Friday, October 26, 2012


Today I took Hannah to an orthodontist appointment at 9 a.m. Upon arriving at the office, the first thing I noticed was a grown man wearing pajama bottoms, a t-shirt with a coat over it, and flip-flops with socks. He was unshaven, clearly having just rolled out of bed (this was confirmed later when he mentioned to one of the office staff that he received a message that his appointment was earlier than planned so he "rolled out of bed" and hurried to the office so he wasn't late). And I call bullshit on that. How hard is it to throw on some pants? Shoes? Or take off the socks and just wear the flip-flops? Brush your hair?

I'm so sick of seeing people in their pajamas in public. It's not only the epitome of lazy, but it's also gross. I don't want your ass sitting all over chairs in public with your nasty pajamas on that you've probably been wearing four or five nights in a row, and have all your bed germs on them. Ew! Plus, are you going to just wear them home, lounge around in them all day and then crawl back into bed with them on? Sicko. Now they have "public" germs on them. Just wrong.

I hear my teenagers refer to it as "scrubbing." As in "I'm scrubbin' it today!" while wearing sweats, a sweatshirt, slippers that "double" as shoes because they have a semi-stable sole, and a "messy bun." Seriously? A messy bun is just another word for "bed head." We all know your hair is unwashed; pulling it up into a semi-bun and plucking out a few strategic strands does not disguise that fact. One time I went to my son's classroom wearing sheepskin slippers because I had them on at home, and ran out of the house before I realized I had them on, and not shoes. I was mortified. But then, I realized no one even noticed and they probably thought I was just "scrubbin'" that day.

I don't have a job where I have to wear fancy "work" clothes, but I do wear nice jeans, cute tops, matching jewelry. My day off, I live for my yoga pants, but I pair them with a nice top. I wouldn't be caught dead at the bus stop in flannel pajama bottoms and duck slippers; even when I stayed home and didn't "have to" dress for anyone or anything, I still put on real clothing and made an effort to tame my Medusa curls.

I mean, to each his own, but how hard is it, really, to just put on clothes and "get ready" for the day? I feel gross when I don't shower in the morning, and, although I'm a sport when it comes to camping with no showers, I live for baby wipes and a "spit bath" and nothing feels better than that first shower after a couple days in the camper. I don't know how people skip showers and wear the same clothes for days. Especially if you don't HAVE to.

Don't get me wrong - pajama day is fun! But not every day. And not in public. Especially if you're over the age of 18. Seriously. Just get dressed.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday - food shopping, lasagna and P90X

Today was a typical Monday. I guess. Work was good, even though I arrived ten minutes late for a very important meeting (I wasn't actually a part of the meeting - my job was to "watch" the student who's parents were IN the meeting). I would really like to know how I can leave my house at 7:45 a.m. and get to work at 8:10 a.m. but I can also leave my house at 7:25 a.m. and get to work at 8:10 a.m. Leaving early did NOTHING for me this morning and the back ups were way worse than usual. Ugh. So, I had to do the walk of shame into the principal's office and retrieve the child. Going to the principal's office never loses it's luster. Or dread.

So, after work I went grocery shopping. Which, how is it possible to need to go grocery shopping just a few days after you did "the big shop" and certainly had enough food for the rest of the month? I spent $300 on groceries last week and just spent another $200 today. Why do they need food EVERY day? Sigh. Also, it takes SO LONG to shop from a list and use coupons. I mean, I do it anyway, but I was in the store for an hour and a half! Ok, so I spent the first half hour or so looking at clothes and trying on bras. But still....... (oh, I should point out that I shop at Fred Meyer which is "one stop shopping" for those of you who wonder why we have bras in our grocery store).

I got home and made dinner. Jeff and I were proactive and made a lasagna last night so all I had to do was pop it in the oven, throw together a salad and warm up some garlic bread, right? WhatEVER. I sat down to eat at 5:30 - and it was the first time I sat down since walking through the door at 3:30. That's the thing about dinner. It takes so much TIME to prepare. UGH! And they didn't have any garlic bread. So, I had to use Italian bread. And put butter and garlic on it MYSELF. UUUGGGHHH. And.....make a salad. You have to wash the lettuce and tear it up.........just way too much work for a food that has no calories, therefore gives you no energy. This is why making cookies makes sense. Think of all the energy you get from cookies! Totally worth the work!

