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August 2013

Friday Reads & Recommends: The Mostly Books Edition

It's been a long time since we had a Friday Reads & Recommends, yes? 

First up: I made this Cheesy Baked Pasta With Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Eggplant for my vegetarian-ish friends tonight and it was YUMMY. It felt like the right spot between Grown Up Food and Easy Enough For Me To Make. (Also: No Onions Or Other Unpleasant Vegetables. Bonus points.)

I have read lots and lots and lots of online articles, but I haven't bookmarked any of them. SORRY. A lot of times I'll read something interesting on my phone and I don't really know how to save the link so I can easily (EASILY) go back to it later on the computer. I know. Lame. Not like I live with a Technology Professional or anything. So now I'm going to tell you about a bunch of books. BOOKS! How novel. (NOVEL! That was totally unintended. I am super proud of myself anyway.) 

FIRST UP. Sisterland! I read this poolside in Cabo. I loved (loved loved loved loved) Prep, it's one of the very few books I've read more than once. I just think Curtis Sittenfeld is a genius when it comes to... I don't know, like the insecure female inner monologue. ANYWAY. This was not a masterpiece like Prep and there were parts of it that I really didn't like - at the same time I appreciate her writing. She has ways of saying things that make my brain whir. One of the best parts of this book is when the main character, a stay at home mom, is talking about her husband and his professional life and home life, how he figured out how to have the job and "us", but the main character has only figured out how to have "us". MAYBE I IDENTIFIED. I DON'T KNOW.

Then I read The Spectacular Now, because I've been seeing the movie previews and even though I am not inclined to like Shailene Woodley after seeing some of her interviews, I thought she was amazing in The Descendants SO. This was a bummer of a book, you guys. At first it's all about this super cocky, super likable high school boy, which is my favorite kind, and alcohol is not one of the YA Sacred Cows that makes me twitch. BUT. The girl character in this book sucks. SUCKS SO MUCH. It's like she's not even there. She's a cardboard cut out. She's a wisp. She's pointless. She makes no sense. The EX-girlfriend in this book is a thousand times more developed (and interesting) than the main girl. And since I really liked the beginning and I was pulling for the high school boy, this stunk. 

Before those I finished To End All Wars on the plane. This book, THIS book is tremendous. And hopefully not just because it's the first WWI book I've managed to get through. I feel like I have a modicum of understanding now. Amazing! Also it zeroes in on real people, sharing their stories from long before the war until way after, and that makes it much less of a Boring History Book, you know? It's mainly about Britain and goes super in depth on suffragettes, conscientious objectors, and the socialist movement - things I knew absolutely nothing about, and now I think I could bore you to death on how all of those things interconnected with wartime. It reminded me a bit of Inferno (about WWII) in that it doesn't glorify war or its proponents at all, quite the opposite. And it has affected what I think about today's madness in Syria. Not that I will go into that here. HA HA HA. 

(Also: Phillip is reading this book. As I type. PHILLIP. You can do it too, folks.)

Phillip read Lean In on our trip. And read so much of it to me that I feel Iike I read it too. Eh. 

Before our trip I read The Demon Catchers of Milan because my dad handed me a little slip of paper with the title and author and said, "I GUARANTEE YOU WILL LIKE THIS BOOK." Aaaaand, I hate to say it, but I did. Even though it was overwrought, unbelievable (and I'm not talking about the demon part), and Twilighty in that our fearless heroine gets hooked up with a Family With Special Secret Gifts, it's about 1) THE SUPERNATURAL in 2) ITALY. I am guaranteed to like this book. Best thing about it: the crush remains unrequited and unencouraged. Worst thing about it: not sure how you write a whole book about exorcising demons without mentioning God. But that's just me.

Before THAT I read Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Book Store. Courtesy of EBJ. And I really really reeeeeeally wanted to love this book, but I knew the ending would disappoint. And it did. Sort of. It's like you KNOW Kelly should choose herself, but it's disappointing anyway? That. (Best thing about this book: Google/technology is like a full fledged character. Super interesting. Have passed it on to a tech nerd so he can tell me which parts are actually real.) 

Oh and somewhere in there I read Life After Life. Have I already written about it? I loved it. It was amazing. I want to re-read it and make a timeline/take notes. I feel like it went on a little too long? I feel like the perfect ending was right there and then I was surprised when that wasn't the end? But I thought this was amazing. (Note: I should say I didn't think it was amazing until Ursula starts trying to beat the Spanish flu. I think I only got what was going on at that point. But from then on: amazingness.)

