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I have been quite lucky in my life when it comes to the friends department. Sure there are a few that come to mind who were not the nicest, most thoughtful people (read: bat shit crazy pathological liar weirdos), but really only a few. Today I'm going to tell you about a few of them.

This is the story of the gang. They come from a time long ago, in a land far away.

R, C and E we will call them. Just in case one (or all) of them wants to remain webland anonymous.  R, C,  and E (that's me) were attached at the hip.  It was a time in our lives where transition was the norm. Moving into high school and all the social barriers, clubs, groups, cliques, gangs - all of that made for a rude awakening to me for sure, I suspect for them too. I don't think that given our normal every day lives we would have necessarily found one another. I've never talked this over with them so I can only speak for myself, but I have decided that we worked as friends because we were all trying to figure out just who the hell we were and saw something in the others that we really loved or aspired to be. That is at least how I see them.

R. C, and E had all left their old little gang of friends from jr. high. Not maliciously or even with intent I think. It was just that time where you branch out. Those childhood friends were still there, but more on the fringe. We were three.

The little unlikely gang became one of the best, most loved times in my life. I was too young to know how special it was then. I really only learned to appreciate it when I grew up and learned you don't share your deepest, darkest secrets and wishes with just everyone. And if you do take the risk and share, most people won't understand, appreciate or commiserate with you. You have to find the right people at just the right time for this dynamic to work. For us the time was short lived because I moved away and it was hard to maintain that level of closeness when you're hundreds of miles away. A phone call is just not the same as lying on a bedroom floor listening to The Smiths and talking about the futures we saw for ourselves at the time. My life changed drastically and I couldn't keep up with the lives they were living back at home. So I lost them. Not permanently of course and they even came to visit a few times. But I lost that extremely special and unique connection. They moved on and into different friend groups, went on to college and so did I.

I can look back now and still appreciate how wonderful it was, that one year of growth and discovery (I like alternative music? Really? Really.) and just plain honesty. When you are a fourteen year old girl there are not many people you can be honest with. Someone will always judge you or tell your stories or even mock you. Not R and C. They were solid, good friends when the vast majority of the people surrounding us were so insecure they would hunt down the flaws in others to expose them. Typical teen behavior of course, but that doesn't make it any more easy to deal with. You've seen Mean Girls right?

Today I saw a picture of R and C and it nearly made me cry. Not because I lost them, but really because I found them. I still have all these wonderful memories in my head. Watching SNL (is that the age where everyone discovers SNL?) and staying up way too late talking about our love lifes or lack of. Dealing with those first questions of "Should I, shouldn't I?" when it came to boys and intimacy (A blow job? What in the hell is that and why?) Listening to the Beatles when we were in good moods, The Cure when we weren't. Scribbling things on our converse high tops. Trying to fly under the radar when it came to being social with others.

I look back at those times with a subjective mind and think, "God that was kind a difficult time. So much change, uncertainty and lack of direction". I'm sure there were days back then where I though it was the most awful time in my life, certainly if it had not been for R and C. And yet, now I can also look back and think "What an amazing time!" I got to learn to branch out and try new things, make new friends. It felt so free, and really it did. I can remember that feeling. I felt free to be me, no matter. What a gift and for that I am so grateful.

Call me Joan

Two weeks ago I started a writing class. My first step in realizing my dream of actually completing and sharing one of the stories that have been rolling around in my head. I've had it on my List of Good Intentions for a while and decided that as they year wrapped up it was time to take action.

In a moment of bravery I registered. In another moment of boldness I showed up to class. Then I got really courageous and actually read my story idea out loud to the twelve people in my class. I was terrified and could hear the waver in my own voice as I did it, but I did it. 

I have a bit of social anxiety. Large groups, new people, putting myself out there, well it freaks me the &*%$ out! I get shaky, sweaty and then I begin to come up with any excuse to not participate. I am the master of excuses.Years ago I wouldn't even send a salad with a hair in back to the kitchen for fear of being noticed. I skipped one too many classes in college because I just couldn't deal with being the center of attention for even the two minutes required to read my homework out loud. People who know me might think it's nuts. I have no issue being the center of attention in a crowd of people I love and adore. Add strangers though and I become the perfect little wall flower.

So despite being the worlds biggest scaredy cat and nearly convincing myself that I didn't actually need to take the class, I went. I went and I read and it was exhilarating as well as frightening. In the end people liked my idea and asked positive, thought provoking questions. Phew. I survived. I was rewarded with a feeling of accomplishment. I guess you could even say I was proud of myself. Wimpy little Erin pulled off a brave moment. Call me Joan of Arc!

It certainly helps to be sitting in a class filled with other book lovers who also have a story to share. Let me tell you, if you like to read, and we can all learn to write these books and then somehow get them published, this group will give you some kick ass reading material. Amazing stories being tossed around our little circle of trust (that's what I call it now, I haven't shared that with any of them yet).

Next week we get to work on the structure and scenes of our stories. I'm really excited to start this. It feels like real progress on a long ago, sometimes forgotten dream.

Cheering Squad Reports for Duty

Sunday was the 40th Portland Marathon. Charity ran it because she's crazy like that. We go cheer her on because we're awesome like that. This year it was a bit drizzley and wet. Not ideal for spectators but it's exactly what I would have wanted to be running in.

We took up our normal spot at mile 18ish. Just after everyone comes over the St. Johns Bridge. At this point you can see people starting to hit their walls. I can't even imagine running that far and these poor souls have 8 more miles to go! But they preserver.

Every year we make signs for Charity but this year I decided to make one for everyone. After running my half this year I now know just how important a cheering section is and if I can be that for someone who might be struggling why not? So I made a giant hot pink sign that said "Go Complete Stranger Go!" It was a hit! Josh held it for most of the time we were out there and he was the ideal sign holder. When people would ask if it was for them he'd yell back, "I made it just for you!" It brought a lot of laughs and smiles to that section of the race. Josh was having so much fun we pretty much had to drag him away from the course so we could go meet Charity at the finish line.

Honestly we all had a good time. I think we'll do this on years Charity doesn't run too. Of course when she's running she will always get a special sign :)

You can see the side we made for the other runners as Charity comes up on us! Go C-Dogg!
Yes, it's three months early...but I'm planning Christmas anyway. Just the thought of Christmas put me in a better mood today so I decided that while nearly three months away, it is not too early to look at and plan some things that would make me and others happy.

A book worth reading - Gone With a Handsomer Man

Fall is now here, wind blowing colorful leaves around, rain is in the forecast, the temperatures have dropped. This means a few things to me. Time to get the apple cider out and time to stock up on fantabulous books for lazy Saturday afternoons. My absolute favorite way to spend a blustery fall day is on my my couch with a fluffy blanket, a fluffy dog, and a fun book. I tend to read things that are a little lighter in the Fall and Winter. Many stores call them "Beach Reads" and they are meant for vacations, but I need that little pick me up, fun times, story when the sunshine has left me. They are my vacation from the dreary outside.

