Monday, September 28, 2015

September Pointless Lists

Super moon! I was playing with camera settings last night and
this picture was the winner. Still kind of terrible.

I wish I could think of something witty or at the very least poetic to say about September, but all that's coming to mind is that I wish I had one more day to my weekend because I'm still pretty tired and that would be awesome.

I guess I'll have to make due with our school district's late start Mondays.

Pointless list  time!

Books read
Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas. Oh, you guys, the bliss and the heartache that comes from finally reading a book you've waited months for. Bliss because YAY, and heartache because now the waiting continues again until the next installment. Maybe I just need to find books with shorter story arcs?


Anyway, LOVE. It's a great story, this is a great book, and you all need to start reading the whole thing right now. I actually read it twice, as is the Trisha way. I'm too impatient to read carefully the first go, and then the second time I can be all smug because I get the foreshadowing et al.

And I do smug really well.

And hey, remember how I decided to start using our library's ebook service at the end of July so I could read lots of books but not go broke? I didn't even get ONE book on my list this month. I just checked my account and I'm still numbers 2 to 6 on the waiting list for all my chosen titles. So boring. What's even the point?

Light update
This month my plan was to go through my stuff again and get rid of All The Things, inspired by trying to clean out my grandparents' house. I didn't get as far as I'd hoped with this, but I didn't do too badly, either. It ended up being more cleaning than cleaning out, but maybe the best thing to come out of all this has been the mindset of: If I bring this home, how am I going to get rid of it?

You can leave all sorts of crap at the store when you think about it that way.

Anyway, having my house consistently clean has been very good on my psyche. I get a little overwhelmed by chaos.

Oh, and P.S., I continued to pull photos onto USB drives and off my hard drive. This has mostly worked great, except my 2013 drive is unrecognizable when I plug it into the computer, and I'm not really sure what to do about that. I guess I need a better system ... but what?

Project 333 update
The bookend seasons of spring and fall are the hardest for me to deal with when it comes to a capsule wardrobe. Not that it means I go much over my 33-item goal. Just that I don't really follow the three-months-and-then-you-switch-out-again rule.

Early September, the weather changed from hotter than the fires of hell to freezing cold. Well, upper 60ºs and 70ºs, but when you're used to the 90ºs, that's kind of a shocker to the ol' body. So I went through my closet and wardrobe about 25 days before I was "supposed" to and made it into part of my Light project. Because I can do whatever I want.

And I think that's okay. I've learned in the two years since I've started this whole mess that it's not so much about the rules as it is about reaping the benefits of a small wardrobe.

While we're on the subject, here's a great post from Janice at the Vivienne Files: How to Create Your Capsule Wardrobe. She has a different perspective.

Abby update
I'd ask Abby how she's doing, but I don't think she'd answer. She's taking really hard classes this term (AP Chem and trig ... good lord) and with her class president responsibilities and homecoming week, it's been an interesting  month.

I wish she didn't put so much pressure on herself, but that's just kind of how she's wired.

Johanna update
Johanna and I traveled to my niece's wedding shower on this past Saturday. Here's the card Jo drew for Rachel:

It was A Big Hit at the party.

Eric update
I just asked Eric what his favorite part of the month was, and he said, "The start of football. A couple good hikes. Getting ready for deer season. Hanging out with my girls." Huh. I think we've all learned something.

Things I canned/froze
Peaches! A pint for my grandma and 6 quarts for Eric.
... And that's pretty much it. Disappointing.

Supernatural update
Abby is way ahead of me now and on Season 9. I have no idea what is going on. She's a brat.

Friday, September 25, 2015

"Art," look at these pictures of Skilly edition

I had SUCH  a good streak going this month of actually posting on time, and that was on purpose, 'cause August was such a waste. But the world was against me this week, or, at least, time was not on my side, so here we are: A post that isn't even a real post. Well, we do what we can.

Which is to say: Skilly pictures!

Eighty-five percent of my Instagram account is pictures like this. 
He's kind of terrible about keeping up with his assigned chores, though.

(Busy at work is all. That's what I get for trying.)

The end.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Monday, September 21, 2015

Anniversary, revisited

Anniversary selfie. Not edited 'cause we don't care.

On September 2, Eric and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary.

Which begs the question: When and how did Eric get so old? ;)

Eric and I have a fairly relaxed stance when it comes to anniversaries. Maybe because they're usually coinciding with back to school dinners and whatnots. And to be honest, it's not like if we miss THE DAY the world is going to end. Maybe that's 20 years talking, or maybe it's just that we're very wise and mature.