Right now I am reading a $2.99 Kindle book about a WWII crash and rescue blah blah blah WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO RECOMMEND? 

Oh! Other articles of note. The Rolling Stone feature on Macklemore? Excellent. The Mark Bowden piece in the Atlantic on drones? FUH-REAKY. The entire new issue of The New Republic? Fascinating. I need to subscribe to that again.

Okay, the end. Next week: Cabo recap! I mean it this time! 

Two things I'm terrible at, a big list of things I'm awesome at

I made a super huge deal about getting a housecleaner while we were in Cabo. We were going to have houseguests immediately upon our return and it was honestly all I could do to make sure all the sheets and beds were ready. I knew I would be infinitely more stressed out if I also had to make sure the kitchen and bathrooms weren't embarrassing. But it caused this huge fight because we were both tired and out of time and Phillip didn't want someone having a key to our house while we were gone and it wasn't until our second to last day in Cabo when I emailed the maid service and begged for a late notice housecleaner. 

It worked out, and even though the appointment window was confusing and we ended up hanging out with our friends while the housecleaner was still here, it was DONE and CLEAN and PERFECT and I was so relieved. It didn't last long because see: Houseguests. But it was this huge weight off my shoulders and I'm not sure Phillip really understood that until it was finished and we were both all, "OOOOOH, SHINY!"

And today I feel like: WHAT WAS THE POINT? Which is, basically, why I'm not a great housecleaner to begin with. It doesn't last. It doesn't even last a few hours. Someone has a bloody nose, someone dumps a bowl of crackers on the rug, someone wants to play with play dough, someone trashes the bathroom just washing their hands, and people ALWAYS need to eat. I get so discouraged trying to keep my house clean, and not even CLEAN but just above College Student Shared House Standards and it's so hard. 

I cleaned up all of breakfast and lunch, started the dishwasher, wiped down the counters, and was feeling pretty good about everything. Then I decided I would make a Real Dinner. Salmon, quinoa with veggies, ACTUAL FOOD. So I'm getting it all prepped and I even text my husband to see if he'll be home at his regular time and all is going well. Until he texts me later to say oops, a crisis came up, and the kids are starving, and EJ spills her milk all over the kitchen floor, and everyone wants snacks, and WHY DIDN'T I JUST GIVE EVERYONE A BOWL OF CEREAL?

It's when housecleaning combines with cooking that I am MOST discouraged. The two pillars of Housewifedom and I shall never ever manage them. 

I'm tired, so much to do before school starts, and it's getting dark again. Up here during the summer it will stay light until 9pm, but it's getting DARK and the weather is overcast which adds to the DARKNESS and my mood is DARK. Overwhelmed, frustrated with children, feeling like I can't accomplish anything because someone always needs something. ARGH.

So this is when it's good to think about things I AM good at. Things I AM getting done. Shall we?

  • Making pina coladas.
  • Making beds.
  • I have yet to kill a houseplant this year.
  • Even if we are not eating together, I made salmon and quinoa with veggies. Boom.
  • Hanging out with friends. (Part of why I am not getting anything else done.)
  • Shopping. Specifically: birthday gifts for Molly and a Skylanders Giants backpack for Jack. Even though I told him he was not getting a new backpack this year. And especially not a Skylanders Giants backpack. BUT HE LOVES IT AND $15 BOUGHT ME A WHOLE DAY OF DEVOTION SO THERE.
  • Changing diapers.
  • Finding pacifiers.
  • Remembering everything going on, even if it makes me bite all my nails off.
  • Keeping up with Twitter.
  • Randomly texting friends.
  • Visiting grandparents.
  • Straightening bookshelves.
  • Finding places for everyone to sleep. House Tetris.
  • Imagining how my house would look if I were independently wealthy.
  • Sleeping light so I can help the nosebleeders and band aid needers and bed-faller-offers. 
  • Reading books.
  • Monday through Wednesday crosswords. (I'm working on the other days.)
  • Remembering lyrics to childrens' television show theme songs.
  • Liking to dance. Which is different from Dancing. (I am trying to figure out how to do salsa lessons on Wednesday nights. WITH my husband. OOH LA LA.)
  • Wearing overly large earrings. 
  • Ordering things from

OKAY I FEEL BETTER. A little bit. A friend just texted me about shopping at the Rack tonight after the kids go to bed. Some big clearance sale? That might make me feel even better. 

