Friday, December 17, 2010

Having Myself an Odd Little Christmastime

In my 41 years of life, I have spent a whopping two Christmases away from home. This year marks my third.

The first time was for the millennium, when we went to Sydney and spent Christmas Day on Bondi Beach. Talk about surreal! Girls in Santa bikinis and guys surfing while wearing Santa hats. Ho ho ho!

The second time was only a few years ago. Mr. J and I didn't really decorate the house, as it is not part of his upbringing. So just a few ornaments in my office. But, we spent Christmas eve with friends, laughing, eating, drinking, and being merry. So all was good.

And now my third year. Mr. J is on call all next week, and the tickets back east are ridiculously expensive from our little town of Boise. But I was determined to at least decorate the house and get a little of my Christmas on.

So, tonight, while Mr. J was working, I decided to decorate.

Of course, I didn't start until 9 p.m. Which really isn't a big deal, except for the fact that part of my thrifty Christmas plan was to cut down the little pine in the front yard.

So I trekked out to the "back 40" (of our 0.25-acre plot of land) to find the saw in the shed. Then I trekked across the semifrozen turf to the front yard and proceeded to saw away ... on my hands and knees ... in the pitch black cold night ... alone.

I was huffing and puffing and swearing at the fact that our saw was ridiculously dull (I'll probably find out tomorrow that I used a metal saw rather than the proper wood saw ... oopsie), when I looked up to see someone walking by. I can't even imagine what he related to his friends when he arrived wherever he was going. It probably looked like I was attempting to bury Rosemary's baby or some such sordid thing.

It's not really a Christmas pine. Definitely more Charlie Brown Christmas tree, with falling dead needles every time it shakes and all. But with a little tinsel (leftover from Mr. J's Santa Rampage costume) and several of the ornaments my mom collected for me throughout my upbringing, plus the kinda cool LED lights from Grocery Outlet (I love that store), it brings a touch of festiveness into our home.


I attempted to find some Christmas music to get me in the mood, but to no avail (the station that has been playing carols since BEFORE HALLOWEEN!! had some really crap crap music when I tuned in, and I just couldn't handle it). So instead I put on Pandora and listened to whatever came up. As I was putting on the finishing touches, I realized that the song was Tom Waits "The Road to Peace." What a happy festive little ditty.

There's nothing like putting on the finishing touches to your Christmas Tree while listening to a song about the dismal state of Israel and Palestine.

Hmmm.


Merry Christmas?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Date Night

Technically, Mr. J does not believe in Date Night, which is really neither here nor there for this tale. But Sunday night, whether or not he cares to admit it, we went on a date.

After a 5-hour whirlwind of cleaning, during which I completed only 1.5 rooms (though the baseboards and fridge are now spotless), I was D-O-N-E with this house. And there was no way I was going to cook anything in my oven, mainly because it was sprayed top to bottom with stinky, fume-y oven cleaner. What had gotten me through much of my cleaning frenzy (which really only happens once a year, so I know to go with it when it hits) was the one sentence Mr. J had mentioned in passing while I was down on my knees, breathing in bleach, trying to get the high-velocity mud splatter off the walls (dang dogs): "We should go to Red Feather tonight."

In thanks for watching their pooch Roxie, our good friends gave us a super-generous gift certificate to one of the nicer restaurants in town. Thoughts of the Feather's tasty, unique cocktails and even tastier lamb ribs were what kept me going through three mops of the disgustingly dirty living room floor (where I was able to create an entire new life form from the piles of dog hair discovered under the furniture and behind the speakers).

So, by 5:30, even though I wasn't quite done with the kitchen, I declared that I had had enough. I was also starting to hallucinate, thanks to the lovely mixture of bleach, vinegar, goo-be-gone, and oven cleaner. I joked that maybe we should just stay in, as cooking a meal might help dissipate some of the fumes. Mr. J replied, "OK, if that's what you want."

Um ... Major Fail on his part.

He then came to his senses, after hearing me mutter and swear over the fact that I had mopped the kitchen floor four times and was still pulling up mud and dog hair, and said, "I think we should probably get you out of this house."

Yes.

So off we went, arm in arm through the cool, fresh, bleach-free air, to the sanctuary that is Red Feather.

Sadly they were out of the lamb riblets (NOOO!). So instead we ordered the spicy sticky wings. No buffalo wings, these. They were full chicken wings covered in the most amazingly sticky, delicious garlicky sauce. Literally finger-lickin' good. Then onto their infamous spicy lamb burger for Mr. J and the mushroom-stuffed chicken for me. I chose poorly, but that's because it had been so long since I'd been out for a nice dinner, I had forgotten my cardinal rule: "Never order a chicken dish, unless you are in an Asian or Mexican restaurant." So that was my fault.

But then came dessert. We were both completely satisfied with our meal, but the folks at the table behind us and the waitress both recommended the beignets with hot butterscotch sauce. And let me tell you ... if you are ever in Boise, even just passing through, go to Red Feather and order yourself a plate of these little powdered-sugar-coated pieces of nirvana. And the sauce? To die for!! After polishing off the hot-from-the-frying-oil beignets, we still had half a cup of sauce. Mr. J was sopping it up with his finger, while I was trying to eat it with a fork (we are so "couth"). Our lovely waitress, noticing our dilemma, dropped off two soup spoons and mentioned, "These will help." Apparently she is an expert on how best to eat butterscotch sauce. I threatened to lick the crumbs off the table, but Mr. J gave me a look that said it might be a bit over the top, though I could tell he was seriously considering it as well. Mmmm-mmmm.

When it came time for the bill, our lovely waitress wished us a happy birthday (I'm still not sure if she thought it was our birthday. Perhaps it was so obvious that we are the type of folks who never go out for a nice dinner except for on super special occasions. Who knows.) and thanked us for being such pleasant guests on what I guess was a really crappy night for her. And in thanks, we got our beignets free! Who could be rude to this beautiful waitress of ours? Silly them! And in return, we gave her a whopping big tip (and still have $30 left on our gift certificate ... BONUS!).

On the way home, we by the capitol building, only to find a security guard stomping in the snow. We could tell he was writing something with his feet. I was sure it was something along the lines of "F-U, Mr. Governor." I mean, that's what disgruntled security guards do when they are bored and alone in the freezing cold, right? I didn't want to stop and stare. But Mr. J yelled out to the guy, "So, are you Robinson?" Because that, in fact, is what the guy was writing. Mr. Security Guard laughed with glee and asked, "You can read this? That's great!!" Apparently, his boss, named Robinson, was sitting in the security room, monitoring the cameras, and this guy was writing a little "hello." It just cracked me up and made me happy that he actually seemed to be a nice (albeit utterly bored) guy without any angry hangups, at least not that night.

Then again, maybe this was just an absolutely normal thing to see and I was just high on sugar and butterscotch.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanks

There is so much to be thankful for, even with all the crazy, scary stuff happening in the world. Today I am going to focus on all the positive and good, because it is there, sometimes in plain sight, sometimes hiding in the nooks and crannies. I am going to ignore my beloved NPR. I am not going to open The Week. I won't even check out the headlines at Yahoo!

Instead, I will bake an apple/cheese torte/cheesecake thing. And attempt to create one of SmittenKitchen's yummy sweet potato appetizers. (I am so thankful for the wonders that are sweet potatoes!)

I will do like E.T. and phone home and tear up but smile when I hear my family all together, enjoying yet another of Mom's fabulous Thanksgiving dinners.

