great expectations

It’s been a struggle, people. A mighty struggle.

To put it plainly, I live with a 13-year old Girl and a 10-soon-to-be-11-year-old Boy. There is  a whole lot of stuff going on in their little heads lately, is all I can think.

The Girl Child has been busted twice recently for lying, and likes to be rude when she knows better. This morning she had not made her lunch when it was time to leave. I dared to  suggest she get up earlier or spend less time changing her shirt (40 minutes?! really?!), and then it was on with the rudeness.  I ended up saying nothing and leaving on my own, though I did wait at the bus stop to make sure she made it.

The Boy Child has unexplainable freak-outs. Yesterday, he showed me his birthday list, which had only three things on it, so I suggested he add some other things to it. Since, you know, odds are more than 3 people would like to get him a gift.  He completely lost it. Tore up his list, declared he didn’t want a birthday, threw stuff out of his room, rolled around on the floor.  It was nuts. A mark of how nuts: he threw NIGHT NIGHT into the hall.  Night Night slept with me.

I KNOW there are hormonal and pre-teen demons at work here. I’m reasonably sure they are good kids.  But GOOD LORD, this stuff is exhausting. I also know we are not the only ones with these demon children – I am pretty sure there is a support group for it, and it’s called vodka.

I know they are stretching new muscles and finding their way, dealing with stresses we know nothing about. I refuse to give in and be bullied by my own kids. I  expect them to be part of a family where we respect each other and try to be nice, for crying out loud. To be responsible for fixing the hurt they cause with the words they say without thinking.

I know the day will come when they turn into people who can control their emotions, maybe not say things that make no sense when you suggest a new morning routine or more birthday presents. I fear it will not be soon enough.

In the meantime, make it a double.

a family photo, back in the day

like the wind

I debated writing about this. Seemed like it might be jinxing the whole thing, setting me up for failure.

And I can think of a few people who will get a big chuckle out of it. Luckily, the few that already know are very supportive, so I am going for it.

I am 5’7″, about 135 pounds. When I was pregnant with my first kid, I think I was about 120. I’ve always been pretty lucky in not having to diet, but I wouldn’t mind losing about 10 pounds to make the fat pants a little looser. They shouldn’t be “fit just right pants”.  I’m also 44, which means the pounds are starting to creep on, especially in the middle. My mom always said my metabolism would catch up with me at 30, so I guess I got a few extra years.

I am probably one of the least athletic people you will ever meet. Seriously.  I was always the  last person picked for any team. I once got injured playing AIR HOCKEY, for crying out loud.

But last Wednesday, I started the Couch to 5K Running Plan.  I’ve done 4 of the workouts now. It’s basically a gradual plan mixing short spurts of running/jogging with walking, working up to 3 miles of running by the end of two months, doing 3 workouts a week.  Yesterday was 5 minutes of walking to warm up, then 90 seconds of jogging followed by 2 minutes of walking repeated 6 times and 5 minutes of walking to cool down. I have the app on my phone so it keeps track of what to do when.

I tried this running thing a couple years ago, just kind of making it up as I went with my own jogging/walking thing. A) I really need the app to keep me on track and B) I tried to walk Jack the first time around. Fail.  Killed my knees zigzagging back and forth with him.  This time, no Jack.

I have to say, it feels good. Yes, it’s only been a week. The knees are a bit sore but I am working on strengthening them.  They’re a little wonky anyway since they turn in; I have vague recollections of braces as a little kid. I also bought these yesterday, thinking it would help me run with better form, i.e. landing mid-foot instead of on the heel. I’m not ready to do the barefoot thing, since I “run” on the streets around my house, but the lighter weight, more neutral heel does seem to help.

I definitely can see myself sticking with it, which I could never say before. It helps to have my own personal running gurus – ladies who have done this for much longer and more seriously than I probably ever will. I am grateful to C, L and D for letting me pick their brains and words of encouragement.

