Saturday, November 30, 2013

November Pointless Lists

I took an inadvertent break from blogging this week. Not planned, but it was kind of restful. I love writing, but sometimes I love it kind of less. Also, my public (hi Mom!) doesn't have internet this week due to a provider switchover, and hence, no one has been bugging me about my lack of posts.

Well, whatever, I guess. I have lots to write about now, except I can't remember what those things are. Sometimes being 41 is exciting like that.

Oh, here's something, though: Johanna and I were walking around a store (probably Walmart, the bastards, because she wanted yarn for a weaving project similar to this), and she was holding my hand and telling me all the things she was thankful for: Existence, her family, having arms and legs, and eyes and ears, and being able to ride a bike. I was like, that is the best list EVER.

Also: Today is Eric's 43rd birthday. And I would just like to say that I really love that man.

Pointless list time!

Books read:
So I meant to reread Allegiant this month, but... Tris! I just couldn't. But I thought about it a lot. What I did read was a lot of old Outlander because I love Jamie and Claire (and I tend to skip to the parts that are just about them, I'm rereading, who cares?, I'm on the last book now and I'll do what I want).

THEN. On November 22, I just happened to be on Facebook (that's been less and less these days, it's kind of driving me nuts over there) and saw Amazon had Stephen King's 11/22/63 for $2.99 on Kindle for that day only. This is a book on my list, so I jumped on it. (I've learned that if a book is not on your list, you should not buy it, no matter how cheap it is.) I'm only 40-percent through (it's like 800+ pages, thank God I don't have to lug it around, have I mentioned how much I love my Kindle?), but am enjoying it immensely. Well written, interesting storyline, likable characters. I've been trying to take my time and not barnstorm through the thing, as is my usual habit when reading. Reading slowly is hard for some reason...

Thanksgiving update:
We had two Thanksgiving dinners this year, which was kind of exciting. Since we knew we were eating twice we tried not to overdo it at any one stop, but still sort of failed on all accounts. I mean, I was so full I didn't get a piece of pie.

But it was a great day. We spent time with Eric's side in the early afternoon, then went to my parents' house later that evening. My brother Tim came to town this year, which was awesome--he works quite antisocial hours, so we don't get to see him very much. Maybe that's why, when we do see him, it feels like a party. Anyway, it's always fun to spend a day with your favorite people, and we saw all kinds of our favorite people that day. Plus I got to tell the story of when I was watching a then three-year-old Cody (he's a sophomore in college now) and learned that boys love peeing outside. He seemed kind of proud.

Project 333 update:
I struggled hard in October with my picks, but this month went very smoothly. Looks like my black cardigan, black long-sleeve t-shirt, black/white button-down, denim skirt, black pants, jeans, scarves and coat were the big winners this month (yes, I keep a graph so I can tell at a glance. I told you I'm anal). That's a lot of black. I just dig it, I guess. Out of my 33 items, there were 7 that I didn't wear at all. I'm trying to decide if I want to make a new list for December, switching out items that I didn't wear for things that maybe I will, or if I want to just keep on keeping on with what's in the closet. This first Project 333 block is a learning one for me, so I'm okay with either option. It's amazing to me that with a closet so small there could be things I didn't even wear... but it makes getting rid of things I thought I couldn't live without that much easier. Because clearly, I already AM living without them.

P.S. Still no one has noticed.

Pointless thought:
Shopping on Thanksgiving Day is a thing now, and it is apparently called "Brown Thursday." Does this make anyone else besides me think of poopie underwear? Because that's the image I get: People walking around with filled pants. I don't know, maybe I just have problems.

Um, and no. No, we did not partake in any of that madness. In fact, I gave a mental high-five to all the businesses who remained closed--some even on Black Friday. I can respect that kind of a stand.

Things I've learned:
Looking through Brown Thursday / Black Friday ads with my mother, safe and warm at her kitchen table, is extremely entertaining. Skilly is NOT interested in sitting in empty boxes. (I did an experiment. My cat is an anomaly.) Johanna has a lot to be thankful for. Abby may not be fast, but when your strengths lie vertically, you still make the basketball team. Visiting with family and friends is THE BEST.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Positively... a post

So I just wrote a long post about a lady who came into our office on Monday, but now I'm wondering if maybe it's not the most charitable thing ever and that I shouldn't publish it after all. Ah, well. It was only an hour of my life. The thing is that I'm getting kind of tired with the snarky comments and stories I see all over the internet--because why can't we just be nice, people?--and here I am, making fun of someone just because she had the misfortune to annoy me on a particularly busy workday. Not cool, Trisha. Not cool.

