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Aside from wallowing in my own postponed Winter blues, I have been spending the last few weeks getting accustomed to my new surroundings here at Casa de Leonard.  The Leonards were more than generous with their space, giving Scott and I not only our own bedroom, but an entire room to use as my office/workshop, and space to practice and record music in the basement.  We’ve both been blessed with a set of in-laws that are incredibly helpful and supportive, and for that I think we both are thankful.  So, after a month in sunny Florida, we arrived in Connecticut during the heart of snow-season.  Cold, dark, wet, nasty snow-season.  Yuck.

On the bright side, this should be our very last Winter (at least for a while) if everything goes to plan over the next year.  In Autumn 2010 we are planning to pull up our anchor once again and hightail it to Austin, Texas.   During our trip to China we were able to sit back and take a nice long look at our lives, a luxury one rarely gets to enjoy.  While we were looking we realized a few things:

  1. We hate Winter.  Every year during the dark cold months, Bobleo and I become fatter and more depressed. We’re done with Winter.
  2. One way or another, Bobleo is determined to make music a bigger part of his life.  So, he started practicing like a maniac, and is currently taking private lessons to take his playing to the next level.  By the time we hit Austin, a major musical hub, Bobleo hopes to be in the best musical shape of his life.
  3. We can’t afford to live in Fairfield County.  Or at least we can’t afford to live here well, or live here well while saving toward our future, or save toward our future without working 2 or more jobs each.  Another thing we realized is that we’ve missed each other, and we’re tired of working 2 or more jobs each.  We’re taking weekends off from now on.
  4. Although Connecticut is filled with friends, family, and personal history, we crave adventure.  Sometimes you can’t see what you’ve been missing until you step outside your life.  When we did, we found out just how happy getting lost, frustrated, and confused can make us.  Sometimes I count the number of exits off of 84 from here to Maine that I have been down.  As the number gets higher and higher, I feel more and more like a goldfish in a bowl.
  5. You can always go back home.  No matter how far you are, your family is your family and your friends are still your friends.  Sure, we’ll miss the people we love, but a handful of miles won’t keep us apart forever.

So, that’s why we are moving to Austin.  We’re just not done shaking our lives up yet.  Plus, Austin is full of everything that we like: music, food, movies, art, and crazy people.  Our choice became doubly lucky when we found out that two of my sisters are planning to head down there too!!  So, we won’t be entirely alone after all.

In addition to making big plans, we’ve been making music, Bobleo and I.  After years of pleading, he finally gave in and sat down to write some songs together.  They are not too shabby either, if I may say so.  The first that we wrote involved several beers, lots of yelling, and intermittent mediation by Bobleo’s father.  But after many hours of head butting, we came up with something pretty good.  The second song, (and a half – we have one that’s nearly done) went much more smoothly.  No yelling or name calling at all.  I figure it’s just another of a million things that we need to learn how to do together, so like fighting or running a household of chores, we’re getting better at it.  At this rate, we may even get an EP recorded without spilling blood.  We also learned a few covers, including: Train Song by Vashti Bunyan, Bad Things by Jace Everett, and Back to Black by Amy Winehouse.  We need to streamline our covers a little and add some more stuff that focuses us a little more, but we’re getting there.  We’re going for an alt. country kind of thing, but right now I think we’re still a little dis-jointed.

Tool of the Trade

On Sunday night we played our very first open mic together.  It was incredibly exciting.  I’m such a dork, but it really thrilled me.  I could hardly wait until we went out again last night.  To Bobleo this is cake, old hat, easy peasy, but for me it’s a leg shaking, nail biting, butterfly gutted lightning-fest.  I think we did OK.  If you’re around on a Sunday or Tuesday night anytime soon your welcome to come on down and see the side-show.  Widow Browns in Danbury on Sundays, starting after 9:30, and O’Connors in Brookfield on Tuesdays at the same time.  We’ll be doing each one religiously to get some practice under our belts as we try and complete an EP’s worth of recorded originals.  I’ll keep you updated on the status of our little project.

And finally, my crafty attention has been to creating this adorable little baby quilt for my favorite CB.  She is so very preggers, and will be delivering an amazing bundle of joy (or as I call her, CB Jr.) sometime next month! My friends, CB and Brian are going to be the funnest, cutest, most lovable parents ever, I just know it, and I can’t wait to meet tiny CB.  Anyway, the QUILT.

CB Jr.'s Baby Quilt

The Quilt was made with a Hello Betty Charm Pack by Moda, and backed with a Pink Plume Fleur de Lis print by Tula, both of which I purchased from Quilt Sandwich on Etsy.  The pre-cut squares made the patchwork a total breeze.  I don’t know if my cheating heart will ever go back to cutting quilt squares by hand.  This was too devilishly easy for me not to repeat.  I hand quilted the blanket with pink embroidery floss, and sewed a pink fuzzy bias tape on as a lining with the same floss.  The binding took FOREVER, but the perfection was well worth the extra time.  This was definitely my best quilt to date.  It had no puckering, no funky diagonal lines, no mis-sized squares or random holes.  All in all, I think it was pretty well made, especially for me.  I hope baby CB will enjoy it.