So! Are you having a rotten WHAT IS THE POINT sort of day yourself? I would very much like to read the things YOU are good at. 

These are elastic-waisted sparklepants


You: Super! We will now be subjected to the Obligatory Boring Trip Recap Post!

Me: Not yet! 

You: Awesome!

Me: No, it's worse. This is the Obligatory Oh Dear God, "None Of My Pants Fit" Is No Longer A Cute Exaggeration, It Is Dismal Depressing Truth, And What Am I Going To Do About It? Post. (Sorry.)

Cabo seems like a million years ago. That's what happens when you return from The Honeymoon You Never Had and immediately dive into your yearly couples retreat, which is basically your yearly dose of marriage therapy. We are talking intensity in ten cities, people. My kids, thank goodness, did great with their at-home babysitter while I was off picking apart communication dysfunctions. And making pina coladas for everyone. YUM!

And this week and next feel pointless to me, because it's just a holding period before school starts and what am I supposed to do with this time? I am MORE than ready to get back into a routine, but starting one when everything's going to be all upside down again in two weeks seems dumb. 

Here are things I would LIKE to accomplish during the next two weeks, but we shall see:

finish the elephant shades in Emma's room (I need to make two more)

pull off an awesomesauce Treasure Hunt party for Molly's birthday this weekend

catch up on all my emails

restock the fridge and pantry and start meal planning again

look at the bank account online and make sure I didn't forget to, you know, pay the mortgage while we were on vacation. 

That's not a huge or difficult list, right? I feel like I can do that. And then school will start (although Molly doesn't start until the Monday after Jack, which is ANNOYING) and I can - dum de dum dum - become one of those ladies who goes to the gym. 

Between no routine and the extreme difficulty I've had losing any weight I've put on this year, I basically gave up. Sometime in May or June. I just... it felt like too much. I was constantly upset with myself, constantly down on myself, and I was tired of it. The PROBLEM with choosing to not care is that I then begin to eat everything in sight. Namely cookies. And cake. I have no off switch, you guys. This is the problem in the first place. I have to watch my own self like a hawk, otherwise I will eat all the leftover birthday cake in one afternoon. There doesn't seem to be an in between place, or at least I haven't found one yet. Either I'm vigilant about what I put in my mouth and exercising, or I'm not doing either of those things and digging through my closet for the pants I wore at 4 months pregnant. 

Well, I suppose the in between place is being sort of vigilant and sort of exercising, while also digging around for the fat pants and beating myself up every day. Unpleasant. 

I need to work on what I'm eating. I've been Convenience Eating for so long I've forgotten how to do it right. I'm going to try protein shakes in the morning, as recommended by my hippie doctor. (Berries, yogurt, milk, vanilla protein powder. And ground up oatmeal.) I need to find some soups and salads that 1) I like and 2) ARE EASY TO MAKE and eat those for lunch and THEN STOP EATING. I've done this before so I know I can do it again. And the other thing is getting into an exercise habit again. I am very very VERY HOPEFUL that I can manage a School Drop Off then Head To The Gym situation, where Emma plays happily in the childcare room while I do my measly miles on the treadmill while watching Kelly and Michael. That would be enough! I wouldn't have to give up nap time. And it's not like I can do any shopping at 8:30 in the morning anyway, right? THIS IS A PERFECT PLAN. I just need Emma to cooperate. I think it will work. I do I do, I just need to START. And I can't start yet. So I'm frustrated. And eating cake. 

I did not feel bad about myself in Cabo and I'm SO THANKFUL. I was so worried that I'd hate myself in my bathing suit, or think about how I was wearing the bathing suit I bought 5 months post partum instead of the ones I wore when I was a size 8. Or that I didn't manage to get in shape for my husband on our big romantic trip. Or that I would feel bad around all the girls in bikinis. Buuuuuut, I don't know. It's not like I didn't care or didn't notice, but it didn't sit around with me and chisel away at my brain. I just told myself that life is busy and I'll start running again when school starts. And then order another plate of nachos. (OMG THE NACHOS.) 

I am not inclined to be nice to myself, but I am working on it. I've BEEN working on it. It just appears that being nice to myself means cookies for breakfast. A lot. So. 

Coming up on Cabo Recap, Houseguest Recap, Birthday Plans, Life Revelations, Etc. 



