Saturday, December 24, 2011

the stockings are actually not hung by the chimney with care

but not because i'm a grinch! i'm not sure how to hang them up there without them falling down once full.  i think they'll end up being stockings laid before the chimney with care, if that's okay with you.

the shopping is all done (aside from maybe an eyeliner or two i should buy the girlchild), cookies and festive breads have been baked, all our plans for the next few days have been made and confirmed, and now it's just all about trying to show up on time and vacuuming the living room.  i got a four day weekend, which is exciting, and i spent yesterday napping and goofing off, which felt amazing.  for whatever reason i got a lot of medicare calls this week, and medicare is kind of confusing to everybody. it's a subject that definitely taxes my brain.  

work is going well, though. i feel like i'm getting to a point now where i'm not so overwhelmed that i come home and go to bed early.  i feel more confident about what i'm doing, and have gotten some positive feedback from my bosses.  i had a QC call last week (where they listen to a recording of a call a few times and take notes to give you) that went very well, and the monitor actually told me that she liked how comfortable i sounded on the phone.  "you sound like you've been doing this for a lot longer than you have been."  i always want to reply like jon lovitz on snl, "acting!" honestly, i figure it can't hurt to at least sound like i know what i'm doing, and no one needs to know how new i am.  i feel good at this job; it feels like a place where you're always learning new things, like there are all sorts of opportunities, and like they honestly give a shit about their employees.  it's so refreshing.

i feel like things are going well, both at work and at home.  i love my little house, my little family, and am looking forward to the next few days.  i hope you all have a great holiday, whatever you celebrate, and if i don't get back to you before january, happy new year! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

cubey love

i love my cubicle. i love that it's mine, a little space for me and my phone and my computer, and i love that the company i work for outfits us all with two computer monitors.  you have no idea how much easier that makes my job.  one one screen i have the main program we use to look up information on, and on the other i have all the research tools loaded.  i can go back and forth like no one's business and it's amazing.  the tech geek in me surges with joy when i see those two screens waiting for me in the morning. 

not to sound like i'm already drinking company kool-aid, i also love that my cubicle is surrounded by people with more experience than i have.  i actually had a co-worker come over today to show me something that i missed, and she wasn't a dick about it.  she just overheard me and knew that she could show me a shortcut, and so she came over and did.  when i'm working i can hear what other people are saying, i can look stuff up that i didn't already know, i get a better idea how of how to do things.  the atmosphere at this particular cube farm is seriously friendly, and i wasn't expecting that.  it's just nice.  i know that makes me sound like pollyanna, but it's true.

i do have one teensy, tiny, barely there beef, though. you didn't expect all ponies and sunshine, did you?  you know that trainer i had that was kind of eye-rolly and jerky? the one i was excited about not having to see anymore?  yeah.  they assigned her to my team.  she doesn't work where i have to see or hear her, but still!  i was free, but only for one day.  dammit.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

this bed is too soft

man, it's only a little after ten at night and my whole family is asleep.  which is lame because i'm finally adjusted to my new schedule, just had two glasses of wine and want to rock out while baking cookies.  i have to be quiet so they can all sleep, though.  shoot. 

the new job means i don't have to get up crazy early, and this winter i've actually seen some honest-to-goodness real sunlight in the morning and afternoons as a result.  none of the going-to-bed in the dark and waking-up in the dark for me this season; and to be perfectly honest, i have noticed a difference.  i'm clenching my jaw less, moping around less, going out and doing stuff more.  oh sunlight and vitamin D, i suppose this proves i am your slave.  i'm okay with that, as long as you both stick around.  in any case, i like not getting up at zero-dark-thirty, and don't mind working five days a week because a) i don't have to get up crazy early and b) big girl paychecks.  also, we are busy at work; the day flies by and when i leave it, i do honestly leave it behind.  i might take a few moments to be quiet, because i talk to people all day, but that's all. 

a friend at work bought me this adorable zen garden for my desk, along with a mug full of treats.  some sour patch kids, chopsticks, a nail file and this crazy orange polish.  it sounds crazy, but i think i'm too old for neon nail polish (because 34 is like old, man) so i only put it on one nail.  i think that will probably end up looking stranger than just using the polish on all my nails, but it makes me happy.  i like the contrast too, even if it is a bit silly.  one orange, nine grey.  seems reasonable to me.

Monday, December 12, 2011

counting down!

one more shift in the classroom, then it's upstairs to my very own cubicle.  not only will i have my own little space, but this past week i've spent a chunk of my days scooting in and out of my desk to let people in and out to answer questions and OMG i'm tired of moving out of everyone's way.  sitting on the aisle seat in a classroom is balls.  plus, did i mention this classroom has no windows? because it doesn't and that can create a weird time-disconnect.

one of the girls i work with brought me a cute little desktop zen garden today, too, which i can't wait to set up.  i've been looking at mouse pads and wrist rests and bought a new travel mug that can go in the dishwasher.  there are just too many of us all on the phone at once in the classroom to be comfortable for anyone.  i know we're all a bit antsy to get out of there and stretch out a bit.  one more 8 hour shift, then i'm free!  

Thursday, December 08, 2011

how may i help you?

today was my first whole day on the phones, answering calls and hunting down information.  yesterday we did half a day, which was enough to fry my brain and leave me slightly retarded and seriously tired.  i have to say, even though i most definitely had a moment (or two) today of sheer frustration, i actually felt pretty chipper when i came home.  i don't know as much as i need to, but i am learning stuff, and only one person today got fussy with me because i didn't know what they wanted me to know.  she got huffy and said, "um, are you new or something?" i said, in my most happy and excited voice, "yes! i am!" which i think kind of took the wind out of her angry sails.

i feel like i'm doing okay, but of course i don't really know.  the feedback we're getting at this point is nominal at best, and every time i ask my teacher a question she seems annoyed that i exist.  at some point i rubbed her the wrong way, and now she kind of hates me.  she only hates me a little, so i'm okay with that.  to be fair, i don't much care for her either, so i guess we're even.  i feel like she didn't do the best job preparing us, and we had hours and hours of down time that she could have been going over scenarios with us, instead of suggesting we poke around on websites looking for things we didn't actually know to look for.  it's like telling someone you're going to teach them how to cook, sending them to the store for food, and then when they get back, they have all the ingredients for baking a cake but she wants us to cook a chicken.  dude, i did not buy a bird, and i looked up a lot of stuff i do not need now.  weird example, but true.  then again, there is a massive amount of information to learn in order to do this job with any sense of competency, so maybe this is just how it goes.  what i do know for sure is this; i can't wait to be out of that classroom, i can't wait to decorate my little cubicle, and i just spent way too much time looking at mouse pads for my computer.  dorkbot.   

Sunday, December 04, 2011

how to make a good sandwich

i had a dream last night that i got call from the deli used to work at.  they left me a message saying they had no one else to open the deli that morning at 4 a.m., and they really needed me to work.  i knew i didn't work there anymore, but i went in anyway because i knew there wasn't anyone else to take that shift.  i got there early (honestly, going to work at 4 at the morning sounds lame, but is quite nice. it's quiet, you have your list of things you need to do, you get into a certain rhythm and before you know it, the sun is up and it's time for you to go home.), and started work.  slowly, the other deli workers came trickling in as their shifts started, and they were all surprised to see me.  "oh! you're the manager that never works here!" they kept saying.  i told them they never saw me because i didn't actually work there anymore, and when they asked why i was there, i explained that there was really just no one else.  then we started getting customers, and i was amazed at how i knew what ingredients went on which sandwich, and how easy it was for me to put them together.  then, because this was a dream, i forgot to price the sandwiches and all the cashiers got mad at me.  i left work early, because i had to go to my other job, and woke up feeling weird.  proud that i still know how to make a kick-ass sandwich, chumpy because they got me to go into work, at a job i didn't even have anymore.  then i woke up all the way, and reminded myself it was a dream.

Saturday, December 03, 2011


i know, i'm too old to indulge in adolescent musical interludes but this song reminds me of a boy i was smitten with at 20, and still miss today. not because we would have ever grown up and gotten married or had kids or been anything but childhood sweethearts; but because he was a nice boy.  not my boy, but a sweet, kind boy who knew that i wasn't the marrying-kid-having type.  we actually argued about that sort of thing, and i recall being annoyed he thought that i wasn't ready to settle down.  he was right, and i was wrong about what i wanted and when i wanted it, which in the end was exactly what i needed.

i wasn't supposed to get married at 22 and have kids.  my kids were already around, waiting for me to show up.  i couldn't love them more if i had made them with my own body.  i hear albums like this one, and remember what i though my life was going to be, and am happy i was wrong.