So let me tell you some positive mini-stories instead:
Faux artistic moon in the trees shot from this morning.
(I promise the moon is there...)
We spent this weekend in the Land of My Birth, and we got to see so many people whom we dearly love and who (yay us!) love us back: Ann and John, Seth and Ashley, my grandparents, Jan and Doug, Bethie, Clara and the super adorbs Maggie Mae. And my parents, who were visiting too. And then my brother Tim called as we were driving home and I talked to him for like two hours. All awesome. All positive!

Cranky Steve (who has a bad head cold and is now Melancholy Steve) announced yesterday that cats and raccoons aren't supposed to get along, but his cats AND his raccoons are now sleeping under his front porch together in perfect harmony. That is... okay, that is alarming, but he was so happy. Positive!

Skilly just jumped up on my lap and is showing how much he loves me by scratching the crap out of my legs and biting my arm!

Also: Coffee! I've been making myself a fancy drink for the office that consists of my regular coffee and milk, but with a dash of hot chocolate and a splash of my homemade vanilla syrup. That is quite delightful. Positive!

It is colder than heck outside, but the sun is shining and it's a beautiful day. I'm wearing a turtleneck sweater and feeling pretty warm and snug and grateful that I can look at the view without having to actually go out and freeze. Positive!

Now I'm thinking of the homeless and/or disenfranchised who don't have anywhere warm to be. Not positive. I do have a coat in the closet that Johanna has outgrown... I'm sure I can donate it to the school for someone who needs one. That makes me feel better. It's not the war, but it's a battle. Positive!

I have some tomato soup in the refrigerator that is destined to be my lunch. I love a nice warm lunch on a cold day. I'm a big fan of lunch. Yay lunch!

I really love my job and my coworkers. Going to work really just feels like some cool place I get to hang out for a few hours every day. Positive!

Now Skilly is attacking my throw rug and showing it who's boss, and the good news is that he's attacking the rug and not my feet. Oh, wait, he got sidetracked and now he's cleaning himself. You know what? If that's not a positive note to end on, then I don't know what is.

Happy Wednesday, internet friends!

Friday, November 15, 2013

I do what I can

So my dad calls Wednesday morning to say that he hit a button or something on the computer and now the mouse was doing everything backwards--up is down, down is up, left is right, etc. etc. etc. Would I come to the house before work to fix it?

I have sort of a techie role in my family (and Eric's too, but less so these days since I threw a fit and bought an iMac three years ago. TOTALLY WORTH IT). Well, I WAS the technology coordinator at the middle school for five years. But that's just because I was straight out of college and my youthful enthusiasm hadn't been squelched yet. Also: The principal didn't care that I was an English major and had zero experience with computers up until that point, and seemed to think it perfectly logical to have me installing CD drives and memory chips and software and whatnots. It was kind of awesome in that I learned a lot really fast. I didn't know what I didn't know, so I just did it.

So I get to my parents' house around noon. Mom and I start chatting, and Dad is like, let's stay focused here, people. Side conversations later, and we're all like, sir, yes sir! So I follow him down the hall into what used to be my old bedroom but is now their computer room, and sit down to see if I can sort this thing out.

It is WEIRD trying to get a mouse to move when it's going the opposite of all your directions. I struggled to get to the finder so I could get to the whatever thing that allows you to set your mouse preferences (that's totally legit lingo right there. I'm an ex-technology coordinator, I know these things). Finally I maneuver the cursor to where it needs to be and click to open.

Except the mouse is not clicking.

I look down, and the mouse? Is pointed UPSIDE DOWN. So I put it right-side up and hallelujah! Problem fixed.

"I'm a computer genius!" I crow, arms raised in my best Rocky impersonation. I'd have punched air too, but I didn't want to hit the computer or my parents--it's not the biggest room ever. Mom and I were ready to collapse from the awesome. Dad asked me to please not tell anyone.

Um, oops?

I'm counting this as a win.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cranky Steve probably has rabies

Yesterday I worked seven whole hours, which was awesome, actually, even though Eric and the girls were off for Veteran's Day. Abby volunteered at her grandmother's DAR function and Eric and Johanna worked on fixing the leaky master bathroom shower... and I got to hang out with fun people, meet a couple who were driving from Alaska to Chile on used vegetable oil, get my hand squeezed really hard by a 76-year-old woman who was pretty pleased to have made me yelp (she shook my hand at least four times, and by the end I was all, jeez, I get it already!), ponder how sometimes being at the front desk is like being a bartender without the alcohol with Jody in Sales, save $10 on desk calendars for the office, and write about the latest batch of Jesuit volunteers that have come to town for an upcoming news edition.

