Friday, July 31, 2015

July Pointless Lists


I think I'd be remiss if I didn't start this off by wishing Harry Potter a very happy birthday. That's just good manners.

Books read
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. You guys, I love this book. I love that I know it so well I can scream things like, TAKE OFF THE LOCKET FIRST, HARRY!, and I also love that Abby knows it so well that she immediately knows which part I'm at.

Those books are just a gift to the world.

Anyway, I've decided I need more books and less Hay Day, so I've been trying to figure out how to use our library's "library to go" app. Let's just say that was an hour of my life screaming at the monitor only to learn my library card has expired.

No one said literacy was ever easy.

Project 333 update
I've already put the beige skirt I picked up at the church rummage sale for $1 back into the rummage sale pile. It doesn't work for me for a variety of reasons, none of which matter because, bottom line, I'm not going to wear it.

But since I added that Santa Clara University t-shirt, we're quits.

Johanna update
I asked Jo just now how July was, and she said, "Good."

You're completely up-to-date with that kid now.

Abby update
Abby is working at the neighboring lavender farm this summer, and I think she's a bit done with the tourists. She had a lady say, "I know that's Mt. Hood, and that's Mt. Richard, right?" as she pointed to Mt. Adams. Spoiler alert: There's no such thing as Mt. Richard. Anyway, Abby said was like, yes. Yes, it is.

So that was awkward when she came home with that story, because on one hand, I'm a parent and I'm supposed to be teaching her, you know, how to be a decent human, but on the other hand: Funny.

(Maybe I'm over the tourists too, just a bit -- I work downtown where they tend to congregate. Driving anywhere is impossible.)

That's Mt. Richard in the background.
Always overshadowed by that dang
Mt. Adams...

Stuff I canned / etc.
7 half-pints cherry jam
8 quarts plus 2 pints sweet cherries
7 pints plus 1 half-pint raspberry jam
12 quarts plus 2 pints dill pickles
3 quarts plus 4 pints tomatoes (plus three quart-bags for the freezer)
6 half-pints blueberry syrup
...And a lot of frozen blueberries

Supernatural update
I actually have no idea what's going on or where we're at because Abby keeps watching without me. As far as I know, Sam got his soul back, Dean was death for a day, and I don't like their grandpa one bit. Castiel is hilarious. I have a crush on him. Abby says her crush is bigger and she calls it.

Cas is always confused because
he's an angel and he doesn't
understand our crazy human ways.

Monday, July 27, 2015

What I did on my summer vacation

As we established with my Friday post, the Walker Four traveled the environs of Northern California coast for our big family trip this year. We picked California because Johanna was not up for Alaska, which was Choice Number One. That kid is a trooper, but wow, she'd really rather just stay home.

Me too, actually, but sometimes in this life you just have to go.

Day 1
Big driving day, as the goal was to get to Red Bluff. Not to put too fine a point on it, but we drove about 450 miles.

All in a day's work.

It's always interesting to cross the boarder from Oregon into California, because California apparently cares what you're bringing into the state. Johanna was sure they'd be checking for guns and bombs (poor kid watches too much news, I think), but all they really wanted to know is if we had any cherries, peaches or mangos.

The blueberries in the trunk were safe!

We did make one 20-minute stop in Weed, mainly because we needed a bathroom break and also because Abby thought it would be hilarious. Two of the three Big Foot statues we saw that day were in Weed. That tells you all you need to know.

Big Foot is very happy to see you!

And then, after hours, Red Bluff! We made quite the entrance when, getting into the elevator to take up to our room, either Johanna or I (and it could very well have been me) hit the emergency call button, and all of a sudden a mechanical voice is screaming that there's an elevator emergency at the so-and-so hotel on such-and-such street. And no matter how hard we tried to cancel said order, the voice WOULD NOT STOP. We finally just ran down the hall and pretended we had no idea what was going on.

But we did have to venture out again for Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. We were a big hit with the parishioners, who were hoping that "the young family," as they called us, were moving to town. Well, that was good for our self-esteem.