*what makes me think of him is that my parents really loved him; they were his parents in a way.  i have moments where i remember we all went out, hand in hand, and they loved him, knowing we wouldn't grow up and get married.  it's a testament to how great my parents were that they loved him regardless, and how i learned about love with all of them.  is that weird?  knowing even then that what i wanted wasn't the best for me, wasn't what was in store, and still playing along.  he remains a good man, someone's happy partner, just not mine. 

what makes me think about all of this is knowing if my dad had known D at all, in any way, he would have been happy.  he would have liked him, they would have gotten along, and they both would have rolled their eyes at my more insane tendencies.  my dad loved the boy i grew up with, but he would have loved D more. i wish they had known each other.  it feels unfair that he knew the boy i wouldn't grow up to marry, and not the man i love so much. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

cheese bits

you might remember that at one point in time, i was a highly trained cheese person.  i guess i still am, although not on the cusp of cheese trends or anything like that, but DAMN i still love cheese.  fancy cheese, not fancy cheese, any everything in between.  which is why i always put together the cheese tray at family holidays.  of course, i tend to pick out too many cheeses, and some of them aren't as well-received as others (for whatever reason, i am the only person in my family who likes an aged goat gouda), so what do you do with all those leftover bits? especially if you are a dork and forget to put them away before they start to get hard and weird around the edges?  why, you make the delicious fromage fort.  i like to call it "cheese in a pot," because it most closely resembles those "potted" cheeses you sometimes get in holiday baskets; flavored like port or pimento. want to make some of your own? here's what you do;
  • gather all your leftover cheese bits.  ALL of them.  got weird things with herbs? blues? soft, runny cheeses? some tillamook?  it will all be delicious in this, i promise. if you think that sounds weird, it's because it does, but trust me.  in the last batch i made, i put in feta, herbed goat cheese, aged gouda, smoked cheese, sharp cheddars, and some mystery "sheep" cheese that i'm not really sure was sheep.  guess what? it rocked.  cheeses you think would taste terrible together taste great in this.  
  • some wine, broth, water or milk/cream.  i prefer to make mine with white wine, that's classic.  not a sweet white either; a house white, a chardonnay, something dry and delicious.  if you don't like wine, use some sort of brothy goodness to give it some more flavor.  if you don't have broth, add some water, maybe mixed with some milk or cream.  use what you have.  have some nice sherry? that would be good too.  
  • garlic.  one or two cloves, depending on how much you like garlic or how much cheese you have.  today i used two cloves, and had a whole food processor full of cheese.  remember: you won't be able to taste the garlic at first, and it will get stronger.  so if you think you didn't add enough, wait a day, and taste it again.  
  • pepper. you can grind it, or you can sprinkle it out of the shaker, i'm not going to judge you.  
  • you may need some salt, but personally, i never use it, and haven't needed it.  cheese is pretty salty.  
cut your cheeses into pieces about the same size.  roughly, you're going to blend the hell out of them, so don't fuss over it too much.  put your garlic in the food processor, then pulse it a bit to start chopping it.  add the cheese, in batches if you have a lot (adding softer cheeses nearer to the end), pulsing and mushing and mixing.  add the wine (or broth, or whatever) a bit at a time, getting the cheese mix damp, but not swimming.  you will probably have some chunks, and that is okay.  you can blend it smoother or rougher depending on how you like it, but i enjoy some fat bits of cheese mixed in there.  add as much liquid as will make it smooth-ish without being creamy (because if you mix it too much, it will start to separate and be weird).  when it's done, pack it into jars or pot!  you can eat it right away, but it gets better the longer it sits.  spread it on crackers, toast, or pipe bits into endive spears to be all fancy. dip crudite in it, use it on a sandwich, or eat it on a spoon.  feed it to your friends, make sure you say "fromage" like you mean it, and watch them swoon. 


Thursday, November 24, 2011


we had thanksgiving in our new house today!  it was supposed to be a small event, with just the four of us and my mom and aunt.  then my cousin came, and my sister and her boyfriend, and the in-laws!  it was a fun day, to be honest, and i'm glad everyone got to come over.  our little house was full of people we love, wine, food, and the living room had been vacuumed.  success! 

anyone married to a cook knows this; even if you are not a doof in the kitchen, they will take over and have some prima donna moments, and you will get to cook one, maybe two things if you are lucky.  me, i made the cranberry relish, a few radish roses, and a kick ass cheese tray.  everything else was all D.  he made tiny cornish game hens, stuffed with dressing, a brussels sprout gratin with smoked gouda, mashed potatoes, two kinds of gravy (one plain, one with fancy chanterelle mushrooms, wine and cream), green beans almandine, sweet potatoes with pecans, a giant fruit salad, a ham, and a grape pie.  imagine how tired you are of reading all those words, then eat them, and go take a nap.  whew.  i got fat just thinking about dinner.  needless to say, it was delicious and i loved every bite.  we had champagne with dinner, spiked with a little cherry juice, and afterward ate pumpkin pie my mom brought over.  

i have to say, i have a lot to be grateful for this year.  a happy, healthy little family; a new house; a cat that likes to nap with me; kids who get my stupid jokes and make their own; a job that pays me like a grown up, and all my friends and family.  speaking of, we're going to get a little bigger next year; my sister is having another baby!  i just found out yesterday, and i will admit, i have a bit of a baby high going on right now.  (and maybe a buzz from all the good food and love and knowing i have another three days off to knit and lounge!)  i hope everyone had an equally boss day (boss is my new favorite word, which i guess means i'm a boy from 1972), and thanks for stopping by!  maybe next year you can come over and help us eat some of this food...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

while catching up on blogs

i came upon a shout-on over at sarah's blog!  she very kindly called me a versatile blogger, which is awesome, and came at just the right time because honestly, i feel super boring lately.  a blog is primarily a "hey this is what's going on in my head" kind of endeavor, but none of us would blog if we didn't enjoy having readers, right?  essentially it boils down to this; yes, a lot of what i write is just ho-hum, i did this today and blah blah blah, not a big deal, but i like having readers.  what makes this blog different from a regular paper journal/diary is that i get feedback from people.  some of them i know in real life, some i don't.  either way, it feels enormously good to hear, "yeah, i feel that way too," or "i get it."  in one way or another, isn't almost every comment a "yeah, me too" sort of comment?  the satisfaction that comes from writing something, explaining an emotion/day/scenario in a way that makes someone else recognize the same in their own life is one of my favorite things.  which is a long-winded way of saying, oh sarah! thank you.  and now on to five little known facts about me,
  1. until earlier this week, i honestly thought my cat just had one hole to do all her business out of.  which, for someone who studied animals in college, has had a cat for more than a few years, and is normally not a retard, is pretty embarrassing to admit.  i think part of me did not want to think about my cat having lady parts, and part of me just only ever saw kitten butthole.  after i said that out loud, as in, "what? doesn't lulu only have the one hole?" i immediately knew i was wrong. and now the boychik and D call everything they think is a dumb a "one hole."  for a smart girl, sometimes i am really dense.
  2. i stayed out way past my curfew once with a boyfriend in high school, and when i got home, my dad was furious and accused me of "losing my cherry."  OUT LOUD.  i was 15, and had no idea what "cherry" meant, but was humiliated and freaked out nonetheless.  for one thing, i had never had a curfew before he stopped going out to sea, and whenever i'd been super late before, mom always waited until the next morning to yell at me, and so the whole situation was seriously bizarre.  what makes this worse is that sometimes when i miss my dad so much i feel like my ribs are going to cave in and suffocate me, i think about that, and it makes me feel better.  secretly (or not so secretly now) this makes me feel like a bad daughter, but as much as i loved my pop, it helps to remember the times when he was kind of a dick.  
  3. i feel uncomfortable around "real" indians because i'm just a half-breed (even less than that!) and not indian enough.  as much as i enjoy going to the rez and hanging out with my cousins, i don't mention being native out loud to a lot of people because i don't feel nearly indian enough.  i have a weird relationship with my ethnicity, and vacillate between being proud and/or indignant, and afraid to say it out loud because i look like a nice italian girl.  you know, even though i'm not even remotely italian. 
  4. until i met D, i was super embarrassed about my feet.  i was convinced they were the ugliest feet on earth, and no amount of googling photos of "hammertoe" made me feel better.  but D thought they were adorable and in some way he made me feel better.  i can't tell you exactly how he did it, but one day i was in the shower and i thought, "he might be right, they might not be hideously deformed."  what a nice thing he did, without even trying.  
  5. i have very, very mild eczema in a few places, but every patch i get i worry and pick at until it's the grossest thing on earth.  to whit; my belly button has been weirdly dry and crusty for over a year, because the moment it almost heals all the way, i get back in there and pick some more.  i'm like sarah with scabs, only a million times worse.  my belly button is so gross!  no one would drink champagne out of it.  D even said that once, and while it made me sad, i understood.  me and my dry skin are not good friends.  
i don't think all of my "little known" facts needed to be so gross and shameful, but there you go!  i'm supposed to pass this on to other bloggers, but truth be told, being so honest made me sleepy, so i'll get to that part later.  go to bed!  what are you doing up so late? are you busy losing your cherry?!  i'll kick that boy's ass if i find him....

