Thursday, January 30, 2014

Three pointless things

1. Yesterday was 32* and rainy.  The roads were fine, but all the trees and plants and whatnots were coated in ice. (See photo above for proof.) This morning it was already 40* when I took Johanna to school, and I wasn't worried at all about road conditions until I hit a patch of ice and almost slid into a horse pasture. Well, we're rural. Anyway, I got control before that point, but wow. Not awesome.

2. Remember how we were winning gracefully just a couple weeks ago? Those days are over. Abby's team played an Eastern Oregon school last Friday and got shut out. How shut out? Abby had the only two points at the half. My mother-in-law reported that not one person on the other side clapped when our girls made points even when they were up by like 50 or whatevs. Hmmm. Kinda tacky.

2.5. Johanna's basketball season has started up, and she is having a ball. It's fun to watch 3-4 grade girls after all those freshman high school games. They couldn't care less what the score is... they're just out there, bouncing around and having fun. It's a joy to watch. (Um, no, they haven't won yet... and I clap no matter who makes a basket. Take that, The Man!)

3. I'm 98.5% sure that everyone who has called me at work lately is just drunk. Quit being drunk, people! I've been asked to look up phone numbers for Portland TV stations and car dealerships in the next town over, who's on the school board, and whether or not parking in front of our blue paper boxes means someone owes you a paper. The moral of this paragraph: My patience is waning.

Um, so that's what I've been up to lately. I'd tell you about how my hip/back is bugging the crap out of me the last few days, but that would make four pointless things and I've already written my title, so there you go.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Abby Texts: Science final report

Abby: Might get Blue Liquids back today. Gross.

Me: Good luck!

Abby:Mommahhhhhhh quiero coffee por favor.


Me: Can I get an Amen?


Abby: Ahhh I want coffee now and also to hug everyone.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Packing lightly

Devils Lake, Lincoln City, Oregon

This weekend, the Walker 25 went to the coast for our annual Christmas House weekend. Except actually we were the Walker 23 because Weston and Cody couldn't come. Well, college, you know. It was a lot like all our other Christmas House weekends (you can read about last year's extravaganza here if you want), but with more babies and a football game (the Seahawks vs. 49ers). P.S. I really didn't watch. I just looked at pretty pictures on Pinterest. I have no regrets.

So anyway, I packed lightly for the occasion just to see if I could: Six items in my bag, five on my body. Oh, and undies and PJs and my swimsuit, only I never did make it into the hot tub because fun fact, I love hot water but I do not like being wet.

And then! The day after arriving, I saw this mini-mission from Project 333's Courtney Carver challenging us to wear the same items around the same people for 2-5 days just to see if anyone notices. Her theory: No one will notice because they're too busy paying attention to themselves. This sounds a lot like my Ugly Shirt Theory (everyone is so worried about their ugly shirt that they don't notice yours), so I was in. Actually, I was in anyway. 

And no. No one noticed. Or maybe were too polite to say anything. Or too busy having fun to care. I don't know, here's how it all played out:

What I wore there:
Black long-sleeve t-shirt
Black cardigan
Red infinity scarf
Ankle boots

What I wore while there:
Day 1:
Black long-sleeve t-shirt
Black turtleneck sweater
Ankle boots

...And then to Mass:
Black long-sleeve t-shirt
Black/white polka dot blouse
Black cardigan
Ankle boots
Black coat

Day 2:
Black t-shirt
Black/white polka dot blouse
Black cardigan
Dress denim
Ankle boots

What I wore home:
Black long-sleeve t-shirt
Black cardigan
Orange-print scarf
Ankle boots

So that was fun. The good news is that since I had practically nothing in my bag, I had room for all our electronics cords, which are far from minimal. The other good news is that we were in the 60s during the day (60s! At the coast! In January!), the Walkers are awesome, I'm clearly the babies' favorite auntie, and that vanilla latte I had at the outlet mall rocked.