Sacred Heart in Red Bluff.

Not too much else to say about Red Bluff, except it was there and we survived.

Day 2
We drove a mere 290 miles to get to Carmel (or Carmel-By-the-Sea, as I kept seeing it referred to), and got to town in time for lunch in the Carmel Mission parking lot. Lunch over, we hit the gift shop, then the grounds, and somehow managed to glom onto a tour group going through. I'm glad we did because we learned all sorts of interesting history from the tour guide. And it's a beautiful spot. Definitely a worthwhile stop.

Inside the church. Old and gorgeous.

Side note: Eric got me a St. Anne medal for my birthday -- St. Anne is my patron saint and also my confirmation saint -- and the chain gave me a terrible rash after not even one day of wear. So the medal spent the rest of the trip in my bag. The good news is that, once home, I put the medal on another chain I already have and that took care of that problem. I just think it's funny that my girl Anne would give me a rash is all.

Mission accomplished (ha ha ha! Oh, words are awesome!), we headed to our hotel, which was what would have been called a "motor inn" back in the day. Our room was small, but it was super comfortable (best night's sleep of the trip) and really cute. Since it was located in downtown Carmel (which is a tourist town on crack, you guys), we walked to town and just sort of window shopped, then walked down to the beach.

And this was my kind of beach: Warm sand, warm wind. Cold water, but I didn't go into it, so no biggie. Well, amend that: I didn't go into it on purpose. And I made that particular mistake only once.

The girls, however, got pounded by the waves and were soaked by the time we headed back up the hill to the hotel. There was also a close call involving me, our pile of shoes, and the incoming tide. Let's just say that I saved three shoes out of the four that were really important, and the rest were eventually tracked down and placed much farther away from the water.

After we'd managed to change into dry clothes back at the hotel, we went out in search of dinner. Carmel is crazy expensive, and our dinner, which included 2 10-inch pizzas and a Caprese salad (three slices of tomato, three slices of mozzarella and three basil leaves) did not exactly fill us up for the $50 price tag. But we did get to sit on the patio of this place and laugh a lot and have fun together, so maybe that was worth the cost?

Delicious, just small.

Nah, we were starving afterwards. We actually went out in search of ice cream to fill the void. After more stomping around town -- which is really adorable, touristy or not -- we headed back to the hotel, let Johanna swim a bit, and went to bed.

So basically a perfect day.

Quote of the Day:
Me, after Johanna was loudly wishing she were home: Home is where your mom is.
Johanna: Uh-uh. Home is where your house is.

Day 3
We journeyed from Carmel to Marina, which my iPod claims is 13 miles in distance but we drove the 17 Mile (toll) Road, so something isn't adding up here for me. Yes, we paid $10 to go on 17 Mile and look at the insane mansions and also hit Pebble Beach, which is apparently A Big Deal. It really was a very pretty golf course and grounds. I'm just not a golfer so I don't care. But Eric seemed impressed.

We were so excited!

And 17-Mile was worth it, I guess, because it was a very scenic, ocean-hugging road. We saw some lovely sights.

Walker Four in front of the Most Photographed Tree in America
on the 17-Mile Road.

But the best part of the day was hitting Cannery Row in Monterey. For you English dorks out there (hi, friends!), that's the setting of John Steinbeck's Cannery Row (wonder where he got the name?), which is one of my all-time favorites. We had no idea what to expect here, but wow, it was awesome. There were a ton of touristy shops, of course, but there was also a nice plaza area complete with fountain (of Cannery Row characters!), lots of great views of the ocean -- and some sea lions to watch, too.

"Cannery Row" on Cannery Row!

Plaza area.

Lunch was at "Sly McFlys," and I highly recommend it should you be in that area. Jo and I had fish and chips, Eric and Abby had clam chowder, and everyone was super happy (and full!) with their choices. It was packed but low-key and comfortable.

We left Monterey around 2 p.m. knowing our hotel wouldn't be ready yet -- check in this trip was generally 3 p.m. -- so we went to Monterey State Beach. While Eric and the girls frolicked in the sand, I took a nap in the car. I'm not even kidding. I was wiped out.

