Friday, May 31, 2013

May Pointless Lists

I've been feeling a little disgruntled lately--I'll post about my minimalistic despair later--so I'm choosing to focus on the positives of the month: We planted our garden, we saw many of our family and friends, we saw our girls happy and healthy and well.

That's the main thing right there. Which is good, 'cause sometimes being optimistic hurts my head. That list is over.

As mentioned earlier, we visited our dear friends Mara and Alex and boys last weekend in Eugene. I've known Mara technically since the fourth grade, although we didn't become friends until our sophomore year of high school. Had I known then what I know now, I would have just marched up to her my first day at Westside Elementary and said, call me Trishy because you're going to anyway, even when I'm 40.

Ah, well.

Hey, amid all the eating and the talking, Mara saved Abby's entire life by taking down the hem of her promotion dress, a gorgeous little thing that her father had deemed "too short." This month Abby learned that tall girls always look to the hem. There is usually all kinds of fabric down there, and in this case, 3-inches worth. Mara made her own wedding dress, so this project was probably almost too easy, but I am serious: She saved the world, and she acted like it was no big deal because she's cool like that.

Also: She took me shoe shopping. We found these. Had we needed to go on a cruise where you just sit around on deck without having to walk anywhere, we totally would have made the purchase. How do people walk in these things? I have no idea.
I'm on the left, Mara is on the right. I was like 6'5". It hurt a lot.
One more also: I got Alex's cold! It's not as much fun as he made it look. Wow, my head hurts. It's kind of amazing that I can form coherent sentences. At least I think I'm forming coherent sentences. There's no one around to ask.

Pointless list time!

Books read:
Um... what? Nothing is coming to mind, except Mara sent me a draft of her *second* novel that I was reading but then for some reason did not finish. That's what June is for.

I have a couple of things on my Kindle I should probably start, except one of them is "I Am Legend" and I'm kind of afraid to read it. Because it's about zombies. Zombies are pretty cute from afar, but I'm not sure how I feel about spending a few hours with them. (Why yes, I AM 40! Why do you ask?)

Garden update:
We have lettuce! Spinach! And we've plucked the fruits (leaves?) of our labor and made salad! There's something very empowering about growing your own food, even if it's just a couple of rows of greens. You know what, The Man? I don't even need you! Um, sorta.

The rest of the garden is looking pretty good. We got 12 tomato starts of various varieties, so that always makes you feel like a rock star right off the bat. The zucchini looks like it might come up this year (last year was dismal--we maybe got four zucchini total. ZUCCHINI, the weed of the garden. It was weird), the carrots look kind of maybe fuzzy, and there are little cilantro leaves pushing through the soil. We've also got beans and dill up there, so keep your fingers crossed kids.

Check this out:
Honest Toddler. You're welcome.

Things I've learned:
Nobody cares that you can take your placenta home now. Sometimes when you wake up and it's sunny outside and you think wearing capris is a good idea, it's really not a good idea. Johanna is not going to get her Doctorate (she announced), but she does give a pretty decent student-led conference. Also, when you schedule your child's student-led conference, maybe look at the calendar first so she doesn't have to miss her very last coach pitch baseball game. I love skirts. Oranges and maple yogurt make a really great breakfast. Hope is hard to squash.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I've seen the future, and it is awesome

YOU GUYS. I saw the future of bulk this weekend, and it was amazing.

Wait, is it the future if it's actually in the here and now? I'm going with a yes on that one because it's not in my world just yet, and that's what we're basing this all on, right?

Um, right?
From the Market of Choice Facebook page. Hope they're cool with that.
This weekend we went to visit friends in Eugene. (Hi Mara!) That's a post in and of itself, but I'm trying to focus here, okay?, so work with me. While there, we went grocery shopping for that evening's meal (let's just say we ate REALLY WELL for like three straight days) and that, my internet friends, is when I learned about a little place called Market of Choice.

I have never seen so many bulk options in my life. There was a whole build your own trail mix bar in produce when you walk in, and I thought that was impressive. And then we turned the corner. TWO FULL AISLES of bulk, including oils and vinegars. What? I've heard of such delights, but I had never seen them with my own eyes.

