Sunday, September 30, 2012

September Pointless Lists

Thirty days has September.  Hath September?  One of those.

Ah, how I love lazy Sunday mornings.  I went on a news website to be all worldly and informed and somehow ended up on YouTube watching "Smart Girls Ask Amy" episodes.  Amy Poehler giving advice to people?  THAT'S AWESOME.

So I still don't know what's going on in the world, but you know what?  That's probably for the best because I end up yelling at my monitor a lot.

P.S. Abby had a sleepover Friday night.  When you're a teenager and all your friends have iPod Touches, you can put out an APV at like 7 p.m. on Thursday and get a party going in no time flat.  So we had a houseful of girls, is what I'm saying.  Or four.  Whatever.  So Saturday morning I made Mickey Mouse waffles with the waffle maker my Aunt Jan gave me as a shower gift like 17 years ago for my "future children."  I don't always make waffles, but when I do, they're Mickey Mouse.

THEN.  It was National Coffee Day, and our Dutch Bros had all their medium drinks on sale for $1.  So I piled everyone into my car and vanilla lattes for all!  Decaf because I'm not going to stunt anyone's growth (right, Tim*?), and actually a strawberry smoothie for Johanna because my coffee fiend decided at the last minute that's what she wanted.  Alrighty then.

Um, that was enough interaction with the children, so we came home and I  tried to read on the deck but it got too hot (!!!) so I read inside instead.

Today: Grocery shopping, laundry, light cleaning.  More reading?  Perhaps some decluttering.  Decluttering is fun.

P.P.S. Johanna is playing Mario Kart and just got first place.  She's jacked.  But my favorite quote this morning?  "I'm solidly in second!  I'm in solid secon... oh."

Pointless list time!

Books read:
You Can Buy Happiness (and It's Cheap) by Tammy Strobel.  Tammy writes the Rowdy Kittens blog, which I love and adore, so knew that this book would probably be awesome.  And it is.  Tammy and her husband Logan have chosen to live very simply.  How simply?  They live in a 128 square foot "tiny house."  But it's not so much about that as it is about the research Tammy has done into happiness.  What makes us happy in the long run are experiences, not stuff.  I mean, yes, it's also about minimalism, but she presents it in a way that is the exact opposite of preachy.  She says upfront that she's not an expert and that minimalism looks different to everyone.  Plus she was the epitome of the Western Lifestyle less than ten years ago, so she has a great perspective on what it means to purposely choose to have less stuff.  And also: It wasn't her idea, it was her husband's.

Highly recommend.

Gone, Hunger, Lies, and Plague--all books by Michael Grant that Abby insisted I needed to read because they are "so great" and I'd "love them."  They're interesting, I'll give them that, but after reading four... and knowing there's still a fifth one to go, and a sixth to be published next year... I'm feeling a little burned out on the whole ordeal.  I'm thinking Grant could have made a really great trilogy instead of a... whatever the word for six books is.

See, it's a bunch of kids under the age of 15 living in a dome.  No access to the outside world.  No grownups of any kind.  And man, these kids have it tough.  At first it's fine because no one knows what's going on and there's a lot of pop and chips, but life in the dome is far from normal, so you've got mutant creatures and a lack of food and no water and a growing tension between those who have developed powers and those who have not.  And just when you think maybe these crazy kids have a handle on things, it gets WORSE.  What's hunger and lies when you've got people dying from the plague?  Unless they die from bugs hatching out of their skin, I guess.  Anyway, I'm not sure I'm emotionally stable enough to handle Fear, the next in the series, let alone whatever else happens after that.  Although I'll probably read them anyway because I'm OCD.


Movies watched:
The Odd Life of Timothy Green.  Johanna REALLY wanted to watch this movie.  Every time we saw a preview she was wondering when we could go.

My mother and Abby joined Johanna and I for an afternoon matinee.  I'm not a crier, people, okay?  But I had tears ROLLING down my face at the beginning and at the end.  Holy crap.  Jo also found it emotionally troubling.  Mom and Abby were dry-eyed.  Huh.  It was a great movie, but I'm not sure I could watch it again.  Craving a baby is something I am all too familiar with.

Garden update:
I actually picked some beans a week or so ago.  Weird.  Where'd they even come from?  The zucchini seems to have given up, but the pumpkins look good.  We dug up the last of the carrots this month.

And I am so over the tomatoes.