A book I just read and thoroughly enjoyed was Gone With a Handsomer Man by Michael Lee West. Set in the South and full of delicious cake baking this little mystery was a joy to read. I loved the main character Teeny and all the challenges she faced. Plus she loves to bake so I could relate to her instantly. Thinking her life if perfect Tenny starts off in a really good place, only to have it all fall apart rather quickly. Accused of murder Tenny has to stay afloat in a flood of bad circumstances. From her terrible fiance, to his crazy aunt and the handsome lawyer Teeny reconnects with, the characters stay interesting and the story gets more and more intriguing.  I found myself smiling on more than one occasion and I didn't want to put it down. That's the sign of a good book.  A cross between chick-lit, mystery and contemporary fiction I think it would appeal to a lot of people and it gets a thumbs up from me. Perfect book to snuggle in with on a rainy afternoon!

Growing Pains

I have, in the last few months really been making an effort to watch myself and be aware of my actions. I'm more aware when I have a snarky comment and can sometimes catch it before I just blurt it out for all the world to hear. I can also remind myself to pause and think about a better well thought out response to conflict and/or important issues. Sometimes I just randomly realize I've done something wrong and think about the best way to handle it in the future or how to make amends for it right then and there. I suspect this is me becoming and adult. A real, honest to goodness adult.

That frightens me to some extent because that means I'm getting old right? Yikes! I don't wanna. I mean it. I want to stomp my feet and pout and throw a tantrum like a little girl in the Barbie aisle at the toy store. I don't want to be old.

On the other hand, these things I've been doing and noticing make me like myself better. So maybe it's good I get old? Ack did I really just type that?

I've thought about it a lot these days. Maybe growing up and being adult means that you get to be a better person, so you can enjoy life and the important things a bit more. Kind of like when you were a wee lass. You know when the most important part of your day was staring up at the sky to pick animals out of clouds and giving or getting hugs from loved ones. Telling your friends at preschool that you missed them because you really did. Just letting your heart lead you.

There seems to be this middle phase that starts about the age of 10 (for me at least) when things become more important and social structure makes you a meaner, bitter person just for self preservation. Middle school and high school can be hard yo! So you build up these walls, you make friends but you also sometimes do and say things to them that you know are not right. You know it. You may make yourself feel better by saying you were justified because your feelings were hurt or they made eyes at Robbie Jackson even though they knew you totally had a mega crush on him. In girls this is where Mean Girl Syndrome sets in. I am not a boy so I can't speak to the subject of mean boys but I bet they exist. Probably dressed in camo and fighting over G.I. Joes and later girls in bikinis.

Anyway...where I was going is that I think my becoming a bit more adult has allowed me to move past some of those Mean Girl tendencies. This is the benefit of being an adult. I get to be nicer. I also get to pay more attention to the things in life that really matter, just like I did when I was six. This has lead to some guilt though. I think back and know that I wasn't always the best person I could be. Sigh. I have been a bit of a snarky beyotch at times. My only hope is that those people I was snarky or just downright mean to understand this whole growing up thing and realize we're all a little like that. Kids (even in their 20's, 30's and yes sometimes in their 40's) do stupid things.

Just today I reached out an olive branch to an old friend who I was less than awesome to. In a tit for tat world she'd hurt my feelings and me, being the oversensitive cry baby I am made too big of a deal about it and in turn made myself into the real asshole. Yay me for being able to screw things up even more in the blink of one mouse click. This is one of those adult lessons I'm talking about. Yes she hurt my feelings. No I didn't deserve that. But should I have been awful back? No. I should have let it be. I don't have to be a doormat, but I also don't have to be a hurtful person. She has the right to ignore the olive branch I've extended or even take it and smack me around with it. But I'm going to forgive her and myself for being stupid kids. Regardless of the outcome I know now that I made the effort to fix it and I did so in an adult manner. That makes me feel a little better. It took me the better part of a year to get here though.

Man this growing up thing takes a lot of energy and time.

I think I need a nap now, with my favorite blankie. 

The last few days...

have been busy. 

Quick photo recap.

We went on a boat. Scott even got to steer a little.


We had a birthday party for the twins.


These cucumbers appeared in the garden. Then I made them into pickles!




Garden Time...again

Out in the garden tonight I found myself humming a tune from Science Camp (Outdoor School for you Oregonians).  The sunshine is out, the temps are up (from 50!) and it feels like summer might really be here. 'Bout freaking time!  

Sing it with me!

Dirt made my lunch,
Do, do, do, dooo
Dirt made my lunch, 
Do, do, do, doo
Thank you dirt, thanks a bunch, 
for my salad, my sandwich my meat my munch,
'Cause dirt, dirt made my lunch!


Curl of a cucumber vine


Hanging on for dear life


And of course a little cucumber. One day when he's all gown up he'll live in a pickle jar! And then in my belly!


Didn't want to leave the tomatoes out...


Putting it out there

I've heard so many people say that just putting it out there is the first step. That making the people around you and the universe we live in aware of your needs/desires will make your vision possible. I hear people pray to God for help in these matters, finding your place, your bliss, your path. I think we all at one time or another look to some thing, some one, to help guide us to that sweet spot. I have lately, very much so, been wishing to find my path. I am actually quite blessed to know what my path should include. I have at least a little direction. However I don't often express that or share it out loud.

Sure, people who know me well will have already guessed that I wish I had a job (or no job if that was possible) that allowed me to be more creative. One that let me design stationary or plan small parties, one that let me bake and craft and put smiles on peoples faces. I find that I am most content when I am able to do these things. So yes, some people probably already know that. But maybe the universe doesn't. Maybe God doesn't. So I'm going to make more of an effort to put it out there. I don't know what that means yet. I don't know how to start, but I'm going to try and be aware and that's the first step. 

I have no idea what sort of job I've described above. I can find pieces of it in other jobs but they don't always fit me so well. Like teaching. I love kids but seeing as we can't have them it would be hard for me to be around them all the time. I know this about myself.  Going to culinary school to become a pastry chef has crossed my mind, but I'm not sure that is where my path really should go. I love to make cupcakes and sugary treats but I don't want to do it all the time. Maybe I'll be a master gardener, but just that one thing seems so limiting. So there is something to be figured out here...what sort of job/life am I looking for? Honestly I want to be a crafty, sweets making, photo taking, book reading/writing fairy godmother. Where does one apply for that?


Bibbity, bobity, boo..

I will think and pray on this, put it out to the universe and see if my path can somehow be redirected.

Please note for the record: I do like my current job. It's a pretty sweet gig, but it rarely includes paste, glitter, sugar, frosting and or adorably wrapped presents. 

Jam on!

Earlier this year when I planted my veggie/fruit boxes I made a plan to make jam. I've never made jam so it seemed quite daunting until I did a little research.

Tonight my jam plan came to fruition. Fruition. Ha! I crack myself up. Ok, anyway back to the jam.

It's DELICIOUS! I used a less sugar recipe so it would be more fruit forward and it worked perfectly. It set up just like it was supposed to and right now my jars are cooling on a rack. I'm just waiting for tell tale POP to know they are all sealed up.

