Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August pointless lists

You know, now that I think about it, August was pretty awesome.  For one thing, I wasn't cold all month.  For another, we have had some interesting adventures (a family reunion and school shopping come to mind).  And... um... Oh, right--the garden is insane and we're completely inundated with zucchini (not cool but fun to complain about) and tomatoes (totally awesome).

And now to recap, not that anyone cares aside from me and possibly Eric.

Movies watched:
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (hilarious and awesome)
500 Days of Summer (Summer sucks!)
Avalon High (why am I admitting to watching this?  I blame Abby)
Tangled (I have a crush on Zachary Levi)

Books read:
600 Hours of Edward by Craig Lancaster (I love it this much.)
Zarrella's Hierarchy of Contagiousness by Dan Zarrella (free on Kindle)
...And apparently it was a very slow bookish month.

Books I tried to read but failed:
Stress proof your life by Lisa T. Bergren (another Kindle freebie.  Read two tips and then gave it up.  Maybe I like being stressed, Lisa T. Bergren!  Ever think of that?)

Stuff I canned:

Stuff I froze:
Peach pie filling (that will NOT be used for pies)
Green beans
Roasted tomatoes
Tomato sauce

Quote of the month: 
"Creep." --Abby

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Now I'm ready, yeah I'm ready, to start all over without you

Oh, Netflix.  What the hell?  Here's a breakdown of my gripe:

  1. When we joined ten months ago, streaming and DVDs were part of the same plan for $7.99
  2. A couple months later, it increased a buck
  3. A couple months after that, it increased another buck
  4. No biggie; I'm cool with that
  5. BUT
  6. Starting Sept. 1, Netflix is separating their streaming and DVD plans, each now costing $7.99
  7. Which sucks
  8. Because you actually need both plans to make Netflix worth it
  9. The streaming selection is pretty crappy, unless you like kids' TV shows and don't mind the "retrieving" messages that show up way too often at the worst possible moments
  10. The DVD selection is better, but there's waiting involved, so we average like four movies a month
  11. See?  The streaming supplements the DVDs, and the DVDs supplement the streaming
  12. But $16 a month?
  13. I think not
  14. So we've let our DVD plan go
  15. Last night we decided to watch a movie
  16. We watched AVALON HIGH, a made for Disney Channel extravaganza
  17. Because that was our best option
  18. And you know what?
  19. FOUR "retrieving" messages
  20. And a really crappy movie
  21. Is this what we get to look forward to now?
  22. I don't really want to let it go because we don't have cable and the kids like to watch the shows from Nick and Disney
  23. And I suppose you could argue that we don't watch a lot of movies anyway
  24. But if Avalon High is the best that streaming can do for us
  25. Then we might need to rethink this whole ordeal

500 Miles to Memphis, "The Regret."  Because the good times we had are gone and they ain't coming back.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A different motive

Being allergic to artificial colors and flavors, I like to pay attention to labels.  You know what's awesome?  When you see a product with an "All Natural Flavors!" banner, and then you look more closely at the ingredient list.

Exhibit A: Dryers Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.

INGREDIENTS: skim milk, cream, sugar, chocolaty chips (sugar, coconut oil, cocoa processed with alkali (dutched cocoa), fractionated palm kernel oil, cocoa, soy lecithin, salt, natural flavor), corn syrup, whey, molasses, natural flavor, acacia gum, guar gum, Yellow 5, Blue 1, carob bean gumcarrageenan, xanthan gum

Seriously, why bother with the natural flavor if you're going to have Yellow 5, Blue 1 and like seventeen* different variations of corn sweeteners?  What's a little artificial flavor at that point?

And also: Spell check hates most of those ingredients.

Well, anyway.  The bright green color was a tip-off, so it's not like my hopes were high, but this sort of thing is annoying.

That's all.

*I might be slightly exaggerating.  It's my blog, so I can do whatever I want.

Trapt, "Headstrong." This is not where you belong. If you have food allergies, anyway.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Half an hour is 30 days

Since Eric works next door to me, separated only by that big hill / road betwixt us, one of my hobbies--actually, one of the hobbies of all of us at the front desk--is to watch Eric leave work and walk towards his truck, which is always parked above our office.  The front of our building is all glass, so sometimes he cannot see me, depending on reflections.  This leaves me no choice but to exit the building and go talk to him.  Well, sort of yell up to him, actually.  Observe:

X (Eric)

  The great wall of separation

                    X (me)

My artistry is truly a thing of beauty, I know this, so please don't feel like you need to compliment me on my usage of Xs and lines.  Some things are simply innate.

This afternoon, I had just gotten off the phone (and received a bit of an ass kicking) when Stacey calls out, hey!  It's Eric!  And I'm all, I need to go tell him that I am despondent and despairing.  And Stacey was all, see you when you get back.

I love Stacey.