Canning/Freezing update:
Peach butter up the yang (like we're talking two dozen half pints).  Lots o' tomato sauce and dried tomatoes.  You know what?  I need to roast some up.  I keep forgetting about that option.  Made some applesauce.  Need to tackle pears and then I can put my big ol' canning pot away.

I'm over canning, too.

Things I learned:
I'm big.  I'm a minimalist.  I'm a minimalist who is, at this very moment, is letting Johanna, who has decided she's had enough of Mario Kart, put Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations up all over the house.  The clutter is going to drive me insane.  But.  Johanna.  That's the thing.

Also: Dystopian novels--series, even--are fine when they don't drag on forever; otherwise they give me a headache.  Sunshine is nice.  Hazy forest fire skies are not.  You can bribe your children with licorice.  Skilly weighs seven pounds.

*My brother Tim, as you may or may not remember/know, is 6'10" and used to drink Mom's coffee all the time when we were kids.  We'll never know how tall he WOULD have been had he laid off the joe.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

When the hardest part is over, we'll be here

There's a fire burning just east of us and wow, is the valley smoky.  The thing started Tuesday night, and so of course it was on the news yesterday, but since it was clear at our house, I didn't think too much about it.  Until I went to work.  The smoke was so thick downtown it looked yellow, and you could see particles of ash falling now and again to boot.

Um, that's smoke right there over the hills.

Of course the smoke has spread to our house now.  Everywhere you look, all you see is smoke.  A haze has settled over our yard, and it smells like a camp fire.  Johanna was pretty sure it was fog this morning as we were driving to school.  I tried to explain it was smoke, but she was all, and fog, and honestly, there are only so many disagreements I'm willing to have in a day, so I was all word up.

It sucks, people.  There are air quality warnings and events have actually been canceled.  (Like the high school homecoming bonfire.  How's THAT for irony?)  I think I like raging, out of control fires better when they're just on the TV.  P.S. No structures are in danger.  But it is in this pretty awesome nature area.  Bummer.

More smoke (?).  Trust me, it's there and it's bad.

Abby's school has its open house/carnival tonight in the plaza area outside.  Nothing like a little smoke inhalation to make a Thursday complete.  She's pretty sure I don't need to be there at all, but hello, how else am I going to introduce myself to her teachers and embarrass her?  THINK IT THROUGH, KID.

She's a WEB leader, which is essentially an eighth grade mentor, so she stayed after school yesterday to help clean up and get ready for tonight's gala.  When I told her I'd pick her up after work, she was all, go home and THEN come get me, and I was like, uh, no.  And she was all, I don't know where I'll be, and then it occurred to me that my 13-year-old didn't want me showing up and calling attention to myself by standing quietly out of the way in a corner, so I was like, relax, I'll just stay in the car and you can find me when you're done.  She liked that plan.

Thirteen is awesome.

Hey though, there are some pretty great pictures of her and her friends on Facebook with uni-brows and mustaches and huge moles now.  Apparently they had a little too much fun "practicing" with the face paint last night.

Let me make sure I have this straight: My very presence is humiliating, but walking around with a uni-brow and mustache and various moles should be publicly celebrated.

My eyes itch.  I feel like I've had a good cry without the benefit of emotional release.  What's the percentage a rain dance would actually work?  Smoke is highly overrated, just FYI.

UPDATE 12:34 p.m.: Just got a phone call from Abby's school and the open house has been canceled tonight "due to poor air quality."  Well, can't argue with that.  It looks like we're in a fog bank.

Brandon Flowers, Crossfire.  It was either that or an Adele song, and not that I have anything against Adele, it's just more Abby's thing than mine.  Hey, what did this guy do to have all those ninjas come after him?  Good thing Charlize Theron is a boss.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Trisha, Minimalist

I am a minimalist.

Okay, I've been a minimalist for like a day and a half.  Longer maybe if you count all the blogs I've perused to get a handle on what minimalism even is.  But I've sort of come to the conclusion that I need to own it, take it on, say it out loud.  Because just thinking about it isn't making it happen.

When I cleaned out my kitchen and my closet, I was hoping that would be the snowball that started the avalanche.  And it was, for a while.  Here's the problem I've run into: Now I've got all this crap in Eric's office/brew room, mocking me every time I pass.  I've tried to get rid of it by putting ads in the paper, but apparently no one else wants this shit, either.

Well, not that I blame them.  Except some of it is pretty great shit, if I do say so myself.