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

these pretzels are making me thirsty

oh wait, no; this job training is making me thirsty. for beer.  so much information, coming at me from all directions, in all forms, in one small, window-less room that vacillates between sahara hot and icebox cold.

in a lot of ways day two was better; less nerves, more doing stuff, but in other ways it was just as frustrating. still lots of computer problems, one person who never ever ever shuts their mouth, weird downtime followed by briefs spurts of remember-this-OMG-this-is-important-stuff.

what made me feel a million times better was our trainer saying to us today, "my third day i just went home and cried, and was convinced that i would never get all of this, feeling like the stupidest person on earth, and now i've been here for 7 years." yeah. i know it's going to get better and all the technical snafu's will get worked out and soon i'll be pining for the times i spent these past two days getting to know my classmates/co-workers, but right now i just need a beer and to go to bed early.

Monday, November 07, 2011

only six more weeks of training

first day of work under my belt and the verdict (so far) is good.  it's a very nice office, with super nice people working in it, and there are coffee pots every three feet; what more can you ask for in a work place?  i already like not dealing with patients who have three teeth, smell like wet dog and cigarettes and spend most of their time with me trying to get me to write them a script for xanax.  i like wearing grown up clothes.  getting up this morning and spending five minutes more on my face didn't feel like a waste of time.  i wore a dress and i looked cute.  moreover, i felt cute.  it was nice.

in every class i've ever taken, every school, every training, there's always one person who just cannot shut up, and today that person sat in front of me all day long.  every question was prefaced with an "i don't mean to interrupt..." which just drove me more crazy because OMG you totally do mean to interrupt and when butt kissing becomes distracting, i think it loses its charm.  at the end of the day, i just really wanted this person to shut up, but i think that's normal for any (and every) first day doing anything, be it work, class, volunteering, etc.

i'm excited about actually getting to train; today was the sort of day when nice people from HR tell you a lot of stuff that doesn't make sense right away, you fill out more paperwork, try to figure out your computer and find the bathrooms.  good, but ultimately boring and when it's not boring, frustrating.  there's something that feels so good about getting that first day out of the way, though, am i right?  it's a hurdle, a test you pass and the rest of the week is just easier because it's not that first day.  whew.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

first day jitters

it's a good thing i didn't make a list, because honestly, this week i got very little done.  i finished the boychik's bedroom curtains, unpacked a few boxes, bought some new work clothes, and did some laundry.  that is about the sum total of stuff i did over this week.  well, that and knit some tiny mushrooms and take naps.  the xmas gifts i was going to work on, the needle felting i was going to try, the bedroom i was going to paint...all of that most definitely did not happen.  ah well, it's not often you get a whole seven days to just blow.  i did make it out once to see a friend for a beer, and made a few good dinners, so it wasn't a complete waste of time. 

tonight my plan is to try to not worry too much, pick out my outfit, get breakfast ready to go, and paint my nails some ridiculous, you-can't-see-it-but-i-know-it's-there color.  i like a very neutral nail color, is that weird? for a girl who is drawn to bright orange and red and sparkly, it surprises even me.  i suppose i should also figure out what to make for dinner, and get on that.  i love love love that today was the day we "fell back," because it means i got up "early" and got more done today than ever!  hee hee...

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

this week is flying by

i am really glad i took some time off in between jobs, but somehow it's already wednesday, and i feel like i'm not getting enough done.  although i did get two more boxes all the way unpacked, and for someone who will gladly live with random boxes for as long as i can, that was kind of a big deal.  still throwing stuff away, wondering why i move so much crap every time i move, trying to figure out which weirdo toys to keep.  that is the one thing that i think my husband and i don't see eye to eye on; i like being surrounded by oddball toys and knick knacks and tchotchkes, and he would rather not be. i know living with someone means a certain amount of compromise, but for him that means giving me a room and letting me do what i want with it.  that's a nice idea, but i don't just live in one room.  i've toned it down quite a bit since moving in with him, but i can't help if i think an army of plastic squirrels on the mantle in the living room is the best idea ever.  remember, i'm part bowerbird

that being said, this week i'm going to do my hardest to organize the kitchen, make the downstairs a bit more livable, and clean out my closet.  there are lots of other things i want to do as well, but those three are on the top of my list. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

a whole week off!

today was a really nice day.  not only was it my birthday (i guess technically speaking, it still is) and i got to go out to a nice restaurant with my husband, but today kind of officially starts my week long vacation.  i had 41 vacation hours accrued, so i decided to take some time off in between gigs.  partly to give me a chance to shift gears, partly to give me some time to get some stuff done, and partly because why not? a week off to myself sounds awesome. plus, at the end of the week i'll be ready to go back to work, and so am hoping i'll also be less nervous about starting something new.  ha!

my mom, aunt and niece came into town today to help me celebrate too.  i'm telling you, that maggie is getting smarter every single second. she kills me.  she also drew me a ton of amazing pictures in my birthday card, and i know i'm biased, but the kid has some skills.  they came armed with salami, artichoke dip, and presents, so i was more than pleased to see them.  my mom bought me this beautiful yarn bowl, with squirrels and acorn on it, my aunt found the only three anthony bourdain books i didn't have, and maggie gave me a couple of kinder buenos, which are one of my favorite candy bars.  yay!  it was an all girl afternoon; D was at work, and the boychik was out with his friends.  it was nice to see everyone and catch up.

i have a list of things i want to get done this week, i'll post the major points tomorrow and then we can see what i actually get done.  i'm excited about buying some new clothes this week too, even if i am a bit chubbier than i would like to be.  i helped the boychik take his senior photo tonight, because it's due tomorrow and OMG we are good at procrastination, but i think this one is the winner.
what? not enough boy? too much cat?  can there even be such a thing?!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

two weeks

i know i mentioned a few weeks ago that i had a job interview.  it went well, but because i had gotten my interview so early in their process, they told me up front that i would be waiting two whole weeks to find out if i got it or not.  two weeks is a long time.  i know for a fact that D thought the past two weeks were actually four, because i was kind of antsy and spastic and distracted and sometimes not too nice.  being nervous makes me snippy.  i finally got a call this week and guess what? i got the new job. 

such a happy sigh of relief.  i'll still be in health care, albeit not in a physical way.  i'll be a customer service rep for an insurance company.  answering calls from customers about their plans, helping people get authorizations for procedures, dealing with doctor's offices and other insurance companies, that sort of thing.  no more scrubs, no more getting up at zero-dark-thirty, no more giant magnets and patients who can potentially poop/pee/puke in them.  no more dentures.  (which is so exciting to me. body fluids are disgusting, don't get me wrong, but watching anyone take out their teeth gives me the heebie jeebies.)   the new job starts at a higher hourly rate as well, and because i'll be working for an insurance company, we'll all have coverage and benefits from day one.  score!

my co-workers so far have all been honestly happy for me and pleased.  going into this, the thought of leaving them behind has been one of those things i tried not to think too hard about.  i truly enjoy them.  they're smart and funny and interesting, they care about patients and making people feel better.  they're genuinely nice folks.  i'm going to miss them terribly.

overall, though, i am excited.  looking at buying some new business casual wear (i have nothing appropriate, and what i do have doesn't fit).  anxious about fitting in at the new place, of course, but looking forward to learning something new and making a little more money.  it's time for a change.  in fact, it's pretty overdue.  i was so busy moving and getting married and getting settled that i put this off a lot longer than i should have.  change isn't usually my favorite thing, but i'll make an exception in this case.   

