Thursday, January 29, 2009

Photo(s) of the Day

I apologize for my lack of posting today, tomorrow I will explain where I have been today. But until then, I would like to pick your brains.

(Am I the only one that always spells that brians?)

Which of these pictures do you prefer, and why? Unless you don't know why, then you can just say "'cause" and be done with it!

Update: After hitting publish I realized that these photos look blurry in the post, if you click on them to enlarge however, they are much clearer.

1.

2.

3.
(I really didn't do that to the sky, today was gorgeous, the lighter sky is actually an edit. Weird huh?)

Even if you aren't a huge fan of the picture itself.

I'm conducting a little experiment over here, so in the name of science, which of the three do you like best?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Photo of the Day

The about head shot is further proof that I am a gigantic dork. There are about a million other things I could be doing, nay - SHOULD be doing, but instead here I sit editing glamor shot of my dog.

My Favorite Things, Revisited

I've been a little down in the dumps lately, and gosh I hate that feeling. I think a large part of it is the suffocating state of my apartment, and that Matt and I are sort of 'on hold' in a way until this whole house thing gets ironed out. We were really hoping to close on January 31st, which would been ONLY 31 days late, but it's Wednesday, so far we have no news on that front.

I decided to take a long hard (not really THAT long or hard) look at my life and try to focus a little more on the good things, my favorite things, if you will.
Reading, I know I have said that before, but I really love books.
I love the Polish dishes that my in-laws give to me every Christmas. This one is an oil and vinegar set, hopefully some day I will have somewhere to display them. Something like...I don't know...a house.

These little bamboo plants. Actually, they aren't bamboo, they are a variety of water lily, but the important thing is that I have not killed them. Yet. I have had them in for almost a year, and for someone whose family calls 'the black thumb', that is a HUGE accomplishment.
I love they way my non-dairy creamer swirls in my coffee in the morning. It's so fluid(duh) and lovely.
I love my Burt's Bees lip balm. It is one of three lip balms that are usually on my nightstand. My lips get very dry over night, it is not unusual for me to wake up with a split lip, almost as if I had been cage-fighting in my sleep.
This is the only thing still hanging on the walls in our apartment. I love the first picture in this series so much, Matt has such an intense look on his face and I can tell my the curve of my cheek that I am laughing.

And lastly, I love the little notes Matt leaves around the apartment for me.

Thanks for letting me share some of my favorite things with you all again! I feel like I can breathe again!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

You are My Sunshine

You are my sunshine...
My only sunshine...
You make me happy...
When skies are gray...
You'll never know Mom...
How much I love you...
Happy birthday Momma! I love you!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Video of the Day

After today's post a couple of you asked for the video anyway, so here it is in place of today's photo.

Now...I warned you, it's mostly just noise unfortunately, and an impossibly shrill (mostly incomprehensible) female voice, but towards the end you can hear Mike a little more.
video
I would love to be able to tell you the words to the song he is singing, but unfortunately I do not know most of them. I DO know that it is a song that he wrote about a girl in high school who became a professional model. Hmph.

Mike

You know how sometimes you can know someone and never realize that they have this great talent inside of them?
On Friday evening Matt and I made a trip up to his hometown to see his younger brother, Mike play at a local bar.
Despite the fact that he played at our wedding, I had never really had a chance to sit down and LISTEN to him play. He was fantastic.
There was a great turnout as well, probably around 80 people all packed into a small bar. We're talkin' standing room only. He played for over four hours and crowd still wanted more.
Heh. Why do I think he may not appreciate that last picture?

I was so impressed I tried to take a video on my phone purely to share with all of you, but when I listened to it again I realized I had gotten very little of Mike actually playing, and could hear more of the drunk girl standing next to me talking about her missing car keys.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Emma, Oh Emma


It's no secret that I have an intense admiration of Emma Thompson. I just...I like her. Well, okay, I don't know her, but she is my favorite actress and after reading what I am about to share with you, she sounds pretty darn swell(not to mention she looks a LOT like my mom! Don't you think?). I first stumbled across this here, but have seen it several other places as well so I am not 100% sure who to credit for it, other than Ms. Thompson herself.