Not too shabby, all things considered. The end, I guess.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Project 333: January-March

Gettin' smaller all the time
You could successfully argue that I was just playing Project 333 the first three months I dared to participate. That's because I gave myself permission to start slowly--to go through my closet every month and reassess what I was wearing/wanted to wear/thought I wanted but really didn't. That freedom gave me confidence; I realized that 33 items can get you through a host of weather and social situations, which was mainly what I was worried about. When you're used to "unlimited," an actual limit is kind of scary at first.

What else I learned: When your closet is small, everything in it needs to work together; no one notices (or cares, maybe) that you're wearing the same items all the time; and wearing only your favorite clothing makes you feel like a rock star.

For the Jan. 1-March 31 challenge, I'm going the full three months wearing the same 33 items like God and Courtney Carver intended. I've tested the water and it's time to dive in. I'm not worried about the "what ifs" anymore. My closet is more than adequate.

Case in point: Weather conditions in January are often different than they are in March. But instead of having half my closet dedicated to spring "just in case," I just made sure to have a decent top that can be worn without a jacket and matches all of my pants and skirts (looking at you, black tank). With a pair of flats, early spring is in the bag. I count nine potential outfits with just that one top. If I add a sweater or a scarf, we're talking many, many more.

Winter rotation:

 1. Jeans
 2. Dress denim
 3. Black dress
 4. Grey dress
 5. Tan dress

 6. Denim 
 7. Black 
 8. Beige 
 9. Grey/blue 

10. Black long-sleeve: Needs to be replaced
11. White long-sleeve
12. Navy long-sleeve
13. Black t-shirt
14. Navy t-shirt
15. Beige t-shirt: Want to replace with white
16. White tank: Needs to be replaced
17. Black tank

Dress shirts:
18. Black/white dot
19. Blue ¾ sleeved

Sweaters and jackets:
20. Black cardigan
21. Plum cardigan
22. Grey cardigan: Needs to be replaced
23. Teal zip up
24. Black turtleneck
25. PLACE HOLDER: Bright pullover
26. PLACEHOLDER: Neutral pullover
27. PLACEHOLDER: Fitted jacket in blue or navy
28. Beige jacket
29. Denim jacket

30. Dress scarves:
Red infinity

31. Shoes (all black):
Ankle boots

32. Outerwear:
Coat, scarf and gloves

33. Special occasion:
Black/white dress
Black/blue dress

Not on my list: Tights (I consider them underwear), my PJs (a pair of leggings and an old long-sleeve t-shirt, and my favorite thrashed navy sweatshirt when needed), my navy blue Converse All-Starts (workout clothes! Um, for all the working out I do!), and jewelry (I really only wear my wedding ring regularly, although sometimes I'll throw on a necklace or bracelet).

The placeholders indicate changes I want to make in my 33, but haven't had the time yet. I've decided to cut down on my blouses and just embrace the fact that I'm a t-shirt and sweater kind of girl. I may or may not add/replace everything within the next three months. I'm not particularly worried about it either way.

It's taken some effort to get my fall and winter capsule under control (that's Project 333 speak for you right there), but it was worth it. Anyway, all of this is just to say that if you're thinking about Project 333, don't let fear keep you from going for it. Start small if you need to, rearrange the rules a bit, see what happens. I bet you'll have fun.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

On winning (and losing?) gracefully

Final score,  Jan. 10's game
Abby has traditionally not been on the winning side of things when it comes to basketball. I'm talking from the time she started as an eight-year-old in third grade to now, at 14 and a freshman in high school.

Which is fine. I mean, it's hard to always lose, but on the upside, when you do scrape out a win, you're just so grateful to at least know what it feels like to be on the other end of things.

Anyway, what to the ever, right? Life lessons and all that. 

So the beginning of Abby's season this year, we had a bit of a tradition going on: Take whatever their team manage to score, double it and add five, and that was what the other team put down. It got tedious, but we could still appreciate the improvement of Abby's team, or a good game despite the final score.

When you're used to losing, that's just what you do.