And then Mr. J and I and The Dog and the dog's buddy will head over to Chef Jay's house for dinner with old friends, new friends, and friends we haven't even met yet. (By the by, he really is a chef, and I am so incredibly excited to try out all his dishes!---why does that suddenly sound dirty?)

There will be much laughter and conversation and eating and drinking and merriment, with walks with the dogs in between and time spent by the fire pit on this bitter cold but blue sky day.

And then Mr. J and I will come home, bellies full, faces hurting from so much smiling. And we will cuddle and catch up and relish in the fact that he doesn't have to work another night shift until Monday.

And for all of that and so much more I am thankful.

I hope that you are all with loved ones, friends, and/or family this holiday season. Enjoy the laughter, the memories, the reminiscing, and of course the food!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

So Much for Autumn


Yes, I am posting about the weather again. I really need to find something else to talk about or I am going to lose all four of my followers.

We got our first snow of the season. So pretty (plus the bonus of a 30-minute upper body workout as I shoveled). But according to the sensationalist weatherfolks on the news, we better stock up on perishables, because in addition to our "blizzard condition" whopping 1.5 inches of snow, the temps are supposed to drop to a high of 5 or something. Oh, woe. Barricade the doors and dig out all the batteries. The end is nigh!

Of course, Friday is supposed to be right back up in the high 30s.

But two days of near-zero temperatures?! Whatever will we do?

I wonder what would happen if our weatherfolks moved to Fargo or Siberia.

*Note: Not that it matters, but in the interests of honest reporting, that is not Boise in the photo. It's a shot of Bear Creek near our old home in Lakewood. I'm too dang lazy to find the camera, take a shot outside, find the cord to attach it to my computer, and load the image to my computer. So there.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Love Fall

[Sung to the tune of Oscar the Grouch's I Love Trash, which my ex-boyfriend's computer would sing every time he sent something to the trash, which I still want to set up for my computer because it would just make me smile [and might even inspire me to clean out some of my long-neglected, much-ignored folders].)

Anyway, I know I have said it before, but I so love fall. I don't think the novelty of riding my bike to the grocery store or to meet a friend for coffee or to get some exercise on the hills almost in my backyard or to stumble home from a night on the town will ever wear off. It's been over a year, and I still get a thrill of cruising home with groceries in my basket, breathing in the crisp air, and hearing the crunch of leaves under my wheels. I haven't driven my car (or been in a car) since last week some time, I think. I may not be able to save the world with all this riding, but I love it. Good for the soul, indeed.

Of course, when I do get in my car, I am completely not ready for it. Just driving to the mall puts me in a stinky mood, what with all the "traffic" and "crazy drivers" (not to mention that I hate the mall). Keep in mind, I used to drive an hour each way, every workday, in San Francisco traffic for years. And now Boise "traffic" gives me road rage. My how times have changed.

Now I'm off to bake some (gluten-free) biscuits and cook up a pot of wild mushroom soup.

I love days off almost as much as I love fall (even if a day off means no work, which means no income for today).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Emotional Roller Coaster

Last night, after a absolutely divine seafood dinner with friends (probably the best seafood I have had since moving to Boise ... not exactly known for its fresh ocean catch of the day), I came home and caught up on blogging, Facebook, emails, etc., before hitting the hay.

Over at Balls to the Wall, I found a YouTube video that had me laughing at first but then quickly led to a full-on meltdown cry that lasted a good 15 minutes. If you have a few minutes, check it out. It's actually very empowering in the end, but it touched a nerve so deep down inside me and resonated with that whole weird, stupid self-doubt issue I've been dealing with of late (well, forever, really). I am going to print out the last line from the video and post it in big, huge letters right in front of my desk.

"The word pretty is unworthy of everything you will be."

Words to live by, indeed.

Then, another friend posted a link from Facebook to Damn You Auto Correct!, where I proceeded to laugh until I cried. Side-splitting, saliva-spluttering, tears-streaming-down-my-cheeks laughter. Quite the needed break after the emotional demons brought on by the video.

What a night! But sometimes you just have to let it all out--the good with the bad.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Rainy Day Recipes

The rain has been coming down all morning, including during that heavenly extra hour of sleep!

After a leisurely start to the day with coffee and donuts at the Kramerstein's and then more coffee at the Mitchell's, we are back at home, planning how to spend the drizzly afternoon.

And this is what I've decided:



Plus a few hours to finish up the work project from hell and an hour at the gym to work off a portion of last night's fantabulous supper club dinner. Maybe followed by some knitting on the never-ending baby blanket project.

Not bad for a lazy Sunday afternoon!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Stealing Ideas

I don't tweet, though I do have a Twitter account for some strange reason. But apparently there is something going around the tweety world where people are giving advice to their 16-year-old selves. Since reflecting back on my former selves, which, of course, are still part of my present self, seems to be my theme this month, I thought I'd hop on the trendy bandwagon.

So, 16-year-old self:


--See all those people in that picture. Those are your friends. So in a few short years, when you reflect on your high school years and seem to think that you were a loner with only one or two friends, you will be wrong. And in 20 long years, you will be back in touch with some of these folks through this thing called Facebook, and you'll see that they are still your friends. (However, that guy with the glasses--don't invite him on a river trip in 15 years. For some reason that you will never quite get, it will ruin your friendship, and you'll never hear from him again.)

--You will learn, after much discussion, that almost no one really enjoyed high school, and this is even more true (truer??) of junior high. You are not the only one questioning everything you do and worrying about everything you say. It's just the joys of hormones mixed with awkwardness mixed with peer pressure mixed with, in the case of junior high, the tenth circle of Hell. The only exception to this rule is the future love of your life (yes, you have one), who moves to the States from Australia at the height of Crocodile Dundee fame. He is a blond-haired, tan, athletic cutie with an accent who gets along with everyone, from nerds to ultrajocks. So, yes, he is enjoying high school ... to the max. Here he is with some "blonde hussy" ... I mean, lovely young lady. But don't worry. In 20 years, when he scans this photo in to his computer, he'll label it "Santa and ..." because he can't remember her name.
--For the next 15 years or so, you will whine and moan and wonder and stress about how life is going to turn out (which mainly will mean, "Will I ever meet someone and have a relationship like my grandparents and parents have?") The answer is yes. Stop worrying about it and go out and enjoy life. See:

(and, yes, that's the Sydney Harbor Bridge ...
you will get to Australia to see the land of the Man from Snowy River ... many times)

--Speaking of enjoying life, when you get that job in New York City for the summer after graduating high school, make the most of it. A summer in the city should not consist of grabbing dinners from a Korean grocery store, dancing around your aunt's apartment, and going to a movie. Check out the museums. Get the last-minute theater ticket deals. Get your cousin to come visit and show you the sites. Live it up a little!

--But ease up on the junk food and start doing sit-ups. Your metabolism may rock the free world right now, but in a couple years, it will all catch up!

--Oh, and be nicer to your folks. Your friends are right ... your parents are pretty dang cool. There is no reason to hate them.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I Can See Clearly Now, My Brain Is Gone

41 is definitely rapidly approaching. And my brain is really getting good at becoming forgetful and just plain odd.

Evidence #1

I walked into about four different rooms this morning, only to completely forget why I went there in the first place. But each time, just at the last minute, I would see something that reminded me why I was there ... the bottle of antibiotics, the coffee mug on the counter, my sunglasses on the bookcase, the credit cards stashed behind a picture frame on the bookcase (but, of course, where else would I hide my credit cards while on vacation). So I haven't completely lost it yet ... or perhaps I have.

