Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I actually bought this and I'm not even sorry

You guys, I might be a minimalist, but when I see an embroidered tea towel like this one...
it's no brainer. That was $3 well spent.

Monday, April 27, 2015

April Pointless Lists

Abby was getting fancy with the camera this month...

Oh, you guys, April isn't even close to being the cruelest month. You know what's worse? August. Because you know that summer is almost over.

The humanity!

I'm fighting off a bit of depression at the moment. I figure it must be just a bit because I'm not totally gone. I'm sad, and I've given up, but I realize that things are good. My mother has decided what I need is a new hobby, but I think I just need to take more naps and to go to bed earlier.

And maybe make an effort to just be alone in my house more often. It's overwhelming having to be out and about all the time. I fantasize about sleeping in and then enjoying a cup of coffee (or eight) while catching up on the blogs I follow. I mean, that's not a lot to ask, right?

I don't know. Maybe it is. This is a problem that I am just not emotionally stable enough to tackle right now. Maybe I need to up my meds.

Books read:
I found Kate Atkinson's book "Life After Life," and that's pretty much been my month because I read it twice. It's such an interesting concept: Ursula is born and she immediately dies. And then Ursula is born and she lives but drowns at four. And then Ursula is born and she lives but she falls off the roof at seven. Well, you get the idea. On and on and on. It could come off as a gimmick, but it never does. Each time she comes back, she has a little more knowledge under her belt and chooses a different path, and it's genuinely interesting to see her in all of her lives.

But then, there's a lot of history here (it takes place during World War I and World War II, primarily), of which I am a big fan. And Atkinson is a terrific writer--it's vivid and wonderful, even when you wish it rather wasn't (seeing her die in that bombed out building time and time again gets depressing).  Great characters, wonderful dialog (I want a sister like Pammy), interesting story arch, great writing... what more is there? I highly recommend this one.

...And next I'm going to tackle my best friend Mara's new book. It's in draft form, which is terribly exciting, and since I got to read a bit during NaNoWriMo and maybe kind of know what it's about (I have no idea what it's about), I'm looking forward to seeing what she's done.

I love words! They're just the best.

Johanna is my theater buddy, which is great because no one else in this house is really all that interested. We've decided that plays are more interesting than movies, and as such have been on the lookout for productions we can go see together.

It's really fun is what I'm saying.

Our first this month was a musical parody extravaganza put on by our local Lions Club. I was ready for it to be over by the end, but Johanna loved it. ;)

And then on Friday, I took her and her little friend Hailey to see "Shrek the Musical, Junior" at our local middle school. This was was fairly enjoyable, even if it did take forever to change the sets out from scene to scene (well, it was ambitious, and this is middle school--we don't have to be too critical of the children, right?). Johanna and Hailey thought it was awesome. They were also impressed by the vast array of snacks available at intermission. It was an evening full of win.

Not sure what we'll see next... but we live in a town that is just lousy with art, so I have no doubts we'l find something soon.

Abby update:
Colleges continue to send Abby literature, but I forgot to keep track this time. They're not really schools she's contemplating anyway. Or they're schools she's already gotten mail from and they just want to remind her they exist.

Um, what else? Straight A's for third quarter, her driving is coming along just fine, and she's going to spend Wednesday at my office for her school's work day (kids work and donate the money they earn to various nonprofits and charities in town). No idea what she'll be doing yet, but chances are good she'll write something for us. :)

Being inducted into the National Junior Honor Society...

Johanna update:
Lacrosse. You guys, I had no idea this sport was so awesome. Johanna loves running around, although apparently she likes to play "attack" the best because those kids can only cover half of the field and thus, less running. We tend to describe what's happening on the field in basketball terms. The great thing about not understanding what you're watching is that it's very relaxing. No joke. Ignorance is bliss, you guys. Anyway, Johanna scored her first goal on Saturday, and the Walker crowd came unglued. It was fantastic.

And in Strep news, no relapses to report. Thank God. Strep isn't the most fun a person can have.

Tower of Power.

Eric update:
Work on our future basketball court continues. Oh, and by "court" I mean "extended area in the backyard where the girls can shoot hoops." He's also been doing quite a bit of volunteering and, since I've given up, he's cleaning the house and doing laundry.* And figuring out what's for dinner. I feel kind of guilty about that one, so I've got an ambitious menu planned for the coming week.

He's a keeper.

*Not all of the cleaning and all of the laundry, but dudes, help is awesome. 'Cause I'm just not feeling it.

