since my brother spoiled me for my birthday i've gotten to listen to new music. and since luke has been exposing me to the new hits of the day, i've noticed a trend in this new music. lou barlow is cropping up all over the place. as i was listening to "mix for another man's wife" i could have sworn that instead of interpol i was listening to the former frontman of sebadoh. and then i got the new snow patrol, and this gary lightbody guy could be the understudy for mr. barlow. not only do the vocals sound so familiar, but the guitars have a mellow mood to them, no matter how loud they get. it's great music, capable of going along with a rainy day like today, or good for a mix for a friend going to the gym. the beats are solid, but it's the voice that really makes the music wonderful.

i talked with my brother about this common-denominator. he said it's called "low-fi"; something started in the early 90's but that got passed over for grunge. lonely guys with guitars and four-tracks recording different music not quite for the masses. the best thing i can tell you is, check out this and you'll see what i mean. or go here. and you can check out interpol and snow patrol; they're really good, too. but never forget who started it.


gallery extravaganza

last night my "boss" had a "gallery" show at her parents house. really it was an excuse to get people together to eat, drink and look at pictures. the dining room was filled with pictures taken in italy, by both her and her father. we all voted on our top five and supposedly we get one of the fabulous pictures.

the best part of the night was seeing some great women. i went with megan, which was a good start, except that we spent 30 minutes driving around the house where we work trying to make sense of the fact that 95th street turns into colburn road (you have to get on bannister first...). when we arrived the first people i saw were my sister and her beautiful daughter! i can't ever get enough of that family.

and then i saw the martins; if they had a link i'd hook you up so you could see how great they are. i actually saw ron just recently, but this time he had the stitches out of his icky index finger. i swear, i think that man has more injuries than any other person i know. right janet? and speaking of janet, let's take a vote. she's a beautiful woman, gorgeous eyes and great skin, but she thinks she gets to just cut her hair off whenever she wants. she's got incredible hair: nice, slight curl and best of all, it's soft grey like emmylou harris'. i would kill for that hair. so all in favor of letting it grow, say AYE! and i've decided that when tom and i have a teenage son, i want him to be as great as tyler martin, who also has great curly hair, although his is red, like his father's. he's super smart, cute as all get out, and relates to women in an uncanny way -- it must be the combination of a great father and a close relationship with his mother. so yay for the martins! i love you. and if you move to alaska, ron, janet can move in with me.


big boy

so here's an attempt at a close up, and a picture of his profile and arm. i think he's going to be into music, he looks like he's conducting. or doing karate.


engaging day

today was a whopper! not only did we see our baby for the first time, it was our niece's first birthday and AND tom's sister got engaged! eric, her husband-to-be, put together the most elaborate treasure hunt/amazing race imagined. he timed it perfectly, dropping off accomplices at their destinations, clues in hand, stalling tactics ready to go. i'm so amazed at what a guy eric is, planning details like making sure she had something to eat before the fiasco began, to a change of clothes, to travel time with some good friends, he thought it through and then let susan do the rest. at the end of the day there was an amazing ring (a fatty band with a gazillion diamonds and then little flowers in the middle with more diamonds -- shockingly gorgeous but very simple susan) and a fabulous man. they say a good man is hard to find, but around here they seem to be in abundance; i can't get away from them.

now my only job is to hook up the great single guys with all my great single girls...applications accepted.

baby oh baby

two arms, two legs, one penis. that's our boy!!! he's a healthy 15 oz, and i've gained 8 pounds. kind of ironic since that's how much galadriel gained since her last visit. no names officially, any suggestions? grandpa wanted zeke, mom's pulling for raymie. we're open for options. but if there's a junior involved we expect to see some college funds.

there really is a baby inside of me, with a heart pumping and hands moving around. we got to see him swallow, and he's got fluid in his throat and kidneys. the doctor said she saw everything she wanted to see and nothing she didn't want to see. and that's good, right?

--sorry the pictures are so bad. we'll try again later. the second picture proves it's a boy. can you tell?


baby will be gendered

tomorrow we get to see the baby inside my belly. i'm crossing my fingers that the baby isn't modest and will show us the goods. i've had so many dreams where the sonographer can't tell if it's a boy or a girl and the doctor tells us, it's a really inaccurate thing, these sonograms. i'm already calling it "him"; at first because it seemed genderless, like the biblical he, but now i do think we're having a boy. and i'm crossing my fingers that i'll be able to scan the sonogram so you all can see the "little buddy" or the "hey cutie". stay tuned...

i do work, i promise

today we had '80's movie day at work. we watched "labyrinth", with david bowie and jennifer connelly. actually on the back they're listed in reverse order, which is wrong because at the time (1986) who was jennifer connelly? this movie is way too scary for younger children, and megan and i realized we were 7 at the time it came out, so it must have been later in life, around 5th grade, that we discovered it. i remember having slumber parties at kelly pickett's house and watching it. jim hensen does an amazing job with the goblins and everything else. check this movie out.