After rounding up all my things, I cruised down to the local co-op to get some milk, cheese, cereal, etc. Of course, I ended up getting about twice as much as was on my list. Isn't that always the way? But, that's not a sign of old age. That's just me shopping and spending more than we have. But, the gourmet cheese was on sale!! How could I say no?

But then ...

Evidence #2
I piled everything onto the conveyor belt thingie, joked around with the lady behind the counter, got my reusable bags to the bagger guy, explaining that I wanted the milk in the backpack and everything else in the bag. Was I organized or what? But then, when I went to pay, I realized that I was holding the gourmet cheese, and my wallet was being sent through the checker.

Ah well, at least we all got a good laugh.

p.s. I will definitely check out Sandra Cisnero's book. Thanks for the recommendation!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

November

Wow, I am off to a great start on blogging everyday this month. Already missed Day 1. Oh, well. No prizes for me.

Life has been good in general, but a little rough around the edges. In addition to the usual financial woes, it's that lovely time of the month. I swear that Mr. J is affected by hormones each month the same as, if not more so than, I am. It's just joyous. Especially as it usually leads to the same argument we have every month. Like clockwork.

I won't bore you with the details, but it essentially boils down to my incredible lack of self-esteem. In many ways I am so much more evolved than my old 7-year-old self, thank goodness. But when it comes to my body image, I am still a shy little girl sitting by herself on the playground. When I think back to my kindergarten and first-grade self, it's just a very sad picture. And it's amazing how much those two years affected my entire life since.

But, as Mr. J so kindly points out, I am rapidly approaching 41 (ack!). I am not 7. I am no longer all by myself on the playground. I have great friends. I have a husband who adores me (except for when I'm wallowing in ancient self-pity).

So why can't I banish this shy little girl persona? Why do I feel the urge to say "no, no, no" when people tell me I am a good or pretty person. Where on earth does this come from? How did I even realize at the age of 6 or 7 that when my mom told me I was a beautiful little girl, I would think to myself, "She has to say that. She's my mom." Where does that come from?

These are the mysteries of life that I battle with each month. So this month's goal for the daily posting is to return to my search for the good in life ... not just the world outside but also my little world inside. Maybe one month of daily affirmations will slowly beat down this wall of negativity about myself.

Because, as the Junior Senator from Minnesota says, "I am good enough, I am smart enough, and doggone it, people like me."

p.s. Be sure to go out and vote today!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

And Now I Pay the Price

As mentioned earlier, our weekend was grand, fabulous, delicious. An absolutely lovely time was had by all.

But now my skin has seriously rebelled. Was it the pasta? The cheese? The wine? The bread? The beer? The sugary ice cream? Or just a mixture of too much gluttony for one weekend? Or is it totally unrelated to any of that? Perhaps a change in weather? Or the fact that I used different detergent while in Costa Rica (though that really wouldn't affect the skin behind my ear, would it?)?

If I knew the answer to any or all of these questions, perhaps I could stay on top of this annoying rashy condition of mine and keep it at bay. But I don't. So I fall off the wagon, go back to living my old life, live like I want to. And then I wake up with bumpy itchiness all over my torso.

And each time it comes back a little bit worse than before.

If I had decent health care, perhaps I could go to the same doctor on a monthly basis and we could try to solve the problem together. But we have lousy health care with a ridiculously high deductible. So I jump from one clinic to another when things get too bad and beg for antibiotics (me, the girl who hates drugs, especially antibiotics). And I hope that by going on these antibiotics I'm not just building up a tolerance to them so that when I can finally go to a doctor, nothing will help.

So now I'm back to cutting back on wheat and sugar and alcohol and gluten. I am not going cold turkey like last time (though I did drop 10 pounds in 2 weeks ... bonus!). But I will try to be better. If only I didn't like the eating and drinking. It would make life so much easier.

Grrrrr.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fall and Friends

What a weekend! The rain started to roll in on Saturday. The first rain we have seen since June (well, not counting the rain I saw in the North Carolina or the fantastic torrential downpours we witnessed in the mountains of Costa Rica). There are still roses on our rose bushes, but most everything else is hunkering down for the fall. One maple has already turned a medley of oranges, reds, and yellows ... all on one leaf; while the other maple is starting to show hints of the brilliant red we were promised. The ash is almost bare, but the sweet gum is stubbornly holding onto its leaves, as it will do all winter.


In other words, fall is here! And I just found out that I have an autumn twin south of us in Colorado. I too am bundled up in sweater and furry shoes, sipping tea as I pay bills and file away paperwork. Nice to know I'm not alone in the joys of everyday life!

Our weekend was fabulous and a huge reminder of why we love where we live. Friday night was roasted chicken night with pals Ryan and Sid. They patiently waited as that stubborn bird took forever to cook. And they raved about it, even though I knew it was a little overcooked. My plot of starving them for an hour or more before eating worked!! :-) Saturday we cooked up a huge pot of stock and then transformed it into a Thai chicken soup and a cream of cauliflower soup, which we then shared with gal pals Judi and Sharki, with some leftovers going to poor, ailing Miss Z. And then yesterday was an Italian cooking frenzy as I whipped up two lasagnas for dinner party #3 ... the first lasagna was the traditional meat and sausage, while the other was a turkey mushroom lasagna that may be my new favorite (don't tell my mom, as the traditional one is her recipe, which I have loved and adored since I was able to enjoy lasagna). And each meal was supplemented with delicious homemade treats, including a pumpkin-chocolate-chip bread from Judi and divine homemade prosciutto and sausage from the Kramersteins.


Wonderful friends, good food, cool autumn weather, a muted rainbow of colors everywhere you look. Just what I want from our autumn in Boise.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Work and Stuff

I have one fun excuse and one completely understandable, and entirely not fun, excuse for being gone for a while.

I'll let you decide which excuse is which.

We headed south of the border for a couple weeks, living la pura vida down in Costa Rica. The first week was work (for Mr. J), while the second week was pure relaxation. Costa Rica is gorgeous and full of friendly folks, but the highlight for me was our stupendous GPS. Not only did it have this guy who would pop up every now and then to fill us in on the geology, history, or silly facts of the region we were driving through, but the lady who directed us along our way knew EVERYTHING ... even when a speed bump was coming up on some obscure (to me) back road of Costa Rica.

OK, so that wasn't really the highlight of the entire trip, but it was pretty dang cool.

The other reason I've been quiet around here is I've been swamped with work. If it's not the High-Power Laser Handbook (zzzzzzz, huh? What? Oh, sorry. I fell asleep just thinking about it), it's sentences like this that have been keeping my brain swimming:
However, adequate answer to the question as to the extent to which aid to (a) economic infrastructure and services as well as such social infrastructure and services as (b) education and (c) health including basic health and nutrition is devoted to rural areas cannot be answered in the absence of detailed data on the location of such expenditures.
Wha?!?

101 pages of this is turning my brain to mush, causing my eyes to permanently cross, and leading to a ridiculous headache that is encircling my entire head from the neck up. I can guarantee that my hourly rate is not nearly enough to compensate for this one.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Just Like Joaquin Phoenix ...

I'm still here.

There has been lots going on, but I've been in a pretty good frame of mind. And that usually means I neglect any kind of writing, introspection, blogging updates, etc. Funny how that works.

I'm on this crazy candida diet. I don't necessarily believe all the hype that says a buildup of yeast or bacteria or whatever causes all the woes of the world, from lethargy to impotence. But I do have annoying skin issues that no one seems to know a dang thing about. So now I'm trying out the latest salvo on my body to figure out what is causing it all. The upside of not eating any sugar, alcohol, bread, grain, beans, you name it, is that the pounds are finally dropping by the wayside. Plus I'm drinking way more water than ever (that tends to happen when every other liquid refreshment on the planet is banned), so I'm looking healthier and my little teenage style blemishes are finally clearing up. Huh. Who knew?