Monday, October 10, 2011


yesterday we all went to a birthday bbq for D's niece and nephew, where we ate too many ribs, giant slabs of chocolate cake, and lots of delicious nibbles in between.  i have to admit though, i felt kind of young and out of place.  my sister-in-law is D's age, but she's the youngest of her siblings, and one of her nephews is my age.  meaning everyone was a lot more grown-up than me, and wanted to talk about church and their grandkids.  not going to church or having grandkids, i was kind of out of the loop. i will also admit that this no-drinking-until-the-end-of-the-month thing i have going on kind of killed my ability to make small talk.  i suppose it didn't kill the ability so much as it thoroughly quashed any desire to chit chat about shit i don't have or care about.  that makes me sound like an irritated wife, doesn't it? (i'm not!) i know this new in-law stuff isn't going to be all sunshine and puppies, since all families are annoying in their own ways, and while i kind of understood i was marrying into a family of people who have the capital F kind of Faith that i'm not used to, i did not realize how much they would all want to talk about it.  where i come from church-y stuff is mentioned only AT church and never discussed the rest of the week.  it seems weird to talk about it in public.  as weird as peeing with the door open in bunch of a front of a strangers. yesterday D had a full-on conversation about the End Times with a man i though looked kind of mild-mannered.  while eating a piece of cake.  evidently i underestimated this man, who is freaked out about future financial and global ruin, and is able to quote all kinds of scripture. ha!

the moral of this story is this: i'm glad i always bring some knitting with me, and it's a good thing i like talking to little kids.  it is also kind of pleasant to think of 34 as being "young."

Saturday, October 08, 2011


i could eat squash every day.  butternut, acron, blue kuri, kabocha, you name it.  i will begrudgingly add zucchini to that list, only because we got way too much of it this year from my in-laws and i am kind of sick of it.  although the one thing you can say about zucchini is that you can add it to just about anything, and very few people notice.  tonight i'm goofing off with the crockpot, like i did last saturday.  white beans, butternut squash, some rosemary and chicken stock, and in a few hours we'll see if it's any good.

i've also been really into quinoa lately, because of the way it pops and crunches when you eat it.  it's the weirdest grain.  i haven't yet been able to make it mushy either, which is a plus.

overall, now that we've lived at the house for this long i feel like i should be making more healthy dinners, and have been working at that.  using the crockpot more, making more veggie dinners, less eating out, that sort of thing.  i'm also not drinking this month, not for any good reason except i'm not.  well, until my birthday.  i want to be able to have a drinky on my big day!  i will admit i'm curious to see if not drinking will do anything to my weight.  i think the last time i stopped, i lost seven pounds in a month while doing literally nothing different.  eep.  i know i love beer, but i had no idea i loved it SEVEN pounds worth.  hee hee...

Thursday, October 06, 2011

i accidentally made a vegan dinner

it wasn't anything extravagantly vegan; a simple squash curry with a mixed rice blend.  my in-laws keep giving us zucchini and while it's good, at this point i'm done trying "new" things with it and going back to what i do best, quick curries and various starchy sides.  i mix it up sometimes, with quinoa (ooh! exotic!), or brown basmati rice, but honestly, i just really like curry.  indian curry, thai curry, pidgin curry, it's all comforting to me.  i apologized to the kids for being so hippie tonight, but they didn't care.  i forget sometimes that the will just eat what i cook, with very little complaints.

a few weeks ago i bought D a book for the kindle, trying to get him interested in using it.  both he and the boychik are sometimes reticent to try new things (even though technically the kindle IS the boy's), so i thought if i bought a book i knew he wanted, he might try it out and see what he thought.  (he liked it. go figure.) the book i bought was wild fermentation, all about making various pickled things, breads, and beverages.  ooh, and cheese.  we're familiar with the concept because D grew up making kraut the old-fashioned way as a kid, and we've made many batches of kimchi.  this book is pretty fun, though, and has recipes for making kombucha, ethiopian honey wine, tempeh and other weirdo things.  the author is, as one would imagine, VERY into fermentation.  sometimes his writing made me giggle because he's just so darn earnest; he truly believes in all kinds of fermentation.  he's fervent about fermentation! my tastes do run toward the sour, though, so of course after reading about krauts all day, i had to come home and make some.

above are two simple krauts.  one made with cabbage, tart apples, and caraway seeds, and one made with only brussels sprouts.  making your own lactic acid pickles is seriously fun, and the juice the veggies produce is kind of fizzy on your tongue.  i love that so much.  it's hard to explain, but there's something about things that "pop" that do it for me.  i do think that fermented veggies are good for you, so it's fun to make and try them. (and relatively guilt free; you can't make a greasy pickle, after all. unless you fry it.) i like the experimentation aspect to it too, and seeing how a food can go from one flavor, to another, in a very radical way, with one or two added ingredients and some time.  i promise not to go too crazy and show you every pickle i make, but tonight i was a Super Hippie StepMom!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

cheese freaks

sometimes i miss being the cheese girls at the grocery store.  i do really love cheese, and it was fun to work with a food so versatile and lovable.  i mean honestly, the people who dug cheese and came in for fancy varieties were super fun to work with.

this weekend during the festival of family farms we hit up a wonderful local diary that makes some spectacular cheeses, the golden glen creamery.  while we were there looking at baby cows and seeing the cheesemaker at work i bought a few containers of fresh curds.  some of you may know them as "squeaky cheese" because when you bit into them, they make a squeak against your teeth.  they are delicious right out of the package, thrown in a salad, deep fried, or used to make poutine.

if you have never heard of poutine, much less tasted it, i'd like to offer my deepest condolences. not to put too fine a point on it, poutine is fucking amazing. it's rich and creamy and involves gravy and potatoes, with a hefty dose of curds sprinkled on top.  it's stick-to-your-ribs, this-really-does-make-my-ass-look-fat, food.  certainly not an everyday indulgence, but if you can't splurge on occasion, then i see no reason for living.  poutine was invented in french canada, but there are a million different varieties and ways to make it and eat it.  my favorite is beef gravy, fries and curds.  simple, and to the point.

lucky for me i have a husband who excels at both making gravy and home-made french fries.  we made a platter of poutine for dinner and all sat around it with forks.  i can think of no better way to eat it, surrounded by people i love, with a big old couch to settle into when we're done.

also on the way this week: cheese making supplies so we can make our own curds.  i got to make some cheese while i was working as a cheese girl, but it's been too long.  plus, D has been into wild fermentation lately, and he wants to make not just pickles and krauts, but also cheeses.  yay!

Monday, October 03, 2011

where do you see yourself in five years?

i had two job interviews last week, and then promptly took a few days off work.  the job interviews were at the same place; one was a series of placement tests to see if i even qualified for the interview, and the other was the actual interview.  i know the testing went okay because i got the interview, and because not to toot my own horn, but i am a great typist. i know, i slack at using proper punctuation in my blog life, but in real life, i own that shift key. the proper interview went well, i think. you can never really tell unless you get the job, as far as i'm concerned, but the ladies i talked to seemed reasonable, down to earth, and nice. they actually did not ask me where i saw myself in five years, much to my delight. i explained that i just needed a change of pace, in a job that hopefully let me do the parts of my job that i currently love (which is, grossly enough, helping people freaked out by health care to be less freaked out), with less body fluids and more opportunities for advancement.

the act of going to interview and putting on clothes that weren't my ratty old scrubs was exhilarating. i love scrubs because they incorporate my favorite aspect uniforms (not having to think about what to wear) with the ease and comfort of pajamas. coincidentally, i also enjoy being monochromatic. however, putting on clothes that did not make me think of work, that could be worn with something other than crocs or tennis shoes, that looked good with mascara and that i could wear bobby pins* with, was amazing. i think it was at that moment that i realized what having a new job could mean for me (and for my family). i'm not guaranteed the job, by any means, and i still have two weeks to wait and see what happens, but driving out there, taking tests and answering questions made me feel like i was actually doing something about my situation instead of just lamenting it. talk is cheap, as we all know.  making an effort, trying for something new, feels good.

everyone at work is already acting like i already have the job, but i'm wary about getting too excited. i'll miss my co-workers, and feel like for the first time in a long time, i've actually made real, honest-to-goodness friends there.  people i'll still get to see if i leave.  people i do honestly care about and want to keep around.  i can only hope that if i do get another job, it will be with a similar group of people.

*you can't wear bobby pins around and MRI machine, unless you want to lose some hair.    

Sunday, October 02, 2011

family farms!

this weekend was JAM PACKED with action and adventure, via the annual skagit valley festival of family farms. we went about two years ago and had an awesome time, so this year i took my stepdaughter and a friend of hers out for not one, but TWO days of farm madness.  we had a great time; we saw a million different animals, saw how different farms work, ate elephant ears and apples right off the tree (what, you've never seen an elephant ear tree? sucks to be you.), took a million photos and used a lot of hand sanitizer.  good times. 

the best part for me, beside seeing cute, baby animals, was listening to the girls in the backseat as i drove them around.  pre-teen girls are funny and sweet and completely wacko.  they come up with games that make no sense, they giggle at everything, they clam up if they know you're listening, but if you keep quiet and let them sit together in the back seat while you chauffeur them around you get to hear a lot. what i came away with was the certain knowledge that both kids had a fun time, and that this is something they'll remember fondly when they get older.

to add to my pot of good-mom-points, i also made them pumpkin, chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast this morning.  ahem.  you can send my medal right to the house, i don't need a fancy ceremony.  photos, as usual, are over here.   

