Monday, May 31, 2010
Saturday morning I woke up feeling iffy. I thought I'd be fine after coffee. I wasn't. Within an hour I had a headache so bad that I couldn't stand up without feeling barfy. So, not sharing Jay's work ethic, I went back to bed and stayed there the whole day. Jay had to go to work (this is a busy time of year for him) so while I was in bed the kids were left to fend for themselves Lord of the Flies style.
Let us pause, yet again, to discuss the work ethics of my children. The girl loves to help and is always willing to pitch in. But she's five, so without someone managing her, she doesn't really do much. And if she does, it's not in a way that is truly helpful. The boy is almost twelve. He does nothing without being told. In fact, he flies as low under the radar as possible so as to avoid being told to do anything. Needless to say, this will all be brought up at their yearly evaluations and I doubt anyone is getting any raises this year. Don't get me wrong, the kids took care of me while I was sick. They brought me tea and crackers, repeatedly warmed up my Happy Heat pack, and generally stayed close by just in case I needed something. But as far as cleaning the house goes....yeah, nothing got done.
By Saturday night I was feeling somewhat better. Jay was home from work and I was all set to continue lying in bed. This time with my husband and maybe a bit of True Blood. But then around 9:30, I heard it......the distinct sound of someone in the other room about to be sick. I arrived just in time to see the girl throw up her chicken nuggets. All. Over. Her. Bed. (Keep in mind the girl likes to sleep hotel style, with numerous sheets, blankets, pillows and a duvet.) I cleaned her and her room up the best I could and made her a bed on the floor next to me.
I next went to the kitchen to find something to reduce her fever. I clicked on the light and was met with splatters of play doh everywhere. It would appear that a small play doh battle had taken place while I was sick in bed. But that wasn't the worst of it. The worst was waiting for me at the edge of the carpet, a pile of steaming dog crap. Apparently, the boy (the one NOT getting a raise this year) had been a bit lackadaisical when walking the dog. Nice. I cleaned that up, got the girl her medicine, and went to bed.
No one slept well that night. The girl talks in her sleep when healthy. When feverish and ill her sleep talking becomes weird, loud, and delusional. For instance, she repeatedly called out for me to "burst the water balloon." Don't know what that's about.
My Sunday was spent nursing the girl back to health, doing seven(!!!!) loads of laundry, and steam cleaning the carpets. Because it makes no sense to drag the steam cleaner out for one spot. Why not do the whole apartment, says the crazy woman high on Day Quil.
Now it's Monday. A holiday. Jay's at work (again, it's a busy time of year for him). I'm still catching up on laundry, dealing with a whiny girl, and pumping the boy full of vitamin c in hopes that he'll avoid catching the bug that plagued the rest of the family.
How was your weekend?
Friday, May 28, 2010
*I'm going to finally try to make something from a pattern. I recently purchased Simplicity 3835, and Simplicity 4767. Both of these seem fairly easy and I've seen a lot of bloggers make them with a fair amount of success. (Most recently Crystal's simple yet adorable dress for her little gal, which has occupied my mind for the last week.) Breaking down and purchasing a pattern is a big deal to me. I've been putting it off because I knew once I spent the money, I would definitely feel the pressure to make something I'd actually wear. The pressure is on.
*Jay surprised me with a copy of It's Complicated. I haven't had a chance to watch it though because we've been catching up with True Blood before the new season starts next month. As much as I love Alec, sexy vampires usually trump Baldwins. This is just the hierarchy of things around here.
