Friday, April 30, 2010

Greetings and Some Advice

Just peeking out...... From under the squalor.....
To say "Hello" and to make you all feel better about the state of your own homes.

So, obviously our stuff arrived mostly in tact. Now comes the hard part...finding a place for it all.

If I could give only one piece of advice to anyone thinking of making a big move, it would be this: If you don't absolutely love something, DON'T MOVE IT! Why did I move a giant box of used Tupperware 3000 miles? It's not even real Tupperware, it's the cheap junk. And it's ugly. And I threw most of it away as soon as it was off the POD because I eventually want to replace it all with glassware anyway. I threw a lot of junk away before we left Florida, but I've trashed even more stuff since being here.

Oh, and one more thing.....You may notice in a couple of pictures there appears to be mountainous piles of laundry. When we were packing up I had the brilliant idea to wrap everything in fabric, blankets, towels, etc... thus eliminating the need for messy newspapers. What I didn't anticipate was that once we got here, I would have to wash all of those things before putting them away. I now have approximately 75 loads of laundry to do. If I didn't have a washer and dryer in my apartment, I would be near tears at the moment.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel though. Our bedroom is mostly in order, and I've found spots for a lot of the kid's items. Of course, there's still stuff in the POD so my optimism may vanish soon.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Random Thoughts

Hello there!

We finally got internet on Monday but things have just now settled down to the point where I can blog. Today the boy is in school, Jay is at work, so it's back to being just me and the girl at home. I'm excited to get our family back on a routine. I have so much I want to say but don't even know where to begin. So I figured I'd take the easy route and just spew some randomness.

*There is so much to do here. I can't imagine ever getting bored. Last Saturday we went to the Renaissance Faire, although we didn't stay long because it was 51 degrees and rainy and we, being silly Floridians, were wearing short sleeves and/or shorts. I did manage to get a few pictures though.
The boy ran off and quickly bought a wooden sword. We left before he could talk us into purchasing a cloak. Obviously, this type of event is right up his alley.
Here the girl had just bought a crown of ribbons and flowers and had been sprinkled with pixie dust by her Fairy Godmother:I don't know why she's making such a goofy face, but she's holding her hands like that because she didn't want her pixie dust (glitter) to fall off before her wish came true. No word on if her wish came true or not. I avoided the subject since I'm sure it would involve me spending money.

We also spent time at The Children's Museum and I still want to hit the Zoo, the Aquarium, and the Portland Saturday Market.

*My apartment is small, we've downsized a lot. But the location is excellent. The kids schools are nearby and I could walk to Starbucks. Also, there is a Crate and Barrel and an Anthropology less than five minutes from my front door. Not that I shop at those stores too often, but it's nice knowing they are there.

*Speaking of shopping, the thrifting around here is wonderful. I've already picked up quite a few fun purchases and hope to share them with you soon.

*Our stuff still hasn't arrived but will be here tomorrow. Words cannot express how much I want my junk to get here. We've been sleeping on air mattresses and eating off of plastic ware. We don't have a single chair in the apartment. Never before have I wanted to sit in a chair so badly. It's the simple things.

*Last Sunday, the night before our cable was hooked up, we watched the worst movie ever. It starred Winona Ryder, whom I normally love, as Lois Wilson, the wife of the man who started Alcoholics Anonymous. This schlocky movie was a giant piece of crap and Winona should be very embarrassed. Also, if any of you watched it, you should be ashamed as well. I only had one channel, I had an excuse.

*After not having picked up a book for about two weeks, I'm finally reading again. Jay spotted Good in Bed at Target and remembered it being on my list. He also picked up The Kite Runner at Goodwill, but I'm not anxious to read that one just yet because I have no desire to be emotionally distraught at the moment. Have any of you read it? Thoughts?

*A few months back I read that Daniel Baldwin had moved to the Portland area. I'm hoping Alec comes to visit his brother and I have a sighting. Needless to say, I never leave the house without full makeup.

*I've started the process of reading all the blog posts I've missed. It's been nice catching up with everyone. I've missed you all so much!

*Finally, I wanted to share a song with you. We heard this song a lot during the five day trip here. We'd sing along loudly and then usually replay it once or twice. It became sort of the theme song for our move. It's "Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes:

Friday, April 23, 2010

Oregon

We made it!

We got here Tuesday (I think--at this point all of my days have run together and my brain is a mess). We lived in a hotel for three days and are now in our apartment about 15 minutes from the city. All our stuff though, is not here, and won't be until late next week. We do have a TV that comes with the apartment, (because, you know, I didn't have enough TV's of my own). But no cable or internet until Comcast can get out here....also, late next week. Right now, I'm hijacking my neighbors internet connection and it's somewhat sketchy and tends to disconnect at random times.