It just bugs me.  I've managed to move crap from one area to the other without actually getting rid of anything.  What's the point?  Why bother?

Which is why I haven't tackled other areas.

And is also why I bought a denim shirt that I really don't need a couple of weeks ago.

You know what the point is?  Why I should bother?  Because I am a minimalist.  Because I want to spend less time cleaning.  I want to spend less time searching for the things we need.  I want to spend more time reading.  I want to be able to do fun stuff with the girls on the weekend.  (I'd include Eric in there too, but he's too project oriented.  Hey, it's been 17 years, we're in acceptance here, people.)  I want to be happy with what I have.  I want my self worth to come from the inside.

I just want some peace.

I don't think minimalism means stark and cold and complete denial.  We're not selling the house to go live in a van down by the river.  I'm not going to pare my wardrobe down to like six items.  I'm not going to limit my possessions to 100.  I'm not going to get all preachy, although I may write about it from time to time (especially since I know there are going to be struggles.  I am really great about getting rid of stuff.  I am really horrible about bringing more stuff in).

I am going to remind myself that things are just things, that relationships are the most important, and that an hour on the porch with a good book and a cup of coffee is a really great way to spend my time.

There.  I feel better.  Time to tackle the hutch.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I got my mind on something else

You know what I need?  A witty first paragraph generator.  Someone get on that.

Hey, so busy week.  I'm glad I have that monthly calendar thing hanging off the fridge now because wow, I'd never have remembered half the stuff I was supposed to be doing.  Well, I'm old.  (Or, as Johanna would say, "middle aged.")  Let's review, shall we?

1. Book Fair
2. I forget the rest
3. Just kidding
4. Johanna's school open house
5. Johanna's school picture day
6. Meet with friends at the coffee shop
7. I turned in an application to "adopt a grandparent" at the care center
8. Eric went scouting because hunting season starts next weekend
9. Abby and I took a few walks

I'm leaving it at nine because 10 just messes up the alignment.  True story.  But I could add that The Office and Parks and Rec are back on TV, I missed the farmers' market because apparently school open houses can only be scheduled on market days (Abby's is next week... on market day.  I rest my case), we went to Mass and found out First Communion classes start this Wednesday (let the scrambling begin), I scorched a batch of tomato sauce and I'm still bummed about that, I've been reading and have come to the conclusion I need to find something that's more upbeat/not a dystopian comment on why humans suck, and I've been writing/editing a lot at the office.  Plus Johanna will not quit saying my name and for some reason Abby likes to lean into me and dig a finger in my hair in such a way as is reminiscent--or what I would imagine to be--a wiggly worm.

Whatever, I guess.

The Book Fair has been an interesting ordeal.  I'd signed up for the K-3 lunch period, and since the thing is being held in the cafeteria, we're talking loud and noisy, except I also get to see my baby, so that's sort of awesome.  Trying to explain why we are not buying every book on her list has been a little less awesome.  She was able to pick out a couple of books for free because I'd volunteered four days (I'm not sure how that helps the PTO, but whatevs, nice perk).  I think that's good enough.  Johanna wants to clean out her bookshelf and then "replace" old books with new books.  I'm trying to ease us into a more minimalist lifestyle.  See the problem yet?  And apparently saying no five thousand times isn't enough to dissuade her from trying 5,001.

Every time I stand up or walk around while I'm at the school, I get the same reaction from the children.  They look up at me, look down at my feet (to see if I'm hovering, I guess), then back up to me with their mouths open.  To be fair, 6' looks huge when you're not even 3 1/2'.  But I hear a lot of she's BIG whispers as I walk past, which doesn't do much for my self esteem, so it's a good thing I'm already so full of myself.  There are usually a few brave kids who will say it to my face.  I like those kids.

Moving on.

I'm sure what everyone really wants to know is this: Did Johanna match for picture day?  You know, she actually did.  Well, it helps that the pictures are only chest up.  She wore one of her favorite t-shirts and a pair of capris and probably flip flops or something, I can't remember, but I had her hair brushed and everything, so it shouldn't be too bad.

"You know there are going to be a lot of little girls running around in dresses today," I warned her as she pulled her t-shirt on.

"I hate dresses.  I don't even have a dress!"

That's not entirely true.  She has a couple that were Abby's "just in case."  You know, for like Christmas.  NOT for picture day.