I’ve also been cooking my head off, but unfortunately I have not been good about blogging my meals since we came back to CT.  I have to find a way to take good photos in the Leonard’s kitchen, which also means stopping to plate before throwing the meal on the table, which also means not shoveling the meal into my face as soon as possible.  I so lack self discipline.  Here’s a peak at what eventually became sausage and pepper calzones earlier this week.

Chicken Sausage and Roasted Peppers Tossed With Fresh Basil

I’m having serious photography frustrations, as you may be able to surmise from the photos in this post.  The walls in my office are sky blue, which makes (I’ll give you one guess, no wait. I won’t) BLUE!!  It also has the best light in the house – which continues to tempt me into taking pictures in here, despite the blue-ness.  But then, I wind up with an irreversible blue tinge to EVERYTHING I photograph.  Must stop.  Must relocate.  What’s the definition of insanity again? Oh yes, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Right. On that note, I’ll leave you all panting and heaving for the next installment of MaryHelenOrama. G’day mate.

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I've been oh so silent lately, but I do have a good reason. I have been wedding planning! Oh my, oh yes. It has been quite a circus around here between wedding plans, travel plans, and musical mayhem.  Mr. Scott Bobleo has been busy learning music and working like a fiend while I have been booking food, flowers, and other details.  Our invites are out, RSVP's are flowing in, and we are down to having just 38 days left to go before the big night.  Here is a little taste of what I've been up to.

Bridesmaids: I asked the girls to pick out some cute, retro, A-line dresses with cap sleeves. They decided to go with this lovely little number from Daddy-O's.
BridesmaidDress
The girls will all look totally adorable, especially when they pop on their black peep-toe pumps, and get their hair done in rock n' roll pomp and ponytail combos. Sweet! My new wedding BFF, Sailor, from the Hot Rock & Dye Salon in Windsor, CT suggested the girls also get some saddle shoes to dance in at the reception. 

HRD
That was just one of the ga-billion awesome ideas Sailor has had.  I swear it was absolute kismet that we found the Hot Rock & Dye Salon for this wedding.  I visited recently to do a trial run for my wedding hair do. 

HRD-1I went in frazzled, with pretty much no idea what to do with my hair or the bridesmaid's hair.  In no time Sailor was dazzling us with brilliant ideas.  Sailor turned out to not only be an awesome, pinup and retro hair and makeup pro, she's also mid century period expert!!  She has spent time consulting for photo shoots and movies, and now puts her passion to work at her very own salon and pinup photo studio, Hot Rock & Dye.  To me, she was a gift from destiny.  Total kismet!  We started talking, and before we knew it, I'd invited Sailor and her crew to our wedding, and she offered to help take photos throughout the event!  I can't wait to see Sailor and her crew dressed to the nines and dancing it up at the wedding.  It's going to kick some serious ass.

We are also being treated to photography by my father's very talented BFF, Rich Menides, or as I call him, Uncle Rich.  Richard has a natural talent for photography, so I know that his work will be lovely, adding a very personal touch to our wedding photo book.

Anyway, back to Hot Rock & Dye!  Sailor had a brilliant idea for my hair.  We're going with a "Priscilla" Beehive, complimented by matching banana curl extensions and faux flower hair clips!!  Her inspiration to try out this "do" was Priscilla herself.  When she married Elvis, Priscilla wore her signature beehive.  Mine will be slightly different, since I have a lot less hair, but it will still be super cute. Sailor has even offered to create special flowers that will match my dress.  In addition to giving us awesome ideas for hair do's and makeup (which will be, by the way, big black false eyelashes, black liner, nude shadow, and dramatic red lips), Sailor gave us tons of great ideas for decorations, drinks, and more.  These ideas included, but were not limited to: Pink Champagne Fountains, Rockabilly Dance Music, and my personal favorite, turning the dingy concert hall bathrooms into frilly fifties powder rooms!

Sarah and I took a trip to thrift shops on Saturday with this mission in mind. We scored: Mesh zebra curtains, kitschy faux bouquets, silver perfume trays, glass vases and candy dishes, and deco candelabras.  The ladies room will be transformed into a pink, girly explosion, while the men's room will feature a palette of green and black, reminiscent of a mod casino lounge.

TestBodice My dress is also coming along, according to the ladies at Whirling Turban. Honey and Katherine, the seamstresses there, have been working hard at creating a custom made gown that will be fitted exactly to ever curve.  I received the test bodice last weekend, and the ladies in Fiji used the photos I sent to calculate their next move, which will be creating a leopard printed test dress. I have been debating changing into the leopard gown after the ceremony ends, and dancing the night away in leopard and black ballet flats. We shall see…

Here's a little snapshot of me with my test hair and the test bodice. The hair has been a little beat up between the test run and this photo – the wedding day "do" will be more perfect, plus it will be redder colored, and have extensions attached!

This is the only part of the bodice I can show, since it only goes down by another inch or so. Picture "I Dream of Jeanie". The dress, however, will cover my whole body. I hope! Ha ha ha.

So, here is a wedding plan summary for all of you information hungry folks out there:

Invited: 165
RSVP'd Yes: 61
RSVP'd No: 17
Awaiting Reply: 61
Days Until RSVP Due Date: 11
Days Until Wedding: 38

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