Monday, December 31, 2012

bits and bobs about phones and dreams

for years and years and years i have made my living with phones.  i have answered them, and i have done telephone surveys, and i have sold them.  in real life, the phone and i are not best friends.  it's sort of a necessary evil to me, you know?  the invention of texting was like a godsend.  all of this means that when i have dreams that especially bother me, phones are somehow involved.

take the night before last.  i kept getting all these calls from the kid's bio-mom.  i was dodging them, making her leave messages, and then deleting them without even listening to them (have you done that in real life? it's like one of the best feelings ever, on par with finally getting to a bathroom when you've been driving for a long time with a full bladder).  when we finally did get on the phone together, she yelled at me for all the terrible ways i was raising the girlchild.  she was irate and spent a lot of time yelling at me about how awful i was, and what i terrible job i was doing.  hooray, for parental anxiety dreams!

then last night i had a dream about my dad.  normally i love those dreams, because most of the time they consist of the two of us talking about random stuff and him giving me some sort of advice.  granted, a lot of the time the advice is nonsensical, like "make sure to water the plants with juice," but i like talking to him.  in last night's somnabulist theater, he wasn't dead, but had merely left my mother and family to run off with some hot, young, latina woman.  i only saw the back of her, but she had great hair.  i kept trying to call him and only got his voicemail.  the messages i left him became progressively angrier and more upset.  i was so sad and just wanted him to tell my why he'd left us.  i was also upset that he hadn't called me on my birthday.  at some point i ended up in an abandoned castle, with a glow in the dark dog keeping watch as i slept.  because, you know, dream logic. 

resolutions: are we going to make them? any ideas?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

new year ahoy!

truth be told, 2012 was pretty hunky dory.  we're ending it on a high note, as well; december was wonderful, we all had a good christmas, and we're looking forward to a new year's eve at home. 

as usual, the plan is nibbles, followed by lounging.  this year in addition to all the little bites i make, i'd like to include some traditional good luck foods.  long noodles, for long life, little dumplings shaped like purses, for good fortune, a galette des roi, maybe even some hoppin john.  new year's eve is the first holiday i ever spent with my little family, so while i've always been fond of it, i'm kind of crazy about it now.  i like planning out the meal, i like that we stay home, it's a goofy, no-pressure holiday for us. 

christmas this year was pretty amazing.  D and i bought a new computer, and the screen is huge, it has a ridiculous amount of memory, and it's not in the living room, which is nice.  i need to clean up my laptop and maybe get a new operating system for it so we can use it for the next few years as well.  then! for our christmas present, the boychik got us a new tv and blue ray player! the amazing thing about that, besides the awesomeness of having a kid who buys electronics, is that because of his discount at work (best buy) and the fact that both were "open boxes" he got it all for under $100.  the blue ray player is also wireless, so in addition to being able to watch new, fancy, hi-def movies, we can stream netflix right on the tv. 

it's been so long since we've been able to cozy on the couch and watch a movie or tv show.  i had no idea how much i missed it!  the days after christmas found us all relaxing, watching dvds we'd gotten as presents, and lots and lots of tv shows on netflix.  it was a very thoughtful gift, and i can understand now why he was so excited to give it to us.  what a boy! 

this weekend i might try to clean up the holiday debris and do something crafty.  i might just also watch a lot of tv and drink tons of coffee.  we'll see!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

four years

i meant to write this post yesterday, because four years ago yesterday, i had what would end up being the best, and last, date of my life.

i know, i know, i'm ridiculous, but seriously, the date i had with D four years ago was awesome.  he made chili verde, we drank wine, we both wore stripey shirts, and we made out in the kitchen.  don't try to argue with the math with that.  wine + porky goodness + kissing in the kitchen = grow up and get married. true story.

today, four years ago, i met my kids.  they sat on one couch while D and i sat on another, and they played their DS's and gave us sidelong glances, and there was a lot of giggling and happy times. i had literally thought for all of five minutes about being step-parent before that, and while i was not sure i could do it, i knew that day how much i liked them, and that if i already felt that way, then we'd probably be okay.

meeting them right before the holidays was a good thing. i remember that first christmas, after i'd met them, and mom making fun of me because my chin was all pink from making out (!), and making furtive calls outside to tell him how much i missed him, and how much fun we had on new year's eve.  to me, my beginning of my family will always be tied up in happy holiday memories, with us goofing in the kitchen and buying each other presents and having that doofy, newly in love feeling.  shy and happy and spending a lot of time together.  i never forget how lucky i am, how happy i am, how at home i feel with these three amazing people who made me part of their family.  

Friday, December 21, 2012


i just burnt my hand on a pan of cookies.  it was worth it, they are delicious cookies, and all i want to do on my four days off of work is bake and drink beers and listen to xmas music.  for real.  i'm living the dream!

currently in the oven are my chocolate cookies with cinnamon, white chips and dried cherries.  awaiting oven time, gingerbread cupcakes.  they smell so good already, unbaked, that i can hardly wait to put them in the damn oven. 

Thursday, December 06, 2012

is it weird

that i am super duper extra excited that my nephew got an email address?  he sent me a note today with a million emoticons and i almost died it was so cute.  of course, i wrote him right back. 

then i made another mushroom ornament, only with this years felting technique. 
when i'm old and die and the kids go through my ornaments (and other stuff) will they be like, "jesus, amanda, what's with all the tentacles, skulls and shrooms? why was our xmas tree always so weird?"  wherever i go after this, i'm pretty sure i'll chuckle at that.  i hope they argue over who gets the gloomy bear. 

Monday, December 03, 2012

big booty squirrel

this squirrel is both the color and shape of nicki minaj, therefore, it is the Minaj Squirrel.  because it is made of felted wool, it's already 500% smarter than the original nicki minaj, making it the perfect ornament for our xmas tree. 

tried needle felting with my friend anne this weekend.  i had this idea that it was going to be the easiest thing on earth, and then when it took EFFORT to do it right, i got fussy.  i forget to act my age sometimes.  anne was very patient with me, and i worked on it until it looked right, and then i felt like a genius.  it's not even like it's a very hard thing to do, but it does take practice and patience and sometimes that's hard for me.  now that i can make thing that don't look totally ridiculous, though, i love it.  hooray for another craft!

martha stewart conspired to make my weekend with anne a disaster, but she failed.  yes, the candy we made following her terrible instructions turned out too hard, but it was still delicious and we still got to use a candy thermometer.  yes, her felt ornaments needed a lot of stuff we actually couldn't find, but we improvised and our ornaments are cuter.  plus, friendship always grows when you spend time together complaining about martha stewart screwing you.

broke out a whole lot of xmas CDs tonight, much to the girlchild's delight.  she said, "oh, you have so many xmas CDs," and i told her i have like a drop in the bucket compared to my mom.  she seemed even more pleased by that.  what are you doing to get ready for the holiday?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


the world is a messed up place when your stepson says to you, "make sure you drink a glass of water before bed" because you might have had some beers while re-watching american horror story season one. 

