Friday, October 31, 2014

The Abby Texts: Superhero bus ride


Abby: Take me please.

Me: I would love to but working till 6.

Abby: Is the newspaper pretending to be a pre-union sweatshop in the 1920s or something?

Me: Pretty much, yo.*

Abby: I would save you but I'm currently being held hostage by the bus driver and the crapheads who ride with me in this chariot from hell.

Me: Sounds fun!

Abby: They're literally BLASTING the radio and it's Bruno Mars and already I can feel my powers fading. Crappy pop is my kryptonite.


Abby: My superhero name is HomeGurl because I'm a homie to everybody.

*Not really. I got overtime.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Project 333 fall edition month one round-up

One month in with the fall season of Project 333 and I'm down three items. Um, except I also brought in three items, so I guess that means we're quits.

First, the rejects:

  1. Black turtleneck sweater (urchased at Goodwill for like $5 last winter) 
  2. Button-top long-sleeve blue t-shirt (purchased from Chicos in January. I love this thing, but it's all shrunk up in the sleeves and trunk and does not make me feel like a rock star anymore)
  3. Black Dansko shoes (that button keeps falling off and I'm tired of dealing with it. I should have tried taking them back to the store immediately, but I didn't, and that's on me)

It's so cute in theory...

I wore the turtleneck and the t-shirt one last time to just see if I could actually live with them before tossing them into the donate pile, and concluded that yes, I really can. I have lots of pretty things in my closet. I don't need to hang on to anything "just in case." I mean, let's be honest, there isn't a scenario where any of these items are going to be the only ones that will do in any given situation, right?

Why is it I can never remember that right away? Like, when I'm putting this stuff back into my closet at the beginning of a new P333 rotation?


Now, the new:

  1. Eddie Bauer sweater in "Cinder" (I forgot I was mad at Eddie Bauer for unnecessary shrinkage. Oops)
  2. Maurices scarf (all my colors! It looks more blue in real life than on the link)
  3. Cobb Hill slip-ons in black (yes, another button. The guy who sold them to me told me to bring them back ASAP if the button comes off, and I've saved the receipt for just that reason. Stressful, but SO COMFORTABLE. Cobb Hill is my new favorite brand)

I didn't actually plan to add anything this month... but I suppose that's what happens when you don't plan. I'm going to get a lot of mileage out of these three items, so I don't feel too bad. But this is why I need to stay the hell out of the shops -- I really, really love clothes.

Mmm, clothes!

Just in case you care what's in my closet now, here's the list:

Pants: Jeans, grey dress, black dress, beige dress (4)
Skirts: Grey, denim, beige, t-shirt (4)
Tanks: Navy, blue multi, orange multi, black/white (4)
Blouses: Grey, black/white, teal, white (4)
Long-sleeve t-shirts: Black, navy (2)
Sweaters: Teal cardigan, grey turtleneck, grey cardigan, black cardigan, navy cardigan, blue pullover, plum cardigan, new grey stripped sweater, grey sweatshirt (9!)
Jackets: Denim, beige (2)

The following I'm counting as one item...
Scarves: Blue stripped, blue/teal, new blue/black floral, red floral, orange multi
Shoes: Boots, ankle boots, new Cobb Hill, old Cobb Hill, Converse All-Stars (for all my working out! JK)
Outerwear: Coat, gloves, hat

Ha! That makes 32! Um, okay, I am cheating, but it's my game, so there. I'm remembering, by the way, that it's easier to dress with less than 33 in the warmer months than it is in the cooler ones. Layers. That's the problem. Also: My sweater addiction. Strangely, I have no regrets.

Bring on November! :)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Three things you need to know this Monday!

Just kidding. You don't need to know any of this stuff. I don't call the blog Pointless Ramble for nothing. And yet, here we all are. Awkward.

No. 1: 
The Walker Four traveled to Portland this weekend, which seemed like a great idea at the time. Eric had some big-city chores to complete, Abby was wanting some new clothing items, and Johanna and I thought we'd go along for the ride.