*Last week I had serious hair trauma. I needed to get my hair cut but didn't have a lot of time so I went to a place in one of the local malls. The woman who cut my hair was older (which is not usually a deal breaker) but lets just say english was not her first language (Um...from now on, totally a deal breaker). This really should have tipped me off, but once I was in I didn't feel right just leaving-the salon had just opened and no one else was there. Anyway, I've been getting this haircut for a while so I was able to tell her exactly what I wanted. But because of her age, and probably her more traditional background and culture, I don't think she really got what I wanted her to do. Plus, she argued with me. For instance, I told her I wanted it tapered up the back. Her response was, "No. No taper. I do it nice." Or when I told her her I wanted my bangs shorter and she said, "No. No shorter." She was very quiet and meek and I could tell she wasn't trying to piss me off. I think the problem was just some type of miscommunication. Somewhere along the line our wires were getting crossed and she just wasn't hearing what I was saying. Anyway, I let her do her thing, thinking How bad can it be?
Well, if the look on Jay's face was any indication, it was BAD. Honestly, he could barely look at me. Obviously I had to get this fixed. So I went into a Toni and Guy and one of their stylists was able to make me presentable. So, what was supposed to be a quick haircut ended up taking all morning and cost me twice as much. (For what it's worth, all of this could have been avoided if I'd just gone to a guy that Daphne suggested in the first place, since I know for a fact he knows what he's doing. Live and learn.)
But this whole ordeal has left me wondering if I could have done things differently. I mean, I'm just not the type of person to get up from the stylist's chair and walk out, especially since I don't think that this particular person was genuinely evil or trying to displease me. I think she just thought her way was better and I'd be massively impressed with what she did. Have you ever been in a position where you just knew what the stylist was doing was not good? How did you handle it? How would you have handled this lady?
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Anyway, I've mentioned before how much I miss my clothesline. The crisp sheets, the crunchy towels, the sun bleached dish cloths. I even miss the stiff jeans. I've recently learned that I hate the way my jeans feel after a romp in the dryer.
I purchased the above drying rack at Target. Obviously I can't dry all my clothes on it, and sheets are pretty much out of the question, but it's excellent for quick drying items like tea towels and the girl's clothes.
In the past week, I've been trying to find the perfect location for my drying rack. One would think the balcony, but Oregon weather is fast changing and unpredictable. It can be sunny and bright one minute, and rainy with a chance of hail the next. While I otherwise love that, it makes for poor clothes drying weather. This has definitely kept me on my toes and I've been constantly moving the rack from outside to inside and from room to room, opening windows and gauging the wind direction.
But I'm bound and determined to make this work. Even if it does take my jeans three days to dry.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
As far as crocheting goes, there are still quite a few things that I'm stumped on and my work is far from perfect, but it all seems to be coming together the more I practice. And practice. And practice. And practice.
Monday, May 24, 2010
This is all a very slow process for me and every day I have to make myself give up a little more control. But it will all be worth it when I have two adult children who can stand on their feet and know they don't have to rely on anyone. Self-reliance is a wonderful thing.
Friday, May 21, 2010
*Lost-I've never watched an entire episode and I don't understand what all the hoopla is about. Actually, this is just one of a long list of shows that I've missed the boat on and never gotten into. Others include: Scrubs, Survivor, American Idol, Biggest Loser, Grey's Anatomy, CSI Anywhere, and Glee. I know, right?! Glee?! It's not a bad show, I'm just not motivated to tune in.
*John Hamm-Sorry John, I'm just not that into you. Fortunately for you, almost every other straight woman in America is. Other men I'm told are attractive who I have no interest in: Brad Pitt, Ashton Kutcher, Josh Hartnett, and Ryan Reynolds.
*Brownies-I prefer cake or cookies and will almost always turn down a brownie. Unless it has the consistency of cake or is extra gooey.
*Horses and Ponies-Too many girls grew up wanting a pony or a horse. This has made them far too smug for my liking.
*Sunshine-I know it sounds like I'm full of crap, but I really think that too much sunshine is harsh and oppressive. Back in Florida, day after day of sunshine just wore me out and made me depressed. Maybe I'll feel differently here in the Pacific Northwest where the sun doesn't let it all hang out quite as often.
*The Goonies-I don't really have an explanation on this one. But I do feel like a loser because it appears that I'm the only person of my generation who doesn't like this movie.
