Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Blessed and Bittersweet

It's been quite a bittersweet week. We were blessed with our version of wintery temperatures and rain that lasted more than a day. Sadly, a few days earlier, a tragic accident took the life of a sweet boy in the ward (congregation). He was in Christian's class at church and last summer, I taught an art lesson to his Cub Scout groups. I think I even gave him a ride home a few weeks ago. He would have turned 9 next month. Between that, and frustrations with having things move along in Wickenburg, the word "roller coaster" comes back into play. Well, it's always in play, but it's been especially "loopy" lately. 

Well, tradition dictates family pictures at Anniversary time (as it's nice timing for Christmas cards). These were some of the results from our session the day after Chris and I returned from California:
Our Three Goofballs
Expression on Alexander cracks me up.
No Christian, we're not done yet.
So beautiful. She doesn't think she is. :-(
Yep, I see that look everyday!
Another nice one of the three of them.
Love her smile!
My baby is too grown up already.
Love those brown eyes. He got them from me. :-)
Speaking of "too grown up"...
I've also been pushing through with Christmas blocks, ornaments, and some custom work. I'm starting an elephant one today! Monday I completed this custom African Grey motif. I think it's better than my first one! 

Completed with customer's grey names: Ringo, Rambo and Pete

"Be Merry"

"Merry" that can go with "Christmas" or "Be"

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving! 

Until next time...

Monday, November 18, 2013

LA Trip

Chris and I escaped to California last week. Specifically, Los Angeles. The hotel we stayed in was this fun and funky place called "Custom Hotel" in the Playa Del Rey area.

 It wasn't that expensive (sure, a step up from nice motels, but it was our anniversary. We had to up the ante just a little!) and I I'd like it to be our "go to" hotel next time we head to LA. It had a 1960s Avante Guard "Modern" vibe to it (what "modern" looked like in the 1960s). 

Of course I was not happy when the weight room didn't have the treadmill they promised. We even called ahead to make sure they did.  There is an LA Fitness right next door, but a day pass was $15 a day. 

I sucked it up, however. Luckily, the last day I was to pay for the day pass at LA Fitness, the nice kid at the desk told me just to go on in. Score! He said not to tell anyone though. Too bad I can't boast to LA Fitness how awesome that young man is, because that poor kid would get into trouble for allowing me to work out without paying. I tried to tip him $5, but he wouldn't take it.

Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself. We went to Los Angeles because Chris had 3 days of business commitments and it coincided with our anniversary.One would think I would be bored with Chris in classes and training for three days straight, but no way. I had a plethora of art to work on, and this was the perfect opportunity to work in the zone! No kids, no schedules, no interruptions! 


A Mess, but Controlled Chaos.
Ornaments that were completed and shipped off.
I almost didn't get to go on this trip. With most of our family flying the coop out of Arizona about 8 years ago, it was hard to find someone willing to play house with our kids for five days. However, my cousin Ashlee came through!
An unsuccessful art "selfie". Whatever.
We left our family car with Ashlee and rented a car to take to California. Why our rented car we picked up from Phoenix had a "Utah" plate, I don't know. So here we were, trying to navigate the streets of LA and every time we screwed something up, all I could think was "oh great...and they think we're from Utah..." :face palm:. 

It's one thing to have an Arizona plate. A lot of Californians don't like us 'Zonie Tourists', but we are from Arizona, so it is what it is. But I had a problem looking like I was from Utah

I know, I'm alienating any of my Utah readers. Please see the humor in this and try not to be offended.

The irony is early last month when our car was being worked on (again. Remember that long ordeal?) the rental car I was given that time had a California plate. It would have been nice to have that California plate on the crazy streets of Los Angeles. That way, we'd still look stupid, but locally stupid.

This trip was also important because even though next year is our big 2-0 (:gulp:), we're not sure if we'll have the opportunity to really do much to celebrate it, as we'll supposedly be in a newly built house in Wickenburg. I doubt a celebratory getaway will be in the cards. I also especially doubt I'll be able to talk Ashlee in coming all the way over to Wickenburg to stay with the kids too! lol

Anyway, The first full day in LA (and the day before Chris was committed to his classes and training), we went to downtown Burbank for lunch and when we were tired of walking around, we saw Thor: The Dark World in one of the three AMC theaters they have right there. 

Two things I took away after seeing Thor:

1. The London scenes with overcast and winter clothes looked like paradise to me. This kind of stuff is why I don't get people making a big fuss over sunsets. Go figure. 
2. Hemsworth (Left, Thor) is hot in an obvious way, but I keep finding Loki (Hiddleson) sexier and sexier. I remember the first time I saw Hiddleson as Loki. I tilted my head and thought, "...who is that?"

Conjugal visits, Loki?