Another nice hotel (and by "nice hotel," we're talking mostly Best Westerns and Holiday Inn's, so nothing super fancy, but mostly I just care if they're clean. We love clean!), another dip in the pool for Johanna (um, except it was just a hot tub, but she made do), and some much needed relaxing until bedtime.

This was one of the highlight days, as I like to call them. Everything was wonderful.

Day 4
Another short driving day: Marina to Santa Clara. All that walking the day before meant we all slept in that morning -- even Eric (inconceivable!). The nice thing about not having tons of miles to drive in a day is that you can sleep late and still get to your destination at a decent hour.

Our first stop was in San Jose at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph. That part of San Jose was slightly sketchy, but the cathedral was gorgeous. We spent a lot of time there just because there was so much to see, between the stain glass windows and the murals and the statues et al. We popped into the gift shop but passed over the knick-knacks in favor of post cards.

My girls chillin' in the cathedral.

Next came a top priority on Abby's list: Santa Clara University. This is what she's been referring to as her dream school, and she was super excited to see it in person. Because it was freshman orientation, we were able to see dorm rooms (which were large and nice), visit the library, check out the mission there (this part of Cali is just lousy with churches and missions), and walk the gorgeous campus. My minimalistic ways took a backseat when I found a wicked awesome long-sleeved t-shirt at the bookshop. Ah, well.

Yay! Another pretty mission church!
In the middle of campus, which was awesome.

While Abby loved the campus, she said she couldn't see herself going there. And THAT is why you visit colleges beforehand, all my young internet friends.

Anyway, we'd heard the town of Santa Clara was sketch, but the part we saw was really pretty nice. We had dinner at Habit Burger -- uh, that was awesome, go there! -- and had plenty of pool time for Jo. At this point in the trip, my legs were screaming from all the walking. It was only slated to get worse...

Just another highlight day.

Day 5
Another big priority on Abby's list this trip was visiting San Francisco, which she just thought would be cool. San Fran is 55-ish miles from Santa Clara, so we had another good sleep in / late start kind of day, which I, for one, greatly appreciated. ;)

Palo Alto is on the way, so we decided to hit Stanford even though that is NOT a school on Abby's list. And I don't know, maybe it was because we'd just seen the darling Santa Clara University, but Stanford was kind of a letdown. It was huge and sprawling and it was hot and we were just not feeling it.

Not that THAT means it wasn't worthwhile to go. It was. I got to walk around Stanford! I've seen it with my own eyes! It's just that the school was larger than our town is all and we weren't entirely comfortable there.

One thing we did do was go up the Hoover Tower to the Observation Platform. Don't take pictures in the lobby, y'all, or you'll get in trouble. (Don't ask me how I know.) That sucker is 14 stories up ... so there were some nice views. Unfortunately, the height got to Abby, so I wasn't quite sure if we'd ever get her down, but we did, and we all survived, and that was that.

Three out of four Walkers thought this was the
best part.

One view from the tower.

In San Fran we stayed at the Columbus Motor Inn, which was kind of the wildcard motel of this entire stay, but it was fine. It was old, but it was comfortable and clean (Port Angeles, take note!), and we had a great view of the city from our second-story room. It was also close to the wharf, so after checking in, we headed to Pier 39 to do a little touristy business. The great thing about San Francisco is that EVERYONE there seems to be a tourist, so you don't feel awkward. I don't know, that made sense to me.

My girl Madonna is actually pretty short.

We had an amazing, amazing dinner at a place called Italian Homemade Company that was located near our motel (best meal of the trip, I kid you not. GO THERE) ... we saw some really alarming souvenirs at various shops ... Eric and the girls enjoyed an ice cream cone ... and then we came back, tired and happy, to watch a little cable TV in our room.

This was the best veggie lasagna I'd ever eaten.
Jo thought her fettuccine with marinara
wasn't too shabby, either.

