Monday, June 30, 2014

The Care Package Project: June

I'll bet you thought I forgot all about our June Care Package Project now, didn't you?

I remembered, all right, it's just that I kept forgetting to ask my mother for her cousin's address. Because that's who we're CPP-ing this month: A woman we've never met who lives in Wisconsin.

Seems a weird choice, maybe, but here's the thing: Everyone on my mom's side of the family is kind of enamored with the fact that Johanna is named after Grandma Johanna (in my case, my great-great grandmother) because she was A Wonderful Lady, and cousin Nancy (kind of confusing because my mother is also a Nancy) is no different. She likes to send Johanna random packages containing things like books special ordered from Scandinavia just because her name is in the title.

So, I mean, if some lady is sending your kid books titled "Johanna" from across the sea for kicks, I think the least you can do is properly thank her with a package of her own.

I wanted to do something that focused on local products because hello, Wisconsin. We have all kinds of options here, including very bad vodka and very good coffee. And we're got artisans all over the dang place, which opens up soap / candle / ceramic options.

El contents.

After much consideration, here's what we ended up with:

Locally made ceramic candle holder
Locally made cinnamon beeswax candle
Lavender sachet from the farm down the street
Bath salts
A small tin of lip balm made in my kitchen
A set of Johanna's notecards
A cute little basket to put it all in

Close-up of the candle and ceramic holder. I'm a big fan of both.

But here's the thing (and I feel slightly sheepish for admitting this): I had the candle and candle holder already, purchased pre-minimalism. They're both locally made and quite new looking, and I figured that as I would actually buy these items again in this very condition for this very package, it would be okay to regift.

Is that tacky or environmentally sound? I'm hoping it's the latter.

Putting it all together.

So with my "big" gift covered, I filled out the rest of the basket with, as it turned out, more stuff I had around the house. The notecards are new (ha), as is the lip balm (made a fresh batch with this package in mind, although I did reuse a tin). Johanna made the bath salts for me for a Mother's Day gift a year or so ago (it's hard to fit in a bathtub when you're 6-feet tall. I don't even bother), and the sachet was something Abby was given when she worked at the neighboring lavender farm's festival last summer. It still smells lovely and she willingly donated it to the cause. And I've been holding onto the basket for years with this very purpose in mind.

I had Johanna draw another little card to include as well--I thought that might be a hit--and sent a short note thanking Nancy for thinking of Jo and sending her such thoughtful gifts. Because you know what? That is just nice.

Jo's figures never fail to make me smile.

So that's June. I have high hopes I will not be as negligent about the Project next month, but, since this is me and all, maybe I shouldn't get my hopes up too high after all.

P.S. Remember our May Care Package Project? Our nephew didn't end up receiving it until about three weeks later--after he was home from college. I'm not sure what happened, and I have no idea how the package even found him after all that time, but hey, apparently aside from some squishy doughnuts, the contents all came through okay. I'm just glad he finally got that Swagger body wash...

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Abby Texts: Rummage sale

The scene: Abby, who needs lots o' volunteer hours for high school, has been volunteering at the annual church rummage sale this week, sorting through bags of assorted crap and putting it in its correct area. She's the youngest one there by 50 years. The altar society ladies love her, as well they should, not that I'm biased, but I'm totally biased. Anyway, this was my lunch entertainment on Wednesday:

Abby: Literally can I get an ugly Christmas sweater?

Me: Um, yes?

Abby: YES. It's hideous and great. It's pink with a puke-y Santa on it.

Me: Sounds pretty.

Abby: Also found actual cute Nike sweater.

Me: Perfect. How's lunch?

Abby: Nummies. Had Subway and a doughnut. Everyone loves my Christmas sweater.

Me: I bet. Dream come true!* You're totes set for Christmas now.

Abby: I'm excited! Short in sleeve sorta but baggy and weird everywhere else.

Me: Dreamy.

Abby: Pink with snowflakes knitted into sleeves.

Me: Better and better! Why would anyone want to part with that?

Abby: I don't know dude. LOVE IT. We owe a total of $3.50.

*This is actually not hyperbole. Abby has been wanting an ugly Christmas sweater for months.

P.S. Puke-y Santa close-up. We can't figure out why there's a cat in the lower right corner holding what we can only assume is an American flag. Betsy Ross is so pissed right now, you guys, I just know it.

There is so much going on here that is just astounding.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Question: How does your garden grow?