With a little luck, maybe swim suit season won’t be so horrifying next year. And if I can do it, god knows anyone can.


Fall around here usually means rearranging for  more guests indoors, which is no mean feat. The options for moving furniture around in a house this small are limited, but I’d go nuts if we didn’t change things up somehow.  Since we’re hosting the first monthly Dinner Club next Saturday, and Nerdpocalypse at the end of the month, it was time.

Between that and laying around drinking wine in my fat pants on Friday night, I am especially appreciating my tiny house. In the winter, it is warm and cozy (come springtime, I will call this claustrophobic). In the summer we spend so much time outside we tend to forget the good stuff inside.

I may not have a dishwasher, but I have about 20 times more cookbooks than this  and lots of utensils to turn out good stuff warm our bellies.

And nothing is more civilized than cocktail hour when the guests arrive. Dinner Club guests will be enjoying an apple-themed gin cocktail. I should probably test it first.

We bought this table BRAND NEW from Room & Board when we moved in. Because the dining area is narrow, we needed a narrow table.  It definitely has some dings (and glitter and paint) but it is well-loved. We’ve had some great meals with friends, made a few quilts and wedding gifts there.

Most of the art on the walls is old, found in thrift stores and garage sales, the exception being some special photographs by friends.

I have an (some would say) unhealthy affection for tschockes.  Sylvia Hood owl from the Rose Bowl flea market, glasses from Jay for our 20th.  Love.

Owl bookends from the weird little flea market in Pioneer Square.

We may not have a dishwasher but we do have a sweet fireplace that The Geek trimmed out all by himself. Makes the Friday Night Fat Pants extra cozy.

One of my favorite spots in the house – yes, it does mean I had to cram a cool mid-century desk in the living room. Craft central.

Is there a mountain of clean laundry in the bedroom and nowhere to put it? 3 piles of books and magazines waiting to be purged? Did I have to stuff the Ikea chair in the Boy Child’s room until after Christmas so I could move the couch? I admit it is so.  Do I wish we had a basement at least, for escaping the family and house guests? Hell yes, I do. A bigger kitchen? Another bathroom? Maybe someday.  But for now, this 980 SF is big enough to fit us and more stuff than is sane.  We manage to squeeze people in for food and drinks and make it work. Most importantly, we squeezed this guy in.

Right now, he wants me to go make him some meatloaf.  Well, I’ll let him smell it anyway.

girls gone coastal

I sit here typing this with a glass of red wine. Fitting, really.  I’ve just returned from a long weekend at Heron Hollow with 5 other ladies. Organized by Danielle, we took over a house in Ocean Park, near Long Beach.  I knew 3 of them, had met one only  briefly, and never met the sixth. We arrived armed with plenty of wine and liquor, and proceeded to have a splendid time.

Some of you may suspect the truth, that I am an extroverted introvert.  Meeting new people is both exciting and terrifying to me all at once, and even being with people I know usually causes some anxiety. Wine and booze helps. I worry about saying too much or not enough. About not pulling my fair share. I am basically a neurotic mess.

But I do love the ocean.

It is calming and immense and wild all at the same time. We got a bit of sun and some crazy rain.

Ocean Park is a cute, little beach town, which is hard to find on the Washington Coast. It was settled in the late 19th century and has some very quaint old houses. It also has Jack’s Country Store.

Odds are, if you can’t find it here, you can’t find it anywhere.  They have food too (but oddly no seafood).

As if that weren’t good enough, this wee tiny town also has a YARN store!

I also scored a cool old book at the used book store that will be turned into something. But mainly, it was about things like this.

And eating. Dancing. Mr. Darcy. Lots and lots of knitting and reading. Wine. Silliness and general doing of nothing that was not decided on the spur of the moment.

Several of the girls are runners. As are most of my stitchers.  Maybe it’s time for me to revisit that idea. Wouldn’t that be something.

But for now, there is a little peace and scenes like these.