"Dear Fellow Females – I’ve been asked to offer a blog on my new film, ‘Last Chance Harvey’ – which, as a computer illiterate, I get confused with ‘snog’ (British slang for kissing) and ‘shog’ (Shakespearian word used by Pistol in Henry V meaning ‘leave’) neither of which - I realise - is the correct interpretation.

But it is a comment, or view, I think, that you want, and here it is –

I shall turn 50 this year, which is not without its odd emotions and has got me thinking about being, well, old. I don’t mean decrepit, I mean not infantile, no longer so attached to things, no longer so concerned about what others think, no longer so anxious to prove myself – you may know the sort of thing I mean. It was rather a treat, therefore, to play what is – in a way – my first modern romantic lead in a film that is more romantic than comic (although it has very funny moments and is underscored with irony and subtle humour throughout) where I was not required to be stunningly attractive or in despair or in need of rescue, but simply an ordinary woman in her forties living a rather stale-looking life as best she can.

Along comes this rather brash American (Dustin) and he blows a great hole in her defenses (don’t you think we all build them for various stages in life and then FORGET TO DISMANTLE THEM when the danger is past or the trauma has been lived through?). So what you are watching is a sudden flood of real communication (how rare is that?), the sort of communication that shifts the emotional tectonic plates and provokes seismic movement in the soul.

Again, it’s rare to watch this on the screen because you need to be a little thoughtful and not require explosions of the literal kind to keep you interested. I’d guess that’s a fair description of us.

If you see the picture, and I hope you will because I love it very much and am moved by it every time I see it, you’ll notice I am decidedly unglamorous and at least size 16. (A US size 12) I really wanted to look like a “normal” woman, I mean in terms of body size.

Actresses seem to be getting tinier and tinier and I do wonder how we think we can present really powerful women, matriarchs and the like, when we seem to insist upon having such attenuated physiques.

So Kate is solid – probably worries a bit about her muffin-top (mine is more like a desk-top these days if you must know) but can’t find the energy to worry enough to go to the gym and can’t find the time either.

She’s a real sort of person, someone I could relate to entirely and I hope you enjoy her. If you do, tell your friends because the more we can get films like this well distributed the more films we can make about (for want of a better epithet) real women as opposed to (let’s face it) pretend ones.

Warmest wishes to you all for 2009 from Emma Thompson, a first time blogger at fifty"


What a lady.

Now, go see Last Chance Harvey for me, I'm not sure when I will get a chance to get to a theater. Let me know what you think, unless you don't like it, in which case please don't tell me! Please? You wouldn't ruin this for me would you?

Friday, January 23, 2009

One-on-One with Matthew

I asked Matt what he thought the title of this should be, he said "something for the ladies", I'm not ever sure what that means?

All right folks, you asked for it, here it is! Today we are delving into the mind of my husband, Matthew. Anything I added or asked him in the process of this interview is italicized.


1. What is one thing that sticks in your memory from your teaching trip to Peru?


When I told the kids to sit like good students for a picture, it was the most exaggerated look I have ever seen, it was ridiculous.


2. Do you want to be called Uncle Matt, Uncle Mattykins, Uncle Matty, or just UNC?

Unc? Um Uncle Matt, or Uncle Matty, but then that sounds like a girl, so Uncle Matt.

3. Have you ever changed a diaper??

Yes.

4. What is the best gift you ever received?

The best gift I have ever received? God's grace.

5. What is your favorite book?

I really like Blue like Jazz by Don Miller, I love the part where he actually mentions the "blue like jazz". You will have to read it to find out.


6. Would you rather be able to fly or read people's minds? Why?

Fly totally. I wouldn't have to put any more miles on my truck, you would be able to get anywhere so quickly. I could fly to work every morning.

7. What was the first thing you thought the first time you saw Country Mouse???

I thought she started a blog.

No honey, I think she meant me, what was the first thing you thought when you first saw ME, not the blog.

Oh, you?
I thought you were beautiful, and then you punched me.

I did not!

You did! Punchbuggy. I thought you had beautiful eyes.