It started out just fine, but a couple of things became abundantly clear fairly quickly: It was crowded, it was noisy, it was hot, and it was stupid. I don't know if it's minimalism, or Project 333, or just my advanced age of 42 years, but wow, you guys, not awesome. And then this happened:

Abby loves American Eagle, and we had a coupon along the lines of "save $10 off $40." Guess how much the sweater she wanted cost? $39.95. I went to the register and was like, seriously, can I just give you a nickel?, but the girl wasn't having any of that and said we'd have to buy something else. Since there wasn't anything under $10, Abby and I decided spending an additional $10 to save $10 was idiotic. But you know what, American Eagle? I am not happy you and your scams.

Anyway, the moral of this story is that I don't think we need to go to the mall again for a while. Like, ever, if I can help it.

No. 2: 
This is the worst time of the year to be making bold declarations regarding diet (and, to be clear, I'm talking diet, not DIET), but this week I'm going back on the no-processed food train. My stomach has just not been doing all that great, and I know it's because I'm eating way too much processed food (and in effect, too much fat, too much sugar and too much salt, all of which mess with my jerky system). Since I suck at following through with anything unless I have to be accountable for my actions, I'm telling you, internet friends. Update soon.

No. 3: 
For Halloween last year, as you may or may not recall, Johanna went as the Lone Johanna for No Reason. This entailed an Iron Man mask, green cape, OSU Beavers jersey and pajama bottoms, like so:

Getting all the pieces together for this costume
was kind of nerve-wracking.

This year, Johanna has decided to go as a doughnut. All it required was me picking up a plain white t-shirt and some fabric markers. And some purple puff paint, I guess. (She already had pink from another project.) Then I set her loose and she came up with this:

"Everybody loves a good doughnut!"

Doughnut closeup. 

She says next year she might go as a lamp (gold shirt and pants, lampshade on her head), which I was all prepared to get going for this year, effort be damned, but no, the doughnut won out. Hey, whatever. I'm just thankful I didn't have to try to find a mask this year.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Care Package Project: October

Emboldened by the success of my (rather late, who cares) September CPP, I got right on securing the contents of our October package. I had a rather lovely hour-long lunch a couple of weeks ago, which I spent at our local stationary store.

Because Abby and I had already decided in September that Mara, my best friend from high school, was going to be our October CPP, I knew just what I was looking for. Except Abby got me in trouble after this little exchange at the end of my first September Care Package post:
  1. oooooh, I want to be on your CCP list! Even if you just send me something like a stick of gum and some smiley face stickers. :)

    Spoiler alert: You're October. For reals. :)
Abby did not find it necessary for me to spill the beans. In my defense, I'm kind of terrible at surprises.

Also: A stick of gum and some smiley face stickers?! We can do much, much better than that, my friend.

Well, anyway. Mara has had a busy year -- she's self-published not one but two novels (both will be released Nov. 1!), she's started a Facebook and Twitter account (that's enough to send a person over the edge right there), and she's putting up really thoughtful (and often hilarious) posts (about writing!) on her new blog, The Writing Life. What this girl needs is some cute stationary to keep track of all that writing and posting and publishing, don't you think?

So imagine my joy when I found this:


That's not even the best part -- inside there are QUOTES. About WRITING:

"It could be that there's only one word and it's all we need. It's here in this
pencil. Every pencil in the world is like this. --W.S. Merwin."

So yeah, I scooped this up pretty damn fast. And added a pen and corrector ribbon (because mistakes happen, yo, and: It's SO STINKING CUTE. I cannot resist these things). And then I had to toss in a pack of gum and some smiley-face stickers, except I couldn't find true smiley face stickers so I got smiley vegetables instead:

Those vegetables are kind of alarming
now that I study them.

Oh, and a Curly Girl Design card, 'cause they're my favorites:

I have this on a magnet on the fridge. The girls don't get it.