I mean, what else would you do in San Francisco? ;)

Day 6
Full San Francisco day! I tell you what, traffic is crazy, so once we had parked the car at our motel, we weren't about to take it out again. We figured if we couldn't walk to a place, we didn't need to see it.

Our first stop of the day was to get me a coffee. DUH. Then we went to Chinatown. You guys, I am a delicate soul, and I was not really feeling Chinatown, although yes, it was kind of cool. All those people and all those weird smells just ... well, I had a panic attack, and I spent the entire time pretending I was NOT having a panic attack because I didn't want to ruin the experience for the rest of the family. I could appreciate the atmosphere and the fact that I was seeing something amazing ... just not while I was there.

Anxiety sucks.

Chinatown! It was actually pretty amazing, now that I'm
thinking about it from the safety of my house.

After Chinatown we just basically walked randomly around the downtown area. We tried to have lunch in a couple of delis, but they didn't take credit cards (cash only is apparently still a thing), so we ended up back at Italian Homemade for lunch. No complaints since that place is awesome. We also visited three churches in about a three block radius. All were cathedral-sized. I can't even imagine.

Next, Jo and I went back to the hotel to rest while Eric and Abby walked to Lombard Street to check it out from street level.

I really should have gotten into shape BEFORE our trip, because all that walking, though quickly putting me into a decent physical condition, was not exactly pleasant. ;)

After my nap (ahem), we headed back to the wharf. Cold and windy but kind of fun. My panic had subsided by then, plus it didn't seem as crowded, so I was mentally in a better place.

Making new friends.

It probably also helped that there was chocolate involved.

For dinner, we wanted to go to In and Out Burger on the wharf to see what the fuss is all about. Long, long lines, and it's a miracle we got a table, but we succeeded and we partook of our burgers and fries. And you know, it was good, but Habit Burger was way better. I'm not really sure why everyone goes gaga over this place (sorry, Jared), but hey, another experience!

We were in... and then we were out.

After dinner, though, things got AWESOME. There was this kid (Abby swears it was a man) all dressed in silver. Silver from head to toe. (Honestly, can that be healthy, to have all that silver paint on your skin?) He was lip-sync-rapping to a very inappropriate song and pretending he was a robot. Eric was all, we are giving that guy a dollar, but Jo is going to be the one to do it. Johanna made Abby go with her, and after successfully placing the dollar in his cup, the guy holds out a silver hand for Johanna to take.

Johanna is looking at his hand like she's not exactly sure what the point of all this is, but tentatively stuck her hand out to shake his. He takes it, does this little wave-arm move with both of their arms, and then whispers, "Thanks, beautiful. I really appreciate it."

THEN he pulls out a piece of gum from his pocket and hands it to her, and finally lets her go. She's very red and very relieved, and also probably abused because the rest of us have collapsed from laughing at her expense, the poor thing.

(And no. No, I did not let her eat the gum.)

We'd kind of tapped out by that time, so we just headed back to the hotel. Watched some Fixer Upper. Went to bed.

P.S. No, we didn't go to Alcatraz. One, because you have to go by boat to get there and I don't do well with choppy motion. And two, not that I believe in that sort of thing, but that place is totally haunted. We weren't feeling it. We saw it from afar and that was good enough.

View from our hotel at night.

Day 7
We had been spoiled by our light driving days, but today it was time to pay the piper. We drove from San Francisco to Ashland, Ore., which took us a bit over 6 hours. I took two naps. It was awesome.

Before heading out of town, we drove down Lombard Street (because it's practically required) and then went across the Golden Gate Bridge. We stopped at a pull out for pictures and general reminiscing about our time in the city. San Francisco is an interesting place. I may not want to live there, but it was definitely an experience.

The bridge and the bay.
Thanks for a fun time, San Fran!

 Quick observation: While we saw some small markets in Chinatown, we did not see one grocery store. Where do people buy their food?