Eric was all like, hey!  And I was all like, this day was great until 4, and now it's all gone to hell, and I just got in trouble by the public.  And he was like, well, I hope you have a better evening.  And I was like, I will NOT either, because now I'm despondent, and I have nothing planned for dinner, and our children are driving me CRAZY.  And he was all, uh.  And I was all, have a good time at racquetball, darling!

The end.  (You weren't waiting for a point, were you?)

Toad the Wet Sprocket, "All in All."  Because I want to catch the wind and hold it down.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mad recap

It appears that my public (hi, Mom!) has noticed that I haven't written since I fainted on Thursday.  Everything is fine, except that my arm bruise looks way worse and still hurts (but only when I poke it, as I must do every so often to see if it still hurts).  I've just been busy doing awesome stuff and things.

Let's recap, shall we?

Friday.  Work was boring and looooong.  Eric and I had planned to watch a movie (500 Days of Summer), but I wasn't in the mood even if it was crunch time 'cause we're letting our Netflix plan lapse (well, not the Netflix on Demand, just the Netflix in the mailbox).  Instead, I went on iTunes and made the family listen to 69-cent songs.  There's a reason these songs are half price or whatevs, but that's some fun right there.  I found Salt-n-Peppa (Push It!), but Eric wouldn't let me download that one.  He doesn't understand why early rap is awesome or why downloading a song because it's hilarious makes good economic sense.

But!  I found some great stuff by Paramore, and P.O.D., and Green Day.  For 69-cents!  And then Abby wanted "Eye of the Tiger," and how could I say no to THAT?  Later I played the Hair Metal Band list for Eric, and that was sort of fun.  He guessed every one correctly. Ah, memory lane, I doth love thee.

Onto Saturday.  The girls and I had a plan of action: School supplies.  This ALMOST spawned a "Reasons Why I Hate Wal-Mart in No Particular Order" entry, but I got to reason seven and gave the whole enterprise up.  (Maybe another time.)  Wal-Mart is one big labyrinth of despair.  Lord forbid two people with carts end up on the same aisle.  I felt sort of like I was in the bumper cars at the fair and the other drivers were high.  I'm surprised we got out unscathed.

I'll admit that I threw a couple of fits (Wal-Mart tends to chip away my resolve), but the girls were AWESOME.  They didn't let the utter chaos of the school supply aisles get them down.  I was ever so proud.  It took us about an hour to get 'er all done, which was a miracle of epic proportions, given the fact that forty thousand people decided to get their school supplies that day.

Next was ice cream.  The girls got cones and we went to sit at a nearby park and just take in the scene.  (I asked to see the ingredient list in a bout of pointless optimism.  Ah, well,  Who wants ice cream anyway?)  The girls were so happy, and the day was so lovely.  All the suckiness of Wal-Mart seemed very far away.

Oh yeah, and Johanna did all this barefoot.  We were halfway to town when she announced that SOMEHOW she had forgotten to put on shoes.  I suppose the fact we were getting in the car to go to town was not a big enough tip-off that perhaps shoes would be required.

That night Eric and I finally watched 500 Days of Summer, and while it was a good movie and all, it sort of made me mad.  Why did Summer lead Tom on like that?  And why didn't I believe the narrator when he said it wasn't a love story?  (Words, not actions?  What?  It makes my head hurt to think about, so I won't.)

And then Sunday.  We decided to just face our destiny and get the girls outfitted for school.  We went to The Big City (which we usually avoid like the plague), as our options at home are really limited.  It was also like a hundred degrees out or whatevs, but that was fine.  It's been so cold this summer that a little heat feels good.  Plus... air conditioning.  Am I right?  This is neither here nor there, I suppose.  The point is that we went to some malls, and the girls picked out some clothing items, and there were a few sales.  I had just read an article about how clothing is up 10% across the board and stores are jacking up prices so they can have "sales."  And something about buttons adding an extra $7 to an item. My new found knowledge made me a little suspicious of the whole ordeal, not that THAT really mattered or anything because the girls needed clothing whether we were getting ripped off or not.  They've grown a lot this summer.  They need pants that fit.

P.S. The girls were so happy and appreciative--I don't know how many times they thanked us for their new clothes--and it was just a nice family day.  Maybe we should go to The Big City more often?  (Yeah, I know... that's just crazy talk.)

And can I just say, thank God for tall sizes?  In the '80s, I had to rock the high-waters whether I liked it or not.  (And I didn't.)  I'm glad my girls are spared the humiliation and agony.  Because that did NOT make me stronger.  It just made me bitter and a little depressed, and someday my future therapist and I are going to have a lot to talk about on the subject.

Which brings us to today!  I worked a full day, and then my parents invited us over for dinner, which was awesome because I had NOTHING planned at all, so that totally saved us.  And we just hung out on their patio and talked, and Mom wondered why I hadn't updated the blog, and then.  Um, I guess that's it.

