one hundy

Well, it is god’s own sweet mystery how I made it this far.  Yep, this is my 100th post.

So, I decided to put a little more effort into this one.  Usually, I sit down, I write something and I post it. There are no drafts.  I suppose I could have lots of things in progress, waiting to be edited, but I don’t think like that.  I wanted to do something different for the 100th, but was stumped.  Eventually a sort of plan came to me. And it looks like this.

100 BITS OF RANDOM (which is a shit ton of things to think of, let me tell you)

  1. I am about to turn 44. Which is how old my mom was when I got married.  I do not feel that old.
  2. The view outside my office of the Sound on a clear day is pretty spectacular. I am glad we live by water. I don’t know how people do it in places like Arizona. Or Iowa.
  3. I love chocolate. Though not a super huge fan of dark chocolate, even though it is healthier for you. Fruit has no place in chocolate.
  4. I am grateful for my girlfriends. You are fabulous and make me happy every single day.
  5. I am also grateful for some boys who are my friends. Not everyone gets the best of both worlds, but I do.
  6. I do not like to drive on the freeway. It is scary.
  7. Someday I would like an Airstream trailer, but a pop-up is more realistic.
  8. I often wonder how I got here.  If this is my path no matter what choices I made.
  9. I need to clean out the garage. Before the water heater bursts and floods the place.  Also so we can convert that space for actual living-in.
  10. I worry about my kids and husband every single day.
  11. I have not spoken to any of my siblings in probably 10 months.  I have not actually spoken to my parents in about 3 months, but I do email my mother.
  12. I wish I had saved more money when I was younger.
  13. I hope to be debt-free (mortage not included) in three years. Yes, we have some big debt.
  14. 100 things is a lot.
  15. I wish I could sing.
  16. Sometimes, I wish I had a real job.  But then I couldn’t write blog posts in the middle of the day.
  17. I need to clean off the dining room table. So we could eat there, like real families do.
  18. I like lots of kinds of music and books. Except metal and some rap. If you have not read “Rule of the Bone”, you should.  I am reading “Little Bee” right now, thanks to one of the aforementioned girlfriends.  The language is amazing.
  19. I may have a slight addiction to social media. Though, I am less on Facebook now due to Google +.  A smaller community without the commercial-ness of Facebook.  For now.  People like to nag me about Facebook. They can suck it. I am the only entertainment some of them have.
  20. I would like to exercise more. I doubt this will happen.
  21. I like booze.  Beer, wine, the hard stuff. I don’t drink a lot but I drink often. The sight of our little bar with its pretty bottles and wine in the cubbies seems so civilized. I can make a pretty mean cocktail.
  22. Church is not for me. I don’t get it. I go to the Church of Stitch and Gin.
  23. I would like to go back to NYC.
  24. My mother is getting a tattoo soon. I am not making her. No one else knows, including my dad. She’s kind of a bad-ass.
  25. I don’t know what to say when people ask where I am from.  I was born in Oregon, lived in Vegas for few years as a kid, and moved to Kent in 7th grade.
  26. I am a Leo. Which should explain a lot.
  27. I amazed by my son’s ability to play Xbox.  Apparently he has skills bordering on the freakish. I am waiting for this skill to manifest itself in a more useful, i.e. money-making way.
  28. I am also amazed by my daughter’s endless capacity to watch any show involving the Kardashians or The Hills. I do not see this as a potential moneymaker.
  29. I majored in Public Relations. I work as an office manager and do mostly accounting type stuff. Go figure.
  30. When I was in high school, I wanted to be either an interior designer or teacher.  I still would do either of those things. Go figure.
  31. Most of the time, life doesn’t work out like you expect it to. Year by year or even minute by minute.
  32. I don’t like soggy things. They are gross.
  33. I also don’t like runny eggs. See above.
  34. That is not a gray streak in my hair. It is platinum, thank you very much.
  35. I don’t know if I can make it to 100.
  36. My kids are the things I am most proud of. Everyone says that, I know, but it is true.
  37. I am scared of heights, spiders and tight spaces.  How cliche.
  38. I wish we had redone the kitchen when we moved in. Paint can only fix so much.
  39. This will probably be our first and last house.
  40. I have a thing for shoes and bags. Also cookbooks.  And fabric. And pretty glassware.
  41. If I had to describe my decorating style, it would be mid-century meets Goodwill.
  42. Tickling my kids is one of the funnest things on the planet.  Yes, I used funnest in a  sentence. Sue me.
  43. I have lived with The Geek longer than I lived with my parents.
  44. My camera is not fancy, but it has lots of little buttons and menus that I wish I could use better.
  45. I am bad about setting goals, but good about planning.
  46. I wonder what I should have already taught my kids, and if it is too late.
  47. Not everyone is happy all the time, no matter how it seems.
