Friday, February 7, 2014

February 7, 2014

Snowpocalypse. Snowmageddon. I've heard both words bandied about numerous times in the past few days. Needless to say the 7-8 inches of snow the Portland area has gotten in the last 48 hours has been newsworthy to most and definitely noteworthy to me. Though I'd never describe myself as a Florida girl, that is where I'm from so this is A LOT of snow for me.

School has been closed. Work has been sporadic at best. My children have gone outside and played in the snow. Together. Willingly.  We've been hunkered down playing games and eating warm foods. And Jay and I have been drinking our snow day cocktails, (which are different from our usual cocktails in name and drinking time only. Vodka at noon? Why not?)

But tomorrow things should get back to normal. The snow will stop falling, the ground will begin to thaw, and work will resume.

And I couldn't be more thankful.

 I love these people but if my schedule doesn't get back to normal soon, I may lose it.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

2013 Books

I only read 15 books last year, the lowest amount since I began keeping track of such things.

Every year I aim to read 50 and if I'm being honest, that number is a bit high for my life. But I'm still going to continue to try for it because, even though I doubt I'll hit it, I like to see how close I can get.

Anyway, here's last years list:

1.  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

2.  Portlandia by Fred Armisen

3.  Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

4.  The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

5.  The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold

6.  Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris

7.  Attempting Normal by Marc Maron

8.  Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

9.  The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

10.  Youth in Revolt by C.D. Payne

11.  The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

12.  Turn Around Bright Eyes by Rob Sheffield

13.  Someone Could Get Hurt by Drew Magary

14.  Further Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin

15.  The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson

Book related notes:

*Early in the year, Peggy sent me Let's Exploring Diabetes with Owls and this was probably my favorite book of the year. I love David. And Peggy. (BTW: I know it's been years, but still when I say Peggy's name, I think of this Peggy.)

*My second favorite book would have to be Attempting Normal by Marc Maron. Whom, I got to see in May. Which made me unspeakably happy since I've loved him for years.

*Seeing Rob Sheffield was another highlight, sadly I have no pictures though Dammit.

*I actually really liked all the books I read this year, I think because I didn't waste a lot of time on books I wasn't into.

*Armistead Maupin is going to be at Powell's this week. I'm itching to go and my usual date for this sort of thing will be away on business. Shall I go alone?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Thursday January 23

Jay emailed me an article the other day and the topic was making friends as an adult. Among other things, the article put friendships into two categories: Optionals and Essentials.

Optional friends are chosen based on commonalities and a shared interest in a particular thing. They give you a false sense of hope and tend to be fleeting because as we grow our interests and likes are constantly changing. The article gave this example to describe optional friends:

Optional people are like your waiter; you think you need them because they are serving you food and it seems like they're important at the time. But in reality, you could replace them in an instant with any other common waiter standing around.

Essential relationships are built around necessities. These are the people who you open up with and who meet your needs. The article states, "When essentials are removed from your life- it hurts. This is the difference between a bond of convenience and a bond of necessity."

Needless to say, I found the entire article fascinating and I keep catching myself thinking of the different people in my life and deciding which category to drop them into. I don't necessarily think that one category is better than the other. In fact, I think that in the last few years I've gotten better at making friends in general and many Optionals have, over time, become Essentials. And even if they aren't Essentials, there is something to be said for having a group of people that you can just occasionally hang with and have fun.

Many of my Essentials are people I've never even met in real life. They said something here, or I said something there and, for whatever reason, they've become people I can count on. People who I think about regularly and 'miss' when I haven't had them in my life for a while.

Other Essentials are more obvious. For instance, I connected with my boss (and friend) almost immediately and it didn't take long for him to become an Essential. Sometimes you just know.

The article ends with this statement, "Forming relationships around necessities [with Essentials] is much harder to do because it requires you to open up, but it's also much simpler once you become skilled at it."

So I guess the moral of the story is, Open Up. It's harder and scarier, but worth it.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Wednesday January 22

This girl:

*Recently turned nine. I can't believe it's almost a decade.

*No longer needs speech therapy. Today, officially and in writing, the stutter is being managed and is under control. We are immensely proud of her. Her teachers (Kindergarten until now) are impressed with what she's accomplished. Our beloved speech pathologist says it's 'rare.'

*Is lovestruck. She announced today that "David" kissed her on the cheek. She likes David because, in her words, he "doesn't bitch and complain constantly."

*Is a little bit crazy. For instance, on the way to the yogurt place she was sitting in the front seat of the car and Monty was in the back. They were arguing about something when she said, "Monty, I'm going to teach you some sign language." My sweet nine year old girl held up her middle finger until her big brother laughed. That's my girl.

*That yogurt cup? Yeah, it's filled with the weirdest mixture of odd flavored yogurts and Nerds and Brownie pieces, and Gummy Worms. It's disgusting. I tasted it. It was tartness and garbage.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday January 12, 2014

At work all this morning I was thinking about how I wanted to hike with my family. Of course,  I never actually voiced this to them, instead just hoped that when I got home they would magically all be ready to trek through the woods with me.

