1. treasures

    Many tales to tell and happiness to share with you fine folks but do you ever feel like you need to hang onto certain stories or photos or memories and keep them a little longer for yourself before sharing them with others?  I hope I am not the only one who feels this way.  I also hope it is not seen as a necessarily selfish feeling just one of savoring longer before sharing.  That’s all.  While in Texas with my treasure of a sister and two nieces, we did go on a few adventures.  As you can see from a few entries ago, we went to one of our favorite stops, The Living Desert Cactus Ranch.  While all of my glass pieces and rocks are home here in Chicago, they have yet to find their actual homes within my apartment.  I’ve had laundry, dishes, weed pulling, concerts, sleeping and dog walking to do upon returning to town but homes for m’stones will come.  If I remember, I’ll post their new homes.  That is, if y’all wanna see.

    Katie made sure that I was able to get into Austin, specifically to my favorite store in Austin, on South Congress.  I love this place so much it is silly that I can never remember it’s dang name.  I took a picture of the sign to help cement it in my brain.

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    Tesoros is a dream come true for this Lady of Worldly Tastes - in terms of home decor and fashion.  I could spend hours in this store.  This store is a lot of fun.  I think.  It is not so much my sister’s sensibility but being the gracious girl that she is, she makes sure I get to linger here as long as possible.  AND - for the record, Katie did make a few purchases here for herself the day we went!  She will purchase presents for me here (thanks, Sis!) but rarely does she find something that suits her but she did!  Yay!  I, on the other hand, found way too much.  I didn’t get everything I wanted but I did go a little overboard…

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    I bought this round trivet made of pine needles.  Shoot - now I don’t remember which country it is from but it was not made in the USA.  Sorry.  I also bought this little 8”x10” Zapotec weaving.  It is a thick wool and kind of border-line in terms of my taste but I just really loved it.  The little pops of the ‘Fish Story blue’/cerulean blue  (our wedding color) is what made it jump into my hands and my suitcase home. 

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    I’ve had my eye on these soft hand stitched vintage blankets from India for a few years now.  I’ve been pricing them everywhere, too, and Tesoros is very reasonable.  There were so many wonderful patterns to choose from but this pattern really grabbed me.  It is a deep navy blue, with a burnt orange and golden yellow.  I loved it.  Katie helped me flip it over to see the other side and we both instantly fell in love with the other side even more than the first side!

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    It is a beautiful bright yellow with pink and orange and little flecks of green here and there.  These pictures don’t really do it justice but every inch is so different, I don’t know if close up pictures will fully capture it, either.  Needless to say, I am glad Katie enjoyed it as much as I did and the fact that we were there with the girls (it was their first trip to Tesoros!) makes this blanket all the more special.  It looked nice on the guest bed in my sister’s house but I brought it home with me!  Now to find it a home home in my home…

    I bought a few other little things but they are potential gifts so I will not post them.  Katie and I walked out of Tesoros with our new treasures. It was all I could do to NOT walk out with one of these gorgeous round metal pieces.  I just got a shot of them instead.

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    Now, y’all should really do yourselves a favor and go shopping with two adorable one-year-old girls either in a double stroller or while wearing them in a Baby Bjorn because you will be The Talk of the Shop - whatever shop you walk into or by.  Liv and Elin were stopping all kinds of traffic!  They were smiling and waving at everyone.  They were even singing their little songs.  It was adorable. 

    While Katie was talking to a small crowd that gathered around her and the girls in their stroller, I got a shot of this mural on the side of the store.

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    We popped into a few other stores.  That we all liked.

    Although, I saw this in one of the stores and opted to just take a picture of this because… I was too scared to do anything else. 

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    I mean, I know “One Person’s Trash is Another Person’s Treasure” but who in the hell would treasure this?  I have no idea what the actual doll looked like.  I have no idea why this doll was made?  I am a little too young to know the whole Archie Bunker relationship to his grandson.  I cannot believe what is written on the side of the box “A little girl will love playing mommy to a baby boy for a change…

    What in tha….? 

    Why in tha…?

    And again, what in tha hell?

    I did not and do not know what to think of it.  I did not ask the girls if they will love playing mommy to a baby boy for a change.  I did not want to bother them with a silly question on our fun shopping day.