  48. When I am on the bus, I sometimes plan my escape route should it crash. Especially on the bridges. The key is getting a window open before it hits the water. I think I saw that on Discovery Channel. If you don’t, you will not be able to open it underwater due to the pressure.
  49. I like to eat deep-fried things; I do not like to do the deep-frying.
  50. Halfway!
  51. I have a thing for “reality” TV.  Survivor, Project Runway, Big Brother.  It is unhealthy, I am sure.
  52. I have five tattoos. And would like to add to one I already have.
  53. On our 25th anniversary, we are going to get re-married at the Elvis chapel in Vegas. You are invited.
  54.  I like to play word games, but usually lose. I am bad at playing board games.  The rules are boring and confusing. I especially do not like to play with competitive people who get cranky when I don’t remember a rule or I beat them.
  55. I would like to take the train to Chicago. Or California.
  56. None of our apartments/house have had a dishwasher. See #38.
  57. It’s not summer if I don’t make a peach pie.
  58. I do not drink diet stuff. It tastes gross and all those  chemicals cannot be good for you.
  59. I enjoy cooking things that take a long time. There is something very cozy about a pot or pan of something cooking away on a cold day.  Even better if there is some red wine to go along with the waiting. And a fire.
  60. When The Girl Child turns 16, the girls and I are taking her to Paris. I will probably cry when I see la Tour Eiffel.
  61. I am constantly wondering if I am doing this right.
  62. Top 5 things I make: chocolate cake, pot roast with mashed potatoes and brussels sprouts, pie, chili, lasagna. Cinnamon rolls. Chocolate chip cookies. OK, that’s 7. And odds are those 7 will change 5 minutes from now when I remember something else.
  63. Commercials sometimes make me cry. And those dang soldiers-coming-home shows.
  64. I sometimes wish I had straight hair. But then I suppose I would wish I had curly hair.
  65. I am lucky enough to know some very creative people.  They inspire me.
  66. Sometime this summer I am going to go to the U-District Farmers Market and get every single thing to make dinner that night.
  67. I am worried I will run out of time.
  68. I am happy every day to see our dog, Jack. Though I wish he would stay the hell off the couch.
  69. Owning your own business is hard, gratifying, stressful work.
  70. Not everyone is  a good person. But I give them the benefit of the doubt.
  71. I do not cheat at online Scrabble. But I am sorely tempted sometimes.
  72. The proper pant/shoe combination is critical. And socks with sandals are NEVER, EVER OK.
  73. I will never jump out of a perfectly good plane or off a perfectly good bridge.  If I need an adrenaline rush, I will buy a pair of shoes or a purse that costs more than $100.
  74. I am an optimist. But I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop.
  75. August 1 marks 24 years of being with The Geek.  Next month marks 20 years of marriage.  That seems like something old people say.
  76. 3/4 done.  I have a feeling the last 25 will be the hardest.
  77. Things I am currently looking forward to: a lovely wedding in Portland next weekend, 4 days in the San Juans, seeing Adele and the Birthday Weekend, and Labor Day in San Fran with drinks on the stoop.
  78. I have an ass-kicking sewing machine. I need to use its power for good. First up, a 20’s style cloche hat.
  79. If you like fantasy novels, may I suggest the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. Not my usual thing, but I am enjoying these.
  80. I know the difference between there, they’re, their and it’s, its, and you’re, your.  I try to be patient with people who don’t.
  81. I get tired of making The Boy Child practice guitar. I hope he will thank me one day.  As he accepts his Grammy award.
  82. Some days it’s fun to be out and about all day. Other days it’s all about fat pants on the couch and a big pot of something on the stove.
  83. I can trace my family tree back to a line of lords in Scotland.
  84. Jack knows the difference between “walk” and “park”.  If you say “park”, he will wait by the car to jump in. I think this is impressive.
  85. I can yell at my kids. Most of the rest of you cannot.
  86. Having dinner al fresco in Provence is on my bucket list.
  87. If I had the money, I would consider Botox. Apparently I frown a lot.
  88. Things I look for in thrift stores: dishes, art, textiles.  Sometimes clothes.
  89. Sometimes less is more. But not in my house, currently.  I am working on that.
  90. I have made many quilts. I have kept two.
  91. I do not understand my son and husband’s current obsession with guns. It scares me.
  92. I keep pinning things on Pinterest as a means of remembering them, but I forget to look at them again.
  93. I did not know garlic was something you grew until I was out of college. I thought it was something you shook out of a jar.
  94. Ditto spaghetti spices. I also thought Kool-Aid was good for you.
  95. Holy crap. 5 more to go.
  96. I wonder if my kids are making the memories I think they are when we go camping, or downtown, or to SF or the beach.
  97.  Sometimes I think it would be interesting to see myself as others do. Then I come to my senses.
  98. Voyeurs on social media sites aggravate me. Interact in some way. It’s not that hard.
  99. Both of my kids are named for fictional characters from the 60’s.
  100. “I love you” and “I’m sorry” should be in every parent’s vocabulary. And used.

