Monday, August 31, 2015

August Pointless Lists

Why is this in my blog photo archive? I have no idea.
But hey, better than a pic of all the smoke around these parts.
Which is to say: Nothing.

Well, you guys, I just wasn't feeling the writing this month. Which is dumb because I have plenty to write about. It's just that I didn't want to take the time ... too busy reading and being awesome, I guess. And I think, too, when I'm writing a lot at work, it kind of uses up all my extra words and they need time to regrow. Or something. I don't know, science is boring.

Work is fine, home is fine, Eric and the girls are fine, Skilly seems fine (he won't answer when I ask), life is fine. The fires burning up the Pacific Northwest are NOT fine, but we're dealing with it.

What else can you do?

Books read
Remember how, in my July Pointless Lists, I decided I wanted more books and less Hay Day? (Not to take anything away from Hay Day. My farm is awesome.) I succeeded! Mostly because I figured out how to use our library's "library to go" system so I could read on my Kindle. (Although you talk about slooooooow delivery. You request a book... and then you wait in line behind 14 or 15 people before it gets checked back in and you can actually read it yourself. Who wants to wait 8 weeks before getting to read a book? Boring.)

I know there are some definite lines in the sand regarding ebooks verses actual books, but I really just like my e-reader. If it makes anyone feel better, my girls prefer real books, so we still spend an ungodly amount of cash at our local bookstore.

Moving RIGHT along.

A Court of Thorn and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. This is the same author who writes the Throne of Glass series, and as I'm waiting very patiently for Queen of Shadows to be released Sept. 1 (hey, score, that's tomorrow! P.S. I have it on preorder because I do not mess around), I thought I'd pass some time with this one. Which was apparently released in May.

I enjoyed it so much I read it twice. It's a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, although I was thinking as I read it that it's also a similar storyline to Twilight -- there's the beauty, there's the beast, and the beast is all, I've got to send you away even though I love you so much! 

Except in this story, the beauty, aka Feyre, is the kickass breadwinner of her pathetic family, who has gone from rags to riches, and she kills a fairy glamoured as a wolf and that's what starts the whole thing off. Oh, and she's got some self-esteem issues. And she's illiterate. And an artist. And the fairies aren't exactly like the ones we read about in American fairytales.

Thumbs up! I like when you've heard a story before so you think you know what's going to happen, but then the author takes you in a completely different direction and you find yourself thinking about it even when you're not reading it.

I hope to heck there's a sequel coming.

A Place of My Own: The Education of an Amateur Builder by Michael Pollan. This was the first of my library ebook forays (only took about a week to get this one), and I was excited about it because Michael Pollan is kind of my boyfriend after Omnivore's Dilemma and Food Rules et al. But I just couldn't get into this one, so I quit reading it. I think that speaks more to the fact that I am not a builder, nor I do not crave to construct my own playhouse/office, then about Michael Pollan. It just wasn't for me. Michael Pollan is still my boyfriend.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. This was the second of my library ebooks to "come in" (took a month, whatever) and right on time, too, as we had a vacation planned. I read it in one day on the back porch of a rather lovely house in the woods. More on THAT later. This book is fantastic. Abby has been wanting me to read it for a long time now, and I've resisted, and I shouldn't have. PLUS it's set in 1986, so I totally got all the references. Hey, I was also a dork in 1986, so I could really feel Eleanor and Park, you know? Except no one was trying to hold my hand on the bus.

Another thumbs up. I'm kind of sad I don't own this one. I'm going to check out her other books. Because her name is Rainbow. And also because I enjoyed her writing style. She says a lot without yammering on about everything. I can get behind that.

Movies watched
Johanna picked The Boxtrolls out on Netflix one Friday night, and you guys, that movie was awesome. Weird and wonderful and great. Go watch it.

"It was good," Jo says. I really need to teach that girl some different adjectives. "I have plenty of adjectives," she adds, obviously offended.

Light update
So you know what I learned as I took pictures off my hard drive to place on a USB? I have a lot of damn pictures. Well, they date back to 2011, so that's most of the problem. The good news is that since you can get 16 gigs of memory for like $1.99 (well, almost), purchasing USBs isn't the issue. The issue is finding the time and not getting frustrated.