    The girls were rock-stars, in the heat, the sun, the crowds, they were wonderful!  We headed back to the house after a few hours.  All four of us girls were hungry!  And we had new treasures to enjoy (and one ‘treasure’ to forget about)!  Uff da.

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    Speaking of treasures, this is one moment and memory I will always treasure.  This was on one of our hang-out-at-the-house-days (hence my Phish Chicago flag t-shirt and glasses) but Katie was making dinner and the girls wanted to help but with onions being chopped and sauce simmering, it is just not an ideal situation for two almost one-year-old-girls so I took them to the living room to play on the couch.

    These girls do not get to play on the couch very often.  So it is a Very Big Treat to play on the couch.

    Because they are One-Year-Olds, they love tearing paper.  They also love to carry the little bits of paper around with them all the time.  Katie will ask them, “Oh, do you have your treasure?" when they come crawling in the room, with torn paper in tow.  Paper is just the Ultimate!  It is so much fun for them, I mean, why were toys even invented when there are Restoration Hardware catalogs to rip?  Well, Elin just needed to be held and I didn’t want Liv to feel left out or fall off of the couch, so I grabbed the catalog they had been ripping up earlier and started to tear the paper really fast and assertively.  For some reason, the sound of the paper ripping and the frequency of the shreds delighted Elin to no end.  She got the giggles.  So hard!  So hard, that Liv started to laugh at Elin laughing.  Liv’s giggles fueled the fire for Elin to laugh even harder!  Now, these sweet girls can be pretty giggly, which is so sweet but nothing in the world makes them laugh harder than each other. 

    It. Is. The. Most. Precious. Sight. And. Sound. In. The. History. Of. All. Time. And. All. Things. Ever.

    Katie came out from the kitchen wondering what all three of us were laughing so uncontrollably.  I could not answer her, I was giggling so hard at these goofy girls.  Katie took this shot of us giggling at our ripped up treasures.  What silly sweeties! 

    These girls are the bestest treasures!

     
  2. After weeks of fun travels, good family times, first birthdays, flying, driving, dancing, zooming, then my Ultimate Rebecca Hanson RockIn’ Jam Out Dreamaganza Weekend I am tapped.

    Spent.

    Conked.

    Zonked.

    While I look forward to catching y’all up soon, today I recharge by doing nothing and sleeping on and/or near my sweet tiny hund, whom I’ve not seen enough of lately.

    Because, sometimes, a girl just needs a good rest on her puppy pillow…

     
  3. Katie, Elin, Liv and I visited one of our very favorite Texas spots: Living Desert Cactus. It is filled with amazing cacti, succulents, glass pieces, stones, rocks and art pieces. Both Elin and Liv are very keen to point out all of the different colors of cactus flowers and objects for Katie and I to notice. We are all very careful not to bump into anything as we walk through the greenhouse where all the prickly cacti live. One could walk through twenty times in a row and see something different each time. It’s a fascinating place.

    Outside there are hundreds of pieces of glass and rock that you can sort through. Darrel, the owner, provides thick gloves and plastic baskets for all to pick their favorite glass pieces and rocks. It’s a real treasure hunt!

    The girls were very patient as their Tante rummaged through the shiny pieces and picked new finds to bring back to Chicago. I can’t travel on the plane with a cactus or a succulent - also, when it comes to those my green thumb is black - but, I can maintain some glass pieces and pretty stone slabs like nobody’s business! Can’t wait to find new homes in my home for all these little rock and glass guys!

    Takk for a rockin’ good time, Katie, Elin and Liv!!!

     
  4. Sometimes, when you are Almost A One-Year-Old Girl, you want to be in the pool but not in in the pool, so you sit on your Tante while she sits in the pool and kisses your sweet face.

    But then, sometimes, when you are another Almost A One-Year-Old Girl, you want to be right in the pool. I mean, In In the pool so your Tante swims with you to make sure you don’t put your whole sweet face in the water!

    Either way, either girl: Tante is happy to be there with you!

     
  5. While I’m in Texas and Tim works this weekend, the hund is enjoying a few days at Playful Pets. Larry posted this picture earlier today - looks like Trond has made a new friend: Max. We will happily add Max to the ever growing list of friends that our pal has made as of late. I’m so thankful for Playful Pets, for Larry and for the technology that allows us all to see and keep up with each other.

    Play on, Trond!

    Play on, y’all!