Here's what our package looked like in its entirety:


Ahem. If I may be so bold, this might be my new favorite package o' the project yet. (I say that every month, though.) Writing packages are such a blast to put together. Who else out there needs some stationary? You let me know.

I am getting older and wiser during the CPP, so this time I actually loaded in my package tracking number from the U.S. Postal Service and signed up for a text when the package was delivered. So yay, I can report we've had delivery success! In case you're keeping track, this makes us 6 wins, 4 losses, so we've clearly tipped the scales on the side of positive. That deserves another yay.

Next month, we're going to do something a little different on the CPP front. The girls will be more involved in the process, and I won't actually be shipping it at all. But you'll have to wait to hear about that. :)

P.S. Congratulations on your books, Mara! Seriously, I am ever so excited and proud. You rock!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Once upon a time

Our festival was actually less farm and more parking lot.

This weekend, Eric, Abby and I helped out at our town's annual harvest festival (Abby and I were in charge of stamping pumpkins onto people's hands so they could come in and out, and Eric handed out vendor maps). It was a long, hot three hours (standing in the full sun isn't as fun as you'd think, although it's hard to feel too bad about 80ºF in October), but it did make for some interesting people watching.

While I could tell some stories, I think the coolest thing I saw all day was a little girl, probably in the three- to four-year-old range, dressed in full princess regalia, including tutu, crown, and pink plastic high heels that were two sizes too big. She walked by kind of sliding her feet in front of her with her hands stuck out for balance. I had my fingers crossed for for the kid because she did not seem entirely stable, but on the upside, preschoolers are fairly close to the ground.

As I pondered the safety of pink plastic shoes (while simultaneously giving major props to her parents for letting her come like that -- the world needs more princesses), I saw her cautiously approach a stack of hay bales... and then lean over to lick it.

Huh. Not quite how I thought this story would end, but I do enjoy a good plot twist.

Friday, October 17, 2014

When worlds collide


I went to cover an event a couple of weeks ago for the paper, and ended up kind of failing on multiple accounts (although it all turned out okay -- that's why God gave us email and the telephone). It doesn't happen very often, but sometimes my professional life (I have a professional life! That's hilarious and also incredibly awesome) and personal life meet, and the result is uncomfortable. For me. And when my natural awkwardness kicks in, that makes it uncomfortable for everyone.

Well, I assume it does. I start rambling and saying things I don't mean to say and how can that be comfortable to witness? My awkwardness prevents me from even writing a decent opening paragraph about this damn event for my dumb ol' blog, and that makes me uncomfortable.

Okay, SHIT. Just write...

About a month ago, I was assigned a story for the newspaper about an upcoming memorial walk in recognition of October being National Awareness Month for Pregnancy and Infant Loss. There's a new support group forming in town and this walk was the kick-off event. You know, bringing awareness, shedding some light, nobody has to grieve alone.

So my first thought, of course, is that this is great. Having had a miscarriage almost 11 years ago, and feeling very isolated in the months that followed, any awareness or light or togetherness seems like a very good thing. I make my phone calls, I write my story, I'm feeling happy to have played a small part in getting the word out.

Then, at the weekly staff meeting, there it was, on the budget: A followup story on the walk with my name next to it. Which, okay, yes, I'm happy to do. More publicity for the cause. That's great. Except this also meant that maybe I was going to be walking, too. I did not mention that I had a reason to walk to anyone else on staff.

It may have been 11 years ago, but that wound isn't 100-percent healed. I can look at it positively: I had wonderful support from my husband and from other women who knew what I was going through. I now have Johanna. The grief I felt has naturally lessened with time. I made it through.

Well, I thought I had, but as I was standing there taking pictures of small groups of women, wearing their memorial walk t-shirts*, some talking openly, some keeping quietly to themselves, I couldn't help but wonder if maybe I wasn't going to be able to separate the Professional Trisha with the Personal Trisha after all.