Sunday, September 25, 2011

the secret to my success

is taking one benadryl at a time. if you take two, you will be retarded, but one will help quiet down your runny nose and still let you be understandable to others. 

you can see the trees spewing junk into the air, so my sneezing and running nose is not a big surprise.  it is still, though, annoying.  seasonal allergies are for suckers.  meaning, me.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


today the kids and i rented not one or two movies, we rented four.  i bought some flavored coffee creamer, which i never do (i like my coffee black) but today i was feeling like settling in for some serious film watching and knitting.  sweet coffee seemed appropriate.  i also bought a giant bag of chocolate chips, so tonight i can make cookies.  we had giant hamburgers for lunch at five guys, and at this very moment, both of the kids are sitting quietly with me in the living room, playing games and waiting for our lounging afternoon to begin. 

last night D and i went out and had drinks and saw friends, and we were talking about all the cool things the kids do, and how we think they'll have happy memories of us when they get older.  we don't know for sure, of course, but how can a memory of us all singing the same song and making up new verses in the kitchen be anything but a happy memory?  

Sunday, September 11, 2011

working blues

i don't talk a lot about my job for a few reasons, one of them being HIPAA.  some of the most interesting cases i get are interesting because they're specific, and i live in a small enough area that if you were an interesting case and i wrote about it (and you somehow read this little blog), you'd know it.  which is a shame, because even though i'm not a trained medical professional, i've learned a lot at my job at and seen some cool stuff.   it's exciting to see how the body works around supposed limitations and how inventive people can be when faced with a body part that doesn't want to work in the right way.  i tend to meet a lot of different people with a lot of different and remarkable stories, and for whatever time i get to spend with them, i get to hear those stories.  that part of my job is the best, and i've been fortunate enough to meet some really amazing people.

Friday, September 09, 2011

baby booties

in one way or another, i've started this blog post a million times.  i never publish it for fear of sounding even more whiny or neurotic, but if you read my blog at all, you know that i am, indeed, both a bit high-strung and admit it often.  i feel like before i say or write something like this i need to preface it with a whole lot of talk about how i love the kids, i love my husband, i feel happy and secure in this family of mine, and that overall i do understand how fortunate i am.  i have a home i'm happy to come to every night after work, i live with people i love and moreover, genuinely like, the kids are old enough that D and i get to spend a fair amount of alone time together, and all that jazz.  while that's all well and true, that's not what i'm going to talk about.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

back to school time

the kids started the new school year yesterday! they both had good days, which was nice to hear. neither one of them was whiny when they got up either, and i think even if no one would ever admit it, they were glad to go back.  this is the boychik's last year, meaning in a month or so we can look forward to getting fleeced by josten's.  i'm not sure why it because de riguer to buy a graduation gown; you wear them once for a few hours and then feel guilty throwing them away a few years later.  what happened to renting? did too many high school seniors get crabs? i'm going to try buying one on ebay. does that make me a cheap stepmother? probably.

the girlchild is in the 7th grade now, and i admit being more than nervous about the upcoming year.  last year her grades were terrible, her attitude was even worse, and we spent many miserable hours and months trying to figure out what was going on and what we could do about it.  this year she's enrolled in a program that is supposed to help her study skills and organization, as well as provide a little extra math and reading help.  when it comes to the girl and her grades, i admit that D and i approach it from very different points of view.  i think that's part of the reason i'm not looking forward to this year.  she's a bright kid, but if things are hard, she just gives up. she is also under the assumption that she's already "good" at math, and doesn't need to try anymore, and to be honest, she's not that good at math.  she doesn't consistently fail it, but she never aces it either.  she has a hard time finishing what she starts, keeping track of assignments, and on more than one occasion she's just flat-out lied to us about what she had to do/when she had to do it/what was going on.  i'm definitely more of the disciplinarian, which is a shitty role, but considering one kid does well and never needs much in the way of supervision when it comes to school, i guess it evens out.  my plan this year is to make things kind of hard to start with.  instead of taking away stuff like tv and computer time and going outside when things go bad, from the very start she's going to have to prove that she can do her schoolwork first.  meaning, no computer time until after 7:30, and if she wants half an hour of facebook and shit, she's got to give me half an hour of reading.  if she wants to be allowed to watch any tv (for us, netflix) or a movie, she's going to have to have all her homework done as well as her chores.  she has to tell us what is due and when every day, via her assignment log.  i know it sounds harsh, and it is, but last year she brought home a report card with three D's and 2 F's and didn't see anything wrong with it.  the way i see it, if things start out kind of gulag-y, then they can only get better, right? i don't necessarily want to punish her for last years grades, but i don't want her thinking she can skate until she gets caught again, either. 

just thinking about all of this makes my blood pressure go up.  i'm going to try to be optimistic, i swear, but if this year is like last year, i don't know what i'm going to do.  i'm not a very good tutor for her while sober, and this sort of thing makes me want a big old glass of boxed wine, and guess what? i'm worse at explaining fractions then.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

good morning hair

when i woke up this morning and went to the bathroom to pee, i didn't bother putting my glasses on.  if i'm getting right back into bed, it seems silly.  when i went to wash my hands afterward though, i saw that my hair looked awesome this morning.  or at least, it did in a very blurry, there's-not-enough-light-in-here to really see, sort of way.  i said to D, "i know i don't have my glasses on, but i have a feeling that i have some amazing morning hair going on."  he agreed.  then i put on my glasses, and you know what? it really did look good.  in fact, it looks great.  unfortunately, that will only last about five more minutes, and then it will revert to it's greasy morning look.  dammit. 

Saturday, September 03, 2011

lemon jelly

D likes dub, techno, whatever it is they call all those blippy poppy songs that kids high on E adore.  which isn't to say he wanders around the house in giant pants and blows a whistle when he gets excited, but he does like music that's a bit ambient and groovy.  the other night while looking at boat videos on youtube he stumbled upon a band that's new to all of us, lemon jelly.  specifically, he ran into this song, and was pretty excited to show it to us.  the past week has found us all singing it and goofing on it, changing the lyrics, looking up new songs and playing those too. 

the past two weeks have been like real summer break.  halcyon and warm, everyone in a good mood, playful and energetic.  it's a shame summer break ends always ends at this point; you spend a month getting things done, a month getting into a groove, and then right as you're actually having a fun time, it ends. part of me is ready for the kids to go back to school, part of me is going to miss the fist bumps and singing in the kitchen while making dinner.

we're brewing up our winter plans.  we'd like to build a canoe, which i know sounds crazy, but all of us are into it.  i want to build the hazelnut, the boys are into the prospector, and i think the girlchild thinks there is no way we'll get it done.  she does think building it will be fun, but doesn't think we've got the stamina to get it finished!  so far we've just looked at a lot of plans and talked about what to name the boat.  personally, i want to name it bollo, after the ape from the mighty boosh.  we're also unsure if we'll paint it red or blue.  or green.  these things are important!    

Monday, August 29, 2011


it's a nice, quiet morning at home. everyone is still asleep (except for one of the neighbor's dogs who is never asleep or has learned to bark while sleeping), it's cool and damp outside, i have a great big cup of coffee and my podcasts updated on my ipod.  i do believe now i'll go hide out in the nook and do some tiny drawings. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

neurotic families 'r us

i know D loves me, but i think he does not like it when i spend the afternoon with my mother.  it's not that he doesn't like my mom, it's not that he doesn't like me for that matter, but something about our relationship lately turns me into a seriously insecure teenage girl, and then he has to hear about it.  oops!  here is a short list of other things that my husband evidently does not like, but is always so cool about them that i rarely realize how much i'm annoying him;
  1. all the painting supplies in the bathroom.  i like to paint things.  specifically, i like make retarded little watercolors, and lately i've taken to slapping acrylic paints on a variety of surfaces (wood and fabric and mailboxes), and all this means is that i use our downstairs bathroom to clean my brushes and tools.  D does not enjoy finding paintbrushes in with his toothbrush, and doesn't understand why i leave the sink spotted blue and red.  does he complain? no.  he likes to ask me what i'm doing though, and then say helpful things like, "don't you think you should do that in the kitchen?" followed with "could you wipe out the sink?" 
  2. all of the wall painting supplies in the kitchen.  it's not enough to get watercolors and acrylics all over! no, sometimes i need to paint walls and then do annoying things like leave my rollers on the kitchen counter.  i suck!
  3. he's kind about it, but i know for a fact that having a knitting project going on in the living room, an embroidery project in the family room, and a stack of books taking up part of our bed isn't his idea of a good time.  because of that, i am working on making sure that i finish more projects than i start, and at the very least corralling them into a basket when i'm done and putting them out of the way.  
he's never a jerk about this sort of thing, though.  and i hate to say it, but i think he has some good points and thanks to him, i'm trying to be more conscientious about the space i take up in the house.  i was a single, crafty lady for a long time, it's hard for me to keep all my stuff in once place!  i'm getting better, though.  honest!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

it's a no camping summer for us

getting married and moving took a lot out of us, both financially and emotionally.  i'm not complaining! for the most part, we're having a good time this summer and honestly just getting into the swing of home-owning and renovating.  my oregon family, though, is out on the big summer camping trip this weekend, and we are not.  sigh. 