It's almost here and it's ABOUT TIME

Internet! I am going on vacation tomorrow! Well, not really. I'm going to my in-laws' house tomorrow, where we will stay overnight before heading to the airport Saturday morning for VACATION!!! 

I'm not sure anyone has been more excited for vacation than Phillip Cheung. I think he's been keeping a running tally of how many hours he has left before he can turn off his brain. I am excited, but I am mostly tired. I am at the point where sitting in the middle seat on an airplane for several hours sounds delightful and relaxing. I haven't even come to the part where I imagine sitting next to a pool. I've been cleaning, organizing, scheduling, planning, getting ready, preparing, worrying and what else did I do this week? oh right, I HIT A DOG WITH MY CAR, so yeah. At this point just the anticipation of a burned Starbucks latte while sitting at the gate is enough to make me swoon. 

I wasn't going to bring my computer. I used to bring it everywhere, but now it just seems annoying. I might be having a healtheir relationship with the world wide web, everyone. Can you believe it? Also, perhaps you remember the post that consisted of "this blog is stupid", so why would I need to bring my laptop? But Phillip seemed disappointed when I said I wasn't going to bring it. He bought me a new one for my birthday (THAT is why he didn't flip out when I showed him where Emma ripped off the Enter key on my old one) and it's, shall we say, a super light variety and it appeared to be this giant bummer to him that I wasn't going to TAKE ADVANTAGE of the travel-worthiness of my new machine. 

So I think I am bringing my computer and new possibilities are occurring to me. For example, think of all the time I'll have to share the expanding historical horizons I'm getting from reading To End All Wars by Adam Hochschild, which, all kidding aside, is a truly fantastic book. (About WWI. I am branching out.) I'm just going to have a lot of time to THINK which is pretty much my favorite thing and when I have lots of time to THINK I am also compelled to WRITE and OOOH LUCKY YOU! 

On the other hand, my laptop is super great for watching episodes of Scandal in bed. 

I'm trying to think of all the other Deep and Important things I've been meaning to write about on my blawg and haven't, for lack of time and energy and brain power, but hmmm, they are all eluding me. Shocking.

Okay, I'm gonna go frown over the giant bag of Kid Clothes (they are staying with both sets of grandparents AND going on a little road trip) and make lists of all the things I will probably forget. I am SUPER good at those lists. 

The time I hit a poor sweet doggie

First things first: the dog didn't die. 

But yes, this morning, on my way to the freeway to head down to my parents' house for the day, I hit a dog. A tiny shaggy little thing. From the corner of my left eye I saw it dart into the street. I thought: I'm going to hit that dog. And then I did. 

I have often wondered what I will do when I (inevitably) hit and kill someone's pet. It has to happen sometime, right? There are a lot of cats around my street (and in my yard, always in my yard) and I often think about what I would do if I hit one. How would I find its owner? What would I do with IT? What would I do at ALL? 

But I never hit a pet until today, on a busy street made smaller by road work cones and barriers. I might have swerved or slammed my brakes - if I had I would undoubtedly have hit another car, or caused a string of fender benders. Would that have been better? Instead I hit a dog before I thought of another option. And then, because I didn't know what else to do, I kept driving until I found a safe place to pull over. 

It wasn't that safe - it was basically a little used side road and I barely pulled over to the shoulder before I jabbered some explanation to the three kids in the car, leaped out, and looked for the dog in the road. 

I saw the dog lying there. But the driver behind me, a man in a white truck, was already out of his truck and picking up what I thought was a very dead dog. He held it like a baby, gingerly placed it in the bed of his truck, and slowly drove into the blocked off area of road. And I just stood there like an idiot because ohmyGod I've just hit a dog and it's dead and someone has picked it up and what do I do I don't know what to do what should I do what is happening? 

I just stood there - this is the part I feel ashamed of - while this sainted guardian angel of a man tried to help the dog I hit. I finally moved towards him when he got out of the truck again. I was sobbing by that point and I think the first thing he said was, "It's okay, I saw him run out, you couldn't have done anything" which made me cry harder. And he carried the dog across the street to the house where it appeared he'd come from. I stood there because ohmyGod I killed that dog and now this strange kind man is going to do my dirty work for me. 

But that house didn't own the dog. The white truck man came back, laid the dog down on the bed of the truck, and started calling the number on his collar. That's when I realized the dog wasn't dead. I wasn't sure what he was. I mean, he'd just been hit by my minivan, but he wasn't bleeding, he wasn't making any noise, his body seemed to be in one piece, so I just cried and rubbed his head and said, "I'm so sorry, doggie" over and over because GOD AM I USELESS OR WHAT? What would I have done without that driver behind me? 