As it turns out, I had to leave early because it was homecoming (the last football game of the season for my non-American friends, and it's kind of a big deal) and our nephew was on the court (they crown a king and queen at these events, non-American friends, which you have to admit is ironic, right?), and we'd planned all week to be at the game to support him (he's also a football player, but he injured his collarbone a few weeks ago, so he's still on the sidelines. Ah, well).

I was kind of torn. On one hand, I really wanted to walk and participate in the candle lighting ceremony so I could finally publically acknowledge my little peanut... that this kid existed and is still important, no matter for how little a time I carried him. On the other hand, I've buried all my grief and pain and bitterness, and that was all threatening to spill out. So I was glad to have an excuse to bail is what I'm saying.

I'd mentioned beforehand about homecoming, so the organizers wouldn't think I was being a jerk. They had their own photographer and she said she would send me pictures. Awesome. I'm out.

But then I made the mistake of saying that I had wanted to light my candle and I was sorry that I would be missing that part. I didn't mean to say that. It just slipped out. And then one of the organizers was like, it's okay, we'll light one for you.

I'm getting misty just typing that. I got a little misty as she said it.

I don't really know what the moral of this whole sad tale even is, except maybe time does not heal all wounds and that, while it sucks that there are so many of us who've experienced such a loss, at least there's a level of support there that is kind of overwhelmingly open and loving. And that maybe ripping off the bandaid and just feeling the feels is uncomfortable at best, but okay.

P.S. I came home and was telling Eric about the experience, and he was all, I knew this would be a tough one for you, which made me want to hug him tight because you know what? That boy knows me better than I know myself.

*I signed up and was offered a t-shirt, which I refused on the grounds of minimalism. But really it was that I just don't want to be confronted with that shirt every time I open my wardrobe. True story.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Care Package Project: September part dos

Punctuality is not really a trait I tend to possess, especially if it's a social situation. Then I try to be late. I don't know, anxiety is interesting. It is not something I strive for in the CPP, however, which is why I am trying to redeem myself this month.

But that is another post for another time. Let me finally tell you about September. If I may be so bold as to quote myself, here's how we left off:
Anyway, the moral of this post is that I literally JUST ordered something on Amazon (even though I've been planning this all month) to send to our darling little great-newphews, who turned 1 and 2 this summer, and they won't get the package until at least Oct. 6, so I'll wait to tell you what I sent until then.
Said package finally made it to its destination Oct. 7, which ain't too shabby, Amazon, so thanks, plus kudos for even delivering it at all. Not to point fingers (*cough* post office *cough*), but not every institution is all that great about the conveyance of its dispatches. 

(I've mentioned before that Abby gets mad at me about my word choices, right? She just doesn't understand that language is impossible to take seriously.)

September's package contained only one item. This:

Except we got the paperback edition, 'cause our  little boys don't
have a Kindle so a digital copy would have been ridiculous.

You guys, I love Momo. I follow Momo's Facebook and Instagram pages, and I really enjoy Andrew's photography. It's lovely, plus! Momo is hiding in every shot! This whole situation is full of win.

So this is what we sent our darling little great-newphews, Kayden and Logan (who are now 2 and 1, respectively). The last time I saw Kayden, we spent a half-hour on my iPad looking at pictures of animals. They were all "sooooooo cuuuuuuute!" Based on his reaction to polar bears and tigers, I just knew Momo would be a hit.

And I'm glad to say Momo has been. Their mother informs me that both boys were excited to receive a surprise package, and that Kayden in particular is very adept at finding Momo.

Of course he is! He's perfect! (Not that I am biased in any way.)

So hey, that makes the score five to four now, which seems like better odds somehow. Let's hope that carries over to our October CPP.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Breaking the blogging fast

Skilly was instrumental in the writing of this post.

I'm back! And I learned that while I can take a break from blogging, I cannot take a break from writing. I kind of didn't expect that. I did just as much writing as I always do here, except I didn't hit publish.