     
  6. I woke up at 3:00am yesterday to shower and get ready for the cab to pick me up at 4:00am so I could get to Midway in time to check in for my 6:00am flight to Houston. The cab driver didn’t make a comment on how huge or heavy my suitcase was, he simply said, “Hmmmm, orange?” in a bit of a tone. I said, “I always know where it is and that it’s mine.” It was still pitch black out. Off to Midway we went.

    All went well.

    I had an hour layover in Houston Hobby before flying onto Austin. While waiting for my boarding group at the gate, I spotted my big orange suitcase out amidst the others in the cart, being transferred from one plane to the other. I knew where it was and I knew it was mine. Can you spot it there on the left?

    As I descended on the escalator to baggage claim at the Austin airport, I could spot my big bright orange suitcase riding on the carousel. I knew where it was and I knew it was mine.

    My suitcase and I zoomed outside to be picked up by my lovely sister and perfect nieces. They are not bright orange but I still knew where they were and that they are mine! :) Happy Texas, y’all!

     
  7. This time of year is also very special to us because on 2 July 2010, this tiny clunky puppy Lab picked us to be his family. He changed our lives for the better. Trond, himself, has changed a lot in four years. But apparently I have not changed my t-shirt (yes, it’s the tie-dyed one I’ve had since seventh grade!) at all…

    It’s been a wonderful four years of being a family, Captain Trond Kildahl Ryder! We think you chose very well… hope you do, too, sweet hund.

     
  8. Hope everyone had a great Fourth of July Weekend! I also hope my cousin, Jenn, and my sister, Katie, don’t disown me for making this Patriotic Table scape… But I was gone all last week and couldn’t not have my usual fresh flowers out so I stuck some flags on the table. Please forgive me, Jenn Jenn and Sissy! But I know my Mamba is happy to see this.

    While in Iowa these past few days, I had my hands busy and full! I didn’t get a chance to take too many pictures - we were on the go, in the water, eating good food, swapping at mosquitos, handling the hund or playing with the kiddos - needless to say: we were having fun! But I caught a few snippets here and there.

    While I am happily worn out and glad to be home, I am extremely grateful for the freedom we celebrate and in awe of the beauty of this nation. Nothing like a road trip amongst the corn and bean fields in the sunshine to make this girl (+ her hund) be filled with thanks.

     
  9. Lord, Please spare me from gangrene, tetanus, scoliosis and/or any other disease one may contract after walking through 2.5 feet deep standing, public sh*t-filled, city water…
    And yes - that is a car completely stuck in what is now a hardcore pond under the Ravenswood tracks at Irving Park. Our city has turned into a treacherous, stormy swamp.

     

  10. Springfield

    A week ago today, the hund, Tim and I headed south to Springfield to spend some time with Tim’s side of the family.  It was great for all three of us to get out of town together!  Tim’s show finally opened on June 21st to the Press and on June 22nd, Second City hosted a ‘Friends and Family Night’ - we were blessed to have both there.  The show is brilliant, the cast and crew are delightful (on stage and off) and it is great to see all of their hard work culminate into this unique product.  I was able to get one decent picture of the two of us after the show, after the buffet  and dessert but before painting the town until the wee hours in celebration.

    We arrived in Springfield on Monday in the later afternoon.  My in-laws have so many friends, one couple was even gracious enough to grill dinner for all of us, let my niece and nephew swim in their pool…

    and let Josh and Tim use their jet-skis!  Talk about some happy Ryders!

    Lake Springfield is huge.  It was very calm, too, so I even let Tim take me out for a spin on the jet-ski.  It was a great night and the Johnson’s house is beautiful with the perfect yard and nice walk to and from the lake.  Lovely way to start our time out of the city!

    Our five year old niece, Finley and I usually have a few special projects that we work on together.  In November, Finley had the brilliant idea of making a list of ‘Daily Chores’ for Uncle Tim.  We have had it hanging on our refrigerator ever since, so Tim remembers to brush his teeth every day and have good manners and that kind of thing.  We decided that he needed to be reminded of a few more things, so Finley and I made yet another list for him.  Hee hee hee heeee!!!!