8. Why did you pick Spanish to teach?

I fell in love with the language while I was in the Dominican Republic. It's funny because I think that if they spoke a different language there, I would have wanted to learn that language. It was more about the communication with someone of a different culture.

9. What do you love most about your wife?

I saw this one, and I've been thinking about this for a while. That's really tough. I was thinking that I really love how smart she is, but that is more of an admiration.

I'm not smarter than you!

Yes you are, it's intimidating.

Hmm...moving on...

10. If you were stranded on a deserted island what three things would you have with you?

A fishing pole. My wife. And my guitar, no my dog, crap!


11. What's your middle name?

Steven.

12. Favorite sport?

Football. Because you can take your aggression out on people.

Do you have a lot of pent-up aggression?

No, but you focus energy on a certain moment in football.


13. Favorite Movie?


Snatch.

14. When did you decide you wanted to MARRY Bekah? Was there a defining moment/memory?

Hmmm. I guess, when I told her I loved her that's how I knew it would end up. But as far as "I'm going to go get a ring and propose" there was never that moment I just knew that I would, or at least I don't remember.

On July 4th, 2007, that was the first time you told me you wanted to marry me, we were up at your parents house.

I actually said "I'm going to marry you?" Then put that in, that sounds MUCH better.

15. How many kids do you want to have (IF you want to have kids)?

I want two.

16. Do you like/love CHEESE? :-) What is your favorite kind???


Do I like cheese?! I LOVE cheese. I like everything from cheese whiz to blue cheese. My wife is lactose intolerant so that is one thing I have sort of sacrificed.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Ragged Band of Misfits

Your questions will all be answered tomorrow. My insomnia finally caught up with me last night and I crashed at about 7:30. My apologies.

My family recently spent an evening together watching old home videos, one of which happened to be my 9th birthday party. As I watched the video I realized that I MAY have been a bit of a dork. And by 'may have been' I totally mean I was a huge dork.

I scrolled back though my memory to those days spent on the playground at recess, thinking about who I used to run with, and I came to a shocking conclusion. I was the leader of a ragged band of misfits. Not that this is, by any means, a bad thing. I had a blast with my raggedy bunch, it just amused me to think back on how incredibly weird we were.

First of all there was me, whose greatest desire in life was to somehow travel back in time and become a Native American. I used to wear this leather wrap around my braid and I thought I looked SO COOL.

Then there was my friend Carley, who convinced me that, not only was it healthy, it was cool to walk around at recess chewing on a Sassafras leaf. Thing is, I'm not sure that either of us knew what a Sassafras leaf actually looked like, so chances are we were running around with an oak leaf hanging out of our mouths.

There was Kristin, who wasn't actually that weird, she was just really shy. One incident in particular stands out in my memory with Kristin. We were playing tag one day, girls versus boys. Some of the girls were upping the ante by kissing any boys they caught, Kristin and I were both still a the point where that was just gross, so we were simply playing catch and release. The recess monitor must have caught on to the game, because she came over and grabbed both Kristin and I by the wrists and made us stand at the wall for the rest of recess for kissing boys. This is also the only time I remember crying at recess. Kiss a boy? I would never! I had been unfairly accused! I have a right to a trial! I want my mommy!

There was Benji, he stood about a foot shorter than all of the boys at that point in our lives, but he made up for it with the length of his fingernails. Of all the things I remember about elementary school, Benji's fingernails are one of the most vivid. Those suckers were LONG. He also entered every single talent show he could find to display his Karate moves. To this day I can't really think about Karate without envisioning little Benji up on the stage with a long stick making loud screaming noises. I just didn't get Karate apparently.

Later I made friends with another boy named Ross. Ross was a strange ranger. He was (and probably still is) one of the smartest people I have ever come into contact with, but his common sense left something to be desired. He used to stand in his front yard with his fishing rod and cast for POWER LINES as practice. Thank God he was a bad fisherman! Later on, in high school, Ross would end up missing 4 days of school due to a severe sun burn. He mistakenly believed that one should lay in a tanning bed for the same amount of time as one would lay on the beach. Needless to say, this is NOT the case.