Answer: Overgrown.

So I took a series of photos with this post in mind, but it would appear that they have all been deleted. I got a big girl camera recently, and I've been foolish enough to let both Eric and Abby touch it. My bad.

Oops, sorry, didn't mean to start off with a rant. In my defense, I need more coffee.

Let's begin again:

My garden is currently overgrown, which is kind of the way I like it, because I believe that all of God's creatures should be able to run wild, and that includes weeds. Also, to borrow a phrase from Abby, I'm hella lazy. (If you're not 14, "hella" means "very" times a billion. Also, if you want to be entertained, ask her to conjugate that for you).

Actually, we don't even have a true garden this year--we've been struggling in our garden spot the last few years, so we decided to give the soil a break--but we did plant lettuce and spinach in a flower bed close to the house. Usually what happens is this: The lettuce gets harvested on an as-needed basis, with a lot of it ending up in friends' refrigerators (it's fun to share surplus garden wealth), but the poor spinach kind of just languishes until it starts to bloom and then it's all over.

That's something I didn't know until we started growing our own greens--those suckers love to bloom and grow. I thought they just hugged the ground. Not so.

So this weekend I made up my mind to save the spinach from such a fate. Isn't that part of a zero waste lifestyle, after all? I went out with a bowl and some scissors (takes longer than just pulling leaves off, but I get less stem that way), and went out again and again and possibly again, I lost count, until all that's left is a bunch of stalks that may or may not rejuvenate, it's a crap shoot, but I'm kind of curious to see what happens.

Enter my salad spinner, one of the loves of my kitchen life, and a towel spread on the counter, and before I knew it, I was overrun. It was kind of awesome.

I tossed a bit of it into my salad bowl, and the rest I chopped in my extremely thrashed food processor (hey, it works), and when the dust settled, my kitchen smelled surprisingly like fresh-cut grass, and I also had 12 cups of chopped spinach for the freezer.

I was feeling very of zero-wastey up until this point. But then it all came crashing to a halt because I proceeded to wrap it up in 2-cup packages in this plastic wrap stuff I bought, no kidding, probably three years ago and just can't seem to get rid of, probably because I cover all my leftover food with either kitchen towels or dishes for storage. I could toss it, I could donate it, but the fact of the matter is that I bought it and it will end up in the landfill no matter what I do, so I've decided to use it up and then never buy any more of it ever again. (I've been thinking it through, and I have so many glass jars in various sizes that I could easily use those for freezer and canning use. I just need to get there.)

Moving right along--because I'm a big fan of doing what we can and not brow-beating ourselves for what we can't--I ended up with six cute little spinach packets for my freezer. It would be gross to just eat (who does that? Are things ever that desperate?), but in lasagna or stromboli, it will be fine.

So this is the rather longish tale of How I Saved the Spinach from Certain Death Unused. And hell yes, I am feeling quite proud of myself, plastic wrap use aside, because yay! I did that! I get a bit of a thrill in preserving food for the winter months. I really need more hobbies...

Monday, June 23, 2014


So I have some news to share that I'm kind of excited about, and also kind of scared, which I think is probably smart because the minute I start getting cocky is the minute I get banged on my head. Figuratively, of course, but still, ouch.

I got a bit of a promotion at work, in that I'm going from 20 hours a week to 30, with half that time in editorial. My new schedule starts today, and... I'm so happy. I'll be writing more, which I find generally appealing, but I'm still going to have to deal with the public up front, which is fine, but I've kind of gone off the public recently if you want to know the truth. 

In a lot of ways, things are staying the same. I'll still be doing my usual front desk routine, i.e. writing stories while also taking classified ads, dealing with the disgruntled, and answering questions of great importance, like where the public restrooms are. It's just now I get to spend my mornings in the back, hanging with the big boys and hoping no one stops to ask how the hell I managed to worm my way into editorial with a (rather useless) English major. I'm kind of having a hard time wrapping my brain around what it will be like, getting to write uninterrupted in my own little cubical in the back.

I imagine it will be quite pleasant.

Um, that's all. Wish me luck.

P.S. Happy birthday, Mara!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Project 333 update: Spring edition

Something interesting has happened with my spring Project 333 wardrobe, you guys. I'm down to 29 (countable) items.

I did not expect that.