It was heaven.

So after looking around and lamenting the lack of my glass jars, I finally decided to just go for it. I mean, they had Chex mix. Natural vanilla chips. HONEY ROASTED PEANUTS. I'm not strong enough to pass that stuff up, especially when I have three weeks of school lunches left to pack before summer vacation.

And I mentioned the vanilla chips, right?

So that? Was awesome. The sheer variety of goods blew my mind. There were Skittles, for crying out loud. All manner of baking goods. Animal crackers! I just got the Chex mix, vanilla and milk chocolate chips, peanuts, and some honey sticks for Johanna. Oh, and butterscotch buttons for Abby, because she was there and she decided she needed that. Now that I'm home again I'm wondering why I didn't just grab and cart and go for it.
Market of Choice Facebook page, again.
Also awesome: The bulk prices were way lower than what I pay at home. I cannot touch honey roasted anything at my store for under $10 a pound. At Market of Choice those peanuts were $4.29 a pound. Do you see why I was so excited?

Anyway, the next time we're in Portland or Eugene--which admittedly will probably be in three years--we'll definitely be stopping at a Market of Choice branch and (calling first to make sure it's okay) filling up as many glass containers as I can get my hands on.

The thought makes me giddy.

P.S. I will write a post about Eugene... but that day is not today.   :)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

You are not what you seem

I got some bad, bad news this weekend, you guys. Those bulk chocolate chips I've been buying that taste like heaven on a stick?

Artificial vanilla.

Also, I'm a poser now because Abby hooked me up with Instagram.
When you're allergic* have an intolerance to artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, you tend to read a lot of labels. And wow, I really, really do. When I started the journey away from packaged goods, I spent a lot of time in the bulk aisle reading ingredient lists and getting a sense of what we could use. There wasn't anything here that rang an alarm bell, so I've been buying them. A lot. And eating them straight out of the jar. A lot.

Well, a girl has needs, you know.

Johanna and I were at the store on Sunday, and I noticed something in the ingredient list for the first time: The very last ingredient was "Vanillia." Interesting. Was that supposed to be "vanilla" or "vanillin?" Because that's kind of a big difference. So I called a clerk over and was all like, so here's the deal, and she's all like, um, the manager is out today and I don't know, plus can't you tell I'm a teenager and I don't care? but I was all, could you call me then or something, because I'm allergic yadda yadda yadda, and she was all, fine.

She did this not in a snotty way by any means, just in an embarrassed, would rather not have to deal kind of way. She's a teenager, for crying out loud. And she did call me back, so really, it's a win.

Um, to say that it was a misprint and yes, it's vanillin. BOO.

And also: That's probably why I've felt iffy lately--because seriously, I've been eating these like they're going out of style. I guess this means I will have to change to the $9.99 a pound organic chocolate chips that look slightly grey instead of, you know, chocolate brown. I should have known that a chocolate chip that was half the price as an organic one would have to be artificial.

So anyway, to sum up: I'm depressed.

*Dad informed me recently that we're not allergic--a response that has something to do with histamines maybe, I don't know, science is boring--but rather lack an enzyme that helps the body digest (aren't you proud, I listened and understood that part). I will still just say I'm allergic, though, because while technically not true, no one take stomach issues very seriously unless they have stomach issues too. It's easier to not sound crazy when there's a chance you could, say, stop breathing, instead of just spending the next six hours in a bathroom. TMI. Sorry.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mother's Day coupons

For Mother's Day, Johanna gave me a coupon book she'd made in school filled with useful things like back rubs and hugs, plus dusting and taking out the trash thrown in for good measure. She actually gave the coupon book to me a day early because we made her clean her room for her First Communion party and she didn't want to just clean it to clean it.

She's no dummy.
Not one of my coupons.
Maybe next year. (Hint, hint, family.)
She was totally pumped about the coupons, and had me use one right away. I chose the card for two hugs, since I figured that was a good way to start things off. I mean, there were A LOT of Legos on that floor, let's begin positively, right? She gave me two bear hugs, then announced that even though she wasn't supposed to do it, she was going to let me keep that card so I could get hugs any time I wanted.

