Oh Right, I Have A Blog

Hey guess what, I still exist. Do I have an excuse for my pitiful posting record over the last week? I do not. I guess we'll just say that I was busy being young and alive and leave it at that, shall we? Young and alive!

Actually, I have been doing several things:

1. Surprising my mother

There's nothing better than pulling off a good surprise. Last weekend, to celebrate a birthday my mother would probably rather not admit to having, my dad, my brother Tom, and I pulled off perhaps the best one ever.

Let me tell you right now that I know there is nothing my mother would loathe more than a surprise party. What if you hadn't vacuumed the living room when the guests showed up, you know? What if the wrong people had been invited? What if you walked into your house to a chorus of cheers and you were wearing a Hanson t-shirt, AND NOT IRONICALLY. I know this because I can say with full confidence that I'd hate a surprise party too. But a surprise party of two? Well, I figured I'd be able to deal with that and so we figured my mother would as well.

Now my brother Tom, you may recall, lives in Singapore. I live in San Francisco. My parents live in San Diego. These places are fairly far from each other, but none moreso than Singapore and San Diego. We plotted for months, my dad and my brother and I. It was like a military operation. I doubt the construction of the Great Wall of China or the recording of We Are The World was pulled off with more planning than this. And then last weekend, I flew down from San Francisco to San Diego on Saturday morning and took a taxi to my parents' house. My brother took the train from LAX, where he'd arrived the night before under cover of darkness. My dad picked him up from the station, and brought him back to the house, where I was waiting. My mother was out---thank goodness---and my brother and I hid in the bathroom together until she came home, and then I wandered nonchalantly  into the kitchen, all "Hey there! What's going on down here?"

It was the best surprise ever! She wasn't expecting me! But it was only the best surprise ever for five minutes, of course, before it was usurped by an even better surprise: Tom.

There was a lot of shrieking, as you can imagine, and the room turned unexpectedly dusty. At first, my mother confessed, she'd thought he was a ghost. We had to promise her that there were to be no more unexpected children walking suddenly into the house when they were supposed to be hundreds of miles away, because she didn't think she could take it. So we sent Luke and Susie back on the flight they'd just come in on, and then we spent the whole weekend eating a lot of cake. 

(Just kidding, there was no Luke and Susie. But there was cake.)

2. Eating cake

Two days after that, my mother and grandma came up to San Francisco to visit me. I took them for afternoon tea at the Fairmont, where I stuffed crustless sandwiches and delicate petit fours into my piehole faster than you can say "clotted cream."

We took a cable car down the hill to Powell Street after that, which was slightly uneccessary because I probably could have just rolled. 

3. Hanging out with my grandma

People, I would just like to stand up on a table right now and announce that my grandma is 83 years old.

I don't think she'll mind me sharing that, or at least I wouldn't if I was 83 years old and looked like my grandma looks. She even jogged through the airport on Saturday night, when we arrived slightly later than we would have liked to arrive at SFO (and by this, I mean you can assume that I was breathing into a paper bag for the entire seventeen-minute freeway ride from my house to the airport because we left AT THE TIME WE WERE SUPPOSED TO HAVE ARRIVED.) "Damn," said Sean, watching her go. "I hope I can jog through airports when I'm 83."

Eighty-three, people! What face cream is she using? We must find out.

4. Fancying up my kitchen

My kitchen! It has floors now! It has counters! It has a sink! Doesn't have any running water yet, which means we've had to get very creative rinsing broccoli in the bathroom basin, but it's certainly coming along. We stayed up until 1am two nights in a row last week---school nights, I might add---doing things to grout that you don't even want to know about, but that small sacrifice has long been forgotten now that I get to gaze on my clean white subway tile and smile. Sean, on one of those nights, accidentally dropped a hammer onto the floor he'd spent a week perfecting and cracked a porcelain tile, but we're not going to speak about that for at least a month, not until the fresh hell of disappointment is a little less fresh and one of us can look at that tile without crying, GUESS WHICH. Expect to hear the story sometime in November.

5. Adjusting to Sean's new job

Sean has a new job! I kind of forgot to mention that earlier, I think, but he started it last week. We're all very proud of him because it's basically his dream job, the one he's been lusting after since he taught himself to build his first website back in 2004. Plus, now we work on the same street, which is seriously just too cutesy for words. We're only two blocks from each other and every day I contemplate setting up a piece of string and two tin cans from his office window to mine. But you know, Google Chat has been fine so far, so I think we might just stick with that.


Oct 19, 2010

Hurrah that you're back!

And yes: please find out about that face cream. And does your mother use it too? Because she certainly doesn't look old enough to have a daughter who is 30. Although, judging by your glowing complexion, I fear it might have more to do with genetics than product.

The surprise b-day story made me sob! And then I saw the pic of your brother and panted a little bit, but I'm over it now.

I adore your grandma--I mean, I don't KNOW your grandma, but from the photos I know if I met her I would adore her. Also? I want her sunglasses. And your striped shirt.

I'm lusting after pretty much everything in this post, aren't I.

Oct 19, 2010

Yay you're back!

Your trip to the airport is my idea of hell. i got panicky just thinking about it.

Your grandma looks AWESOME for 83 - but I agree with saartjie, I suspect it's all in the genes...

A. Tee
Oct 19, 2010

sounds like an awesome week away! Welcome back :)

Sarah Brown
Oct 19, 2010

Your grandma looks fantastic! The genes in your family are amazing.

Oct 19, 2010

Congratulations to Holly's mom AND to Sean! What a banner few weeks you have had.