I got off work fairly early and was home by 1:30. I walked into what I, possibly overreachingly, refer to as 'squalor'. But suffice it to say, the apartment smelled like the cat box, someone was lying in bed watching football, and certain people were still in their footie pajamas.

I cleaned up for about an hour, requested that people put on day clothes, and then, right before I decided to start what Jay refers to as, "passive aggressively vacuum" (translation: vacuum), I thought: I have a choice. I can spend the next hour cleaning and being mad at these fuckers, or I can proceed with my original plan.

So, Jay found us a trail and we headed to a hiking destination we had never been to before. It was wet, and mossy, and beautiful, just the way I like it.

(Can you believe that even after almost four years we still find new hiking places? I'm thinking we haven't even cracked the surface.)

We hiked for about 30 minutes before someone bitched about needing to see "civilization" again. Which is fine. I know my people. I know they need to get back to texting and Tweeting and Instagraming their meals, and I'm ok with that.

All I ask is that they occasionally work in some woodsy nature time with me. And once in a while clean the cat box.

Friday, January 10, 2014

January 9, 2014

Every few days I pull up this account and I write. Sentences, maybe a few paragraphs, but they never really amount to much. So, I lay my finger on the delete button and watch the cursor as it speeds back to the top of the page.

Truth be told, I really don't know what I'm doing here. This blog, in its current incarnation, isn't who I am anymore and the things I want to write about just don't seem to fit in this space. The person I am now is very different from the person I was when I started this blog in February of 2008, almost six years ago. I no longer need to document every moment of my, or my family's, life. I don't have the desire to take a photo of each thing I sew, crochet, or bake. (Although maybe I should because I've made some fucking awesome cakes lately.) I don't have the time to devote to reviewing books anymore, although I still read a lot and miss having people with whom to discuss those books. When I'm with the kids, I find myself taking pictures of them less and less. They don't want to be my subjects anymore, and frankly, I'm in a spot in my life where they aren't my sole focus.

So, where does that leave this blog? I'm not sure. I've thought of starting a new blog but I think I'm just too lazy. Do you know how long it took for me to come up with the half assed name for this blog?! I don't know if I can be expected to do that twice in one lifetime. Plus, as disjointed as it feels, I like the fact that this wee corner of the internet chronicles the changes in my life.


For the second year in a row, my family hung out with Visty and her clan on New Year's Eve. We ate fatty foods and drank rum runners before going on our (now annual) late night walk in which we do obnoxious things such as sneaking into people's yards to photograph ourselves amongst their Christmas lights.

But before the walk, Visty snapped this picture of me:
Now, the fact that I look more human than troll-like in this picture has a lot to do with Visty's skill as a photographer. But when my dear friend Dawn saw it, she said, "It's the best picture of you I've ever seen. You look beautiful and happy." This is amazing coming from Dawn because she is one of the few people on the planet who knows of my long history of being the subject of wretched pictures.

But Dawn, in her infinite wisdom, stumbled upon something: I'm happy. I like my life. Right now, is probably the most relaxed I've ever been, and for me, relaxed translates quite quickly to happy.  I like my family and my job. I have the usual hobbies and interests that keep me busy. And the people in my life right now? They all truly make me happy.

I'd like to say with certainty that, starting right now, I'll be blogging here regularly again. But experience has taught me that time and circumstance will get in the way. I'll be tired, or bored, or have writers block.

But this post right here? It's a step.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Not Perfect

So.....this week we went to the beach. I love a lot about these photos. The grey skies, the horses in the first picture. I love the way my children are clearly conspiring in picture number two. She looks so little next to his teenage bigness. For a brief moment they got along. My boy, a handsome almost-adult. My girl, so kind and pretty.

What I don't love? Pretty much everything that happened after these photos.

She was cold. And sandy. And wanted to take a shower.

He wanted to eat. He's 15, he always wants to eat.

I wanted to sit on the towel and finish my book. Two days later, my book sits unfinished.

Jay wanted to walk to the big rock. He didn't make it.

I feel like these moments aren't mentioned enough. Those moments when you as a parent want everything to be perfect but yet they turn to shit. You have everything planned. You know how it's supposed to be. But then someone is too cold/tired/hot/wet/hungry/miserable/etc.

So you pile back in the car and turn up the radio because even if the song sucks at least you aren't hearing these jerks complain anymore.



You stop for Subway. Shitty, non-exciting Subway. Someone makes a joke about something silly and, for whatever reason, everyone ends up being in a good mood for the rest of the ride home. There are jokes, silliness, tickles, and Macklemore.

Was the day perfect or as I planned? No. Far from it.

But it wasn't a waste.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

It's Summer Again

I'm trying to make the most of summer, I really am. When I'm off of work I know I should play games and go to the pool and the park, and occasionally I do these things, but my heart isn't in it. It's just too hot, the sun is too bright, and the days are far too long. The fact that I hate it so much exacerbates the Mommy Guilt that I already have for being at work so much lately.

