Spring? Already?

I guess we've neglected the ol' blog for a while, sorry about the lack of updates... We've been busy, I promise!

Today is the 2nd official day of outdoor cleanup and maintenance. The first mow job of the season was fun, I think I emptied the bag about a dozen times. We had a nice little work day out in the rain on Easter, raking the debris that had collected over the winter. The side of our house is like a wind tunnel that blows all the leafs, garbage, etc. from the neighborhood into our fence. It's crazy all the stuff that collects. I found this business card in a leaf pile.


Back (click for larger size):

'57? has this been in a leaf pile for 50 years? Where could it have possibly come from?

Doing yard work in the rain is a surprisingly pleasant and cleansing experience. Why do we need to sit in a building to celebrate Easter? Rebirth? Renewal? Return-to-life? Yard work does it for me.


A Few Reasons Why I Love My Job

I mentioned being busy during November and December -- here are a few highlights, including recital pictures from our after school program, Dance Renaissance, and from The Nutcracker student matinee, when nearly 2,000 kids came to see the ballet for the first time, and the dancers were good enough to come out at Intermission and visit.

White Knuckles and Swedish Fish

If you had told us six years ago that this weekend we would don our black hoodies, grab some black coffee, load up the black Jeep and drive to Utah in January, we probably would have thought that, six years later, we would somehow have achieved wealth enough to catch the airing of some tragic Indie flick at Sundance.

Alas, we are not as cool as we once were. However, neither are we as quintessentially metro and hipster as the typical masse frequenting IKEA. We aren't skinny enough. :)

We made it safely across the arctic tundra that is Wyoming and Utah to scenic Sandy (Draper) and back. Neither snow nor ice, bitter cold nor gale-force winds (enough to wrap a semi around an overpass) could deter us from remedying our plight of kitchenlessness.

All that to say we got some cabinets (3), among other things. And are home, happy and safe.

Props to Miles for feeding Chevy.


Post-Holiday Recap (Recoup)

What an eventful couple of months!

We had a wonderful time catching up with Chris and Julie and meeting Ada:

Who spent the majority of her time rocking back and forth on hands and knees and exclaiming, "WOW! WOW! WOW!"

We spent Thanksgiving at Aunt Cherri's house, and for the following five weeks my life was entirely dominated by The Nutcracker. More on that to come.

We did manage to put up our modest little tree. In the old apartment, it took up half our living room.

A sleepy present:

And we hung stockings on the [window] with care...

For Anne, Bren, and Chevy.

Also, we finished tiling the kitchen, and Bren grouted the whole thing.

He also scored us the most amazing range! A discontinued model that had been on display. It was originally $2,000, and we got it for $650 (That's less than the price of the lower-end oven we were saving to buy with Bren's discount). And it sings a little song when it's done preheating and cooking.

ALSO, I decided the whole renovation thing wasn't enough work, and started making a quilt for our bed, and bought silk for curtains in the living, dining, and master bedrooms. Pictures to follow soon.

Christmas came and went really fast, but it was great. Thanks, everybody!

Now, Bren and I are trekking to the nearest IKEA (Draper, UT) on Saturday in the hopes of purchasing some kitchen cabinets. We can't afford to get them all, but it will be a good start. Hopefully the weather will cooperate!

Happy New Year!


The Great Holiday Hurry-Up-And-Get-Things-Done

In that Halloween post I mentioned that drywall was going up in the kitchen.

It was hard, dusty, chickeny work.

Some of you may remember the "nook" area, which used to look like this:

And shortly thereafter, this:

Turns out putting things back together takes longer than bashing them in with a sledgehammer. But now, things are looking up.

We laid the most awesomest tile floor this weekend, despite the fact that both Bren and I came down with the Black Lung on Friday night. And painted all of the walls a light gray (Misty Raindrop or something) except for that dark one, which is blackboard paint. As of tomorrow it will read: "Welcome, Deulens."

I also started a Hall of Fame upstairs.

Guess you'll have to come over to see who all's up there.

And we hung the chandelier in the dining room.

I can't believe how far we've come!

That's all for now. We're BEAT!

Edit: Anne forgot to mention the finished bookshelf, so here it is.

We've worked really well together on all the projects we've done so far, but I did worry just a bit on the kitchen tiles working as a duo. Maybe it was our shared sickness but I thought it might end up like this:

(Art by Al Jaffee.)


Happy Halloween!

Chevy is in disguise. As El Pollo Loco!

In this one, you can see drywall going up in the kitchen! More on that later.

Now, more candy!


Turf War

Remember our post-apocalyptic-looking backyard? Or, more properly, post-ridiculously-expensive-sewer-line-replacement?

Well, Bren tilled, seeded, fertilized, and ever-so-tenderly nurtured it back to life.

There are still some patches that didn't get the memo, but it's worlds better looking. Just in time for the first frost.

In his adventures in watching grass grow, Bren came across a homely little squirrel. He thought he was some kind of mutant squirrel, in fact.

Sunday, I swore all morning that I heard a rustling in/around the heating duct in the basement. Then Chevy started acting all weird and looking up at the ductwork. Bren didn't believe either of us until he came down later in the afternoon...only to find Chevy in a tussle with THE MUTANT! (Bum bum BUMMMMM!)

The best documentation I could manage amid the ensuing chaos was this:

He's behind a paint can in the bookshelves that are currently serving as our "garage" in the basement.

Bren and I eventually shooed him out the back door, after several minutes that might have fit well in a Chevy Chase movie. I thought to myself, "Well, he'll never want to do THAT again."

But yesterday, he seemed to think otherwise.

He peered longingly through our kitchen window. We named him Douglas.

We still don't know how he got in. We're taking bets on Chevy vs. Douglas in the event he tries again, though. The staring contests they engage in through the windows are so intense I keep waiting for a tumbleweed to roll by.

"Do you feel lucky, punk?"