Trisha's ambitious dinner menu:
Sunday/Monday: Braised chicken, homemade dinner rolls
Tuesday/Wednesday: Chicken enchiladas, rice and beans
Thursday: Barbecue pork burgers, homemade buns, potatoes
Friday/Saturday: Mexican lasagna

I'm tired already. Maybe this is too ambitious...

Easter egg hunt update:
We STILL have no idea who hid all of those eggs. I posted a link to that particular blog entry on Facebook in hopes that someone would be all like, oh, good, glad she enjoyed it! and then I'd know who to thank. No luck, though. The Jesuit volunteers swear it wasn't them, and not one person has even so much as hinted that they were responsible. So there's an unsolved mystery.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Light 2015: Technology fast

Meet my BFF.

If I may be so bold as to quote myself from my March Pointless Lists post...
After giving it some thought, I've decided to attempt a Light Technology month in April. You guys, I'm addicted to Hay Day and Tumblr, and when I'm bored, I'll search around the internets reading stupid articles just to pass the time. I can't even eat a meal without a device.
...Let me tell you how it's going so far:


I have utterly and completely failed at this. I did okay the first couple of days, but after that, I kind of just let it go. Apparently I'm not able to just sit with myself in the quiet and be still. I'm not sure what that says about me, exactly, but I'm fairly certain it's not anything good.

There are reasons for this, of course. Aren't there always? We've had some really terrible health news this month regarding a dear, dear family friend, and it's hard to sit with yourself when you're depressed. (Eye cancer, lung cancer, brain cancer. What the what.) But I think mostly it's just that I enjoy mindless entertainment: Hay Day, Instagram, Tumblr... and all of the links and silliness they provide within. When I'm tired, it's so easy to sit in my chair and just veg.

I'm not proud. I've gained quite a bit of weight (I'm up to 154, you guys--I realize when you're 6-feet tall, that's not fat, but jeez, it's more than I'm used to) because of all this sitting and vegging and stupidity.

And it's not even just my April Light resolution; I haven't been getting up for my morning yoga practice, or really planning meals with keeping food waste/hoarding to a minimum, or touched my reading retreat (seriously, what am I supposed to do with all those CDs?!). I've gotten lazy. I'll think to myself, I need to get my act together to honor those people who can't, and then I'm like, nope, what's on Facebook? And pass the cinnamon mints.

I'm not sure where this leaves us. F-minus.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Abby Texts: More bus drama

Abby: The bus should have a hydroelectric dam for a motor so it can run on the power of my tears.

P.S. Is it any wonder I'm so tired?!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Project 333: Spring edition

Ah, spring! If my math is correct (and, mind you, I am not implying that it is), this is my sixth dance with Project 333. I really didn't think it was possible to dress with 33 items for 3 months when I started, and yet, here I am.

I've had a couple of P333 brainwaves recently, and I'm kind of wondering what took me so long. The first is that there is no such thing as a trial period when it comes to building my three-month capsule. That never works out. If I have even a shadow of a doubt about something, it's not worth hanging up because I'm just not going to wear it. The second has been a little harder: My wardrobe needs to reflect the life that I lead right now, not the life I think I lead or the life I want to lead (more ball gowns! That implies I have a ball gown. Sadly, I do not). I tend to try to "build" a wardrobe based on some future goal of what I'd like it to look like... I don't know, years down the road. It's occurred to me that THAT is rather pointless. I mean, I'm all about pointless, but even I have my limits.

Anyway, that was a whole lot of words to just say that I had some specific goals in mind when I set out to create my spring wardrobe: Toss what I'm tired of, add what works now.

Speaking of adding (and I feel sheepish writing this, because minimalism), I went shopping. GASP. My wardrobe has been terribly bland and boring, and I wanted some color and pattern. Which is weird, I realize, because that's not normally my scene. I don't know, the weather has been so gorgeous, it just seemed wrong to be wearing black all the time.

But I wasn't stupid about it. I had something very specific in mind, which is probably why it took several shops to find what I was looking for... and then, in that last one, it finally came together. I found exactly what I wanted in one fell swoop, which made me very glad I walked out of the previous ones empty handed.

My new lovelies.

My closet now is a thing of beauty. It seems like an abundance of riches. Every morning I think, what beautiful thing am I going to wear today? Here's the benefit of having your perfect wardrobe right now: it's perfect, so you feel like a rock star. And as we've already established, of that I am a big fan.