Weird. I guess the upshot of all that is now I have a bank of posts to share. Kind of takes the pressure off on the self-imposed deadline front. ;)

Also weird in it's timing was this post by my friend Mara over at The Writing Life. She discusses a digital writing class she's taking, and how the first assignment was to explain "why blogging is important to us, personally." She concluded that blogging stretches her writing -- she's a grant writer by day and a novelist always -- and that it connects her with bloggers who are similarly-minded.

It was a compelling question to ponder, especially since it came during a time I was purposely trying NOT to blog. And you know, my reasons are similar to Mara's reasons: My blog allows me to write in ways that are different than what I produce as a reporter for our hometown newspaper, and it links me to others who are interested in minimalism, zero waste, cats, coffee, words and silliness awesomeness.

But that wasn't my first thought at all, the stretching of my skills and the connection with others... it was this:
I blog because… I think it has more to do with compulsion than anything else. It’s just that it’s writing and not, like, meth, so no one thinks to stage an intervention.
I started Pointless Ramble because I wanted to write more. And have an excuse to do so. Writing is something that I have always done, be it stories or poetry (we don't need to discuss the poetry because wow, awful) or essays or letters or newspaper features or just scribbling away in my journal. When I started blogging, I wasn't writing nearly as much in real life as I write these days -- sometimes I write so much at work that my fingers literally ache -- but even though I'm writing more than ever, the compulsion never ends. The blog is an outlet for the extra words.

Is posting three times a week sustainable? That IS what I'm trying to figure out. Maybe I need to drop it down to two. I don't know. I'm still pondering that one.

P.S. As with all my published writing, I try not to think about who actually reads my pointless rambles. It's easier to pretend that I'm still writing in a journal that is just for myself (that's called "anxiety disorder." SO MUCH FUN!). But I do appreciate all of you who take the time to read my words (Ann has read EVERY SINGLE POST. Someone needs to get her an award). It always amazes me when I see I've had hits from people in Germany or France or even Canada -- how did you guys even find me? I'll probably never know, but that's okay. It's just incredible I get to do this at all. Any of it.

Monday, October 6, 2014

And now for a word from our sponsors...

...Except I don't have any sponsors. Ah, well.

Hey, you guys, I'm going to take a blogging break this week. The words are coming, but I just need some time off to regroup. I'll be back next Monday.

See you soon!

Friday, October 3, 2014

What we did last weekend...

Once upon a time, like last weekend, Eric was involved in our high school's Hall of Fame weekend, where they pick past individuals and teams who were, like, awesome or whatever in sports, and hold a banquet in their honor. It's also a fundraiser for the athletic department, what?, it's totally legit and kind of an honor, plus, you know, budget cuts.

Eric had the good fortune to be on the 1988 State Championship baseball team, which is how we ended up attending said banquet fundraiser. Eric was kind of sheepish with his inclusion because he felt he didn't really do much to earn a spot in the Hall of Fame, but I credit that to his natural modesty and desire to stay as far away from the spotlight as possible. And you know what, my darling? Who cares if you were second string or whatever (this is a good example of when it would have been a good idea for me to pay attention. He's cute and I get distracted sometimes when he talks)? You were there.

And P.S. The banquet turned out to be sort of fun. We are introverts and were kind of people-d out that day*, but still. I mean, I was able to not talk to all the same people I didn't talk to in high school! Well, that's not entirely true, but it is mostly true. I can say with 100-percent confidence that most of the people we did talk to are the same people we always talk to. We're not really go-getters.

There was a silent auction going on during the banquet, and most of that stuff was not for me (minimalism, you know, plus I'm not really into eyebrow waxing, although hats off to anyone who willingly puts themselves through that). But! There was a gift box from my favorite coffee roasters, and my name went on that list pretty damn fast. I checked it a couple of times during the evening, and I had the highest bid, so I was feeling extremely cocky when they finally got around to announcing the winners.

Of course the coffee was THE VERY LAST item they announced. It was cool, I spent my time absentmindedly clapping for the other winners and visualizing how to best celebrate my impending victory.