Those aren't actually empty hangers... you just can't see my tank tops. :)

True, I didn't include six pairs of shoes or yoga pants or three scarves, and I have two "special occasion" dresses that I keep in the back of my closet for "just in cases." Courtney Carver, Project 333 founder (and one of my favorite bloggers), says you don't have to include workout or lounge clothes, everyday jewelry and undies, and stresses that this is not a project in suffering. Thus my no shoes, no scarves, no dresses rule. :) I mean, she even includes her purse, but I'm not that strong and I'm not that brave.

But even if I did include that stuff, here's what my closet looks like:

Black: Cardigan, t-shirt, long-sleeve t-shirt, tank top, short-sleeve blouse, pants, shoes (boots, ankle boots, Dansko slip-ons, sandals, closed toed sandals), special occasion black/white dress, everyday purse (13)
Grey: Pants and long-sleeve t-shirt/pullover combo thing (2)
Beige: Pants, skirt, capris, t-shirt, lace tank, plain tank, jacket (7)
Teal: Zip-up cardigan, blouse, scarf (3)
Blue (various shades from navy to light): Pullover sweater, tank, multi-blue tank, denim jacket, long-sleeve t-shirt, flower multi pretty, short-sleeve blouse, t-shirt, denim skirt, skirt, stripped scarf, yoga pants, Converse All-Stars just for taking walks, two pairs of jeans in various stages of wear, special occasion blue/black dress (15)
Purple: Skirt (1)
Multi orange: Tank, scarf (2)
Jewelry: Wedding ring, bracelet, necklace with small pendant (3)

Forty-six items. I never, ever thought I could get my entire wardrobe down to 46. I actually could probably take it down even more--the lace tank has sat untouched because it's too big and I'm not in the mood to show off the twins every time I bend over. Hmm. Methinks I just found another rummage sale item.

Okay, make that 45 items. That sucker is gone.

And the craziest part of this is that I'm so happy with my wardrobe. It's perfect. True story, once upon a time, I had nothing blue in my closet, even though navy is my all-time favorite and I'm a big fan of all shades in that color in a general kind of way. Maybe that's why I love my closet so much--it actually reflects my preferences instead of what I think I should be wearing.

What a novel thought.

No one really notices that I've got the same items on rotation, although I've come to the conclusion that even if they did, who cares? It's my closet.

So I guess the moral of this story is my spring capsule wardrobe is working out just fine and I really don't think I'll change anything when we hit June 30 and I'm allowed to select a summer wardrobe. We'll see how I feel in a couple of weeks, I suppose. I don't know if I even have anything left to cycle in for warmer weather, though, now that I think about it...

P.S. This project has brought me the same kind of contentment and peace that minimalism has (well, duh, it's a minimalism project)... and it seems like the more I purge, the better my wardrobe gets. It's all favorites at this point.

Here's the link to the start of my spring rotation in case you're curious... and an update a few days later.

Monday, June 16, 2014

In which I learn a few things

I had an interesting day at work on Friday, if by "interesting" you mean "kind of shitty." Maybe because it was a full moon AND Friday the 13, not that I put any stock in that superstitious nonsense, except it's all totally true.

Ah, it started out so iffy: Johanna was on the couch, clouds and rain looming, a general feeling of bereavement because another year has gone by and now I have a sophomore and a fourth grader, which is insane and I don't even want to think about, to be honest.

But then it rebounded: Johanna got up off that couch through sheer will and went to school, I practiced yoga and was feeling quite relaxed, I spent a good deal of time reading my new book, and I even got myself a vanilla latte before heading to work.

So six minutes into my four-hour shift, this smallish old dude with a French accent comes into the office, radiating displeasure. Well, that happens quite often, so no biggie. But then he asks for me personally, and, though I didn't think it was a very good idea to actually identify myself, I did.

And he went bat-shit crazy. So much for being a hit with the geriatric crowd.

I had spelled a word wrong in my last feature about windsurfing--I said "baton" instead of "batten"--and he ripped me a new one because that's so high school drop out amateurish. I pointed out that spell check did not flag "baton" as wrong, and that kind of shut him up, but then he was off again, about how he felt like he should have his 75-cents back because this kind of mistake made him SO MAD and if he was the guy I'd written about, he'd be SO UPSET.

Paraphrasing. He used slightly more colorful words.

So, as he's taking a breath, I tell him that actually, the guy I'd written about had been quite complementary about the article and had said he'd gotten a lot of good feedback from it, and old dude's eyes kind of bugged out like he couldn't believe that could possibly be true because I am SO DUMB.