*Visible brand logos on clothing, handbags, etc. I will occasionally give into this one if it's on kids clothes and/or I get them cheap or at a thrift store, but generally I avoid it.
*Old Navy-This store tricks me every time. I see the commercials. The clothes look cute. So I schlep all the way to the store only to find it in total disarray, even at ten in the morning. Plus, they never have my size. Ever. Which amazes me because it seems as if they have about 1000 of everything. Maybe this is my fault though since I only shop the sale rack because I refuse to pay more than $3.99 for something from Old Navy. There is a moment that happens about ten minutes into every Old Navy shopping experience I've ever had. I'm digging around the ladies sale section, not having any luck. Sweaters, boat-neck shirts, and deep-V tees are strewn around my ankles because Old Navy insists on hanging everything, even if it has no business being on a hanger and will undoubtedly fall off after about a minute. I sigh, look around, and say to myself, Why am I digging through this garbage? And I leave.
*Johanna Newsom-She seems like someone I should like. Yet, I don't.
*Men without hair on their chests.
*Banana flavored anything.
I could probably go on and on here, but I'll stop for now. But I'm interested, what do you hate that everyone else seems to like? And please, feel free to chime in about some of the things on my list.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
*I've been a shitty blogger/blog friend lately. I'm behind on reading everyones blogs and even though I'm catching up, I haven't been commenting as much and that makes me feel bad. As for my own blog, I've been here, but my heart really hasn't been in it. In fact, posting has been harder than it ever has for me. It's felt like a job. Granted, a job I don't get paid for. So, it's felt like slave labor. But I feel like things are taking a turn. My life is truly settling down and I think things will be "normal" soon. Yay for normal. (As a side note to this: a lot of my blog people have had more serious and pressing matters in their lives as well and blogging and commenting has been hit and miss. Is it something in the air lately or what?)
*Our house in Florida still hasn't sold. I try not to think about it because I know that ultimately there is nothing I can do. There are a few people that want it, but getting financing is hard. The fact of the matter is, right now you have to have near perfect credit to get financing and that just isn't most people.
*I've thought long and hard about whether or not to blog about how our move was possible, in regards to the financial aspect. At one point I decided not to, but really, it seems like I'm leaving a huge chunk out of the story by not mentioning it and I'm sure some of you were wondering. So here is the abbreviated version in a loose list form for your reading ease and pleasure:
When my mom moved out, we knew we needed to act fast. Long term, we couldn't pay the mortgage on our own. We put the house on the market literally the next business day.
Jay's company has had openings throughout Oregon for sometime now. We always knew this was where we wanted to be, we just didn't know how to do it and to be frank, I was really scared about the whole thing. But because of our situation, we had to do something so Jay put in for a transfer and applied for a job in Oregon. (He got it, obviously. And he got a raise.)
To cover all of our immediate financial needs and expenses, Jay quit his job so that he could cash out his 401k, and then got re-hired when we got to Oregon. This was very stressful for me. Not so much for Jay, who tends not to be a worrier. But my worst fear was getting up here and Jay not getting re-hired.
With our 'extra' money, we paid down/off some credit cards and we paid off our car. So now, other than the fact that we have both rent AND a mortgage to pay, we're doing pretty okay financially (i.e. not so in debt). This probably goes without saying, but I need my house to sell real soon. Like, yesterday. So yeah, if anyone wants a 4 bedroom 3 1/2 bath in Gainesville, Florida.....I know a couple of very motivated sellers.
I had hoped to be get a job when the girl starts school in the fall, but they have half day kindergarten here so I don't know if that will be possible.
So that's the long and short of it. It had never been in our plan to move that way. We had hoped to have all of our ducks in a row and not have every little step be so up in the air. There were times it was so very, very stressful, and I have to credit Jay for really keeping all the balls in the air while I tried to not have a nervous breakdown. Also, I hated having to rape and pillage the 401k the way that we did (let's not even discuss the tax aspect of it all), but ultimately I'm glad it was there. Plus, we're young enough to be able to start over. Which we have. And, we're happy.