While I did make headway, I did not finish. Such is life. I will continue this unofficially in September, but I have other Light plans that I will disclose later. Let's just say that I've learned a few lessons from the ordeal that is cleaning out my grandparents' house...

Abby update
Having a kid with a drivers' license is awesome. Abby can drive herself to all of her functions, be it physical therapy (has a bum knee, apparently) or school registration. Or to buy her own school supplies. Oh my gosh, I might never have to go into Walmart again. It's the perfect breakup plan.

School doesn't start until Sept. 8 (uh what), except for her it's Sept. 10 (double what), but I think she's kind of excited to get back into the routine.

Johanna update
Johanna has been on a writing bender this month. I don't know how many books she's written, both "stories" and "graphic novels." That kid has some serious talent. It's fun to watch.

Eric update
Eric has been doing some concrete work (cute little path to nowhere by the shed, the filling in of some flower beds because apparently he's tired of weeds and is embracing bark dust), and some general weeding / outside stuff. Our lawns are all brown because we're in a drought and are conserving water for farms and fish (that's actually a slogan here), but you know what doesn't die in a drought? Weeds.


And I tell you this, the basketball court he put in a couple of months ago has been getting a lot of use. He and the girls are out there almost every night shooting around. Success!

Stuff I canned / etc.
I was going to can tomatoes, but then it got really hot, and then I got tired, and also kind of ran out of time and needed a fast solution. So I froze 20 pounds (!) using Eric's Foodsaver and some leftover bags. Plastic. Not environmental. Let's just focus on the tomatoes, shall we?

Oh, and I froze some zucchini and summer squash. Kind of on accident, as we were headed out of town and I needed to get rid of the produce I'd gleaned from the counter at work. (I have coworkers with amazing gardens, apparently.)

And that, sadly, is it.

Supernatural update
Abby has been better about not watching without me, or at least keeping me updated with what is going on when she does. Dean is out of purgatory, Sam is again threatening to quit hunting, and Castiel is finally back! The end. By our calculations, Dean has died twice, Sam has died twice, and Cas about four times. And God just keeps bringing them back or something. I don't know, you guys, but it's entertaining as heck.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

MORE pointless updates!

  1. I'm sorry, you guys -- I'm just not feeling the whole blogging thing at the moment. Maybe it's the weather. Maybe it's not the weather.
  2. It's probably the weather.
  3. I actually have a lot to write about, now that I think about it, it's just the effort is too monumental to even go there.
  4. Wow, now I've depressed myself.
  5. And I'm not even depressed.
  6. I'm SO TIRED of smoke. It's like we can't catch a break. There's rain in the forecast for this weekend. I am so jacked about that, I can't even tell you how jacked I am. It's going to be fantastic. Fingers crossed for a crapload of rain and no lightening.
  7. I never thought I'd be excited about rain.
  8. This is what it's come to, people.
  9. One benefit of having a kid with a drivers' license is that she can drive herself to her events. She's at the school as we speak, doing something vaguely connected with her role as junior class president. Life is a mystery. Maybe I should have questioned her more closely.
  10. Ten is a good list number, right? I'm out.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Five pointless updates!

So yeah, pointless updates, which loosely translates at "I have nothing to say, yet I must say something, right?, so you get this crap." Ah, well. Who needs content? Not me. Obviously.

My mental state has been on the cusp of collapse this week. This is because Skilly brought ANOTHER LIVE MOUSE to bed at 5:15 Tuesday morning (that was a hell of a wakeup call), and then this morning Eric found a dead baby mouse in our doorway, and then this evening between Skilly and the girls and Eric, we ushered three more babies out into the wilds. (Abby and Jo get credit for two.) As Eric was trying to get Mama out from under the couch, it ran into the kitchen to hide under my stove. So now, obviously, I can never go into my kitchen ever again.

Cats are highly overrated.

So yeah, it's been a bit of a trial.

I've been on a hamster wheel at work, which means I'm getting nowhere fast. I literally spent yesterday trying to rustle up any kind of story (feature, business, back to school, community event, volunteer opportunity!), and you know what happened? Nothing. No one was answering, no one was returning my calls. It was not very good for my self-esteem. Anyway, today I managed to get my one "do or die" weekly series story done, but wow, it was an uphill battle.