instead of being in tents and being with our people, we are sticking close to home. for the most part!  the girlchild and i are headed to the island to hit up a birthday party the park, and do some back-to-school shopping with my mom.  the boychik is going to apply for a job today, or else i'm going to strangle him.  i'm hoping today to also have something made with ice cream, and maybe see the beach.  my ratty old summer shorts are clean for a change, so i suppose i should take a shower and get ready for the day.  at the moment it's me and the cat on the couch, listening to some john doe and drinking coffee.  it's not a tent, and there aren't cousins scrambling around and shouting, and i haven't missed a camping trip for YEARS but we'll survive.  dear oregon, we miss you! we'll be thinking about you this weekend. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

home owners, in a way

everyone knows we just moved a few months ago, right after getting married.  what you might not realize is that my in-laws technically bought the house and are now our mortgage holders.  this month we finally sat down and figured out what we need to do to become honest to goodness home owners.  well, my in-laws have been figuring this stuff out, and tomorrow they finalize the paperwork with their attorney.

we thought we were pretty on the ball; while we have not been saving every penny coming in, we also haven't been throwing any huge parties or spending money on tattoos or hot rods.  talking to our folks tonight we were hit with kind of a big expense right out the door that we were not aware of.  i don't think anyone was, to be honest, and while D and i wanted to hyperventilate (OMG they want how much? when?!), the in-laws were calm and collected and assured us that they could and would wait another month for rent money.  we wanted to show them what our budget was and where our money is going every month, but you know what they said? "don't worry, we trust you.  and we know where you live." 

have i mentioned lately how much i love my in-laws?  being in this house means rent is a bit cheaper, the house is ours, our credit ratings are improving, and next year when the boychik graduates from high school, we should be in a position to be helpful parents. that feels good.  it's terrifying, but ultimately for the best.  there's no way a bank would help us out at this point in our life, and this just puts us forward a year or two (or ten).   

Monday, August 22, 2011

living room curtains

part of our "home renovation" planning has been based on two things; trying to temper my love of all things color, and trying to keep the cost down.  truth be told, i really like making stuff, so keeping things somewhat inexpensive isn't too hard.  the yellow wall cost us $15, and guess what? my husband loved it.

one of the things about D that is so frustrating, is that if you ask him hypothetical questions, like, "how would you feel about the color yellow in the kitchen?" he will not give you an answer.  he will simply insist, over and over, that he doesn't know, that he would have to see it to give you an opinion.  if you ask, "would yellow walls make you want to kill your wife?" he still won't cop to a yes or no.  he claims he simply cannot "see" something before he can actually SEE it.  he will sometimes say, "i might like that," but that's as close to an answer as you can get with him.

i had what i thought was an awesome idea for curtains for our living room the other day.  i did a few drawings, showed him where things would go, and showed him some photos i was using for inspiration.  what did he say? you guessed it, he said he thought it sounded like my idea would work, but he would have to see it before giving deciding if he liked it or not.  i feel like we've been together long enough that him saying that is my green light.  in any case, that's how i use it! so today i started making our living room curtains.  (more after the jump)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

i might not be the best wife

today on a whim i totally painted one of the walls in the kitchen a bright, sunshine-y yellow.  without asking or consulting with my husband at all.  the girlchild agreed with me that the color was awesome, so i bought it and now it's up there, no take-backs! 

unfortunately for D, he married a woman who loves color.  if i had my way, i'd buy a bright orange futon cover for the upstairs, to co-ordinate with all my random stripey pillows and the technicolor afghan.  the upstairs part of our house is just so...neutral.  which is okay, because it means it's super easy to liven up with a coat of paint, or a bright orange couch! if D had his way, our house would be outfitted in woodland colors, lots of soft greens and browns and varying shades of "shrub."  personally, i just can't live like that. 

i don't think he'll divorce me for today's color shenanigans, mainly because i bought a really soft blue for the bedroom.  he won't be able to argue with that! (i hope.)

Saturday, August 13, 2011


the decemberists are doing a series of posters for every town they visit for their current tour.  every one of them i've seen has been lovely; whenever i get a little facebook message about a new one, i start daydreaming about buying some to frame and hang up in the house. 
 these are just a few of the ones i'd love to get my hands on! putting them up here i realize that they all have similar colors.  i've really been enjoying warm, orangey-yellow tones lately.  as if you couldn't tell.
before i go rushing out to buy any posters, though, i need to frame a lovely nikki mcClure print D and i got as a wedding present.  it's this pretty one. again, more orange!  it was D's favorite wedding present.  he loved that the couple were kissing in the kitchen, with the jars of fruit in the foreground.  our first kiss was in the kitchen, and so he's romantic about that.  who are we kidding, i am too.   

Friday, August 12, 2011

things i want to do as far as the house goes

the theory behind this post is that once i make a list, and make that list public, i'll work harder to get stuff done. 
  • paint our bedroom.
  • make curtains for our bedroom.
  • make curtains for the girlchild's room.
  • the boychik needs some too.
  • how about some for the living room as well? that way we can wander around like slobs and the neighbors won't know!
  • get a futon cover for the futon.
  • buy a roku box or something so we can watch netflix on the tv.
  • we need a coffee table! or a tv stand so we can use what we're using for that now as a coffee table.
  • we also need a couch. in a serious way.
  • the girlchild needs a new bed.  this is kind of D's job; he'll be the one building it.
  • both kids need new paint in their rooms.
  • i'd like a new futon cover for our room.
this is a good start, yes? 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

the joys of starting stuff!

i am making a concerted effort to finish the crafty projects i have going before starting new ones.  which means i have to finish the pillowcase i'm embroidering before i can start playing with blackwork.  so far, so good.  there is just something so delightful about a new project! ugh. it's killing me! i have a million awesome ideas, all of which i want to try right this second.

also killing me is the fact that we are still living surrounded by boxes.  i know part of that is my fault, but i also know i shouldn't be the only one working on putting stuff away.  i am such a stubborn jackass at times.  i admit i can also be seriously passive-aggressive; i don't want to do all the unpacking, but do i tell my husband that i want him to do some too? that would be no.  i'm going to go upstairs right now and set a timer for twenty minutes and see what i can get done.

wish me luck! or come over and help.  i'll take either right now!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

random list of things i am loving

  • making the baba ganoush, while D does the hard work of actually making the pitas.  okay, it's not that difficult, but i like it when he makes the pitas. 
  • bjork!  we watched sucker punch the other night and one of the things i noticed was a) the soundtrack kicked ass, and b) it was all covers except for bjork.  because, really, how on earth could anyone cover bjork?!  that's right, you can't.  i had to go pick up some old bjork albums to scratch that odd icelandic itch, and now of course i think i should go all the way back to the sugarcube days. 
  • jeremiah weed "spiked cola."  yes, it is indeed a malt beverage, which i know means that i am one classy broad.  it's just seriously delicious, and sometimes i want a rum/whiskey and coke and don't feel like buying a whole bottle of either and/or going out.  my problem is solved! thank you, kind folks at jeremiah weed.
  • the smell of the coals heating to cook dinner over.  dear diary, i love any kind of grilled goodness.  
  • i recently discovered blackwork embroidery.  i'm not sure why it took so long, but now that i've found it, i'm fairly smitten.  i've been doing more cross-stitch in general lately, but i think blackwork is next on my list of things to try. 