The lot... except for what's in the wash. ;)

Here's my list--and my plan is to make this my summer list, too. I need to replace a few things (uh, see my Eddie Bauer breakup post), but I'm looking forward to just sitting back and enjoying the heck out of my beautiful wardrobe.

Grey: Pants, cardigan, striped pullover sweater (3)
Black: Dress, pants, capris, long sleeve tee, pretty tee, turtleneck sweater, cardigan, floral scarf and four pairs of shoes/boots (12)
Black/white: Top, tank (2)
Beige: Jacket, skirt, long sleeve tee, capris (4)
Beige/orange: Top, tank, scarf (3)
Maroon: Pullover sweater (1)
Purple: Skirt (1)
Navy: Cardigan, long sleeve tee, tank, striped scarf, patterned tank (5)
Navy/beige or orange: Top, gauzy top (2)
Blue/other: Recycled t-shirt skirt (1)
Denim: Skirt, jeans (2)

That equals 36. And maybe we should just say 37 because my goal in life is to find a perfect pair of summer sandals.

P.S. I always feel like I should do some sort of promo at the end of these things for people who have never attempted Project 333 and are on the fence about giving it a go. First: DO IT. Second: This wardrobe will get me through my news job, lacrosse watching, walks with Abby, Mass and weekends. Dates too, I suppose, if Eric and I could ever get our act together. (Fact: We're not fussed that we can't.) Third: I'm not including workout gear/shoes (well... I do have a pair of yoga pants and some Cons I wear walking) or tank tops that are only worn underneath other tops. Fourth: Here's the P333 link so you can see the rules for yourself. But look, when I first started, I swapped out items every month because I couldn't quite figure it out. Even if you can't get down to 33 (and I won't be throwing stones because look at my 36 above), you'll learn a lot. Modify it if you need to, but don't be afraid to even try.

Friday, April 17, 2015

7 Pointless Updates!

1. Has anyone else noticed that all the hip blog posts these days boast titles that include numbers in them? Like "5 Ways to Be Happier with Less" or "29 Cat Pictures Guaranteed to Make You Smile!" (That probably gives away too much about the types of blogs I read.) I think it's kind of an interesting trend. Confusing (because math is hard), but interesting. Why this obsession with numerals?

I don't get it. But I will attempt to emulate it to prove my super coolness.

Blossoms and Mt. Adams. This is pretty much what's been going on here lately.

2. Why in the world did I pick seven random updates instead of, say, five? Or two? I could be done by now!

3. Easter Sunday, Johanna got sick. We were in Stayton (that is TOO spelled correctly, spell check!) for my brother-in-law's baptism and confirmation into the Catholic church (yay Greg!), and were staying in a hotel with literally ALL of the Walkers. Totally fun. Anyway, we thought we'd just wore Johanna out with all the swimming in the hotel pool (HOURS worth, and she doesn't just sit there on the side, either) when we were at Debbie and Greg's and all she could do was lay down, but then she started complaining about a sore throat. Except she wasn't really complaining, so we didn't think it was that big of a deal. Until my favorite mother-in-law looked in Jo's throat that Tuesday and was all, uh, that's Strep. (TWO DAYS LATER. My mothering skills are awesome.)

Strep, you guys! Puss pockets! (Ew.) Luckily we got her in to the doctor right away, the Strep test came back positive (when I called Eric to deliver the news, he was like, oh, good--wasn't a wasted trip, then. Such a pragmatist!) and we had her prescription in hand by evening. She's so much better now--well, 10 days of penicillin will do that to a person--and also happily no one else seems to have caught it from her.

Fingers crossed for no relapses, okay?

I mean, does she look sick here to you?
She was. We just didn't know it yet.

4. Abby gives really great back rubs, just FYI. She's going to be a fantastic physical therapist. I will have a standing weekly appointment and she can just work on my shoulders and it will be really great for everyone involved, especially me.

5. Johanna has started lacrosse. This is the first time any of us have ever played, and we know absolutely nothing about what is going on. I had to sign a parent waiver saying that I would not argue with the refs, and I was like, how can I argue calls when I don't even know the rules?, but I signed anyway because I'm a conformist, apparently.

Kind of forgot where I was going with this. Oh, right: Johanna LOVES lacrosse. Her uniform includes a stocking hat, which she likes to wear around town, but even more than that, she just likes running around with the other girls. It's as different from softball as you can get. I'm so glad she decided to try something new. This is MUCH more her speed. (And way more fun to watch.)