After dinner Jeff asked me to help him get ready to do the P90X program. He bought it off Craig's List. I rolled my eyes. But tonight he asked me to help him do the fitness test and take the silly "before" pictures. The book actually suggests poses. I love those before and after pictures because the person always looks so distraught and uncomfortable in the "before" but in the "after" they are smiling and flexing their muscles and (let's admit it) sucking their gut in! So, we took the requisite measurements and pictures and then started the fitness test. Just for fun, I did it, too, and I think we were both surprised at the results. Jeff did pretty well -exceeding nearly every test's minimum. But that's not surprising for a guy who's been fit all his life, rides his bike to work nearly every day, and does triathlons "for fun." What surprised me was that I exceeded nearly all the tests as well. Except for the chin up. Which I did exactly 0 of. What happened to the girl who used to swing from the monkey bars? Who did the cherry drop (three swings and a swooping drop) and the dead man's fall? I was fearless on the bars. Now, I can't even hang from the bars for fear my arms might actually rip from their sockets. Oh well. No chin ups. And the jumping jack test at the end........well, let's just say my sports bra was NOT intended for that kind of abuse. Holy hell, I had to resort to just running in place holding my boobs. Jumping jacks indeed. I do not jump.

After the test was over I asked Jeff if he was going to do the first workout or if we could just go to bed now. He said "bed." LOL! But what he did was take a shower, get some ice cream and THEN head to bed to read about the workout. If only it were so easy.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The "F" word..........

I thought the "F" word a lot today. As in, it's so "F"ing early, why did I stay up till 1:30 a.m? Or, I'm so "F"ing tired, how am I going to get through the next four hours with these kindergarteners? Or, I'm so "F"ing tired of driving all over the place every day. I didn't say it (much) but I thought it (a lot).

Today I got up at 6:30 (haha, set my alarm a half hour later so I could "sleep in") after going to bed at 1:30 a.m. And I was tired, of course. But off I went to work, and work was fine. After work, I ran home to get Hannah for rehearsal, barely making it in time to drop her off and pick up a friend's daughter to drop her off at her mom's school. After that I went home, checked my email, typed out a schedule for the kids' babysitting job, and ate two brownies. Then, I picked Hannah up and took her to get her student ID picture taken. The lady handed me a packet and I said, oh, I just want to get her ID card and she says, oh, that will be five dollars. And I thought the "F" word again, as in, those kids spent all my "F"ing cash and I forgot my "F"ing checkbook at home so now what? And she said, no problem, as long as I have it by tomorrow. And I thought, when will I have time tomorrow to bring you five dollars? And so we got the picture and left to go to the bank and get some cash. And of course, I got two twenties. So, I took Hannah to Taco Time which served two purposes: 1. to get her dinner because at that point, I knew there would not be time before driver's ed to feed her, and 2. to break the twenty. When I handed the money to the guy and said I don't care what change you give me as long as one of them is a five, he looked at the twenty, then at me and said, um, I don't know if I can do that and I had to explain to him that part of my change would be a ten and he could easily just give me two fives. He said ohhhhh like he still did not understand and he took a long time counting my change. And I turned to Hannah and said, stay in school! and thought who the "F" gets a job at Taco Time and can't make change?

So, then I took the five back to the lady at the pictures. And then I had to hurry home so Hannah could get her driver's ed book. And I thought, I really have to "F"ing pee right now so I took two minutes to do just that and then we hurried back into the car to pick up our carpool friend. And he took a few minutes coming out so I thought hurry the "F" up, kid. And then we headed to driver's ed. Only there was traffic and I thought we'd just take the shortcut I found a few days before but that turned into a long cut and the kids kept saying how they were going to be late and I thought, shut the "F" up, I'm doing the best I can. And they were late.

Then, I took the long cut back home, only this time I got lost even more and ended up way far away than I should have been and I thought, I "F"ing hate Mill Creek, that city never ends and it's not even a city but a bunch of expensive neighborhoods and roads that wind around and confuse you. And then I found my way back and pulled in the driveway just as my husband, who had been away all of yesterday and today on a crazy mountain hiking adventure, walked into the garage looking like a crazy mountain man with his backpack and all. And I thought what the "F"? But I didn't have time to talk to him because I had just enough time to get Arlie for her piccolo lesson. So, I headed back outside without so much as walking farther than the entryway and we drove to the lesson.

The lesson was an hour, during which time I checked my Facebook and Twitter on my phone and listened to notes so high I was sure the glass would break. And I thought, man, the piccolo is really "F"ing screechy. And I ended up writing a check for three more lessons (cha-"F"ing-ching) and we headed home. But we were starving by this time, because, you know, no dinner again, so I stopped at Little Ceasar's and it said "we have pizza hot and ready at 4 and 8 p.m." and it was 8:30 so I said, we're "F"ed. But we weren't. Because we got pizza. And breadsticks. And everyone was happy.

