Monday, August 19, 2013


People, this building a house business is crazy. I am so grateful, but getting ready to move is pretty consuming for me and I hope to never do it again.
ANYHOOO...I squeezed in a little trip to Helena/Great Falls last week (Thursday 8/8-Friday 8/9) to see my sister Lisa (visiting from Phoenix) and her sons, and her teeny tiny grandson who is incubating at the hospital in Great Falls. It was my first trip to Great Falls and I liked it.
Kamrie (the mama), Lisa (the Grandma), and Cody (the dad)

Here is a picture of tiny Zecklin with his daddy's hand.
 For perspective, that little hand is the size of a quarter.

He looks so much like Cody (my nephew, his dad).

Here we are saying goodbye after lunch at Café Rio.
Me, Laura, Lisa
I had to hurry home for Heidi's play that night.

Silly Twins

I think we are laughing at Cody pretending to be a fashion photographer.

Kamrie, Cody, & Tyler

My silly nephews

Lisa & her family
[insert long drive here--I drove from 2-6 home from Great Falls]
Friday night, August 9th, the Yellowstone Gateway Museum opened a Park County Veterans exhibit. Rich's grandpas and his dad are featured in the exhibit.

Sorry about the flash! If you click on this, you can read about Rich's Dad,
our Grandpa Melin, in Vietnam.
Heidi attended a 2-week Young Actors Workshop at the Shane Center this summer. The workshop culminates in a play, and this year's production was "The Phantom Tollbooth."

I didn't get any good pictures because I don't know how to run my camera in the dark,
but Heidi played Side One  (1 of 12) of a dodecahedron.

You can see her there in the middle with her hands on her hips...

and with her hands in the air.

Our friend Caleb stole the show as Toc the Dog.
(yeah, he's 17 and 6'5" and all the kids LOVED him).
While I was at the play, my fireplace got finished! Thanks, Uncle Mikey!

Heidi had two more shows on Saturday, but first we went to a baby shower for Kim Triplett. She was a Mia Maid (15) when I moved here, and now she is a returned missionary (Brazil), a wife and mom. She's expecting a baby girl end of September/ early October, so it was really fun to buy presents!
Heidi holding Kim's niece Naomi

Kim had lots of help opening presents.

Nancy, Erin, Terin, Michaela, Jennifer

Pinky, Angie, Kimberly, Kim, Autumn (with Steph & Heidi in the foreground)

Kim's Grandma Anita and Shawna
What isn't in these pictures is our flooded basement at the rental. The water main sprung a leak and filled the basement with a foot of water. We don't use the basement, so we didn't notice until our water heater was out. We had no hot water Tuesday night, discovered the flood on Wednesday, and stayed with Rich's parents til Sunday, but didn't have hot water until Monday night (8/12). NICE. I am about a week behind on pictures, because our California Melins were in town all last week, so we did some fun cousin things, had a huge Melin Reunion on Saturday afternoon at the ranch,  as well as lots of work on the house. The upstairs is DONE, we got our certificate of occupancy on Friday, 8/16. Meanwhile, the taper just textured the basement walls and Rich took tomorrow off to paint them. After a couple of days painting, they will install the bathroom and laundry room and trim out the other rooms, then carpet comes on the 28th. Then all our stuff and finally US, on Labor Day weekend. I set up the kitchen on Saturday night...wooweee, that was FUN. More photos SOON!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Summertime Part 11-19 (the end)

The Joker: This song reminds me of two things.

First, the really funny Simpsons episode that tells the love story of Homer and Marge. This is “their song.” Of course it is.

Second, a funny afternoon in Southern Pines, North Carolina toward the end of my mission when we were housebound because of a hurricane. We came home for lunch when it began to rain and the wind got really bad. We found a message from our district leaders that we should stay home unless we had rides to teaching appointments and we could tune to one of two radio stations for the weather updates. Well, between the news one of those stations played “The Joker” and we were so giddy to be listening to verboten music that we knew by heart, my companion and I just laid on the floor and sang along at the top of our lungs in fits of giggles (because, really, is there a sillier song? It’s such a redneck stoner song). That’s one thing I loved about mission rules- they made little worldly moments so much more fun.

Free Fallin’: Wow. My memories of this song are like an onion—lots of layers. The video was the first real mainstream film of half pipe skating, which was a sport close to my little 14-year-old heart. Look at Gator go! The girls in the video are from Arizona (this was back in the day when all the best Bettys and Janes came from AZ, wink). The song is really bittersweet and nostalgic, kind of haunting, and the video became so, too, when Gator went to prison for killing Jessica, one of the girls in the video. I can hardly watch it. The other major memory is when I was driving home from my very last final of my college career. I pulled onto Speedway, heading east toward home and “Birds Fly” by Icicle Works came on, followed by “Free Fallin’” by Tom Petty. It was a great mix of elation, freedom, hope, excitement, etc.