Well, thank you, child.

Then I handed her the clean your room card, and she tore it into four pieces before putting it directly into the recycling bin. So much for reusing that one.

P.S. While the hug coupon has been great, yesterday I handed her the song coupon and she halfheartedly sang "Jingle Bells" and then pretty much recycled that one right away, too. I feel kind of ripped off, if you want to know the truth.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Dissension in the ranks

I ran into a bit of a minimalistic quandary this weekend. Totally unintentionally, and totally my fault because if I'd have just kept my big mouth shut, no one would have been the wiser.

Ah, well.

Johanna made her First Communion on Sunday, and we had a barbecue for her afterwards. Tangent: The weather went from upper 80s and beautiful to low 70s and humid and cloudy, but it didn't rain, so we're calling it a win. Another tangent: Johanna hates dresses, and it took quite a bit of bribery to get her into the thing (she didn't have to wear socks, she didn't have to let Abby do her hair, she could take it off the minute we got home from church), but she looked adorable and made it through the whole ordeal fairly gracefully. Another win.

She was FEELING IT. Not.
Anyway, so we're down in the church basement afterwards for a little reception, and I made a comment about how Johanna's dress was headed to the church rummage sale in June now that both she and Abby were finished with it.

And all hell broke loose.

My mother-in-law was horrified that I would even think about it. Naturally I'd want to save it for Abby's daughter! It's an heirloom! SHE would save it if I didn't want to!

Then my mother got into the act. Of course I'd want to save it. My sister-in-law Debbie casually mentioned that she had saved her daughter's dress (irony: Keshia has one boy and another boy on the way).

No one could get why I would possibly want to get rid of this dress, except for Eric and my brother-in-law Greg, who was like, I am pro this plan.

It completely caught me off guard. I was honestly not expecting anyone to feel any kind of emotional attachment to a dress that we bought off the sale rack at J.C. Penney in 2007 for like $16 (it was quite a sale), and only kept because be had another little girl (even if she was two at the time) who would be able to wear it in the relatively near future.

So I found myself in a bad guy role for mentioning it. I finally calmed everyone down by agreeing to give it to my mother to pass along to my cousin's daughter, who will be making her First Communion in a couple of years. Never mind that she's a tiny little thing and this dress was purchased for my giant children, if that makes y'all feel better, fine. I think my mother-in-law was still kind of horrified that "the next generation" would not get a chance to wear this dress, but she had the good grace to let it drop.

But look: Why would I save a dress "for future generations?" Styles change and white fabric turns yellow with age. The girls you bank on having end up being boys. Time and energy go down the drain each time you look at the thing hanging uselessly in the closet or move it around or clean it again. This seems especially silly when there is a little girl out there, RIGHT NOW, who could use it. When it's still in style and still pure white.

My future grandkids, if I end up with grandkids, don't have to live up to my expectations on their special day. You wear what makes you feel good, future grandkids, and your grandfather and I will do the same. You're welcome.

In the grand scheme of things, letting go of this dress is a cake walk. I have let go of a lot of things during the past year's minimalism crusade, and I don't even remember what most of them were. I used to keep things because I might need them later, or because they were expensive, or because they were gifts. I'm finding that I rarely need anything I've kept aside, that the money is already spent, and that keeping something from guilt isn't a good reason at all. The less I own, the better I feel. And bonus perk, it took me about ten minutes this morning to get the house straightened up after the party (and no, no disposables) because we don't have much to deal with.

 It's a pretty damn awesome feeling.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


I'm only writing this morning because I don't want that placenta article to be the first thing on the page anymore. Staying up on current events is hard.

Here's a current event that happened yesterday: I went all day with the second button on my blouse NOT buttoned. I did not notice until I went to the bathroom at 4:45 p.m., after having been at the front counter four hours with a nice trip to the bank just for kicks.

See that second button? Pretend it's not done.

Seriously, people, when you see something like this, TELL A GIRL.