And, I thought, I am so "F"ing tired. I hate Mondays. "F" Mondays.

Driving Miss Daisy............

So, here's the thing. I hate driving. Like, with a passion. I don't mind, nay, I actually enjoy, driving around town and anywhere that takes less than an hour. But road trips? Fuggedaboutit. I love GOING on road trips, but only if I don't have to drive. When I am a passenger I enjoy cozying up in the front seat with my blankie and pillow pet and taking nice, long naps interspersed with a little scenery-watching and some gas-station trips that are a good excuse to buy Reese's peanut butter cups "for the road."

I recently took a very long road trip with my husband. 1400 miles to be exact. We spread it out over three days and it was lovely! The scenery! The adventure! I only took one nap! And I didn't drive a single mile. When I asked my husband why he brought me along on this trip if he was just going to drive the whole way anyway, he said "for the company." I'm good company. But I'm not a good driver. Not like that - I've only had two speeding tickets and no accidents since I got my license at age 16. So, I'm a "good" driver, but I'm not a happy driver. Not when it means going long distances and/or driving in bad weather.

For instance, tonight I drove 141 miles one-way to pick up my daughter. She was visiting her mom on the other side of the state and the destination is our "middle ground." Mapquest says it takes 2 hrs and 15 minutes to arrive at my destination. That was about right. What Mapquest doesn't say is that it will rain and blow wind most of the way, and my car will suddenly hydroplane, leaving me panicked and confused. Mapquest does not tell me that on the way home, I will drive through miles of construction where the lines are "temporary" and, with the blinding rain and lights, nearly invisible so that I'm not sure which lane I'm in and I have to rely on my 13 year old son telling me I'm not running over the "lines" into the other lane. Add to this my son playing "dubstep" music at full volume and I am in serious need of a cup of calming tea, a chauffer, and my blankie and pillow pet. Oh wait, I'm the driver. Guess that rules out Valium, too.

I just don't like the fact that I'm on the road, going 75 or more miles an hour, in bad weather (or not) and I'm responsible for not only staying awake the whole time (ugh) but also taking care not to injure or kill my passengers by doing something stupid like, say, drifting into the other lane when I can't see the lines on the road. Or hydroplaning into a semi truck. Those kinds of things haunt me. Not to mention being on deer alert. I'm always expecting a strapping buck to come springing across the road in front of me in the dark. What would happen? Would I punt him across the freeway? Or would one of his antlers impale my eye? These are the things I think about as I white-knuckle it down the freeway.

I can tell that long distance freeway driving in bad weather causes me anxiety by the fact that I was unable to eat my hamburger that we picked up on our way because it would require taking my hands off the wheel for 3-4 seconds. When I'm driving around town I can text, eat and change the radio station all at once (kidding....about the texting part. Except at red lights. Heh.) The thing is, I am normally a very relaxed driver. I'm aware, I don't get too distracted, I know my way around and I don't even panic when I'm in an unfamiliar city because I know that I can just turn around at the next light or stop at a gas station for directions. But when I'm on the open road? Where there's not "civilization" for miles? (And by civilization, I mean at least a couple of national gas chains and a McDonald's, if not a Starbucks or at least a 7-11). I imagine all sorts of peril. I feel the need to stock my car with three days' worth of canned food and water, snow chains, heavy gloves, an emergency kit and perhaps a gun to ward off the creepy guy who might stop to give me a hand while I stare at my flat tire because I've never changed a flat tire.

Full disclosure: my leg got tired driving tonight because I could not figure out how to turn on my cruise control. I've owned my van since 2007 and I have never used the cruise control. And even if I did figure it out, I'd probably tap my brakes so many times it would cancel out any benefit of the chance to rest my foot now and then. And because I didn't have it on cruise control, my speed fluctuated from 65-85. Yeah, I know. I'm THAT person. At least I tried to get out of the way when I saw headlights bearing down on me.

So, I started thinking on the way home - do I just need "exposure therapy" to get over this loathe of driving more than an hour on the road? Do I just need a few long road trips, or perhaps one hellacious 24 hour trip to, say, California, to make me say "aw, it wasn't that bad!" Or do I just embrace the fact that I hate driving and be content with my little old lady mentality to keep it to the side roads and stay inside when it snows? Is it in my budget to hire a nice man to drive this Miss Daisy?

Thank God for my husband who doesn't mind driving. And if he's not around? Next time I'll spring for a plane ticket for my daughter. Because the airport is only 40 minutes away.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Voodoo Donuts is black magic!