Sunday, August 07, 2011

needle-y goodness

we all know that for the past few years, knitting has been my craft of choice.  there's something about the click of the needles as you work, the feel of the yarn, the feeling of making something BIG (or small), and the fact that i'm not really that good at it that has kept me entranced for longer than most hobbies i start.  i really love knitting. i think it's helped make me more patient, and also increased my crafty self-esteem.  i'm mostly self-taught, so every new thing i learn is kind of a big deal to me, even though there are a LOT of things i haven't mastered yet.  with knitting i'm coming to a point where i finally feel confident enough about my abilities to make stuff up, to just wing it on occasion.  there are also so many things to learn with knitting; it's kind of an inexhaustible craft. there will literally always be something new to try.

remember when my needles of choice used to be embroidery? yeah, me too.  the past few days i've done some embroidering and am remembering what i love about that craft. it's quieter and requires more attention, which i forgot.  i like the way the stitches feel under my fingers.  i like making something that started as a simple, plain thing (like a dishcloth or pillowcase) and making it more than that.  i like the old fashioned-ness of it. (wait, i like that about knitting, too.) knowing that i'm doing it, my mom did it, my grandmothers did it, etc, is such a nice thought to me. i like being part of that line of crafty ladies, making my house a home, expressing myself through needles and string.  a quiet afternoon spent working on something, listening to the radio or some music, is quite possibly the nicest afternoon i think of.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

the terror that is unpacking

i'm not sure why unpacking is always such a chore for me.  you would think i would be so excited to move into a new place, to make it my own, that i would just yank everything out of boxes and throw it all any and everywhere.  instead, i'm ridiculously slow at it.  i think too hard about where things should go, about what the ramifications of putting baking items in that cupboard as opposed to this cupboard will be, forgetting all the time that if i don't like the first place i put it, i can move it!  this time i'm also faced with my passive-aggressive mom-ness.  i'm hating that for whatever reason, no one feels like they need to do anything unless i ask.  for some reason, the task of unpacking and making house decisions is all mine, and that feels bogus to me.  i'm not a dictator in an apron, i promise.

instead of unpacking i'm looking at boxes and making plans, and doing some knitting. there is nothing more fun that starting a new project and watching it grow.  it's especially fun to work on something that's going to be a present.  i'm not terribly superstitious (i like to think) but i do subscribe to the idea that thinking good thoughts while working on something translates into the finished project.  that's why a lot of things i was working on when my dad was going through radiation got scrapped in the end.  doing the actual knitting and embroidering while waiting for him at the clinic was good for me in that it kept my hands busy and gave me something else to fuss over, but whenever i finished something i had to get rid of it because all i could think of what them poking and prodding him, his discomfort, the nasty radiation burn across his cheek and neck.  it felt like it would be bad juju to give those items to anyone else, too, so i threw most of them away.

i've been thinking about my dad a lot lately.  the other night while unpacking i ran across a xmas gift list he'd sent me, and it reduced me to tears.  i miss those little lists, how detailed they were, how he'd tell you not just what he'd like to get, but about how much it would cost and where you could find it.  D thought that was a bit fussy, but i explained that for my pop that just made sense.  he bought the things he wanted for himself, but knew we wanted to buy him things for xmas, so he made it easy on us.  he didn't want us to feel like we had no idea what we were doing, and he was open to getting things that weren't on the list.  he also wasn't a dictator in an apron.  it's funny the things that make me think of him, the things i miss.  the sound of his boots on linoleum, the smell of his aftershave, the way he would always announce "bump!" in the car when he saw a sign warning you of the same thing.  the pain of losing him isn't as overwhelming now as it was in the beginning, but it does kind of hide out and wait for me some afternoons.  grief is a strange monster.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


after finishing the painting in the nook, i broke it in this afternoon by sewing some curtain panels for the big window in there.  overall, i like the way they turned out, but more than anything, it just felt good to turn on my ipod and sew away.  it went from being dour and rainy and cool to being ridiculously hot and humid out here in the pacific northwest, so sitting in front of an oscillating fan in the downstairs was nice.  it's the coolest spot in the house! 
here is a tiny after and before shot (because i got them backwards!).  look at what a difference a coat of paint makes!  the carpet is the same, because a) it's weird and b) i kind of like it and c) it's not really financially feasible to get rid of it or replace it at this time.  i dig that this is the original carpet as well.  says a lot about my little house! 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

over and under-whelmed

the process of going through your belongings is the coolest and worst thing you can go through.  weeding out stuff you don't need to keep feels good, at the same time i've been spending a lot of time wondering why i kept any of that old junk.  i'm also traipsing down memory lane every five minutes, which makes for slow going.  i wish i could say i was less attached to "things," that i had a more buddhist relationship to physical objects, but i am most certainly not that enlightened.  holding something from a specific time in my life feels good.  notes written from friends past and present are nice to read. knowing that i was thought of, cared about, that someone put a stamp on a letter from far away, just for me, is an ego boost.  which isn't to say my self esteem is so bad i need that kind of thing (i can't quit any time i like! get off my back!), but i think more people can relate to that feeling than not.

in any case, it's too humid to paint the nook, so i'm trying to pare down the things that will eventually live in there.  it's not exciting, and when i look at all the boxes i have to go through, i want to weep (i am a packrat, although i am a packrat who is getting better).  i'm not bad enough to be a tv show yet, so let's just keep it that way, shall we? 

Monday, July 18, 2011

home again, home again!

went to portland for a long weekend with the kids.  for a minute there, i thought about not taking them because they were making me so freaking crazy, but that felt like a dick move, even to me.  we ended up having an awesome time; we did a lot of lazing about, reading, playing video games, and eating delicious things.  then, surprise surprise, when anne and aaron brought up the idea of the kids staying a bit longer, they went for it.  so i came home alone! i thought the kids would want to come home, see their friends, all that jazz, but they really (really) like anne and aaron and the boys, and were having too much fun to leave.  D and i would use this as a little honeymoon, but we both have to work this week.  so we'll be using this week kid-free to have some date nights and (cross your fingers) get some stuff around the house done.  i picked up some awesome things from Ikea, so i want to finish painting my nook and then get my stuff settled in there. 

right now, though, i want to take a nice shower.  the weather got hot and muggy all at once, and i feel like i'm coated in a thin layer of gross. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011


i know it's not a completely original complaint, but goddamn i hate working for ten hours, dealing with people with shitty pants and weirdo tumors that i have to touch, only to come home and find that no one has done a fucking thing to clean up after themselves.  dishes all over the kitchen, empty cans of beer on the counters, books and papers all over the living room, you get the idea.  i don't know about you, but i find it just as exhausting to have to leave lists of things for the kids to do as clean it up myself. because seriously?! you can't see what needs to be put up away? you really like the shrill tone my voice takes when i'm irritated?

i hate hate hate being the nagging mom-person.  i hate that i feel like this. i hate that the house is trashed and no one gives a fuck.  i hate that i have to bug my husband to do anything, and now that we're married his favorite thing to do is point out how little i "contribute" financially, meaning, "i know you work all day but you don't make as much as i do, so maybe you can shut up about the dishes."  or maybe that's just what i think it means.  i know he works hard, and i know his schedule is weird and he comes home at odd hours of the day, but if it doesn't kill me to take twenty minutes to tidy things up, why should it kill him?

tonight i am going to hide in my room with the netflix and a cocktail, and everyone can fend for themselves.  the end. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

weird things about my family, part one million and three

did you know my husband really only eats late late late at night, and that the bulk of his diet is comprised of mayonnaise and blue cheese dressing?  i exaggerate a little, but only that: a little.  the man is never hungry until 11 at night, and often has his first meal then, followed by a "snack" at 3 a.m.  i think part of that has to do with his late night work schedule, and part of it has to do with his deep and abiding love of mayo. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

sunday morning

for some ungodly reason, i woke up at 7 this morning.  i rarely wake up that early, even when i'm supposed to be at work at 7. i've already had two cups of coffee, finished reading a book, and folded some clothes.  WTF. of course, everyone else is still asleep so i'm trying to be quiet and not wake them up.  everyone is on a night-owl schedule, since the kids don't have school and D's been working late night bar shifts.  i admit i like staying up late as well, but lately i'm stuck in a weird awake in the morning and therefore sleepy when everyone else wants to hang out mode. 

i think i'll watch some breaking bad now, fold some more clothes, and drink some more coffee.  then when everyone else wakes up, i'll go take a nap.  ha! i'm also excited about doing some more painting in the nook.  it's coming along nicely.

