Sunday, October 30, 2011

Things I'm Into Right Now

* I'm still riding the high that comes from having a great birthday. It was exactly what I wanted: a trip to my favorite bakery, a trip to my new favorite record store, a few thoughtful gifts from friends and family, and plenty of birthday wishes throughout the day. It was all very low key and sweet and I couldn't have been happier.

*Bridesmaids

* A new-to-me duvet cover from Goodwill. Originally from Crate and Barrel, it's in excellent condition and I only paid $6.99 for it. Score.

*Board games.Of course we've always been big on them around here, but now that I sell them on a daily basis, there has been a steady stream of new ones coming home with me. In the above picture, the girl and I were playing Magic Labyrinth. A few other favorites: Bananagrams, Consensus, Fastrack, and Settlers of Catan. Settlers is a bit too complex for the children but Jay and I like it and are trying to find more folks to play with. It's a good thing Portland has one of the largest Settlers of Catan Meetup groups in the country. (Does the fact that we are actually considering contacting one of these groups mean that we're officially geeks? I think it may. So yeah, if any of my local people play Catan, you know how to reach us.)

*Our Salt and Pepper shakers:Bought by Jay with the girl (who loves all things robot related) in mind.

*Lately The Sundays album Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic has been on constant replay in my bedroom. I listened to this tape in the nineties when it first came out. ( I didn't trust my math and I actually had to get my calculator out and check that it was indeed 21 years ago. Eeek.) I was a sheltered, lonely teenager holed up in my room, wishing I could be anywhere other than where I was and anyone other than who I was at the time. I listen to it now and although I still feel somewhat melancholy, it's cheery knowing I have more control over my own life and the moody music seems almost upbeat to me.

(As a side note: I have to go on an old person's rant here for a moment. My son has never sat and listened to an entire album by one artist. If he likes a song, he downloads that one song. I have to think that he's missing out on something by doing it this way. He doesn't understand how an entire album can help you get through some really shitty times and how you almost form relationships with the people making the music, and that makes me sad. Of course I try to explain this to him but I'm just an old mom talking gibberish. I only hope that one day my nonsense will all start making sense to him.)

All in all I'm just really in a happy place right now which is a good feeling because I was pretty bummed over the summer when it was hot and sunny day after day. But now, grey skies are back, sweater weather is here, and I just couldn't be happier.

What are you into right now?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Never Have I Ever.......

I stole this idea from Cyndy who stole it from someone else and I'd love it if you stole it from me. I think it's a good one.

The list of things I haven't done could fill a book and sometimes when I'm in a dark place in my mind I find myself dwelling on all the things I still want to do before I die. Having lived such a sheltered life, I feel as if I never really started living until I was well into my twenties. I have a lot of living to do before I'm well caught up with all you normals.

In honor of today being my 35th birthday, here's a list of 35 things I've never done:

1. Taken the SAT's. Actually, there are a number of typical high school related things I didn't get to do (prom being another) but this is the one that bothers me the most. As I've mentioned here many times, higher education was not encouraged in the environment I grew up in, so I never bothered to take the SAT's. I always wonder how I'd do. I'd like to think that I'm smarter than the average bear, but a great SAT score would be the proof wouldn't it? Of course, at this point in my life fear and complacency has settled in and the thought of taking the SAT's makes me pee myself.

2. Gone to a funeral. I've also never lost anyone I was really close to. This information could be processed two ways. On the one hand I'm incredibly lucky because no one I truly love has died. On the other hand, it makes me wonder if I'm grossly overdue and that thought frightens me.

3. Lived alone. I went from my parents house to living with Jay.

4. Taken any kind of illegal drugs or smoked a cigarette. I'll probably never try any either. I just have no interest in that type of thing. I'm very dull in that regard.

5. Been to New York City. I used to dream about visiting NYC. Now though, I think I'm more of a West Coast gal. It's so damn laid back here. I don't know if I could go back to the hustle and bustle of the East Coast. I'd probably get run over by a taxi cab.