I had no idea I could make jam so easily and succesfully. Now I want to jam all sorts of things. Sadly Scott doesn't eat jam so if I keep jamming it's possible it will go to waste...guess I'll have to find some jam fans and share. 
Strawberries from our garden. I had to add to this, but I was happy I could use some of my own!


Adding the sugar and pectin mix!
Stir. Stir some more. Then stir a few more times for good measure.

Hot bath!

JAM!   


Now I need some nice fluffy biscuits to eat with it...


Oh! I just heard a lid pop! Success!

Back in the skinny saddle again...

Sometimes when I'm cooking and the recipe calls for mozzarella I like to repeat the word over and over in a horrible fake Italian accent. It's a fun word when you drag it out in that accent. The Italians really know how to name cheese. Moooozzz-ahh-relllaaah! Try it. Roll that "r". Fun right? Pecorino is fun too. But don't try to sound all authentic like Giada. It's more fun if you intentionally try it with a horrible impression.  Even better if you raise your hands up at the end of the word for extra emphasis.

My those are some nice mozzarella balls you have there.

Night before last I got to do this. I tried a new recipe for Low Fat Baked Ziti. I used penne pasta instead, and I added sausage to it. Scott will moan and groan if his meals don't have some form of meat in them. This is why he never takes me to Sweet Tomatoes (Soup Plantation/Fresh Choice for you Californians), even though I absolutely love it there and crave their Tuna Tarragon on a daily basis. I am totally deprived people. Completely. But back to the baked penne.

It was delicious and so so easy and yes it had the mozzarella.

I've decided to go back to my healthy eating plans since I won't be running 15-24 miles a week any longer. Not running so much means not burning gobs of calories. Cutting back to 9 miles a week will significantly reduce my burn so I had to look for other ways to stay (get) fit. 

One of the ways I'm doing that is perusing, printing and preparing  recipes from www.skinnytaste.com . There are some AMAZING options over there. I print out new ones all the time and I now have quite a stack to get through. I've made five or six of her recipes and they always turn out smashing! I even ate spinach last night and it was delicious. You know my displeasure with vegetables in general so this is pretty awesome news.

I'm back in the saddle again...hopefully a skinnier one soon. No more eating cake pops even though they are totally rad. Fruit instead because it's rad too.

YeeHaw!

Fun with cake!

A few years ago I attempted a baking adventure that didn't really go so well. I blame the fact that I was on crutches, and baking while unable to stand on your two feet can be limiting. Especially when dealing with melted candy that needs to be kept at a fairly constant temp. So the first attempt at CakeBalls was a disaster. They were tasty, but looked so unappetizing I didn't let anyone but Scott see them. I'd link you to the blog post about it but I just reread it and it's quite whiny. I was obviously frustrated by my broken ankle and the disaster that took place in the kitchen that day. No need to really see that recap when you can see the awesomeness that happened in the kitchen today!

You guys!! Have you heard of Bakerlla? If you have not you should go check out her site www.bakerella.com 



 I would also highly recommend that you purchase her book HERE  if you like to bake or you like cute things, or you like tasty treats that make people smile. It is also available in your local bookstore which is how I purchased it because I didn't want to wait for shipping.

I sat down last night and went over all the things I'd need to get started and read all the tips and tricks. The book is really amazing. Pictures of everything. I love books with pictures.

Then, this morning I baked!

Just a box of cake and some frosting, my little helper Olivia at my feet, balls made, time to dip!

The finished product!


Yumminess!


This was the trial run for some Super Mario Shroom pops I'm going to make for my niece and nephews birthday party. I think I'll be able to pull them off now. The trouble will be not eating them.
I thought about typing up a full race report for you (is there anyone even reading these??) but then figured just some highlights would be good enough. No one needs to know that my feet went completely numb at about mile 4 and didn't get back to normal until we hit mile 5. Oh wait, now I guess you know anyway ;)


So yes, I ran my very first half marathon yesterday.

Let's start with some positives:

- We finished the course in less than 3 hours. That was my goal. It's nice to meet a goal you're not quite sure you're capable of.

- The course is beautiful! Parts are in farm land, rolling hills of grass and big red barns on the horizon, parts are in areas that feel like a forest, deep woods with tall trees, ferns, SHADE! Really a stunning place to run.

- I didn't die. Nope, I didn't. Hence me here typing right now. I didn't even hurt myself! I'm sore today but normal long run soreness. Even my hip flexors behaved. Hips + hills = lotsa pain...usually. Perhaps it was adrenaline? Perhaps my hips are used to the beating? Perhaps He intervened on my behalf? Even my allergies held off until we were done.

- Scott and Cheryl and Aaron came out to cheer us on. Due to multiple road closures they had trouble getting close to most of the course so picked a spot where we had about a 1/8 mile left to run. It was the perfect spot. I was starting (not really, it started well before 1/8 miles left) to drag and was even feeling a bit pukey from being so hungry. Charity had already said "When we get to the white gates we're just going to run and not stop", I'm sure my need to walk was frustrating her. But  then I saw Scott and Aaron holding signs and I just felt better. I started to run and didn't stop. Into the stadium we went. Cushy ground in there! Hooray! And we finished. Running, nearly sprinting. It's amazing what speed you can find when you can see the end.

Now for the challenges (yes challenges, not negatives):

- Hills. I know everyone knows about the Helevtia Half Hills. It's par for the course. Hahahahaha, get it, the course. Yeah I crack myself up. So yeah, hills. There are a few of them. I don't run them often. See above hip flexor comments. I didn't exactly train for these. We walked up them. I would try to run up the starts and just lose all energy. Had I been able to run more of them our time would have been oh so much better. Next time. Wait. I did not just type that. I don't intend on there ever being a next time. At least for Helvetia.  Dudes, I am not a runner. I am a reader/gardener/baker. Next time....pffft.

- Hitting the wall. Somewhere between mile 9 and 10 I hit it. My brain had been mush at mile 8.5 when I turned to Charity and said "We only have a 5k to go!" You should have seen the look on her face when she took pity on me and explained that, no we actually had about a 10k to go. Ability to do math lost at 8.5. Another mile or so later and I was tired. The sun came out and it zapped the little energy I had left. I wanted to conserve some for the finish so we walked more than I would have liked. That was frustrating.

So that's the story morning glory. Yep, only two challenges that are signifigant enough to mention. If I ever run another half (there is a plan for the Princess Half in Orlando right now) it will be better because I'll know what to expect.

I do take a few things from this experience.

1. If I decide that am going to do something, no matter how improbable, it is possible.  It is extremely rewarding to know you can do something so physically demanding, even when you are an out of shape, former mediocre athlete. Seriously folks, if my fat ass could do this, yours can too. Not that you have a fat ass. I'm just saying, well you get it.There were people on that course with broken arms and canes!! As an able bodied human I have no excuse not to be out there getting my exercise on.

2. Running is not really the most evil thing on the planet as I had previously thought. Pollen has now taken top spot in that category. But running, well it can be enjoyable. When done in moderation and not in an all out, hurt yourself, kind of effort. Slow and steady actually feels nice, up to about six mile...