MESSED UP.  i'm a grown up! i'll drink a glass of water when i wanna! (but he's right, dammit.)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

happy thanksgiving!

this morning, i am thankful for my husband making me breakfast, as well as a big cup of coffee. i'm thankful for my two amazing stepkids, still in bed, because we all stayed up way too late last night. i'm thankful for my friends and family, and the new babies that showed up this year and the ones on their way.  i'm thankful for my job, and yarn, and cartoons on the internet, and my new birthday boots.  i'm thankful for handwritten letters and hugs and family high fives.  i miss my cat and dad and uncle all terribly, but i'm thankful that i got to spend time with them and know them.  i'm thankful for what i have and for what i've had and for what's to come.  i'm wishing all of you a wonderful day full of delicious nibbles and political arguments with relatives and parade floats and maybe a glass of wine to two to help the day along!  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


i've done nothing tonight but roast a shit load of eggplants.  by that, i mean FIVE.  my mom really likes D's baba ganoush, and so that is what we are contributing to thanksgiving.  are any of us middle eastern? no.  why this has become my husband's go-to dish as far as my mother is concerned, i do not know.  he has to work tomorrow, though, and he insists on making the pitas from scratch, so i thought the least i could do it get the eggplants all roasted and skinned.  after all, that's about all i plan on doing.  not because i don't want to, but because when D gets in that kitchen and gets to work, sometimes it's best to stay out of his way.  also, according to him, i never add enough lemon juice. 
i also mention this every time, but it goes without saying, when we make ganoush, we make mighty boosh jokes.  "the ganoush is loose and it's a little bit raw!"  dorks.

i'm also busy working on our holiday cards.  a few years ago i got this awesome stencil kit from my portland friends, and once again, i'm putting it to use.  this time it's a kraft paper card, and navy blue buck on it, with a silvery-gold buck staggered on top.  the effect is weirdly 3D, modern and not too holiday specific.  i know, we celebrate christmas, everyone we know celebrates christmas, why not making a fucking christmas card?  because i am a jerk. also, i think the whole happy holiday spirit is one i'd much rather invoke than religion-specific sentiment.  what's important about the holiday to me is this: my loved ones knowing that i love them, that i'm thinking about them, that i hope we all make it through another dark winter happy and healthy, and let's get together and have a tasty bite sometime.  to that end, i send out ridiculous cards that people either love or feel completely ambivalent about.  hooray!

return from medical mountain

my doctor's appointment went well this morning.  she did recommend i go back to get some old fashioned talk therapy from a shrink, and i agreed,  it's been years since i've been to one, i'm sure i'm overdue for a tune-up of the mental variety.  i also had a few health issues that i was busy turning into cancer, which she nicely pointed out were NOT cancer and prescribed some medication to make the itchy parts of me less itchy. 

short work week thanks to thanksgiving, which we are spending at my mom's house this year.  well, most of us are.  the boychik has to work, which is unfortunate, but at 18 he's going to be annoyed if he has to go to big family dinner with us, or annoyed if he has to work, so he may as well get paid.  the only non-annoying thanksgiving i can think of for him right now involves his computer, a large pizza all to himself, and a house with no one in it.  he would have a lot to be thankful for if that were his thanksgiving. 

we're getting deluged out here, and this morning when my husband dropped me off at work i asked for clam chowder for dinner.  how much do i love that i have a partner i can ask that of? and not only that, he makes good chowder.  and when i say it "chow-dah" he only rolls his eyes a little.  hooray! maybe i'll have a midnight bowl of it and go back to bed.  you may have noticed, this post comes to you from the other side of 2 am.  my sleep schedule is undergoing some renovations. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

little black submarines

for quite a while now i've thought i didn't like the black keys.  i'm not sure why; so many of my friends have recommended them to me, and i was like, "yeah, i guess."  this last week, though, i realized how much i loved them, and have been torturing my family with loud late night sing-alongs.  needless to say, we all know all the words now. 

in other news, i think i'm hitting my winter blues early this year.  i have an actual doctor's appointment tomorrow, because no matter how many vitamins i take, how much sleep i get, how much i try to not just lie in bed listening to songs over and over again, i find myself in the same old funk.  i seem to have two speeds, sleepy or nervous.  neither is doing me any good. 

my cat has been gone for about three weeks now, too.  i don't think she's coming home.  i keep having dreams about her, and keep thinking i hear her right outside my window, but no luck.  i miss my lulu. 

such a bummer post!  normally i love fall, and this early holiday season.  that's one reason i know something in my chemistry is off.  after seeing the doctor, i think i'm also going to try to find a nice new shrink who will listen to me and say things like, "and how does that make you feel?" we all know i just want prince valium to come to the rescue, but that might not be the best idea i've ever had!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

i am welfare

hi, i'm going to get a little political and personal on here.  if you are sick of hearing about elections and politics and issues, you are more than happy to go look at kittens.  may i suggest lil bub?! she is the sweetest little mutant in the whole wide world and i love her. 

what bummed me out the most about this election was how nasty everyone seemed to get.  i'm the first to admit i have pretty pinko, lefty tendencies, vote democratic most of the time (when i'm not voting green like the hippie i am), but some of the rhetoric coming from the vocal right seemed downright cruel.  i can't tell you how much it saddens me to read endless facebook posts and blog entries about how people who vote for obama want handouts, how people on welfare are fleecing the system, how government shouldn't in any way step in and help out women, children and families.   when did it become a bad thing to extend some compassion towards those with less? when did it make us evil, lazy and socialist?

personally, i have benefited from public assistance.  more than once in my life, a government or social agency stepped in to help me out when i needed it.  as a child, i had some dental issues that my dad's insurance didn't cover, and he and my mom couldn't afford.  thanks to a deal the tribe i belong to and a local tribe made, i was able to get the dental work i needed on a nearby reservation.  i got student loans in college, as well as money for work study.  both of those are government programs.  while in college, i used the local food pantry once or twice when what i made in part time jobs didn't cover my ramen bills. did i sometimes spend student loan or work study money on beer and going out? sure.  i was young and made poor decisions, like everyone else i know.  was i actively trying to steal money from any government agency? no.  after college, as a young woman working and living on her own, i enrolled in a program through planned parenthood, where government money and donations helped with the cost of my birth control. 

people like me, who use the system at times when they need it, for whatever reason, make up the majority of those helped by social and government assistance programs.  flavor flav taking a limo and all his kids to pick up various welfare checks is an image that too many people cling to; that those who use welfare are "not us," are different, are morally and socially lacking in some way.  in reality, i am the face of welfare.  probably more people than you know are, too.  i know my kids benefited from health care services their mom and my husband received, and i'm grateful for that.  my father and his family got government assistance.  not for long, and not with the intent of not working.  i think if more people were outspoken about this, maybe we could reduce some of the stigma and negativity surrounding discussions of welfare and government's role in assisting those with less. 

you can tell a lot about a country, a tribe, a community, a group, by how they treat those who have the least.  if that's the case, then what does that say about you? your government? your political party? 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

my favorite halloween costume

a few years ago, when i was working at the grocery store and dating a certain man who lived on the ocean, i went to work as a bearded lady. 

it was a silly costume; not even a full beard but more of pretty goatee with braids, some fake tattoos, and a tiara.  i won a $15 gift card for 2nd place, and was feeling pretty good about myself.

what makes that costume so special though, is this: while the guy i was dating thought the costume was so-so, and didn't get why i thought it was so rad, the man i would end up marrying and his kids came into work that day and were the only people who laughed with me and told me how great my outfit was.  i remember seeing them walk in the front doors, turn toward the deli, and instantly light up with grins.  it sounds so insane, but they looked so happy to see me, so pleased, and i felt so glad that they got the joke. 

D and i would go out on our first date over a year after that day, but that still remains my favorite halloween costume.  the moral of my story is, even if you don't realize it, you might just run into your family in the strangest place, and have a funny story for later.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

always the bad guy

the hard thing about having a kid in school that isn't doing well, regardless of how smart or dumb they are, or how unfair the teachers are, or whatever, is this: you end up spending a lot of time being the bad guy.  taking away fun toys, cutting off access the internet/tv/video games, having serious talks basically to yourself because no way is a teenager going to talk to you about what is bothering them, and conferring with your partner about "what should be done."  it is such a fucking drag.  it's like the terrible parts of being in school with none of the fun note passing and gossiping in the bathrooms. 

i distinctly remember being a difficult student, and not understanding why my parents were so frustrated and irate.  they were my grades, what's the big whoop?  which is why when your parents give you that smirk and say, "just wait," you'll recall it later and think, "well, shit."  because they were right. 

Sunday, October 07, 2012

hello fall!

seriously, i love this time of year.  the days get a bit crisper around the edges, scarves come out of hiding, you can buy new black cardigans everywhere... fall is my favorite time of year.  i've already had two pumpkin spice lattes, and bought one very bright orange glitter skull. 

today is the skagit valley family farm festival (it was yesterday too!), and we're going to hit a few farms with some friends.  usually we do it all two days, and make it to almost all the farms, but this year we decided to not do as much.  partly because we're down to one car, and partly because yesterday i had a wicked hangover and wanted to go nowhere except back to bed.  this morning i actually got up a reasonable time, am almost done with my first cup of coffee, and am ready to go out and see some pumpkins and corn mazes!