But THEN. Last weekend, Abby's team pulled out a win--by four points, who cares, they played a team that was close to their own talent pool and it was awesome. And we were all like, well, it's good that they've had a taste of winning, anyway.

The next game they lost by two, but this team was better and and it was a dignified loss. And a heck of a game. Those girls gelled! They never gave up! It was as After School Special as you could get.

But then last Friday, they played a team that was just... I don't even know. It was a "JV 2" team, which means they had a junior and three sophomores playing, whereas our team was a true freshman extravaganza. We had six points in the first five minutes, and Johanna was like, are we going to win this one too? And I was like, well... I guess we'll see.

Because when you're used to losing, you're always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Even though we were up by over 30, I spent that whole last quarter just waiting for it to completely fall apart. Except it didn't.

Anyway, the other team scored two points in the first quarter... and finally another four in the fourth. And our parents cheered for them because wow, it's hard losing by so much. (Been there, done that.) Our coach played the whole bench, so it wasn't like he was trying to blow them out, and Abby brought up an interesting point later, when she said that she felt bad about blocking their shots, but couldn't just go out there and not.

I've always kind of felt like the coaches who would pound us mercilessly into the ground (no matter how they played their benches) were jerks, and maybe even blame the players a bit, too, but on THIS side, I could see how you would want to try, to give it your best, no matter what the scoreboard said.

I thought our girls and parents were gracious winners, but maybe that's just because we know how to lose. I'm not a natural optimist, even though I've been married to one for 18 years, so I can't believe that this winning streak will continue. I do, however, appreciate how far the girls have come. They're fun to watch. Abby has improved so much even since last year, and it's a thrill to see her block shots with that 5'11" frame of hers (and her wingspan? Is a thing of beauty).

The end, I guess. I kind of forgot the point I was trying to make, except then it occurred to me that I never have a point, which takes the pressure off. Maybe that it's all in the perspective? The winning and the losing and what it feels like? And what it means to be graceful either way?

Yeah. Let's go with that. Because admitting that winning is way more fun would just make me sound like a jerk.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Care Package Project: January

Figure 1: January care package contents
I tend to make a lot of New Year's Resolutions even though 1) I always say my resolution is not to make any resolutions and B) I never end up keeping them past the second week of January. This time around, I'm doing it differently, probably because Johanna decided it's REVOLUTION instead of resolution, and when you're in revolt, you've got to step it up a notch. It's an action-packed verb that deserves to be taken seriously. Or as seriously as I can muster, which is up for debate.

Abby and I have a joint "revolution" going on this year, which is namely this: We are going to pick someone (or someones) each month whom we think could use a good cheering up, or encouragement, or just some love. It's kind of a crappy world out there, you guys, but we're revolting! NOT THAT KIND OF REVOLTING. Whatever, we decided it would just be really fun to send packages out into the world and maybe make a few people feel special.

My Aunt Jan is one such person who could use a good cheering up, some encouragement, and a bit of love. Let's just say she's fighting the good fight and she's fighting hard, and that is tough. She was the obvious choice as our first care package recipient, and with her in mind, we hit the shops.

Or, specifically, my favorite market, which has a wonderful organic section. We chose:

Foot cream
Fluffy socks (only thing not from the organic section. Socks at the supermarket, why not?)
Lavender soap
Lavender and bergamot sleep balm
Hot chocolate mix

...And I won't lie, we knew we nailed it. But a care package is nothing if it doesn't include some words, so we all--every one of us--sat down to write letters (me and Abby) or draw a picture (Johanna) or to casually mention that Jan did not have to feel obligated to share any of her loot with Uncle Doug* (Eric). Abby also threw in a copy of her latest D.A.R. essay. I made a little card for the top of the box, and then we shut 'er up and sent 'er out.

Now, I'm not telling you all of this so that you can sit back and think, Wow, that Trisha is awesome. I mean, we all know this already, I don't have to share the contents of a care package to prove it. (JK) No, I'm telling you this--and will recap all our packages this year--to maybe inspire you to do something similar. You don't have to send a package a month... or even a package. Just maybe think about your friends and family, and who could use a pick-me-up. In my 41 years on this planet, I've learned that letters are A Big Hit, and that only costs you a bit of time and a 46-cent stamp, should filling a box seem daunting and impossible. And maybe together we can push some of the darkness away.

