Friday, February 26, 2010

Blast from the Past

Imagine my surprise yesterday when I did my morning blog check and saw that I had been given an award by my blog buddy (and only follower) over at Little Farm. Growing. I've been walking around the past 24 hours, trying to come up with 7 things about myself (really). Not as easy as it sounds. I mean I can't just say "I am in dire need of a haircut" and "My dog just ripped a ridiculously stinky fart." I don't think that's the kind of thing they had in mind.

So, while I come up with my list, I will leave you with this:

Yesterday, I was listening to while working and was surprised to hear a song from my dark, distant past. Yes, back in my teenage years, I was a big (HUGE, really) fan of Huey Lewis and the News. Hey, it was Back to the Future days; what can I say? (Full disclosure: By the time Back to the Future came out, I had been a fan since the early 1980s. I was so cool!) So while my friends were rocking out to John Cougar or the Pet Shop Boys, I was crooning along with Huey and the boys. But how did Pandora know that? I hadn't set up any stations based on dated 80s' music. The "station" it was playing on was the one I "seeded" with the likes of U2, Cake, Glen Hansard, Shawn Colvin, Lyle Lovett, and The Killers (among others). How does HLN fit in with that crowd? Is Pandora psychic or omniscient, looking deep into my mind to discover my hidden likes and dislikes?

In an attempt to solve this mystery, I clicked on the "why on earth was this song selected" button, and here's what it said:
Based on what you've told us so far, we're playing this track because it features electric rock instrumentation (OK), R&B influences (yes, good), a subtle use of vocal harmony (cool), major key tonality (um, huh?), and prominent organ (really?).
Apparently I am a fan of organ music. Who knew? (Well, apparently, Pandora knew.)

Stay tuned for my fascinating list of tidbits. I'm sure you are quaking with anticipation.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Out in the world

I didn't quite make it to the Y last night. I was getting my stuff together and realized that my iPod wasn't charged, and I just don't work out well without my music (weak excuse, yes, but true). Then I rationalized that it was 4:30, which is the start of Crazy O'clock at the Y, and I just hate crowded gyms. So I did some measly leg lifts at home and then proceeded to knit while catching up on episodes of Chuck.

But today I ventured out into the great wide open ... twice, even! And here's what I learned.
  1. I love a greasy spoon diner breakfast. I could eat bacon, eggs, hashbrowns, an English muffin, and never-ending cups of diner coffee every single morning, if my arteries would let me. Yes, this meal is so easy to make at home, but it's just so much more satisfying when bantering with a sassy waitress while sitting on red vinyl seats at a chipped Formica-topped table. Happiness is. (Plus, I don't have to do the cleaning up.)
  2. When you leave your car windows open over night to air out the stench of strawberries that you accidentally left in the trunk the previous night and it then proceeds to rain, your seats will get wet. And even if you leave your car with the windows slightly cracked for the rest of the day (sans rain), the seats will stay wet, but you will forget. And then, when you drive to the Y, you may not feel the dampness at first. But when you get out of the car and feel that breeze on your tushie, you will know, for a fact, that the seats of your pants are soaked through. Nothing like working out on the elliptical with a soggy ass. Happiness is not.
  3. I love my workout playlist on my iPod. It makes me so happy. It actually makes me enjoy standing still (well, not really still, but not really getting anywhere either) on the elliptical and even makes me push myself to workout harder. No small feat for this lazybutt. And today, you would think I had programmed it exactly to my workout, as the first song was the perfect kickoff (Us3's "Tukka Yoot's Riddim"--best rhythm ever for an elliptical) and the last song ("Sunday, Bloody Sunday") stopped exactly as my 30 minutes were up. Cool. [p.s. I ended up going to the Y at the height of Crazy O'clock today, so yesterday's excuse really wasn't valid, was it?]
  4. All in all I have found the people of Boise to be exceedingly nice. Even the kids at Starbucks are devoid of the usual sneer. But today I ran into all of Boise's most inconsiderate men. At the Y, I held the door open for a family. The kid, who I presumed (assumed?) to be the son of the man behind him, smiled and said thanks. The sour-puss man, on the other hand, just breezed right by me; not even a smile. Then, after we both checked in, he literally pushed past me to get through the door and didn't even hold it open. Grrrr. I mean, I went to a liberal all girls (ahem, I mean all women's) college, and I'm all for women's rights and all that. But when I hold a door open for you, whether you are a man or a woman, I would at least like a "Thanks" and maybe a little eye contact and a smile. Major pet peeve; always has been and always will be. Then, at the grocery store, more men: one was a slight grocery cart bump as I came out of an aisle into the main aisle. I said, "oops, sorry," even though it was 50% his fault. And all I got was a sneer as he pushed past me. Then, on the way home, this car just sat in my blind spot all the way down 8th Street. Didn't he know I needed to move over? And even if he didn't (which he couldn't have, because I didn't turn on my blinker, because he was in the way and I knew I couldn't move over anyway, so why bother), doesn't he know it's just not safe to drive right alongside a person's rear bumper? I technically didn't know until he passed me whether he was male or female. But I knew. And I was right. Grrr.
  5. I cannot wait for veggie-growing season so I can cut my grocery bill in half, as just about everything I bought today from the produce aisle will (hopefully) be growing this summer in our garden.
Now wasn't that exciting, and aren't you so glad I went out into the world so I could share all this with you?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Well, I had this whole conspiracy theory about Blogger's Next Blog button and was writing all about how I think Blogger is witnessing to me and trying to get me to go to church. But then when I clicked on Next Blog today, it completely debunked my very own theory. So that's now fun.