Monday, October 01, 2012

what time is it?

it's motherfucking soapbox time!

i'm sorry, i can't help it.  sometimes when i get all riled up, the motherfuckers just come out of my face without my realizing it.  ahem.

let me tell you something serious: i have never had an abortion.  true story.  so far as i know it, all 35 years of my life my uterus has been embryo free.  if i was ever pregnant, at any time, i didn't know it.

do you know how i managed such a daring feat? was it abstinence? no.  i'm sorry to burst your bubble, but i was not a virgin when i married.  wait, i'm not sorry to burst your bubble.  i was a happy, sexually active adult for about 16 years before i married my husband.  you know why i never got pregnant? i was armed, at an early age, with a working knowledge of my body as well as birth control methods.  it's literally that simple.

when women don't feel guilty about being sexual being, when they are armed with knowledge, they make better decisions for themselves.  they take care of themselves.  this might mean making babies, it might not.  regardless of that, i'm not less of a woman because no child came from my uterus, not less of a woman because i didn't "save" myself for marriage, not any less of  a PERSON because i think my body is mine and i deserve access to health care. 

so yeah, i never had an abortion.  i know a lot of women who have, though, women that i love and would full on getting into a knife-fight for. whatever their reason (or reasons) for terminating a pregnancy, it was theirs.  not yours, not mine, not anyone else's.  let's trust them to be kind to themselves, to be true to what they believe, to make the very best decisions they can.  if you think they're old enough to be a parent, let's trust them to do what they think is best for their bodies and families and lives.  any reproductive decision is hard to make without the GOP and Jesus all up in our uterus.  don't believe in abortion? don't have one. 

look, i just solved the abortion debate. i did it while tipsy and angry too! 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

tiny shroom

it's no big secret that i love mushrooms.  i love to eat them, i love to grow them, i love to read books about them, i think they are fascinating.  i also realize that wearing a mushroom necklace might make people think i'm all about the drugs, but i don't really care.  last night i was going to just wallow in my irritation with work, but instead i put fresh sheets on my bed, listened to some podcasts, did some light housekeeping and made this little pendant.  it's hard to remain fussy when you are feeling pleased with yourself. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

ohmygod i can hear you over here

everyone who works in a cubicle farm knows this: they are not magical bubbles of sound-proofed quietude.  work in a call center, and not only do you have the constant, never-ending chatter of phone calls, but you also have all the daily, work conversations going on at the same time.  there are a few women who work on the other side of the cubicle divide, basically sharing a cube wall with me, who just will NOT shut up.  i have to hear their daily inane conversations, and one of them doesn't have an inside voice.  (granted, in real life i don't either, but i've been trained well and keep it down in my cube.) it's all back and forth, "i did this this weekend," or "my boyfriend's a retard because of this," or "my favorite serial killer is gary ridgeway that."  it's literally never ending.  i never actually hear them on the phone, which makes me crazy because for some reason i get more calls than anyone else i work with.  where i work has also outfitted with us with fancy IM programs that we all use, so when we can, we can avoid talking out loud and creating noise.  in theory, this works wonderfully.  in reality, today i was the bitch who finally complained to my supervisor.  i just couldn't take it anymore.  lord knows i am not a paragon of goody-goody tattle-tailer, but what sanity i have left, i wanted to keep. i was nice about it, and actually phrased it like this, "maybe they could just be more mindful of their volume?" ugh.  now i'm saying "mindful" out loud.  

they also put our supervisors on the floor with us, with modestly larger cubicles, which i think is to keep morale up (makes them less "management" and more "person who listens to my complaints"), but it has the unintended side effect of making all the conversations they have with everyone audible.  most of the people i work with are super quiet, but one of the ladies that works on the floor under another supervisor comes to talk to my boss all the damn time.  she's the lady without the inside voice, who spends too much time talking about serial killers, and have i mentioned the large, skeleton tattoo that graces her neck? i'm all for self-expression baby, but the moment you tattoo the grim reaper on your neck, you're basically telling the world to "fuck off." am i wrong?  i'm going to get a teardrop tattoo by my eye next, and see if it raises any eyebrows.  (it won't.) 

i love big chunks of my job, and i hate to be a debbie downer, but the past few weeks have been seriously draining.  a lot of people took voluntary leave because call volumes go down this time of year, while our bosses keep telling us how awesome this time of year is because "there are no calls." except that those of us who stick around answer more than ever simply because there isn't anyone else around.  call centers in general tend to be staffed by primarily women as well, and while i love my sisters and give money to all kinds of feminist organizations, i do get tired of hearing about how everyone's boyfriend/husband is so fucking dumb and their kids are so smart and amazing, and did you watch american idol last night? i know, first world problems.  it's cliche, but sadly true. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

book sale!

because we have so many books, i have vowed to never move again. seriously.  this is it.  if we leave this house, it will be due to an act of nature.  so of course, while i was at my mom's this weekend, i hit up the friend's of the library book sale.  here is what i bought,
  • a.s. byatt's possession: i've always wanted to read this since i read one of her books of short stories. 
  • seizing our bodies, edited by claudia dreifus: this is a book filled with feminist writings from the year i was born, 1977.  i am not ashamed to be called a feminist.  i love reading the writings of early feminists, whether they're championing our rights to vote, or trying to make sure we can have access to health care without being called "sluts." 
  • bothers and sisters, by joanna trollope: i don't know, it looked interesting. 
  • random family, by adrian leblanc: i heard about this on npr a million years ago.  then look! it arrives.  ha!
  • the devil in massachusetts, by marion starkey: like all kids born around halloween, i love all things related to that high holy holiday.  witches, goblins, ghouls, vampires, you name it.  that my mother grew up in rhode island and i had an aunt and uncle in boston piqued my interest in historical witches.  of course, when i found this book, i had to buy it.  also, the one i found had a wicked cover.  
needless to say, i'm planning on hunkering down this fall and reading.  what are you reading?

Monday, September 17, 2012

more things i learned in my garden this year

i probably could have grown twice the amount of food with half the amount of plants.  why? because i crowded those poor little plants.  i also literally and figuratively did not give my tomatoes enough support, and yet they still made me a million tiny treats.  imagine if i had bought enough cages, watered them appropriately, and give them enough room.  i would have had a million freaking tomatoes!

i also learned that if you mess stuff up, the chances are good stuff will still grow.  my garlic isn't great and big or anything, but all the bulbs i planted made new heads, and i learned what they like and don't like. 

the other day i picked up a few brussel sprout starts!  i'm going to have a wee fall garden, with the sprouts and some kale.  i know, i'll get sick of kale, but i plan on freezing some too, and we do like it baked, so i'm willing to err on the side of too much. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

true story

once a year, in the fall, i dye my hair black.  no one ever notices.  it's close to my natural color, i don't get roots, but it calms down the red bits from the summer, and covers my greys up for a little while. 

other things i do in the fall; switch to dark nail polishes (damn i love a purple so dark it looks black at first), have pumpkin lattes, buy more pencils than i will ever use (they go on sale and i love a new pack of perfect pencils), stock up on ridiculous halloween supplies, and spend more time baking and in the kitchen.  the thing about the pacific northwest is that summer comes late, and when it does, making the kitchen hotter with any kind of cooking is the worst.  we are just ill-equipped with being too hot.  i like finally getting back in there after being kicked out by the weather for a while. 

fall will always feel more like the "new year" to me than any other time of the year. 

Sunday, September 09, 2012

i'm officially small and petty

the other day the girlchild did a "quiz" on facebook that told her what she would look like in 20 years.  it told her she would be all about doing drugs, and look terrible and wrinkly.  i pointed out that there was no way she was going to be wrinkly, and as far as the drug thing went, NO WAY.  then her mom, who only has contact to her through FACEBOOK, left a comment about how in 20 years the girlchild will be 34 and at 34 she had "8-pack abs" and everyone tells her all the time that she only looks 25.  that's great!  she's fit and looks young, but you know what? i'm raising her kids.  i'm glad she's so hot, but some of us who are actually living with kids, making dinners and working and paying for health insurance, helping out with homework, buying school clothes, don't have time for 8-pack abs.  i'm not just fussy because i'm a chubby stepmom, but because this woman gets to pop in with her two cents anytime she feels like it because she's the "real" mom and OF COURSE her life is more glamorous than mine! she's single and unencumbered.  i'm so glad her job is a natural workout, it would be nice if that job didn't just make her thin, but also paid for some child support.

she's also missing out on awesome times with her own kids.  let's hope those awesome abs give hugs and thank her for being around. 