However, talking about the men of Thor does remind me of a funny story from sometime last year. Chris was watching the first Thor on DVD and Chris Hemsworth (the obvious good-looking one, but his hotness does get boring after awhile, unlike Hiddleson's who continues to make me swoon over and over) was looking especially sexy in one of the scenes. I was walking through he room and I said, "Man, he's hot." 

Chris replied, matter of factly. "I agree."

A bit taken aback, I said, "What?"

Chris said, "He's a beautiful man." 


I feel kind of guilty shifting subjects to the temple after my man-lust comments and digs on Utah. However, I'm not big on coming up with clever transitions. 

The day we left LA, we spent the morning bumming around the grounds of the LA Temple. I couldn't get enough of the red roses.

In fact, our temple photo stop put us way behind schedule in making it home at a decent time. Between losing an hour driving back to Arizona and our slow start, we didn't arrive home until after 10pm Friday night.

I did accomplish quite a bit on my 3-day art marathon, but sadly not all I had hoped to accomplish. But that's okay. This morning, I sent these four pieces off to my loyal repeat customer in Canada (the bulk of two of them working on last week) and while still in LA, I sent out nine ornaments she ordered. 

The most recent completed one. I think this is my favorite color combination around the sun!
More work to do! 
Until next time...

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Ornaments, Typhoons and Milestones

It looks like the Pumpkins of October have been replaced with the Ornaments for Christmas!  I created these two samples (which will go on our tree...I'll make one for Christian and Mikelle too) and I've already had a great response. What's also nice about these is they don't take as long as the pumpkins, so it's not as big of an undertaking. Though I loved doing the pumpkins and plan to do them every Fall!

Pictured with my hand to give an idea of size.
Pictured with ruler for measurement
I'd love to also create designs on ornament balls like these, but they're a little harder to work with. I'll try a few samples and see how it goes before I list them and make it an available option.
Onto less festive matters. Chris's dad and Georgia are serving a mission in the Philippines. They've only been there a couple of months and have already been impacted by illness, a large earthquake and now the largest Typhoon in recorded history. I wanted to write more about this but technical difficulties earlier prevented that. However, the church newsroom did release a statement that all missionaries are accounted for. Therefore, while we probably won't be hearing from them anytime soon in the aftermath of the storm, we know they're alright.

19 Years Today
This is so surreal to be saying it's now been NINETEEN years, but here we are! I think of the little speech "grandma" gave Steve Martin and Mary Steenburgen's character in the movie Parenthood (the 1989 movie) about the "Rollercoaster" being much more of an adventure than just a predicable Merry-Go-Round. Click here for clip

And so I don’t get nauseating with mushy lovy-dovy "little bunny froo-froo" stuff, I’ll just link one of our first ‘songs’ that pretty much sums up our beginning as we stood in line for the rollercoaster
It is Titled “One Slip” but also contains the album title “Momentary Lapse of Reason. As far as I’m concerned, that’s what the song is called. And Pink Floyd isn't known for their love songs. However, this one knocks it out of the park.

Momentary Lapse of Reason is a great underrated Pink Floyd album, by the way! Check it out. However, it's nighty night and way passed my bedtime. Some Pink Floyd from "Division Bell" is actually waiting for me on my iPod and headphones. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Moving Forward

I completed another piece that was commissioned from my wonderful patron in Canada.

I have two more from this patron for now, and yes, another pumpkin. Why? Well, I had a white pumpkin left and a customer in Washington asked if she could still order one for some friends that are getting married Halloween 2014. Since I was able to take a break from the pumpkin craziness for a few days, doing this last pumpkin of 2013 is no big deal.

I would love to be able to work on some pumpkins (non-custom ones) throughout the year and have an inventory come September. However, the pumpkins are only available at Michaels during September and October. Plus, they're half off for the season, and you can't beat that. Therefore, I'll have to be prepared to start looking for them come August, wait for them to go half off again and then clean up! 

Alexander. Oh, that kid. I love that kid. This kid is killing me. He's a handful. I love him. We love him. No, I am not writing that to convince myself. I love him like crazy. 

These pictures were taken last Sunday. At church! You get to the point that between his skinny waist and no butt (but it's a cute little butt) and the fact that he always wants to shed his clothes, you just have to go, "c'est la vie!" and let him go without pants.  I'm not sure if I'm just exhausted or don't care. No, I care. I'm just exhausted.

That's writing on his legs, from a Sharpie. Post-bath!
Christian was a handful too. In many ways, he was just as exhausting. But these two are different. However, whatever Christian didn't do that was exhausting, Alexander made sure to fill in the gaps. 

The Wickenburg House
I admit, I thought we would have ground broken by now. It needs to be started yesterday. Either way, we're moving there in time for the 2014-2015 school year to begin. I'm not yanking Christian and Mikelle out of school when they can start fresh at the beginning of the school year. This is especially the case with Mikelle. She'll be starting high school. She's already upset that we're moving. I'm not going to have her start high school over here, have her friends and then - boom - we're leaving! We need the closure of finishing this current school year here at her junior high and then starting the new one there next year. 