Saturday, July 09, 2011


behr ultra paint and primer, "moonlit pool"
my first painting project in the new house is the tiny room off the master room, known as the nook.  it's a weird little space, i think it was used mainly for storage.  it's big enough for a good sized table and bookshelf, has a great big window that gets a good amount of light, and so i snagged it for myself.  it will be my little hidey-spot, for crafty things and hanging up/enjoying the art i love that D isn't necessarily as charmed by.  the trim is going to be a bright white (the name of it is "frost," doesn't that just sound amazing?), and i'm looking forward to making my own space. 

had a nice afternoon being lazy, visiting yet another hardware store (since moving into a house of our own, we love to wander around thinking about stuff we can do!), and trying out a new chinese buffet with the boychik.  as usual the food was so-so, but i cannot and will not pass up an opportunity to smother everything with sweet and sour sauce.  it's like crack to me. 

one of my favorite people in the whole wide world, my nephew tiernan, had a pretty serious surgery last week.  no one wants to hear about a kid getting poked and prodded and opened up like a can of sardines, and this was no exception to that rule.  the good news is that not only was the kid a rockstar about the whole thing (no complaining, no whining, no freaking out about the IVs), but he got to go home early and is now hanging out, playing his DSi, and trying not to itch his incision.  i got to talk to him this morning, and it made me feel seriously good.  he sounds just like himself, and i can't wait to see him and his brother next week and spoil them rotten with ice cream and cartoons.  i felt so anxious the day of the surgery, even though the prognosis was excellent (very few kids react badly to the surgery, most get sicker from the anesthesia), and hearing his chipper little voice today went a long way in making me feel like he's on the mend. we also had a cute conversation about how patting his chest to help with the itch is a lot like patting a scabbing tattoo when it itches.  such a sweet boy!  i'm taking at least one of the kids down there next week to hang out and watch cartoons and play scribblenauts, and maybe get some sun.  i can hardly wait!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011


i don't know if it's the good weather or we're just feeling motivated, but we've gotten a lot done around the house lately.  seriously.  rooms have been adjusted, boxes unpacked, beds set up, plants planted.  i also got D's computer up and running, and have finally been able to properly pore through all 856 photos from the wedding.  yes, 856.  give or take three.  needless to say, i've spent big chunks of yesterday and today uploading and organizing and ordering photos.  to see more than you ever needed to see of me in a big white dress, go over here.  

i would also like to say our plan of winnowing down possessions and simplifying things around the house is actually going pretty well.  it's slowing down the unpacking (the same way it slowed down the packing!) but it's worth it.  it feels so good to get rid of stuff! 

Sunday, July 03, 2011

sunday night awesome

have you seen party down?  i just discovered it on netflix, and am IN LOVE.  i used to work as a caterer for my mother's small company back in college, and while our crew was a lot smaller, it does make me a little nostalgic for the old job.  oh, and it's funny as all shit.  i just got to the jennifer coolidge episodes, and the one where she is on shrooms and joking about her green merkin being too small made me full on guffaw out loud.  MERKIN.  always funny.  i also watched a patton oswalt special the other day that made me laugh so hard the kids came down to check in on me.  i think they think i'm mildly retarded. ha!

we also made ice cream yesterday with one of our THREE ice cream makers. my mom bought D one for xmas, which he has used once.  we got two for our wedding, when we had zero on our registry.  one of them makes a lot of ice cream and uses ice, the other one is an awesome cuisinart stand-alone.  normally i could give two shits about ice cream, but we bought ingredients the other day because it was hot and i thought the girlchild and her friends would dig making it.  we used pineapple, toasted coconut and mini chocolate chips.  it was epic!  so tonight we made coffee ice cream.  also amazing.  we ate it right out of the maker before freezing some for tomorrow.  i went from not really caring about ice cream, to being totally sold on making it at home and glad we have so many options for making it.  

the neighbors are all doing fireworks, so the cat is hiding out in our room under the dresser.  she doesn't seem too irritated, she keeps rolling over for belly pets and meowing for attention.  she just isn't coming out from under there any time soon.

Friday, July 01, 2011

it's a mental health friday!

i only had two patients today, and one incredible jackass for a tech, so i called out.  i know, that's terrible, isn't it? only i don't feel bad.  at all.  instead, i'm excited about having an extra day to get stuff done!  here is a list of things i hope to do this weekend:
  • unpack more boxes.  
  • specifically, make the kitchen a lot more livable.  it's the room we use the most, so it kind of needs to be organized.
  • make a bird feeder.  i saw this neat one and thought it would look cool in our yard.  my main tech and co-worker was a bird biologist before he got into MRI.  i have always loved birds, but not really known much about them.  since working with him the past few years, i've learned a lot.  he doesn't use a feeder; he prefers to sprinkle seed on the ground and watch from his deck, but i think i would also like to have a feeder.  the bird watching site linked above has a tremendous amount of information.
  • my mom bought me a beautiful red maple that i want to find a place for as well.  it's still in its pot, but it needs to find a home in our yard!
the only other things going on over here are lots of masters of horror on the netflix, some bran muffin making (i know it sounds crazy, but the bob's red mill recipe is so good! i add coconut, flax seeds and dried cranberries, and they get gobbled up.), and some comic book reading.  that's one of the awesome things about no tv, we're all reading a lot more.  the move also uncovered some calvin and hobbes books, which we are all enjoying.  now i'm going to go drink some coffee, eat a muffin, and read up on the birds in my area.  i am already loving this friday!  

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

sans TV

we've been without the tv for a little over a week.  dropping cable in the summer is kind of cheating; nothing new is on anyway, and it's (supposedly) nice enough to spend time outside doing other things.  however, we are all acclimating pretty quickly, and it wasn't until this afternoon that i actually though, "man, i'd like to go home and plop down on the couch."  FYI, we also are sans couch right now.  the old couch, it was gross.  it was free.  it was ugly.  it got taken to the dump, where the boys were lucky enough to see it smashed into a billion pieces with a very large tractor/trash mover. 

so yeah, no place to flop, nothing to watch tv on, what the hell are we doing?

making friends with netflix.  doing summer homework (that would be the girlchild).  watching insane amounts of kung fu and samurai films (boychik).  playing with the neighbor girls (girlchild!).  painting swatches of paint on the walls (me!).  going through boxes of old art and craft supplies and weeding out old/unused stuff (also me).  making lists of things we want to do in the new house, including,
  • build a storage couch.  this is D's newest idea and i'm open to it.  i figure the hardest part will be the upholstery, but worse case scenario, we can start with a slipcover and go from there!
  • do more embroidery.
  • work on knit xmas gifts.
  • read more (all of us!)
  • grow a small garden.
  • take more shorter/weekend family trips.  
  • go outside more.
  • watch less tv.  hah! fooled you with that one.  
i think we're well on our way.  tonight i actually made a somewhat healthy, home-cooked meal, and am getting ready to go lounge and knit and correct someone's summer homework.  is it wrong how much i LOVE pulling out my red pen?  putting stickers on good work and making what i think are helpful suggestions for the future?  because if it is, then i am oh so very wrong.  man, that's one thing i miss about being a T.A. in college: correcting papers.  i miss that and my tiny, stinky office and drinking shitty coffee late at night while fixing spelling errors and reading essays.  sometimes i think i missed my calling... 

Monday, June 27, 2011


over here! want to know a secret? last week i took a second vicoden too soon after the first, and ended up needing a ride home from work and then i barfed.  since then i've been afraid to take them, and have only taken half of one at a time.  that wasn't working, so i bit the bullet and took a whole one tonight.  guess what? i feel awesome and wish i'd done this earlier today so i could have gotten more done.  dammit. 

i will never go back to the other house again

neither will LuLu.  man, this cat loves the new carpet at this place.  it's soft, it's thick, it's cozy, and she has taken to flopping everywhere.  she especially loves to plop down in places where you might trip over her (like doorways!), and she's also discovered that darting between your feet while you're walking up or down stairs is seriously fun.  the cat might be the death of us.
it took what felt like forever, but we are finally, once and for all, done with the old house.  we still have a lot of unpacking and organizing to do at this house, but at least we can focus all our energy to here and not there.  i admit i've been feeling kind of tense, which makes me suzy sunshine, but i can't help it!  i just feel like there is so much to do and i want it all done yesterday.  my back is still royally fucked up, my sinuses have decided to jump in on the pain wagon, i'm sick to death of taking any kind of pain medication.  i'm set up to start some physical therapy soon for my back, which i think will help.  i might also see a chiropractor.  i also need to maybe take a deep breath and realize that stuff will get unpacked when it does, and as long as i can find towels for taking showers and my scrubs, we're doing okay.  the rest can wait. 

i've been going through fabrics too, getting rid of ones i've held on to for far to long.  anyone doing any serious quilting or sewing and want some fabric? drop me a line and i'll let you know what i have.

i also put some new plants out front, and bought some catnip for guess who.  she took a bite of the fresh stuff today and i think it blew her kitten mind.  i have to say, watching her acclimate to the house and neighborhood has been the one bright spot in all the moving shenanigans.  i'm endlessly amused at how amazing she finds it all, and watching her discover new nooks to hide, and new spots to perch, and seeing her happy tail and fluffy tummy all the time is pretty rad.  the kids are also beyond cheerful; the girlchild made friends already with the little girls across the street and the boychik loves his new room.  he's made it a cozy little man nest already.  we're all settling in, and that feels pretty good.  i love planning what i'm going to paint the walls and where i want to move things.  i just wish i felt better and could get more done!