Friday, September 07, 2012

is hypochondria in the DSM?

because if it isn't, it should be.  i woke up at 1 in the morning, with a deep pain circling my ribs.  i thought maybe i was hungry, or maybe too full for a second; still half asleep and unsure why everything hurt so badly.  i got up and went to the bathroom, thinking that might help.  upon standing i realized how much it hurt to stand upright.  i thought maybe i needed to throw up, but that didn't seem to be it.  i tried everything to get comfortable, i walked all over the house, i sat up, i tried going back to bed, i got out a heating pad and tried applying that to my back.  about five minutes into that, the throwing up started.  whoo!  at this point, it didn't just hurt around my ribs, my back from the base on my neck to my tailbone felt like it was on fire.  so. much. pain.  the throwing up made me feel better for a minute, but then it was worse.  at this point, i woke up my husband with a "i think some thing's wrong."  i threw up a few more times after that, and about two hours into it, i had the realization, "this must be what spinal meningitis feels like."  so, then, of course, i got ready to go to the ER.

however, 20 mins before the last time i threw up, i remembered some pills that i was accidentally prescribed; ketorolac.  when i went to the urgent care clinic a few months with an ear infection, the doctor accidentally put my name on someone elses prescription. i  remember D coming home with it and thinking, "upper left abdominal pain? that's not me."  i thought about bringing them back, then spaced it.  last night i was like, "well, i'm having pain."  so i took one.  i didn't think it did anything, and then i threw up again, and made my move.  somehow, on the drive to the hospital, whatever part of the pill that i had absorbed started to kick in.  i think staying in one position for a while, sitting upright, also helped ease the pain in my back.  i drove through the parking lot of the hospital, then drove back home.  i felt ridiculous, because obviously, no spinal meningitis, but still shitty from the throwing up.  i couldn't sleep after that and so i took the day off.  which was a good idea, because i just tried to eat and that didn't go very well.  i kept that half a bagel down, but it is not having a good time in there.

i wonder what it was that happened.  i'm always amazed at how my imagination goes the worst place possible.  i was also happy that my husband didn't think i was too crazy, although he did giggle a bit when i told him my meningitis theory (after the fact, of course).  he's at work, but he's going to bring me home some ginger ale.  hooray! 

*edited to add: well shit! it is in the DSM, according to wikipedia.  i'm clinical! ha!

Sunday, September 02, 2012

county fair time

 last week i had a random wednesday off, because i used my floating holiday.  i thought it would be fun to work for two days, have a day off, work for two more, then enjoy labor day weekend.  i was right, that was fun.  on my day off, D got the brilliant idea to hit up the evergreen state fair in monroe.  i hadn't been to a county fair in forever, and both kids were into it, so off we went.
 D likes to start with the animals.  we hit the horse stalls first, where i was promtly freaked the fuck out.  i won't lie, horses make me nervous. i don't ride them, i don't get too close to them, and i don't trust them.  for one thing, a horse can do whatever it wants. it's way bigger than you, and a single kick of a bored leg to your chest is all it takes for them to show you who's boss. even small horses are formidable! to me, anyway.  of course, the first stable we go into is full of draft horses.  DRAFT HORSES.  i kind of knew in the back of my head that they are the biggest of horses, but seeing one up close was remarkable.  they were like 8 feet tall and all muscled up like the entire WWE were hiding in their haunches.  people were getting them ready for show, and braiding their hair and wiping them down, outfitting them with elaborate bridles, and making small talk with the animals.  it was amazing.  seriously.  i wish i had taken some photos, but i was too busy keeping a death grip on my camera and nervously giggling.  when we got outside of the stable, the kids told me i looked terrified the whole time, and they had more fun watching my face than seeing the animals.  i know that's i have a strange reaction to horses, but seriously, even for all the anxiety i feel when i'm around them, i do appreciate how beautiful they are. like a tiger, though, i don't need to be friends with them.

pygmy goats, in contrast, are more my speed.  funny little fat guys, jumping around and being cute, with the magically ability to provide milk that you can make into delicious cheese.  there's an animal i can be friends with. 
 the food at the fair was mediocre at best.  limpid curly fries, under-salted and rapidly congealing.  bratwurst with boring grilled onions. margarine laced elephant ears.  the only amazing i had was this red velvet funnel cake, which blew my mind.  it was topped with cream cheese frosting ribbons and chocolate sauce.  it was amazing.  we didn't even get any cheese curds because they only had tiny trays of the previously frozen, pellet sized ones, nothing made with a real fresh curd.  if there's one thing i'm snobby about, it's cheese curds.
the cats were hiding far away from everything else. i should have taken some photos of all the little signs you had to follow to find them!  it didn't matter once we got there, though.  i met my first scottish fold, this sweet little guy.  he was a tired kitten, but his owner woke him up so we could play and pet him for a bit.  i also met a smooshed-face cat, and saw a lovely hairless who refused to wake up.  the cages the cats were in were all decorated in sports themes, in honor of the olympics.  the care the kids took in setting them up was obvious.  all the cats were sleepy and worn out by the time we got there, but in good moods. no catfights were observed. 

then of course, we rode some rides, walked around some more, and finally went home where we all promptly passed out.  it was an awesome day, and now we all want to go back next year.  hitting it in the middle of the week was also an inspired move on D's part; the crowds were amiable and there wasn't a line for much, you could stop and talk to the farmers and animal owners, nothing felt rushed or forced.  we talked to a lot of kids in various forms of 4H, which is always fun.  they get so excited about their animals!  it felt nice and relaxed there.  i don't think we'll ever go on a weekend again.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

new specs

i found out just recently that my health insurance plan offers $250 a year for vision hardware (glasses or contacts!) and thought, "damn, i should use that."  i had a very nice eye exam with a nice old man, and picked out some new glasses that are dark blue with a row of rhinestones on the top of the frames.  it's such a funny little decoration; kind of random and sneaky and cute, they were was really sealed the deal for me.  plus, they are a beautiful dark blue, like old cobalt glass.  in size and shape they resemble pretty much ever other pair of glasses i've ever bought, because if anything, i am a creature of habit.  i know, HUGE surprise.  of course, as with any new pair of glasses with a brand new prescription in them, i'm also amazed at how shiny and clear everything looks.  i can't believe some of you just wake up with the ability to see, every single day.  i can't imagine! it's been so long since i didn't have to wear something on my face to be able to see.  (over twenty years, and i don't think of myself as being that old. )

i took today off because i had a floating holiday that was just hanging out.  no good reason, nothing particular to do, no big plans.  everyone is still fast asleep, i'm reading blogs and drinking coffee, waiting to see if we'll do anything today.  if we don't, i won't be too sad.  it's just nice to have a random day off! especially since the first two days of this week i spent in some pretty heavy duty training.  my brain needs a chance to digest all the new information!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


i've been on a bit of cross stitch bender lately.  when it's hot, i like to hang out on my bed, under my ceiling fan, listening to the radio and working on tiny projects.  this one is about 3 x 2.5 inches, it needs a frame then i'm going to put it on my desk at work.  i joke about working in a cubicle farm, but i do like my little space there.  i've also been making small colorwork pieces; just repetitive patterns in a variety of colors.  shades that don't quite match other has been my favorite thing to play with.  lots of lime-y greens and weird purples being friends with orange, that sort of thing.  a bit of color dissonance, if you'll let me get pretentious for a second.  this little sampler uses an ombre style coloring in the frame, which was a lot of fun as well.  the more i do it, the more i like it.  i used to think of cross stitch as being very formal and fussy, and not necessarily "useful," the way knitting a pair of socks to wear is.  making my home and work more beautiful may not be useful but it does make me happy.  i think smaller pieces like this might make their way into our decor, probably sooner rather than later. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

big red

our truck died a couple of weeks ago.  it had been acting up, and D had told me he thought it needed some work, then one night on his way home, he stopped to buy some beer and the truck wouldn't start.  we called a tow truck, and now big red is sitting in our driveway, looking forlorn.  we think it might be the starter, it also might have something to do with the electrical system (there was talk at one time of some sort of chip or another being hinky).  in any case, we're down to one car. 