So, what shall I write about instead?

I think I need to get out of this house and experience the world a bit (or, if not the world, then at least the outdoors). My big outings this week included a night of wonderful food and fun and Wii playing on Saturday, a shopping spree at the yarn store (plus some fantastically inexpensive but cool house decorations from Savers ... I LOVE thrift stores), and a hike yesterday with Mr. J and The Dog (no owl sightings). My life is so full! Other than that, I have either been at this computer or in bed knitting (I don't really have a good spot to knit). My eyes are burning from staring at the computer screen, and if I start knitting now, I'll never leave the house (it's kind of an addiction).

So, I guess what I'm writing about is the fact that I am going to get up right now and leave this house. My exciting plans might include a trip to the Co-op to buy some kale for dinner or maybe even an excursion to the gym to work off my oh-so-healthy lunch of tortilla chips with salsa and homemade hummus (what? protein, veggies, is corn a grain? sounds like a super-duper nutritious meal to me).

Wow. Fascinating post, wasn't it? Tomorrow I promise something relatively interesting ... or at least not deathly boring.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Novice Knitter

Last year, while living in Dallas, one of the hottest, most miserable places I've every lived, I decided to take up knitting. Because nothing makes you want to knit a big wool scarf like 100+ degree days and days and days! But I hardly knew anyone, we didn't have cable, and I needed something to keep me busy when I wasn't working or going to the gym or just sitting staring at the walls. Good times, for sure.

So I went to JoAnn's or Michael's or something, bought a book called I Can't Believe I'm Knitting, which I am still tempted to call I Can't Believe I'm Not Knitting (due, of course, to the non-butter product of the similar name), picked out some needles and yarn, and taught myself how to knit. I didn't have high hopes, as I am NOT a crafty, handy, artistic person. But every other year or so, I get an itch to create something by hand. Usually, those attempts end in half-completed disasters that I then pass on to my mom to "make it all better." But this time, I actually got it, much to Mr. J's amazement, who was incredibly cynical of the entire endeavor.

Here I am, more than a year later, with four scarves and two hats under my knitting belt. Not one of them turned out absolutely perfectly, but even I was able to agree that they looked pretty good. So good that I gave all but one of them away as gifts. Since Christmas, I haven't had a project or an idea or anything of what I wanted to make next. But then I saw this blanket and thought, "Wow," that would be perfect for our friend's new-ish baby. (I'm extremely slow on getting gifts to people in the appropriate amount of time, but if all goes well, it will be a great 6-month-old birthday gift).

So, I dragged my friend Miss Z to the knitting store with me to help pick out some yarn. The nice lady in the store pointed out a wall of yarn and said that each ball was $3.99, which sounded pretty darn reasonable. After about 15 minutes of fondling all the fantastic colors of soft, cuddly yarn, we picked four fantastic colors (which I never would have chosen on my own). Because the balls were smaller than what the instructions called for, I decided to get four each of four different colors. $65 was a much more than I expected to pay, but those colors were so worth it.

Then the other nice lady rang us up and said, "OK, that will be $115." I stood there with my jaw on the floor, thinking, "WHAT?!?!? How the *&$#% did that happen?" I was stunned. Thank goodness Miss Z was there and asked, "But I thought they were each $3.99." Oh, no, Dear. Apparently we moved one step too far to the right and ended up in the $6.99 section. So, back we went to the Wall o' Yarn to try to find something similar in the cheaper colors. And, of course, there was nothing that we liked. We did find some cool colors a few steps too far to the left, but apparently those balls were $9.99. Dang, after a year and a half of buying my yarn at JoAnn's, I have only now discovered how ridiculously expensive this little hobby of mine really is.