6. Driven a stick shift. This should come as no surprise since I've also only pumped gas once in my life. I like my vehicles and my driving to be as simple as possible.

7. Been to a foreign country that I actually wanted to go to. As a child I went to my father's home country of Honduras. We stayed with wealthy relatives and hung out in resorts. Most of the country lives in poverty. The difference between what I saw and what I experienced has stuck with me. I guess in a way it was good that I went because it probably helped to shape the person who I am today. But I'd like to one day visit a country and not have the residual guilt of being one of the lucky few with indoor plumbing.

8. Been arrested.

9. Been to a birthday party in my honor or a birthday party for another adult.

10. On that note, I've also never been to a costume party.

11. Eaten caviar. Have any of you eaten caviar? Is it worth it? I kinda want to know what it tastes like.

11. Played a team sport. I'm a klutz and I'm not really much of a joiner.

12. Had a manicure, a pedicure, or a massage. In general, I don't want strangers touching me.

13. Felt comfortable in a bikini. The few times I've worn one, I practically sprinted from my towel to the water.

14. Been in a wedding.

15. Listened to an entire Lady Gaga song.

16. Watched an entire episode of Modern Family. I'm sorry, I just don't get the appeal of this show.

17. Gone skiing or snowboarding.

18. Had sex outdoors. (Note:: This is what happens when I ask Jay for help with a blog post.)

19. Ridden on a train.

20. Actually, I don't think I've ever taken any public transportation. Maybe when I was very young but I can't take credit for that. I need to rectify this. There is plenty of awesome public transportation around here, I just don't think about it.

21. Been camping and I have no desire to do so. I want a hot shower and a comfy bed every night. Honestly, the bed doesn't even need to be that comfy, I could sleep on a half deflated air mattress. But it does need to be surrounded by four solid walls and a door that can lock.

22. Done karaoke.

23. Met a celebrity. Well, a celebrity I cared about. Living in Florida, I used to run into athletes fairly often. I saw Chris Leak at the bank once and I sold shoes to John Vanbiesbrouck but I couldn't care less about athletes, in fact I had to have my resident sports archivist remind of their names. I wonder how I'd react when face to face with a celebrity I actually admire. I talk a lot about celebrities here on the blog but that's mainly for my own giggles. In reality I'm completely unimpressed by fame and even less impressed by wealth.

24. Gone hunting.

25. Read The Hobbit. I feel as if I should.

26. Been drunk in public. I rarely drink alcohol in public and if I do, I usually stop after one drink. I don't mind that buzzed feeling, but I'd rather have it in the comfort of my own home.

27. Eaten a Big Mac.

28. Worn a ball gown or a really fancy dress.

29. Worn a size zero.

30. Broken a bone.

31. Slow danced with my husband.

32. Been to Canada. When I lived in Florida, Canada seemed like another planet. But now, a visit there is much more doable.

33. Watched the sun rise.

34. Made creme brulee.

35. Eaten an apple right off the tree.

What have you never done?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

One of the most frustrating aspects of going back to work is how hard it is to carve out bits of family time. Before, Jay was the only deciding factor-if he was off of work, we did something. But now there's my schedule to contend with and the boy has more of a social life and oftentimes chooses to be with his friends rather than his family. We'd been planning a pumpkin patch trip for a few weeks now and even though the girl has been feeling a bit under the weather, we decided to go for it.

I'm not sure why there is a Voodoo Doughnut truck everywhere my family goes, but we can usually be found taking advantage of it:
(Notice the girl's adorable barrette, courtesy of Kashoan.)

Jay kindly eating half of the apple fritter I ordered: Corn maze:Alien invasion. No, it's just the boy wearing his bizarre hoodie: The eating continues. My god, we're pigs.
Waiting for meat:The meat arrives:While Jay was digging into the above sausage I was eating a large, rude looking hot dog but one of the perks about being the one holding the camera is that you can control the evidence of your own gluttony.