which in and of itself hasn't been a bad thing.  the weather has been lovely, D doesn't mind the two mile walk to work, and we do live quite close to a bus stop so he uses that sometimes too.  a few afternoons we get off at the same time, and so he walks to work, and then i pick him up.  saturdays i don't work, so he uses the car that day.  we've got a little system worked out, and so far there haven't been any major complaints.  we'd like to get the truck fixed (it's really nice to have a huge truck for some things), but i have a feeling we won't look into seriously until the fall.  right now we're busy trying to pay off a ridiculous medical bill that took us by surprise and save up enough for the property taxes due in october.  there isn't a whole lot left over right now for fixing the truck, which is unfortunate, but true.  this is one of those times when having an emergency credit card might come in handy, but if there is one thing i do not want right now, it's any kind of credit card. 

being down to one car also means we're spending less.  while one of us is out using the car, working, the other one can't be out shopping.  ha! 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

for every shitty spin recommendation

there are sometimes ridiculous little gems, like this from the wavves. yes, it's stoner pop rock, but so fun! cute! teenage! i'm surprised at how much i like it, since the interview with the lead singer and his girlfriend was so terrible. what can i say? they came across as young and smug and annoying.

then, of course, i looked up her band, and they were also awesome. i also saw an interview with her where she was honestly sweet and funny and smart, and now i feel like a jerk for thinking they were asshole hipsters. i mean, they still might be hipsters, but they are not assholes. check out this adorable video!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

you know what sucks?

getting this song stuck in your head. because it's catchy, but not necessarily good. yet once you hear it, you will tap it out while waiting on hold, you'll hum it in the shower, you'll find yourself thinking about it at the weirdest times. i'm sorry if you watched it and are stuck with it in your head, but at least you know what i'm going through.

Friday, August 24, 2012

i make fun of my college degree a lot

i mean, seriously: who do you know that majors in anthropology that is actually a paid, titled, for-real, anthropologist? how many newspaper ads have you seen begging for someone, anyone! with the knowledge to compile an ethnography or family tree to apply for a starting salary of 50k?  it's true, i majored in something that can be loosely applied to many fields, but not applied to many more. 

however, my love of sex and gender studies comes in handy all the time.  i got a call today from someone asking about labiaplasty benefits and guess what? not only did i not blanch at the very idea, i knew what it was and didn't need to be told.  then when i was asked how it was different from clinics offering "vaginal rejuvenation" i could explain the difference between a simple trimming of some excess labial tissue vs. full on, surgical alteration of the vaginal canal.  yeah, i'm a rock star. 

if there is anything you can take from this post, it is this: i'm so glad i studied what i studied.  i'm so glad i took the time to learn about things that interest me, even if my interests are either perverted or morbid.  that even though i will literally spend forever paying off my studen loans, those hours i spent teaching sex ed, organizing transgender speakers for classes, and reading about alternative sexualities was well worth my time.  also, if you have a question about your delicate parts, feel free to ask me.  i don't blush easily, and my company is so lucky to have me. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

srsly guys

i declare that there is very little on the earth as awesome as getting a letter in the mail.  a real letter,  that someone wrote out by hand.  if it's at all possible, a letter is even better if it comes from your nephew, he draws you a photo, and actually uses the "tm" signifier correctly.  considered me SLAYED by cuteness and awesome.  if this letter was rated on a scale from 1 to 10, with ten being the best, he would get a solid 100.  hyperbolic? what, me?!  (when i think about it, i'm amazed his parents don't just sit around drinking cocktails and patting themselves on the back because that kid is amazing. as his aunt, i'm full of pride at his smartness and funniness and handsomeness, but they made him! good job, dudes.  thanks.)

Friday, August 17, 2012

i suggest

the fastest and easiest way to piss off a teenager is to disparage the chore they just did.  yes, they readily admit they did a terrible job, but they did it, didn't they?  doesn't doing it badly, and half-assed count for anything?! sheesh.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

things i am trying to do lately

  • eat more veggies.  i don't know why this is hard for me; i love veggies.  it's just a cheese sandwich is the easiest thing on earth to make.  
  • take less ibuprofen.  i think i take way too much, thanks to my motto, "better living through chemistry."  if something hurts, i take two.  i realized the other day that even though you can buy it over the counter, it still has some long-term side effects.  maybe i'm rushing into using it all the time, so i'm trying to be aware of when i use it and why.  
  • taking tips from unfuck your habitat.  so far i've been unfucking my mornings, and while i am not making my bed yet (because when i get up, the husband is still in it!), i'm taking the 20/10's to heart and doing small things more often, instead of being bothered by cleaning everything all at once. 
  • going to bed early.  this is part of my "unfuck your morning" routine.  honestly, it is amazing how much more pleasant i am with a good night's sleep to back me up.
  • keeping track of my spending.  i'm using the toshl program because, and this is so shallow and lame, it's cute and has great graphs and is crazy easy to use.  keeping track of my spending the last few weeks has been illuminating, to say the least.  
  • more doing things in real life, less internet-ing.  for all the time i spend online, you'd think i'd blog more! 
  • water my houseplants.  it's been hot, and i've been paying attention to them, and guess what? they all look amazing.  whoooo!
  • the other big thing i have been trying to do lately is not stress out.  i have lots of good reasons to drink a lot of beer and/or pull my hair out, like our truck dying, a giant doctor's bill that showed up that we don't have the money to pay for, and looming property taxes, so instead of freaking out, i'm just trying to take everything one step at a time.  oh, and i'm making lists.  and giggling at LOLGOTHS

Thursday, August 02, 2012


when i come home from work, one of two things normally happen; lulu comes running out from under the bed/chair/couch she's been hiding under and says hello, or i go outside and call her and she comes running from the car/bush/camp chair she's been hiding under to say hello.  either way, i can count on kitten headbutts and chit chat* when i get home.  last night, she was not home.  no big deal, i thought she'd come home around dinner time for a check in.  i mean, she always checks in, even if she stays out all night.  she likes when we're all home and hanging out, and revels in the attention we all lavish on her.  i went to bed at 11, and she still wasn't home. i started to get worried because i guess at heart i really am a crazy cat lady, and then sometime around midnight D and the girlchild woke me up to tell me she was home and bring her to bed so i could see her.  i was soooo relieved.  i mean, i know she's a grown-ass cat and can handle herself (the notch in her ear proves it), and that there was a good chance she was just out having kitten adventures, but still.  all i could think of was my poor kitten, smooshed by a car.  today my stepdaughter and i had this conversation via text;

me: i would have cried so much!

girlchild: we all would have.

me: i guess then we could have shaved our eyebrows** all together, though.

girlchild: haha, ya.

me: we would have been a weird looking family for a while.

girlchild: ya, but it would be fun to see who grew their eyebrows back first.

so i guess i was the only seriously worried one, but we were all happy to see her little kitten face at the door last night.

*i like to have one-way conversations with the cat where i ask her about her day and she says nothing.