Sorry... I'm not feeling the musical link tonight.  Nothing is speaking to me, and anyway, Eric wants the computer.  Next time.  Probably.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sometimes I don't make sense

(I hope you weren't expecting a short entry tonight, because I'm feeling wordy.)

If there's one thing that I'm not overly thrilled about in this life, it's the necessity of needles.  Not that I spend time worrying about vaccinations or blood draws or whatevs (that is, however, how I spent a good chunk of my childhood), but I'd be cool if it all just went away.

My mother was/is big on the whole "it's your responsibility to take care of your health because no one else will" ordeal, which I thought was sort of unfortunate when I was a kid because she was one of those mothers who would make sure our immunizations were updated and the like.

On the upside, I probably have her to thank for the fact that my twice-yearly dentist appointments and yearly physicals actually happen, despite the high percentage that a needle might be produced at any give moment.

So anyway.  I diligently made my yearly appointment last month, and, like the responsible adult I am (why are you laughing?), I even asked if I needed to have blood work this year.  The receptionist assured me that my doctor (whom I love and adore) likes her patients to have blood work every year.  This was a bummer--I usually get to slide a while between tests, and I just had one last year--but it didn't ruin my day.  I mean, I am 39.  Maybe I'm just at that age?

This morning, the day of reckoning arrived.  Happily for all parties involved (I guess just me), I didn't have to have my cholesterol checked this year (my cholesterol is a thing of beauty, just FYI), which meant no fasting.  Yay breakfast!  I'm a girl who enjoys her morning meal.  And her coffee.  Mostly the coffee.  With lots of cream.

Seriously, is there anything better than that first cup o' coffee in the morning?  No.  And that's all I have to say about that.

I eat my toast with peanut butter and drink my coffee, and I kiss my girls good-bye, and I head to the doctor's office.  I'm still not nervous--I'm so wise and mature!--and anyway, I have my iPod blasting, and it's a beautiful day, and this whole ordeal should take less than five minutes, right?

I get to the office right smack on time (why is it that the only time I meet up with drivers who enjoy traveling ten miles below the speed limit is when I'm running late?) and then have to sit there a minute or two because they've mislaid my paperwork, and the new... um, blood-drawing lady?... won't start until she has it.  Or at least that's what they kept saying at the front desk, but I was all like, well, I'm glad she doesn't just go in there without knowing what sorts of tests she's supposed to run, and anyway, I'm trying to play Thread Words on my Kindle.

I finally get the go-ahead (I would have been cool with a few more minutes of game playing, in all honesty--Thread Words is stupid* and yet addictive) and the blood-drawing lady comes out to meet me.  She's very nice and perky.  I sit in the chair and we chat a bit about slow computers, and if Eric is still my emergency contact (why, yes he is!), and what I had going that morning (no work until noon!).  I told her that one time like three years ago I said that I'm an easy blood draw, and then the... other blood-drawing lady?... couldn't get anything out of my sweet little veins, and then I fainted, so I was certainly not going to jinx myself by saying that.  Hardy-har-har.

So the blood-drawing lady slaps that band around my arm and tries to distinguish which of my veins is the best bet.  Apparently I have little veins that like to wiggle around.  That's totally gross, and not what I needed to hear with needle-impending trauma just around the corner, but still, being so wise and mature, I let it slide with a smile.  And then I was all, you can do it, little veins!  Because I was pretty sure that a good pep-talk was all that would be required.

My right arm got the honor of having the best vein options, and I turned a bit in my seat so I wouldn't have to watch.  I don't like watching any of it--not the vein search, not the cleansing of the area, and certainly not the needle insertion.  I apologized for jumping when the needle went in--I always do that.   But I was being cool and all, cooing to my veins even though nothing was happening and the blood-drawing lady was having to search a bit deeper than I would have liked.

Not that it hurt or anything.  Mostly it was just the thought.

But hey, I've given birth twice, and really, in the grand scope of things, this is a cake walk.  So she kept searching, and I keep chatting aimlessly to distract myself, and finally I hear an "Ahhh!" and I know that we've struck gold.

And all was fine there for like thirty seconds, and then all of a sudden I'm seeing stars.

So I say, rather calmly, that I need to lay down.  The blood-drawing lady tells me to just put my head down.  I tell her that I feel faint.  She tells me to just hold on (apparently they don't like you running around when you've got a needle sticking out of your arm.  Stupid rules), and she'll find me a room, and we'll finish up.  And I'm like, no, I don't think I can finish up, that one little vial is going to have to do it.  And please, please let me lay down.

"Can you walk?" the blood-drawing lady asks.  Yes, I think so.  "Do you feel like you're going to be sick?"  No.  "Walk this way.  No, THIS way.  Hang onto me."

