Monday, November 30, 2009

episode 430: in which barbara bush tells gus to get a haircut

barbara bush kindly trying to cajole sophie into speaking (without success) at the houston ballet

we're just back from our most beloved texas; we all had a fabulous time that was capped off by a tremendous visit to the houston ballet. we bought tickets to "the nutcracker" months ago and totally splurged for the most-central, front-row, founder's box seats we could get. i had already bought sophie a snow princess dress, which she looked absolutely adorable in, and even gus was excited to see the ballet and the orchestra. rich and i always love the houston is just absolutely the best in the world. anyway, our seats turned out to be almost as good as a former u.s. president's and his wife's--george and barbara bush were two boxes away from us. it was announced before the start of the ballet that they were in the audience and we were shocked to see how close they were.

after the intermission, we were headed back to our seats when the secret service approached us in the narrow hallway before our box. the guy barked "nice dress" at sophie then a more forceful "move aside" to us all. we did. george bush came around the corner with a few people, and before he got to his box he slowed down, looked at sophie, and said, "are you one of the ballerinas? what a beautiful dress!" sophie smiled a little and then, of course, hid behind me. we were thrilled--a former president spoke to our family! then, a few moments later, barbara bush rounded the corner and stopped, made a big surprised face, and said, "what a lovely little girl!"...and walked over to us! she gushed about sophie (who was still trying to hide behind me) and kept trying her best to get her to talk to her...but then she diverted her attention to gus.

"who is this even more lovely girl standing behind you?"

oh no. she didn't. she didn't just mistake gus for a girl.

i looked at rich who appeared to be frozen in shock and obviously incapable of speech (he likes his social interactions one hundred percent in his control, after all, usually with the assistance of anesthesia), sophie was still hiding behind my skirt, gus was standing there completely non-affected by the comment (as this is probably the 100th time he has heard it), and mrs. bush was still patiently waiting for an it became painfully obvious that i was going to have to be the one to speak to this. after momentarily considering introducing gus as my eldest daughter, julia, i very calmly told her that, "this is sophie's older brother, gus."

"well OF COURSE it is! if i had looked closer i could have seen that! gus, gus, GUS are you listening to me? gus, we need to talk about that could be one of my grandsons! hair down to here! and CURLY! ugh. you could be one of mine. i try to tell them to cut it, but they won't. they don't understand what it does to a grandmother!" i tried to explain that gus had been living in new mexico for a time (i was so rattled that i momentarily forgot what state i lived in) so he was a bit rougher than usual...but all was well. all was more than well--all was glorious. thank god for houston social graces.

the ballet itself was absolutely note-perfect, spot-on, excellence-embodied...and every other extreme positive comparison imaginable. all in all a completely phenomenal evening. sophie fell asleep during the last five minutes of the performance; george bush acknowledged her again ("oh, sleepy girl.") before he left. it was quite an experience!

more thanksgiving pictures to come later...

Sunday, November 22, 2009


gus titled this post. these images are of gus with a souvenir from the bamboo forest at los poblanos. it might be kind of repetitive, but i think i like all four of them together. maybe just three. not sure.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

a few pictures from los poblanos

juliet, sophie and gus after a wonderful dinner at valerie and doug's house

these are just a few images from our trip back to albuquerque--i shot maybe a tenth of both what i normally shoot and what i should have shot; i'm regretting it very much now. i was using a different camera part of the time and hoping to get some good stuff from it...sadly, i don't think i did. anyway, these are the point-and-shoot pictures. the fall along the rio grande is so much more colorful than most people realize--i think there was better fall color in los ranchos than there was here in iowa. enjoy!

danger girl

safety gus

rich flew alone (of course)

los poblanos inn and peacocks

i love this decoration on the front door--i wanted to recreate it here in iowa, but we're already having a bit of a rodent problem...

detail of the indian corn--i adore these colors

the front courtyard

sophie's room (gus spent the night with with cole and randy)

this is what our bed faced--dozens of little mexican folk art figurines

i think they are fabulous

my favorite breakfast companion--rich missed all but one breakfast at los poblanos because he had to work...and he has absolutely no idea how unbelievably delicious everything they made for us was!


turkeys (thanksgiving is just around the corner)

duck landing in the lotus pond

the purple plums were at their purpliest

rich is totally keeping an eye on that peacock

even in the fall when nothing is in bloom, even on a cloudy day when you can't see the sandia mountains, even though it snowed a tiny, tiny bit on this morning, i still think this is one of the most beautiful places on earth

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

bunny at los poblanos

yeah, it's overexposed and there is no clear point of reference, but i just love a bunny here.

more to come...