Interviewing, taking photos and cranking out a story in the course of three hours is not how I like to roll. I have really had to come to grips with the fact that 85 percent of my stories are not as perfect as I would like them to be.

I had my yearly exam this afternoon and got my flu shot. I was the first person to receive it at the clinic because they literally had just received their shipment. So I have a bandaid on my arm and it's sore, but I am feeling like such a responsible member of society. Oh, and my cholesterol is a thing of beauty, just FYI.

Our poor little tourist town has been so hazy from the smoke of two forest fires (one and two), and that's just depressing. How hazy? We can't see either mountain -- Mt. Adams or Mt. Hood. It's like it's February and we're in an inversion or something. We've been able to smell the smoke, too.

We actually had people calling our office when it started, asking
if Mt. Adams was erupting. Dudes, no.

Not awesome. But today! The wind was blowing and not only could we see both mountains, we could actually see down the street! It was kind of weird, but I tried to just appreciate the clean fresh air and the crisp blue sky.

The end. Maybe by next Wednesday I'll have it in me to write a real post? Well, by Friday, at least...

Friday, August 14, 2015

It's a small world after all

Abby got her license on Tuesday, and since then, the kid has been itching to drive. I foresee being able to use this to my advantage, as in, I may never have to run errands ever again.

Or at least until she goes to college.


Today Abby decided to come to my office around 12:30, because she had seen a Really Cute Sweatshirt in town and had decided it was calling her name. We walked there together on my lunch hour because I wanted to see it, too, but it turns out it had been sold. Bummer. So we were walking back towards my office to eat -- my favorite picnic lunch spot is the library park across the street -- when she decided what she really wanted to do next was hit the bookstore.

You can't say no to that, because books!

It's summer, and our town is hella touristy, so we were standing on the corner a full minute before a car actually stopped to let us cross the street. (So much for pedestrians having the right of way.) This nice lady was waving and waving at us, sort of frantically, I thought, when all of a sudden it clicked and I realized it was my cousin Shell.

Shell from Coeur d'Alene. Uh, what?!

So I'm like HEY! and then I'm in the middle of the street talking to her through her car window, which Abby found excessive and also kind of embarrassing, although she claims to have been just protecting me from getting hit by a car because I was standing in an intersection.


Anyway, so Shell is like, I'll find a parking spot! Except again, hella touristy, so she had to go around the block and then some before she found a spot, but we finally met up by the curb and had a nice little chat. She and her daughter were coming back from my grandparents' (a la The Great House Cleanup), and she said she hadn't been through our town in a while and just wanted to see what was up, and she was thinking of me and suddenly there I was.

Weird. I mean, what's the chance?

I made her promise to call next time so we could actually do fun touristy things (or at least have a nice lunch somewhere), and YOU BETTER, SHELL. She totally will because I'm five weeks older and she has to do what I say.

Oh, and her daughter was wearing one of my grandma's old square-dancing dresses and that was hilarious.

So the moral of this story is: Pay attention when you're crossing the street. ;)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Light 2015: Digital clutter

Hi, Mt. Hood!

It's been a couple of months since I dared tackle a Light project, and honestly, I'm still really not feeling it, but I'm trying to distract myself from my funk.

Funk might be too strong a word. I'm just kind of ... tired and busy and still sad about my grandpa, and sad about the recent news my uncle received (esophagus cancer), and continuously sad about the state of the world in general. Can't we all just get along?

Whatever. Life goes on.

Anyway, I'm smack in the middle of attempting to clean up photo clutter on the good ol' computer, and I find this an extremely frustrating project. My perfectionism kicks in and I want to make photo books, THEN transfer my pics to a USB. You know how well that's been working for me?

Not so great.

Again, whatever. I've decided to forget the photo books and just get things transferred over. I can make a photo book later (maybe September's theme? Probably September, October, November and December. Ha) off a USB just as easily as I can from a CPU. And in the meantime, our computer should run faster. Logically. I guess.