3. I have some really kick ass friends. Charity, who is a runner, a real honest to goodness runner, stayed slow and steady with me right from the get go. She was right when she told me that if you have to do this kind of training alone you will probably stop. There is accountability involved but also the shared misery comradery in completing something so grueling.  Not everyone would hang in the back with you and stay patient when they could surge ahead and have fun passing all the slow pokes. Cheryl and Aaron are pretty darn awesome for coming out to cheer us on too (Scott gets points too but he's my husband so it was kind of required). It's a drive out there, it's a few hours out of a gorgeous day to find a spot then stand and wait with signs. I don't know if people really understand how much it means to have people on the sidelines. It's HUGE! Scott (you didn't think I'd leave him out did you?) was a constant support. He let me bitch and moan, but never once made any comment that would imply he didn't think I could do it. In fact, when I wanted to skip a long run it was just one look from him that said "Get out there, you can do this". So yeah, I have some pretty awesome people supporting me. Imagine what else I could do with that kind of support???

I plan to back off from the running for a week or so, maybe just a few itty bitty runs for a few weeks, then head back into some longer runs topping out at 6 or 7. Just to stay in shape. It's so much more work to build up to that, better just to maintain it.  But now I won't bore you (if there is anyone still reading this!) with running stuff all the time.

My finishers medal! The whole reason for agreeing to this in the first place!


Okay, so this was a huge post...so much for keeping it short and sweet with highlights! I gots the word vomits!

How does your garden grow?

The sunshine came out on Friday and just about everything under it bloomed! My little pollen sensitive nose and eyes are quite upset at the moment. My face looks like Will Smith in Hitch when he has the allergic reaction. You know, puffy, gross. General ickyness. Here let me remind you what he looked like.



Okay, maybe I'm not quite that bad but this morning I couldn't open my eyes for the gunk in them and my head felt like it went to a college kegger party without me. Stuffed up and dripping snot at the same time. I'm pretty. Pretty pathetic! Damn the pollen.


So yes everything is in bloom, and while this means I am itchy and agitated, it also means the garden is looking A-MAZE-ING! I took pictures to share. The colors outside just make me so happy. Natures pallet is simply stunning. Colors so vibrant and rich.

The five minutes I spent outside taking these pictures resulted in a sneezing fit to rival all sneezing fits. I had to sit down because I thought I might knock myself over. Twenty-seven sneezes. When Sneezy the Dwarf retires I think I can safely apply for his job.



Pistachio Petunia (this might rival Lantana for my new favorite plant)



Raspberry Petunias


Vining Rose


Pink Peonies (these are now about three weeks behind!)

Tomato plants have blooms! That means we're going to have maters!

Strawberries! Hip hip hooray! We've got oodles and oodles of them!

We've installed a little Urban Fairy door. Hopefully a nice little fairy will take up residence and help our little plants with a bit of her magic dust. I think the gnomes could use a lady in their life too.


Random Letters - 2011 First Edition

Dear Feet, Legs, Lungs,

Tomorrow I'm going to be a real hard ass and make you run further than you have ever run before. We're going to start out easy so we can try to make it up some hills without stopping for a walk. We're going to maintain a steady pace so you don't freak out and cramp up or stop working all together. We're going to get through this because this will be as bad as it gets...until June 11th when I make you run two miles further. But it's okay guys, we can do this. I've got electrolytes and glucose to keep us happy and we get to take a really long, hot shower when we get home. Eleven miles my friends, that's what the plan is. Plus if we get it over with we can spend the rest of the weekend being lazy and drinking alcoholic beverages. Dude we got this on lock down. I swear.

Sincerely,

Heart and Head


Dear Cucumber Seedlings,

I am so sorry. I can only imagine how frustrated you must be right now, ready to be planted outside in the real dirt of the veggie garden. I want you to be out there with the strawberries too but by some freak of nature (literally) it still feels like February outside. It's just too darn cold for your little green leaves. If I put you out there you're going to shiver and shake and then just collapse. You deserve better than that my little green friends. The forecast says it's going to be a bit warmer next week and if that's the case I'm going to throw you a coming out party like you've never seen in your short little lives. There will be fertilizer, mulch and fresh water! You should feel special, the pumpkins didn't get any fanfare. They just got tossed into the wine barrel filled with decent soil, not the primo awesomeness you will get to spread out in. That's how much I love you little guys and the pickles you will eventually become. Hang in there you guys the sunshine has to show up some day!

Lovingly,

A Frustrated Gardener


Dear Pumpkins,

Don't tell the cucumbers I gave you garden mulch. They are sensitive little baby plants and I have to make them feel extra special so they make it out there in the tough real world of the veggie garden. You are a strong vine, you don't need to be babied. I appreciate you and your stoic days in the dirt.

Respectfully,

The Seed Starter


Dear Buffalo Pretzels,

You rock. You totally scrape up the inside of my mouth like Captain Crunch but just like the Captain you are so worth it. I will be back for more of you, don't you worry your orange powdery selves. I even love that you turn my fingers orange and I have to lick it off. You should sue KFC for the right to use 'finger licking good' on your advertising. Truth in advertising!

Satisfied,

A. Snacker




The hardest part was stepping out the front door

Sunday morning I undertook my longest run to date. 9 miles. That distance sounds horrible. Sounds insurmountable even. That's a long way. As I prepped for my run I took care to make sure my shoes were tied just right, took in enough carbohydrates and enough water. I did some good stretching, jumped up and down a few times for good measure. Just as I was ready to set out I opened the door and it was pouring rain. Big fat rain. I looked out the door and thought 'this is going to be miserable and I'm going to freeze'. I even shut the door and looked at Scott pleading for him to let me off the hook. He did not. I opened the door again. It was still raining. It's ALWAYS raining here these days!

Finding something within myself I decided not to be a wimp. I took a step out and began running. Within half a mile the rain had turned to drizzle and I didn't notice it so much any more.

At mile 3 I made sure to have some of my liquid hydration. Get some electrolytes back into my system to get me though the next few miles. At 4.5 I stopped for a quick walk and had a small snack of gummi lifesavers. They gave me just the right amount of sugar to push myself back into running. And then the weirdest thing happened. About mile 7 I caught myself smiling. WTF? Smiling? After running SEVEN miles. I have arrived in crazy town. It's official. I don't know if that was a moment of runners high or if I've really trained my body to just take these distances now or if God in his divine awesomeness decided to cut me some slack and make things a little easier. What ever it was, it was amazing. I hit a nice stride, my legs were not tired, my breathing wasn't labored. Seriously amazing for a girl who just a year ago was struggling to run/walk her first 5k.

The last half mile was hard. It was the second hardest part of my run, just behind stepping out the front door. But I didn't stop and I finished. I ran NINE miles.

If someone had told me a few years ago that it was even possible for me to run this far I would have laughed so hard I would have snorted. I remember when running a full mile wasn't even a possibility. It hurt to run a block. It hurt my ankle, my legs, my lungs. It just plain hurt.

Now I might hurt after a long run, but it fades and it's the good kind of hurt. The kind where you know you're doing good things for your muscles. I haven't felt this way since I was cheering and practicing for hours a day. It's a good feeling.