One more week to go.

The premise of the whole thing is that you cut out everything to clear out your system (I'm subsisting on meat, eggs, and veggies and lots of almonds in all shapes and forms). Then you slowly reintroduce foods to see if anything has a negative affect. And that theory all sounds fine and dandy.

The only issue is that as soon as these two weeks are over, we are hopping on a plane and heading south of the border to Costa Rica. Hooray!

So, I can guarantee that the slow re-introduction of things like beans, rice, and, oh, alcohol will be a little faster than the experts would agree to. Oh. ... and coffee!! Costa Rican coffee!! I cannot wait.

Anyway, it's probably not the best planning, but the whole Costa Rica thing wasn't finalized until after I started. So ... oh well.

And even though I may never figure out what is wrong with me and my innards, at least I might look a wee bit better in my bathing suit.

Other than not eating anything fun, life goes on as usual here. Work. Bike rides. Gym classes. Walks with the dog. Planting yet more trees. Knitting the never-ending baby blanket. Watching the apples ripen on our tree. Reveling in the cooler temperatures. Ignoring the news because it's just too dang depressing. You know ... Just life.

Hope your life is going just as well!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

More Life and Stuff

I need to be true to my Blogger name. Last night, lying in bed, I had a great blog post all composed in my head ... right around midnight. But I was in bed, and my computer was down here, and now all is lost. So instead, I'll just ramble.

My little experiment in attitude adjustment got off to a rough start. After declaring all my good intentions online, I promptly returned to the real world and became a right pain in the arse. I am totally blaming it on sinus infections and PMS. Not a pretty combination. But when Mr. J confronted me and told me in no uncertain terms that I was being a horrible, nasty sourpuss, I finally came to my senses (antibiotics and loads of Advil helped, too), and I have been on the right track ever since.

In my defense, two other factors came into play as well.

Factor #1: I was getting completely stressed about the fact that I wasn't getting any work, not even from the guy who usually keeps me pretty regularly set with jobs. But it turned out I am a lamebrain (surprise, surprise) and simply forgot to update my calendar indicating how many hours I had available. Hmm, it seems that when you tell someone that you have no hours available, they won't send you any work. Go figure. So now I am inundated with thrilling topics like "Food for All People in Yemen" and "Choices of Coping Strategies." I'll take what I can get, believe me!

Factor #2 is the successful (so far) employment of Mr. J as a polysomnograph tech. A friend of ours is a sleep doctor (probably the cushiest doctor job ever) and offered Mr. J the job. It's not his dream job, but these days beggars can't be choosers. All I know, is that extra cash is going to help me sleep better at night!

So life is good and looking better all the time.

And now for today's look-on-the-bright-side event:

Came home from breakfast with friends to find that the overly loving, totally obnoxious dog we are watching jumped on my work table, knocked over a bottle of water (which I should have closed securely, or better yet, put back in the fridge), and spilled water all over (please, God, let the scanner and external hard drive be OK). After a lot of cursing and swearing, I wiped it all up, put away all the extra junk that had been accumulating on my little table, and even filed the stack of bills and receipts that I have been collecting for the past 3+ months. So, as long as nothing was permanently damaged, I am thrilled to finally have my workspace looking all adult and tidy and organized. So thanks, Ms. Roxie, for being so incredibly annoying!

I hope your day is equally bright-sidey!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Testing, Testing

The gods, or someone, are seriously against me in this trying-to-be-a-better person agenda.

After a great start, yesterday rapidly went downhill, with the annoying sinus cold sapping every last dose of energy. I managed to finish up the one bit of work I had, and then proceeded to sag onto the couch, too tired to read, watch movies, or even knit. By the end of the night, said sinus cold had migrated into just one ear so that it felt like someone was stabbing an invisible ice pick into my eardrum. I was not exactly a vision of cheerfulness. In fact, I was so whiny and miserable that Nurse Mr. J pretty much ignored me in exasperation. Rightfully so! (Though he did go out at about 10 to get me decongestants and nasal spray. That's true love.)

Today the ear pain has mostly subsided, and I'm down to a miserable drippy nose. But at least I feel a little more energetic. However, I woke up to a notice from my bank saying that my business account was down to $0. Remember that check I was so happy to receive yesterday? Yeah, it sure would have been nice if I had actually deposited it. Oops!

But there is a silver lining to all this woe and misery in my little world: I miraculously did not overdraw my account. The two checks that went out yesterday added up to exactly the amount I had had in my account two days ago. So when it said a balance of $0, it wasn't hiding some negative amount. So first thing this morning, in went the check, and all is right with the world. No returned checks. No annoying bank fees.

I love it when a non-plan comes together.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Life and Stuff

I think there is a cosmic message out there, trying to get through to me. Blogs I read, posts on Facebook I see, movies I watch, and books I read all seem to have a theme of live life and enjoy. There is all sorts of crazy crap going on in this little world of ours. It's downright overwhelming, not to mention frightening. And it is so easy to get caught up in it all and to feel weighted down with woes of "How will we ever get through all this?"

But thanks to that cosmic message (plus a little pushing and prodding from Mr. J), I am slowly beginning to remember that there isn't much I can do about anything on a global scale.

What I can do is live the best life possible in my own little world and hope that it has the butterfly effect on those around me, which in turn works on those around them, and slowly makes its way around the world.

Of course, not having CNN or Fox or MSNBC in the house makes this goal all the more realizable.

So after my brief relapse into whining and moaning, courtesy of Las Vegas Airport, I am back to working on my don't-sweat-the-small-stuff attitude and my "look for the good things in everyday life" goal.

Today's good things so far: Walking with Mr. J and The Dog downtown to grab a 99-cent cafe au lait from Cafe de Paris; checking the PO box to find a check (yay!); running into a neighbor and chatting about river trips for 15 minutes, while our dogs lazed about in the shade; meeting another neighbor and getting lupine and spinach seedlings from her garden, as well as some basil starts; doing a walkabout through our own yard, planning where to plant the seedlings and what other things we want to do this weekend.

All in all, not a bad start to a Thursday!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Stuck in Vegas, Baby

I have the worst luck with this annoying airport, with it's blinking blaring jackpot machines and people all so happy to be in this weird, wacky place.

I am now on hour 3 of my extended layover, with at least 2 more to go, thanks to some kind of air traffic control delay or something. Perfect weather outside everywhere I look on the USA Today map. Gorgeous sunset lingering on for hours outside the airport windows. So why the delay??

Why?

I just want to get home to my Mr. J, my The Dog, my bed. Vacations are wonderful, but I swear I am going to need three days to recover from the 12+-hour jaunt from one home to the other.

It doesn't help that my head is completely congested from a week and a half of air-conditioned air. My poor little sinuses are not used to all this forced air.

Can I gripe a little more?

Ya sure, you betcha ...

After shelling out $20 for a mediocre airport dinner of enchildas verdes and a corona, I asked the bartender to fill my water bottle with water. His reply, "We can't do that." I am mystified as to why this is. I've been wracking my brains to figure out why, and then decided that it probably isn't worth the effort. Nor was it worth the effort to fume and steam and stamp around the airport while I searched for a soda fountain machine where I could just fill it up myself (which I did find ... and no one complained ... apparently the water from a measly soda fountain is not as precious as the water from the bartender's little area of the world). Grrrr.

So now I'm looking for bright sides.