I don't believe in hell, but if I did, I would have to say that my personal hell would include having to spend eternity in an empty apartment with two children and no TV or cable. Fortunately, we've had a lot of running around to do and errands to run, so there hasn't been too much downtime in the empty apartment. But I think by mid next week, it's going to get ugly.

So far, we are all loving Oregon. Even the boy, who was on the fence about the whole move. He's already made some friends in the neighborhood but was most excited by a trip to Voodoo Doughnuts.

Of course, there have been times when I've been completely overwhelmed by this place and I've yet to drive anywhere by myself except Target. Having lived in Florida my whole life, I could almost always find my way around. It's a strange feeling to sometimes literally not have any clue where I am.

Anyway, tomorrow the family and I plan to go to a Renaissance Faire that Melissa suggested and I'm excited to see more of this area. We have a few more days before Jay heads back to work so we're taking advantage of it and trying to stay busy exploring. Plus, you know, no reason to go home if you don't have internet, TV, or your stuff. Jay keeps trying to sweet talk the people at PODS in hopes of getting our stuff here sooner, but sometimes there is just nothing you can do. Tonight, we play board games.

Okay, I'm down to one bar of connectivity so I should probably hit publish before I'm disconnected. Hopefully I'll be back here sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Big Move:: Days Three and Four

This is it people. Today begins the final part of our journey. We're in a hotel in Boise, Idaho-just a few hours from Portland. I don't have a lot of time this morning but I did want to share a few random thoughts I've had thus far.

*Today will be our fifth day on the road. Although it's mostly gone smoothly, we're all ready to be out of the car.

*I'm starting to lose track of where I've been. I've taken a lot of pictures, but otherwise it's a big blur.

*I've also seen a lot of places that I wouldn't want to live in. Sorry Kansas and Wyoming.

*Kansas was, by far, the worst part of the drive. It went on forever and it was filled with a whole lot of nothing. We were driving through Kansas for 7 hours, but it seemed like about 12 days. I did get a first ever glimpse of a wind farm, which oddly, I found fascinating and gorgeous:
While in Kansas, we reached our half-way point. I looked around for something to take a picture of. Sadly this was all I could find:
*Also in Kansas, I actually saw a tumbleweed. I wish my camera had been out so I could have snapped a shot of it, because it seemed pretty comical to me. But, it tumbled by too fast.

*The night before last, we never made it to Denver. The kids were getting antsy so we decided to stop at the next "big" town we saw. We had been seeing signs for a place called Limon, Colorado so we figured it had to be a pretty sizable place. We realized how wrong we were when we got off the interstate and saw an old man driving his riding mower to the general store. Word of advice for fellow travelers: Don't stop in Limon. Just keep on truckin' to Denver, it's only an hour away.

*The next day we stopped at a Starbucks in Denver for breakfast. Never in my life have I been so thankful to see a Starbucks. We spent close to $40 there.

*Yesterday I hardly took any pictures at all which is a shame because I saw some beautiful mountain ranges. I blame Kansas for sucking the life out of me the day before.

*As for the musical part of the journey, I've given up on looking for music I want to listen to and have just been settling for whatever keeps the kids from talking to me. This has included, among others, There's a Party in my Tummy by the Yo Gabba Gabbas, the F.U.N song by Spongebob Squarepants, and a strange one called Poop goes the Weasel.

*The next time I write in this space, I'll be in Portland. Eighty-eight percent of the journey down, 12% more to go. (Thanks again for all your kind comments throughout my travels. I really do have the best blog friends.)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Big Move:: Day Two

We've made it safely to St Louis. We pulled into town around 4 PM, checked into our hotel, and then hit the town. We are mostly underwhelmed, but it's a place to lay our heads until the next leg of the journey.

Today we went through four states after leaving Georgia: Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, and Missouri.
Tennessee was pretty dull, but the scenery was pretty. I know these mountains aren't much, but for a Florida girl who is used to everything being flat, this was definitely a welcome change.

On the radio: Amie by Pure Prairie League

The boredom of Tennessee was completely trumped by that of Kentucky. Everything was very green and alive, but other than that there didn't seem to be much else going on. The occasional house or barn seemingly in the middle of nowhere. On the radio: Car Wheels on a Gravel Road by Lucinda Williams.

After a while I got tired of looking for picture worthy scenery so I turned the camera on the occupants of the car.

My pets have been utter angels on this trip. My children, not so much. But I think that's to be expected.