So yadda yadda yadda, we pull into Ashland and the girls are tired. They do not want to go out and experience this cute little town. So Eric and I went on a date! We had french fries (and beer for Eric and root beer for me, which did not turn out to be natural, oops) on the patio of a little brewery, then took a walk through Lithia Park, which was gorgeous. One weird thing, though, was the number of seemingly homeless people there -- kids, really. Way more than we saw in San Francisco. I was not expecting that.

Ducks at Lithia Park.

Eventually we convinced the girls to leave the hotel in search of dinner, and they were very glad they did: We went to Caldera Brewery, and that place was spectacular. It was packed, and not everyone was even drinking beer, so we took that as a good sign for their food. Jo got a small cheese pizza, Eric and Abby got sandwiches, and I got a salad -- and we were all stuffed and content and happy when it was over. The food was amazing, super fun atmosphere, and a great staff -- go there, you guys!

Fun stop!

I'd promised Jo we would go swimming once we got back, so that's where we went. Then we headed back to the room for our last night of cable TV (ah, the small things of this world -- we don't have cable at home ... on purpose).

Day 8
From Ashland, it was another six hours to home -- and wow, were we ever glad to be home! Skilly was also happy to see us because he's an idiot and instead of coming out from under the bed when relatives came to feed him -- and let him outside -- he just stayed hidden. So he'd been without company and without outside time for most of our trip.

Anyway, it's always great to come home again. Maybe that's the homebody in me talking. We had such a fun trip -- we saw so many wonderful, new and different sights. And honestly, I liked our California Adventure much more than our Washington Adventure (don't tell Abby, though, as she doesn't agree with me).

So yay California!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Minimalist Packing: California Adventure edition

Ah, the delights of going on a trip and having to pack! Just kidding, I sort of hate it. But the part of me that isn't rebelling against the notion of leaving home (being a homebody means you don't really have to get out very much) enjoys the challenge of packing a minimalist bag.

Tired of the huge duffle bag Eric and I usually share, I bought myself a small athletic bag last year and haven't looked back. It's gotten me through weekend adventures to week-long trips (any longer than a week is kind of beyond my emotional capacity) without any problem. And I really like that I can just grab it and go.

Skilly helped by sitting on my packing list.

Here's what I ended up with for the week. You can compare this to my Project 333 capsule if you want HERE.

On my body:
Beige shorts
Black tank (with cute little white polkadots)
Black cardigan
My most favorite brown leather sandals
...And a belt

In the bag:
Denim capris
Black Capris
Orange tank
Navy floral t-shirt
Black t-shirt
Black long-sleeved t-shirt
Beige jacket
Black scarf
Closed-toed shoes
My thrashed sandals for any potential walks on the beach

I also managed to stuff my undies, toiletries and hair straightener in that bag. That thing is amazing.


Since we were hitting hot spots like Red Bluff and cool zones like San Francisco, my bag needed to cover a wide variety of temperatures: Everything from the upper 90ºs to the low 70ºs.

Thus the scarf. Ah, had I only known San Fran would be muggy, I'd not have bothered to bring it. Hindsight!

Here's how it all went down:

SATURDAY: The aforementioned "on my body;" changed into black capris and beige jacket for Mass (sandals)
SUNDAY: Denim capris, navy t-shirt, beige jacket; changed into black capris, orange tank and jacket after getting wet at the beach (sandals and thrashed sandals for the beach)
MONDAY: Denim capris, orange tank and jacket (sandals)
TUESDAY: Beige shorts, black t-shirt and cardigan; jeans and new Santa Clara long-sleeved t-shirt for lounging around the pool (sandals)
WEDNESDAY: Black capris, black tank and jacket; above new t-shirt for walking around San Fran (sandals)
THURSDAY: Waaaaay overdressed in my jeans, long-sleeved black t-shirt, scarf and jacket ... plus socks and shoes. Ended up ditching the scarf and jacket in the car but was still hot (closed-towed shoes)
FRIDAY: Denim capris, black tank and cardigan (sandals)
SATURDAY: Black capris, orange tank and cardigan (sandals)

As you can see, some items got a lot of use ... and some, not so much. I'd have loved to run a load through the washing machine by Day 6, but alas, that was not meant to be. I don't remember getting tired of anything, although I did think having one more shirt would have been nice. In retrospect, I'd have ditched the black long-sleeved t-shirt and gone with another tank top. But not having that didn't ruin the trip, so maybe in the end, it doesn't really matter.