(Things the driver said to me: It's not your fault. I saw it happen. It's not your fault. Little dogs like this, they're like children. People need to watch them. They shouldn't have let him get out. You couldn't have helped it. It's okay. It's not your fault. It's okay. It's okay.)

No one answered the number on the dog's collar. It was clear he was well-loved - in addition to a nice collar he was wearing one of those harnesses that you clip to a leash. And he was so cute and tiny and OHMYGOD WHAT DO I DO? The truck guy told me what to do. "You stay here with him, I'll try and see if he belongs to any of these houses over here." 

The truck guy took off on the other side of the street and I stood there behind his truck, with the poor injured doggie, crying and wondering what was going to happen. I kept thinking: why are we not rushing this dog to a vet?! So I think that's what I would have done if I was alone. I would have wanted to find the owners, but I felt like we had seconds to save the dog's life. I don't know. The truck guy was in charge. And he was gentle and nice to me, he carried the dog like a baby, he seemed to know what to do. 

I don't know how long it was before I heard voices. People were coming out of the house right next to where the truck was parked - frantic upset voices. I think I heard one of the voices say something like, "Why did you leave it open?!" Along those lines. I realized these were probably the dog's owners, and they were. An older woman was on the phone, a younger man (her son? brother?) was racing toward the dog in the truck. Neither of them paid any attention to me or the situation - they were both so focused on the dog. And distressed. The distress was totally unnerving to me, and now, hours and hours later I feel their distress and wonder how much worse it would have been if I was standing over a dead dog instead of a hurt one. 

The dog, who I'd been petting and praying over this whole time, had his eyes closed and had sort of relaxed. Somehow. He seemed calmer, not so stunned and stiff (the way that made me think he was dead.) I kept track of his pulse, terrified he was going to die on me. Then as his owners rushed towards him his whole body lurched, his eyes popped open- almost like he leaped up at the sound of their voices. And I think that is why I am not a quivering mess of tears right now. That one movement made me think he was going to be okay. Hurt, but okay. They scooped him up into their arms without a single glance or question. They didn't appear to hear a single thing I said about how hit happened, how I was the culprit. They were gone before the white truck man returned, who I thanked, over and over and over again. Really, if he hadn't been there? If he hadn't helped? I am so grateful for his affirmation that it was an accident. I know it was an accident, but it helps so much that an eye witness validated that for me. 

I got back in my car, took a deep breath, and drove to my parents' house. Whereupon Jack threw up in the car, two minutes before we reached their house. I think I have a prone-to-carsickness kid on my hands. It was a great way to cap off the morning. 

I very much feel like the dog is okay. I mean, WILL be okay. I'm almost positive he's still with us, home from his ER visit even. I won't really know, I suppose, but while I am shaken, upset, sorrowful, and yes, guilty, I don't feel overcome with horrible sickening responsibility, I'm not berating and blaming myself. Things I'm very good at. At first I thought I should bring flowers to that house and check on the dog. I don't know, some gesture. My mom thinks this is a bad idea. You just don't know what people will do. And I'm not sure what it would do. Too many things could happen, I can see that. I'm okay right now. Pretty sure the dog is too. Why open up okayness to disruption? 

I've come out of this sort of wishing for a dog of my own. That's weird, right? 

Thank God for that driver behind me. I swear he was PUT there.

And I really do think the dog is going to be okay. 

All right, thanks for letting me spill this story. I can go to sleep now. 


It's not you, it's me

This blog is stupid. All I have to say is: ZOMG SO BUSY and then as soon as that busy thing is over OH WAIT NO STILL BUSY plus MY HOUSE IS A STY and MY PANTS ARE NEVER GOING TO FIT FTLOG. 

Seriously. There is nothing else to say. BOR. ING. 


An update on that crazypants bakery idea, oh yes

Were you wondering about the status of Katie, Formerly Known As The FPC, and Maggie's Mom-Friendly Cafe? (Just say yes.) Well, we're still thinking about it. And talking about it. And not entirely sure what to do next. 

We've tweaked the vision a tiny bit. Based on the fact that all the play cafes I know about either charge to play or have gone out of business, I suspect it's not a super great way to make money. We are NOT charging to play in our space. The end. Other things we don't want to do: tout our playspace as educational, host child development workshops, look like a preschool, etc. What Katie wants to do is own a bakery. What I want to do is be a welcoming community space. And eat baked goods. 