Of course that means moving in the dead of summer, but it's the price we'll have to pay.  But if we have to move into an apartment in Wickenburg for a little while until the house gets finished, that'll just have to be the way it is. I can think of worse things. Christian and Mikelle will act like they're in a Turkish prison, but we'll survive.

Our designer has been finishing the floor plan with some changes that we are making back and forth. This is the street-view look he gave us last week. I would prefer more bricks on the turrets (upper level), but it's hard to know at this stage if that's financially realistic.
Street View/Front of Walk-Out Basement Hillside Wickenburg Home
I am trying to keep my wits about me. I can see how people can end up getting divorced during such a project! lol And you have Chris and I - both opinionated and argumentative, but with very different tastes. And he has the "engineer" way of doing things, which can have its practical purposes, but not aesthetically pleasing, which is my baby.

But I know when it's finished, it'll be worth it. So when will it get finished? Well, let's get it started

Time to get back to work!

Friday, November 1, 2013

And We Have November...

"Day of the Dead" Copyright 2012 Jill Henrichsen
It's All Saints Day! Trick or Treating yesterday was...well, we went Trick or Treating! haha I took Christian and X-Man Trick or Treating while Mikelle handed out candy. Chris of course was still driving home (oh, I can't wait for the Wickenburg move to be upon us!)

Nice hole in my tights, eh? Those were bought NEW last year but only had holes when I opened them this year! Grrrrrr....
I should not have worn those boots. I knew I shouldn't have, but they are so cute! I've had them 2 years and haven't worn them much. But my feet paid dearly Thursday night. Chris is a touchy-feely guy, but that doesn't include feet. Well, I made him rub my feet anyway,

At the ward Trick or Trunk Wednesday night and with Trick or Treating last night, I received a lot of, "Why aren't you wearing your Incredibles Costume, Jill?"

Because I wore it twice already and it's constricting since it's one piece and its neckline was too tight. I was done after the second time. 

Check out Mr. Horse-head dude at the end of the driveway!
Chris dresses up at work every Halloween, despite the fact that he's pretty much the only one that does. This year, he wore his Ladmo shirt (that he got from our friend's Bruce and Liz for his birthday a couple of months ago) and a Ladmo hat. He even made a Ladmo Bag and gave it away to a colleague. And in this picture below, he has the Ladmo smile down very well!

If you don't know who Ladmo is, here is a picture of him:

If you're still confused, try this link.

 And the morning after Halloween...

The Saratov Approach
I meant to mention this movie over a week ago. Halloween upstaged my train of thought! 

Go see this movie!

It's a true story of two missionaries who were abducted in March 1998, ransomed, and delivered in Saratov, Russia. 

One good synopsis I found to describe it is here, as it's late at night and my brain is mush:

Inspired by actual events, THE SARATOV APPROACH is the extraordinary, untold story of Elders Travis Tuttle and Andrew Propst and their week-long abduction in Saratov, Russia. On what seemed like any other day during their two-year LDS missions, Elders Travis Tuttle (Corbin Allred) and Andrew Propst (Maclain Nelson) are approached by Nikolai (Nikita Bogolyubov) to meet a friend. But then the missionaries experience the unimaginable -- kidnapped, beaten, and held for ransom for nearly a week -- on the other side of the world in Saratov, Russia. While their family, friends and the world pray for their safe return, Tuttle and Propst are tested physically, emotionally and most of all -- spiritually. (c) Saratov Films

How true is it to the actual events? Travis Tuttle, one of the missionaries that was actually kidnapped and is represented by the actor on the left, says it's about 95%.

Travis went to Gilbert High, but was three years behind me. My brother Chad knew him in high school. 

However, almost ten years ago, when we moved into our current Queen Creek house, Travis and his wife and kids were in our ward. We are still in the same neighborhood.

At the time of the abduction, my girlfriend Susan (also a Gilbert High School survivor!) was serving a mission in Russia. She said she and other missionaries were not to display their tags on their person as openly as before, due to the high tensions that this event brought on. 

The movie was opened in Utah and finally made it down here a couple of weeks ago, and it is going more national! Chris, Mikelle and I went to the pre-screening party and Travis even did a Q & A with the audience afterwards. I even won this poster in a drawing. I want to frame it, but I need to have Travis sign it first. 

Even though this movie is about two LDS Missionaries that are abducted, this isn't a "Mormon Indie" movie. This appeals to all audiences. It's a movie about two 20 year old's captured/beaten/kidnapped and held for ransom in Russia. It's the story of their fears and of the emotions they and their loved ones back home felt during their captivity. Go see it. No matter where you are when it comes to faith or if you even believe in God, it will move you. 

Until next time...