Ha ha ha! Yeah, probably not maturity. More like just personality.

Well, anyway. This year we actually DID celebrate on the day, probably because school started late this year. And on a Wednesday night and everything.

Eric took me to a new/old restaurant (old restaurant, new name) for which he had a buy one get one free coupon (well, we are rather thrifty minimalists). We had the place to ourselves except for another couple who was there celebrating their 65th anniversary. High-five, co-anniversariests!

Although suddenly 20 didn't seem like that big of a deal anymore.

So we order (eggplant lasagna for me -- which contained no pasta, actually, and was amazing -- and shrimp and penne pasta for Eric), and we're sitting there talking and such, when Eric pulls out a handmade card for me.

Oh damn, I didn't get him a card! Because I suck. Strike One.

He's like, oh, I didn't even expect one, calm down, and I read his nice words and I got a little teary because that boy really does love me a lot.

Profound thanks, more talking, and then he's like, oh yeah, I almost forgot, and he's smirking in a way that tells me I'm on Strike Two.

And he gives me this bracelet that he made himself:

Huh. How is this blurry? I just put it on the scanner...

You guys, there is no Strike Three in this story, but you can imagine how bad I felt. No card, no present, just air. "And your love!" the waitress helpfully supplied.

He was pretty pleased with himself to have surprised me so thoroughly. And apparently my love is enough because he didn't even act disappointed.

Anyway, we enjoyed our dinners, but decided that since we had a coupon and were saving like $16 or whatever, we should probably get dessert so as not to be lame. Right? We ordered apple pie with vanilla gelato and OH EM GEE, as Johanna would say, that was a really good idea on our part.

And the girls devoured the leftovers when we got home.

P.S. Here's the card that was waiting for us when we got back from our date:

There is way too much awesome going on here...

Johanna was adamant that Eric have me home at a respectable hour. She
also gave us $5. (We found a way to tactfully give it back later.)

So that's how we spent our anniversary this year, you guys. It was awesome AND lame, and I'm not sure how many people can say that about their 20th, so I'm going to count it as a win. Everyone knows Eric is a way better person that I am anyway; this just proves it.

The end.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Another blow to my self-esteem

My head hurts, you guys, because I successfully caught Johanna's cold and my sinuses are jerks. Is it sinuses or sinus? I have no idea because my brains feel like they're being squished and it's just too much for me to contemplate right now.

So I'm in the perfect mindset to tell you a story is what I'm saying.

Once upon a time, like two days ago, I started planning the weekly feature I write for the newspaper, where I "spotlight" someone in the community and talk about what it is they do that makes them ... unique or special or different or ordinary or the same, really. It's like, "Who are the people in your neighborhood," only without the Muppets.

I had this one woman in mind because she's 94 and still volunteering at her previous place of employment, except it's still her place of employment, I guess, because she never left. I knew her back in the olden days when my mother worked with her, and I figured this would be a heck of a story because hello, who works at the same place for 60-plus years?

Yeah, no one.

This is EXACTLY what my desk looks like at work.

Anyway, she apparently doesn't believe in answering machines because every time I called, I got no answer even if I let it ring like 15 times. (Which is just embarrassing.) I struck out so many times I was wondering A) If this was the path to a restraining order and 2) If maybe it was time to come up with a Plan B.

But then she answered! Whew.

And I'm all, this is Trisha! I want to do a story on you! And she was like, nope. And I was all, listen, this is going to be a great, and my mom thinks so too! And she was like, don't think so, so I was all, please? I'll make it short! And she finally relented.

Because that's what I do: Bully the elderly.

She gave me, I'm not even kidding, a whole eight minutes of her time on the phone before she decided that was enough and she was through. And I was like, well, that's cool, I'll see you Thursday morning so I can take pictures.

She was not happy about that -- people generally hate the pictures more than the interview -- but she consented because hey, we'd come this far.

So Thursday morning, I waltz into her workplace and am all, hey there! And she's like, I didn't know it was you -- I'd have been nicer if I had.

That made me laugh. I made the mistake of giving her my married name, not my maiden name -- and so what if I've been a Walker for 20 years? I was a Morrissette for 23. So I guess I should have led with that.

Anyway, the moral of this story is that I am very popular and everyone knows immediately who I am whenever I introduce myself.

The end.