More angry words then, and I was getting kind of tired, so I asked at that point if he wanted to talk to someone higher up, you know, like our publisher or general manager, and of course he didn't. He didn't want to leave his name, either. He left in a huff, shaking his head.

I let out the breath I was holding as I watched him walk to his truck, and burst into tears. Steve had made his way to the front counter when the guy started getting loud, and he was so damn nice, telling me the guy was a jerk and where did he get off because everyone makes mistakes and how everyone still loves me. Then he flagged our general  manager Chelsea over, and she was horrified because she'd been in the back and hadn't been able to help me, and told me I'm too sweet to let that guy ruin my day. And said that my article was beautiful so whatever, old dude.

I had to actually go in the back to compose myself, which was so embarrassing because A) I'm not even a crier and 2) I didn't want to admit this man had hurt me so badly. I got myself together and then darling Esther talks to me about how one time some nurse called and went off on her about some quote she'd put in an article about a cancer patient, and how she knew just how I felt because that lady had made her feel so worthless. And I was like, yes! That's how I feel! I couldn't figure out the name for that, and then I was crying again.

I did finally manage to get my shit together, but I think that's because the shock of being spoken to like that was finally wearing off, plus everyone in the office totally rallied around me. It didn't even matter to them that I was actually wrong (I mean, I did misspell the word, at least syntactically)--they picked me up and dusted me off and polished my ego. I so appreciated that kindness. Just... I don't know, the comraderie of it all. We've all made mistakes, and it's not like we feel great when that happens anyway, but usually the response is in line with the error--i.e., nobody comes unglued just because you misspelled one stinkin' word.

Anyway, I'm not even sure what the moral is of this whole sad tale, except that I so, so love my office. They took it harder than I did, and the support I felt was absolutely as radiant as the hate I'd just experienced. I didn't expect that.

They're the best.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Sometimes DNA is a real jerk

My baby.

Last day of school and Johanna is on the couch. She might miss the whole thing.

And it's all my fault.

Johanna has the family stomach--my stomach--and I have a lot of guilt about that. I mean, it's all genetics or whatever (science is boring), and I can't help what I pass on, but still.

We've been watching her diet so carefully. She's missed so much school this year already, because I am slow and it took me a while to link what she is eating with how she is feeling (irony, since that should have been my first thought). We've tried so many diets: Gluten-free, dairy-free. We eat a very natural, mostly organic, really nothing processed except cereal, I guess, and crackers, so it's not like there's a lot of obvious things to cut out. She's not a big meat eater and she mostly drinks water. She'd rather eat a cucumber than anything else in the world. (Weird kid.) But she still has these issues.

It's very frustrating.

So she's on a new diet. I've basically told her that when she's presented with any sort of food situation all she needs to ask herself is, "Can my mom eat this?" And if I cannot, then she can't, either. She's way too familiar with my diet, so it's a good method for keeping things under control.

"I like the Mom diet way better than the gluten-free diet," she announced at breakfast earlier this week.

Awesome. And yet, heartbreaking.

So what pushed her over the edge this time around? The only thing I can think of is that she had a big scoop of peanut butter last night (Skippy, if you must know, which is in the house for Abby. Jo has been eating my bulk, peanut-only nut-butter in her lunch, but she was in the mood for something else and I let her).

Blerg. One more thing to add to the list.

Anyway, though, it's becoming very clear that Johanna has my high-acidic stomach (fun!), except she hates all pills and potions, so it's kind of hard to get a handle on that. My best friend is omeprazole. I wouldn't be able to function without it. We need to find her something she can take, too.

She needs to function. This is a kid who never sits down. The fact that she's on the couch speaks volumes to me about how bad she feels.

It's also clear that she has an intolerance to artificial preservatives. I had a "salt thing" for most of my life--except for some reason when I turned 30, it kind of all went away, just like Ann had promised it would (fellow sufferer)--and I think, in hindsight, it had to be artificial preservatives, just based on when the reactions would happen (hives aren't as fun as you'd think, and dorm food did not help) and how I would feel (pretty damn crappy).

We came to this conclusion, by the way, on the day after she ate a corn dog and a hot dog (without our knowledge, I'd like to point out) and missed two days of school.

Good times.

So I guess best case scenario is that she starts feeling better in the next hour or so (mornings are the worst) and gets to go (finish cleaning out her desk, meet her teacher for next year, say goodbye to her friends), and worst case scenario is that I go do all those things for her before heading to work. (Hey, Grandmas, what you got going on today?)