I didn't want to hang onto her, though, because I was suddenly sweating profusely, and I felt bad that I was all sticky and gross.  I mean, I'd just met this woman.  I didn't care if she is in the medical profession and has seen this all before.  I could feel her gripping my arm, but I didn't grip her back.

Which was about the time I could feel my legs buckling out from under me, and all sounds became muted, and I could hear her calling for help.  As I was going down, part of me was thinking, wow, either I'm walking down some stairs or I'm getting closer to the floor, while the other half was all like, you're fainting, idiot!

The blood drawing lady was a good five or six inches shorter than me, and she just couldn't support my weight no matter how hard she tried.  I could feel the exam table, but I knew the physical effort to get up there was not possible.  I asked if I could just lay on the floor, and to my relief, she agreed.

I forgot to ask if I'd actually passed out.  I mean, if I'm going to go through all that, I may as well lose consciousness, right?  Not that THAT would add dignity to this situation in any way, but I'd feel better about it.

I could hear people talking around me--my doctor found me, which I thought was nice because I wasn't even in her section of the building--but they sounded very, very far away.  When they began to sound closer, I risked opening my eyes.

Two nurses, two doctors, and the blood-drawing lady.  Not a bad crowd.

Although that doesn't include the workmen switching out the phone lines in the hall or the entire front desk area or whoever else happened to be in the hall at the time.  Just a ballpark figure here, but I think at least ten people were witness to my shame.

I tell Nurse #1 that I think I can crawl up to the bed now.  "Oh, no you aren't," she says.  "You're blood pressure is too low.  You're going to stay right there."

Nurse #1 flashes my doctor a piece of paper that I assume has my numbers on it.  I take this as a relatively bad sign, because if my blood pressure was good, they'd just say so.  It's only when they don't want you to freak out that they hide stuff from you.  Which is usually when I freak out.

But I figured, well, I'm in a doctor's office for one thing, so probably I am not going to die.  And also, Eric is just right up the road.  AND my favorite mother-in-law was behind me during my ride into town, and I knew she was just up the street too.  This was all very reassuring.

My doctor sits on the floor next to my head and starts telling me about how she fainted as a med student doing a c-section, and when she came to the nurses brought her a tray of food and she thought she should faint more often because that was pretty great.  She gave me a cold compress and told me that when your blood pressure is 90/60, like mine is (when I'm stressed), a little shot of adrenaline can pop you down to the 70s pretty fast.  That made me feel better.  She also said because of my "adverse reaction to blood draws" that I don't have to do it again for five entire years.  So let that be a lesson to you, kids.

The blood-drawing lady was apologetic, but I was all like, sorry for almost crushing you under my body, and also, it's not you, it's me.  Really.  I'm a fainter.  Thanks for bringing my bag in for me while I lay here on the floor.

Someone brought me a bottle of bright orange glucose test juice, and I was like, I don't think I can drink that.  "No!  It's disgusting!" my doctor agreed, and I was like, no, well yes, it is gross, but mostly it's just that the bright orange color that will kill me, and she was like, "Oh, right."  So Nurse #2 brings me blueberries and a cheese stick, and a cup of water.  I felt sort of bad about that, but by then I had it in me to sit up, which seemed to make everyone else in the room feel better, so I was left to settle my wits all by myself, which was sort of a nice change of pace after all the public humiliation.

I snuck a peek at the paper Nurse #1 was hiding from me.  Apparently my blood pressure had dropped to 78/50.  So that was sort of exciting.

At any rate, I eventually made it out of the room, blueberries and cheese stick and water in hand.  Nurse #1 met me in the hall.  "You look better," she said, although I couldn't really tell if she was serious or just trying to make me feel better.  I made it out of the building (the receptionist, whom Eric graduated with, asked if I was okay--the humiliation continues!) and sat in my car and called Eric.  Who wasn't at his desk (even though he should obviously be on standby at all times just in case I need to talk to him).  I left a message, cranked up my iPod, and made it home.

Once at home, I took about an hour's nap.  My head has hurt all day--I'm not sure if that's because of the blood pressure dip or the hard floor--and my stomach hurts, too (adrenaline rush has activated my IBS, which is always the recipe for a good time).  But I made it through my five-hour work stint.  Not that I've managed to do anything else tonight aside from eat dinner and blog (and see the castle Johanna made out of garden shed debris).  I'm thinking it might be time to go clean the kitchen. Even though my arm is all bruised and sucky looking.


(Okay, fine, it doesn't look THAT bad.  But it hurts like the dickens.)

The end, I guess.  

*Because I can't get past level five.

Tonight's song obviously must be "Faint" by Linkin Park.  I love this song.  LOVE.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I've been trying hard to reach you, 'cause I don't know what to do

Dear Little Old Lady,

Why is it that I end up with all the weird calls at work?  Probably because I'm new and, while things are  becoming clearer, now that I'm THIS CLOSE to my 6-monthiversary (what?  That's totally a word), there's still a lot of stuff that I'm just not emotionally stable enough to handle.