Now that we've got the clothing out of the way, I'll write about the trip next... Spoiler alert: We had a really good time!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Happy birthday to me!

Huh. It just occurred to me that the blog is now four years old. And to think I started it because I was having a hard time dealing with the fact I would soon be 40. Spoiler alert: The forties are awesome. I am a big fan.

Today has been so great. Here's how I celebrated:

My card from Abby: Coffee, Star Wars, cats and Supernatural.
All my favorite things!

Free birthday coffee!

Dill pickles!

And tomatoes! Because the produce doesn't care what day it is.

I also:

  • Got a foot massage during lavender fest
  • Had a wonderful dinner with my in-laws prepared by a new friend
  • Enjoyed homemade chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, made by my most favorite husband and youngest daughter ... and paired it with Mudslide ice cream because I am not messing around, you guys
  • Enjoyed time on the deck, playing Hay Day and reading through all my nice Facebook messages
  • Generally felt awesome and loved on all day long

Not too shabby.

So yeah, 43. Bring it.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Tourists say the darnedest things

Taken August 2014. Where does the time go?!

Abby has a job at the neighborhood lavender farm this summer, where she greets visitors and helps as needed with the U-pick gardens. She's meeting all kinds of people from all over, and she's been keeping a list of some of her favorite conversations, which I share here with her permission. :)

"When I was your age, I used to think I'd like to go to America. And now I've done it!" -- English gentleman

"Do you have a tampon? I've started my menstruation." -- Japanese tourist

"We were trying to guess your age. I said post-college, maybe 25? And she said you were younger." -- Mother/daughter team, who were astounded that she's a mere 15

"I get such good vibes from this place. Like, I knew as soon as I touched the soil that this was a good place and that the people who work here really care about their livelihood." -- Guy with a crystal altar who also asked if people smoke lavender

"If the lavender thing doesn't work out, I could see you doing stand up in a night club." -- Woman from New Jersey

"Hablamos Portuguese." -- Brazilian tourist after Abby introduced herself in Spanish

"Honey, this is Abby, the farmess  / lavender expert." -- Man from Minnesota

Monday, July 13, 2015

Cherry jam and peach butter: You're welcome, Internet

Canning season is upon us, which is both awesome -- there's nothing more satisfying than putting away local produce -- and also kind of frustrating -- because it takes time and things happen, like broken jars and juice spattered all over the walls.


Doesn't that make you want to roll up your sleeves and give it a go? Yeah, I'm not really good at selling it, but it is nice to have a few things stashed in the pantry, especially if you like to give away homemade stuff for Christmas or whatever. (I tend to throw tantrums in malls, so it's best that I shop my pantry instead of a store. For everyone.)

Here are two of my favorites to give away: They're a little unusual as far as jams go, plus they taste great.

I do what I can for you guys. ;)

(If you're not accustomed to canning, my instructions might be a little vague. Here's a tutorial to give you an idea of what I'm talking about.)

Sweet Cherry Jam
Makes about 6 half-pints
4 cups chopped and pitted sweet cherries (Bings, Lamberts... etc.)
1 package powdered pectin (2 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
4 1/2 cups sugar

Combine all ingredients, except sugar, in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved, Return to a boil; boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; skim foam if necessary. Immediately fill hot, sterilized half-pint jars with mixture, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe jar tops and threads clean. Place hot lids on jars and screw on bands firmly. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

Fresh Peach Butter
7 cups sliced, peeled ripe peaches, pureed in food processor or blender
3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice

In a 6- to 8-quart saucepan, heat lemon juice for 1 minute over medium-high heat. Add pureed peaches and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, continue boiling, stirring constantly, until mixture is the consistency of thick applesauce (approximately 15 minutes). Immediately fill hot, sterilized half-pint jars with mixture, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe jar tops and threads clean. Place hot lids on jars and screw on bands firmly. Process in boiling water canner for 5 minutes.