Side note: I am attempting to make our California Adventure scrapbook on Snapfish, and I'm frustrated as heck with that. It's a new program, and I don't like it ... it's not as fast as the old one, and it pisses me off when I'm trying to make a page and it has to stop and think for a full minute before I can go on (whether that's loading a photo or journaling). The other day I was screaming I'M SO FRUSTRATED and Johanna was like, Mom, you should just walk away for a while. And I was like, it's pretty sad when your 10-year-old (sorry, 10 and a half) is more mature than her mother.

Or maybe it just explains why Johanna is a relatively calm kid.

Side note PS: I tried to break up with Snapfish with Shutterfly, but that program made me even more frustrated, with the added bonus of a finished book costing about about $250. Now compare that to less than $50 on Snapfish. I need program recommendations, you guys! Help me out!

So that's what I'm up to -- this morning, in fact. I'm up early for some reason (probably because I could technically sleep in), so a little blogging, a little photo transferring, and a lot of coffee.

Cross your fingers for me, guys. We'll be lighter, all right, but it's going to take some dark to get there. ;)

Friday, August 7, 2015

In which my minimalism causes confusion

Now that my grandfather has passed away and my grandmother is in assisted living, the monumental task of cleaning out their house to get it ready for sale is upon us.

Well, upon my mother and her siblings, really, at least for the time being. Mom's already said the project is beyond them and they'll need "the next generation" soon. Which is cool. I'm more than happy to help.

Anyway, they've been going through my grandparents' basement and unearthing all manner of thing, all of which has to be claimed, donated, recycled or trashed.

I keep getting texts from my mother (hi Mom!) asking if I want this or that, and I generally say no. Because you know what I want? My grandfather. I don't care about this stuff at all.

But my noes seem to just encourage the Aunts to try harder to find me something. (Mom understands, and that is a gift. Thank you, Mommy!) Well, maybe they'll feel better since I said yes to this tiny pitcher yesterday:

Come on! It's got boats on it! I wish you
could see them better. It makes me laugh.

Pitcher aside, the last thing I said no to was a clock that my Grandma Morrissette brought Grandma Graham back from a trip to Germany. (Fun fact: I am half German, thanks to my grandmothers, even though none of my names indicate that.) Apparently Grammie carried it on her lap the entire return trip so it wouldn't get damaged, and the Aunts think that memory alone should make me want it.

But again, you know what I want? My Grammie M. And that clock is not my grandma.

It's kind of hard to explain ... although maybe it isn't: Stuff isn't the person I'm missing. Stuff is just stuff. I have my memories, and yes, I have a few mementos from those whom I've lost. But I don't need their things to remind me of them. They're always with me. Seeing a clock, or whatever ... it's meaningless, really. It's just a thing.

Maybe you're thinking I should be taking this stuff for my girls, for when they're older. And yes, I could. Except I would just be saddling them with emotional baggage. They have their own memories of my grandparents. They don't need stuff to remind them that my Grandma -- and my Grandpa, for that matter -- loved them.

And neither do I.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Village idiot

Today I went out on assignment to a youth camp, tripped over the stairs twice and then ran into a table, all before I even had a chance to sit down and conduct my interview. Well, dignity is highly overrated anyway.

So I was feeling pretty awesome as I introduced myself to one of the camp directors, who then introduced me to the main director with a pleasant, this is a woman from the newspaper. But the director just looked confused and said, all I heard was "woman," because we were in a loud dining room. I stuck my hands over my head and was like, yay! Here I am!, but all that happened was that she looked even more confused, so I hastily added, I'm not usually heralded in like that, it was nice, but that seemed to only make everything more awkward, so I shrugged and started asking my questions.



The end.

Oh, wait, no. Skilly caught another mouse last night, at 10:30 this time, which is way better than 2 a.m. This one was also alive and kicking, and Skilly actually started growling at us (as if we wanted to steal it) when I went to open the screen door in a desperate attempt to get him the hell out of the room. He didn't understand what I was trying to accomplish (dude, you could have been free!), but he finally dropped the thing and Eric scooped it outside with a dustpan and then I freaked out a bit as I watched it scuttle away and then we went to bed.

Now it's the end.

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Abby Texts: Working girl edition

Abby: And then God said, "Let there be lunch breaks." And he saw that it was good.

P.S. Have you ever been so caught up in a book that you're just like, nope, can't even, and then you just read and read and read all day?

Yeah, that.

Real post soon.