also, we watched (are still in the process of watching) "the color of money." timeless paul newman tries to show weasely tom cruise how to hustle people. this is a favorite movie of megan's friend david, a panera man, so we decided to give it a viewing. now, paul newman doesn't take his shirt off in this movie (try "the long hot summer") but the man looks good. i love him. i think one day my tom will look like paul newman; he will age well i'm sure. and the blue eyes are a perfect fit. now if only he could make cookies the way mr. newman does...


kelly grace

here is a more recent photograph of my neice, kelly grace. my sister sarah is a photographer, which works out really well, since everyone needs pictures. well, "needs" maybe isn't the right word, but it's fun to have pictures of cute kids. kelly grace is an angel of a little girl; she watches everyone closely, soaking in the action of the blake household. shannon, her mom, says she's not so laid back at home -- she demands more when there aren't a million arms waiting to hold her. but she's still this perfect little creation of jason and shannon, with a big helping from god. i love her. this picture makes me want to kiss her.

apparently, though, you should be careful who you let kiss your kids, what with the bacteria and all. that's what my dentist tells me. isn't that weird? it's one thing to not want strangers to kiss your baby, but family. who cares what kind of germs they have?

and here's really the point: tom had a dream a couple weeks ago that we were at our old church two days after i had the baby, and he was freaked out about the germs. not only that, but we were sitting next to the brazilian and argentine national soccer teams. in uniform. and this player leans over to tom and asks if the baby is a boy or a girl. tom replies, a boy. then the player asks what his name is. tom looks at me, then turns back and says, it's tom. ha! but then, the player reaches down to kind of tickle the baby and he has these long fingernails with dirt underneath them. tom freaks out! so ends tom's first dream about the baby. i think it's a boy.

not the only children

one of the greatest people got married this sunday. the guy who changed my musical taste from duran duran to spoon. from what i can tell he married a good girl; i hope she knows what she's getting. i think anyone who ever meets josh berwanger remembers him forever. maybe because his sense of humor is different from most, maybe because his music spans the entire 20th century from bluegrass to g'n'r. when you get down to it, he ranks among the sweetest, most non-judgemental guys around. one of those great guys that are few and far between. so take care of him heidi, he won't let you down. congratulations!

The Blake Olympics

People talk a lot about family and in-laws and the holidays and how much they like or hate or detest or savor or how awkward family events are in their family or their spouses. So, I decided to fill everyone in on one particular holiday in the life of the Blake family. This is how on July 4th, 2005, Michael, DeAnn, Jason, Shannon, Landon, Kelly Grace, Paul, Harrison, Tom, Leah (& Baby Blake), Susan, Eric, Yuma, and Peaches celebrated our nation's birth.

In the spirit of the game and our nation's 229th birthday (Happy Birthday 'Merica), I present to you "The Blake Olympics" (insert Olympic music here). Coming to you from the brilliant mind of Shannon Blake, the Blake family decided to participate in a friendly family competition on Independence Day.

The events included watermelon seed spitting, washer throwing, blow dart (suction cup of course) accuracy, around the world one paddle ping pong, root beer taste testing, blue berry finding with your mouth only (inside of whipped cream), and saltine cracker eating and whistle blowing. A very "eventful" day to say the least.

It required the creativity and genius of the entire family to craft the competition in such a smooth manner. Paul's fantasy league experience as a commissioner allowed him to create the intricate point system necessary for such a large and complicated competition. Shannon's creativity and delegation ultimately lead to carefully planned events throughout the Olympics.

From the opening ceremony (seriously, we had an opening ceremony and for some reason we all said the pledge of allegiance to the flag????) to the closing ceremony (seriously, we had a closing ceremony), the competition was beautiful.

The 6 or so hour competition was fierce and hectic (especially when you throw in kids, dogs, dinner, and Harrison not feeling well). (As a side note, Peaches was not happy about us leaving her inside during the watermelon seed spitting event and decided to show her frustration by peeing all over the couch). In the end, we all shook hands and hopefully still love each other. The winner of the Olympics will remain anonymous (but I would love to take your comments on this blog as to who won and why).

So, as you can see, no matter how strange or boring or crazy or great or non-existent your family is, at least you didn't have to participate in "The Blake Olympics".


and since we're on the topic of family, check out this little girl, abbie joy. she's my pudgy pumpkinhead niece and as galadriel would say, "i just want to wrap her up in bacon and dip her in ranch and eat her." i love her so much that if given the option i would turn her into a bacon wrap. she's that good.

family fun

this is kelly grace, a dallas blake, when she was just a baby-baby. she turns 1 on july 15th but we get to celebrate with her tomorrow! happy birthday kelly!

we're maxing out our family fun capacity this summer. it started off with the cruise with my parents, then a week of auntie jim's hilarious stories, now we're entering in to 4th of july weekend with the dallas blakes and my brother coming back to the states for a month. i think we'll round off the summer with a week in colorado with my whole family and then in november we'll have a baby. and in between are birthdays and anniversaries and more birthdays. it reminds me of something my mom told me before i got married: you don't just marry the man, you marry the family. and thank god i have great in-laws. they're as loud, funny, and good looking as my family. so way to go blakes for being so great. i can't believe i have two amazing families. i may be spoiled... no comment.