My furry son all ready for bed. This has nothing to do with my list.
Skilly is just too adorable not to share.

6. Eric, Abby and I helped at a hard cider fest last weekend sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce. Because this is what Power Families (not to mention Power Couples) do. It was fine. I'm not actually a fan of crowds or hard cider, and there wasn't any coffee, and it was freezing cold, but other than that, yeah, it was kind of fun.

7. Fact: If you eschew all adult responsibility by deciding to blog instead of, say, cleaning the house for dinner guests slated to arrive ion Thursday, your husband will just start cleaning by himself. That's the silver lining to being married to a guy who can't sit down. Shit gets done.

Except now I feel guilty. The end, I guess.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Dear Eddie Bauer: We're through

Dear Eddie Bauer,

It pains me to write this letter because you and I have always been tight. When we got together, I was used to trying to find pants with the biggest hem so my Mommy could take it out and thus make me longer pants. That's not as much fun as you'd think (but my mother is a trooper), and when I found your tall sizes--honest to God 36" inseams!--it was perhaps the best thing that had ever happened to me on the clothing front.

Figure 1: Sweater seam rip in arm area.

Figure 2: Sweater seam rip at collar.

(Although... remember when Northern Reflections was in the US? They had some pretty long pants, too.)

We've had a great run, Eddie Bauer. I've been faithful because I appreciated those pants so much. I branched out to long sleeve t-shirts (at one point I probably had 15, no joke), and I had a bunch of your sweaters and cardigans, and even some blouses. Ninety percent of my wardrobe at any given time was yours. The quality was super high; I was able to hold on to some items for years.

But I've noticed recently (well, the last year or so) that the quality of your clothing is now lacking. Of the three pairs of Eddie Bauer tall pants I own right now, all three have hem stitching that has come completely undone. I've used safety pins to try to keep them in service a little longer, but they are in desperate need of replacing. Especially since my black pair is also missing a bracket I need to button the waist. (That's just awkward.)

Figure 3: Black pants need just one more bracket.

Figure 4: Same black pants with crappy hem.

Figure 5: Grey pants with NO hem.

Figure 6: Beige pants (2 months old) also with NO hem.

A closer inspection of my other EB wear has brought similar conclusions: Busted hems, busted seams, holes everywhere, no matter if its a sweater or a tank top. My newer items seem to come apart within the first month or so of purchase. I've replaced items with holes just to get new holes.

I think this might be the definition of insanity: Doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result. I think it's time to face the hard truth, Eddie Bauer, which is that we need to break up.

Figure 7: Tank top hole. It didn't want to be left out.

And no, we can't be friends. I'm sorry about that, because you will always hold a special place in my heart for those wonderful long pants circa 1998, but we'd just be kidding ourselves. It's time for us to see other people. Actually, I've already begun to see other people. And it feels good.

So goodbye, Eddie Bauer. Thanks again for the memories. Good luck in the future.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Zero Waste Wednesday: How I (sorta) saved my favorite sandals

Once upon a time, like when Jared and Brandi got married in 2007, I bought a new pair of Taos sandals to wear to their wedding.

Those things cost $60 on sale, but they were comfortable and, as I couldn't find anything else that would work--with time running out, naturally--I just went with it.

That was maybe the best $60 I've ever spent because I still have those sandals, and they are my favorite. They're super comfortable and they've worn like iron. Just by looking at them, you'd never guess they were eight years old.

Well, when my feet are in them, anyway:

Thank you for not making fun of my feet.

Here's what they look like without my feet. Not quite so great:

Thrashed is an understatement.

I took them to a shoe repair place a couple of years ago when the insoles were just beginning to tear, but the guy didn't have the resources--or maybe the resources don't even exist--to actually fix the problem. He just put some kind of resin or something on the holes and called it a day. But that wasn't the permanent fix I was looking for, and, to top it off, the insoles began to rip even worse after treatment.

Irony! But I still couldn't bring myself to toss them. I like them that much.

Now here's where our story takes a turn: Last fall, when I went into one of our local shoe stores, I saw a display of these:

Made in Oregon!

They're called Soxsols. Here's how the website explains them:
Soxsols are 100% machine washable, hybrid socks/insoles, designed for use in a variety of sockless footwear such as: sandals, high heels, flats and many children's shoes. Soxsols provide clean, reusable comfort and extend the life of your footwear.
So I was all like, huh, this might be perfect for fixing my sandals. I actually bought two pairs--one for my sandals, and another for these little cuties. My feet do not normally smell when I wear shoes, but wow, they really do when I wear these. And the Soxsols have really, really helped.