I'm still pretty certain that once the half marathon is over I will reduce my running. Maybe move it back down to a not so crazy runner persons distance of 3-4 miles at a time. But I will keep running. It's easier to keep this up than to start all over. I'd rather have this achy, tired 'I did a good work out' pain than that horrible 'I think my heart is going to jump out of my chest pain'.

Seriously people, NINE miles. If you know me even just a little bit you know this is kind of insane.

This is a really volcanic ensemble you're wearing, it's really marvelous!

February: Start obsessing over dresses

March: Start obsessing over hair do's

April: Start obsessing about the make up, the car, the after party etc...

Oh and you need a date too, unless you're one of those people cool enough to pull off the prom STAG. I know a few of you.

It's prom season people!. If you're downtown anytime in the next few weekends you're bound to see girls dressed to the nines, hair all done up, high heels clicking on the sidewalks. Boys in tuxedos, trying to decide if they brought enough cash to get through dinner. The tickets were $40 each, the tux rental was $150, the corsage was another $25...how much can one dinner cost??? OMG she want's dessert too!

I have two proms to look back on. One was pretty great, the other not so much. To protect those who might be reading this I won't name names or tell you which was which...but lets just say, never forget to get your date a corsage. It makes for a very sad teenage girl. Also maybe don't be dating another girl and talk about her all night. I'm just saying. The teenage girl psyche is already quite fragile. These two things could ruin an entire night and possible make her think the world has also ended.

My proms were in the mid 90's. Fashion was pretty boring. Hair was pretty mellow. I was my typical Play It Safe Polly and went with very subdued dresses. They were pretty but nothing terribly memorable. As an adult I've often wished I'd had the cojones to wear something bright and splashy. Something big and sparkly. I can still remember standing in line for photos, looking at the other girls dresses and thinking my dress looked more like a flour sack than a prom dress. Erin = Total Fashion Dunce. Of course they weren't THAT bad, but they certainly could have been oh so much more!

Well this weekend I got my chance to be all sparkletastic and stuff. Yeah, it was pretty RAD. My best friend insisted (yes she had to insist because I've always been a bit anti-dance) that we attend the McMenamins 1980's Prom at The Kennedy School. She already had my dress ready to go. It was, well let's just say it had so many sequins and beads on it that I made noise when I walked. We ratted our hair, put on too much blush and eye shadow, pulled out tulle bows and lace gloves and made our entrance at the dance. It was like walking into a John Hughes movie. Totally. Rad. I even got asked to dance. He was kind of creepy and chose not to notice I had a wedding ring on so I ditched him as soon as Bon Jovi was done belting out their love rock, but I'm not gonna lie, it was nice to be asked. And yes, I did the Footloose dance. It was PROM. You have to do the dance for anyone who went to a school where dancing wasn't allowed (like my first college). For all those kids who wanted to have bad hair and huge mauve dresses but were denied.

But the best part of this prom? They had wine coolers. Benefit of an adult prom right there kiddos. Strawberry Daiquiri wine coolers.

Did I mention that it was RAD?



We are so totally going next year. More blush though I think, yes? ;)

8 Miles

8 Mile, it's that place Eminem grew up in in Detroit. It's a scary place I think, if I'm remember correctly. A hard place. Boy is that fitting.

Running my first 8 mile run last Saturday was a challenge. Even the idea of walking that far seems like a bit of a challenge. But we ran.

It started out well, until I hit mile two and had a side stitch. I was pretty upset with my body. Two miles is nothing. I'm pretty used to that. To have to take a walking break that early into the run was just a pisser. But I walked it off and just got back to running as soon as possible. The rest of the run was pretty uneventful. It was a nice flat route, the sun was shining, people were out in droves along the waterfront. Portland is a beautiful place to run when the blue skies decide to shine down on you. The very last 1/4 mile was hard though. I was tired. My legs were weak. I just wanted it to be over and my breathing was pretty labored. But I finished it running, deciding it was worth it to push myself and get it over with.

I did learn on this run that I have got to find a better way to keep sugar, or electrolytes in my system. It was pretty easy to notice my energy level drop every three to four miles. As soon as I had a good swig of my Gatorade I felt good again. I'll have to spend some time in the next few weeks looking at options for glucose. I think REI has a whole section just for that. Kind of a funny observation, the Gatorade makes me burpy! I think as I run it bounces around in my little hydration belt bottles and gets air bubbles in it. I drink that in, and then suddenly I'm belching up a storm. Not the best feeling while running. Another thing to look into...

Overall I have to admit that while it's been a challenge and I am sore and tired after these long runs, it's not as bad as I'd anticipated. I'm actually pretty proud of myself for just surviving. I've been out of shape for a long time and this is a real solid attempt to get back into a healthy body. Now if I could just give up the sour cream and onion chips. Baby steps.

Next week 9 miles, but more like 1.5 + 6 + 1.5. We're running the Cinco De Mayo 10k with a little jog before and after to make up the full 9. We're into crazy people running distances. I am officially a crazy runner person I think.

Here comes the sun...do do do do



THIS. IS. THE. BEST. EVER.

It looks like my fellow Oregonians and I will get our chance to soak up a little sun, dry out and scrape the moss and mildew off ourselves. Oh happy day!

I've been waiting for this weather for weeks...no months! MONTHS people! We've only had two days in the 60's this year. It's nearly MAY! We've had the third wettest April on record.

I try really hard not to complain about the rain, but after months and months of it I usually fail. I grew up a sunshine gal. I didn't even know it was possible to get a sunburn until I moved to Oregon and got pale over the course of a long fall/winter/spring. That first summer up here, I sat right down in the sun for a few hours and completely crisped myself up. That was a painful lesson. Two days of missed work and pretty much a complete skin peel. Not the comfy pleasant spa kind mind you.

I'm so happy I could do cartwheels right now.

Mean Girls

I'm going to get just a tad bit serious for a moment.

"There are two kinds of evil people in the world… those who do evil stuff, and those who see evil stuff being done and don’t do anything about it." - Janis, Mean Girls

This week it was brought to my attention that people I know of were being bullies on Face.book. I say I know of them because I'm not their friends and I didn't know them in school, but we have some mutual friends. If they had in fact been my friends on The FB (I heard someone in public call it The FB last week and I did a double take before having a little laugh with Scott about it) I would have unfriended them faster than a greased pig can slip through your hands in the pig pen.

I'm not saying that I'm perfect. I have my snarky days. Heck I even throw a party every year called SnarkFest. Yes we make fun of the bad dress choices the Miss America contestants have chosen as their best outfit forward. We might even make fun of their hair style. The fact is, I say things that aren't always nice, and aren't always constructive. We all do it. If you say that you don't you are truly an example I would like to emulate or you are lying. The difference is that some of us choose to be a bit snarky with only certain people, at certain times, so as not to hurt others feelings. Even so, it's not exactly a trait I'm pleased with. I need to step back and examine my own actions and values. It's possible that snark, no matter how careful I'm being, might still hurt someone.