Various farm yard friends:Finally, the real reason to head to a pumpkin patch:
After picking our pumpkins we loaded up our big red car and headed home. We weren't in the apartment five minutes before the girl hurled into the toilet. Refusing to dwell on the negative, I'm just counting my blessings that she didn't puke in the car.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Random Thoughts

Jay recently compared my blog to an old woman's uterus, dried out and barren. His vulgarity aside, he's right, I've been quiet lately. It's like a blog recession. I do have a lot on my mind though and here are a few things I've been wanting to discuss:

*Fall is pleasing me so much. It really is beautiful outside. On my drive to work I pass trees that are so many different shades of yellows, reds, purples, and browns. I really need to get my butt in gear and take some pictures before everything is dried out and dead.

*The last few weeks have been difficult in that Jay and I have both been working a lot. I've been working five or six days most weeks and Jay's had three days off since October first. It feels as if we are both in some awful relay race without a finish line. But there is a finish line. Jay is off all of next week and my schedule looks fairly easy. Although next week is also filled with parent teacher conferences and dentist appointments so I may have spoken to soon.

*We've begun watching The Walking Dead, mainly because the boy loves zombies and what better way to bond than by watching a hoard of undead suck the innards out of people? There is no better way, of course. Do any of you watch this?

*The holiday season is pretty much officially upon us and I couldn't be happier. Although Halloween isn't my favorite, I'm excited to take the girl trick or treating and my Halloween candy bowl is already overflowing with Snickers and Skittles and other nummers. And can I just say how tickled I was when the girl brought me a coupon for Lee farms for $5 off a Christmas tree? That's right bitches, I'll be buying my tree soon. You may remember last year we got our tree early in November and I'm thinking this year will be very similar. Honestly, I'd go pick one right now if I could.

*Jay and I usually work our schedules so that during the week one of us is almost always home with the kids but this past Thursday there was a glitch and we both worked the afternoon/evening shifts. Lucy went home with a trusted friend and when Monty got home, he picked her up and they were home on their own until about 9:15. I think this was the first time that my children went home to an empty house and were alone for more than a couple of hours. The guilt I felt about having latchkey children was immense. Of course everything was fine, but it was a long night for me and by the end of the day I was glad to get home and tuck my babies into bed. ( I do want to add that Monty was totally awesome on this day. I give him a lot of grief about being a lazy slacker but he took great care of Lucy, seeing that she did all her homework and her reading. It felt good to be proud of him.)

What's new with you lately?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Things I'm Into Right Now

Just a small snippet of some of the things tickling my fancy lately:

*The girl's new rain boots:Hello Kitty you've done it again, you sly little feline.

*Trader Joe's lobster ravioli. This stuff is so good I could whip up a bowl and pop them in my mouth, much in the way other people eat popcorn or potato chips. (How did I ever survive so long without a Trader Joe's?)

*Mondays. I know it sounds nutty but the day of the week that most people loathe, just so happens to be a fun time for me. I don't work until the evenings so my friend Kim and I get together every Monday morning and have coffee, chit chat, read magazines, talk craftiness, go to the fabric store, etc. It's a few hours of girly time that I so look forward to. On the Monday of Halloween, we've set a date to de-clutter her kitchen. I don't know how excited she is about the prospect, but I can't wait.

*Speaking of fabric stores, I bought a yard of this fabric:
I'm not sure what it will be used for, but it's cute, no?

*Grey nail polish. A few weeks ago I read somewhere that grey nail polish was going to be the big thing. As far as trends go, I'm usually the last to hear about them and then by the time I get around to implementing them in my life, they are no longer popular. And I like it that way. But I love grey so I figured I'd go for it. I bought a few different shades but my favorite is Revlon's Hazy. I know that no one comes here for beauty tips, so if you want to read more about it, this gal sums it up nicely. (Although prepare yourself because she uses a lot of exclamation points!!!)