The sunset was gorgeous and it did last for quite a long time. And now the lights of Burger King, Sbarro, and Starbucks are reflecting in the glass, blending with the bright lights of Vegas, continuing a sunset of sorts.

So there's that.

Oh, and I get a chance to catch up on my blog. Aren't you just so thrilled to read this cheery post?

And I get to charge my iPod, though, truthfully, I could do that on the plane just as easily.

Oh, and in one of those weird quirks of air travel, during dinner, I ended up sitting next to the same woman I sat next to on the plane, and we had a lovely conversation that helped while (wile?) away the first hour of my 5-hour layover. It was an absolute pleasure and the highlight of my day.

I'm trying to come up with some kind of lesson learned or something ... the art of being patient, perhaps? But I really am having no luck. So, no words of wisdom from me. Just words of whining.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Life's a Beach

Aaaah, a week in the Outer Banks with most of those I love best. I am utterly relaxed and happy, but also so thrilled to be going home tomorrow. I miss Mr. J and The Dog terribly! The trip would have been a totally different experience with him (Mr. J, that is). He's absolutely tireless when it comes to playing with three beautiful, but clingy, nieces in the pool, and he would have been so patient and calm with them in the ocean.

Lil' Sis and her gorgeous family

But he was in my heart and my mind the entire trip, and it was his presence that kept me calm and cool on Day 3 or 4, when everyone was a little overtired (especially me) and sensitive to the quirks in others that drive us a little batty.

And maybe this is a sign that I am finally growing up. From Mr. J, I have (slowly) learned to smile through the little annoyances, laugh away the occasional snarky comments, keep my mouth shut regarding my sister's sometimes odd relationship with her husband, and mainly not sweat the small stuff. Now I just need to remember this lesson when I get home and apply it to my own relationship. (See Whimsy's post today, as it perfectly encapsulates the rough treatment I give my own husband more often than I would ever care to admit.)

And miracle of miracles, the trip was without a major blowup or storming off to separate corners -- and I'm not talking about outbursts between the kids. I love my sister dearly. Growing up, we were like best friends. But we are completely different people in many respects (obviously), and I think I am finally realizing that that is OK.

It's only taken me 38 years.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Things I Like

The other day we covered two things I don't like.

So I'll balance it out with two things I do like.

One is a given: The Dog. When Mr. J is out of town, The Dog will treat me as the Alpha Dog, which basically means he'll give me the big hug when I walk in the door. I love it! When Mr. J is in town, I don't even get a second glance, though he does seem to like the group hug. But when it's just me, I am the queen bee and I get all the lovin'. Who wouldn't love this face:


The other is a special treat for today. Our fridge is bare. All we have are some scratched up river beers, a ton of oranges and grapefruits (tonight's project: fresh juice), and some questionable things in Tupperware. But our freezer had a little treat that I had forgotten all about: frozen watermelon. Into the blender it went, with a little lime and club soda (and, yes, a splash of vodka). Et voila ... ice cold, refreshing watermelon juice to cool my parched throat after mowing the lawn. Hooray!!
photo courtesy of Appon's Thai Food

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Random Thoughts

Random Thought 1: I hate bad renters.

I think I have mentioned how much I love our little house here in Boise. I mean, it even has a white picket fence. How All-American of us.


Our House; Their House (I'll let you guess which is which.)

What I don't love is our oddball renter neighbors. Their house is a small box, probably a former miner's home built in the early 1900s. It has the potential to be a charming little box, but it is owned by some old crotchety man and his even older brother. They rent it out dirt cheap and seem to think that maintenance is some kind of new-fangled idea that doesn't apply to old, historic homes. The roof is in serious disrepair, and we know from the former renter that the walls literally crumbled from rot when she tried to repair some tiles in the shower. She (the quiet, well-intentioned renter) moved out as soon as she could get out of her $500-a-month lease.

Now it's rented to God knows how many 20-somethings (though I think maybe they aren't even 20). They parked a school bus, which probably has more square footage than the actual house, in the backyard. And they loaded the house with all sorts of instruments, including an organ and an old upright piano (the latter of which I am seriously coveting, even though it is ridiculously out of tune). I would call the gang of kids grunge, but I don't think that's the right term. I actually think Circus Carney is more appropriate, especially as the music we hear most often coming from the house and bus sounds an awful lot like a cross between Big Top music and the horrid music played by the ice cream truck. Wonderful.

And last night, I looked out my bedroom window (as I adjusted the fan for maximum coolness as well as maximum noise-deadening) to see two lanky, white, scrawny guys dressed in bras and undies, one with a black fishnet dress, the other with high heels. I'm really not sure what this was about. Some kind of theme party perhaps? Maybe it's their band costumes? Maybe they were heading out to The Rocky Horror Picture Show? Or maybe it's just the norm over there. I don't know.

At least it's never boring.

*******

Random Thought 2: There's something I hate more than my neighbors.

So, confession time: My skin hates me. I actually sometimes think I am allergic to myself. My scalp has this condition called sebborheic dermatitis, which can result in scaly, dandruff-like ickiness, especially if I am not totally diligent about washing it every day (as can happen after 6 days on a river trip). I have a tendency to get cold sores if I spend too much time in the sun (as can happen after 6 days on a river trip). I get rashes under my arms, along my belly button, beneath my bra line whenever I get too hot and sweaty or dirty (as can happen after 6 days on a river trip). Oh, did I mention I just got back from a fantastic 6-day river trip on the Middle Fork of the Salmon? Well, I did. And it was a great trip with a wonderful group of people. But now we are home, and I am paying the price.

River Self-Portrait

Friday night, I realized there was still this one little patch of scaliness on my scalp, in a place where it often gets scaly. I thought it was because it was right where my visor sat all week, so it was persistent and wouldn't go away. But by Saturday morning, it was actually tender and sore. I tried to scrub it with shampoo, but I hate inflicting pain on myself, so I stopped. Then it occurred to me that I better get Mr. J to take a look, just in case it wasn't a scale. He picked at it and pulled it out, as I often do with the icky scaliness. Then he stepped away and told me calmly that it was a tick.

I immediately proceeded to completely and utterly freak out (in the shower, mind you). So very grown-up of me.

All I can say is, thank God this happened Saturday a.m., as an hour later, I was dropping off Mr. J at the airport for a 10-day trip to the Netherlands. And there is no way in Hades that I would have ever been able to remove that stupid thing on my own. I would have ended up in a puddle of tears, naked and wet in the shower, too freaked out to do a damned thing.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

24 Hours to Go

The 22-day In-Law-A-Thon is nearing an end. I must admit that it has been easier than in the past. I am sure it has all to do with my occasional attitude adjustments (i.e., going to the gym, meeting a friend for coffee, meeting friends for a beer, beating my head against the wall), as they are just the same as they always are. Loving, kind, too-too generous people who just happen to drive me bonkers in the long term. Mr. J has also been ultra-helpful in aiding me along the path-of-least-resistance. In the short term, it really is the best alternative.

And now I am looking forward to getting a semblance of a routine back. It has been a non-stop eating fest for the past 3 weeks. And the trip out to Portland and Seattle put on serious poundage ... tasty poundage, but poundage nonetheless. We have been home for less than a week, and already we have chowed down on more fruits and veggies than we even considered during our entire 10 days away, when rich, creamy, hearty deliciousness seemed to be the way to go. I think my arteries are bowing own and thanking me. Or maybe that's just a minor stroke. One or the other ... it's got to be a move in the right direction.

So tomorrow I hit the mountain bike trails, and I know they are going to hit back ... hard. But I am ready.

OK, I'm not really ready at all.

But I have to start somewhere.

Right??