Oh, wait, not the end: I ended up having to interview some of the people she works with, just to bulk the story up a bit, because eight minutes ain't all that much time. Oh, and then I had these two little kids pose with her for one of the photos, and they thought they were in trouble because I forgot to tell them what we were doing, so they were very serious and scared and now I feel bad not only about bullying the elderly, but small children.

Now it's the end, because Eric wants to play Scrabble on Facebook.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Zero Waste Wednesday: Reusable water stations

(Wow, it's been a while since we've had a Zero Waste Wednesday. I was off my game this summer, apparently.)

Oregon is green, you guys, and I'm not just talking about the landscape. All those jokes you hear about Oregonians recycling everything in sight and being able to tell the difference between Starbucks, Seattle's Best and Dutch Bros.? Totally true.

It's not uncommon to see people carrying around their reusable water bottles, but I haven't really noticed any filing stations (as I suppose they would logically be called) until the past few weeks.

We actually ran a story about this in our paper last month, when a local downtown sporting goods store put in a filling station for absolutely anybody to use. You just walk in off the street and fill up your bottle for free and be done with it.

And we have great water here, so yay us.

Well, I guess the high school also has a filling station, donated by the Class of Such-and-Such. But that one isn't public per se.

Anyway, the other weekend we went to a 100-year-old's birthday party in Salem (why didn't I write about that? I tell you what, August was not my month), and Eric, being Eric, wanted to stop at the new Cabelas store along the way. And here's what Johanna and I found when we came out of their (very nice) bathrooms:


 I wasn't thirsty, but I totally was wishing I'd have brought in my Klean Kanteen just so I could try it out.

(Although: Full disclosure, there was a New Seasons Market next door, so I went to the car, got my Klean Kanteen, and procured for myself a really kick-ass Americano. No regrets.)

Anyway, pretty cool, right? I was lamenting the fact that there aren't more of these, when it occurred to me that there actually really are. You just have to look for them, like so:

Lobby of my acupuncturist.

These little stations are all over town -- I've seen them at the dentist, the acupuncturist's and doctor's office. Maybe it's a medical thing? But the acupuncturist's is my favorite setup because she even has reusable mugs for us to use.

Not that I ever have. Just that I could.

This seems rather encouraging to me.

Hey, free water!
Designated filling stations equal no waste...
...And encourage reusable water bottles.
And are way cleaner than water fountains. Uh, I assume.

Not everywhere.
Some provide little paper cups (better than plastic, but still made of trees).

Monday, September 14, 2015

Light 2015: "The Hard Stuff"

It's possible that I've lost track a bit of what my original Light resolution (revolution?) has been about this year. I wanted to keep the word in the forefront of my mind, to remind myself what I'm trying to achieve here. (Hint: Being scattered is not as fun as you'd think it would be. I only look like I'd be organized.)

But hey, life is what you make it, and so are words.

Since my grandfather passed away in June, my family has been dealing with some hard stuff. Well, sadness and all that, but also trying to dismantle a house that has 65 years worth of accumulation inside.

Example: These meal rations (for emergencies,
I guess) that had been stored in a bedroom closet
since 1983. Yeah, these went in the trash.

Add to that the fact my grandparents are Depression babies and never threw anything away, and you can sort of start to see the mass and scope of the thing.

Side note: my grandmother is doing really well, you guys, in her apartment at the local assisted living complex. She's busy with exercise class, lunch dates, friends who pop by and the endless card games -- sometimes, she's the teacher. Not that she's happy. Just that she's busy and it's keeping her mind occupied with something other than the fact that the partner she's had for 73 years is missing.

But she's decided it's time to sell the house, and that's causing a bit of a scramble. Eric and the girls and I spent Saturday helping get ready for a garage sale, a sort of last ditch effort to clean out what hasn't already been claimed by family, taken to the Goodwill, or just dumped.

There's not a lot of options. I think about that every single time I go to the store now: If I buy this, how will I get rid of it?

Anyway, all this cleaning (and, to be honest, this weekend was the first time I'd even helped; that chore has fallen to my mother and The Aunts, and to some of my cousins. Those guys all deserve a huge medal) and thinking and ... just the physical and emotional toll of it all, you know what I mean? ... has made me want to go through my house again.

That was kind of a long introduction to get to the point, but I suppose if you're reading a blog called Pointless Ramble, that's kind of on you. ;)

Basically my mantra this month is Just One Thing. Each day, I try to get to one area of the house and separate the wheat from the chaff: The abundance of hats, gloves and coats in the coat closet (that was actually a pretty focused cleanup), my bathroom drawers (how does a minimalist acquire so many sample sizes?), or just the random places in the house where things accumulate because we don't know what to do with them (read: the laundry room, a cupboard in the bedroom, the extra closet in Abby's room, my reading retreat).

