I Feel Dim


photo credit here

I need my lightbulb to get a little brighter.

I want to be creative again.

I miss it.


The Moment Past the Gloaming...

Yes. I'm talking about Twilight.

My sis is a serious fan. Not fangirl like, but pretty fannish. She's watched the movie like 8000 times and has read the whole series about as many times. Not convinced? Her homepage on her computer is Twilight Lexicon. Really.

To walk into her house, you'd never know. Her Twi-freakiness lurks just beneath the surface, hidden cleverly from the naked eye. I decided that I'd expose her. For fun.
Too hard to see? It's the soundtrack.

Her nightstand.

Her desk:

Oh, that's a nice family photo. I wonder what's behind it?

It's the movie companion (isn't the book the movie companion?). Oh, and two more copies. Different from the above copies, but only 3 feet away. Seriously.

Tucked in with the bills, #1...

...with the DVDs, #2

...and in the DVD player, #3.

She has two items that I know of that are unaccounted for: a set of Twilight magnets and a black shirt with the Cullen crest, both from Hot Topic. I think she might have taken them with her on vacation. She joked about a cardboard cutout of Edward that she takes out when her hubby goes away on business, but I'm not entirely convinced that she was joking.


What? We Can Do Dedications?

Dave and I hosted a farewell dinner for some dear friends who are moving back to Boston. I dedicate this post to them.

Hey Thomas Family! I came up with a short list of the biggest moments you've let us in on. And then grabbed a box of Kleenex. While the list of events is pretty short, it's the time between that has meant so much. Who knew that one pint could lead to this kind of friendship? Here goes.

Six Years

"Ryan proposed to me in Paris. We're engaged!"

"I do."

"I'm pregnant."

Love Coffee

photo credit here

"It's a boy."

Yes, I just stole this photo from your Facebook page, Mer.

"We're moving."

WinterNight 2007:  Boston CityScape
photo credit here

We love you.

We'll miss you.

Thank you for your friendship.

Mer, it's your move on Lexulous...


La, La, La! I'm Going to My Happy Place!

Life has gotten slightly frustrating because blah, blah, blah. Nobody wants to hear it (especially me!). Instead of a good, cathartic rant, I decided to post pretty pictures of my favorite things. Denial, good old-fashioned "sticking my head in the sand," is absolutely my drug of choice.

Without further hesitation, I offer you a warm welcome to Natalie's Happy Place.

Enjoy your stay.


The Eiffel Tower at Night

photo credit: Sunny Diverson

I am an unapologetic Francophile. I love it, the way Ella Fitzgerald sings about it and the way Hemingway writes about it. I love the Flea Market in Bordeaux. I love the art and the bridges and the style and the food. I love the Seine and the Dordogne. I love it all, including the people, because it is old and established and full of well deserved pride.

And the language? Don't even get me started on how much I love listening to it. It is tres delightful.


Marathon Feet

photo credit: NuPhotos

Feet? Meet pavement. Become friends. You're going to get to know each other real well in the next hour.

Flea Markets and Thrift Stores

Alameda Flea market

Photo credit: Colleen Baptista

Few things satisfy me more than discovering hidden $3 treasures in a pile of used, worn, and discarded tchotchkes (sp?). I love plates and linens and shirts and frames. I love vases and shelves and jackets and books. I love walking out of the musty dusty store with my finds and heading home to relish in the success of my treasure hunt. In general, Dave is wildly disinterested, but he humors me and I love him.

New (or not so new) Books

I have a "To Read" list and a "To Read" stack. It's like revolving debt. It never goes away. Despite plodding through dilligently every night, somehow I end up with more books to read. I have my sister and my friend Grace to thank. However discouraging the incompletion of this perpetual project is, the possibilities lurking in new books intrigue me. The hope of excellent writing, an original story, and interesting characters keeps me from throwing in the towel completely.


Time for a Nap

photo credit: tonigirl

I do not need to elaborate.


Morrisburg Lutheran Church Spire

photo credit:noodleguy

That quiet hour on Sunday feels like stepping out of a smoky room into cool, clean mountain air. My head clears and I focus on things that matter most in my life. Loving completely. Trusting fully. Giving everything. By Saturday, when the worries of the week have darkened my mind, the anticipation of Sunday's sermon is the light. Amen.

Knowing It Ends

Dark Tunnel

photo credit: kidney bongos

Like good meal or a bad presidency, all things come to an end. We won't be stuck in this place forever. With healthy dose of determination and a sprinkling of faith, I know, I just know,
we'll be fine.