Like when you called recently to put in that garage sale ad, but were afraid you'd be charged extra because it was really a moving sale ad and you didn't want to pay more.  (Fun fact: Garage sales, yard sales, rummage sales and moving sales are all one and the same.)  But then you wanted to place additional 2-week, $10 ads for things like a $5 sewing table.

Look, I'm no math whiz, but it seems like placing a $10 ad to sell a $5 item is not, shall we say, "fiscally responsible."  This is why I suggested just adding these items to your garage/moving sale.  And while I can appreciate that maybe this was a new concept for you, maybe you could have just gone with it instead of needing it all explained to you.  In triplicate.  Really, I'm on your side.

And after we'd finally established that adding the $5 pieces to your moving ad would save you quite a bit of money, I was okay with you adding ten more items, ranging in price from the aforementioned $5 to $450.  Look, that's cool.  But maybe next time you can have your prices all sorted out before you call me.  Or just list the items, sans prices, and let the garage-salers figure it out when they arrive at your house.  This simple step could shave 20 minutes off our phone time, not that I'm trying to hurry you in any way, but I do sort of have this job to do... and newspapers run on what is generally referred to as a "deadline."

One more thing: When placing an ad, the first thing you need to give me is your phone number.  That story about your mother's hand-braided rug that's 50 years old and still in pretty good condition, but you and your medically challenged husband keep tripping over it, so it's breaking your heart but it's got to go?  I totally want to hear it, just after you give me your phone number.  Without that phone number, I can't start the ad.  That's just how our computers are set up.

I will forgive you... well, most of this (let's not get crazy here, Little Old Lady)... just because of how you sweetly said, "Just a minute" to me and then yelled at your husband to hush up while you were on the phone, and then coming back on and being all sweet again.  That was sort of awesome.

Remember: Phone number first, and have your ad worked out ahead of time.  Now, maybe go bake some cookies and then bring some to me.  Just because I really like cookies.

Thank you.

Sincerely, Trisha

P.S. For some reason, Coldplay's "Talk" is speaking to me right about now.  And also, Eric claims he can't tell if I'm being serious (and "whiny") or funny.  It's a fine line, isn't it?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Need that picture of you

Photos Abby has taken with her iPod Touch:

("I love his face!")

("This guy kinda looks like Dumbledore, without the beard and all the hair and crap.  And he was ticked and he made a funny face.")

(Apparently this guy looks like her choir teacher, except without the Converse.  She was talking too fast to get an actual quote.)

("AWWWWWESOME!"  Personally, I like the arrow in its eye.)

Next up, if I can steal her iPod for half a second, will be the Abby-eyed view of the family reunion we attended on Saturday.  We shall see, we shall see...

UPDATE: Apparently Abby deleted all her pictures from the reunion.  So that's sort of disappointing.

I'm no Lady Gaga fan, but Abby is, and as far as that all goes, THIS SONG isn't so bad.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I Hate Everything About You, Safeway

Why I Hate Safeway, In No Particular Order:
  1. Safeway sucks.
  2. No local produce.
  3. Why is my card "invalid" all of a sudden?
  4. Why are only two lines ever open when there are clearly 10 stands that could be open?
  5. It's not fun standing in line for ten minutes.
  6. It's also not fun standing in the middle of an aisle while you wait in line, where ankles are vulnerable to smacking on passing carts.
  7. Self service check out?  No thank you--you need to do something nice for me if I'm going to put up with this crappy store, so making me feel guilty about not checking myself out is stupid.
  8. Too crowded.
  9. And adding a Starbucks and a bank just make it more crowded, not more convenient.
  10. Where's that meat from again?
  11. Can't find what I'm looking for.
  12. No pickling salt.  That is just wrong.
  13. Reusable bags are structurally deficient.  (It's not reusable if it rips on the first go.)
  14. Dumb piped music.
  15. Seriously, turn on the lights.
  16. You're not fooling anyone with your "savings card" scheme.  You're prices aren't that great.
  17. No Organic Valley Soy Milk.
  18. Weak on the organics.
  19. And no, I don't trust your Safeway organic brand.
  20. My favorite tote bag ripped on the exit door, which is clearly Safeway's fault.
  21. UPDATE:* You can never find a parking spot
  22. UPDATE: Limited selection of product on the shelves
  23. UPDATE: When was the last time you were in Safeway and someone offered to take your bags to the car for you?  For us, roughly 1998.
  24. UPDATE: Safeway Select?  That's called "irony."
That's not the end, but I'm getting tired of this.  I rarely go into Safeway anyway, but since my last trip, I remember why that is.  Safeway and I are breaking up for good.  

Have I mentioned that I hate Safeway?