And anyway, there are only so many fights I'm going to have in a day.  You have to brush your teeth.  You have to wear clothes.  Everything else is up for grabs.  Who cares if she's in a t-shirt?  That's who she is.

Now I just have to remember to send them out when they arrive.  I found my stash of her first grade pictures the other day, still uncut.  Oops.

You know what else I need?  A witty closing paragraph generator.  Seriously, someone get on that.

Travis, Why Does It Always Rain On Me?  Live because that's more interesting.  We still have blue sky, it's just cooler.  Hey, though, we're all looking forward to the rain because maybe then the air will clear of all the smoke from the forest fires raging around the state.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Random updates

1. My special friend called me at work yesterday.  I'd been dreading this phone call.  He was all, I haven't used your pan yet, to which I was like, hallelujah, it's still in tact, then, and then he was like, can I put it on the stove? and I was all, NOOOOOOOOOO!  And then he was like, I have a column I'm working on, and something about getting blood drawn and wanting a cute nurse next time.

Creepy.  Although he didn't mention cooking vegetables in my double boiler, so, you know.  That was a plus.

2. Monday was "Bat Shit Crazy Day" at the office.  Apparently.  We had someone come unglued because her dog didn't win anything in the paper's pet photo contest and accused us of rigging it.  I was like, thanks for calling into question my personal integrity, not to mention that of my friends here, but actually what I said was: Nothing.  I let Stacey deal with her.  I had better things to do than try to make the senseless see sense.  Plus the phone rang.  The universe loves me.  Only not enough to keep other crazy people from coming in / calling / whatnots.  On the upside... well, there really isn't an upside to this story.  Oops.

P.S. If you want your dog to win a photo contest, make sure it's actually a good photo.  BURN!  Huh.  Guess I'm not over this yet...

3. This week I've volunteered to work at the elementary school book fair, starting today.  I usually take three time slots the first week because not everyone has time to help.  Johanna started counting her money yesterday and asked if she could have a buck for every chore she preformed.  This lead to her "cleaning" her bedroom, i.e. throwing all the crap into her closet and shutting the door.  Except for her Legos, which is what really needs to be cleaned up because ouch, it hurts to walk across her floor.  After surveying the bulging closet, I asked her to please clean the area by her bookcase too and left her to her own devices.  This is what she showed me when I came back in her room to check:

Princess Abby and King Eric.  We're totally about
phonetics in this household.

We all know she's getting books anyway, right?  And that she'll spend nary a cent of her own?  Ah, books.  I get that excitement.

Anyway, I've got the lunch shift, so that should be interesting.  And loud.

4. Johanna had another nightmare last night, or maybe this morning.  It was 4:45 when she came running down the hall to get me.  So I took her back to bed and just crawled in because wow, 4:45.  She wasn't dreaming of war this time... just about zombies serving cookies and talking about brains.  So that was a nice change of pace.

She snuggled into me and fell back to sleep.  That part was sort of nice because she's such a busy kid that she barely sits down.  I miss the snuggling.

5. Johanna: Mom, there are two books at the library that totally humiliate dogs.  One is about a ghost dog and one is about a dog with a cake on his head.  Is that humiliating to dogs?
Me: Yes, I suppose it is.  Do you know "humiliate" means?  Really, really embarrassing.
Johanna: Oh.  I thought it just meant embarrassing.
Me: [crickets]

6. According to my calendar, my vanilla project should be complete next Thursday.  I sort of forget to shake the bottle more than... once a week... but anyway, I was thinking, what's to stop a person from just chucking some vanilla beans into a bottle of vodka and calling it a day?  Do you need to be all fancy, really?  Not that I'll get rid of my cute little bottle.  I'm just thinking out loud here, folks.

7. Cranky Steve brought me a box of apples yesterday.  Gravensteins and galas.  So apparently I need to start baking.

Monday, September 17, 2012

And all the roads that lead you there are winding

Saturday we partied like it was 1942, and wow, I'm beat.  STILL.  I've been happy to temper activity with stillness.  And I took a pretty sweet two-hour nap yesterday, too.

My grandparents celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary with a huge party in the church annex. The weather was gorgeous and perfect--total opposite of last year's party in the freezing cold.  The annex has a nice outside area, with picnic tables and trees and even grass, so a lot of the people ended up out there because inside was crazy.