Monday, June 14, 2010

Deep Breaths

The 10-day in-law road trip is complete. I did not lose my cool (too much). I did not make (too many) snarky sotto voce comments. I did not punch anyone (though I did do a few [very hard] smacks of my own head in private). And I did feel like a terrible, terrible wretch when my mother-in-law came down with gout. But then I totally lost it (in private) when she decided that the doctors obviously didn't know what they were talking about, and it couldn't possibly be gout. It's just a mysterious sprain that comes and goes (depending on how rich the food is)--she said as she ordered a plate of Swedish meatballs buried in white gravy. Aaarrrggghhh (shouted in the confines of my own head).

Now we are home, sweet sweet home. I love traveling. I love seeing the world. But I do so love coming home. Even with all the unfinished projects, the mess of a garden, the pictures still to be hung, etc., etc. It is still our welcoming home that has little places for me to find peace and quiet. Not to mention The Dog, who gives me unconditional love with only minor grievances (such as finding out that not only did he dig in our friend's yard, but he also barked incessantly when she wasn't home ... grrrrr).

I have all these crazy tensions rumbling around in my gut, and each time I try to explain what it is that is bothering me, I come off sounding like a total whiny brat. Mr. J's parents are just different from my family. I did not grow up with them, so I don't fully understand their workings. They have hearts of gold. They only want the best for both of us. But they are hovering, needy, opinionated folks. [There, I said it.] And all I really want is to kick back, share a bottle (or three) of wine, and giggle over ridiculously silly things that are totally inane and completely goofy, as I do with my family. I mean, a girl can only be serious and refined for so long.

Yes, the woes of my life are many and tough. Poor, poor me. So, one more week of in-laws in my home. I can manage to keep my cool ... all I need are deep, deep breaths and the occasional super-stiff cocktail.

Cheers!

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Quick Recap

The Scene: Friday Night Dinner with Mr. J and the In-Laws (the I-Ls)
Discussion: When to go to Sun Valley, ID, to visit the I-Ls' family friend

[Note: dialogue has been modified to fit the writer's lazy mood]

Mr. J: We could go for an overnight trip a couple days after we get back from our NINE-DAY roadtrip.

All of Us: Sounds good.

Mr. J: Dad, what's your friend's address. I'll plot out our route? [Yes, the computer was on the dining room table while we ate. Of course.]

Mr. I-L: It's somewhere like Sun River. I guess that's a suburb of Sun Valley.

All of Us: Sounds logical.

Mr. J: [Click click click on the keyboard] Ummm, I'm not finding a Sun River, Idaho. Show me the address?

[Looks at address.]

Mr. J: Uh, Dad, this is in Oregon! Not Idaho.

Mr. I-L: [Visibly nonplussed. I guess one state is as good as another when you come from Australia.]

Turns out Sun River is sort of on the way to Portland, though not exactly on the direct route we had planned for Sunday. Mr. I-L calls his friend and yes, indeedy, they are home this weekend and would love to see us. However, because all our rooms are booked from Portland to Seattle to Leavenworth to McCall, we can't exactly shift everything out a day. So instead everything shifts forward a day. Which means tomorrow, when we had planned to mow the lawn, plant a few plants, clean out the chicken coop (We don't have our own chickens. We are chicken-sitting for friends.), clean out the beehives (all four of the them ... one "sort-of" ours and the rest the chicken people's bees), go to the Farmers' Market, go to a friends' dinner party tomorrow night, and pack up all our stuff, we get to wake up early, try to cram all the necessary chores in, and get on the road no later than 11 a.m. to make it in time for dinner. [If you knew Mrs. I-L, you would know that getting out the door on time for anything is a near miracle. Wish us luck.]

I did have an entire venting session written out here, but it's really not worth your read, and I feel better having gotten it all off my chest, even if it was just to delete it. Then again, perhaps the stiff gin drink I'm guzzling ... I mean sipping ... as I type has had something to do with easing my tension.

In any case, it will be quiet around here for a while. Enjoy your week!

How on Earth Can It Be Friday Already?

I sent off the GMBOA yesterday, all full of goodies. So, Jayme, be ready! I hope you like it. I used some of the cute little heart brads from the Wonderful Wandering Nana to decorate the exterior. It's so happy and red and white and gold. What a fun diversion I found in filling it up! Thanks, Whimsy, for letting me participate!!

There's a little notepad in there, which I believe came from Whimsy (??), on which each recipient is to write a brilliant idea. I am the conceiver of many "brilliant" ideas (though when I tell Mr. J, he usually just looks at me with a "huh" expression, and then he laughs. I guess brilliance is in the eye of the beholder or some such thing). And yet when faced with that innocuous little pad, my mind was a total blank. For the entire 3+ weeks that the package sat here beside my desk, I would stare at it and try to come up with a brilliant idea. Well, yesterday was D-Day, and I had to ship off the GMBOA. So I wrote something not very brilliant at all and just sent it all off.

Of course, today, as I sat down to my computer, I remembered one of my brilliant idea. So without anymore further ado, here it is:

Some kind of waterproof recording device--whether it be a waterproof pad and paper, or a waterproof voice recorder, or even better, a waterproof laptop--to be kept in the shower.

Really, it is brilliant. Or at least for me it is.

When I'm standing in the shower, wasting the precious water that they charge us pennies to use, I come up with so many blog post ideas. I compose them in my head. I laugh. I cry. They are witty and clever and entertaining and smart and just perfect. As I rinse out the conditioner from my hair, I recite it all in my head, convinced that I could never forget my perfect prose.

And then I come here to my Mac.

And my mind goes blank.

I sometimes recall the topic . . . sometimes. But for the life of me I can't recall where I was going with the idea, what I wanted to say, what my final point was. It's all just gone.

So that's my belated brilliant idea. Ta-dah!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Stuff

The other day I got an email letting me know the latest NaBloPoMo theme. It's all about the Now. Unfortunately, I am so behind in this little blog o' mine that I should probably write about the What Has Been before catching up to the Now.

The last I wrote (before the whole GMBOA excitement, which I am FINALLY mailing off tomorrow), I left you all hanging--wondering and waiting to hear if we ever ended up having to slaughter a colt during our snowbound river trip to the Lochsa.

Well, the short answer is NO!

The longer answer is that we never made it to the Lochsa. Cooler, calmer heads prevailed, and we almost all agreed that rather than camp out in 26 inches of snow, while freezing our tooshies off in a raging river, we'd much rather chill in our friend's family "cabin" just south of beautiful McCall. To call this place a cabin, however, would be like calling Hearst Castle a modest ranch house. It could easily sleep 15, comfortably. The huge gourmet kitchen and living/dining room overlooked the Payette River Valley. The hot tub was the just-right temperature. The food was fantastic. The company was spot-on perfect. All in all, it was a wonderfully relaxing weekend. And we even got in two trips down the river (the Salmon and then the Payette on the way home), plus our first and last ski day of the season on Brundage Mountain's (its closing day, for which it received a foot or more of fresh powder). Hea-Ven! And just the relaxation we needed before our next big project ...

Sprinkler Installation! If you've never installed your own sprinkler, I will spare you the details. If you have, then you know that I've already written more than is necessary. All I know is that it is done (except for some last filling in the soil bits) and that it has rained nearly every other day since we installed it. Just like washing your car, I guess.