Sometimes it's more about cleaning than cleaning out, but you know what? It keeps me off my ass when I get home from work (exhausted ... why is sitting at a computer all day so tiring?!) and it also keeps me off the internets (a pleasant, if not pointless, time suck). And if my house is lighter and roomier because of it, then so be it.

I love light and roomy!

So that's what I've been up to, even though my mother is pretty sure I don't have anything left to get rid of.  I heard a couple of times on Saturday that I'm "smart" for being a minimalist, but I think it's more that minimalism is smart. We pay for stuff so much longer than just that initial store transaction (or however it is you acquire it). Sometimes, 65 years later. That's a huge burden. And one hell of a motivator.

P.S. I'm purposely sticking to my own areas or to communal areas because I'm a believer in leading by example, not by tyranny. Because you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it clean its room.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Back to school...

Labor Day was late this year -- Sept. 7! -- and thus, school was late in starting, too. If I may be so bold as to start with a tangent, I've always found it interesting that we celebrate labor by not working. Although maybe that's the point.

Johanna's first day of school was Sept. 8, and, in her words, she has been "excited and terrified" to start fifth grade. Because it's her last year at Mid Valley (and the Walkers' 12th year ... we've been in and out of that school so much I can't even imagine NOT), and next comes middle school. And then, if you're Jo, high school, college, midlife crisis and death.

(The kid is a worrier. Huh. Wonder who she gets that from? Perhaps it was destiny that I named her after my "very alert" grandmother.)

But still, she was up and completely ready to go by 6:45 a.m. She wanted to leave the house by 7:30 for the 7:40 class start, and we totally would have made it too, had I not remembered that we needed Official First Day of School Photos (all caps so you know it's legit).

When I asked her how it all went, she said, "Good."

Well, that's going to satisfy the Grandmas...

But hey! Look how cute she was on her first day of school!

This kid is clearly mine.

All those Facebook shots of little girls in cute
little dresses ... this is like the anecdote to that.

Abby's first day of school and her first day of classes were two different things. She was at the high school Sept. 8 for registration, then back again Sept. 9 to show the Freshmen around (she's a LINK leader. I have no idea what "link" stands for. Something about unity, probably). But classes didn't technically start until Sept. 10 (happy birthday, Uncle Tree!).

I don't know, you guys. That seems really late to me.

Her thoughts: "Actually it didn't suck as bad as I thought but AP Chem already scares me."

Huh. I never even made it to Chem, let alone advanced Chem, so... I can't really comment on that.

...And the required first day of school shot for Abby, like so:

"Hi Classmates. I'm Abby Walker and I'm always hip for casual fun."
She asked me to write that.

So clearly excited that I'm making her take pictures!

Bonus shot: Abby and her friend were taking Very
Serious Photos. I'm not really sure what's going on
here -- she's either making a teepee for Skilly or she's
trying to build a fire -- but honestly, it's probably best if
it remains a mystery.

I've enjoyed the laziness of the summer -- I mean, I've gotten to sleep in too, since I've had no one to take anywhere but myself -- and its lack of schedules. And I think it's good for a kid to be bored all summer. Teaches them some life skills.

But I can't say I'm not also looking forward to fall. I love the crisp air, the fresh apples and the relief that comes when the days are more structured.

So here's to the unofficial start of a new season.

P.S. Fifth grade and 11th. I can't even, you guys.

Monday, September 7, 2015

A Very Minimalist Christmas III

Ah, Christmas in August! It's become a tradition, and you know what? It. Is. Awesome.

To recap: Since coming out as minimalists, my lovely parents have (mostly, I'm still trying to break Mom) foregone giving us Christmas presents in favor of all of us going on a trip together in the summertime. Past trips have included Wildlife Safari and the Redwoods, and Leavenworth, Wash.

This year, we went to Sunriver for an extended weekend.

We didn't mean to stay as long as we did, but apparently when you book rentals in Sunriver in the summer, they expect you to stay four nights at a minimum. So what could we do? I'm not sure you could even spend too much time in this place, anyway -- there's just so much to do, including sitting on your deck and reading the day away.

You can't get more perfect than that.

Oh, nothing, just a wild animal out the back door.