This next part is kind of a blur, but anyway, instead of saying my name, they said my favorite father-in-law's. And I was all, WHAT? TRAITOR! Which I think was the reaction he was looking for, actually, because he said the look on my face when I lost was worth three times what he paid for the coffee.

Fast-forward to Sunday morning, as we slide into his pew for Mass. When I sat down, I was all, how was my coffee this morning?, which made him laugh, and I was thinking that maybe losing wasn't so bad after all because now I had a new joke I could run into the ground.

Yadda yadda yadda, Eric went to my favorite in-law's house that afternoon to help with some projects, and he came home with this:

Nothing says "We love you" like coffee.

So the moral of this story is that my running joke had a fairly short shelf-life. And also, my in-laws are my favorites for a reason.

P.P.S. Someone actually asked if I was the one being inducted into the Hall of Fame, which almost made collapse on the ground from laughing. I look like I should play volleyball or basketball, but really, what I excel at is just reading. Yay reading!

* We spent most of the afternoon volunteering at the annual Hops Fest, and wow, I had some issues with security. As in, one of the security detail ladies kind of hated me and kept getting me in trouble for daring to put wristbands on the right wrist instead of the left, or making them too tight (THEY WERE NOT!), or not standing behind her. It was kind of making me cranky, so I was glad to get moved to a ticket booth, where I could just pass out mugs and answer questions and take money. Eric got along fine with her, by the way, which I suspect is because he is very charming.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Project 333: Fall 2014 edition

I don't want to brag or anything, but I'm totally bragging: Today is my one year anniversary with Project 333. A year ago, I thought having only 33 items of clothing for an entire season was insanity and only participated because I was intrigued by how weird it sounded.

A couple of weeks ago, when I was planning my fall rotation, I hung up every single thing I own in my closet. I thought it would give me perspective on what was in there. All it did was stress me out.

I am apparently not all that into color.

It was just too much, you guys. Too many choices, too much visual clutter. It was a relief to pare it back down to 33. (Side note: I might have had 45 items total, but those extra few were the tipping point. Good to know.) I guess I'm in it for keeps.

Here are my picks for this time around. I have a feeling that a couple of items will get tossed into the donation bag, either because they're wearing out or because I'm kind of indifferent to them at the moment. That happens every season, actually. Just part of being a girl, I guess. ;)

You'll note that my wardrobe is a mix of seasons (welcome to Oregon!), and I fully realize that half of these things will sit untouched the first month or so (we generally have gorgeous Octobers), but they'll get their turn eventually. Like in December. That's just the way it goes.

Pants: Jeans, black, grey, beige
Skirts: Grey, denim, beige, multi-colored t-shirt
Tank tops: Navy, blue multi, orange multi, black/white
Blouses: Grey, black/white, teal, white
Long-sleeve t-shirts: Black, navy, nicer navy
Sweaters: Teal cardigan, grey turtleneck, grey cardigan, black cardigan, navy cardigan, blue pullover, black turtleneck pullover, grey sweatshirt, plum cardigan
Jackets: Denim, beige

That makes 30. (Also: I might have a sweater problem.) The rest I'm counting as groupings:

Scarves: Red, navy and grey, navy and teal, orange
Shoes: Boots, ankle boots, Danskos, Cobb Hill cuties, future Cobb Hill flats, Converse All-Stars
Outerwear: Coat, gloves and hat

Hello, scarves!

What I'm not counting: T-shirts and tank tops that I only wear under other items (I enjoy layers, yo), my tights collection (well, I have footed and footless, you know, depending on my mood, as well as regular and fleece-lined. Um, all black), two "special occasion" dresses (in case I need to go to a wedding or a funeral), my too-short yoga pants, pajamas and my jewelry (although honestly, my jewelry collection is fairly small. I'm just not that into it).

I don't know what else to say about it except looking at that top photo makes me rethink my black / grey / beige / navy wardrobe. Eh, who am I kidding? I am all about bland.