These people, these bullies chose to humiliate someone out in the open for other to see, knowing it would be relayed back to the person they were talking about. Sounds pretty juvenile right?

These people are all in their 30's.

How sad that they still feel the need to make fun of and attack people to feel better about themselves. Who gives them the permission to treat others so badly. If they were twelve I'd chalk it up to ignorance and inexperience. If they were twenty I might excuse it as general young adult stupidness. But these people, these thirty-somethings are full grown adults with children of their own. Children they certainly don't want bullied. So why would they do it to anyone else?

People forget that other people are fragile. You can't always see the pain and hurt that others are carrying with them. You can't tell just how close the edge they are. You don't know how they cope, how they might handle a blow to an already compromised self worth. You don't know what led them to the point where they are seeking any and all approval and/or attention. It's so incredibly important to remember that about the people you see out there in the world. If you're one of those people it's important to remember that you're not the only one.

With the things we see on the news daily, with the stories of more and more children and adults lost to suicide every year, with entire episodes of well loved t.v. shows about bullying, with songs reminding us that we were born this way, how can these people be so dense? And why doesn't anyone tell them they are?

I know I won't be perfect going forward. I have a tendency to speak before I think. Snarking has been ingrained in me for many, many years. I did survive the life of a teenage girl after all. Teenage girls are awful to each other and themselves. I know I did terrible things when I was thirteen and I had terrible things done to me. But I was thirteen. Not thirty-three!

The point I'm trying to make to my own self is that there is a line you shouldn't cross. A line that intentionally hurts people and damages their self confidence. It's a fine line and it's obvious some people either don't see that line, or don't care. I'm going to try to make that line a bigger, brighter, flashing line of the neon green 80's day-glow variety, at least for me.

As for the bullies, I can only hope they realize at some point that their actions don't make their lives any better. If anything it makes most people thinks so much less of them. I hope someone who they care for and respect calls them out for it someday.

Seriously, to all you jerk face bullies of the world, grow up. That's it. Grown ups don't act like that.

Humpty Dumpty has nothing on my niece and nephew

Tonight we cracked some eggs.

We colored some too.

Five year olds have an amazing ability to drop, smack, and or crunch hard boiled eggs. But it turns out that colored cracked eggs make patterns like spiderwebs so it's like having Easter and Halloween at the same time. Glass half full people!

This is one of my eggs.


It should also be recorded that my niece played Harry Moanie (Hermione) all day. If that doesn't make you smile you must have a heart colder than those snakes Paula Abdul sings about.


Tales of the 4th Grade Something

Today I had the joy of taking my ten year old nephew to his gymnastics class. It's a 45 minute class and the 45 minutes of that class is the only time he was not talking. He loves to talk. Sometimes I catch myself not listening so closely because well, I'm not all that interested in the noises the new Legend of Zelda game makes.

Thankfully the Zelda stuff came later after a few classic Nathan gems of wisdom were shared with me.

#1

"Auntie Erin did you run that marathon?"

"Nope, I ran a 5k."

"Well this kid in my class, at our walk-a-thon, he ran a marathon in 30 minutes."

I tried to explain that this would be well above the world record time for both a marathon and the mile split time. He really didn't want to believe me. I did emphasize that this kid probably ran fast, and ran a long distance, but it was pretty much impossible to run a marathon in half an hour. He still doesn't believe me. The principle said it happened, so it happened. So for all you runners out there, we have a world class marathoner right here in SE PDX and he's only in the fourth grade so watch out world! :)

#2

"There was a birthday party last weekend and they played truth or dare and the question was who would you want to go out with most and everyone said me".

He's ten! TEN! I didn't start this sort of thing until I was at least eleven! Kids are moving faster these days and I'm an old lady.

As he sat down to put his shoes after class on a girl ran up to him and asked him if he had a girlfriend. His answer was "Sort of". This did not deter the girl. She then asked if he would go out with her friend. He said "no". I was pretty proud of him for saying that he "sort of" had a girlfriend. He and this adorable little thing we'll call Amy have kind of had a little thing for a few years and even though it's apparently not official he had her in mind and answered honestly. After the girl ran off to deliver the crushing news to her friend he related the birthday party story to me. He did explain to me in the car on the way home that it would be silly to go out with someone in his gymnastics class because he'd only see them once a week and that's not enough time to spend with your girlfriend. Smart boy!


Hans and Franz mean business...

When I named our veggie/fruit boxes Hans and Franz I did it because they were going to pump us up with healthy goodness. I'm sure they'll still fulfill that prophecy but they've already pumped me up. Turns out dirt is heavy and 4 foot x 8 foot x 1 foot boxes take up a LOT of dirt!

In an effort to not be the wife that constantly asks for help with heavy things I've really made the effort to do as much of this project as I can. I had all these grand ideas in my head that I'd be filling the wheelbarrow, pushing it to the back yard and dumping it into the boxes. Newsflash! I'm kind of a wimpy weakling!

I did manage to get a few half-full wheelbarrows into the back yard but I then have to shovel out the dirt, because you see there is no freaking way I can run that thing up a ramp when it's filled with 60 million pounds of dirt.

Sigh.

At least I got some done. Two more days of the same and I should be all set to plant the strawberry plants that will arrive via UPS on Friday.

I hope they are berry delicious. I think I'll deserve a sweet treat when this is all said and done.

How on earth did my farming ancestors do it???

Turning Pages

It's no secret I love to read. If there were a way to make money by sitting on my couch with a good book and a large cup of coffee I would be doing it. Until that opportunity presents itself I'll keep reading when I'm not busy at my day job. *sigh*

If you enjoy a good read like I do, I'd highly recommend using Goodreads.com to mark your reads and looks up scores of other books people are enjoying. I love to see what friends have tried and I often find amazing books just by browsing reviews on their site.

A book I just added to my list there was called The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen. I've read many of her books and I'm never disappointed by the magic in her characters. This book was no different. Small town gossip and legend coupled with the difficulties and rewards of true friendship make you want to move into town and befriend the list of characters. The romance and mystery don't hurt either. If you're looking for a fun, light but thoughtful read this book is a good pick. All of her books are.

The other book I just finished reading came to me via the mail (oh the joy of a package waiting for me on my doorstep and even better when it's a book!). I think under normal bookstore browsing circumstances I wouldn't have picked this one up because the title is a bit different. Impatient With Desire by Gabrielle Burton is the novel based on the idea of Tamsen Donner's journal. The Donner's being the famous Donner Party. Some made it, others did not. I won't give away the ending of this book but I will tell you that I really appreciated the detail and description that went into it. It is a work of fiction but it's clear that it's taken from a very carefully researched love of the Donner story. What's even better for me is that it's from a woman's perspective. As a history buff I was intrigued even though I already know the whole story ( I grew up in San Jose where the surviving members lived and prospered). Again, the title is a bit odd for me. I get the sentiment but if I'd just been looking at titles in a store - like I often do - I would have missed this fantastic book! Another reminder to me that you can't judge a book by it's cover ;)

Happy reading!

On your mark!