Friday, Aug. 21:
We rolled into town about 6:30 p.m., as we had to leave after I got home from work and it's a three hour drive. My parents were already there, and after taking a quick tour of our new digs (which were really nice -- some rentals are better than others, and ours was prefect for the six of us), we hit the Village to see what we could see. My parents hadn't been there before, so it was fun showing them the various shops and where we'd hoped to take them to dinner later.

And then we went home and hung out and were basically just awesome.

Saturday, Aug. 22:
The great thing about Sunriver is that there are wide, paved bike paths all over that place, so you basically just walk out your front door (well, we had to cross the street, but still) and you're on your way. (Eric said the thought was golf cart access, but it's turned into a bike trail that's equally as friendly to walkers. Which is good, 'cause we ARE.) So after breakfast, the six of us decided to check out Fort Rock Park. It was a pretty good stroll from our house, but no one seemed to mind. Once there, the girls lamented that they forgot their basketball, but Jo managed to still have a pretty good tetherball game with Grandma (and then Eric and Abby went all Napoleon Dynamite on each other), and Jo also enjoyed the playground scene.

So that was fun.

When we got back, I cracked open a book -- by which I mean I turned on my Kindle. This is where I read "Eleanor and Park" all in one day on the back porch of our house. I have no regrets.

But Johanna, Eric and Papa decided to go to the Sharc. Which is to say: A really great waterpark that includes basically any sort of water feature you can think of, from a "lazy river" to waterslides. This is also were Eric and Jo learned that 2-year-old Walmart sunscreen is not up to the task. Oops.

Our rental was within walking distance (well, everything in Sunriver is within walking distance if you're crazy enough, but this was only about a quarter-mile) of the Catholic church, so we hit the 5:30 Mass. And then got recruited to bring up the gifts. So we did. The priest was awesome, by the way. That's always a bonus.

After Mass came dinner -- Mom's lasagna -- and then Mom, Eric and the girls played Apples to Apples. Papa and I declined. But we got ours the next night, so don't even worry.

Sunday, Aug. 23:
When my parents saw that our rental had bicycles, my mother decided then and there that a bike ride was on her bucket list. Even though she apparently hasn't ridden a bike since high school.

Um, what could happen?

Still optimistic 'cause we're only in the driveway.

So we took a 78-mile ride (just kidding ... it was probably only four or five round-trip) with the Lodge as our final destination. Except you guys, I haven't ridden a bike since high school either, and wow, bicycle seats HURT. So when we got as far as the Village, I was like, you know what would be awesome? Coffee! So Mom, Abby and I found a coffee spot while Eric and Jo (who were riding tandem) and Papa went on.

Good thing I got a large.

That coffee shop was so crowded that I wasn't even back with our coffees by the time the other group went to the Lodge and back again. But I would like to announce that my iced latte and Abby's peach smoothie, and that blackberry crumb bar that also looked too good to resist, were amazing and totally worth the 20 minutes or whatever it took to get them.

And then we rode back.

And no one died!

I'm pretty sure that's the best we could have hoped for. I crashed on the couch because 78-miles (or four or five) is A LOT. Then I realized that a nap on the couch wasn't half as awesome as a nap on the deck, so I moved outside. Eric and Johanna decided it was game time at the kitchen table, Abby retreated to the room she was sharing with Johanna, and my parents decided what they really wanted to see was Tumalo Falls in the nearby Deschutes National Forest. Which they said was amazing.

My nap? Was also amazing.

For dinner that night, we took my parents to the Sunriver Brewing Company. You guys, if you are in Oregon and you want a great meal, look to the breweries. They're all family-friendly, the menus are generally reasonably priced and you're going to get full.

Three orders of fish and chips, two orders of pulled pork sandwiches and a cheeseburger later, we waddled out of there feeling pretty happy. That place is always packed, but we got there at the crack of 5, the logic being that only losers would be eating dinner that early, so we didn't have much of a wait. But it IS worth the wait, just FYI. Go there.

Ready for dinner!

Oh, and then we walked about the Village again ... and drove to the Lodge so the rest of us could see it. The wildfire smoke was so thick that you couldn't even see Mt. Bachelor, but whatever. We've gotten sadly used to wildfire smoke this summer.

Mom had such a fun time the previous night playing Apples to Apples that she made Dad and I play when we got home from dinner. The best part was knowing which cards were Dad's because he kept giggling every time he played. And even though the two of us are not game players, we had to agree that Apples to Apples is pretty great.

And then it was bedtime. We were wiped out.

