About Me

It matters to me

I'm going to say a few things about Ferguson on my blog. Even though I have a POLICY of not saying things about things like Ferguson on my blog. Even though, even beyond the POLICY, no one cares what things I have to say about Ferguson. I'm breaking the POLICY because while it's served me well, I think, in this one instance, it may be hurtful to someone I know, a black woman from St. Louis. 

This whole time I've been thinking: what can *I* do? What *can* I do? 

Everywhere I read, the call to white people is: speak up! But I want to say to them: have you met me? I... don't do that. I have a POLICY. 

And also, I don't LIKE to speak up. I feel like there's a lot of people on the internet who are there ONLY to speak up. About everything. So many opinions and thoughts and stances about so many things. And I feel like there are lots of valid opinions and thoughts and stances about many things and I want to respect yours and I would like to LEARN about yours and maybe, one day, we can get to what I maybe think about things...

But I am wondering if the only thing I can do is speak up. Not to... I don't know. ENGAGE people, necessarily. Heaven forbid I have to engage with anyone. And not to join a chorus or a conversation and certainly not to start a debate or change a mind. I have negative skills in those areas. Also, quite honestly, it appears that all of my people are on the same wavelength here. Is it even necessary for me to speak up? 

I have been praying for God to show me what matters in this situation. I mean, what I can AFFECT in what matters, if that makes sense. I felt wrapped up in the rightness or wrongness of the grand jury decision, trying to figure out what I thought about all of that, but praying too, praying that God would take away the things that didn't matter and leave the things that did. Slowly, over the course of this one day, God rendered all of my thoughts about Ferguson unimportant except one: the fact that my black friend from St. Louis is hurting. 

So I want to sit here, on Thanksgiving Eve, ruminating over my blessings and I want to speak up. I want to shout: ASHLEY! I SEE YOU! IT MATTERS TO ME THAT YOU ARE HURTING! IT MATTERS TO ME. It matters to me.

I don't need to know how I feel and what I think before I grasp and abhor the fact that someone meaningful to me is hurting. I pray for the ability to sit in the tension, the humility to give up thinking I need what I think I need, the courage to walk alongside my sister in Christ, to pursue a Jesus-focused understanding. I think that's what I need to say out loud. That I'm here, Ashley, and I see you, I see this, I want to see it better.  


Macarons and fat pants

Got an email today that made me panic for a second. It contained this sentence:

You must complete the permit process prior to operating a cottage food operation. 

But then I saw that it was addressed to a "Michael McKinsey" and it was from a guy purporting to be from the Fresno County Department of Public Health. So. I'm guessing it's kind of spammy? But still? Weird? There was an attachment that obvs I am not clicking on, but now I'm like even the spammers now how to give me anxiety attacks. Of course I am all ready to hit back with, "THIS IS WHY WE RENT SPACE IN A LICENSED KITCHEN, [INSERT FAMILY UNFRIENDLY TERM]", but I think I'll just ignore for now. Or furiously google the guy who supposedly sent it. 

It did make me remember the cottage food process we DID undergo and how I was going to write a Sternly Worded Letter to send to allll my representatives.... yeah. I AM still frustrated and irritated and a tiny bit super angry defensive about that, but I don't have TIME to take that on. I AM VERY BUSY BLOGGING OKAY? And other things. 

Tonight the "other things" began to take on a distinctively egg whitey glow... MACARONS. So Katie's husband is a manager for a catering company with a big time corporate client. And because 1) we have a connection and 2) Katie makes awesome treats, we ended up on the official Holiday Menu that all the corporate clients (who pay for things with corporate credit cards, ahem) see when they are choosing their Holiday Soirees. Or Holiday-Themed Meetings. Or what-have-you. Although it was kind of a bumpy start (FOOD BUSINESS PEOPLE. ALL NUTJOBS.) (DOES THIS NOW INCLUDE ME?) we already have 6 orders for December. Kind of a big deal for a teeny tiny upstart baking company who celebrates 6 orders in a month. Except, it's only mid-November. And these are for a Major Local Corporate Behemoth. And now we are freaked out about HOW ARE WE GOING TO MAKE ALL THE MACARONS OMGGGGGG. 

(Do you like how I always say "we"? Like I have ANYTHING to do with making macarons? I WILL, for your information, be making a bunch of things for the "assorted cookie platters" which are also on the official menu, but macarons? HA HA HA NO.)