If you read this entire thing, kudos to you.  Thanks for making it to 100 with me and putting up with the good, the bad and the ugly along the way.

good life

Wait for it…yep, nothing to complain about.

This past weekend we attended two long-anticipated weddings.  The Geek was a groomsman in one so we attended a few extra events for that.  For me, when there are big things looming on the horizon, I tend to let everything else fall by the wayside, like I just don’t have enough focus for other stuff.  But now that those events are over (and a great time was had by all!), I feel so much lighter!  And even kind of excited to have some free time to get back to house projects and daily life.  This weekend’s weather even reminded me that it is summer!

Sure, there are still lots of full weekends coming up – another wedding, camping, birthdays – but spread out so that we can still squeeze in some normal living.  And appreciate moments as they come.

I am appreciating lots of little things, like helping the Girl Child choose Uggs (saving her babysitting money) and the Boy Child actually practicing his guitar and doing some school work (OK, so he only does it to gain XBOX time; I’ll take it). Their rooms are still hot messes and will require some serious work before the birthday weekend but I am not stressing about it.

I’ve got a couple of little art projects in the works – which will require sorting of piles and purging of crap to make room for doing said projects.  I am actually looking forward to rediscovering my house.  After The Purge maybe I’ll finally get around to painting some trim and getting new rugs.

We are healthy, knock on wood. The Geek’s back is slowly improving.  I need to devote some purging time in the kitchen, and get us back on the healthier eating track.  So easy in a pinch to just crack the mac n cheese or get a pizza.  More fruits and veggies! More time in the farmers’ markets!

I’m looking forward to a couple of long weekend trips – one to SF to visit old friends and one to the coast with the girlies.    The best kind of trips – relaxing and hanging with people you enjoy, eating and drinking and walking.

Yep, I’m pretty full of myself these days.  It’s not like it’s perfect – haven’t won the lottery, house is still microscopic, inadequate in so many ways.  But it’s a  nice change from the sporadic chaos of the last few years. Maybe things are finally getting back on track?

Hope there is peace in your land, too.

good times

camp life

We spent the last four days at Grayland Beach State Park with some friends, old and new.  For the first time, we had to make camp in the rain – dislike.  And it POURED the whole night. LOUDLY.   Luckily by the middle of the next day, we got some dry time, enough to wander out to the beach with our chairs, trashy mags and cocktails.