**when the boychik was 9, his cat died, and he read that the egyptians shaved their eyebrows as a sign of mourning, so D let him shave his off.  it's one of the sweetest stories i have ever heard.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

guilty pleasures

  • ancient aliens.  i know, i know, it's ridiculous, but i love how earnest everyone on the show is, i love how they interpret history, i love that they're willing to be out and proud about their fringe beliefs!  
  • legos all over the living room.  sure, we pulled them out for my nephews, but did we put them back? no. are we still playing with them? yes.
  • blueberries.  they have been on sale lately, and we are eating them by the gallon.  i guess i don't have to feel guilty about that one, but we are enjoying them immensely.
  • gardner dozois's sci-fi anthologies.  some of the stories are hit and miss, like all anthologies, but the ones that are good tend to be really good. also, ellen datlow doesn't come out with enough collections, while this guy reads a crazy amount of stuff and edits a book every year. (he's a hard working dude.)  while i always feel kind of guilty not reading a "real" book when i have the time, i should probably cut myself some slack.  i am, after all, reading, and that's never a bad thing. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

whirlwind weekend

 my very favorite people in the world (besides the three i live with) came to visit this weekend!  both of my nephews, and their awesome parents.  we only got to spend two days with them, but we packed a lot into those days.

i know it's a cliche to say of children, "they grow so fast," but sometimes it's so true.  both H and T are taller, funnier and smarter than i remember.  that they get along so well with the boychik and girlchild is icing on that delicious cake.  the first day anne and the boys were here, we went out to storvik park in anacortes.   if you live within 25 miles of that park, it is TOTALLY worth taking your kids out there.  seriously. it's huge, there are a ton of swings, play equipment, picnic benches, and lots and lots of room for running around.  we brought snacks from the breadfarm and slough food, had nibbles and let the boys run around for a while.  after that, we brought the boys home and let my kids babysit while anne and i picked up aaron for a rock concert! i was not familiar with the neon trees before the show, but they were awesome.  i haven't been to a show in so long; i was kind of out of shape for it.  i brought a purse (rookie mistake!), wore the wrong shoes, and was hot and sweaty for most of the show.  we had a great time, though, and it really made me wonder why i haven't been to any shows in so long.  it's exhilarating.
the next day we all went to the pacific science center for their king tut exhibit.  to say that that we were excited to see it is an understatement. 
just seeing the arches make me all giddy inside.  i have such fond memories of this place as a kid. 
my love of ancient egypt knows no bounds.  as a kid i read a lot of books about mummies and the pyramids, and wanted to be an egyptologist sooo badly.  of course, that's not what happened, but i still love it.  it's amazing to see the kids so into it as well.  walking through the exhibit and realizing that everything you're looking at is thousands of years old is humbling.  it gave me all kinds of ideas for new projects, and in a lot of ways felt like visiting and old friends.  things i had read about and seen in documentaries, right there in front of me.  if you get a chance to check it out, i highly recommend it.  bonus tip: get the audio tour.  harrison ford does some of the narration!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

calvin roy

i'm not baby crazy, i promise, but i am in love with my newest nephew, calvin.  his middle name is my dad's name too!  he was sweet and mellow and smelled amazing and i can't wait until i can see him again.  seriously, i love being an auntie. 

Monday, July 09, 2012

gardening update

hey, guess what? peas really like to grow. which is awesome if you really like to eat peas, like we do. look at those! and what's sad is that i could have sooo many more peas if i'd given them some more room. i had no idea how big they could get!

my aunt bought me an italian heirloom tomato start, and bought one for herself. for a while both our plants looked pretty sad, but mine has bounced back (sort of; some of the leaves are still droopy) and is at least making some baby tomatoes. i hope the plant stays healthy enough to grow at least one big one!

we bought some seeds this year from baker creek heirloom seeds; they have a crazy amazing selection, but unfortunately for the seeds, i bought a bunch that were not suited to this area and were sacrificed to my learning curve. the one group that did grow was the purple cosmos carrot, which is gorgeous dark plum on the outside, and bright orange on the inside. i haven't grown nearly as many carrots as i thought i would have though, even with my husband's neat seed-sowing trick. i'm going to try another batch and see what happens.
with all the veggies in the garden and in our CSA box, we've been eating a lot of greens. it's been great. last night it was actually hot, and so inside of cooking much (besides grilling some eggplant), i just chopped a lot of beautiful things up, and we made salads and nibbled on bean dip and crackers. it was great. pretty too!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

weekend highlights

 here in the skagit valley there is a place called the breadfarm.  they make crazy delicious breads, which admittedly are kind of pricey.  this is not a complaint, honestly, just a fact. they make the kinds of loaves that never last very long, either.  this loaf of sour cherry and lemon bread lasted four hours in our house.  here it is, toasted with butter.  oh my.
 my sister and i took a trip to the lavender wind farm on whidbey island.  you know we grew up there, and yet we still managed to get lost once.  my sister has a friend who had some lotion she bought here and she smelled it and promptly told me we needed to take a trip there.  i'm so glad we did. it was so serene and beautiful, there were all sorts of lovely little paths to follow through the fields, they had cute chickens and we both bought some lavender.  i bought some to make into sachets, and some to cook with.  just this afternoon i made a lavender simple syrup for iced tea, which is quite delicious.
 at the anacortes farmer's market, cascadia mushrooms had a stall, and they were selling my favorite thing, mushroom growing kits!  this one is soaking as we speak, and i'm getting ready to make it a "humidity tent" and set it up downstairs.  the oyster mushrooms we grew were great, but it's agreed that we all like shitake mushrooms better. 
all around anacortes you'll see these wonderful paintings of locals past and present, done by artist bill mitchell as part of the anacortes mural project.  this was the first time i'd seen these lovely ladies, and i had to take their photo.  they seem to be having a pretty good time.
it's also super hot here; well, super hot for us! too hot for making real dinner.  i grilled some eggplant slices (they turned out great, dressed with a bit of vinegar and basil leaves), and cut up a ton of veggies.  we made ad hoc salads, or just nibbled on veggies.  the pink things in the little white bowl are homegrown, fridge-pickled radishes.  we've been eating a lot of them.  we also got those gorgeous carrots and the small dish of favas in our CSA box this week.  neither disappointed!  in fact, it was a great dinner.  for such a busy weekend, it was a nice way to wind things down. 

Sunday, July 01, 2012


i don't know what it is lately, but i have been pretty spastic and nerve-wracked.  i had a panic attack WHILE CAMPING. camping; seriously the most relaxing thing on earth, and i have a panic attack.  jeez.  that doctor i saw a few months ago who missed my whooping cough wrote me a script for lorazepam (a pill i love almost as much as i love my husband) but of course, failed to put a dosing time schedule on it.  because it said, "take one as necessary" not "take one as needed up to ____ times a day" the pharmacy wouldn't fill it.  i called the doctor's office three times to get them to fix it, but they never did.  i've been sort of hemming and hawing about seeing a new doctor for a new script, but am worried about that because it just really seems like i'm drug shopping, which i'm not.  i use very little lorazpam; i get a bottle of it a year, and more than anything, it's just my security blanket.  i thought i should try to go without it and see if i could manage.  my theory is that there are herbal remedies and benadryl* if i need it.   

of course in the middle of a panic attack this seems like the worst idea ever.

so the other day, i bought some kava extract thinking, "this might help." i like kava because i grew up reading margaret mead books, and because i've had good experiences with it in tea form.  i tried a little this morning (five drops at most) and holy shit, that stuff tastes terrible.  i can see how they hide the terrible taste in tea!  although to be fair, the taste can't be enhanced by the grain alcohol in the tincture either.  ugh.  at least i know i won't be downing it in cocktails any time soon, it's not really something i can see myself doing for "fun" or because i "like the taste." 

has anyone else tried any other herbal remedies? do you have any you would recommend?  i have noticed that working out more, and making sure i drink lots of water and get enough sleep, have helped make me feel better in general lately.  i'm not having panic attacks the way i used to, and i think this recent rash of them might have to do with other stuff in my life right now.    

*benadryl is a lo-fi remedy a doctor recommended once.  really, anything that normally would make you sleepy, can help in the midst of a panic attack.  there's probably a bit of placebo effect in there as well, but i won't tell my sympathetic nervous system if you won't, okay?

