--good thing we were heading down to NJ.  For those who don't have to park in NYC--when a TV show or movie shoots on a street--it's a headache as they shut down a few streets which are normally packed with parked cars.  So it's kind of like, where are all those cars supposed to park?

Anyhoo, now I might watch The Blacklist--just to see the neighborhood on TV.  I love watching shows and movies set in New York and see familiar locations.  As long as I don't have to deal with the parking.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Back in Brooklyn

After landing at JFK, I met up with my sister and her family at baggage claim and we headed to Brooklyn.  Josie let me put this crazy cute Cookie Monster hat on her and she helped with the unpacking:

She also let me take some cute Funny Face selfies:

Her brother was a little less psyched but humored me:

A nice respite before heading down to NJ to work on Mom's house.

Best flight in a long time

Holy crap.  I obviously haven't ridden a non-stop cross-country flight in a long time (getting from my neck of the woods in the South entails one, and on occasion, two stops to the Left Coast) but this flight was AWESOME.  Flying from SFO to JFK on United, I had my own mini-screen and FREE new release movies (and TV).  I squeezed in The Wolverine, The Internship, and started a Girls epi.  I'm pretty sure it was the first time I was lamenting that the flight wasn't longer.

Bonus--I guess because we were in the last row, the flight attendant treated us to ice cream!

Sigh, I've reached that age where I rave about a pleasant traveling experience. But, this flight was hands-down one of the best in recent memory. Especially in this day of long security lines, travel restrictions on sizes and liquids, jammed overhead space, and cramped seating (they ARE getting smaller, right?) -- it was great to have a nice ride.

Monday, November 4, 2013

SF visit

Our stay in San Francisco was incredibly short--just a long weekend basically but we packed as much as we could including seeing sweet (and times, downright saintly!) cousin Clara every day of our stay.

So glad we got to see all the cousins the day of my mom's memorial, and a few even drove into the city to see us for a few hours (forgot to get pictures--kicking myself!).  My OC transplant friends even drove in from the east bay area to spend a couple of evening hours--so great catching up with them:

We made one touristy visit to Pier 39 to see the famed sea lions, which apparently started out as (and still are?) a nuisance but were corralled into makeshift piers that visitors can enjoy them with sight, sound, and smell!

Also able to grab a pic with Alcatraz in the background:

One of my favorite sights, the girl and her cousin:

My sister said they looked like a pair of Williamsburg hipsters on a stroll.  I just love how sweet they look together.  Nice way to end a trip in SF.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Mom's memorial

Today was my mom's memorial.  Unfortunately on our way, while stopping to meet up with my cousin, our rental car's rear window was smashed and our backpack stolen from the backseat.  The shocking part was that we were gone for only 45 minutes in broad daylight (from roughly 11:30am to 12:15pm) and about 100 feet from a busy restaurant with folks waiting and dining outside.  99% of me was relieved that our coats and shoes (that weren't in the backpack) were left behind, but 1% of me was slightly insulted that they weren't taken.  Like the thieves were like, EYEROLL on my cool coat. 

Of course cleaning up glass slowed us down and made us late but eventually we were heading to Mill Valley from the city:


Unfortunately the break-in gave us a late start, but it was still a lovely ceremony.  My sister and I buried our mom's ashes, said a few words about how much our mom would be so happy to be around her family again, and then everyone came up, gave us a hug, and laid down a flower.  It was simple and nice to have a moment together like this.  Especially a life full of challenges, ups, and downs, it was nice that our mom was at peace.

Afterwards, one of our cousins hosted a get-together at her house and we all collected together for a picture:

And of course one of all our cute kids:

A sweet coincidence--our mom's alma mater, Michigan State trounced in-state rival, Michigan:

Though it was kind of a bummer that my Michigan State t-shirt was in the backpack that was stolen.

Anyhoo, it was a great day being with everyone, but bittersweet that our mom missed out on spending time with everyone.  But I guess that's the nature of loss, right?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

The other plus about the timing of this SoCal visit is doing Halloween in the office.  Goodness knows I love dressing up!  This year I roped my friend in to do the characters from Dodgeball:

My good friends also got in the spirit with Despicable Me's Gru and Toy Story's Jessie:

And we had to dig this shower costume a la The Karate Kid (in case you forgot--it's the costume that Daniel wears to his first party in the movie):

In fact everyone dug the Shower costume, including Holly Golightly:

Though appropriately, Despicable Me's Agnes was a bit concerned:

Minions take aim:  If you can dodge a wrench you can dodge a ball!

Absolutely dug hanging with Captain America and this Minion:

This Minnie Mouse, Masquerade Ball Queen, and Egyptian Queen put a smile on my face:

Even the girl got into it with her 50s costume:

I love Halloween!