After two weeks of the fun that is sprinklers, we loaded up the coolers and camping gear again for our third river trip of the season. This time down Hells Canyon. And, oh my, was it gorgeous. Apparently it's usually dry and barren, though still stunning. But thanks to the wet spring, the canyon walls were bathed in green, the birds were chucking, the fish were jumping, and the weather even cooperated a bit. But lest you think I'm some super-tough outdoorsy type, let me assure you: We were far from roughing it. The main camp tent was a base-camp style expedition tent that could easily sleep 15. And on the second night, the trip leader, the ever ingenious Mr. B, set up a river hot tub that was maintained at a heavenly 98 degrees all night.

We then spent Memorial Day weekend completely and utterly chilled out at Burgdorf Hot Springs (I am noticing a theme with my weekends away). This extremely rustic site north of McCall has a large hot springs pool surrounded by cabins dating back to the early part of the century. Another weekend filled with wonderful friends, divine menus, and re-lax-a-tion. Once again, the perfect thing I needed to prep me for today ...

In-Law Arrival Day. I love them dearly, but three weeks is a loooong time to spend with anyone, let alone slightly pesky, though lovable, in-laws

So my goal for right now and the coming three weeks is to stay positive, laugh off the annoying little things that drive me bonkers (after all, it's my problem, not theirs), and, if all else fails, resort to copious amounts of wine and margaritas. That's healthy, right?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

And the Phlegm Goes On . . .

I have been in absentia . . . again. I have a whole photo montage detailing why I've been out of touch, but right now, just typing this post is taking all my energy.

My blog friend over at The Creamery is doing a thing this week and next (?) and maybe for even longer in which she is posting about finding joy every day. As always, I am loving her posts. And right now, it is definitely a good challenge for me.

Here's my little bit of joy for the week:

For a year, we lived in Flower Mound, Texas, north of Dallas, not too far from DFW, smack dab in between two huge reservoir-y type lakes. To say that we hated it there would be a huge understatement. Mr. J and I were both miserable. The Dog, on the other hand, loved it. Never had he experienced the joys of lukewarm lakes and creeks and bugs, bugs, bugs galore to hunt all night in the backyard. But as much as we love The Dog, we were not willing to sacrifice our souls to stay in that town. (No disrespect to any Texans out there. It just was not our scene.)

Anyway, while living in Dallas, I had one and a half gals and one and a half guys that I would consider friends. For an entire year. I can survive on my own just fine and am able to keep myself entertained for weeks on end without seeing a soul (see: learning how to knit), but a girl needs more than a total of three friends to keep her sane. Sad, sad times. But there was a silver lining: With all that alone time, I don't think I got sick even once that entire year. No sore throats, no horrid stomach bugs, no weeklong flu that saps the very life out of you. Other than my weird, annoying skin rashes, I was the picture of health.

Here in Boise, on the other hand, we have more friends than we know what to do with. It's already gotten to the point that when we invite people over, we have to wheedle down the guest list. Otherwise we'd end up with close to 50 people for a small barbecue. And we only just moved here in August. It's actually incredible. And it is all very joyful. But that is not the joy I am finding today.

Today I can barely see through my two eyes, thanks to a raging case of conjunctivitis, which I haven't had since I was, oh, I don't know, 8? On top of that, it hurts to swallow and cough, and my ear is aching like nobody's business, all thanks to an upper respiratory infection. Joyous. So for the third time this year, I am going on antibiotics again! (Me, the woman who HATES drugs, especially antibiotics). Yes, it is all very sucky and lousy and so very annoying. And yet, it is all because we have friends. Friends who say, "Here, try this piece of brisket," as they feed it to Mr. J with their bare hands (which led to the horrid stomach plague of early spring). Or who offer a sip of their drink to see if I would like to order the same thing, which, I believe, has led to this wondrous trip down phlegm alley. So that is where I am finding the joy. I may be sick, but I am in a place I love with people I look forward to getting to know better and better. I can see myself living in this city for many, many years (like more than 10). And that is something this Air Force Brat had never even considered in any of my past homes. I am home and I belong here and that is so very joyful.

Now pass the antibiotics, please!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

And the GMBOA Goes to . . .

I loved reading the different answers and have even written out Bethsix's to keep near at hand as a little reminder. (I have a whole host of sayings on Post-it notes scattered around my desk. And thanks to Wandering Nana's GMBOA, I now have more Post-it notes to fill up, all with a cute little pen.)

I thought perhaps Mr. J would go with Erin's, what with him being a true Calvin fan. But I think, as usual, his stomach beat out his brain!

So, without further ado, the next GMBOA recipient is Jayme and her "Mmmmm, bacon" mantra.



Jayme, you clever girl. You knew exactly the answer that would go straight to Mr. J's heart and soul ... and salivary glands. His one true love (other than me . . . most days) is bacon. His favorite ad is the one that says "Bacon makes everything taste better, even bacon." He just recently tried bacon-infused vodka and thought it would be the perfect complement to a Bloody Mary, and I do believe he may be right. And all of this from a man raised in the Jewish religion. He's so devout, don't you think?

So, Jayme, please send me your address via email, and I will prepare the Golden Minion Box of Awesomeness for its next grand adventure. [And now the fun part ... finding all the little goodies to fill the box. Yay!]

Thursday, May 6, 2010

GMBOA Contest

Eek!

I am rapidly approaching the 3-week deadline for getting this contest up and running. I must admit, I am very nervous. The Minion-lympics were an inspired weeklong series of fun contests and questions, and the "How DO you pronounce GMBOA?" contest was so much fun (and I'm not just saying that cuz I won, which I am still in shock about ... OK, I'll let it go, already). So what do I do?

Well, as I alluded to a couple days/weeks ago, Mr. J came up with a pretty clever idea. And I think I have it sorted in my head how it will work. So here goes:
Provide a headline or cartoon strip or fortune cookie saying or line from a book, poem, song or anything else already written by somebody else that captures who you think you are. Answers can be serious, funny, self-deprecating, self-aggrandizing. Whatever you like. You may also offer explanation(s), as needed (see example below).

Enter by posting a comment in response to this blog post. You can enter as many times as you like, depending on how you feel at any given moment. (I know that my vision of who I think I am changes hourly, and sometimes even minute-ly, which is different from minutely.)

In one week (on May 13th around noonish Central Standard Time), I will read all the entries to Mr. J for him to judge, according to his own wishes. It's all very scientific and technical.

In order to compete, you must be a follower (Minion) of Miss Whimsy over at the Creamery.* Just head on over there, and click on the follow button. You won't be sorry! [Note: This link also takes you directly to the full rules and regulations for the Golden Minion Box of Awesomeness.]
* Whimsy, I do recall the two exceptions to this rule, and will take that into account when judging.

For a very bad example of an answer to this contest, when I was a teenager, my favorite pin button thingie read, "I used to be apathetic, but now I just don't care." Because, of course, as a fully suburban teenager, I thought I was all cool and tough and that cool, tough people just don't care. Plus, the wordie in me thought is was so incredibly witty and funny. I mean apathetic means "I just don't care." Get it? Get it? Oh Lordie, I was just so dang sophisticated as a teenager.

Mr. J, on the other hand, might have had this very cartoon in mind when he came up with the idea. He and I used to debate this question, with me getting very aggravated by the end of each debate. I've since decided that Hobbes has it exactly right! [Cartoon taken from The Essential Calvin and Hobbes, reprinted here without any permission, which probably means I'll get in super-duper trouble, which probably means I'll panic in a couple days and take it down from this blog post all together, because I'm a paranoid weirdo.]