So now I'm looking at straight up bakery business plans. A bakery with space to play. It would have to get by on being a bakery, but it would (hopefully) be KNOWN as a great place to go with your kids. I think we're dialing back the cafe aspect - the lunch menu and all that - but ramping up the treats, the special orders, the quality. It might not be as BIG as I once envisioned (I've been looking at rents!) but it would still be a space that obviously and cheerfully welcomes little kids - I'm still hoping for designated play areas, as well as kid-sized tables and chairs, art supplies, books, puzzles, train tables, all that. 

A lot of the local cafes with designated kid space get their baked goods elsewhere. We would be ALL ABOUT the baked goods. And Katie and I are both surprised at how many local bakeries/cafes don't make an effort to be PRETTY. We would concentrate a lot on display. We aren't into the "adorability" factor, a'la a certain local cupcake shop, but we like their bright cleanliness, their devotion to a Look, the way they get you to pay up to $10 a cupcake (NO LIE) because of the LOOK.

I'm still mulling over what exactly our brand would be, but something bright, modern, clean, consistent. We'd want people to feel like they're in a special Land of Deliciousness when they step into our store. It's not a cutesy cupcake shop, it's not a froofy vintage storefront where the barista is wearing an Anthropologie apron, it's not a serious coffee Seattle coffee shop, it's not a no-frills all-we-do-is-freaking-amazing-cake shop, it's not a birthday cake orders machine - it's... I want it to be like your best friend who makes amazing creative birthday cakes for her kids and doesn't mind getting out the poster paints. She's classy, busy, on the ball, smart, organized, has excellent taste, her scones are to die for, and she totally doesn't care if your kids destroy her house during a playdate. She WANTS your kids to have a good time. And she wants you to have seconds and pours more coffee while you tell her all about the preschool drama. Do you get the feel I'm shooting for? Yes, that table right there is for your kids to go crazy with stamps and markers and why don't you stick your toddler in this little enclosed area and here's a plate of puffed pastry amazingness and a giant latte because you deserve a break. And why don't you order that baby shower cake while you're at it? (I'm practicing for my business plan. (Ha. Have you looked at business plans? I'm not sure most of the ones I've looked at are even written in English. INTIMIDATING.))

For locals, I think I want a North Seattle bakery that could easily slide into a U Village retail spot. But won't. Because it loves North Seattle and all its friends live up there. Like, that's how you feel when you walk in. "Oh, this is so cute! AND IT'S NEAR ME!" I THINK. For now. The vision, it is fluid!

I suppose other people would concentrate on the baked items. That's Katie's department. I'm just sitting here thinking about FEELINGS.

Also, I suppose all of you are thinking, "THIS is never going to happen!" That's what I think most of the time too. But then sometimes I think WAIT IT JUST MIGHT.

I am reading an EXCELLENT war book right now. I'll tell you about it later. I have no business reading anyway, seeing as how I have nine million things to do before we (drum roll) get on a plane to Mexico Saturday morning. (And as soon as we get home, like, THE NEXT DAY, we are having long term-ish house guests. Oh dear God. I need to be doing All The Laundry.)



Wherein I willingly subject myself to needles in my ears

Just now as I sat down for my nightly "hmm, what sort of drivel shall I throw up on the blog tonight?" I saw this little Helpful Tip thing from Typepad and it said "check your spam folder to make sure those comments ARE spam!" So I did! I like to follow directions. And now I feel terrible because of the 35 comments in my spam folder, only two of them were Actual Spam. The rest of them were entries for Birthday Giveaway Week or helpful recommendations or (worst of all) COMPLIMENTS and gosh it just KILLS to find out you could have read and glommed onto this compliment MONTHS ago! (Yes, months. Shameful.) 

So all that is to say: I'm sorry. And if you were wondering why your comments never posted, it's my fault. I hate it when things are my fault. In addition, I am not entirely sure how to fix it. Let's mull that over while I run downstairs to put the big kids to bed, shall we? Excellent. 

All right I'm back. Time to tell you about acupuncture. In short: WEIRDNESS.

Wait, first can I just say that it's weird having a doctor who looks like she should be working for a fashion magazine? My naturopath lady is SO PRETTY it's distracting. And a huge bummer for someone visiting her to discuss weight gain ALAS. Anyway. Like every single other doctor appointment of my life, I am perfectly average in every way except did I know I am borderline anemic? GET THEE TO THE IRON AISLE. 