Portland Fit started this past Saturday. For those of you not familiar with the torture training program, it's basically a group started by runners to help other runners complete their goal of completing a marathon. We run a certain amount of minutes on weekdays and a certain amount of mileage on Saturday. It's spread out over a few months time in a tried and true method. Now before I get too far ahead of myself let me assure you, I WILL NOT BE RUNNING A MARATHON. While I really appreciate all the time, effort, pain, suffering and general craziness that entails, that's just not me. My goal will be to complete a half marathon as outlined in my List of Good Intentions.

I've only completed one run with the group so I am by no means an expert but there is something about standing with a group, huddled in the foggy rain that so often greets a Portlander on a Spring morning and getting motivated to get out and get it done. They don't advocate running as fast as you possibly can. They advocate moving. At any speed. Walkers welcome. Run/Walkers welcome. Runners welcome. Super speed demons welcome. It's a pretty great group.

We ran three miles to start the season out. This is a distance I'm fairly used to so I knew I would survive. The following weeks will be the real challenge. Adding in a mile each week until June when we run the half.

Saturday's run was interesting for a few reason: 1) A new locale - that can make all the difference when you're tired of running. New things to look at make the world a better place to pass by. 2) We ran past my orthopedist's office twice. It was not lost on me that twice I passed a place where just two years ago I was leaving in a wheelchair with a giant cast. Great strides. Literally. 3) I am not alone in the slow runner world. There were lots of people just like me! Feels so good to see that in action. People tell me all the time they exist but I had yet to see the rare species in action and I am happy to know I am not the only one of my kind.

I think it's going to be a good program for me. I will certainly do my fair share of bitching (I've been informed it's not really allowed until we're at 9 miles but I beg to differ), but I'm also going to try and acknowledge the good things it's doing for me to. I'm a lady runner now!

Proud Red Team Member,

Erin

Tools of the trade


This is a compound miter saw. Just in case you ever wanted to know. This is the reason I'm not allowed to use power tools. So many moving parts, such a sharp blade, it's trouble waiting to attack pretty pieces of wood. Trouble with a capital t. Husbands are for sawing things in half or in quarters or what ever specific measurement it might be, but you measure twice and cut once. That's the rule.

For projects I will continue to use my tool of choice, the Glue Gun. You can stick anything on anything with a glue gun. They even make glue sticks with glitter in it now. GLITTER! God's little gift to crafters, glitter and glue guns. Like peas and carrots, chocolate and peanut butter, bagels and cream cheese... (I'm hungry)

Speaking of crafts, I'll be doing this one this weekend.

Blooming Buttons

Seriously adorable and easy craft for spring. Get colorful flowers in your house without having to grow them! Plus who doesn't love a good button? I'll be raiding my drawer o'buttons tonight looking for the perfect combos.

No luck for the Irish

Imagine if you will 30,000 people wearing as much green as possible. Many in tutus and knee high socks (like me) some dressed as leprechauns, lots of them with green hair, a few green capes and even one rainbow and one pot of gold. It was complete chaos covered in green.

The chaos was the fun kind. People in good spirits despite the rain. People eager to get their run on. Certainly a jovial crowd of runners. I wouldn't expect any less for a St. Patrick's Day themed event with the reward of beer when it's done. Gotta love the Irish!

It was my first race of the season so I'd hoped to do really well and set the right tone for the season. I'd been training but probably not as much as I should have. I have been making really good progress on my distances though so I thought that might make this race a bit easier. Not so much.

Sadly I finished this race at a pace three seconds slower than my first ever 5k last year. Sad. Pathetic really. I take some small comfort in knowing that the Shamrock Run had a one mile hill that I wasn't exactly expecting and I also had to constantly dodge people who would just STOP right in front of people. The weaving back and forth between people for the full three miles was certainly a drag on time. The streets were just so packed with people it was hard to get around them. I think in races like this there should be an walking side. If you're going to walk the whole thing or even part of it, move over to that side - just while you're walking - to make room for those who are trying to run. I walk sometimes but I always try to get as far to the side of the road as possible so I'm not in someones way. I was also stopped by a MAX light rail train so that took me an extra 15-20 seconds. Doesn't sound like much but that's 5-7 seconds per mile. Overall I'm guessing I lost 30-45 seconds total in weaving and stopping. Doesn't really matter though, the timing chip says what the timing chip says. A bit frustrating. Scott had the same problem but did manage to finish at what I consider a really good pace even if he was a little frustrated too.

So I signed up for a much smaller race in May, the same one I did last year as my first attempt. That should be a better judge of how I've progressed in a years time.

I will say that before I knew what my official time was I was feeling pretty good. So the fun factor of the race was definitely there. I did run in an awesome tutu after all!

Kristy and Erin enjoying a cold beer after the race!


Note to self: You've become more competitive about time than previously imagined. This means you have to train more and run better if you intend to be happy with your race times. Kapeesh!?!


Green Crafts

You thought I meant environmentally aware crafting didn't you? Not so much this time.


Here we see the supplies necessary to the construction of a very special St. Patrick's Day tutu.

It will be fluffy. It will be green. It will go on a 5k run with me weekend after next.

That's right ladies and gents, it's Shamrock Run time!

30,000 people will gear up, and green up then run around the streets of Portland.

Then we get salmon chowder and a beer.

It's awesome.

Go green! Go run!

Erin Go Braugh!


p.s. This is the first race of 2011 and I am extremely ill prepared. Thank goodness it's a fun run where we dress up and basically skip around the city in anything and everything green. P-Fit starts in three weeks and I'm afraid I'm going to die on orientation day.


Oh Etsy...

What's Etsy you ask?

Only THE most amazing place to find all things awesome. I carry a purse that I bought on Etsy and people always compliment me on it. When I tell them where I got it most people have no idea what Etsy is. Sadness. That is a lifestyle deficiency. I'm here to solve that. You ALL need to know about Etsy. It is the land of wonderful things.

No really, it is. It's no secret that I adore Etsy and the goodness it holds. I can spend hours browsing. HOURS. Today while doing just that I figured out that the front page, you know the one with collections of awesomeness, can be complied by people just like you and me! There's no guarantee that my list will ever make the front page, but I sure had a fantastic time making my list. It involved two of my favorite hobbies, list making and shopping.

If you'd like to see my list go HERE I was in a Spring Cleaning mood. Still am actually.

If Etsy was a person I'd send her this card, which is available on Etsy.


What a great way to spend a few of my hours today while enjoying Presidents Day (thanks George!). I don't normally get this day off, but due to the remodel of my office there was no computer to work at, no phone to answer.

Erin Not Go Run

Despite every intention, I did not go run today. Instead I'm sitting on the couch, watching Big Love and eating Hershey Kisses filled with caramel. It's guilty pleasure night. Polygamy and chocolate! Hooray!

Erin Go Run

I did a four mile run today. The first 5k of the year is about a month away and I've been dragging so I'm going to try and up my game. In all it was a pretty slow endeavor but I did do some sprints to try and work on speed. Hoping that speed work coupled with my distance will make a normal 5k seem all easy-peasy. Crossing my fingers!