Getting ready to go camping takes a lot of work and sometimes it’s stressful – the making time to get stuff done and bought and the loading of the car and sometimes the driving to get there.  But once we get there, I can feel the stress of everyday stuff melt away, reset.  Now it’s back to basics.  When and what to eat and drink, potty breaks, sleep. Repeat.

For some reason, this trip was especially stress-free – maybe it was being so close to the ocean.  Good group, kids having a great time, sans screened items even.  It makes me really happy to know that they will remember playing in the waves and the final night bonfire on the beach for a long time.  How they all got along and made up games only they knew the rules to.

I have some friends who “do not camp”.  Not sure why – lack of creature comforts? I enjoy a nice rental house as much as the next person, but I think when you camp you strip away that extra layer of civilization and get back to simple.

I need to figure out a way to get that simplicity in my everyday life.  It occurred to me that we rarely have cell phone service at campgrounds and I can’t update Facebook – dare I say that is why it’s so relaxing?!

For starters, I deleted TweetDeck from my phone.  That damn alert bird was driving me nuts. I rarely tweet, so why was I keeping it around?  I am playing around with Google + and may ease back on Facebook.  Gasp!

I really appreciate the zen kind of feeling I get while camping – it feels like floating.  And it’s not just the 10 am Greyhound. I get that same feeling when doing crafty things – so I need to make more of an effort in that area. Stop focusing so much on the everyday bullshit and more on everyday fun.  No reason we can’t make some good memories at home, too.

We head out for our annual trip to Spencer Spit on Lopez Island in about a month and the planning for that will start soon.  In the meantime, I need to get some itch cream for the fifty bug bites on my legs.  Should be an interesting fashion accessory at the two weddings I’ll be attending this weekend.

what i am

I am green-eyed, English-Danish-Irish-Scottish.

I am loyal. If  I like you, I  have your back.

I am not narrow-minded. Which would seem to imply that I am accepting of other people. This is true, unless you think Michele Bachmann is a viable candidate for President or you are going to the prayer event Rick Perry is hosting in Texas in a couple of weeks.

I am creative. I like to make things – things you can wear, hang, or eat.

I am not musical. At all. It makes me sad.  I do have an ear for languages. I once thought of being a U.N. interpreter. That was a long time ago.

I am catty. Sometimes.  It is a flaw.  But I’ve found most people are and if they say they aren’t, they are lying.

I am a good speller. It drives me nuts when other people are not.  Also, probably a flaw, and narrow-minded.

I am not ambitious.  I am motivated in certain areas, but that is not the same. If I were ambitious, I would apply myself and get a fancy job making beaucoup bucks.  I am too lazy.  Also cannot think of  a job I’d like that pays beaucoup bucks.

I am funny.  At least, I slay myself sometimes.  Which is handy, because sometimes it’s all I’ve got.

I am not precise, but I am detail-oriented. See:  spelling.  I never follow a recipe or pattern as it is written, but I can tell if something should hang in a certain place or make a schedule or pack a car.

I am honest.  To a fault.  Also, not diplomatic, though I can spin things like nobody’s business.  This is a problem with people I like, and where the loyalty kicks in.

I am not patient.  I want things done and done now.  I want you to see what I see.  Another flaw, I realize.  Also, see narrow-minded/ stupid people.

I am a worrier. Constantly. About things that haven’t happened and may never happen.  It is a time suck.  Oddly, I am not a pessimist.  I usually think good things will happen.

I am unforgiving. I am loyal til you fuck it up and then that’s it – game over.   Sometimes, we can move on and it becomes something new, but there is no going back.

I am an intro/extrovert.  I enjoy meeting new people, but it is work.  I will probably have a headache when it is over. My favorite people to be with are my family and closest friends, and sometimes even that is work.

I am protected.  It may not seem like I like you at first. It takes a while to get through, but once you do, you’re in. I will be honest but try to spare your feelings, I will help you when you need it, I will sometimes make you laugh, I will feed you and organize you.