Okay, so I'm doing that. (I'm not, ah, always very good at following THAT direction, hence the consistent iron fail at the doctor office.) And I'm taking some giant horse pill aka Vitamin B. I am supposed to eat breakfast every day and a great easy breakfast is some sort of smoothie with a protein powder I can buy at Whole Foods. (When she asked me if I ate breakfast every day I hesitated, which she took to mean that I don't. My hesitation actually meant, "Does cake count?") I have dialed back the SSRI but we are not yet adding the Sketchy Herbal Medicines because FIRST I am doing ACUPUNCTURE. 

And you guys know I am up for most weird things, right? I am a huge giant sucker for touchy feely new agey churchy thinky self improvement character-building health stuff. I just don't see how this particular therapy works. Which is fine! I don't have to know! I am very happy not knowing things! At the very least I knew I'd get to spend a half hour horizontal, in the dark, without anyone demanding a snack. It can't be that bad. 

And it wasn't! It was actually quite nice. My dr was chatty and as informative as I wanted her to be re: this whole needle sticking business. I actually did ask her to explain the POINT, but I zoned out during her treatise on the importance of the liver in Chinese medicine. 

So anyway. The needles. She poked them (and not a lot, only a few, which was almost disappointing) near where my big toe meets my foot, my ankles, the sides of my knees, the insides of my wrists, the middle of my unibrow, and two (TWO!) in each ear. Those hurt. The others not so much, except the one on my left wrist - it didn't hurt going in, but it got SUPER achey. Which is what the dr told me to expect - if I felt anything I would probably feel some aching. 

And then she tapped a tuning fork against the bottoms of my feet so that my whole body vibrated ("more stimulation for the acupressure points"), put a heat lamp over my feet (LOVELY), and left me alone in the dark. So yeah. Weird, but verrrrrry relaxing. And I am not a relaxing sort of person. 

Then it was over! She turned on the lights, told me what brand of iron pill she recommended, and told me I should probably do 6-8 weeks of acupuncture. 

I didn't FEEL anything else today. And I'm not really sure what to expect. Is my anxiety just supposed to disappear? Because I have maaaaajor doubts about that. On the other hand, it certainly doesn't hurt, right? And it's done great things for a lot of people I know. And it's interesting. And now I can say that I've had acupuncture. It's a win, I think. 

The only things I'm good at finishing are chocolate bars

Today I was flitting between fixing up my roman shade project (tons of glue, no really, TONS AND TONS OF GLUE), playing around with the Ikea kitchen planner, reading business plan examples for bakeries and writing up the "vision", emailing people and filling up my calendar, eating candy bars (several) (the FPC gave me a stack leftover from some catering event) (no really, like FIVE), hanging out with my neighbor and talking about getting involved in her church, researching white laquered dining tables online, thinking I should probably paint Emma's room even though I decided it wasn't a big deal to leave it that ho hum sage green... there... something wrong? 

I'm serious. After having given a few minutes' thought to how I spent my time today - and not just today; this is a good picture of how I've been spending my summer - I'm wondering if I need to... I don't know. Am I missing something? Am I wanting something? Am I trying to fill the Hole that people are always talking about? Do I just have too much time on my hands? 

I do have a practical bone in my body and it is shouting GET A JOB ALREADY, SHEESH. But the rest of me is not practical at all, would much rather sit around and ruminate, and that part of me is quite perplexed. Do other people do this? It's true that I don't like to be un-busy. I always want something to work on and/or be responsible for. Even when I complain about it. Not only do I hate feeling useless, I love imagining and dreaming up and visualizing and attempting to bring those things to life. 

But I feel like I'm manic hopping from one thing to the next. Can't do that right now? Okay I'll do this! Phillip isn't into that? Let's find something else! Let's go to this store! Let's look this up! Let's figure out how to do this one thing with the supplies I already have at home! Let's DOOOOO ITTTTTT! 

And it just seems kinda nuts. Or it does now that I'm actually thinking about it. It seemed fine earlier today. I can focus on business plans AND learning how to rip out and re-tile a shower, right? OBVS. 

Except I don't think I can. Or I don't think I should. (I'm not sure which one of those.) And why am I doing this at ALL? What is the thing I actually want to be doing, but I can't, so I am doing all this other stuff? And for the love of God, why the five candy bars? And I don't even feel it! I could probably eat five more! 