On the radio: Puttin' on the Ritz by Taco. (I'm so thankful for satellite radio.)

Next came Illinois, my only picture of it being the state sign. This was about the time that I stopped watching things zip past my car window and decided to just play with the radio. Jay made me listen to him screech along to Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns N' Roses. After that, there was just way too much testosterone in the car so I had to even it out a bit with Hammer and Nail by the Indigo Girls.Then we finally entered Missouri. Again, only a state sign, but we have quite a bit more time left in this state.We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow-probably a 12 hour day-so I don't know what, if anything, I'll be posting in this space. Next stop Denver! Hopefully.

The Big Move:: Day One

It's almost 5 AM. I'm sitting on the floor of a hotel room just outside of Atlanta. Everyone is asleep but me and the cat. I'm worried one of the pets has done something very naughty on the floor, but it may just be coming from the cat box. Or the bathroom. I'm sitting right next to both of them.

Yesterday was strange. I saw both of my parents cry. We're going to be very, very far away from both of them.

I felt a bit melancholy leaving the house. My kids have done a lot of growing in that house and as unhappy as I was at times in it, we do have a lot of memories there. As excited as I am to be seeing that chapter of my life come to a close, there was a slight pain in my chest.

Because we don't have a place in Oregon yet, we're technically homeless. I mean, we could always go back to the house in Florida since (unfortunately) we still own it, but it's totally empty and all of our stuff is on its way westward. This homeless feeling is very weird. In a way it just feels as if we're on a vacation and we'll just be going home in a week or so. And then it hits me that right now there is no home. It's mind blowing.

Jay is awake now so we're going to share some instant coffee. Next stop, St. Louis!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Almost There........

Oh, the poorly written and completely disjointed randomness. It's all I can muster at the moment.

*We hit the road early on Saturday morning. So far, everything is going as planned and all the loose ends are falling into place. Surprisingly. (I still have a hard time believing it when things go right in my life.) We're going to try to make it to St. Louis by Saturday night, so we have a long day of driving. We want to be in the Portland area by late Monday/early Tuesday.

*My house is almost empty. Right now I'm sitting on my mattress on the bedroom floor and we are basically living out of suitcases.

*The girl keeps asking for toys that have long since been packed away. Very irritating.

*Jay's been off work for over a week now and I haven't killed him yet. He doesn't go back to work until May 1 though, so there's still time.

*I've been so busy the past week doing all the things one needs to do before moving 3000 miles away, that I haven't had nearly enough computer time and I feel a bit disconnected from my blog pals. Never would I have imagined that I would be so close to people I had mostly never met. I've really come to rely on all of you.

*Our neighbors across the street had our family and another family who previously lived in the neighborhood over for dinner on Sunday night. I had a really nice time and it made me wish that I had hung out with everyone more while I had the chance. It always seems to work that way. I think people let their guard down a bit when they know they're never going to have to see you again. I know I wasn't on edge at all that night. Now I just need to remember that feeling for the next time I'm in a social situation.

*I know it sounds crazy, but even though it will be done with kids and pets, I'm really excited about the drive up and I'm totally looking forward to getting glimpses of the country that I've never seen before.

*It's National Library Week. I had wanted to do a post filled with Rambly Facts about Tammie and Libraries, the way Daphne did on Monday, but for the life of me, I couldn't think of anything interesting about me and libraries, just memories of an adolescent me reading Sweet Valley High books and sitting on my bed eating Twizzlers or some type of gummi candy. Certainly not worth trying to stretch into a full post. God, I loved Sweet Valley High. My favorite book being the one where Regina the deaf girl died when she tried cocaine. Sort of morbid that that's my favorite, but I remember being really tore up that she died.

*This will probably be my last post in Florida!! But hopefully I can write something from the road. Until then, I'm out!

Edited to add:: Jay just reminded me that in high school I was an aid in the school library for two hours a day for the entire year. I loved this and it’s actually one of my fondest memories from high school. I’m surprised I forgot it.

I loved all library related tasks and chores. I still remember how excited I was when I entered the library and was told I had to put three boxes of Rolling Stone magazines in chronological order. What fun!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Book Review:: On Beauty

Did you ever run into someone you once knew, someone you sort of purposely lost touch with? You didn't really like this person. You didn't have a lot of respect for this person, maybe thinking they were phony or a snob. Maybe you thought that all of their friends and family were pretentious assholes and you just didn't feel comfortable around them. Upon seeing this person you don't want to appear rude so you ask them how they've been, hoping that they'll just answer with the customary, "Oh, fine." But instead they proceed to tell you every single detail about their life over the past year. Every mistake and misstep. Every conversation, even the most banal and pointless. Every affair and sexual encounter. Every win. Every loss. Every detail about the lives of their wife and three children, all of whom also really bug you. You're sort of intrigued, but yet you also just want it all to end soon.