Another current event is a conversation I had with a caller at work, who was convinced I could tell him the exact square footage of a roll end. I cannot do that because no two roll ends are alike--they just take them off the press whenever they feel like they've gotten close enough, I guess. I understand, dude, that you want to use newsprint in your garden for that newfangled weed control system your neighbor told you about (that's awesome, actually. Eric, we need to look into this...), and I appreciate you giving both your numbers for when I find out (after saying three times I can't get you that info), but I am not going to call because the answer is NOBODY KNOWS. If you want to stop by and pick one up and just wing it? That I can help you with.

Maybe we should all try listening to the people talking to us for once. That would make my job a lot easier.

In other news, I have to cover a story tonight for the paper, which means I'll miss my favorite farmers' market. But the good news is that there's another market on Saturday, not my favorite, but still decent, so all is not lost. Sure, covering the news is important, but so is scoring fresh lettuce for Johanna's First Communion party this Sunday.

I will not be siting around this Mother's Day, I can tell you that much.

Oh, and P.S. We've had gorgeous sun and blue skies and 80-degrees all week. Sunday forecast is 70 and rain. Excellent barbecue weather!


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Today's news

SALEM -- The Oregon Legislature has agreed that mothers who've just given birth should be able to take home their placentas.
"For cultural reasons and other reasons many families like to take home the placenta after the baby is born," said Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, D-Beaverton.
The state Senate unanimously approved the bill, HB 2612, Monday, as the House did in March. The bill goes to Gov. John Kitzhaber. The governor's spokesman Tim Raphael says Kitzhaber anticipates signing the bill, but will review it first.
Under current state law, hospitals are prohibited from releasing hazardous medical waste, which includes human placentas. Oregon hospitals, however, have allowed mothers to take home their placentas for cultural and religious reasons.
Some mothers have their placentas put into capsules, which they consume in the belief it boosts their energy and staves off post-partum depression. Experts have said there is no scientific evidence of a health benefit.

This little AP report is how I woke up this morning, thanks to Eric's alarm, but I thought the guy said "casseroles" instead of "capsules." Holy shit! That got me up, I tell you what. Obviously I had to Google this one, which is how I learned it was actually "capsules," but wow, is that any better, really? Probably less chewy. Except if you read the entire article, it also talks about lasagnas and tortilla soups. Oh, and making prints and holding burials, but that seems boring compared to the rest of it.

P.S. Oregon is weird and also kind of awesome. I'm glad I live here.

P.P.S. Oh, hey, what about cord blood? I thought that was more of a thing for like curing diseases, but whatever, I guess. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Thoughts on being a rock star AND a dork

I'm supposed to be writing my bi-monthly column RIGHT NOW since, um, deadline is in two hours, but you know what? I'm betting I can crank that thing out in 15 minutes. For some reason I don't feel like writing about the garden club or middle school projects just yet. The endurance needed for that kind of thing is higher than you'd think.

So here's what I'd rather write about:

I'm wearing a t-shirt in a color I adore (like a slate blue or something) but with a neck that is weird. Seriously, I feel like my shirt is on backwards but no, it's really not. What kind of neck is that? Anyway, I'm thinking of refashioning this thing. I mean, what could happen? I end up with some pretty colored rags, I guess. Huh. So now that I've thought about refashioning, I've decided to just put it in the rummage pile and let someone else worry about it.

Yesterday I wore a navy blue skirt that made me feel like a rock star. It's the kind of skirt I could wear every single day and not get tired of. That's pretty much the only criteria I have in regards to my closet. If I don't feel like a rock star, then what's the point?

Also yesterday, I embarrassed the family without even trying! Because I have skillz. I put on my pretty skirt and was prancing all around trying to remember if I'd shaved my legs properly when I got the genius idea of taking my razor out on the deck to see what was what. In my defense, it was sunny and awesome, and I could really see my hairs. It wasn't ladylike or terribly appropriate, but I did get the job done. And that's when I noticed our neighbor taking a walk--towards our house, which is at the end of a straightaway--looking my direction. She didn't call the cops, though, so you know what? I classify this as a win.

Today I am also wearing a skirt, but I took care of my legs in the shower this morning. You're welcome, world.