Even now as I write this down, I am struck by just how much I loved each an every one of them. My childhood did not involve a ton of friends, but it involved so much happiness and fun for me. I had found people that may not have been the coolest, but they accepted me for me, and when you are a nine year old girl with a leather head wrap telling people that someday you hope to grow up to be a member of the Sioux Nation, that really means a lot.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Photo of the Day

I'm loving all of your questions to Matt, he and I will be sitting down to answer them later this evening hopefully. Or rather, he will be answering, I will be typing. But until then, here is the picture for today. This is my momma, I want to be just like her when I grow up.

Possibly a Stroke of Genius

This genius just spelled 'GENIUS' wrong in the title.

Today (Wednesday) I will not be home, nor will I be near a computer. I rarely prepare my posts ahead of time, and it was beginning to bother me that I didn't have anything to write about today. And then? Then I had a stroke of genius. Yes I did...GENIUS.

Possibly the fact that I am writing this at 3:27 am on Wednesday is contributing just how genius I think it is, but I really think you might like it.

Maybe. I mean, maybe you'll hate it and I'll run away crying, but I always come back. I'm beginning to ramble though, so I'll just spit it out.

How would you like a Q&A with Matthew? A chance to ask him anything you want.

Want to know what his nickname was when he was little? What instruments he plays? Why he became a teacher? His favorite color? His phone number? BACK OFF.

Okay, sorry, back to the topic at hand, if you could ask this man (this wonderfully attractive man that took the risk on loving me) anything at all, what would it be? I feel like I could probably devote an entire blog solely about Matthew, and I think you all know that I like to make him the subject of my posts, but I would really like to know what YOU want to know, otherwise this blog might just turn into me making googly-eyes at my husband.

Don't hold back, don't be shy. He certainly isn't.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Photo of the Day

I didn't take this picture. I think my dad did, or possibly my mom. That is me at about 2 years old. That cat behind me? My sister named it Potty.

I've always loved this picture, I wonder what I was so worried about. I mean, what exactly does a two year old worry about?

A Social Observation

*Just a little heads-up, I rarely curse on this website, just as I rarely curse in real life. However, in this post I do use a naughty word. Trust me, I was going to edit it out, but it gets the point across much better than it does with an asterisk. *

Several months ago my husband and I ventured out into society to do some Christmas shopping and also to use up some gift cards that had been given to me for my birthday. As we wandered the mall and browsed various department stores, we jokingly bantered back and forth about what to buy.

I am a notoriously picky shopper, I like to check out pretty much everything before I spend money, especially a gift card because, hello, it's a gift to me and I want it to be good. I don't really LIKE shopping, but if I am going to do it, I'm going to DO it, you know?

So as we wandered around in one certain store for a while I picked up a watch and told Matt that I thought it was nice.

'You already have a watch, and you don't wear it' he said. This was a very valid point, I do have a watch and I rarely wear it, so I put the watch down. A voice from behind us chuckled and said something about me being a typical woman who wanted several of everything.

Annoyed I turned around to see a very sweet looking elderly man. I smiled and didn't say anything, Matt sort of laughed. I mean, what else were we to do?

I then wandered over to the shoe section and was browsing boots. Imagine my surprise when this man came over to the section as well. He continued to talk to my husband, and I heard him saying something about the fact that surely I already have too many pairs of shoes. I also heard my husband reply that that had never stopped me before.

Eventually the man left, as did we -- I really didn't have the desire to use the gift card that night. As we drove home, Matt could tell that I was not quite my usual self. He asked what was wrong, and I told him that honestly, I was upset that he would let a complete stranger talk about me the way he did, and by not disagreeing with him, I felt ganged up on. I know that Matt was just trying to be funny, and trying to be polite to this older man, but I still felt like I had been wronged in a way.

Matt replied that he hadn't seen in that way, and he apologized. Now...I know this was a little incident, really no big deal, but it did get me thinking...

I just didn't (and still don't) understand why it is okay for men to speak derisively about a women (who is standing right there) and assume it is all in good fun, and they are just being funny, but if women were talking about a man in this way, wouldn't we be written off as bitches?