Moving on to more randomness......
*Yesterday, I bought a clothes drying rack. I'm very excited about this. I miss my clothesline and hate having to use the dryer for everything. And even though our electric bill is about $300 less than it was in Florida, I want to see how low I can get it.
*Right now I'm reading The Kite Runner. It's depressing and isn't doing a lot for my mood, but it's a good book. I'm definitely going to have to read something lighthearted afterwards. I don't know if I'll be reviewing it here. I may just want to be done with it and not think about it anymore.
*The boy just got back from outdoor school and he had a blast. I, of course, was a nervous wreck the whole time but I'm glad he went. He said the food sucked but he was excited to tell me that one of his camp counselors was a stunt double in Twilight.
I think that's all the randomness I have for you today. Hopefully I'll be back tomorrow with a proper post.
Monday, May 17, 2010
I purchased this book for two reasons:
*My best friend checked it out from her local library three times and was constantly talking about it and I wanted to participate in the conversation.
*All of my life I've had some tummy issues that I'd like to get to the bottom of. Thinking the problem may be gluten related, I thought I'd invest in a book of gluten free recipes.
It turns out though, that not all the recipes in the book are gluten free. Many of them call for spelt flour, which most people with gluten problems can't tolerate. For my purposes, this is no big deal since I can (and usually will) eat just about anything. But if you're searching for a true gluten free cook book, you might want to spend your $24 elsewhere.
So far, I've made two things from this cookbook, the Lemon-Poppy Teacake and the Johnnycakes.
Both came out tasty and the recipes were clear and easy to follow. In fact, that's probably one of my favorite things about the book. The directions are precise and exact and the author tells you to follow them word for word. Good to know since you'll be working with expensive, unusual, or hard to find ingredients like xanthan gum, potato starch, coconut oil, and arrowroot.
Which brings me to my biggest complaint, which isn't so much about the book itself, but maybe gluten free or specialty baking in general: It's super costly. On the day that I bought the ingredients for the Lemon Poppy Teacake I spent about $60. Granted, I had just moved in and my kitchen cabinets weren't stocked, so I had to buy everything, right down to basics like vanilla extract......but still. Yikes. Again, if you actually need to eat this way, this isn't a surprise to you and you probably already have a lot of the needed ingredients. But for me, the casual baker, the investment got me a bit choked up. Also, living near a big city, I had no trouble finding the needed items, but if I were still back in Gainesville, I don't know if I would have had as much luck. I may have had to order certain items off the interwebs, which can be a drag.
The book itself is very stylish and trendy and the pictures are gorgeous. I occasionally love to just read a cookbook much like I'd read a novel, so this appeals to me. That being said, I don't know if any of the recipes in this book are going to be awesome enough for me to keep the specialty items on hand. They're good, but I'm sure I could find yummy recipes online that don't need the expensive ingredients.
All in all, I like this book and have enjoyed stepping outside my comfort zone in regards to the way I bake. But I liken baking from this book to going to the opera-It's an intriguing idea, but not something I desire to do on a regular basis.(I wrote this post in conjunction with Krafty Kash's Holy Scale Mondays. If you read Kashoan's blog regularly, you know she's lost over 30 pounds in the last few months. In order to keep herself motivated she's started an online support group of sorts where we can all share tips, recipes, stories, basically anything related to weight loss or healthy living. If you're interested in joining, check out Kashoan's blog.)
Friday, May 14, 2010
There are times I'd love for all that clutter to be gone. The table would look so nice polished up with just a colorful fruit bowl in the middle. But I know that isn't realistic. Certainly not right now, and probably never. I've learned to love the clutter of the dinner table. It makes me realize what I've got. It makes me smile.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
(All photos were taken at Tualatin Commons, a gorgeous public space in my town that includes a man made lake surrounded by restaurants, apartments, and offices. During the summer months it hosts things like art festivals, farmers markets, and paddle boat rides. And it's a great place to take some pictures of goofy children running through a fountain in 58 degree weather. We told them it was a bad idea and they'd be cold. But of course, they argued with us. Live and learn.)