There. I feel better already.


Keep It In The Family

Look what Grandma sent today!

It belonged to my cousin and my uncle gave Grandma permission
to send it to Marcus.

She made it for her only grandson,
and passed it to her only great-grandson.

Who will Marcus give it to?


Top 10 Reasons I Love Going to My Sister's House

My sister and I are best friends. She gets me better than anybody on Earth. I love her.

In addition to staking claim as "One of the Best People Natalie's Ever Met," she also has a killer house. I love visiting. While she's been away for the summer, I've taken a few "staycations" there. And since I just got back from another weekend visit, I thought I might put together a few things that I just love about her pad.

#1 Location, Location, Location!

When you walk halfway up her block, you can see the ocean. Rad.

When you walk another two blocks, you're there.

#2 People Love to Join in the Visit

Our great friends joined us for the weekend.

#3 The Kitchen

There is an amazing butcher block island, great appliances, and beautiful cabinets.

Plus, everybody can be milling around and it doesn't feel crowded.

#4 Books on Every Nightstand

This is the ultimate in thoughtfulness. Just in case you forget your bedtime reading material (like I did just this weekend!), you don't need to worry. You've got plenty of options. Sometimes, however, one book shows up twice on the same stand. I guess they really liked "Life of Pi." I know I did. Just not that much.

#5 Kids Love It

More books...and toys...and sippy cups...and wonderful light.

#6 It's All About the Small Things

...or lots of small things, like puzzle pieces. There are fun things to do there.

#7 We Can Walk to Fun Places for Kids

This park is less than a block away. Seriously. Two minutes. We're there.

The pier is a 10 minute walk.

#8 It's Much Fancier Than My House

She has fancy bath stuff and a cool rack to go across the might-as-well-be-clawfoot porcelain tub.

#9 I Can Truly Relax

(Please don't get grossed out by the nastiness of my flaking nail polish.)

#10 My Sister and Her Beautiful Family Lives There

(most of the time)

They are wonderful and I love them!


Introducing Lexi

My best friend Lexi is in the middle of a crazy bike race right now. It's called the Leadville 100, or "The Race Across the Sky." The "100" part of the title means that it's 100 miles.

Take a moment to let it sink in.

She is pretty much the most outstanding athlete I've ever known, rivaling only my brother-in-law and The Big Man (Lance).

Mmmm. Cycling.

Anyway, I'm really proud of her for all of her accomplishments. Go Lexi!

image heisted from http://www.ultrarob.com/

UPDATE: Lexi finished the race in 11 hours, 19 minutes. That means she rode her bike for 11 hours. Straight. She's incredible. Of the 1400 people who started this race, 973 made the cutoff time and finished, and only 76 of those finishers were women. Let me reiterate. My best friend is amazing. I am so very proud of her! Next stop? St. George Ironman Triathlon.


Fair Play

Every year, we hit up the fair. Dave likes the photo exhibits. I like the quilts and table settings. Stop snickering. Anyway, we went last night for the first time as the Party of Four. I have so many memories of the Fair with Dave without children that I still find the "with children" part a little surreal.

Family life, no matter how unexpectedly or calculated I've found myself in it's midst, is bliss. Here's why.
The 4-H kids do such a great job with their exhibition, and Alexandria was totally into it.

These sheep were really friendly.

Alexandria's first up-close to a cow.

Dave is pretending to feed Marcus a turkey leg. I'm vegetarian. And horrified. And taking the photo.


You might think that Dave is not excited about this ride...

...but you might be wrong.

When was the last time you were this happy?

Family life is bliss.


Who Knew It Could Do All This?

For my birthday,* I received a few giftcards to pretty much my favorite place on Earth, Target. I decided to get a new camera. I guess I'm still getting familiar with it, because I just learned this weekend** many of the cool things it can do.

For instance, I changed the sound settings to "Sci-Fi." Whenever I turn on my camera or snap a shot, it sounds like I've just fired off an alien ray gun. Cool.

Anyhoo, here are some of the shots I snapped today while simultaneously fooling around with said functions.

Alexandria is a super good slider...

...and at the end, her hair stands up!

Marcus can chill with the best of them.

I can do black and white!

These are our summer feet, dressed appropriately for our respective activities - Mom and Dad kickin' it and the kid being a juggernaut.

This park has some cool places to crawl.

Marcus is easily the Coolest. Baby. Ever.

*I was born in January.

**It is now August.