But I'm trying. I'm trying to be in the moment and notice all those little things that go hand in hand with summer. Monty had a friend spend the night last night and as I was taking him home this afternoon, driving down the country road he lives off of, I could smell lavender growing. It was so fragrant that I commented on it and my son's friend said, "Wow. It does smell like lavender." And for a brief moment I was happy to be in the car with my children and this boy, the wind blowing through our hair, all of us collectively enjoying the smell of lavender. 

I tried to not dwell on the fact that the reason our hair was blowing and we could smell the lavender in the first place was because the air conditioning in the Pontiac isn't working properly. I tried to not be aware of the feeling of the sun on my arm, and how my pasty white skin felt as if it would soon start to erupt in hot boils. 

The negativity got the best of me though and when we arrived back home I had wilted. There was nothing left. All energy and life had been sucked from me.

This weather makes it so hard for me to be me. I don't feel like myself. I can't focus and I struggle to be happy, funny, and creative. 

Case in point, I had intended for this blog to be about this skirt I made for the girl in an all too rare moment of lucid creativity. It's a piece refashioned from a dress of mine that I loved but replacing the broken zipper proved to be beyond my skill set. It's much easier to chop it in half and create something smaller and new.

It's moments like this, when I actually do or create something, that make me think I can get through this summer. Somewhere, deep beneath the sweat, I still exist. I'm just hibernating temporarily.

Fall and Winter will be here soon. Just not soon enough

(On the bright side, I'm ahead of the game for December. As the above picture shows, my Christmas lights are up.)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Almost Summer

The kids have about ten more days of school. The end can't come soon enough for me. I have a hard time getting myself  up out of bed and out the door, much less two other people. Especially the youngest of the two, who has a morning disposition much like her mother's: unpleasant.

We have nothing planned for summer, but I'm sure the days will be full as soon we only have the work schedules to plan around. I foresee Tuesday hikes, impromptu trips to the beach on a Wednesday, or just lazy days spent not doing much of anything.

The weather here has still been cool, with highs barely reaching the sixties. The sun was out today though so after school I grabbed Lucy and her buddy for some pool action.

What the pictures don't show: Me wearing a sweater, lightweight scarf, and my fuzziest boots. 

I don't mind. Come August, I'll be praying for the day I can put my fuzzy boots back on.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What I've Been Reading Lately

So......I've only read eight books so far this year, which surprises me because I feel like I've been reading pretty regularly. Just reading slower than usual I guess. If this pace continues I'll end the year with my lowest book total in the six years I've been keeping track of titles.

Since I hardly ever write about books anymore, I thought I'd take a few moments to mention the eight (seriously, it's almost June! EIGHT?!) books I've read this year.

*Gone Girl

This book about a husband who may or may not have killed his wife was fantastic. In fact everything Gillian Flynn writes is nothing short of amazing.  Flynn's three books have changed me and if you read nothing else ever, please read them. I'm forever in debt to Daphne for first introducing me to this brilliant author.

*Portlandia: A Guide for Visitors

I love the show and I love Fred and Carrie. I enjoyed the book but I don't know if I would have liked it as much if I didn't live in Portland. At times it just felt like a re-hashing of the show.

*Girl with a Pearl Earring
I always say that I hate historical fiction, but then I read some and find out that it's not so bad. This was read for book club and I did like it, but I would have liked more of it. It ended with me feeling unfulfilled.

*The Language of Flowers
Victoria, a young girl who's aged out of the foster care system, finds a job with a florist and uses her knowledge of floriography to create magical bouquets that have the power to change the lives of those who receive them. Meanwhile, Victoria works to clean up the mess she's made of her own life.

Chick lit is another genre that I like to say I hate, but then I read something beautiful and well written and I'm forced to change my opinion. The Language of Flowers was a book club book although we never had the meeting to discuss it. Sadly, book club is in limbo right now since the general consensus is that most of us find one member hard to be around. I think I might need to find (or create) a new book club.

*The Almost Moon

I enjoyed The Lovely Bones and had high hopes for this book by Alice Sebold about a woman who murders her dying, abusive mother. But the story dragged and I found myself skimming through most of it.

*Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls
Yay for David Sedaris! His last book was a huge, sad disappointment that made no sense to me. This is classic Sedaris and I loved it. I was so excited when Peggy sent me this book along with a box from Godiva. Chocolates and a book? Yes please.

*Attempting Normal

I LOVED this book. But, as mentioned before (in this post), I've loved Marc Maron for a long time. When I was in high school I sent away for an autographed picture. At that time he hosted a show on Comedy Central called Short Attention Span Theatre. About a year ago I found that photo, scanned it, and emailed it to Maron. His response? "Wow." That sort of thing is thrilling to me. But yeah, I loved this book, I love his podcasts, and I love his show on IFC. For what it's worth, Jay likes him too, so I'm not just being a crazy fan. But I am a crazy fan.

*Dad is Fat

I like Gaffigan. Jay and I saw him in Miami once and we laughed until our sides hurt. The book was okay but I didn't love it, but that was most likely because I read it immediately after reading the Maron book. Sorry Jim, I'm a Maron gal all the way.

So that's what I've been reading.

 I recently started I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell (sexist, misogynistic, maybe racist) and The Joy Luck Club. It's an odd mix, I'll admit.