Saturday, June 30, 2012

i was kind of a culinary genius today

i made tiny quiches for my sister's baby shower; ones with sauteed garlic ramps and herbed goat cheese, and ones with bacon and cheddar.  i also made vanilla rhubarb ice cream, that is delicious.  for dinner, seafood tacos; spicy shrimp, grilled jalapenos, and lime spiked cod.  i have plans for the fruit we brought back from east of the mountains for tomorrow, but i think as far as one day goes, i did a good job with the cooking.

lake chelan

just got back from spending a few days by this beautiful lake, with 75% of my people.  the boychik stayed home, i think just to make me angry, but the rest of us got out of the house and spent time together in the sun, having a great time.  this was the view from our tent every morning.  how amazing is that? today i unpack, do laundry and prepare for my sister's baby shower tomorrow.  more photos to come!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


i love hearing D go over math concepts with the girlchild while they make dinner.  cooking is such a good way to teach all sorts of skills; math, reading, science, and all while making delicious things.  i love it when he makes dinner, but not because i'm a beleaguered housewife.  i know sometimes when i say, "man, i love it when my husband makes dinner," people are likely to hear, "OMG sister i'm so tired of cooking meals, blah blah blah," but honestly, what i like about it is that he loves to do it.  it's nice to be on the receiving end of what he's cooking.*  even when it doesn't come out the way he wanted, even if it's an experiment with an oddly spiced ending, it's usually great.  the house smells good, everyone wanders in and out, the kids help, and it feels nice to sit back and watch it all happen.  we have super different styles in the kitchen too; he likes to work collaboratively, while sometimes i want to be alone, listening to my music loud, spacing out.  i'm always surprised when the kids want to help, although they normally do.  they like being in the kitchen as much as D and i do. 

so yeah, i love it when D makes dinner.  don't get me started on the dishes, though. 

*that's what she said!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

beets, bears, battlestar gallactica

like dwight schrute, i love beets.  seriously.  i could eat beats at every meal and be a happy woman.  i read that they are pretty easy to grow, and do well later in the season, like now, where i live.  so last weekend i took the patch of garden that was supposed to grow squash (but never sprouted) and leveled it out and sprinkled a packet of seeds.  i covered it with a little more soil that i had lying around, and was super pleased with myself.  the next day, i realized something had been digging exactly where i put the seeds.  aaargh!  i can't imagine beet seeds being that delicious to anything.  my husband had a bright idea to start some inside and then put them out.  genius.  so here are my baby beets, that i planted literally four days ago.  they are already poking up out of the ground! so cute.  i'm going to let them get a bit bigger before i move them outside.  needless to say, i'm excited about growing some beets.

happy father's day to all my fatherly friends out there!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

marriage secret

unsure if your husband is crabby or just not feeling good? start telling him how crabby he is.  when he protests, point out all the crabby things he's said.  he might not feel good as well, but by this time all the crabby talk should have made him crabby, so at least you'll be sort of right. 

Monday, June 11, 2012


you know why glee is ruining america? not because it has the gays in it, we all know the gays are fabulous and i think more happy, gay teens should be on tv, but because now it makes teenagers think they should express themselves in song more.  what happened to terrible, furtive poetry readings? i had to sit through three musical interludes at the boychik's graduation; one of which was pretty okay, one of which was mediocre, and one that i hated but to be honest, it was a rascall flats song and i'm pretty sure nothing in their repertoire would have impressed me much.  in any case, three of them was about three too many.  also, when you first heard green day's longview did you ever think that one of their songs would become the go-to soundtrack for major life changes* or that they'd have a goddamn musical on broadway?  seriously.  we all thought they were stoner retard punks.  they might still be, but some how they are also middle aged, like me.  ...shudder...

*time of your life: it's good for funerals and graduations.  i bet it also gets used a lot at rehab "graduations." 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

the hazards of outside

i did a ton of weeding yesterday.  i haven't done much of that lately because a) weeding sucks and b) lots of rain.  i am, most definitely, a sunny day gardener.  i'm going to have to bust out of that habit, since i live in a very rainy place.  yesterday was glorious and lovely, and i had a bunch of music to listen to, so i went out front and pulled weeds and planted more succulents.  i was probably out there for an hour and a half, kneeling down, or in that weird half-kneel so i could reach weeds further back. 

i woke up this morning and my butt was killing me.  in fact, it was the first thing i said to the boychik today.  "good morning, my butt hurts."  inner thighs and calves are also sore, because i guess weeding and gardening works muscles that are normally busy being sat on.  ugh.  going up and down the stairs today was hellish.  it's good to know that all that talk about gardening burning calories might not be all horseshit, though. 

there's a view of our back garden plot from the deck.  things are coming in nicely.  so far the tomato plants are getting bigger, the radishes are still kicking ass and taking names, i have six small patty pan squash plants that are thriving, my peas are using that tomato cage to get some height, we have some carrots taking root (not as many as i thought we'd get, considering the amount of seeds as i sowed), two ground cherry plants that i bought as a lark are doing great, turnips are sprouting, beets are in, and the broccoli went to seed.  i know, that last part is sad, but the broccoli plant was just so pretty, and the little crown in it was so cute, that i didn't cut it out soon enough.  by the time i figured it was time, it was already beginning to flower, so i let it go.  i'm hoping to get some seeds and try again next year.  plus, i've read if you cut off the crown, you get more growth and so who knows, maybe we can get two heads out of the plant.  my artichoke is also doing well, although it isn't as tall as i thought it would be by now.  the slugs ate all my cute, lemon cucumber plants the second they poked their first leaves up, but two survived and i bought another start, we'll see if these do better. the long beans never sprouted, so i planted the beets in that spot. i also have a pot of herbs that starting to produce, and an heirloom tomato plant in it's own container that's growing blossoms.  i also think the dill i planted is starting to come in, so hopefully we'll have cukes and dill and pickles! i have garlic in the front yard and side that's tall, as well.  i bought some purple and regular, i'm hoping we get enough to put some up for next year too.  don't i just sound all little house on the prairie? it makes me happy to go out there and fiddle around.  i honestly thought i'd kill it all, so the fact that anything is growing is making me happy. 

Friday, June 08, 2012

boy to mensch

i'm the first to admit i didn't grow the boychik in my body (i'm too young for that, i swear!) but i have been lucky enough to be his stepmom officially for a year now, and even luckier to have been his parent for a few years longer.  he graduated from high school tonight! i'm the stepmom to a grown ass man now! although to be honest, i hope he stays my boychik a while longer. 

look at that good looking family!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

intro to insurance, part 2

or "why you should give a shit about cpt codes"

i had the kind of call today that everyone in insurance customer service dreads; you get a client calling in to ask about some sort of procedure/test/surgery their doctor has signed them up for.  they doctor said, "you should do this" made them an appointment with another doctor, and no one bothered calling the insurance company to see if it was covered.  needless to say, the person i spoke to today had something very big, very expensive, and very NOT COVERED by their insurance done a few weeks ago.  they got the bill today, and with it quite a shock.  they just assumed that because the doctor said it was a good idea, and they have health insurance, we would pick up part of the cost.  not only did we not, but now the doctor and clinic can bill them for it.  

Monday, May 21, 2012

spring has sprung

at least, it feels that way.  things are growing in the garden, i took four bags of clothes to the thrift store yesterday, swiffered enough hair to create a small dog out of my bathroom, and have started going to the gym again. 

i am so incredibly spoiled that i don't even realize it sometimes.  my work has two gyms in the building; one that's all weights and mirrors (and kind of hidden) and one with a crazy amount of gear.  three treadmills, two bikes, two eliptical machines, a nautilus weight thing, a rowing machine, a stair climber and hand weights.  AND cable tv.  seriously.  you can watch cartoons while getting sweaty.  not only that, but using them is totally, 100% free of charge.  you just sign a waiver saying that if you get your sweatpants stuck in the belt of the treadmill you won't sue, and the gym is all yours.  when i started working at the insurance company, i used the gym on all my breaks, just to get out of my training class to stand up for a while.  then i moved upstairs and stopped doing that.  i go through fits and spurts of using it more and less often, but i have noticed a few things that make me go more.  for instance, if i go on monday, i am way more likely to go again a few more times that week.  if i pack my gym bag the night before, i'm less likely to forget it.  if there's someone else in the gym while i'm there, i tend to stay longer, because i don't want them thinking i'm a loser who only stays for half an hour.  and that ke$ha is oddly motivating.  i'm embarrassed how much i enjoy her crappy songs while working up a sweat.  i also mentioned to my husband the other day how much i like going, how good i feel, but that i sometimes feel guilty not coming right home from work.  the look he gave me was priceless, and the moment i said it out loud, i realized how dumb i was being.  now that i don't feel guilty about not rushing right home and have loaded way too much pop music onto my ipod, i feel like this recent run of gym going might turn into an honest to goodness habit.  in a good way. 