That's what it was like to read this book.

On Beauty centers around the Belsey family. Howard Belsey, the patriarch, is a professor at a small prestigious college outside Boston. Kiki Belsey is Howard's wife and she's always felt a bit out of place amongst Howard's intellectual friends and co-workers. This out of place feeling is exacerbated when she discovers that Howard has been having an affair with one of their good friends. After spending the last 30 years as wife and mother, Kiki sees her little world come crashing down around her and begins to wonder what her life is really all about. They have three almost grown children, Jerome, Zora, and Levi.

Here's the deal............. I had planned on writing a big long thing about this book because a lot happens and there is a lot I had wanted to say, but I'm tired. All day long I've been loading boxes and furniture into the POD and getting the place ready for tomorrows Open House/Mega Garage Sale (Keep your fingers crossed that I don't kill anyone.) So here's the abbreviated version:

This book was okay. Not great, but good enough to make me want to read all 450 pages. All the characters bugged me because I felt as if they were all very obsessed with how things appear or seem, rather than how they actually are. Because of this personality flaw, they were constantly doing things that defied all common sense or decency. A few times this made for good juicy reading. Other times it was just cringe inducing. For instance, when Howard has gross, drunken, sex with Victoria, his son's ex-fiancee and the first girl to seriously break his heart, you know it's just not going to end well for anyone.

The book's dialogue was very forced and contrived but the story kept that juicy/cringe inducing pace up until the very end and although I was irritated and bored with it at times, I mostly liked it.

That being said, I want to take a moment or two to say something about the author: She annoys the living piss out of me. She's let me down one too many times.

Ten years ago, I tried to read her first book, White Teeth, and was immediately turned off by it. I can't remember a lot about the book now, but I do know that one of the main characters was one of Jehovah's Witnesses and that particular character was portrayed inaccurately. As you all know, I have no fondness for the religion I was raised in, but I hate it when people can't get their facts straight. I really wish that I still had that book in my possession so that I could quote directly from it, but sadly it's long gone.

Fortunately, there is Amazon.com and their wonderful reviewers, which is where I found this quote from A Customer: ".....The author also used half facts, and down right untruths about certain things pivotal to the story (i.e. the Jehovah's Witnesses religion, multicultural London life) to blatantly patronise and mislead the reader. I am not a Jehovah's Witness, but I know for a fact, that Clara would not have been sent to a Catholic school, none of their members would wear a cross.....and they don't sing secular hymns and they are not your stereotypical Pentecostal churchgoers, in fact a Witness wouldn't use the word church..."

EXACTLY.

Now I know if we were in a court of law Zadie Smith's past transgressions would be inadmissible in this case, but I feel that if she tried to deceive me once, she'd probably try to do it again. The whole time I was reading On Beauty, I kept wondering if I should be fact checking the story. So, I don't trust her and I feel as if her literary voice is inauthentic.

Zadie Smith is a very famous, critically acclaimed author. But despite all her accolades, I can't shake the feeling that she's just a little girl playing make believe and trying to get the whole world to play along. Personally, I've decided that I'm not going to play along anymore. There are a lot of authors out there who are willing to play by the rules and there are plenty of books in the library.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Green Smoothie Love

Last week Heather challenged her readers to join her in drinking homemade green smoothies. It was a friendly, low pressure challenge.

I've had store bought green smoothies before. And while they taste fine, I always feel better when I can make something at home myself. Plus, they are a bit too expensive for everyday consumption.

So, into the blender went strawberries, an apple, a banana, some kale, and enough water to liquify it all. Then the blender whirrs. About five minutes later I have my new favorite breakfast.

I was definitely surprised by the green smoothie. I expected a salad-y taste, but it's similar to other smoothies, just less sweet, and maybe more clean tasting. Jay is now a convert too, admitting that yesterday he was about to make himself a big breakfast but then thought Eh, I'll just wait for the green smoothie.

I'm having a harder time convincing the kids of the many merits of the green smoothie. It's no surprise that the girl won't touch it. The boy tasted it and said it didn't taste a whole lot different from the fruit and yogurt smoothies that I make for him, but he's having a hard time getting past that rich green hue.