Too much info, probably. You guys, a blogger's life is an open book. Except for all those chapters I refuse to write.

So anyway, Eric cut a set to fit my sandals, and here's how we look now, with feet... and without:

Sorta better.

Maybe I should have chosen the beige insoles?

Hmm. It's obviously not a perfect fix, which bums me out. And okay, the Soxsols kind of slide around when there's no shoe wall to bump up against (I don't have that problem with my other shoes). So it turns out that I'm going to need to buy a new pair of sandals anyway, but for $15, at least I was able to keep these old standbys in the closet and out of the landfill. I figure I'll just use them like I'd use flip flops, were I still buying flip flops (kind of miss them, not going to lie, but I can't bring myself to purchase something that will literally end up in the dumpster at the end of the summer).

And that's how I (sorta) saved my favorite sandals.

The end.

Monday, April 6, 2015


Figure 1

It's not every day you come home from school and find an Easter egg hunt in your yard, but that's exactly what happened to Johanna Friday afternoon.

Let's set this up a little: Fridays are generally my early days off from work, and Johanna had requested that I pick her up instead of waiting for Eric to come at 4:15 p.m. When we drove up to the house, Johanna was like, Mom, what's that egg carton doing on the driveway? and I was all, oh, probably just a flyaway from the recycling bin.

I asked her to pick it up on her way in the house for me. Because I am lazy. She did, of course.

Turns out it wasn't a flyaway egg carton after all. Johanna had been "egged" by an anonymous person who had hidden 12 plastic Easter eggs in the yard (Johanna was perplexed at first--we have three yards and she wasn't sure which one to start with), 11 of which were filled with candy and surprises. The 12th egg was empty, like the tomb. Well, that's the whole point, you know.

Johanna actually asked for permission to start hunting--uh, what? She found eight fairly quickly, and lined them up by color (lucky she's organized like that, 'cause she realized there were two of each, which helped narrow down what she was looking for at the end).

Whoever hid these did a REALLY good job. It wasn't a throw a bunch of eggs in the yard and call it a day kind of thing--those puppies were hidden very carefully, and very well. The very last egg--a purple one--was hiding in the phlox. At that point, I was wondering if maybe we'd never find it. 

That was a whole half-hour of entertainment. Super, super cool.

I have a feeling this is the work of the Jesuit volunteers in town--they have lots of energy--but the two I talked with at Mass that night denied any responsibility.

Curiouser and curiouser.

So that was unexpected. Here's a closing shot of Johanna with her color-coordinated eggs. I just realized she's got them rainbow-sorted:

Figure 2

Thank you, anonymous egg hider! That was fun. :)

UPDATE: The Jesuit volunteers all deny responsibility, so now I'm really stumped...

Friday, April 3, 2015

Anxiety Level: High


Remember how George W. had that terror warning system that told us where the national threat level was at? That's what came to mind this week in regards to my anxiety. Anxiety Level: High. Scratch that: It's super high. What's higher than high? It's a red alert kind of ordeal.

I feel terrible.

I'm at a loss in regards to why my anxiety is through the roof. I filter all my emotions through my stomach, but as I tried to think of what might be causing me stress, I kept coming up blank.

Work is going well. My house is uncluttered and relatively clean, thanks to a Monday-night all-family on deck dirt smackdown. I've been eating well (no three-ingredient mints or chips for me). Eric is fine, the girls are fine, even Skilly is fine. Things are fine.

So why is my stomach all DANGER DANGER DANGER?

I have no idea.

Maybe there's nothing to analyze. My first instinct when things go south is to try to figure out why. Maybe there is no why. Maybe this is just what it's like to be me. Maybe I'm just anxious because I am.


The dumb thing is that, as I've written this (the whole ten minutes that took), I've started to feel better. So either the meds are kicking in (a couple hours late, the jerks) or writing helps. It's probably both.

Hey, have you guys heard about the gut brain? Here's some junk I found on the internets that explains all that:


I think it's rather fascinating, and it makes me feel better in a general kind of way, like I'm not really crazy, it's just that I have a highly developed gut brain. Although, irony, as I was researching, I started to feel worse. And now that I've stopped, I feel okay(ish) again.

Whatever, I guess. My stomach sucks.