When we were in Portland, we went to Voodoo Doughnuts. This place is a Portland icon and sometimes the line is wrapped around the block with patrons eager to taste the likes of Triple Chocolate Penetration or Dirty Old Bastard. While the shop is unique and quirky, and the doughnuts certainly have interesting names, I found the result to be less than stellar.

I love doughnuts but I, like anyone, have my favorites. The Portland Cream was basically just a bismarck doughnut with little eyes drawn on it in frosting. The Triple Chocolate Penetration turned out to be a chocolate doughnut with chocolate frosting and Cocoa Puffs on top. Jeff and I shared a huge banana fritter drizzled with peanut butter and chocolate chips, and crushed peanuts. It was tasty, but messy. We decided we must bring home a dozen of these special treats and ordered an assortment, including one with pink sprinkles and a piece of Double Bubble in the center, and another citrusy one with what appeared to be orange jell-o sprinkled on top.

Honestly? I didn't think they were all that special. Nor did they hold up well. They were stale the very next day, when I took the "voodoo" doll one with me on my way to work. It was a basic chocolate-covered raised doughnut shaped like a ghost with a face and a "V" on it in frosting and a pretzel stick stuck in it like a pin (get it? Voodoo doll!). Besides being stale already, I was disappointed to see it was filled with red goo which tasted like raspberry and was entirely gross (I hate any version of "gloppy fruit"). The tastes I had of the other doughnuts were also just ok.

I think if you choose carefully, and eat them fresh, Voodoo Doughnuts would be yummy. But there's no way I'd stand in line for them for very long. As it was, we were there on a Tuesday mid-morning and the line was just spilling out the door. We waited about a half hour. The dozen doughnuts cost us $22. And the whole experience was just "eh".

I'd much rather have Krispy Kreme (the cream-filled, chocolate covered one is my favorite) or even Frost donuts - which I have never been all that impressed by. I guess I'm simple - I love a maple bar (plain, no bacon, thank you) or a chocolate bar, or even a good old-fashioned glazed. My favorite doughnut of all time was one from a bakery in my hometown that I can't even remember the name of. They had a cream-filled one (the cream tasted exactly like the cream-filled Krispy Kreme ones - which is not to be confused by the custard-filled ones that are entirely different), and it was dusted with powdered sugar. It was heaven! I probably only had one a handful of times but I still remember how delicious it was and have always tried to find a doughnut to replicate it (I never have).

Lesson learned: putting crushed Oreos or Fruity Pebbles on a doughnut and giving it a quirky name will not make it taste any better. Sometimes, simple IS the best.

Monthly update......

Wow! It's been a month since I blogged. Whaattt? It's Friday and I arrived home Tuesday from a most wonderful road trip. Jeff and I flew to San Diego to visit his Grandpa Vern. He's getting "on in years" as they say, and, at 91, can't get around as he used to. Jeff wanted to visit and help clean up the yard - basically do some of the chores that Grandpa once spent his days doing. We stayed in Grandpa's house and it was a lovely, no-stress, peaceful and quiet visit. We started our mornings early with breakfast of toast, tea and cereal, then Jeff would head out to do yard work or garage work while I "entertained" Grandpa (rather, he entertained me with all of his stories). Lunch was sandwiches, chips and fruit, and was a leisurely hour long. More work for Jeff in the afternoon while I did dishes and cleaned up and some more visiting. Then, an early dinner - once at Coco's, once at home, once we had no dinner because we had a late lunch.

Grandpa's house is like a museum. Not only is it filled with antiques and curiosities, but the stories that go along with them. Grandpa marveled at the fact that I could use my phone to look up the value of an ancient Bible, or the history of a certain item. I took pictures of everything - the house, Grandpa, even the bluebird he feeds daily and talks to. The weather was perfect and the sound of the birds every morning was uplifting. We also got to visit with Jeff's mom and stepdad, having lunch one day and a few games of Mexican Train dominoes. Jeff and I combed through a carport full of "treasures" slated for a garage sale, and found many keepsakes to bring home. Grandpa unloaded many tools and items from his garage and gifted them to Jeff to work on his truck. There was a lot of quality time spent, stories shared, relaxing. It was sad to leave, but after three days, we headed out on a long, long road trip in a 2000 Honda Accord that we took off Grandpa's hands.