Oct 19, 2010

I'm with everyone on the genes-she looks amazing. So does your mom by the way! If my arms look that good in 20 years (heck, in 1 year) I'll be thrilled.

All the adventures sound super fun with your family! And the house stuff-its so great, right? Right....? If it helps AT ALL, you can remove just the one tile and re-set a new one. We contemplated doing this in our old house's shower that had a maroon tile sporadically in with all the white tiles. A friend told us about removing the ones we didn't like (his family owns a commercial tile business). I decided that was way too much work and pain in the neck...but just sayin' its an option.

And if it makes you feel better at all, my backside is totally sore from sitting on our basement concrete floor for hours on end this weekend removing baseboards. (It will be done eventually, repeat as needed).

Oct 19, 2010

So glad you had a great time with your family! It sounds fantastically dreamy!!

Must know where you acquired that black and white stripey shirt/jacket you are wearing? MUST KNOW. Please?

Oct 19, 2010

Love the photos and entirely understand the blog-neglect. Just wondering, is Sean as excited (not mentioning last night's game) about the Yankees as I am?? I recall he is a fan and in my experience, there are very few of us...

Oct 19, 2010

So glad you are back and with such a lovely life post :)

Oct 19, 2010

An A+ week, I'd say.
Now: kitchen pictures, please?

Oct 19, 2010

I love your grandma! Is she single? Because my grandfather is turning 94 this year and he is definitely looking for a lady-friend (my Grammie died in 2000, after they'd been married 60 years, and his second wife passed away a couple of years ago).

Your family is just too adorable for words. I sort of wish I could, like, buy an honorary membership in the Burns family.

Locusts and Wild Honey
Oct 19, 2010

You know, I kept checking your blog while abroad (look, the time zones mess with you and there's just nothing to do at 4am in Prague) and I was like, Is her site blocked over here? Or is she trapped under something heavy? Should I call Lowe's or IKEA and just page her?

Welcome back!

Oct 19, 2010

Oh, what a fantastic surprise! My husband and I pulled off a very similar surprise for his mother last weekend, for her 60th birthday. We just showed up at her third grade classroom, with her grandson in tow, and she screamed upon seeing us! And then her students screamed because they had no idea why their usually calm teacher was freaking out. It was fabulous. Two days later, we managed to surprise her AGAIN with a big party at her house. So, so great.

Congrats on the kitchen progress! Can't wait to see pics.

hip hip gin gin
Oct 19, 2010

Your grandma is fantastic! We really must find out what skin care she is using, I'll be expecting a detailed post soon =)
And so sorry about the tile, I feel your pain. The same week we bought our new car (first actual new car ever) we found a gouge in the paint. I thought my husband was going to cry. Never a break, am I right?

Oct 19, 2010

Thanks, all! It's good to be back.

Allison -- the stripey thing is actually a dress. It's from BCBG, but I just googled it and couldn't find it, so I guess that's not very helpful, sorry!

Hilary -- yes, he has been watching the Yankees. Lots of swearing has ensued.

Lawyerish -- she is indeed single! Let's do this.

Oct 19, 2010

I love your mom, and I love your grandma more. Also, I missed you! More blogging! More more more!

Oct 19, 2010

Holly, these feel-good, bursting-to-overflowing-with-good-news posts of yours are *always* worth waiting for. Awesome catch-up report :-)

Oct 19, 2010

Your whole family is adorable, seriously. Def need to find out what gramma's beauty secrets are. Is it a British thing?

Oct 19, 2010

I dropped a metal medicine cabinet on my brand new installed bathroom tile and chipped three tiles. Someday, I plan on replacing the tiles, but until then I just hide them under the bath mat.

congratulations on the kitchen, I still haven't finished mine. I'm really scared of that step where I rip out the sink.

Oct 19, 2010

thank god you posted, I was ready to send out a search party for you guys.. I thought the kitchen remodeled had you hostage... glad to know you are well, good and seriously EIGHTY-THREE and she looks like she is in her late 50's - dude you got some serious good genes!

Oct 19, 2010

Uh, seriously, what is the face cream secret? YOU CANNOT WITHHOLD THIS.

Oct 19, 2010

I'm trying not to feel entitled, or anything, but I'm with slynnro...we need to know about this face cream! Divulge!

(Also: Blogs? What? I think I might still have one of those, somewhere...the layers of dust are too thick for me to find it, though.)

Oct 20, 2010

I am just cracking up at the thought of you and Tom hiding in the bathroom together!! You're both grown adults - Ton is over six feet tall!! But I bet that did not stop him from trying to suppress his high pitched giggle!

Oct 20, 2010

Googlechat is the best. Also, your Gran is gorgeous!

Camels And Chocolate
Oct 20, 2010

You finally got your Fairmont tea Groupon in! ME TOO. Maybe we were even there on the same day!

Also, I surprised my mom for the same unspoken-of birthday last year, as I believe you know, and made the mistake of also bringing her a puppy that usurped my surprise 3,000-mile trip entirely.

Auntie Lesley
Oct 20, 2010

What a soooooper surprise for Mum's birthday, I can hear the tears and laughter from here.
Grandma does look remarkable in those pics, I agree.
And what a shame about the floor tile, sorry i had to mention it, but Chris says there is a way. I'll email you.
lots of lovexxx

Oct 22, 2010

Hmm... I hope I can jog through airports - without being embarrassed to wear my Hanson t-shirt (not ironically) - when I'm 83.

Oct 28, 2010

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Oct 29, 2010

When JB and I first lived together, we worked two locks from each other and it was the best thing since we had actually worked together. I miss it!

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