I ran past the golf course at about mile two and it was full of people having a lovely afternoon hitting balls. I really wanted to yell out "FORE!" because it's fun to watch everyone duck in anticipation of being bonked on the head. At one point I was in the perfect spot to watch eight men hide from the ball, but alas I was slightly out of breath (gasping for air is more like it) and didn't have the lung capacity to yell it out with any volume so I just imagined it my head. It was quite funny. In my version one of them actually hit the deck. Had a good chuckle to myself and continued along my trail.

On my way back I again passed the golf course and got to witness a man shake his sand wedge at a goose, only to be chased by said goose. Geese are mean. You shouldn't shake sand wedges at them. You shouldn't even look at them for fear they will make eye contact with you and chase you too. Thankfully the guy had a golf cart to jump into. I guess he didn't know that the geese own the Eastmoreland Golf Course. SE Portland geese are hard core.

Now we head to a Superbowl party where I will only feel moderately guilty for the crap I will eat. Had I not run at all, I'd have felt very guilty - so that's something right? :)


Free for all!

Tonight I had to buy tires for my car. One of those adult expenses that apparently kicks in every 40k miles or so. This isn't the first time I've bought tires, but it's the first time I've been adult enough to pay attention to the cash coming out of my pocket. It must be all those other bills I'm responsible for these days. Pfft. Sometimes being an adult is really, really lame. Buying tires is really lame. So many other things my money could do. I could have had 10 new pairs of really great, adorable shoes. Or I could have bought a plane ticket to Mexico and had enough left over for a few days worth of margaritas. But nooooo, instead I bought round tubes of rubber (With silica for extra grip on wet roads. I live in Oregon after all.) with a bunch of grooves in them. The good news is I won't slide out when it's rainy, and I won't have a blow out while I'm doing 70mph on I-5. Yes 70. Gretta has a little horsepower and I tend to speed these days....

This whole experience has really brought up a subject I've spent some time thinking about. You see there are just things in the world I don't think we should have to pay for. These things tend to fall into one of two categories. Things I just don't want to spend money on because it's annoying and things I don't want to spend money on because we should all have these things as our inalienable rights a.k.a natural rights and to some extent basic human rights.

Let me preface the following paragraphs with an assurance that I am not a communist. I promise I'm not. This is really just silly, for the most part, with a bit of truthiness thrown in. No need to deport me or put me on some watch list.

Let's talk water. H2O. I hate paying my water bill. I hate it when I have to buy water in a store or restaurant. Water is required for me (and anyone else) to live. Why do I have to pay for that? Yes I know, the city takes my water and makes sure it's all clean and stuff, even though Portland has some of the cleanest water in the country (thank you Bull Run Reservoir, est. 1895!). I pay for that. Blah, blah, blah. I NEED water to function so I pay for it but if I NEED it to live shouldn't it just be my basic right? Like air. At what point will someone start charging me for the oxygen I take in? So yeah, I want free water.

Drugs too. I think I should get Nyquil when I'm stuffy and Pepto when my tummy is upset. I don't want to worry about how much it's going to cost when I don't feel good. I can't even comprehend how that must feel when you're needing to come up with the money for a round of chemo or a life saving infusion. You need ibuprofen for that splitting headache (whether brought on by a few too many Long Islands or a sinus infection) you get it. You need radiation, you get it. Just as an aside, one gallon of Nyquil will cost you $70. It's .54 an ounce. One serving is about one ounce. At the recommended dosage you will take four servings a day. A bottle will last you 2.5 days and cost you more than a gallon of gas. That's just Nyquil. I can only imagine what some prescription drugs must cost.

In the other category I have quite a few things...like toilet paper. Life can happen without it, but really it shouldn't. So I want it for free. I don't want to have to pay $8.99 for twelve rolls of paper. And it should be soft, like Cottonelle I buy now. Because my bum deserves it.

And underwear. Again, not mandatory for living, but pretty close. So I want it to be free. And it should be cute, and include matching bra and panty sets because every girls likes them. It should also be comfortable. Is that so much to ask for?

How about water heaters and any other appliance? So annoying when they start spewing water at 2am. They've already given me a headache, I shouldn't hurt in my pocketbook too!

Certainly the top of my "It's so annoying that I have to pay for that" list has to be socks. Weird right? I just don't want to have to pay for them. My feet want to be warm and dry and I want them to enjoy the soft cottony comfort for no cost. Too much to ask for?

What's on your list?


Shoes I would be wearing tomorrow if I hadn't bought tires..




Do you like Pina Coladas?

Today I spent a good few hours dreaming about a tropical vacation. It's not even all that rainy and gloomy here this week. In fact today the sun came out. Yahoo! Sunshine in Oregon in January is rare. Like a well behaved Lhasa Apso. Olivia is on my $%#^ list tonight. Stepping barefoot into a puddle of dog pee after returning from a nearly four mile run does not a happy dog owner make. So yes, rare, those well behaved Lhasa Apsos and sunshiney winter days.

Despite the lovely sunshine, which will apparently stick around a for a few days, I'm jonesing for some warm sand and water. I want to lounge on a fluffy towel and wiggle my toes off the edge of a dock with a palm tree landscape in the distance. I want to be here:

This is a dock in Ambergris Caye in the country of Belize. I want! I want! I want!


Alas, this year is not about vacationing. However this doesn't mean I won't slip into a tanning bed for a bit and pretend that it's actual sunshine warming my skin. Do you think I can sneak in a pina colada?



Progress

I am happy to report that I have already made progress on my List of Good Intentions. I added six books to my wish list at Amazon.com so I have a jump start on my reading for the year. Amazing right? Real progress! The task was so completely draining I've been unable to focus on anything else. It's hard work to shop online. All the browsing, the reading, the mouse clicking. It wears a girl out.

In all seriousness, I did actually add the books to my list, and not actually purchasing them certainly applies to the work on the budget part of the list but other than that I haven't done much else.

You see, I sprained my thumb. I didn't actually know this was possible, and I don't know how I did it. Maybe in my sleep? I wish I had some great story about how I was out running (getting ready for the half marathon) when I saw an unattended baby carriage start to roll down a very steep hill. I made chase, dodging the occasional trash can, cocker spaniel, and huge tree root induced crack in the sidewalk. Upon catching up to the stroller I yanked it back towards me just as it was going to plunge off a bridge above ice cold water and swift rapids. In the moment I yanked it, my thumb was tweaked to the left a bit and thus resulted in the swollen, sore, useless thumb. This of course did not happen, but it sounds so much better than "I have no idea" when people ask me why I'm wearing a brace on my hand.

The brace has impeded many things, not the least of which is my List of Good Intentions. I'm almost out of things to do at work that don't require the use of my right thumb. Hoping for a quick recovery because it's getting old fast. I can't even dress myself by myself which kind of rules out trips to the gym for a bit. The Immediate Care doctor thinks I'll be fine in a few more days, but there hasn't been a change in the swelling in three days now. Stupid thumb.

I really have an appreciation for why some animals evolved better than others now. Thumbs are important!

By the way, after I saved the baby from imminent death the city threw me a parade. It was awesome.