I am complicated.

the great piecobblercake experiment

I have some friends who are fond of desserts.  When one was celebrating a recent birthday with a BBQ, I offered to bring dessert.  Pie, cobbler, cake, said I.  The cobbler won out, based on a previous showing.

But that seemed a little safe.  And it occurred to me that putting those three TOGETHER in one fine baked item would be a winning combination.  I pondered the logistics for a bit and came up with a plan of attack.

Really, it would all come down to the timing, I thought.  I’d use my favorite recipes for each component, and try to get them all to finish baking at the same time.  How hard could it be?!

At first, I planned to layer each thing – pie, filling, cake, filling, cobbler. But Mike pointed out that the cake might have issues rising.  More pondering. I decided to do pie, filling and then alternate cake/cobbler for the top.  Off to the races!

rhubarb - secret ingredient #1

The filling was blueberries and blackberries, with some rhubarb I happened to have on hand as the first secret ingredient.  The second was…cayenne pepper!  I threw some in with the sugar, cinnamon and tapioca, which thickens the filling.

I figured I’d need to blind bake the crust for a bit to make sure it cooked all the way. I hate doing that because no matter what I line the dish with, the sides slide down.

I baked it for about 20 minutes and added the filling.

tasty

I let THAT bake for maybe 20 mintues? Probably should have taken better notes….

And then I plopped down the cobbler bits (used the San Juan scone recipe here) and filled in around it with coffee cake batter.  Here is where the problem began.

I really thought the two toppings would bake pretty evenly, since the cake was in smaller sections. Not so!  That damn stuff took FOREVER to cook. I was worried about the cobbler pieces – I’m sure they were overcooked. I covered the edges with foil and hoped for the best.

I resisted the urge to sneak a bite before the party.  Packed the ice cream and off we went.

Well, I’ll be damned if it wasn’t dang good!  Next time – more cayenne. And a looser cobbler dough that will cook more evenly with the cake portion.  Here is the birthday boy enjoying his slice…

Piecobblercake. The best of three worlds.

someday

Yesterday, Mike From the East and I were discussing perhaps taking the families to Europe.  I said yes, I would like to do that.  Someday. And he replied that we are running out of “somedays”.  Slight panic ensued.

Well, crap. He is right. A birthday  will occur next  month that is roughly halfway thru a normal person’s lifespan.  I am pretty damn good at focusing on the here and now. Too good.  The someday stuff resides in the dusty corners of my brain.  The boring, not-fun-to-deal-with stuff like a new roof, an adjusting mortgage that we thought we’d have refinanced by now (buying in April 2007 will explain why that hasn’t happened), a car that may need to be replaced. But there is also a small corner where the good stuff lives.

My Here and Now list isn’t so bad.  Got the blog thing, where I do a little “writing”.  Finally went in that crazy Hardwicks store on Roosevelt. Family? Check. Good partner helping me raise two pretty awesome kids. Job? Boring office job giving me awesome schedule, and awesome bar giving me occasional heartburn – check.  Community? Best there is. So maybe it is time to dust off that someday stuff. Make it a little shinier and brighter.  Easier to see.

I have a board on Pinterest called “Someday“.  It currently is full of places I’d like to go. I don’t have a passport, even though I’ve wanted to travel since high school when I wanted desperately to be a foreign exchange student.  But that is expensive, it turns out, and so fell by the wayside.  No one I knew in college spent a semester abroad, either.  Then I got married and for some stupid reason, we never traveled out of the country when it would have been easy and financially feasible to do it. Luckily, I cooked up a plan to celebrate the Girl Child’s 16th birthday with the girls.  In Paris.  Three years to go.  One thing off the Someday list.

I should add some things to the Someday board. Pop-up camper perhaps? That family trip to Europe? A trip by automobile, maybe to Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon. Clean out the frakking garage and convert part to living space.  A garden dinner party. Take kids to NYC. Explore more, experience more.

The Geek’s back has been out for a week now, and he started feeling under the weather, cold or flu most likely. But he said “Maybe my time is up. I’m done”.  I highly doubt that, but he has always been a sky-falling kinda guy.  But what if that were true for me? So much left undone. Time to get a move on.

Now where are those passport applications…