Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Warm Side

Today, as I look out the window onto our front lawn, there is frost on the ground. I don't recall a day since moving here that this has happened. Just yesterday my wife and I were talking about how it doesn't really feel like Christmas yet, even though the celebration of the birth of Jesus is just five days away. I'm sure it will happen eventually, but right now living in Oklahoma where, for instance, the high today is supposed to be 60 degrees, it's just not the same as being surrounded by snow up in Minnesota. So yeah, another difference about living here that isn't necessarily good or bad, just notable.

Last night we had some friends over for cards, and I don't know about you, but spending an evening playing Spades, Pitch, 500, or even Hearts is a great way to pass the time. Sure I like me some video games, movies, going on walks with my wife, working on stuff around the house, and other things like that, but getting some friends together and playing some good old-fashioned card games is where it's at. I'm not into poker, because though I understand that the financial element of the game adds a certain level of intensity and engagement to the proceedings, it also elevates things just past the point to where the game is a little too much about competition as opposed to just having a good time. Last night our game of choice was Spades, which I used to play religiously on the weekends in college, and it was great to sit around the table, munching on junk food just playing some cards. In a few days we're heading up to Lincoln for Christmas (where there is snow, from what I'm told) and I'm sure there will be plenty of evenings that involve card games until the wee hours of the morning. Awesome. :)

We've been doing lots of little improvements around the house lately, and it's nice to not only have the sense of accomplishment that comes from a job well done, but it's just cool to be able to fix things up here and there. Even little things like the towel rack we put in on the bathroom wall, the mantle we installed above the fireplace, or a lamp that we fixed up with a new shade and new table to set it on, are nice to get done because each one makes this place feel a little more like home. I guess it could be that when we have more of ourselves personally invested in our surroundings, those surroundings begin to take on a more personal and familiar air. Next project is mounting our TV above the fireplace, and the mounting bracket should be here sometime this week, so let's hope that works out.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Stepping Out

Yesterday we went down to Oklahoma City with some friends and spent time at an honest-to-goodness art museum. I could probably count on one hand the number of times I have been to an art museum, and most of those were at the Sheldon Art Gallery in Lincoln. It's not that I don't like going, it's that art museums don't really enter into my daily consciousness. So when a friend of ours asked if we wanted to go see the Dutch Italianates exhibit at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, we both thought it would be something fun and different, so we decided to give it a shot.

And you know what? It was pretty cool. I don't know Monet from Manet, or Impressionism from Surrealism, but I did have a good time looking at all the (very old) paintings, probably because they were all nature scenes. We took out time, reading all the descriptions and even trying to dig a little deeper into the meaning of some of the paintings. Mostly I just liked how the artists were able to create such vivid nature scenes, including animals and people, with nothing but a paintbrush. Today these kinds of things could be banged out in no time in Photoshop with a Wacom tablet, but those artists had nothing but unadulterated skill and tenacity--no computer sketching, no Google image searching, and no [undo] button.

We also spent time looking at the rest of the museum, and even though I didn't really get some of it (a giant blue square with an orange stripe down the middle, a small red square matted inside a people really pay for this stuff?) it was different and interesting, so that was nice. They also had dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of works from a guy who is famous for glass creations. A lot of it was blown glass, and in the lobby there was a tower made of hundreds of pieces of blown glass that stretched nearly three stories high. With all due respect to the dutch artists, the glass was definitely my favorite. :)

One of the cool things about living in our own house has been putting things together in such a way that the house feels like a home. From mowing the yard to decorating the walls, rearranging furniture, and even buying a few things here and there, it's nice to watch this place come together. This week we should be receiving a mounting bracket for our TV, which means we will get to rearrange the whole living room, and I'm looking forward to it. One more step that makes this a place we really feel like we live in.

Time to get working on my review of A Christmas Story for Walking Taco, and the it's off to church. Aw yeah.