CRAZY.  Well, that's what happens when your grandparents know everyone in the whole world, I suppose.  Apparently 200 people signed the guest book, but I'm thinking not everyone signed.  You could hardly move for stepping on someone (and most of those someones were old, so it's not like they could take a little trampling).  That's the level of party we're talking about here.

My grandparents had chairs set up for them right by the door, which was genius, because that way they could greet everyone who came.  Mom's cousin's wife took pictures of everyone saying hello... and then eventually we were all herded into groups for more pictures: Neighbor kids, cousins, families, randoms, whatever.

The thing about a 70th, I guess, is that you have a sense of urgency.  Time keeps on ticking, and every day is a gift.  That's a little too serious, I know, and I'm sorry about that.  It's just that we all really wanted those pictures with my grandparents.

Speaking of pictures, my mother made a video of pictures taken throughout their life together--pictures of my grandparents in high school and the Navy years, pictures of Mom and The Aunts and my uncle when they were growing up, all sorts of family and friends and grandkids and great-grandkids.  She worked hard on that thing, and it was really cool.  I'm pretty sure people are going to be asking for copies.

We came, we visited, we ate.  My cousin Shell and I were worried about the cake cutting part--we had that honor at their 50th and wow, what a disaster--but happily Grammie had someone else do it.  Hooray!

It was fun, visiting.  Some of my relatives I see a lot, some I seem very rarely.  It's nice to just be able to say hello and reconnect, even for a minute.

Ooh, highlights: I got to meet my cousin Justin's little Rocco for the first time (what a heartbreaker, that kid, and he's only six months old), and hold Maggie Mae TWICE.  I'm pretty sure I'm her favorite.

Also, it was pretty great when my brothers got there.

Eric was totally social, which was hilarious*, and Abby mostly just hung out with us.  Johanna ran around with the second cousins, playing in the grass and dirt--she was filthy by the time we were headed for Mass, where my grandparents renewed their vows.  Of course we didn't think to pack a change of clothing.

My grandparents have renewed their vows a couple of times in my memory, so they're good and married.  It was sweet.  And slightly hilarious because Gramps can't hear very well and it took a bit for the priest to get the vows started.

P.S. I heard all day long how much I look like my Aunt Ann.  Why yes, I do!

*Just because Eric is a quiet boy.  He's a listener.  He's not social by nature, and, had the tables been reversed, I'm not sure I could have been quite as outgoing and friendly with his extended family as he was with  mine.

Oasis, Wonderwall.  Because maybe you're gonna be the one that saves me.  P.S. What IS a wonderwall?

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Happiness is clear skies.

Happiness is coffee.

Happiness is navy blue Converse.

Happiness is family and friends who love us.

Happiness is reading on the deck.

Happiness is cleaning out the clutter.

Happiness is dinner already in the refrigerator.

Happiness is tomatoes on the kitchen counter.

Happiness is writing.

Happiness is the freedom of a quiet morning.

(A little exercise from RowdyKittens.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Saving the world, one dessert at a time

Cranky Steve has been c.r.a.n.k.y. lately, which means one thing: He's aptly named.  And also: He clearly needs dessert.

Dessert makes everything better.

Last week, Steve brought some Bartlett pears to work that he'd gleaned from the orchard next to his house.  I think it might be his family's orchard, or maybe he has permission from the orchardist, I have no idea, but one of his pastimes is taking his cats for "walkies" and picking previously passed over fruit.  The pears sat around for a while, and by Friday, he was all, you take the rest of those home in a way that meant I really had no choice.

Which was cool.  I'm down with free fruit.  And anyway, pears are my favorite.

Yesterday morning I decided to make dinner starting from dessert on up.  I can't be the only one who plans a meal around dessert, right?  It just makes sense.

I have this pear oat crisp recipe from my Martha Stewart Baking Book that we love and adore.  The topping tastes like an oatmeal cookie.  Mmm!  That's all I have to say about that.  Except, I mean, that THAT is what I decided to make using some of my pear bounty.

Since Cranky Steve gave me the pears, and since he'd been ever so cranky, and since I'd just made this huge dessert, I packaged up a nice scoop and put "Pear Crisp from Trisha" on a sticky note.  Because I'd reused a cottage cheese container and I didn't want him thinking someone had left him gross old cottage cheese.

He was out most of the afternoon, but when he did come in, he came right over to the front desk, smacking his lips.

