Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ray LaMontagne

Music is important to us and while we have definitely transitioned into middle agers, we still enjoy a good concert here are there. We have a list of musicians that we will always pay to see when they come and Ray LaMontagne was on the list. He hasn't been on the music scene that long but has quickly become one of our favorite artists. We were thrilled to find out he was stopping in Salt Lake and we saw him last night at Saltair. Here is a little bit of a Ray's bio:

With a voice that recalls a huskier, sandpaper version of Van Morrison and Tim Buckley,
Ray LaMontagne joins such artists as Iron & Wine in creating folk songs that are alternately lush and intimately earthy. The songwriter was born in Nashua, New Hampshire in 1973; his parents split up shortly after his birth, and his mother began a pattern of moving her six children to any locale that could offer her employment and housing. As a result, LaMontagne grew up as the perennial new kid in school (when and if he went to school at all). He did graduate high school, however, and found himself working in a shoe factory in Maine when he heard Stephen Stills' "Tree Top Flyer" on the radio. The song amounted to an epiphany for LaMontagne, who made up his mind on the spot to become a singer and musician.

The guy is amazing to watch. He is a really shy guy and chooses to play left of center stage as though he is just another musician in his band. But when he plays, you lose yourself in his music. In a couple of his solo acoustic numbers, the venue was so quiet that you could hear a pin drop.

It was a show we will remember for a long time and we will definitely see Ray again if he comes back to Salt Lake. If you are looking for some new music, this guy comes highly recommended.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Enough is enough

Look at this cute, harmless creature. Before yesterday I used to think my mom was a real pansy when it came to mice. I heard her scream countless times when she would encounter a mouse in our storage room growing up. Then my dad would come to the rescue with his BB gun. (No, I am not kidding.)

Fortunately, I haven't had the pleasure of a rodent encounter in my home until yesterday. I came home and I was doing the ritual clearing off of the kitchen table. Mail, Henry's artwork, newspaper, all the stuff that seems to pile up there within a couple of hours. As I picked up one of the papers I saw a mouse scurry across the table. I screamed (a lot) and yelled at Kevin to come upstairs immediately to help me. I was honestly surprised at my reaction because I have a pretty good tolerance for spiders. Snakes are the only thing that I thought I had an irrational fear of. Kevin came upstairs laughing and I told him the mouse had to still be on the table somewhere because I would've seen it jump. Item by item, he continued clearing off the table until there was only one magazine left lying open. As he put his hand on the magazine to pick it up he felt the mouse underneath there. He hatched a quick plan that involved a bowl, but the mouse was too fast. He flew (literally) off the kitchen table and ran into the mess that is our front room. So that was yesterday. Kevin said we could get some traps, but the idea of me being home alone and hearing the thing go off made my skin crawl so I didn't take him up on it.

This morning I was cleaning up the kitchen and needed to get something out of my purse. As I was rummaging around the empty abyss that is my purse, the mouse runs up my arm, out of my bag, and takes a flying leap off of my shoulder. Poor Kevin has a cold and was trying to rest when I let out a blood curdling scream. The mouse high-tailed it into the safety of our front room. I have never before been so close to heart attack. Who expects a mouse to be waiting for them in their purse? I went downstairs to find Kevin in hysterics. Only now, about 6 hours later am I able to find humor in the story.

I immediately called Kevin's mom to see if she had some traps. I was ready for revenge. Lucikily she did and Kevin dragged his sick butt out of bed to set them for me. He still believes in chivalry. Once that mouse invaded my personal space (is there any space more personal for a woman than her purse?) my sympathies were done. I am happy to report that we have rid ourselves of one mouse, but Kevin thinks there is another. Until we find the other one, I am going to cautiously open cabinet doors and my heart rate will continue to rise every time I look in my purse.

Maybe rodents are intelligent enough to play Halloween pranks?