We tried and tried but just could not find anything we liked. So back to the cash register we went, where Miss Z was incredibly, incredibly kind and generous and offered to pay for half. So now we are both giving a gift to little Miss Sydney. And she better treasure this blanket for all the days of her life. And to think I took up knitting in part because I thought it would be so much cheaper to make things like sweaters and scarves and hats for myself. How very wrong I was!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Getting Back Into It

So a couple weeks ago, a friend of mine was complaining of being sick and having no energy and just sleeping. And I thought, that sounds OK. I could use a few days of having a good excuse to just lie (lay? recline? laze?) about, maybe catch up on some reading, find a new knitting project, chill. But then I was reminded, by my very own cold, that being sick sucks. And when both the people in a relationship are sick, it's even suckier. Each one is begging the other to go find some drugs or make a pot of hot tea or cook up a big huge pot of chicken broth. And neither one wants to oblige, because both are too busy coughing and blowing noses and spitting up yellow goo. And I just felt too crappy to read or knit or anything. Even TV was too much. I just wanted to sleep, but the coughing and hacking kept getting in the way.

So, thanks, Life, for reminding me to be careful of what I wish for!

But I am better now. I still have some kind of goop in my lungs and my nose is still running like a faucet, but I don't feel crappy anymore. I just sound horrible. Mr. J, on the other hand ... when he gets sick, he makes a four-week production out of it. Right now we are on Week 2, which involves antibiotics, inhalers, decongestants and lots and lots of coughing. The kind of coughing that I think you might here coming out of the TB ward of an old-timey sanitarium. Poor guy. His entire face turns red and he just grabs his entire head with his hands because it hurts so bad.

I feel horrible for him, and yet I have discovered that I would be the world's worst nurse. I want to make him better but I can't, so I just get frustrated and impatient and then, when he looks at me all red-eyed and stuffy and miserable, I just roll my eyes. Oh, aren't I just the sweetest thing? How quickly I forget, after one day of feeling better, how bad it feels to feel so bad!!

But, on a lighter, happier, healthier note, the sun is finally peeking through the inversion layer that has clouded our fair city since Christmas. Yesterday afternoon I was even able to sit in my hammock swing on the front porch, sipping a cold brew, tossing a tennis ball for the pack of dogs we are watching over this weekend, and enjoying the sunshine in my face. I had forgotten how great a little warmth on the sun can feel! It looks like maybe we are in for the same treat this afternoon. And if so, I will send Mr. J into my hammock swing, with a cup of tea replacing that Corona, and have him absorb some healthy vitamin D. See ... I can be caring!

p.s. My Firefox crashed three times in the making of this post, requiring me to rewrite it several times. Grrrr. Macs are supposed to be perfect. What is up with that?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I am here, I am alive. I'm just emerging from beneath stacks of used up tissues. Oh, how I love being sick. Ugh. And now Mr. J has it, and he's got it bad. Seems that whenever he gets sick, even if it's some kind of toe fungus, it eventually makes its way to his lungs and becomes some kind of infected bronchitis thing. So back on antibiotics he goes. At least this time he agreed to talk to our doctor friend about it sooner rather than later. He tends to think it will just get better, and it only gets worse. So here's hoping we caught it in time and that he'll be back to his chipper self in no time (because he is no fun when he is coughing up a lung all day long, let me tell you!).

So no new news to report. Just trying to clear my head (and this house) of the fog of sickness that has settled over it for the past week.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I Hate It When He's Right

So this week my funk is being brought to me by the letters PMS. If it's not one thing, it's another, and yes I do blame my funks on hormones, even though Mr. J never totally believes me.

Anyway, as I was falling asleep in my grumpy mood, Mr. J was trying to convince me that I would feel a thousand times better if I made myself get out the next day and get the blood flowing. (Yes, he was also trying to convince me of other things that would make me feel better, but I am keeping this mostly G rated.) I grumbled and growled and essentially gave him the oh-so-grown-up reply of, "Why don't you go out and move around?" Sometimes it's a wonder he still loves me.

So today, after a rather productive day (in addition to plowing through a bunch of work, I also organized my closet and shelves and got through almost all the laundry), I could feel the wonders of hormones working their magic. The funk was returning. So I asked Mr. J if he wanted to go for a sunset walk with me and The Dog. But Mr. J is in the throes of rebooting his entire computer and cannot be torn away from it for a second. I almost bailed and said, in another very grown-up voice, "Well, fine, if you can't take the time, even though you are always telling me I should, then I'll just stay here and play computer games." So. There.

But I bit my tongue and took The Dog for a much-needed walk. It was just going to be up the hill and back. But then The Dog and I decided to continue the loop, even though I ran the risk of The Dog getting on the scent of some deer. (Thank goodness he didn't.) Then he and I decided to add onto the walk by doing the big slog up the steep hill to really get the cardio going. And we made it all the way to the top, even though I was mentally grumbling about my sore ankle, my drippy nose, my this, my that, wah wah wah, all the way to the top. Good thing I was on my own.