And it didn't even seem like work.

Anyway, so Cranky Steve was in a really talkative mood and kept stopping by my desk to share little bits of his life. One of his favorite topics is His Raccoons, which he's tamed to the point of insanity. These things will come into his house, steal his tuna sandwiches off the table, and sit in his recliner. I mean, that's nuts, right?

This article by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
makes me think that Cranky Steve has not read this AT ALL. 

So yesterday he's all excited and tells me about how he got a hug on the leg by one of his little rabid friends. He's all, you know that one who likes to put his paw on my paw? and I'm all like, paw to paw interaction, got it, and he's all, well, last night I brought him out a bowl of kibble and he hugged my leg before eating, and I was like, um, and shared his rabies with you? And then Cranky Steve was offended that I would dare think his little pals would be diseased-riddled varmints, but seriously, you guys...

Raccoons. In his house. They're practically rats.

Except Steve says they're closer to dogs than rats and that rabies does not exist in the Pacific Northwest. Since I am not about to go friend a bunch of raccoons, I'll just take his word for it.

11/12/13! That kind of makes me happy.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Abby Texts: Sophomores

Abby: Dude does nobody else smell the sophomores bc im tearing up and nobody seems to be reacting to the smell.

Me: Maybe that's your superpower.

Abby: And being able to wake myself up from dreams.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Project 333: Week 5 recap

You guys, I have made a serious error in judgement.

Before starting Project 333 (of which I have no regrets, by the way--that's not the error), I would have told you that I wear EVERYTHING in my closet. Every dang thing. And that I am particularly fond of button-down dress shirts. I probably have 15 to 20 of the things with various sleeve lengths because I see them in the store and I'm like, I love that. It looks crisp and neat. Plus I work in an office. If a button-down dress shirt doesn't scream "office," then what does?

Here's the thing, though: I've been keeping daily track of what I'm wearing (because I'm anal, okay? Shut up) and button down long-sleeve dress shirts? I wore a total of 11 days out of 31 (the month of October). Compare that to t-shirts (long and short-sleeved plus my tank tops): 29 out of 31 days. Sometimes, yes, I wore those things underneath a dress shirt, but more times than not I just tossed a cardigan over one and called it a day. Paired with dress pants or a skirt and sometimes a scarf, I like to think I didn't totally embarrass the family.

Basically this month I learned that I don't really like button-down dress shirts as much as I thought I did. So it's kind of unfortunate that I have so many. I think maybe that's why I was feeling so frustrated getting dressed every day, even with a smaller wardrobe to choose from--it was filled with things I thought I liked, not things I actually do like.

Weird lesson. I did not expect that.

Anyway, new plan: I have a fresh batch of 33 items for the month of November. Most of them are the same as what I started out with, but I cut back on the button-downs and added to my t-shirts. And this time, I grouped a couple of things together to get just 33 (looking at you, shoes and scarves). I tried to concentrate on neutrals as a base and rely on my cardigans and scarves for color:

  1. Black long-sleeve t-shirt
  2. Grey long-sleeve t-shirt
  3. Navy long-sleeve t-shirt
  4. Black tank top
  5. Navy tank top
  6. White tank top
  7. Orange print tank top
  8. Navy t-shirt
  9. Black t-shirt
  10. Black/white dot button down shirt*
  11. White button down shirt
  12. Teal button down shirt
  13. Dark blue button down shirt
  14. Black cardi
  15. Orange-red cardi
  16. Plum cardi
  17. Teal cardi
  18. Grey turtleneck sweater
  19. Black skirt
  20. Grey plaid skirt
  21. Denim skirt
  22. Purple skirt
  23. Grey pants
  24. Black pants
  25. Twill pants
  26. Black cords
  27. Dress denim
  28. Jeans
  29. Scarves: Teal, orange, black, navy
  30. Shoes: Danskos, boots, flats
  31. Coat and gloves
  32. Beige jacket
  33. Denim jacket
Well... we'll see. So far, though, Week 6 has been rather less of a chore. I'm giving myself permission to redo the list again for December if need be. There's definitely a learning curve to dressing with less. I had no idea trying to have a minimalist wardrobe would require so much work. ;)

*I bought this shirt--which is a rather lovely thing--at the Goodwill Boutique downtown. It gets a lot of comments. Anyway, the point is that I thought it was navy, but just last Thursday I discovered it's actually black. For some reason the tiny white dots give it a navy look in the sunlight. I don't know, it's still awesome, so whatever. I'm kind of glad because black is easier to navigate.