Thursday, October 23, 2008


The question of the hour is, how many blogs have you already read with this same entry about visiting the witches at Gardner Village last weekend?? I can say that because 1) we Utahns love to blog about what we do and 2) I do believe that every family in Utah visited Gardner Village last weekend. Buffy and I decided to take the boys last Friday because the boys were out of school for UEA weekend. We had no idea that it would bo so crowded that we would feel like we were at Disneyland. But, the boys didn't care and the place was so decked out for Halloween that it was worth it.
Here are the boys posing with their first witch (notice the fourth green face in the back.) We took the boys to get their faces painted and Henry was in no way going to let someone paint his face. He decided he would be okay with someone painting his hand though and he opted for the pumpkin. Colton went for the full-faced pirate and Dixon a pirate skull and crossbones on his cheek. (The Clark boys can always be counted on to choose something pirate themed.)

The picture of the three boys above is my favorite for two reasons. First, Henry looks as though he is trying to cover his privates, but what he is doing is showing off the pumpkin that was painted on his hand. Second, it's hard to tell from the picture, but they are standing in front of a witch reading the paper in an outhouse. It was pretty funny.

The last thing we did was to take a hayride with the witch you see in the picture above. She told a very bewitching story as we were pulled around a swamp on the hayride. It was so much fun. It ALMOST made me like Halloween as much as Christmas. I think we will go back next year, just not over UEA weekend.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The New Henry Workshop

The other day Henry and I sat down late at night to watch a bit of televison before bed. Mom was out of town in California and it was a guys weekend. That being said, neither one of us is much for monster truck pulls or pro wrestling so as we scrolled through the Tivo options I fully expected Hen to vote Curious George or Clifford (whom Henry calls "Clippard") the Big Red Dog. Much to my surprise Henry stated that he'd like to watch "that Yankee show with the tools". I've been watching this yankee show for years and truthfully, I've always been alone in that endeavor. As sexy as Norm Abrahms is, his screen presence can bee a bit akward. Once past his trademark plaid shirt and goofy safety glasses however, most discover that he is the god of wood, and his shop is the temple every tool guy goes to worship.

Henry and I cuddled up on the couch and watched Norm go through part one of his "How to Build Kitchen Cabinets" series. Hen never twitched. He watched with admirable attention until the credits rolled, afterwards, he looked at me and said "I like that guy, he's nice".

A few weeks later as part of the ongoing saga that is our home remodel, I enclosed a covered portion of our dilapidated deck to form a bit of a temporary shop to house my tools prior to our next remodeling phase. Each night I've been going into this makeshift space to try and make heads or tails of all my tools & supplies and each night Hen wants to be a part of the action.

Tonight Henry and I ventured into the "shop" to sort and clean but as I looked at all the tools, set up for the first time since we left Sugarhouse nearly 3 years ago, I had the itch to build something. I looked at Henry, who was playing with a MatchBox car and said, "do you want to build a speedracer car?" He was on board without hesitation and so we began. I grabbed a few scrap blocks of wood, laid out a simple design, flipped on the bandsaw and started cutting away. Each piece I cut was handed to Henry to sand, which he did with great anticipation.
After all the parts were cut and sanded, I took a minute to show Henry how to glue all the pieces together. He hopped up on a Home Depot bucket and spread the glue with his finger before I began clamping the pieces together.

After letting the glue dry for 10-15 minutes (which was painful for Henry) I took out an old dusty carboard box that I received from Meg's grandpa, Jack Dale. In the box were a bunch of wooden wheels and wooden axels that he used to make children's toys. I've had the box for 6 or 7 years now and have waited until I could use them with my kids. Henry and I picked out a few wheels and found the matching axels and began marking, drilling, and tapping them into place with just a touch of glue. Once he car was complete, we grabbed a can of black spray paint and gave it a coat. We waited. Then waited some more. The wait was killing us both. We finally brought the car out to mom for the great unveiling.

He lifted it up proudly displaying his new "speedracer car" that he and dad had built. It may not have been part one of "How to Build Kitchen Cabinets," but it was the first of many joint projects to come in the "New Henry Workshop". Next time, perhaps we'll both be in plaid.