my whole goal with going to the gym is, among other things, to not be so self conscious anymore.  i've gotten to a point with my body that while i'm not hideously deformed and not clinically morbidly obese, i don't feel awesome in my own skin.  i had a biometric screening a few weeks ago, as well, that made me realize my cholesterol is too high.  i figure adding in some more activity and soluble fiber can't hurt, right? 

also, one year ago today i married my husband.  we had a big, lovely wedding, i got to spend time with people i love, and officially became part of this family.  it was a remarkable day, and i'm so glad we had that big party.  we're celebrating on wednesday, because that's the day we made it legal, but today we're being schmoopy and my husband sent me flowers at work and i think if this first year is any indication, we've got some more good years coming. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

hey, guess what?

chicken butt.

ha! does that joke every get old? in a word: no.   

tonight i made dinner, meaning i went to the store and bought what we all the call "the big sandwich."  it's a two foot sub made at fred meyer's and it is amazing.  it's so long you have to carry in your arms like a baby, and don't even think about putting it in a hand cart.  it won't fit.  it was just so beautiful out i didn't want to do anything in the kitchen but unwrap that sucker and then sit out on the deck in the last of the day's sun and enjoy a sandwich someone else made.  needless to say, it was delightful. 

i've also been thinking about the great lynda barry lately, reading her tublr, and trying to spend more time doing/making/creating.  she talks often of just coloring; just taking a regular, old fashioned coloring book, a box of crayons, and just going at it.  the way it makes you feel to just relax and zone in on the colors and shapes, to watch it come together, she says are great for you.  it's a way of taking care of your inner, creative self, like brushing your teeth.  i work with someone who colors in mandalas between calls, and she says it's really relaxing.  thinking of this, i went to michael's when i got off work and picked up some more colored pencils (crazy flourescent ones and earth toned ones) and some coloring books (i found mandalas!).  the girlchild and i sat outside, coloring after dinner; just relaxing and talking and listening to music.  it felt really good.  just to have half and hour of quiet, relaxed, happy time together.  we're all kind of making each other nuts lately, but the one thing we all like to do is make stuff.  art projects are our favorite.  so we colored and showed the boys what we were working on, ate slices of giant sandwich and remembered how it isn't all frustration and eye rolling when we hang out. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

real quick

the teen ennui in this house is thick enough to choke a fucking horse.  it's not even funny, regardless of the joke i just made.  part of it makes me angry and confrontational, and i say things like, "how can you say you don't care about anything? you really, honestly, just don't give a fuck?! how is that a thing?"  the math that goes on in an adolescent head is like the new math, it's like quantum physics, it's truly dealing with imaginary numbers.  when i try to calm down, to speak rationally, to not just ground everything that walks past me with a stink eye (you're next lulu), stop and think "you know, i might just not get it, and that might be okay," it works for like five minutes and then i'm all rant-y and rave-y and back to wringing my hands clean off.  i swing back and forth, feeling alternately annoyed and then terrified that i'll push one of them to suicide and that will really teach me a lesson, a lesson in suffering, a class i will take for the rest of my life and whose final exam i will fail every time.  shit, i bet the ennui is contagious and now i have it.  i feel overwrought and fraught and in a funk. i love these kids, i really do, and i don't love them because i'm "supposed" to: i just do it because i feel it and i have moments when i wish i didn't give a shit because that would be so much easier.  if i were their bio-mom i could use the argument that i'm the mom, so of course i love them, no questions asked; but not only am i the step, but they have a bio-mom who shoots that theory in the foot.  one of them actually said to me, "you're here because you have to be here," and i was like, "nuh, uh, no fucking way. i'm here because i chose it." i picked this.  this is the work that i want to do, even when it sucks. i signed up for this team. if you had to stick around then their mom would live in state, would do more than answer random facebook questions about them, would make them the occasional dinner or at least order out, she would give a single solitary fuck and she wouldn't have bailed because parties sounded like more fun.  she made her choice the same way i made mine, and while those choices are obviously based on different things, even when i get this worked and want to do some drinking or yell or throw my hands up in disgust, i do my best to just try to let them be the people they are.  all i can do is tell them how i feel, i can't convince them with the power of my mind. i can hope they listen to me, and trust me, and don't do anything too stupid.  i am doing the best i can, and i'm sure i can do better, so i'll try that too.

seriously, though, nihilism was invented by teenagers.  you can't convince me otherwise.    

Monday, May 14, 2012

green acres

i may have mentioned that i've started a garden this year.  we had a patch of azalea's out back, right up against the house that the boychik was kind enough to rip out for me earlier, and since then i've planted a variety of things.  here is what i've learned so far, in handy, dandy list form:
  1. some of what i thought i could grow, i couldn't.  for instance, i started some tiny thai eggplants because they were so cute and i love them in curry, but they didn't do well out back.  i think i started them too early and it's not hot enough here.  also, i bought these seeds for lovely, tiny melons and those also failed.  my chinese long beans were also a bust.  i didn't spend crazy amounts of money on the seeds, though, and i learned from it, so i feel okay about my failures so far.
  2. i can grow radishes.  seriously.  it's the one thing in the garden that so far i am totally kicking ass at.  these are some tiny french breakfast radishes, that i pulled up to make room for some of the bigger plants.  they are amazing.  it's a good thing i live in a house full of radish lovers, or else all these radishes would go to waste!
  3. carrots need to be seeded carefully because the seeds are *tiny.* so tiny! like the size of one of the periods in this post. after i planted the first batch, my husband gave me a good tip for next time.  of course, if he had given me the tip before i messed up the first planting i think we'd have more carrots going!
  4. our soil definitely needs work.  it's not awful, don't get me wrong, but it's still very loose and the best way to enrich it is by growing stuff in it, evidently.  
  5. buying starts instead of seeds isn't such a bad thing.  yes, i felt all hippie mama and earth-goddessy buying seeds and starting them indoors but it made D nuts to have plants and potting soil all over the kitchen, and i don't yet have a good idea about when things can handle being planted outside.  a start is already a sturdy little plant-to-be, and i can pretty much guarantee that whoever grew it knows more about plants than i do.  why not spend a bit more for that kind of knowledge?  
  6. the only way to learn how to be better gardener is to just do it.  just go ahead and give it a try, fail at stuff, and be excited when the peas pop up out of the ground like reverse hand grenades.  also, investing in a CSA for the summer is also a good idea. helping out an organic community garden while growing your own is like investing in a back-up plan. a delicious, delicious back-up plan.
i really liked this post thea did the other day, talking about her garden and what she has going on.  i agree that gardening (like knitting and yoga) is totally having a renaissance among 30-somethings, but i think for good reason.  most of us are trying to eat a bit healthier, now that we realize that cholesterol isn't just something our parents worried about, and gardening is good for your boday, as well as your wallet.  i think a lot of people my age are also avid DIY-ers, and growing your own food is about as do-it-yourself as you can get.  it's also just nice to be outside, tending to pretty green things that will end up being part of dinner. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

a mother's day cup of coffee

this morning i got up early, saw my husband off to work, the settled in to play some tetris.  he called a while later, asking me to bring his billfold to work because he'd forgotten it at home.  i told him i was still in my pj's, so i would bring it, but i wasn't going to put a bra on or get out of the car.  he said he thought that was fair.  i brought him his money, then asked him sweetly for a five so i could stop and get a latte on the way home.  he said he didn't think five was enough, he'd give me some more for a tip and for a cup of joe for the girlchild.  he's so thoughtful!  before i left, i asked him to throw away and old coffee cup because if was going to buy two cups of coffee, i needed both cup holders open.  so not only did he give me cash money, he threw away my trash.  what a man.  i giggled and asked him, "aren't you glad you married me?!" he insists he is, even if he does have to buy me coffee and throw away the garbage from my car. 

also, i don't know if i've mentioned this before, but i really love being a stepmom.  the kids are awesome, and i'm glad they let me be such a big part of their lives.  i'm lucky to have such a good, easy-going relationship with my kids, i'm tremendously grateful that they never made it difficult or awful or awkward.  it's true that the secret to our success is that we just all have a lot in common and like each other, but even on those days where we drive each other crazy, there's a lot of love in this house.