Why is it that men as allowed to be a little on the sexist side in their humor, but if I were to make the same type jokes I would be written off as a femi-nazi?

It's not the fact that Matt thinks I have a lot of shoes, I DO have a lot of shoes. It was the fact that a complete stranger felt that it was okay to make me the butt of his slightly sexist jokes. Dude doesn't even know my name, how would be know anything about my collection of footwear?

*For the record, I had Matt read this before I posted it. I would never, and have never, posted anything about Matt that he has not told me he is comfortable with. However, he hopes you still love him.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Family in Pictures

They really should know better by now, it's as if they never learn! I think it should go without saying that if I am around with my camera, my family members should WATCH IT!
Or they may end up receiving a special place on Country Mouse.

A place of um...honor.
It's usually that yahoo making some face at me...

..but sometimes it's this one. (For the record...he does not have an overbite like that, in case any cute single girls out there were wondering. Just in case...did I mention he is single?)


I am SO going to get beaten up at the next family night. (Again...a little sidenote, in case you don't recognized the above picture, that is my Aunt Lucy. She lives in Mexico and I miss her terribly. Also...she does NOT have chins like that! She is a beautiful redhead.)

I've got a whole folder full of these fun little portraits folks!

It's just one of the many reasons they love me.
But ACK...what is THAT?
Who put that there?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Friday Evening

Matt(while driving past two teenage boys): Ugh, Pull up your pants.

Me: He's just trying to fit in and express himself.

Matt: He looks stupid, and it's disrespectful.

Me: I agree, he looks stupid, but it's his choice. If our future kid wants to dress like that when he is 17, I will absolutely let him. It doesn't mean I will like it. Regardless of my opinion, unless it is physically offensive, they can dress as they are comfortable.

Matt: No way. It's disrespectful!

Me: To who?

Matt: To society! Kids need to learn to respect the public...(10 seconds)...aaaand I just went to the bank in sweatpants.

Me: *smirk*

Matt: What?

Me: I think you just proved my point

Matt: How does that keep happening?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Photo of the Day

Matt took this picture while he was in Peru teaching English classes. Yeah...he's pretty cool that way I GUESS.

UPDATE: It is called Chinacocha and he didn't try the water because (despite the look of the picture) it was very cold that day.

Unpacked

I did it. I unpacked a box. It hurt a little, I won't lie. But as I was unpacking, it was kind of like Christmas all over again. I had packed up everything in the apartment, including many of our gifts, so I got to ooh and aah over them one more time. First up....from my momma...

That's right friends...it's none other than Ms. Applecheeks, the Librarian. Some of you probably remember this post, about the Etsy shop that makes these little darlings. I never bought myself one, although I still go to the shop and look at the sweet little mice.

Imagine my surprise when I opened a box to see that my mom had picked out a mouse that was not only adorable (she is reading Of Mice and Men for goodness sake!) but that fit my personality to a T. I may or may not have kissed her nose the minute I pulled her out of the box.

Next I opened this gift, from my sister Emily. I couldn't believe the thought that went into it.
And no...it doesn't really say "Country Mouse Family, Est 2008" but I figured I wouldn't plaster my full name all over this site...just, ya know, 'cause. (Not that anyone would be able to pronounce our last name anyway...it's German, and I say it incorrectly on a regular basis.)

It's a door knocker our new house! I squealed with excitement over this one as well! I sat there and 'knocked' for quite a while. How do people come up with these gifts? I NEVER think of stuff this good! Never!

That is all that was in that box that I unpacked, for some reason I chose to unpack the box of keepsakes instead of a box with kitchen utensils or something really useful. I am a planner, what can I say?!

Are you one of those people (like my mom and sister) that can think of the truly awesome gifts? Or are you (like me) one of those people that might hit on an awesome gift once in a while even though your heart is always in it?

*By no means am I trying to say that these are the only gifts I got that I was (and still am) in love with, I am blessed with an extremely loving family (mine and Matts) that showered us with gifts and love this holiday season. These just two happened to be in the box I upacked...I sure do love them though. I think I'll go stare into Ms. Applecheeks eyes for a moment or two...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Photo of the Day

It's been almost five years since the first time I laid eyes on this man, and he still gives me butterflies.