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I think my single crochet stitch is pretty good. Not great, but good enough and continuing to improve. Sometimes downright pretty.
My next questions would be, How do I finish it? Is there a different stitch I do around the sides to neaten it all up and give it a more polished look? Do my sides even look right, because honestly, I'm not sure I'm doing it properly? I went to Youtube but couldn't really narrow down what I needed to do or even what term to search for. A little help here? I've been using this dish cloth as-is and it's not fallen apart yet, so I'm guessing that it's okay.
In the meantime, Jodi was kind enough to send me some yarn, being modeled here by my lovely assistant:Guess what I've begun working on? That's right, another dishcloth. I'm not giving up until I can make one totally square. Either that, or I can start a business crocheting dishcloths for geometry lovers, since apparently I can make things like trapezoids or hexagons without really even trying.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Here we have the famous haystack rock:
Thursday, May 6, 2010
*The delightfully cool and drippy weather that we love.
*The excellent shopping. (Not that we shop more than the average family, but it's nice having direct access to all the things we want and not being forced to shop online or drive an hour and a half to make a purchase.)
*The steady stream of community activities, things to see, and places to go.
*The people. (To put it simply, we fit here.)
First and foremost though, we moved here because of the schools. The schools here in the small towns outside of Portland are really, really good schools. When Jay and I were researching potential places to put down roots, the schools were a huge deciding factor.
Here's the thing about my son-he's a great student and he's always done well, but he needs to be pushed into trying new things. And if he thinks that something isn't going to interest him, he won't even give it a shot. He's always gotten good grades and the Florida school system has taught him many things, but they didn't give him a love of learning. He knows facts and he knows how to do well in school, but the idea of being a lifelong learner has never really appealed to him.
As his parents, Jay and I have tried to fill in the gaps, educationally speaking, and expose him to other things, but it's been hard. There were times I didn't have the resources or even any idea as to where to begin. And of course, since we are his parents, we're usually met with resistance anytime we try to teach him anything new.
Anyway, back to his school here in Oregon. The boy is doing well and getting good grades, which honestly we expected. What we didn't expect was an almost immediate exposure to new and different things. One of the big events of the sixth grade school year is Outdoor School, where all of the sixth graders go camping for three days. This is a pretty big deal and a major part of the curriculum, but I've seen the difference on a smaller scale as well. For instance, today the boy came in the door and immediately pulled this out of his backpack:Do you know what that is??? It's baby Elphaba from Act One of Wicked! Not only is my son in a musical theatre class (a class long since cut from the budget in Florida) but he's being exposed to Wicked! Plus, he was so excited to share this with me because he knows I just read the book a few months ago. (Excuse the folds in his drawing, but it's a huge improvement from the wadded up balls he usually brings me.) Do you know how excited I am by this? The theatre, and the arts in general, are what I've been trying to interest my son in his whole life. I'm overjoyed that he's being introduced to things like this in a classroom setting. This makes it all (the financial hit we took, the fact that we're living in a teeny apartment, etc...) worth it. As Jay has said numerous times, the only thing we regret is that we didn't do it sooner.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
*I mentioned it last week, but the thrifting out here is amazing. Here's just a bit of our recent haul:
*The mirrored closet doors in my apartment. Normally, I would hate something like this, because I make it a point to avoid all mirrors-especially full length ones-but then I realized that these particular mirrors are magically slimming. I may never move out of this apartment.
*Finally, this post about disposable hand towels over on enviro mom.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
I was reticent to part with the bit of money that I brought, but when I saw these crayons, I just knew I had to have them. Seriously, how cute are they?I love kitties and I love new crayons and the two combined just about puts me over the edge. I may let the girl use them. The creators have an etsy shop, Kitty Baby Love, in case you want some kitty crayons of your own. (They also have candles, if you aren't in the market for crayons.)