I stopped to huff and puff at the top of the hill just in time to catch the height of the sunset. The sunlight was glittering through between the distant Owyhee Mountains and the gray-black clouds of the inversion layer, casting all of downtown Boise in a peachy-orange, sparkly glow. Gorgeous. Almost gorgeous enough to put a smile on this cranky old face of mine.

Then, on the way back down the steep, steep hill, I heard some owls hooting. I stopped to look up, not really thinking I'd be lucky enough to spot them. But at the top of a big ol' pine tree right in front of me were two massive owls. (I say they were Great Horned Owls, and since no one was else was there, except for The Dog, who is in complete agreement with my assessment, then Great Horned Owls is what they were. So. There.) They were huge. And they had big-ish pointy ear things. And they were courting (or at least that is my scientific assessment of seeing one really big owl trying to land on another really big owl who has her tail feathers all up in the air). And it was so very cool. Then a dog barked, and what I'm guessing was the male owl (since he was the one trying to land on top of the other owl) flew away, right across the path in front of me. Did I mention they were HUGE owls? (In fact, at one point I was convinced they weren't owls, because I thought what I was seeing was this really long neck with a sort of flat head. But then I realized that was the girl owls' tail feathers, declaring, "Hey, dude, I'm ready!")

So, that actually put a smile on this old face of mine. Within sight of downtown Boise and less than a mile from my home, I got to witness a little bit of nature. And that's pretty dang cool. I just hope that boy owl knows not to get upset when the girl owl gets cranky and tries to push him away. Honey, it's just the hormones talking. Really.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thoughtless Thursday

I have had a serious beach craving for the past month. Not sure when it will get satisfied. So this will have to do for now.

Or, as my friend advises, I could just go to a local bar, put a pile of sand on the table, order a tropical drink (preferably served in a coconut and with an umbrella), and put some reggae on the jukebox. Sometimes on gray dreary days, you have to find your own way to paradise.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Life Lessons

I moved my entire life. Being the daughter of an Air Force man, we up and moved every three years. Even in college, I got out in three years (those AP classes finally came in handy!). Then in my 20s, even though I stayed in the same state for an entire decade, I managed to move on an incredibly regular basis. By the time I reached 30, the longest I had ever lived anywhere were four fabulous years in my San Francisco studio apartment. Obviously, I'm just a rambling kind of person, in so many more ways than one.

So, you would think that I'd be a pro at moving, getting settled, making friends, and all that. But alas, no. I was a ridiculously shy and introverted child, which only got worse as I made it into my teenage years. I was the epitome of awkward ... scrawny, glasses, braces, bad haircuts, no sense of style. Oh, I was an amazing creature to behold. I did have friends--wonderful friends, in fact. I just tended to dwell on the fact that I didn't have more friends or the fact that the "popular" people didn't know me/like me/realize I existed. Oh, woe, the teenage angst.

Like most people who survived high school, however, I eventually came out of my shell and stayed out, for the most part. In fact, when I mention to others that I see myself as a shy person, they are usually shocked (though I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing). Anyway, I now have small groups of fabulous friends all over the continent, thanks to my roving, rambling days. And I married a man with the world's largest network of cool riverfolk friends. I couldn't have been luckier. So now our network is global. It's not like we are in touch with all these people, but I know that if we stumble into a town in some remote part of the world, there is a good chance that if we don't know somebody there, we do know somebody who knows somebody there.

So, yay for me. And yet, each time I move to a new town, I still struggle. I want to fit in. I want immediate friends. I crave that close group of girlfriends with whom you can share things and not worry about what is being said after you leave the room. I long for those nights of just sitting around for hours laughing over the silliest things. In trying to make new friends and to get everything that I want NOW, I find that I have been trying a little too hard and coming off a bit desperate. Add a couple glasses of wine to the mix, and you get my loud, obnoxious self making really odd or inappropriate comments. Lovely. So I needed a reminder to just chill, just be myself, let those who like me seek me out and don't try to be everyone's best chum. First, Mr. J pointed this out to me (though his timing was lousy, so it just turned into a big ol' pout-fest on my part until I could relax and realize that, once again, he was right).

Then today, I read Ms. Whimsy's 4 Laws of Cream (I've been stalking her blog for months now, and only just now found these wonderful words of wisdom; Law #2, in particular, rang especially true). And I said, to myself, Oh yea, I remember all this. Be who you are, enjoy life, laugh, smile, do the things you enjoy, and those with like minds/hearts will seek you out. Thank you for the much-needed reminder on that wonderful life lesson! I was seriously on the verge of becoming a big pile of sour cream, and it wasn't pretty! (Though I do like me some sour cream!)