*New reasons to hate Safeway, given to me by sources who will remain anonymous to protect their awesomeness, because I am selfish that way.  I will happily update as new reasons come in, should I hear any more, or am bored enough to come up with new ones myself.

Eric helped me pick out tonight's song: Three Days Grace, "I Hate Everything About You."  Sometimes I miss the obvious, so it's good I have Eric around.

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    Wish what I'm feeling could go on like this forever

    Johanna has told me that I'm not fat, I'm fluffy.  Like Skilly.

    (Skilly is clearly comfortable with his fluffiness.  Me, not so much.)

    Fantastic.  I'm pretty sure I didn't need to add this particular worry to my already full 39-year-old plate.  I've got wrinkles and what appears to be a mustache.  Isn't that enough?

    Tori Amos, "Daisy Dead Petals."  A B-side from the Cornflake Girl single (is it really the B-side when it's a CD and there ARE no sides?  And what about MP3s?  This makes my head hurt), in case you need to know that.  I like it very much.  And Tori always understands.

    Tuesday, August 9, 2011

    The fruit is calling from the trees

    Garden update: It takes longer to pick these days than it does to water.  I really should have started garden updates sooner, just for my own personal reference, although the weather has been so wacky that perhaps this isn't a good representation of when things should be ready anyway.

    The raspberries are about finished, but the blackberries are coming on strong.  The peas are getting pretty pathetic, but the beans are going crazy.  I don't even want to think about the zucchini.  Those suckers are insane.  Last night I grated the pile on the counter and ended up with five quart bags and one gallon bag of shreds "for later use," as well as a case of carpel tunnel.  

    But!  I've picked the first Roma!  Isn't it pretty?

    (Is it just me, or does my hand look sort of wrinkly?  That will teach me to mess around with iPhoto.)

    All this is fine, but is not actually what I had planned to write about.  (Not that I ever have a plan, though I do like to pretend sometimes.)  What I wanted to write about is that I hope that the "hip hugger" trend ends soon.  I get tired of hiking my pants up all the time.  I feel self-conscious, even out there in my garden. 

    And I'm pretty sure the neighbors are tired of seeing my behind area when I'm hunkered down over the beans.

    I know this because they're always shouting, "Hey!  Say no to crack!" over the fence.

    Just kidding.  We don't have a fence.  They actually just email me.

    Kidding again.  They don't email me; they email the Homeowners Association.

    Ha!  We don't even have a Homeowners Association, so they have to do it the old fashioned way--talk loudly about it in front of their kid, so when they pop by for a visit, the kid will say something like, "Hey, Trish, Mom says you need to pull up your pants when you're picking beans," and the mom will be all like, "Why Gracie, I do declare!  Wherever did you hear that?" and the kid is all, "Uh, you told Daddy that last night," and the mom is all, "WHAT DID I TELL YOU ABOUT INCRIMINATING ME?"

    Okay, fine.  I made that up, too.  (No one says "I do declare" around here.)  But seriously, when are the good ol' high waists of the '80s going to come back?  Because I think the time is ripe for something like that to really take off again.  I, for one, will be first in line.

    I think it's only fitting that tonight's song be "Low," by Cracker.  (Snicker.)

    Monday, August 8, 2011

    I'm not supposed to be like this, but it's okay

    (This could also be titled "All sorts of awesome."  Take your pick.)

    I'm in love with 600 Hours of Edward by Craig Lancaster.  It's easily my favorite book of this year... and sure, the year isn't over yet, but this is my blog, and I can make whatever declarations I want.  (I  love the word "declarations.")

    Not that this is pertinent or anything (I love the word "pertinent"), but Eric usually brings me flowers for the girls' birthdays, because he is awesome like that, but this year, what with a generally hectic week leading up to and after Abby's birthday, he gave me an e-book of my choice instead.  Flowers are pretty, but I think I like the e-book idea better.  For one thing, it lasts longer than a week.  For another, a girl can NEVER have too many books.  (I love the word "books.")

    Moving right along...

    I'm not going to write a book report, and anyway, if you want that sort of information, you can just click the link above and Amazon will happily tell you everything you need to know, and you can read other people's book reports, and even a sample chapter (which I recommend you do).

    But!  Some things you should know about Edward: He is awesome (I also love the word "awesome").  He's OCD and has autism spectrum disorder, so there's a lot of counting and routine and mostly self-imposed isolation that he can't seem to actually uphold.  He watches Dragnet every night at the same time (but only the color episodes), and he really likes REM and Matthew Sweet. He prefers facts and right hand turns, and he has a two-drawer filing cabinet filled with letters of complaint that he writes but does not send (anymore).  And looking back, Edward can fit how his life changed into 600 hours (or 25 days, in case you're not up to doing the math yourself).