So that is the contest, in all it's glory. I look forward to the answers and to sending on the GMBOA to the next Creamy Minion!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Insane in the Membrane

I have been MIA again. Still busy with the house. Last weekend we were swarmed by bees and now have our own honeybee hive. That led to cutting down all of the old trees in our backyard. Which, in turn, led to the pseudo-orphaning of two little baby mourning doves and then the cruel agony of watching mama bird return later to no nest, no babies, and a torrential downpour that lasted all night. Mr. J and I were both in tears about that. She has finally left the area, so I no longer have to hear her telltale call. I will never be able to listen to a mourning dove again without getting a big ol' lump in my throat.

I have not forgotten about the GMBOA contest. I have an idea, courtesy of Mr. J, that I think you will like. But I need a little time to flesh it out, and this week, time is something I don't have a lot of. [ouch ... "a lot" and ending a sentence in a preposition. But I'm in no mood for wordsmithing right now]

What's on my mind right this very minute is that we are going on our first rafting trip this weekend on the raging Lochsa River up near Lolo Pass. Apparently this is the spot along Lewis and Clark's adventures where they had to kill a colt to feed the crew, where they faced near starvation, and where they were caught in an unseasonable snowstorm. And from what Mr. J just called out to me about the weather, I think that we may be in for a wet, cold weekend ... and not because of the river water. Thus the title of the post ... What are we thinking?! But it will be fun, and we'll have stories to tell. And I'm hoping none of those stories will have to do with the killing of colts or mourning dove abuse or frostbite leading to gangrene.

So, when I return on Monday, after my fingers thaw out so that I'm able to type again, I will be here with the GMBOA contest and possibly a story or two of the craziness that was our weekend.

Friday, April 23, 2010

GMBOA

As I mentioned briefly in an earlier post, I have been super-duper honored with the Golden Minion Box of Awesomeness, which was started by Whimsy through her Minion-lympics. Yesterday, as I sat at my desk, "working," I saw Randy the Postman approach the door with a brown box in his hands. I was at the door before he had even latched that gate closed, and the brown box was open within minutes. And oh, joy. There it was in all its golden, Mickey Mouse-ified glory. Unfortunately, my photographic skills leave VERY much to be desired, but here's my best shot:

And inside, what fun! Wonderful Wandering Nana met all the rules and then some (yes, there it is, nestled between my printer and my file box):

  • Rule #3: Add some kind of decoration or enhancement: Very cute red and white papercut Mickey Mouse decals (forgive me, Wandering Nana, if I got the technical name incorrect. Did you make those yourself? So very cute!)
  • Rule #4: Include some kind of action figure: I actually have several items here--a little traveling gnome, a Madame Alexander Cowardly Lion (courtesy of McDonald's ... I never knew they gave these out!!), and another little McDonald's dude ... perhaps from Sponge Bob? I am not really sure, even though he's my favorite.
  • Rule #5: You must include some kind of mini bottle of something: Bath & Body Works Orange Ginger energizing nourishing body lotion. Smells (and feels) SOOOO yummy on my hands.
But wait, there's more:
  • A packet of tissues in a very cute holder. No more phlegm for me! (See below.)
  • A sticky note pad and pen for all my little reminders
  • A chattering teeth chip clip ... love it!
  • Halloween confetti!! How did you know that's my favorite holiday?
  • A binky
  • Incredibly cute little heart brads
  • A very cute flower bookmark
  • A Fourth of July decoration
And saving the best for last:
  • My very own golden boa in honor of the prize-winning name of Gym-Boa.
  • An engraved medal indicating my Minion cabinet office of Interim Phlegm Czar! HA!!
So now the pressure is on. I must come up with a contest so that I can pass the GMBOA on to its next happy recipient. I must also gather all the goodies to pass on to the next winner (though we are all winners). I will post all the rules, etc., when I come up with said contest.* I'm actually tempted to have a contest to come up with a contest, but that gets confusing. So stay tuned!

* If you are interested in this contest, note that you must first be a Creamy Minion. All this requires is hopping over to The Creamery and becoming a follower--an easy enough request, as her site is a joy to read and follow.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Fabulous Friday


My mom's cousin just forwarded this photo on to the entire family. This is my great-grandmother, AKA Nana 2 (my grandmother was Nana 1, even though Nana 2 was a bunch of people's Nana before my grandmother was anyone's Nana). Anyway, I think in this photo she must have been 90 or so years old. That's my Grandpa's (her son's) pipe and hat, and that's my most favorite lake in the whole world behind her.

What a great shot to start off this gloriously springlike weekend. May your days be filled with as much glee and love as this woman enjoyed every day of her life.

Monday, April 12, 2010

And Another Thing

Wow ... two in one day. You know I must be procrastinating!

Just a quickie to say that a friend of mine from high school -- actually, we were really more acquaintances in high school ... she was WAY cooler than I ever was -- ANYWAY, we are now Facebook friends, even though we haven't seen each other in more than 20 years. Again ... anyway, this friend of mine has started a blog, and her latest post seems to be written just for me. So stay tuned, for soon I will be making my list of things to be grateful for. I know I have done it before, but I need to get out of this habit of complaining, even when things are really good (or even only partially good). Got to look at that silver lining!

Speaking of silver lining ... I am somewhat steadily employed and better get back to it before that status changes due to one too many missed deadlines.

So Much To Do

I've been MIA again, but this time not due to sickness or sheer laziness or lack of anything to say.

A week ago Friday, I bought two bookcases from a shop that is moving to a new location. I got a steal of deal of $10 each. What a bargain!
The next day, at about noon, Mr. J and I sat in my office, trying to figure out how to organize the room, where to place the bookcases, etc., etc., which led to the discussion of, "Well, we do want to pull up the carpet and paint the walls." "Yes, but I thought we were going to work in the garden this weekend." "Yeah, well, maybe we should do this first." And off to Home Depot we went to get all the materials to rip up the carpet, paint the plywood (for our temporary ghetto-hardwood-floor substitute until we can afford the real stuff), paint the walls, clean up the trim, etc. etc. All so that we could then move in the $20 bookcases. So much for my bargain.

For a week, our living area looked like this:
Ack!

as we did this to my office:

And now it looks like this:
Yay!

All that's left to do is hang pictures, shorten the curtains, and find some new bookcases. Because, alas, after all that, we decided that the bookcases really didn't go with my office. So now they are being used as clothing shelves in our bedroom (in place of the cardboard boxes that we had been using as dressers for the past 7 months ... really, we are not still in college. We are grown adults ... sort of. Really.)

After a brief respite of having the house all in one piece again, we started in on Mr. J's office, and once again our living room looks like this:

If you know anything about home "improvement" projects, I'm sure you won't be surprised to hear that in the process of ripping up his carpets, etc., we discovered that the wood around his window was rotten and icky and mucky from a leak that the previous owners decided to just ignore:
Oooh, pretty!

So yet another quick-and-easy project turns into a major chore. But already, it looks like this, so we are making terrific headway ... all things considered:

In between painting and moving and taping and priming, we also had time to plant a huge donation of clippings and cuttings from our neighbor's garden, buy all the materials necessary to build a fence around our future veggie garden, and attend a fantastic wedding reception up at Bogus Basin for some good friends of ours.
The happy couple

So, that's where I've been. Oh, and I am also anxiously awaiting my prize for winning the most recent round of the Minion-lympics ... or maybe it's completely separate from the Minion-lympics? Hmmm, I don't know. (Some Minion I am!) In any case, I was so happy to hear that I had won the next incarnation of the GMBOA from Wandering Nana. I cannot wait, though I'm very apprehensive about the contest I'll have to initiate to pass it on to the next grand prize winner. [If you have no clue what I'm talking about, take a gander at Whimsy over here and Wandering Nana over here.] I never ever win anything, but I won this, and I'm so so happy about it! Yay me :-)