He's all, thank you so much, that was delicious, I've never had a pear crisp.  And I'm all, wow, you ate it already? because I thought maybe he'd take it home and eat it for dessert or something.  Whatever, who am I to judge?  So I add, those were the pears you gave me, and he nods like he already figured as much, and then says with an impish grin, you know what else is good?  Apple crisp.  I laughed and was like, oh great, I've created a monster, and then he starts talking about the different gleaned apple varieties he has access to and which would be the best for apple crisp.

Lumpy applesauce is also pretty good, he concludes, and I'm all, gotcha.

So I'm pretty sure there are some apples in my future.

P.S. I wore my newly mended sweater to work yesterday and felt like a rock star.  I don't get out a lot, so that's probably why.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Weekend ramble

I was almost too productive this weekend.  I like to pace myself, you see, because if you get too much done, people start having expectations.  And I haven't put in 17 years of half-assed housework to get Eric's hopes up now.

Well, sometimes productivity can't be helped.

One project I finally accomplished--after a year of good intentions and blatant neglect--was replacing the buttons on one of my sweaters.  Every article of clothing I have comes with extra buttons except this one.  I like to think I'd have been a little faster of the upkeep had I had the extra button in the house, but who am I kidding?

We have this cute little fabric store downtown, so that's where Abby and I headed Saturday morning to go through their button collection.  Or I did.  Abby went to the library next door, because obviously.

There was no way I was going to find a matching button, so I knew I was going to have to replace all nine.  I wasn't even sure if I could find nine matching buttons, either, and my hopes weren't that high.  I started making piles of buttons from this big ol' bin--some had words on them, some were in the same color family, some were just awesome.  As I kept sorting, I noticed that I was close to getting TWO matching sets.  Who'd have thought?  It became a race at that point, and happily for everyone involved, my favorite pile won.

Since I have no use for eight green buttons, I asked the owner if I could just donate them back into her bin.  She said she'd trade me.  I was good with paying the 18¢, but she insisted, and even brought me a seam ripper so I could take the other buttons off.  Then I spent $9 on quilting thread that was THE PERFECT matching shade of green.  The lady was worried about that expense, but I was like, my mom and my aunt both quilt, so it's not going to go to waste.  And she felt better.

Of course buying buttons and thread is great, but actually sitting down to fix my sweater was the thing. I went out on the porch with my little jar of sewing supplies and got 'er done.  Um, in like an hour.  Well, I'm not a very good sewer, plus I fixed a couple of holes near the tag on the collar.  That part is dead ugly, I won't lie, but my hair is long enough so who's even going to know?

The point here people is that I saved my sweater.  I am terribly proud of myself.  I've been reading a lot of blogs on minimalism and/or non-consumerism lately, so this felt like victory.  I'm not sure a $9 quilting thread really counts as non-consumerism, but to justify a bit, I would have spent way more than $9 to replace the sweater, so.

Aside from that whole awesomeness: Johanna had a friend come over and play; I made Tanning Bed tomatoes and sauce; I cleaned both bathrooms--even swept and mopped and scrubbed the girls' toilet with a pumice stone because Fred the Ring was reappearing; finished a book that I will never admit to reading because it was stone cold crazy; canned more peach butter; fought fruit flies; wore a tank top one day and a sweatshirt the next; took a walk with Abby and learned a whole lot of stuff; saw my Aunt Jan; had Eric's parents and brother/sister-in-law over for dinner; wished that I had not shared my apple cake with sticky toffee sauce with said family members because it was gone too fast; asked the girls to clean their rooms and then watched as they cleaned the play house instead (well, close enough); read the paper over coffee on the deck while talking to Eric; and I think that's all but I really like semi-colons and wanted to use another one.  Oh, and my special friend has not called again, but I'm still afraid to answer the phone.

P.S. Happy birthday to my baby brother, Tim!  I like to introduce him as my baby brother because he's 6'10" and it's just funny.

P.P.S. The Vanilla Project continues to delight.  It's a sort of brownish hue at this point, but Eric and I opened it up, and wow, does it smell amazing.  Two or three more weeks of daily (cough) shaking to go!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Long live rock n' roll

***Updated below 9/7

Last night I was trying to read because I had been a good girl all day and done all manner of chores and was feeling really quite on top of it all, when I got a phone call.