I don't know, you guys. I'm so ready for summer, to see if we can get her sorted out, with the knowledge that if she has a bad morning, who cares, she's got no where to go anyway. She's too young to have to live on the couch. She's too young to have to be wary of peanut butter.

DNA sucks.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tuesday "Art," what I'm doing this morning edition

1. Making Mexican Lasagna filling using our rather overgrown, totally kick ass home grown spinach:

You can only do so much when you're taking photos with your Ipod.
Hey, though, trust me. Recipe here. You're welcome.

2. Admiring the marigolds:

I actually think marigolds are quite stinky (and not in a good way),
but they are pretty.

3. Admiring the view:

Another perfect day. Is it any wonder my blogging has been sporadic lately?

4. Coffee:

This is one of the coffee mugs I won in that gift basket thing, and it's
admittedly kind of funky, but Abby loves the set, so we're using them
until she goes to college and then she can take them with her forever.

5. Looking forward to having time to start this on my Kindle:

Not my photo; found it here.
And here's the book link. I pre-ordered this almost a year ago,
people. It's been a looooong wait.

(And not in that particular order.)

Happy Tuesday, friends!

Friday, June 6, 2014

I don't want to brag or anything, but I am quite the hit with the geriatric crowd

Yesterday while trying to compose our newspaper's "yesteryears" column (pounding out 1984, and I gotta tell you, I know I was just 12 and everything, but wow, no wonder I don't remember much of the early '80s. Boring), an elderly gentleman came in and proceeded to tell me he wasn't sure if I was the person he needed to talk to, but he had this question and...

I actually hear this a lot at the front desk: I'm not sure if you're the right person to help me, but... Hey, it's cool, I say that a lot, too, when I'm out in the world, so no biggie. All I mean by this paragraph is that it's code for you have a 25-percent chance of being the correct person, but 100-percent chance of answering.

I am all about answering.

So he's like, Does your paper publish flight times? and I was all, no, we're too small a paper and too far away from a major airport for anyone to think that was a good idea... maybe the library? They're nice over there. 

I am all about encouraging.

He was not encouraged.

So he proceeds to tell me he's from Butte, Montana, and he was a fighter pilot in the Korean War, and he helped build the hiking trails on both the Oregon and Washington sides of the Columbia River, and once he even got interviewed by our newspaper and it was a huge article (he got the name of our paper wrong, though, so that might go either way), and he's here visiting, and he needs to figure out flights back home, but he'd spent an hour at the library on the computers already and he can't figure it out and we don't have a travel agency in town but if he could just get the names of some Portland travel agents that would be...

By the time he got around to that last part, I'd done a Google search and had a list of Portland travel agents printed out and in front of him.

He thought I was a genius. It was very good for my self esteem.

So after praising my technological ingenuity, he tells me about how he's been in three movies, one with Jeff Bridges (did I know who that was?), who is a good friend of his, and yadda yadda yadda, he's going to see if he can get me a signed photo of him and Jeff and will give it to me the next time he's in town.

Oh, and one of the three was an Army training video made in Florida in the early '50s, and it wasn't on the big screen or anything, but he did get to die on the beach. I kind of thought that was more interesting than Jeff Bridges, but then, I'm not really a movie kind of girl.

(Calm down, Mara. I mean no disrespect.)

So then he shook my hand and asked for my name and if I always sat RIGHT HERE at my desk, and he told me to have a very nice day and thanked me for my help.

The only problem is that he thinks my name is Patricia (it is NOT), so that might be awkward, if my autographed photo really does come through...

P.S. Then I had a very tiny little old lady come in for visitor's guides, which she proclaimed she was sending to Seattle and Portland, and joked how she is doing her part to keep us in business, and I was all, we appreciate that! And then she kind of patted my waist, because that was where her shoulders hit, and laughed and said she bet we did.

The end. Except to say it was kind of a nice day that way.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Post-minimalist shopping isn't as fun as you might think

I've been facing a bit of a dilemma, and just so we're all on the same page from the get-go, this should be filed under "first world problems." Also: This post is way longer than it needs to be. I just don't have time to write concisely.

Remember that gift basket I won at the beginning of May? Update: We've had some fun family date nights to a couple of our favorite restaurants, I've unloaded all my funky hats on happy friends, and given a couple things away as gifts to general applause. Plus I've cashed in my certificate for a free pound of coffee (I go through a lot of coffee when the weather gets warm because of THIS iced coffee recipe) and that was rather fantastic.