Angel of Harlem: My little brother, Matthew, served his mission in New York City. He was in The Bronx on 9/11/01. He served quite a while in Harlem. This song always reminds me of him as a missionary. Of course it also reminds me of Rattle & Hum. I mentioned before how I had a major U2 thing back in the day. I went to see this movie at the Galleria Theaters in Tucson (where my boyfriend worked), and there was a special premier for people who could show their ticket stubs from the Sun Devil Stadium show the previous year. Later, I saw the film “The Commitments” and that’s when I first noticed the Irish/ African-American musical connection. It’s why Bono can sing gospel, and Simply Red can sing the blues, and The Commitments can sing Motown. Really interesting and cool.
Matthew's homecoming weekend, Oceanside California
Cousin Dave, Matthew, Sam, Cousin Larkin

I Want You Back: Confession—I loved the Jackson Five when it really wasn’t cool. I used to babysit these kids whose parents had a great record collection, so I started bringing tapes so I could dub records to cassettes while I babysat (this is circa 1983, pre-Thriller). I remember taping Donovan, Tommy James and the Shondells, Jackson Five, “Super Girls”- a compilation of 50s and 60s girl groups, and probably some others. Nobody in my family listened to the Jackson Five, but I really loved them, and this song was by far the best. Little Michael tore. it. up. This song and “mmmBop” by Hansen are two songs that make me dance.

Buffalo Soldier: There are some family habits that just turn into traditions and then into funny memories. One of ours is everyone singing the “why-i-yo-why-i-i-yo” chorus to this song…even the babies join in. When I was in high school, my Aunt and Uncle moved to Sierra Vista, Arizona, and we had to drive down Buffalo Soldier Trail to get to their house. Still, every time I see the street sign, my mind says, “Dreadlock Rasta.”

American Girl: Cracker, please. If this song doesn’t make you want to hit the road, you’re not listening. After all, it’s a great big world with lots of places to run to. Story of my (early) life.

Drivin’ on Nine: I love(d) the Boston bands Throwing Muses and The Pixies. It was pretty dreamy when sassy Tanya Donnelly from TM and rock goddess Kim Deal got together and made The Breeders. Later it was mostly Kim and her sister, and this song was one of my favorites from Last Splash. It fits the theme of road tripping, but it also has this cool combination of a catchy, upbeat country melody with darker lyrics. Mostly, in the big picture, it’s about out-running your past. Even though, as Buckaroo Banzai said, “No matter where you go, there you are,” there’s something to be said about the journey. Here’s a tidbit: Kevin and I went to see Throwing Muses at that spring music thing at the U of U, and they totally hung out with us for a while (except Kristin, who was very pregnant with her second child). Tanya signed some autographs for me and we talked for a while and she told me Kevin was cute. I told her he was mad about her, and she said, “Then we should take a picture together!” I really want to find that picture, I wonder if it was in Kevin’s stuff. I know that my copy of it was stolen my Elder Spencer on my mission because he, too, was mad about her. With good cause…she was so cute and fun and talented.

Sooz & Me hitting the road in the  Deadbeat Mobile, 1989

Boys of Summer: Remember when the original version of this song came out? Wow, it was powerful. Even back when I was 13 and I didn’t have anything to be nostalgic about I could feel the yearning in that song. Now that I am older and I do get a little nostalgic (hello, isn’t that pretty much what this series is about?) I really appreciate what Don Henley and the song writers accomplished with this song. The video was beautiful. I never saw a Bowling for Soup video, but I like this cover because it’s kind of the cover I’d imagined in my head. It’s my generation’s version of Don Henley’s song. It also makes me feel really grateful that there are no huge regrets in my past. “Thought I knew what love was—what did I know? Those days are gone forever, I should just let ‘em go.” I feel like I did the best with what I had/knew at the time. I feel like I chose really great friends, with whom I am still happy and comfortable today, and I feel proud to know them and so glad for all the things I learned from them.

I guess that’s partly why it’s so fun to be reminded of those times, because they were good. But unlike the voice in this song (and lots of others), I don’t look back and think of my youth as my glory days. I wouldn’t trade today and tomorrow for any of it. I firmly believe the best is yet to come in life, but it sure is nice to have such a great foundation to build upon. A foundation with a soundtrack.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

House Update (it's already different from these pix, sorry)

Thursday night I went to touch up paint at the house. I painted down the stairs so rich could stain the wood along the sides. I painted my kitchen door, which was just primed white. I tried to find all the nicks and thin spots, but it was pretty dark. Have a gander.
This is how the great room looks from the front door.
 I can't wait to see the flooring all clean and shining because I love it!

Down the stairs,  in front of the front door.
They will be carpeted soon.

A not-so-awesome picture of the kitchen cabinets and counters.

Another blurry picture of the kitchen sink area and the fun light fixtures.

Our bedroom door from the garage entry/mudroom.
I like our thermostat hanging from its wire, still in its package.
Note also the whole-house fan in the ceiling and the fancy doorbell
in the upper right corner. It does the Westminster chime.

The guest bathroom getting put together. I hardly know what to do
going from zero linen closets to three big ones. There is one in each bathroom
and one in the hall!

We got an amazing deal on granite vanity tops with integrated sinks,
 so I got a color that is darker than I had in mind but it was about 30% of the price.
I'm easy like that, lol.
Anyway, we are obviously a week or so behind. We probably won't get inspected til around the 15th, but I'm cool with that. I am grateful things are coming together well and they are taking time to do things right. I am starting to clean out the rental. It feels so good to throw stuff away and pack up and know we are almost done playing Little House on the Prairie!


Dear Loved Ones,               The past two weeks have been a whirlwind for us…and now we are 8! We got a new German daughter, Kristin...