I'm still trying to sell off some of my winnowed kitchen items in the good ol' newspaper, mostly because I get free ads since I'm an employee, although, irony: The ads I'm placing are under the free classification anyway.  Well, I don't want to be greedy.  Last week it was my double boiler.  This week it's a combo Large Chillzanne veggie platter and Large Quick-Stir Pitcher.  I tell you what, Eric's office is brimming with my cast offs.  It's sort of depressing.

Oh, and you know how many people have called on either of those things?  Zero.  I have had no luck since selling three of my stoneware pieces.

The phone rings, and I'm all like, crap, because Eric and Abby are playing video games and it's not like you can put that on pause.  (Oh, wait.)  So I grab the phone, feeling sort of martyred, honestly, because I'M READING, PEOPLE, and say hello.

"Is your mom home?" says this drunken voice.

"Is YOUR mom home?" I counter, thinking, what the hell here, drunk guy?  Quit with the pranks.

Drunk guy starts sputtering, and I feel bad.  "May I ask who's calling?" I say, hoping that will make amends, but why am I trying to make amends with a drunken prankster again?  I have no idea.

The guy introduces himself, and I'm all like, damn it!

Because this is someone I know very well.  He's mid-60s, goes to our church, writes a rather unique column for our newspaper, and has severe brain damage from being hit by a train or a bus or something when he was 20.  Definitely not a drunkard.

And I can't believe I didn't recognize his voice.  When he has a column ready, or even when he doesn't, it's not uncommon for him to call the office three or four times in an afternoon.  He forgets what he's already asked.  But he's such an innocent that you don't really mind.

So I'm all, hey there, this is Trisha, and I'm so sorry about that--I thought you were a prank caller.  Now, what can I help you with?

And he's all, I'm calling about this double boiler ad in the paper.  And then he reads my entire ad back to me.

I'm conflicted.  My double boiler is a thing of beauty.  I haven't really used it much because for some reason I don't melt a lot of chocolate to dip things into.  I know.  Total failure on my part.

But this is someone I know, who trusts me.  So I'm like, well, what were you thinking of using this for?  Because it's mostly for melting chocolate.

And he's all acting like he knows that, so I'm thinking maybe he just likes to melt chocolate, but then he's all, can you cook vegetables in this?

Um, no.  So I try to explain, without coming off like a jerk, that this is for MELTING THINGS.  ON TOP OF A PAN OF BOILING WATER.

He's not getting it.  I give up.  I'm all, you know what?  I'll bring it to the office, and the next time you come in, you can check it out and if it's what you want, you can have it.

And he's all, I can have it?  And I'm all, yep, because you're my friend, and he's all, you're my friend too! and I know in my heart I am a jerk after all.

So now I have to remember to bring my double boiler into work with me today.  I really can't take this guy's money.  I'd only get $5 at best out of it anyway, and so what if my gorgeous double boiler is going to be used to cook vegetables?

And then we hung up and I went back to reading.  The end.

***Update Sept. 7: Wow, there's been a LOT of movement on the double boiler front.  I could write another post but I figure in the interest of... continuity?... I'll just update this one.

Last night my special friend called around 8:30.  Eric answered the phone, and had this smile on his face as he hands it over to me, mouthing the guy's name.

"Did you tell your husband about me?" he asks first.

"Um, tell him what?"

"About why I'm calling.  I don't want him to think... I don't want anyone angry with me."

"No worries.  I did and we're good."

"So, what are we going to do about this?"

So I say, again, that I'll bring my double boiler to work and he can come get it whenever it works out.  I sort of hoped he'd forget about it, but as I've mentioned before, I'm always optimistic about all the wrong things.  Then I remind him that it's for melting things.  Yes, he says.  I can cook my vegetables in it!  I'm like, no!  No vegetables!

Fast forward to today at work.  He called practically as I stepped in the door.  We discuss again (sensing a theme?) that he can pick it up at work anytime.  He thinks he has a ride.  I don't hold my breath.

But!  I could have, because he was there remarkably fast.  He had a helper along for the ride.  Like his actual housekeeper, I guess.  That made me feel better.  He doesn't walk very well, so when I said it was in my trunk and my car was parked "up there," he whined a bit about the walk, but his housekeeper was all like, you go back to the car and I'll go get it for you.  And he liked that plan.

So we walk up to my car, and I'm trying to politely explain why I think he's going to ruin the crap out of my beautiful pan, but she's all, he doesn't cook.  I cook and he just tells me what to do.  Which made me feel a little better.  Sort of.