Mmm! Coffee!

Anyway, I also got a rather large gift certificate to one of the cutsie stories in town. I never go into this store because A) It's downtown, and downtown is crazy, and 2) It's a touristy gift shop. Oh, and it's expensive. I forgot to mention that part.

During my lunch hour last Wednesday, I decided to go into said gift shop and see what I could find. I went, and I looked, and I found... nothing. I mean, there were some gorgeous bowls, but I don't need any bowls, and there were some cool covered casserole dishes (the largest was $75, might have been two-quarts), but I already have some fairly funky casseroles that I picked up at the church rummage sale a couple of years ago. They make me laugh when I use them, and just for the entertainment value alone I want to keep them. I mean, look at them!

Awesome, right? $5 for both. Such a steal.

Well, and then there's the fact that I've been very successful in purging my unwanted kitchen items (and even some that I did want, just never used), and I'm really not in the mood to bring more stuff in. So kitchenware was out.

I found a rather lovely scarf for $30, except it was in browns and my colors are black, beige and blue (with two grey and two teal items thrown in for good measure), and it wouldn't match more than about half of my (hard won) capsule wardrobe. Also it was made of this webby mesh material and I was just positive it would snag the first time I dared to wear it. I'm clumsy that way.

I left the store with nothing. I texted Eric that the whole experience would have been way more fun pre-minimalism. Ah, well.

But! The next day Eric took me to lunch at the local Elks Club (um, which I totally dissed because our Elks Club is kind of whack, but he had a $20 coupon to the restaurant. I had a cheeseburger that ended up being really delicious. Artisan bun and everything. Color me shocked.) The best part was that we were the youngest people in there by 50 years, I kid you not, except for the bartender. She looked maybe 21. Kids have started to really look young to me since I hit my 40s, by the way. And their youthful enthusiasm kind of makes me sad because reality hasn't knocked them down yet, but you just know it will eventually.

Um... what was I talking about?

Oh, right. After lunch, we still had some time before we had to go back to work, so we went into the shop together to look around. I showed him the scarf and the casseroles, and we looked at a few bracelets. Most were beaded, and not to brag or anything, but I already have a lot of cheap plastic beaded bracelets. I wanted something different.

And then I found this:

Not a beaded bracelet.

And you guys, I'm so happy. The "blessed" message really struck a cord with me because I AM blessed. Sometimes I forget that. Sometimes I start feeling sorry for myself. Sometimes I rage against the machine. But! I have a husband who is my best friend, two smart and beautiful girls, a job I love, and a cat who keeps coming back (they don't have to, you know). That's not even all of it, but I've crossed over into emotional territory here and I'm not altogether comfortable with that. :)

I still have $12 on my gift certificate, and I'm not really sure what to do about that. I'm torn between my minimalist belief that I need nothing more and my frugal hatred of wasting something. War! It's inside of me!

So... the end, I guess. I'll keep you posted if I remember.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Two days in and already behind

Sorry about the blogging break. It was unintentional. We've had some exceptionally good weather lately, and it's hard to sit down and write when this is the view beyond your computer:

Early morning sunshine and prettiness.

That should adequately explain why I have a column due in an hour and a half that I haven't even started yet, as well as why I've got a bit of a sunburn on my arms and legs. Sunshine makes me want to read on the deck with a glass of iced coffee. It does not make me want to do anything productive.

Hey, speaking of hanging out on the deck, here's something I noticed yesterday:

Baby sungold tomatoes! 

So that's kind of exciting. We're not doing a garden this year--our output has been pathetic the last couple of years, and we decided to give the soil a break. I mean, when you can't even grow a decent batch of zucchini, which is practically a weed, you know things are bleak. But we have needs, so Eric got us a couple of huge sungold tomato plants (if you've never had a sungold tomato, you're missing out. Those suckers are like crack. SO GOOD), as well as three fairly well-established basil starts (so well-established I've already been able to make a baby batch of pesto). These sit on the deck. We're putting our southern exposure to good use. Plus it makes it a rather festive area to buck responsibility and read, what with all the flowers and plants and such.

I can't say there's much of a point to any of this, but I suppose that IS the point, so there you go. Hey, I'll have a real post on Wednesday, okay? I should be able to get my act together by then. Even if the extended forecast IS rather wonderful in the sun department...