    My mother-in-law always has great activities planned not only for us humans, but for Trond, as well.  She had a new toy for him each day to ‘play’ with - and by ‘play’ we mean, destroy in about thirty minutes but dang it all if it isn’t the best thirty minutes of his day!  All of us have hunted high and low for indestructible toys —- nothing seems to be an equal match to this Lab’s jaws but it’s fun to watch!  And while Trond enjoys everyone, he has a special kinship to Peggy because she always has new toys and treat AND keeps us is good supply of tennis balls!  On Tuesday afternoon, Trond, Peggy and I headed over to this huge dog park.  It is very cool because there is a separate area for small dogs and another for big dogs.  We took our big dog into the big dog park, Peggy treating Trond to this big chew bone.  He immediately ran it over to the shade of the shelter!

    It was a bright and hot afternoon.  Well into the nineties.  Peggy has a great arm (and let us face it, I cannot throw for crap… I try but… that is not m’gift) so she chucked that chew bone down the hill.  Trond did actually ran after it and bring it back.  The first time.

    The next time we had to go down the hill to retrieve it.  Peggy threw it in this little pool.  What a wonder to the hund!  He could splash!  The water was not at all cool - it had been out in the sun all afternoon but he was happy to splash and try to pick up the chew bone.

    He would have stayed in there the whole time had we let him.  We chucked the bone down the hill again… and Trond did run after it again but… just could not bring himself to aaallllllll the way back in the heat….

    All three of us were cookin’ in the hot sun.  We headed back to Tom and Peggy’s cool house.  The hund was more than fine with that idea!

    That night Tim, Trond and I headed over to Josh, Allyn, Finley and Isaac’s house for some fun yard time, delicious grilled dinner, playing swords with Isaac and Finley taking both Uncle Tim and me to the ‘Bippity Boppity Boutique’ - which was conveniently located in her room.  She did my hair in fancy braids and Tim’s hair in some blue headbands.  It was very glamorous.  You’ll have to take my word for it as there are no pictures on my phone of this event. 

    Wednesday morning we headed out to the water park!  We were there by 10:00am so there weren’t very many lines and we got to splash and play around without many other people in our way!  It was a wet and wild and wonderful way to spend the morning!  On the way to and from the water park, Isaac (who is three years old) told us custom made knock knock jokes.  They were hilarious on many levels!

    Wednesday night, just us ‘big kids’ went out to dinner at this cool place called Obed and Isaac’s while Finley and Isaac watched Tom, Peggy and Trond at Tom and Peggy’s house.  It was really nice to catch up one on one and face to face with Josh and Allyn.  I also finally saw my first ‘horseshoe’ because that is what Tim ordered for dinner at the restaurant (Allyn ordered a ‘pony shoe’, which is the petite version of the ‘horse shoe’) - a ‘horse shoe’ is a piece of Texas Toast, with some sort of meat, usually ground beef or sirloin but there were other options like turkey burger or chicken) then a cheese sauce covered in french fries.

    The bite I had was tremendous!  Next time, I may follow Allyn’s lead and get the pony shoe.  I had bacon-wrapped meatloaf, garlic mashed potatoes and broccoli.  And some sort of peach beer that was one of The Best things I’ve ever drank.  Drunk?  Drinked?  Drinkeded?  You get it.

    All of us ‘big kids’ enjoyed a few hours out on the town and returned to Tom and Peggy’s in time for Finley to help us give Trond his dinner.  It took like a day and a half but now Trond has another new dear pal: Finley Grace.  My goodness, she walked him, rubbed his tummy, gave him treats, mastered giving the ‘sit’ and ‘shake’ commands to him.  He has always enjoyed Finley but he is big so he can seem intimidating to a five year old who is not used to being around big dogs.  But, she soon saw how gentle of a dingus he is.  And… he was pretty wiped out after a fun night with these two bursts of joyful energy:

    These two girls sure know how to treat this guy right!

    Finley also told us that she now knows Trond’s favorite color!  I cannot believe I never thought of asking him but she did (while we were at dinner) and she told us that she said, “Trond? Do you have a favorite color?  What is it? Black?" and after she said ‘Black’, - he licked her face!  She listed a few other colors and he did not do anything but when she said ‘Black' again later - HE LICKED HER FACE AGAIN!

    We can all sleep easier now knowing this important news. 

    I know the hund will…

    Mange takk for a wonderful time in Springfield, Tom, Peggy, Josh, Allyn, Finley and Isaac!  Can’t wait til our next visit!