Friday, July 10, 2015

That awkward moment when Skilly brings a live mouse to bed at 1:45 a.m.

Let's set the scene: It's nighttime, and it's hot. So all the windows are open, and you can hear the stupid trucks putting on their jake-breaks, plus all the bugs and night creatures doing their thing. There's the quiet squeak of the sprinklers, and you're just about to drift off again when you hear a louder squeak that seems to be coming from inside the room.

But it goes away, and you hear the sprinklers, and you know you are safe.

I love this picture of Skilly. Eric was pursuing iTunes' '80s music, and
the cat just looks like he's had enough of that kind of crap.

Skilly comes to your pillow for a quick pat on the head, and then he's jumping over your body like a maniac. And you hear the loud squeak again. You're tired, and still trying to figure out what that last dream meant, so it takes you a full minute to realize what's going on.

And then it hits you.


So you jet out of bed with such speed that Prefontaine would be impressed, and you may or may not shout, OH NO YOU DIDN'T!

Which wakes up your husband, but honestly, that was kind of the point.

Your husband gets out of bed and turns on the light, and there's a very much alive mouse peeping out from a fold in the bedspread. It's kind of adorable, actually, but it's also vermin, so obviously it must die.

Skilly gives zero craps about his duties as a cat, and just bats it around periodically, or else does one of his freaky high leaps on top of the thing, only to let it go so he can play around with it some more. So your husband has to get the dustpan and the broom, and you help by opening up the door and freaking the hell out and then going to lay on the couch because NOTHING is going to get you back in that mouse-infested bed ever again.

But your husband assures you that it was not in the sheets, just the bedspread, so you help him take it off. ("Careful," he says as the two of you fold it up, "there's mouse poop in there.") You kind of wonder if he's lying about the mouse not being in the sheets, but you're tired and you don't really want to sleep on the couch after all, so you put another blanket on the bed and crawl in and turn off the light and snuggle down.

And then try not to jump every time Skilly jumps at a non-existent mouse in the bed. Honestly, it's kind of cute how confused he is about where his mouse went, except now it's 2 a.m. and that kind of cuteness is not exactly appreciated, if you know what I'm talking about.

This is not the first time Skilly has brought a mouse to bed -- but THAT particular mouse was dead, at least, even though he kept dropping it on top of us to share until we figured it out. Having a cat is kind of overrated, now that I think about it.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Project 333: Summer edition

Ah, summer! Actually, summer with a vengeance -- the Pacific Northwest doesn't usually get this hot, and wow, we've had some crazy days.

It's not often that I start out on a tangent, and yet, my skillz are such that I can.

My July 1 through September 30 Project 333 summer capsule wardrobe really isn't too different from my spring wardrobe, although I did do quite a bit of shopping in June. Well, most of it is from the Goodwill or our church rummage sale, so... I don't know, that makes it better somehow.


And anyway, you can totally shop during Project 333 'cause this isn't clothing jail, so why you judging me, yo?

It's also hard to go off on a second, more angry tangent five paragraphs in, but I'm bereaved, remember? I get a pass.

My new used clothes! The blue looks purple here, but take my word for it:
It's gorgeous.

Sorry, this is kind of getting away from me. The words are being rambunctious.

This month, I've added three new skirts, taken out an old skirt, added a pair of shorts (my first since I was in my early 30s, I'm not even joking) and a pair of capris, and then found a great sweater and a peasant-style shirt and a couple of scarves -- although only one is making it into my rotation.

I bought two t-shirt type skirts new and the rest is secondhand.

I would not have thought this possible 25 years ago because I was not, shall we say, a fan of anything used. I felt like it was dirty somehow. Maybe I'm getting more relaxed in my old age? Because I think secondhand might be the way to go. It's easy to donate items when they didn't cost very much in the first place (for some reason... consumerism is deeply ingrained in me even though I'm going AWOL), plus there's the added bonus of not purchasing something with the heavy price of cheap fashion stinking it up.