Our first stop was Oceanside to see Jeff's grandma Jo. Oceanside is a beautiful town and I fell in love with the 1940's rental bungalows just across the street from the beach. I want to stay there one day! What a lovely vacation spot. We had brunch at a nice restaurant and visited, while Grandma Jo outlined a route for us to take up the coast. After stopping at a Mexican store for some authentic carne asada burrito tortillas, we dropped Grandma Jo off at her apartment and took some pictures. Then, we headed back on the open road.

I spotted a sign for San Juan Capistrano, and, having heard the stories of the swallows that return there every spring, I wanted to check it out. It was spectacular! A beautiful setting with a tragic story - the mission was built over nine years, stood for six, then collapsed during an earthquake, killing 40 parishioners. There is a new church behind the old mission, but the ruins remain for tourists. The flowers were amazing and the hummingbirds were everywhere! We spent about an hour exploring then hit the road again.

We headed up I-5 towards Los Angeles. We skirted the city, getting a glimpse of it's smoggy grayness, and a hazy view of the Hollywood sign, before detouring onto US 101 and then US 1 for a trip along the coast. The coast was beautiful, and we enjoyed miles and miles of ocean views and small towns before stopping once again near San Simeon and the Hearst Castle. I took pictures of the castle from the car, and we pulled over at the Elephant seal viewing area. The seals were really entertaining - for one thing, I had no idea the sounds they made. And another - watching them flop along the beach is so funny! The sun was setting so it provided a nice backdrop for the seals. My camera battery ran out right when I was taking sunset pics so I resorted to using my cell phone. It was cold and windy as we piled back in the car to return to the road.

We stopped in Salinas, CA where my former brother-in-law Robert and his two kids Kennedy and Johnathon, live. It was late, and I was worried they might not be able to see us since it was a school/work night, but they came out to meet us at a McDonald's off the highway. While we were waiting we ordered some food, and a homeless man asked us to buy him a sundae. We bought him a full meal and a sundae and he was on his way. We then went to In N Out Burger for shakes and Robert and the kids took us on a driving tour of the town in the dark, pointing out their house, the high school, etc. One of the highlights of the tour was seeing the building that used to be a brothel, featured in the book "East of Eden" by John Steinbeck (who hails from Salinas). By the time we were done visiting, it was nearly midnight and we opted to just stay at a Best Western across the street.

The next morning we had our free hotel breakfast (lame) and headed to Vacaville to visit my niece Justine and her family. The trip took about two hours inland and we arrived around lunchtime. Justine was sick, but we had a nice visit and I got to see my adorable nephew Kemer, who was just delightful! Such a friendly and snuggly boy. He showed us his water balloons and climbed into my lap for a story. I could have visited with him all day, not just the two hours we were there. Back on the road again, this time heading up I-5. The scenery was beautiful and we reached Mt. Shasta near sunset. In Roseburg, OR, we stopped at Abby's Pizza for a late dinner. We decided to drive as far as Eugene so the next day's drive would be a bit shorter.

We stayed in a Best Western again, this time in a huge room. We slept in a big the next day, then, after breakfast, headed to Portland (Beaverton) to visit Jeff's great aunt. Sadly, she was not at home, but we left a note and decided to go into Portland on a whim. We had visited there a couple summers ago and didn't get to a few things on our list of "to do". So, this time we went first to Muchas Gracias for a carne asade burrito for lunch, then to Voodoo Donuts, then to Powell's City of Books. That took up most of the afternoon and we didn't get on the road again till 4 ish. The rest of the drive was fairly quick up I-5 to Seattle, where we arrived home around 7:30 p.m. The car ran great, the gas mileage couldn't be beat, and we brought home a treasure trove of things from Grandpa's to love and admire and use.

The very best part of the trip, though, was that it was just Jeff and I and the open road. Plenty of time to talk, laugh, see the countryside and just be together. Often we just rode in silence and that was just fine. Other times we listened to old cassette tapes and relived our youth through the songs (we knew the car would likely have a cassette player rather than a cd player so we planned ahead). As it turned out, there WAS a cd player in the car - mounted in the trunk! Remember those days? LOL! Jeff drove the entire distance and I only napped once (anyone who knows me knows that I usually fall asleep within an hour of any road trip and spend most of my time "napping" during the ride - AND, I hate to drive long distances). Jeff even bought me a plush purple blanket and two pillow pets for the ride home. We didn't pack snacks - just a few water bottles and sodas - and we just stopped whenever we wanted to, ate when we felt like it, and had no real agenda or time frame (save for the three days we allotted for the trip). It was heaven! There was nothing stressful about the trip, no arguments ensued. It was just a genuinely good time with my best friend in the whole world. We realized we are happy to "just be" with each other and that is a very good place to be.

It was a great vacation. I can't wait to do it again! :)