It's a revolution, remember?
Figure 2: Explanation card. Because I like explaining.
P.S. Jan said she would share her foot cream with Doug... as he was rubbing her feet. Win!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Another minimalist win

Christmas and birthdays are hard on the minimalist front. It seems so ungrateful to tell people who want to buy you stuff that you don't need or want said stuff, but not saying anything can get you back into the consumerism hole from which you've just clawed your way out. (Fun fact: Abby hates most of my word choices. "Just say it, Mom!")

I guess the good news is now that we've been out as minimalists for a year or two, we don't have to say anything at all. Christmas this year involved a lot of really thoughtful, consumable gifts (YAY COFFEE!). Our gifts to others tended to be along the same consumable lines, although I did make a scrapbook for my mother of Johanna's Backyard Carnival. Because that's all she wanted. And sometimes I listen.

Anyway, my mother-in-law called on Christmas Eve to ask what was on Johanna's list. "Jo is my hard one," she told me. Well, it doesn't help that Johanna's birthday and Christmas are 12 days apart. (Poor planning, my bad.) She rattled off some possible ideas, but there wasn't really anything on the list that wasn't already under the tree.

So I suggested that she just take Johanna somewhere. A couple of years ago, pre-minimalism even, she gave Abby a trip to a tea shop for her birthday and a ride on the Polar Express for Johanna's. Except then my father-in-law had brain surgery so I took Johanna instead. (It's cool; he's fine.) And I was like, um, maybe you could just do something with her? Like that one year? 

All of that is to say: On Christmas morning, Johanna opened a card from her grandparents that included a coupon for a lunch date with Grandma. ("Yes! I got a coupon!") And last week, Grandma took her on her date--they had lunch (Jo had fish and chips), they went to the history museum, they even did Grandma's errands at the church (cleaning and replacing candles around the altar). Oh, and got an ice cream cone to top it all off.

Johanna came back glowing. She loves one-on-one time and was just so happy as she told us about her day. And I appreciate that my mother-in-law was willing to go this non-traditional gift route. Sometimes people balk a bit because NOT giving something tangible seems... maybe not like a real gift.

But time IS a real gift. Thanks again, Grandma.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A jarring discovery for the new year


Abby has been bugging the crap out of me lately because she's SO SURE she's taller than me, and takes every opportunity to invade my personal space to compare our heights. She's tall, I'll give her that, but is she taller than me? Um, no.

Look, I have been 6-feet plus since college. That's when I got my growth spurt. Although I was the tallest girl in my graduating high school class, now that I think about it. I always though that 5'11" would be the perfect height, because you're tall but not THAT tall, but alas, it was not meant to be.


Yesterday Abby had Eric get a tape measure to prove once and for all that she's surpassed my vertical limits, and he did one better because he got a tape measure and a level, so he could be sure we were standing straight, I guess. He's kind of a perfectionist. Moving on. So Abby goes and she's:

Five feet, 11 5/8 inches.

Then I go because sometimes I get competitive about weird things like height. And I am:

Five feet, 11 3/4 inches.

What does 5/8s even mean? Who cares, I win! I won't lie, I totally did a victory dance when we realized I'm still the tallest girl in this house. And then Abby was all, I guess it's not that I'm growing, it's just that you're shrinking, which kind of put a damper on my dance moves.

Because. I've spent most of my adult life with "six plus feet" as a big part of my identity. I'm that tall girl. Add to that the realization that shrinking happens as you get older, which clearly means I'm older. 

But then I'm all, I've always wanted to be 5'11"!, and it's kind of cool that I've finally gotten my wish.

So I'm kind of conflicted is what I'm saying.

Ah, well. The end.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Thursday "Art," Why we love Oregon edition

Eric took this on New Year's Day. 
I took this picture about an hour later.
The end.