So without further ado, here is my...
Summer 2015 Project 333 Capsule Wardrobe
(...all caps so you know it's legit):

Grey: Cardigan (1)
Black: Dress, capris, slacks, t-shirt, t-shirt skirt, cardigan, silk floral scarf, cute shoes (8)
Black and white: T-shirt, tank top (2)
Brown: The most perfect pair of sandals ever!!! (1)
Beige: Jacket, skirt, capris, slacks, shorts (5)
Beige and orange: Peasant shirt, tank top (2)
Orange: Scarf (1)
All the Blues: Navy cardigan, navy sweater, navy t-sirt, navy t-shirt skirt (SO SOFT), navy tank, denim capris, denim jeans, denim skirt, blue cardigan, blue peasant shirt (10)
Navy and orange: T-shirt (1)
Multi: T-shirt skirt, stripped scarf* (2)

...And if my math is correct (MATH. SO HARD.), that makes 33.

Huh. I'm usually in the 28-38 range, but rarely do I make the exact number I'm shooting for. Yay me, I guess.

Oh, and I've underlined the new stuff just because I'm bored and don't want to end this post quite yet. And, as we've already established, two of the seven are new new and the rest are new used.

And yes, I fully expect this wardrobe to carry me through the hotter than hell conditions we're facing now (103º mid-July? Not cool, you guys. HA HA HA. Oh, the words are hilarious today!) and the potentially cooler fall weather we may or may not have in September (our Septembers are usually better than our Junes, although this June was pretty damn amazing).

One more random thought: I love blue, and it's nice to see my wardrobe finally reflecting that. I feel best in blue.

And that concludes this term's wardrobe. The end.

*This thing cost me 50-cents and it's a name brand that probably wouldn't mean anything to you but is the shit in this tourist trap of a town I call home. Didn't even realize it was a brand name until the day after I bought it. It makes me laugh. Mostly because it's kind of ugly. What, I'm not the only person who buys things for their entertainment value, am I?

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy birthday, America!

Happy birthday, America! Here are some vintage flags to get you in the mood for all the parades, hot dogs and fireworks that mark this special occasion:

P.S. I'm celebrating by working -- I get to take photos of the farmers' market (waterslide!) and parade -- but there will probably be a hot dog in my future, so no need to cry on my behalf.

Friday, July 3, 2015

What NOT to say

So once upon a time, like last Friday, someone told someone I love very much that they should not be in mourning for my grandfather because he was 92 and we should be glad that we had him so long.

And some other stuff along the lines of "just get over it."

So I had not planned on writing another "mourning" post, but you guys, I am deeply offended, and since I can't go tell this person off, I'm going to instead give you a Mourning 101 lesson.

Because I'm mad.
Get it?

What NOT to say

"He's in a better place," or "He's not in pain anymore." We'd still rather have him with us.

"He lived a long, good life." Yes, he did. That's why it's so hard to say good-bye.

"You shouldn't be sad because he was 92." Uh, that makes it harder, actually, because we had him so long and knew him so well. And he loved us fiercely, and now that's gone.

"When I lose my loved one, I won't be sad because he's 95." You haven't lost your loved one. You have no idea how you will react. And you are not us. So shut up.

"It's time to just get over it." We will grieve as we see fit for as long as we want.

"Time will heal." What does this even mean?

"I don't understand why you ... (insert any of these: are so sad, can't get this figured out, can't do this, whatever)." You don't have to understand. You are not us. Putting pressure on us to explain ourselves is mean, yo.

What TO say

"How are you ... today?" The "today" makes all the difference.

"There are no words." No, there aren't. Thank you.

"Let me know ...  (insert any of these: when the funeral is planned, how your grandma is doing, how I can help, when I can visit, whatever)." This is helpful because now we know we can talk to you freely about what is happening. And that is a gift.


You know, for the most part, people have been really great. And I should probably point out that I've said some things myself on the NOT list before I understood what I was saying. Basically, when in doubt, just offer a hug.

Thank you. Seriously.