I hand her the double boiler, and she's all, wow, this IS nice, and I'm all, please, please don't let him put it directly on the stove.  And she's all, you know, this will be great--he loves strawberries and whipped cream, but his doctor doesn't want him eating whipped cream anymore, so now we can melt chocolate for him to dip his strawberries in, so I'm like, at least we're getting away from the vegetable talk, and then I feel jerky again because I'm a big jerky jerk.

You'd THINK this would be the end of our story, and yet, it is not.

Stacey was gone today, and since it's Friday and Paper Day, guess who measured the thing?  Me.  And guess who was having major problems getting the numbers to add up?  Me.  And guess who even had to hit the sauce to keep her headache at bay?  Right, me again.  Oh, and by "sauce" I mean Pepsi.  Sometimes you just need a little carbonated high fructose corn syrup.

And guess when he decided to call?

He's all like, thank you so much Trish!  It's a nice pan!  And you boil a saucepan of water on the stove first, and then you can cook things in it!  And I'm all, well, melt things, and he's all, like chocolate!  And maybe I can cook my vegetables!

Oh my God, again with the vegetables.  And I mentioned my numbers weren't adding up, right?  It's a wonder I didn't need two Pepsi's today.

Hang up the phone, finally get my numbers to line up, hallelujah.  Deliver my various sections to my various waiting people.  Hit the ladies room because I had Pepsi sitting in my bladder.

And guess who was waiting for me, on hold, when I got back?!

My ears were burning, he said, because you were taking about me on the way back to the car.  He'd mentioned this in his earlier call, but I'd sort of brushed him off.  I'm like, all we were talking about was the pan and how you can use it to melt chocolate for your strawberries (you'd think repetition would be key here, but alas...).  And he's all, really?  And I'm like, yes!  I must have sounded exasperated, because he dropped that and said instead, know any ladies my age?  I'm 40.  And I'm all, nope.  And he's like, I'm actually 64.  Do I look 64?

He looks like he's in his 70s, honestly, so I said, no you don't.  And he was like, good!  I hoped not.

Jerky jerky jerk.

So then he talks more about his saucepan of boiling water and placing the double boiler on top and cooking his vegetables, but at this point, I'm all, that sounds like a great idea.  Go for it.

Now that he has our home phone number I'm a little afraid to answer it.  I can't help but wonder if he'll call again tonight to ask me to set him up with the ladies and how he's going to cook vegetables in my gorgeous pan.  I've already told Eric that I'm NOT HERE.  And should he answer any more of my kitchenware ads... tragically, they will have already been sold.

Well, that pan is in God's hands now.  I hope that will be enough to save it.

And I really hope this is The End.

Mudhoney, Overblown.  This song has always made me laugh.  "You got a sackful of candy, all I got was a rock."  Ah, Charlie Brown references never get old.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Your eyes are so clear and so bright

Skilly didn't come home last night, and he still hasn't shown up today.  It's 3:33 p.m. so I get to make a wish.  I wish Skilly would come home.

Someone dumped three kittens off by our house too.  Abby and I saw them last night when we were screaming for Skilly to come inside, but I haven't seem them again today.  Eric thinks maybe Skilly just followed the kittens somewhere.  I'm more afraid he followed a coyote somewhere.

So yeah, we're worried.

Except Johanna, who's asking if we can get a black kitten and name it Doom Kitty after the cat in her favorite cartoon, Ruby Gloom.  This offends Abby to no end.  "Skilly is going to lead a LONG and HAPPY LIFE!" she said through gritted teeth before announcing she's headed outside to look, again.

Doom Kitty


I doubt Doom has a super awesome zero on her chest, though, like Skilly does.  Dang it, Skilly!  Where are you?

In other news, I just made a double batch of caramel sauce in my cast iron pan and fear I scorched it, although Johanna keeps eating it anyway, so maybe not.  I'm trying to get Johanna to clean her room, and it's taken literally all day for her to just pick up her Legos.  And actually, the Legos are still on the ground, so never mind.  I finished cleaning out the kitchen--we're minimal!--so that makes me happy.  I'm making wiener wraps for dinner.  I can't stop thinking about Skilly.

OH MY HECK.  Look who Abby just walked in with, but Skilly.  "He's GROUNDED.  He's staying inside," Abby says, and she totally means it.  "St. Jude comes through!"

Seriously, people.  Hallelujah.

Crowded House, Black and White Boy.  For obvious reasons.