    I was pretty sure Edward and I were going to get along from the get-go (seriously, go read that sample), but then I found this passage (which I would feel badly about copying here, except it's on Amazon, so I assume it's fine.  However, if Craig Lancaster tells me to take it off, I will be all like, "Hey, Craig Lancaster!  I really love your book!  And also, you make me want to move to Montana." And then I will take it off, because I'm very obedient that way), and I knew Edward was my new best friend:
    "I think my letters of complaint to Garth Brooks were entirely justified.  If you look objectively at country music, you cannot come to any conclusion other than he ruined it.  He also ruined a lot of pop music, especially when he pretended to be that Chris Gaines person and when he covered that song by Kiss. I merely wrote to him and let him know about the damage he was doing, because I thought that maybe he didn't know and would stop if he did.  I had to write to him 49 times before he wrote back, but it wasn't really him.  It was his lawyer."
    Word up, Edward.  Word up.  We need more of you in this world.

    Now that I've finished the book and thought about it for a week, I'm rereading it.  And highlighting all my favorite passages.  I love highlighting my favorite passages.  It's a very good project.

    Clearly our song for the day must be REM's "Wrong Child," but you know what I've learned?  There is exactly one link on YouTube, and THIS IS IT.  Unfortunate, because that song is one of my favorites (I'm not supposed to be like this, either), and the quality isn't that great, but what do you do?

    Saturday, August 6, 2011

    We're making our escape

    Where's Abby?

    (This is what happens when Grandma has you looking for blueberries
    from inside the bush.)

    Now, go listen to Coldplay, "The Escapist." See?  It all comes together eventually.

    Thursday, August 4, 2011

    I don't know what this is...

    Why do I put off writing certain posts?  (Is that even what this is called?  My head hurts; thinking is hard.)  In late July, we got together with some o' the family for a Grandma Memorial Bash, and the whole time I was living it, I was thinking of how I needed to write it all down so I wouldn't forget.  Waiting until I have a headache three weeks later was probably not my best idea.

    Eric is also playing Angry Chickens (wait... Angry Birds) on Abby's iPod and it's making an awful racket. Although I sort of like the sound effects when the chickens (wait... birds) hit the pigs.


    So my Grandma died three years ago, and we've sort of gotten into this tradition of... not celebrating, but getting together and having a meal and catching up and visiting my grandparents' graves and then having ice cream.  At Gram's house.  Since my cousin Seth bought Gram's house and is trying to make it his (and wow, he's done a great job so far... it looks awesome, especially since he took down the scary Crucified Jesus in the living room), there's a bit of "going through Gram's things" as well.  Which has yielded some awesome stuff for me: A funky bracelet that I can't imagine Gram actually wearing, although others say it's totally something she's have worn (that's perspective for you) that I picked out last year (along with some embroidered pillow cases et al, but I wear the bracelet a lot more than I look at the pillowcases), and her entire set of China this year (I had no idea Gram HAD China.  Apparently she got it while working at Montgomery Wards in the '70s.  AWESOME).

    Maybe I should consider using paragraphs?

    We had a lovely time with everyone.  The place was packed--it was the largest group we've had yet.  Now that I'm 39 and wise and mature, I appreciate being able to spend time with my cousins (well, and aunts and uncles and brother).  I loaded up numbers into my phone with vague plans to randomly call everyone to check in here and there.  It could happen.


    My grandparents lived next to one of those little neighborhood corner stores that mostly just sold beer, milk and candy bars.  And jojos.  Not that we ever ate them, just that they were there.  My grandpa was, shall we say, a cranky sort of man who would PAY US QUARTERS to get us out of the house.  Naturally we would walk to the store, which was MILES away from the house, and stock up on candy cigarettes, jawbreakers, and red hots.  Unless you were my brothers, in which case you bought sports cards with the hard piece of bubble gum inside.  And ended up with lots of rookie cards that paid for that term in college or whatevs.  Not that I'm regretting my jawbreakers, because they were delish.

    The cousins, as I am going to refer to us because we are not "the adults," no matter how old we are now, decided we needed to take a walk to the store, for old time's sake.  It was an amazingly short walk.  I was all, I am sure the store has moved closer, because this walk used to take forever.  Once inside, we were a little bummed to see that they'd moved the candy counter to another area, until we saw that they'd filled the spot with wine and lotto tickets.  Somehow, that seemed fitting.

    I loaded Abby up with my favorites*--well, the favorites I could find: Runts, Jawbreakers, and Atomic Fireballs.  I was tempted to get her some Lucky Stripe gum, but Eric was looking at me like I was insane, so I decided to put it back (he's right, of course--that gum never held it's flavor).  I spent $1.87, although considering the ambiance, it should have been way more.  (Or less, depending.)

    As I left the store I spotted the Zotts, well hidden, and I was all, damn!  Because I totally would have bought a string of those, too.  My girls have needs and are totally worth it.