That's what makes me think I'm trying to FILL something. And it's not working. I never thought I was an emotional eater until this year. (Bored eater, yes. Emotional? I have meds for that.) I tell myself I'm just waiting around until school starts. That's when I'll settle into an exercise routine and start eating like a normal person and that's when I'll focus. FOCUS. That is what I'm lacking. 

Then again, I feel fine. I'm not sad or anxious or upset or moody or any of those things. Maybe this is just me. Maybe I CAN figure out how to write a business plan and do my house projects at the same time. 

Maybe I'm just not sure what I really want to be doing. GAH!

I'm pretty sure this is what drives Phillip nuts. The manic hopping between tasks and ideas. There's some part of it that's energizing though. For me. I kinda feel like... YEAH! Roll up my sleeves, hunker down in front of the laptop, think it out, get it done

Did I even mention parenting my children? Ha ha ha.

Right now, right before I climb into my bed with my Kindle crossword (this is how I'm unwinding these days) it seems like: yeah, okay, it makes me difficult to live with, but there's also something good about it. There is something about this that is a gift. But it seems like there's also a way that I need to wield my multitasking power with responsibility. With focus. Without making everyone else crazy. It would be good to figure out what comes first. It would be good to figure out what I can actually finish. And then finish it. WHAT A NOVEL IDEA.


First acupuncture appointment tomorrow. Maybe those needles will slow my roll. 

Reading through a lot of blah blah before getting to the Blond Inspiration Photo

It continues to be the most glorious summer the PNW has ever seen. Seriously, folks. If you didn't visit me in Seattle this summer you probably never should, because we are never going to have such a lovely stretch of sunshine again. Ever. (Or we will? Yay global warming?)

Jesus is babysitting the kids every morning this week (this is also called VBS) and I am QUITE enjoying these three hours off. YMCA camp was all day which meant I had to look presentable until at least 5pm, but with VBS I pick them up at noon and then I come home and go back to looking like A Slob and doing whatever the heck I feel like doing. As long as I can also break up fights and prepare meals and keep EJ from drawing on the couch. 

Today that was attemping one of those DIY roman shades. I bought the cutest pink and white elephant fabric and blackout drapery lining and I just WENT for it. However. I have learned something. And that something is: probably don't use your super old came-with-the-house miniblinds that don't work even when they don't have a yard and a half of fabric glued to them. My shade looks awesome when it's all unfolded, but if we want to actually let LIGHT into the room, not so much. And I have to make four of these suckers. Phillip's job this evening is to fix the stupid blind. He's good at stuff like this, untangling things and getting out stubborn knots. If he can't make it work no one can. Which means I'll have enough leftoveryards of pink elephant to wallpaper the house. I'd rather not. So. 

It was frustrating that I didn't get the shade working properly, because that's pretty much what I DID today. Yesterday I cleaned the kitchen and figured out how many thousands of dollars I want to spend at Ikea (someday) on new cabinets. (Phillip: you did what?) Today I made a shade. Tomorrow I will... gosh, I don't know. Probably fuss around with something else in my house. Make lists and plan and plot. I just watched an entire infomercial for a product that covers up your laminate or tile countertops with a cement surface. Things are real exciting around here. AND I LIKE IT THAT WAY.

I need to write a post on books. I've read some good ones lately. And one that wasn't good so much as it was about demons and exorcisms and living in Italy (YA! Girl heroine! Weird secretive family business!) so obvs I thought it was great. 

What else. Phillip bought me a groupon for a fancy spa/salon today. He's so nice. Do you think I can just ask them if I can put the entire amount towards a foot rub? I've actually been thinking about MY salon lately, wondering when I can get there, because dudes, I REALLY want this hair. And by "hair" I mean "blond". Actually, if I thought I could swing it I would go all the way here. I can't, for scientific as well as emotional health reasons, but I DO like that style. (Phillip: SO MESSY!)

But I don't have time! We're doing that photo session next week and I do not want to be blond before that. Then I go to Cabo. Then I start my real life and do I want to start real life with real hair and THEN switch to blond? Seems like blond should be something I do when it's still summer and I can say, "Hey! It's been the most glorious summer! I wanted hair to match!" I don't know. I KNOW THERE IS NO LOGIC IN THIS PARAGRAPH. 

Also my mom is going, "Blond?!"