On the other hand! WE MIGHT MAKE MONEY IN DECEMBER! THAT WOULD BE SO NOVEL! (No really, that would be... amazing.) 

The only thing I don't like about this deal is that they aren't advertised as THUMBPRINTS macarons/assorted cookie platters, we're just contracted through BIL's Catering Company and so no single person is going to look us up later and order her own macarons. But whatever. I'm not COMPLAINING or anything. 

I've also finished all the listings for our online store AND figured out the shipping questions. I'm not sure I answered those questions WELL, but I did my best, and we will see how it goes. IF anyone buys anything through our online store. Which I haven't put up yet. Because Katie still has to go through it and say things like, "Um, no, I'm not doing that." But soon! (I hope. All I really feel like doing is sleeping. But. Sigh.)

The sleeping? I am just going to hope that this is because I have not been religiously taking my iron pills. Back in August when my mental health had gone seriously south and I was Distraught and Desperate and DONE, when I started the new SSRI I stopped taking all the [expensive] [gigantic] vitamins and supplements my naturopath had me taking. I mean, they obviously weren't HELPING, right? And no medical insurance was paying for THOSE pills [lots and lots and lots of them] so I just stopped. I WAS ANGRY, OKAY? But I also stopped taking the iron (I wasn't in the best head space, you understand) and now I'm wondering if the iron actually WAS helping me or I'm in an especially tired place right now or WHAT IS WRONG JEEZ. I wake up exhausted. I spend my whole day wondering when I can sit down and conk out for a minute. And Sunday morning at the retreat I went to last weekend I woke up with this super weird back pain thing and now I'm Fatigued AND Falling Apart. IT'S TERRIBLE. 

And it's just making me aware (as opposed to deliberately choosing NOT to be aware) of how poorly I am treating my body these days. After not eating + nervous tummy during the Worst Week Ever (August 2014), I'd 1) lost quite a bit of weight (silver lining!) and then 2) began to SERIOUSLY make up for it. I mean, after that I was all, "You eat whatevvvvver you want, Body. You just do what feels good." And I did! I don't think I was eating my feelings so much as eating was something I COULD enjoy. So I was gonna ENJOY IT. Bring on the Nutella! 

But now... hrrmmm. My fat pants are too tight. You see? And while I am in a much better headspace this year re: How I Look, I have enough sense to know that I am not taking care of myself. I am not eating ANYTHING that's good for me. I am not getting outside. I am not getting any exercise. I am sleeping terribly. And even though I KNOW that the longer I keep up this "lifestyle", the harder it is to change, I'm finding it hard to care. My anxiety stuff is not totally figured out. My work/parenting balance is not at all figured out. I sort of feel like... well not that I'm doing the best I can, but that any sort of check on what I eat or how much I move is alREADY setting myself up for failure. You all know how much I love to fail!

When I mentioned how much I despair over pants, a good friend said, "I don't feel like you should be worrying about that right now." Which is so nice! But the rest of the world says, "If you don't start NOW, you never will!" I feel like the rest of the world is right, and also totally has me nailed. I'm waving at them while I eat another leftover toffee bar from the subscription boxes we sent this weekend. HEY THERE, WORLD!

Why don't you all come over and we'll eat our way through the bakery leftovers

I thought the anxiety was getting better, and I think it WAS, for a while, but not so much anymore, and I don't really know what to do about it. I mean, eventually I will call my doctor and she will probably put me on something else because I'm at the max dose of this one, but I sort of dread making that call and it will take a few days for me to actually do it. That call means the thing I was most nervous about is the thing that happened - that the meds wouldn't work, that I would still be anxious months out, that I have to start over on something else, that maybe NOTHING works - and I haven't wrapped my brain around it yet. 

In the meantime I am making lunches and going shopping and shipping cookies and writing emails and having friends for dinner. I can do my life. It's just in the quiet alone moments my body is on big time high alert and the rest of me is totally stymied as to why. As long as I don't think about it too much, it's only a massive drag. If I think about it too much, it becomes something a lot worse. 

I feel like... well, if I'm going to feel like I'm about to go on stage at any moment or give a very important speech, I would like to, you know, ACTUALLY GO ON STAGE. Because 1. there would be a reason and 2. I've always wanted to be a Broadway star. 

That said, anxiety has rarely stopped me from doing the stuff I want to do. There was that one time where I didn't quit a job I knew I should quit, because I needed that safe, predictable, known place to be every day. But that was a million years ago and now I just DO stuff because no way is anxiety going to shut me down. I mean, it might, maybe, but this is why I carry a bottle of Klonopin everywhere I go, right? HA. 