    We walked home, comparing purchases: Laffy Taffy, those colored sugar pouches that you dip a sugar stick into (what the heck are they called?  Lick-A-Stick?), Charleston Chew.  Everyone was ever so pleased with themselves.

    But that might have been the sugar high from the ice cream.

    Love you, Gram.  Thank you, Seth.

    *I'm allergic to artificial colors and flavors, so buying them for myself was out.  But Abby was nice enough to let me smell everything, which I keep telling myself is just as good and TOTALLY NORMAL.

    I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out what song would be fitting for this particular entry, and have finally settled on Duffy, "Mercy."  Just because it was playing A LOT around the time that Grammie died.

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    Too many times

    This sort of thing makes me angry:

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Meat giant Cargill is recalling 36 million pounds of ground turkey linked to a nationwide salmonella outbreak that has killed one person in California and sickened at least 76 others.

    Illnesses in the outbreak date back to March and have been reported in 26 states coast to coast.

    Cargill said Wednesday that it is recalling fresh and frozen ground turkey products produced at the company's Springdale, Ark., plant from Feb. 20 through Aug. 2 due to possible contamination from the strain of salmonella linked to the illnesses.
    Company officials said that all ground turkey production has been suspended at the plant until the company is able to determine the source of the outbreak.

    "Given our concern for what has happened, and our desire to do what is right for our consumers and customers, we are voluntarily removing our ground turkey products from the marketplace," said Steve Willardsen, president of Cargill's turkey processing business.

    Bolding is mine.  I just wanted to point out that this whole ordeal began in February, and today is August 3.  I'm no math genius, but that's almost six months.  (Seriously, how much of that ground turkey being recalled NOW do they think is still sitting around in people's refrigerators?  From June?  I don't even want to think about March/April/May.  Or February.)

    Here's another beauty from the same AP article:
    The CDC said this week that cultures of ground turkey from four retail locations between March 7 and June 27 showed contamination with the same strain of salmonella, though those samples had not been specifically linked to the illnesses. The CDC said preliminary information showed that three of those samples were linked to the same production establishment, but it did not name that plant.

    Three months of "contamination with the same strain of salmonella."  From four locations.  Three of which were linked to the same production plant.  That part's my favorite.

    Maybe I should add that this doesn't effect us at all--I don't have any of this particular product lying about (um, I don't buy from "meat giants," for one thing).  It just makes me wonder why we're supposed to be thankful that companies recall their products "voluntarily" for our "safety" when months have passed since contaminants have first been detected.

    It's stupid.  I hate stupid.

    The Cure, "From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea." Because.

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    This monster in me

    Johanna, who is filled with awesome, has redecorated my bedside table, or, more to the point (sorry; sometimes points just happen), has made me a monster collage over my very favorite photo of my girls, EVER (which is why it's on the bedside table):

    I think I'll keep it up for a while.  Her monsters make me laugh.

    I used to find Abby's artwork displayed all over the house, too, but now that she's 12, those days are pretty much over, unless you count all the mushrooms she's drawn and covered her bulletin board with (a la Mario Brothers, just FYI), but since THAT mess just stays in her room, it probably doesn't.

    I kind of miss it.

    Good thing Johanna is only 6.  (AND A HALF.  Do not forget that if you ever mention her age in front of her.)

    Today's song is REM's "Circus Envy."  Listen, and you'll SEE WHY.  (Um, mostly because it's really the only song in my collection that mentions monsters at all.)

    Monday, August 1, 2011

    Still waiting for awesome

    Yesterday I had a bit of awesome find me, in the form of a nap on the hammock.  (My first nap all summer long.  Crazy.)  But I keep thinking that TOTAL awesome must be around the corner, so while I wait, here are some pointless lists for no one's amusement but mine.

    Movies watched (actually, some of these might have been late June):
    Harry Potter 7.2 (awesome, awesome, awesome)
    The Social Network (wow, that Napster guy was a jerk)
    The Bucket List (have I ever mentioned how much I love Morgan Freeman?)
    The Hangover (baby!)
    The Time Traveler's Wife (yes, I cried)
    Knocked Up (better than I expected)
    Mean Girls (I love anything Tina Fey touches)

    Books read:
    Bossypants, Tina Fey (see "Mean Girls")
    Jabberwocky, Daniel Coleman (free on Kindle, and totally awesome)
    Eyewall, H.W. "Buzz" Bernard (also free on Kindle, and also totally awesome)
    The Spellman Files, Lisa Lutz (hilarious and fab)
    The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger (had to read after watching the movie; the book was better)

    Books I tried to read but failed:
    Her Fearful Symmetry, Audrey Niffenegger (seriously, what der hell?)

    Quote of the month: 
    "I told Papa I'd call him when we went to the beach, and I'm afraid he was just sitting by the phone all day in his swimsuit, waiting for me." --Johanna