Monday, Aug. 24:
One stop on Dad's list was Crater Lake, since we were so close. And by close, I mean within a couple of hours. But the park's north entrance was closed due to wildfire. No biggie, so we take an extra hour or whatever and hit the south entrance. Except the park cam showed it was socked in with that damn smoke, so we decided to forgo the lake in favor of Sisters.

Which is like a half-hour from Sunriver.

Mom bought me coffee because she loves me so much.

We walked around the shops, and I was half expecting to run into Rainn Wilson because one of the shopkeepers was going on about how she met him (he has a house close by?) and asked if he got told he looked like himself a lot and he said yes but she didn't know it was him until later.

More coffee, an apple fritter the size of my head, a chat with some UO fan who coached various sports who saw the girls and wanted to recruit them (his dog was AWESOME), and a picnic lunch in the park.

So that was fun.

Back at home, Eric and the girls and Dad went to play basketball, Mom and I chatted on the deck, and THEN some of the crazier among us decided to take another bike ride. You guys, what?

Tacos for dinner (or leftovers from the previous evening), and then! We hit the Village one last time for a round of mini-golf. That was super fun. Then Eric, the girls and I went on the bumper cars, which was also fun, but let's just say I don't need to do that again for a while. I came off of that thing feeling a little dizzy. Still, there's something to be said about crashing into your girls.

Hole in one!

Again! Abby and I were the only ones who did NOT.

Back at home, Jo and I hit the hot tub because she needed some more water time. And, I mean, how often do you have access to a hot tub in your back yard? Not often if you're me because my husband doesn't believe in hot tubs. I've tried.

And then bed. All that fresh air makes a person pretty tired.

Tuesday, Aug. 25:
Oh, you guys, I was so not ready to leave! Yeah, it was smoky for all the days except our first, but a girl can really get used to the quiet. I made Eric take some pictures of the deck before we left because I want to recreate such an oasis at our house. He said he thought it was actually a pretty boring deck, which surprised me. I mean, yeah, there wasn't much too it, but ... it seemed perfect to me.

You can't make me leave!

We all had such a great time, and we're already talking about next year -- same house, same time, same plan, except TWO rounds of mini-golf (one at the beginning and one at the end to see if we improve), more time at the Sharc, and Crater Lake this time for reals.

Bonus: We came back so relaxed from this trip. I really felt like I'd had a vacation.

P.S. My parents are super awesome for giving us this kind of a gift -- and I absolutely love that my girls have these memories. This kind of a thing is priceless. And it seems rather rich for a minimalist. But maybe that's the beauty of it all.

Thank you again, Parents! You guys are the best!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Pointless Experiments: Art journal


During. There is no after...

Once upon a time, like around May, Abby and I embarked into the world of art journals. Except that Abby actually is a great artist, while my talents lean more towards stick figures.

She takes after her father on that front.

I'd seen a bunch of art journal posts/whatnots on Tumblr, and it looked like a lot of fun. It's basically just an excuse to make a mess. You can actually buy journals that give you directions page by page (a la Wreck This Journal), or you can just buy a blank book and do whatever you want.

Guess which I chose?

Because I'm contrary, sure, but also because there's the whole non-artistic side of myself. I can write, you guys, but that's kind of how far my creativity stretches. I guess I was kind of a decent scrapbooker back in the day ... but that's more color combinations and layout than artistry.

Well, whatever. Maybe the biggest lesson in all of this has been not to compare my pages to Abby's. Hers are gorgeous. Mine are mine. I've gotten a little less judgmental of myself as the months go by and just try to enjoy the freedom of putting my thoughts on the page. Perfection is highly overrated.

Is it weird that a 43-year-old would embark on a new hobby of this sort? (It does seem rather like a teenage angst kind of ordeal.) Yeah, probably. But it's so fun, you guys. I'm already scoping out blank books for when my current one is filled.

P.S. Abby and I tend to do this together while we're watching Supernatural. I'm not sure what the lesson here is. Maybe scary crap lends itself to creativity? Oh, and she likes to go in order, but I skip around all over my book. That's just how I roll.

Some of my favorite pages (please don't judge):

Supernatural gives you plenty of time to doodle.

Technically Ann should be 5%, but I didn't
plan the Math very well.

Cat cutouts from magazines ... and then a little help from Johanna.

I got a book to review at work, but we don't
do that, so I took it home and cut it up. 'Cause it had
some awesome words and graphics, that's why.

Collage of birthday cards.

Two pages still in progress. I love writing down the random stuff
that comes out of Johanna's mouth.

Also created during Supernatural.

Another page by Johanna. I love it that
she knows this to be true.