Hittin' the Sauce

There has been a great deal of stress in this household lately due to some housing issues. Apparently SOME of us are using ALCOHOL as a crutch to deal with it.
He refuses to acknowledge that he might have some dependency issues, he keeps telling me he has his drinking under control.
Does this look like the face of someone in control of their addictions? No, I think not.

It doesn't help that he is WELL under the legal drinking age. He tries to pull the 'I'm 21 in dog years!" card, but I'm all "DUDE, you are SEVEN in dog years!"
I'm trying to organize an intervention, but all of his friends keep telling me to give him some time, see if he can beat this on his own.

ENABLERS!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Photo of the Day

It amazes me that everyday objects, such as this fence, become a little bit magical when you change the angle.

Yet Another House Update

Today we received yet another interesting update on the house.

It may be ANOTHER 30 days. My blood is beginning to boil over here. Every time I look around my apartment and see boxes, every time I try to cook dinner and realize that the utensils I need are packed in a box, every time I stub my toes on the way to the bathroom, I get just a little bit closer to LOSING IT. I'm trying, I'm trying really hard, but this is getting ridiculous. I don't know whether I should unpack a few boxes and try to put stuff back where it belongs, or if I should just grin an bear it.

We are already 13 days PAST the day we were supposed to move, and now we may get pushed back another 30?

The kicker though, is this...we don't have another 30 days on the lease to our apartment. We will have to pay another 850 dollars to rent the apartment for the month of February.

This Country Mouse might go postal.

**Thank you all for putting up with my house rants, I need an outlet, and poor Matt is more angry than I am so I don't want to put any more on his shoulders.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Oh Baby!

Saturday afternoon was my older sisters baby shower. Now, I have never really been to a real baby shower, unless you count the one I went to at a bar..yeah, no really, a sports bar. So I felt like I was being flung headfirst into the fire when I realized I was supposed to be throwing a baby shower, didn't I just throw this girl a bridal shower? Sheesh woman! Luckily I had some wonderful women helping me, namely my mom, and Rachael, my sisters best friend from childhood.

I was completely impressed that this diaper wreath turned out this nice! I'm so proud of...me.

I really don't know what I would have done without them. Cried, probably. With their help though, and tons of it, the shower turned out to be a rip-roaring success. I mean, look at the adorable cake Rachael had made for the shower!

No your eyes aren't tricking you...the cake is yellow! They are not finding out the sex of the baby before the birth, so her colors are mainly yellow and light green. You can read all about her and the baby right here on her website.

Due to snow in the area, some guests were unable to make it, and some had to leave early, but we still had a pretty good turnout.

We even had my sister(8 months pregnant), Rachael (6.5 months pregnant) and Amy (7 months pregnant) play a fun little game called 'tinkle in the pot'. In this game the contestants must hold a quarter between their knees, waddle over to a sauce pot placed on the floor, and drop their quarter into the pot. It was deliciously fun to watch!
Oh my Lord, I just noticed...what on EARTH is my step-grandmother doing? WHY are her feet dangled over the edge of the couch? What was in the punch!?

Oh! And in another game, the guests had to hold a paper plate on top of their head and draw a picture of Emily's baby. Then Emily judged who had drawn the best baby, and they won a prize. The guests were all about the prizes! This is my younger sister Ashley working on her masterpiece.

Then the presents, oh the presents. The guests really showered Emily with some wonderful presents. I tell ya, that kid will NEVER run out of onesies or washcloths! I was enlisted to write down the name of the gift giver along with the gifts to help Em out with the thank you cards.

As she opened gifts, I realized just how odd some of things I was writing down sounded to a person who has no children...

...nipples!...

...Butt Paste!...

...breast pads!...

..kinda sounds like a raunchy bachelorette party! Not that I would know...I have never been to a raunchy bachelorette party. No sirree, I'm way too easily embarrassed for all THAT jazz.

But the baby shower, now that was just fantastic!
And somehow we all even dressed to match! Honestly...that happens a lot, I am not sure why.

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