Someone once told me that what you eat in the morning sets the tone for what foods you crave throughout the day. I don't really know how true that is (and I can't remember where I got that information, so if it was you and/or your blog, let me know and I'll give credit where it's due), but I do know that when I have a bagel smothered in cream cheese for breakfast, it's probably not going to be a good day for my buns and thighs. So along those lines, I think a green smoothie is a pretty good way to start the day.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Hodge Podge

I've had so much I've wanted to write about lately but really have not had the time to sit down and put it all together. Things are happening pretty quickly now and there's been a lot going on. Big things, little things, and all the many things in between. I think that at this point, the best I can give you is a lengthy mish-mash post describing it all. Forgive me, this is all my brain can handle at the moment.

*Jay's last day at his job here in Gainesville was this past Saturday. Our POD is to be delivered this Friday and then the clock really starts ticking. We have a few loose ends to wrap up here and then we hit the road, hopefully within a week or so after getting the POD. We want to have an address in Oregon within 30 days of this Friday. After the 30 day mark, the POD costs $200 a month. Hopefully, we won't have it anywhere near that long. There's actually a lot more I could say about the specifics of the move, but if I write about that at all (I honestly haven't decided yet), it will be once everything is actually done. It's kind of hard for me to wrap my brain around all the details while I'm going through it. I'm really just taking it all one day at a time and doing what I have to do.

*Saturday night my BFF was in town. She and her family are on a little road trip to find the place where they want to settle when the time comes for them to get the hell out of Florida. Their trip took them through Gainesville and we had a few hours to ourselves to do all the girly things we'd be doing if we lived closer. Which apparently consists of dinner, a trip to Sephora, and a trip to Target to discuss all of the Liberty of London items. Clearly we're a couple of wild gals. God though, it was good to see her. We talk or email every day but when we get to see each other in person, it's just wonderful.

*Wine has been buy one get one free at my grocery store for the last three weeks. I don't know why I'm blogging about this. It just seems relevant. Especially since there are about six bottles of wine in my house right now.

*Alec Baldwin's birthday was this past Saturday. I hope you all took a moment out of your day to celebrate him being sexy on this planet for 52 years. I didn't. In fact, I totally forgot about it. (See, I'm not really the obsessed nut job I portray myself to be.)

*Jay and I watched 500 Days of Summer. So, so, so good. If you haven't seen this one yet, please do. Why has Joseph Gordon Levitt been off my radar for so long?

*Sunday we took the kids to see Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which by the way, the girl insists on calling Diarrhea of a Wimpy Kid. This was her first trip to a movie theatre. She's a total loud mouth chatterbox so up until now we've avoided the theatre all together. Surprisingly, she was really good so we may go to the movies as a family more often. That is, we would, if it didn't cost fifty freakin' dollars to take a family of four to the movies. And that's not including my giant purse full of candy. (And the movie? Cute and humorous, but not as good as the books.)

*My gal CT gave me an award last week and I'm just now getting around to writing about it.With this award, I have to list five things that I love or love to do. This is the hard part. Here it goes:

1. It probably goes without saying that I love spending time with my little family. My kids have been through so much in the last 9-12 months and I honestly feel like the only reason they're managing to see the light at the end of the tunnel and come out mostly unscathed, is because we're such a close family. (That being said, this week is spring break. And Jay, being unemployed at the moment, is home too. This may be a bit too much family togetherness.)

2. Obviously, I love to read. This is another thing that's gotten me through some rough times. When I don't want to think about life's problems anymore, there is nothing better than losing myself in a book.

3. These pictures of my daughter are bringing a smile to my face.One of my neighbors was throwing away this Spongebob box (costume?) and you guys know how I'm drawn to trash on a curb like moth to a flame. I tried to ignore it for a few days but it finally came home with me this weekend.

4. The story of Masha and the Bear, so kindly found for me by Heather of I'm Not Hannah. It's the Russian folk tale behind my set of nesting dolls.

5. Cadbury eggs. They make me very, very happy.

Okay, I think that's everything I needed to dump from my brain.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Russian Nesting Dolls

One of my husband's co-workers is Russian. Recently he brought this little set of matryoshkas to Jay and told him to give them to the girl.

Needless to say, they never made it that far. The second I saw them I thought, Screw that. These are totally mine. Actually, I never thought that. I spoke it. Loudly.

I'm pretty sure these are hand-crafted, at the very least they are definitely hand-painted. I'm still trying to figure out what the story is behind them. The little pink one is obviously a baby, and I'm thinking the next bigger two are grandparents. Or maybe just random old people? But why they are all stacked into a bear holding a honey pot, I do not know. But they're super cute and they will be prominently displayed somewhere in our new home.

Lest you think I'm a totally selfish, thieving mother, rest assured the girl will get these at some point. Just not right now. Right now, she's only allowed to look at them longingly.