Monday, November 16, 2009

paco's doggie day camp adventure

we are back from a far-too-short trip to albuquerque, and i'm sad all over again. i absolutely love los ranchos de albuquerque, and i love love love where we stayed--los poblanos inn and experimental farm and cultural center and phenomenal gourmet cuisine and a pink pony with rainbows...they do it all. i have decided that when i die and go to heaven it will look exactly like los poblanos and i'll get to be the gardener of the perennials and shrubs. anyway, while we were gone, paco hit the jackpot and stayed at lucky pawz...and i think it is fair to say he had a seriously fabulous time. human and plant pictures to come later.

Monday, November 9, 2009

dead things in the trash can: 2

two deer mice, found INSIDE the house, now squished flat and in the guess who had to do it. critters, be warned!

***update: after two hours at the toyota place, the odd smell and terrible gas mileage problem with my prius was solved--mouse nest in the air vent. amazing construction of found cheese goldfish, plastic beads, dryer lint, glitter and chewed air filter made by what i hope was just one little mouse and not the whole mouse community. not feelin' bad about those dead things at all now...

Friday, November 6, 2009

king kong and ann darrow take iowa

you'd think sophie might relate to fay wray in this image...

...but, no. she related to king kong instead. about a month ago, she saw the 1933 version of king kong and she became completely obsessed with him. she has seen it at least 25 times since then--she loves it. and, she has determined all of our roles--gus is ann darrow, rich is the tyrannosaurus rex that king kong fights in the jungle, i am ann darrow's love interest, and paco is the crazy chief that orders ann darrow to be kidnapped and given to kong. it is hilarious--when she watches the movie she calls out whose part is coming up, when paco's men are going to kidnap gus, etc. it's wonderful. however i think most three-year olds are probably terrified of king maybe there is something to worry about in there. in any event, she loved it so much she decided, on that first viewing, that she was going to be king kong for halloween and gus was going to be ann darrow. being the best human being in the world, gus cheerfully acquiesced:

and here they are!

i love this--ann darrow holding king kong. i just wish it were in focus...

parade number one: sophie's school. i am room mom for both gus and sophies' classes and, mercifully, her parade and party were scheduled for the morning while gus' started just after lunch. so, kong flew solo in this parade.

off to parade around the neighborhood with sophie's class

parades are thrilling for a king kong bunny!

sophie's class trick-or-treating at a nearby bank

sophie finally realizes there is chocolate in that bag


parade number two: gus' school. gus' teachers are wonderful and let sophie parade with the class, which i appreciate more than i can say. so now sophie is two for two on gus' school halloween parades since she could walk! and, again, gus is the kindest big brother in the world to let her go with him and do it happily. that is lovely.

sophie running to get to gus' school in time for his parade

we managed to get gus dressed (he decided to forego the dress at school--probably a wise choice) and he became a doctor/kong hostage instead

gus and sophie getting excited about the parade!

king kong, doctor ann darrow and zeus parading through the classrooms...

...then out into the neighborhood!

gus is like the best big brother evah. period.

i have no idea whose kid this is, but i will say this was one good michael jackson costume

a mass o' sweaty, becostumed kiddos trundling back to their classrooms for halloween parties

the big night itself! halloween. gus and sophie went out trick-or-treating with friends before i got back from ames (i spent the day at ISU) so i have no pictures of them leaving, damnit! gus decided not to wear the dress that night, either (again, that's fine) and just added a healthy dose of fake blood (which was actually edible--yuck) all over his scrubs to make him reallllllly scarrrrrrrry. so...just these pics of sophie coming home exhausted but happy.

rich, gus and sophie spent the afternoon carving the pumpkins

scary, scary pumpkins!

king kong and mommy

kong, at the end of the night, having a banana before bed