*I know you all have been anxiously awaiting the big reveal concerning my next celebrity crush. Ever since Alec and I broke up, I've been going it alone, not fake dating anyone. A girl needs some time to think after ending a long term relationship. I don't take these things lightly, just choosing any celebrity willy nilly. I put some thought into it! But a decision has been made: Vincent D'Onofrio is officially my new fake boyfriend. Adjust your lives accordingly.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Scratch That Off The To-Do List

I got my license today. I can now drive around Oregon legally. As opposed to the slightly illegal way I've been doing it for the last year and a half.

I'm pretty impressed with myself. I passed the test with a 93%. The two people around me failed so, you know, at least I'm not them.

My photo looks like a mug shot, but I guess that's to be expected. The photographer had to take the picture three times to get one that was acceptable. Are you understanding that? If not, let me clarify: Before the final shot was decided upon, there were two photos of me that the DMV decided were too bad to be on a license. The photographer kept telling me to smile and stare at the teddy bear. There was a small teddy bear taped to the camera. It was scotch tape and it was pulled tightly around his poor teddy bear neck. Even Teddy didn't want to be at the DMV. In the end, I didn't smile.

I did register to vote while I was there though. I suppose Oregon doesn't need another Democrat, but whatever. They got one.

Anyway, I'm glad it's over. Now I can get on with my life.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Book Review: Empire Falls

Empire Falls tells the story of Miles Roby, the mild mannered, sad sack of a man who manages the Empire Grill in Empire Falls, Maine. Miles has spent his life staying out of trouble and doing what he's told without argument, even forgoing his college education to run the grill at the request of its owner (and the richest woman in town), Francine Whiting. Miles feels so indebted to Mrs. Whiting because she saw to it that Miles' mother, Grace, was well cared for when she was dying of cancer. Miles wants nothing more than to leave Empire Falls and go somewhere to create a better life for his daughter but he's gotten complacent and it's easier just to stay put. For now.

Although Miles' plight is what leads the book, there is a whole cast of interesting characters living in Empire Falls and dealing with their own dramas. Here's a snippet of some of them:

*Tick Roby-Miles' sweet, teenage daughter. I loved her. If I had known a Tick Roby in high school, I would have been friends with her.

*Janine-Miles' soon to be ex-wife. She used to be fat but now she's thin and engaged to The Silver Fox.

*The Silver Fox-Older gentleman, gym owner. Engaged to Miles' ex. Always trying to get Miles to arm wrestle. Is keeping a secret from Janine. (Yes, he does actually refer to himself as The Silver Fox. Ick.)

*Cindy Whiting-Francine Whiting's handicapped daughter. Was born on the same day as Miles and has had a life long crush on him.

*Max Roby-Miles' dad. Crotchety old guy. Always asking Miles for money. Almost always has food in his beard.

*David Roby-Miles younger brother.

*Zach Minty-Tick's ex boyfriend. Asshole jock.

*John Voss-Teenage outcast with a volatile personality. Acquaintance of Tick's.

Plus there are a dozen or so more characters I've failed to mention because I would like to finish this book review sometime before Christmas. Normally when I read a book with this many characters, I start to get them all confused. Who said and did what begins to run together in my mind and the struggle to keep it all figured out causes me to lose interest. That wasn't the case with Empire Falls. Each character was developed perfectly to the point where I felt as if I knew them all personally.

It took me a month and a half to read this book. Not because it's a bad book, but because it's what I consider a 'real' book written by a 'real' writer. It's a book smart folk read. It's won awards. It's wordy, heavy on the narrative, and without a lot of dialogue. It's filled with flashbacks and details. It's epic, like a Meatloaf song. So yeah, at first glance it really isn't a book I would have picked for myself. I like my reads to be a bit more.....succinct. But Jay had read it and loved it and since I'm always nagging him to read books that I love, I figured I should occasionally do the same for him. In the end, I liked this book more than I thought I would.

(Note: Empire Falls was made into an HBO mini-series which Jay and I have begun to watch. When compared with some of the character images I had in my mind, the casting is a bit off, but the acting is superb and I highly recommend it if you want to know more but don't feel like reading a 500 page book.)