Friday, December 26, 2008
Crafty Christmas!

So last year, after being a little sick of all the superfluous gift-giving and shopping just for the sake of it, I proposed that next time we get creative and make all our gifts. This was before I decided to go back to school, though, and as crafty Christmas approached and with my mind on finals, I started regretting my suggestion. But it ended up being really fun.

Actually, Chris and I cleaned up. We've been dreaming of replacing our useless kitchen island with a rustic farm table. But after seeing that custom-built ones were selling for anywhere from $1,500 to $8,000, we thought it might not happen anytime soon. To our surprise, Ken built us one using reclaimed wood from an old bridge outside Big Sur. (Legal note: The bridge was to be removed after being damaged in the fire. No trees or state property were harmed in the making of our table. Phew... Ken, you're safe.) We ate Christmas Eve dinner on the table, and it looks awesome! Chris is looking forward to Sunday mornings with the paper spread out on it, and I can't wait to outfit it with some mid-century Eames chairs to give it our eclectic modern touch (examples here and here).

Some of the other crafty gifts included a custom wine rack, Cubs-themed stuff, a personalized cookbook, bath salts, and original photography. Not bad for being homemade, and everything meant way more than if we'd just braved the stores and bought some DVDs. But it was also a lot of work, so we may go back to the traditional way next year. Or (if I have my way) call off all gifting until there are children.

We had a yummy holiday dinner and spent time watching Xmas movies and decorating cookies. Note the amoeba-esque gingerbread creations a la Chris in the pictures below. When I asked about his "art" he joked, "you wouldn't get it." :)

After a couple of days in the woods, we had to rush back to our little fur baby... and my new Kitchen-Aid mixer, which was Chris' gift to me (OK, so we can't go completely without material possessions). Looks like on New Year's Eve our friends will be the lucky benefactors of all the baked goods I'll be making this week!

Posted by Kelley at 11:46 PM | 1 comments

Thursday, December 18, 2008
Finals, Xmas, and our curious kitten

We've been really busy this week, which contributed to the lack of blogging, but I just wanted to post some pics of our nutter kitten Santo watching the rain and update everyone on what we've been doing.

Chris and I wrapped up our first semester back in school this week. Finals weren't too stressful, just time-consuming, and (fingers crossed) I think we may have aced our classes. For anyone counting, that's one of three Spanish classes down for Chris -- and a few out of many for me! It will be nice to have a bit of a breather and read something for pleasure before diving in again come January.

The kitten is happy, healthy, and feeling right at home here at 506. He recovered from his cold nicely, got neutered (ouch!), and had his first vet check-up all in the past two weeks. He went from being a bony three pounds when he first came to live with us to a whopping five as of Monday. The cold weather kicked in big time this week and he's been curious about the raindrops falling down our windows. He's very fun to watch, very snuggly, and we love having him. As I say to Chris all the time, "Best birthday present ever!"

Also this week, Chris and I quietly celebrated the anniversary of our first date. Two years ago, I met up with a cute boy wearing Converse and sitting on what we think of now as our Fourth Street bench. On Sunday, we had a nice breakfast (with cake) and made googly eyes at each other all day. It was good stuff.

So now we're in full holiday mode. We sent out care packages today to (hopefully) arrive by the 25th, and I'll be baking and crafting all weekend. To everyone in Chicago, we'll miss seeing you but will keep you posted on our holiday fun here with the west coast fam. More Xmas pics and stories to come...

Posted by Kelley at 10:04 PM | 0 comments

Friday, December 5, 2008
Take Me Away

For two hours Wednesday night I was 16 again, going with my brother on midnight runs to Tower Records in search of the latest singles (whether by way of Japan or in a faux Benson & Hedges box) by our favorite band, Oasis. Liam, Noel and the rest of the band who are not Guigsy or Bonehead visited Oakland, and Chris and Tiffany and I went to catch up with the boys from Manchester.

It was a rollicking good show. The old songs--"Cigarettes & Alcohol," "Slide Away," "Supersonic," "Don't Look Back in Anger"--sound just as good, and the new ones--"Waiting for the Rapture," "I'm Outta Time," "The Shock of the Lightning"--are up to the task. And Liam, more than decade removed from the peak of his fame, seems as arrogant as ever--taunting the crowd; standing at the front of the stage like he's just dared you to take the first punch; and, when it's not his turn to sing, simply leaving the stage. I see how this can be annoying, but to a fan, it's brilliant.

My lone nit had nothing to with the music (though I could've done with an hour less of opening act Ryan Adams). As I scanned the crowd of thirtysomethings and above, I noticed that this was the first my concert where the act was neither of the moment (Coldplay, 2003; Dave Matthews Band, 1996) nor delightfully under the radar (several shows by the Freddy Jones Band and the Samples). I'm aware that in too many posts here I've whined about feeling old in this, my 30th year. But the similarities to, say, a man of my father's age going to see the Rolling Stones were too apparent to ignore. And that's an especially apt comparison, as Noel says the bands are in the same league. (Video from the show below.)

Posted by Chris at 10:29 AM | 0 comments