So I am looking at invitations for the Christmas party we throw every year, even though 1. I will probably still be anxious come Christmas party time and 2. isn't the holiday season a manic time for bakery owners? I've heard this is the case! Perhaps I should not block out an entire week in December for decorating my house! But I think I would be tremendously SAD if we canceled the party this year, even if we just turned it into a, I don't know, an Ides of March party or whatever. This probably means that I will for SURE bust the party budget because dudes, we ARE going to be bakery busy and in order to pull off a party I must HIRE OUT. (Not that I have a REAL problem with this. It just looks bad on the Excel spreadsheet.) 

And also I continue to book social occasions for myself, along with Asking Random People To Do Them With Me. The great testimony of my life, as I see it, is that once I was a desperately lonely and unhappy 15-year-old, crying in her closet from the shame of eating lunch by herself every day, praying for just one single friend, and now I am abundantly miraculously blessed with the most amazing friends I could ever hope to have. Ever. I swear it. Plural! MANY. And where it seems many women my age are despairing about making new friends with other adult women, I am supernaturally driven to seek out Potential Friends and pester them until they break down and hang out with me (out of exhaustion? perhaps.) I say "supernaturally" because OH MY am I NOT AT ALL "naturally" outgoing or extroverted or brave or confident in knowing other people want to get to know ME. I think better of myself than I used to - I suspect this is a product of getting older and I enthusiastically welcome it - but I am still wracked with insecurity when I meet someone new. ...it's just that I then invite them to a party. HEY. PARTIES ARE FUN.

I say that I fake extroversion well? But really I just honestly do like KNOWING people and I very much enjoy GATHERING them, especially if wine and snacks are involved, and when it seems like someone should enjoy something I enjoy, I compulsively invite them along. Sometimes this doesn't have the desired results. See: my OB and my hairstylist are not my best friends. I've had to get over that, alas. And sometimes it does. See: I agonized over how to invite my kid's teacher to a thing and then I just finally DID it and she immediately and excitedly said yes and omg we are totally going to be besties. 

ANYWAY. Sometimes the anxiety makes me MORE like that. Because the more time I spend with Other People, the less time I have to sit alone in my house and wonder why I am anxious, which then makes me more anxious. 

Blargh. I just don't know what the next steps are. Try another med? What if that one doesn't work? I know it's bad news to start thinking too far out, but it's HAAAAAARD to keep yourself in check all the time. I am asking for help when I think I need help, I am seeing the appropriate professionals, I make sure I don't spend EVERY day at home with only children for company, I keep myself busy with household stuff and bakery stuff. But I don't feel like I'm getting better. I've always, eventually, felt better. But then I've always, eventually, felt anxious again. And at this point it just sounds EXHAUSTING. And I'm already exhausted. I'm being challenged to look at this as a chronic thing, accept it even, and I'm trying and finding that to be a better perspective than my usual Fight Fight Fight stance. That IS helpful. But I think right now I feel sad about it too. Maybe the other part of that testimony is that God knew what a rough time my brain chemistry was going to be and gave me the people I needed when I really needed them. And they include you guys, too. xo




Phillip is making me dinner tonight. Phillip! is making dinner! It's 8pm and the kids are in bed which is how this can possibly happen, but YAY and ALSO! Let's look at what else is on my wishlist! 

The Lorac Mega Pro Palette


Swoon. I forget when I bought the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette (earlier this year I guess). I was ashamed to spend that much money on MAKEUP, but YOU GUYS, I will never buy drug store eyeshadow again. For serious. And since eyeshadow is really the only kind of makeup I like to play with, and cool purples and golds are made for ME, I think I need this Lorac palette. @temerityjane, Queen of What To Buy At Sephora, highly recommends and yeah, I just think this should be mine. I am happy to work with one blush, two mascaras, a handful of drugstore lipglosses I almost never wear, a few different shades of foundation, and my trusty Maybelline dark circle concealer, but I NEEEEEEED nine dozen flavors of eyeshadow, yes? 


Rain Boots


I've lived in Seattle how long? but only bought my first pair of rain boots last year. And guess what. They don't fit around my calves. I ordered them with points from Amazon and I was too embarrassed to send them back and maybe I would lose a few pounds and WHATEVER. I need rain boots that don't cut off my circulation when I stuff my legs into them and dash to school pick up. These LOOK like they'd be forgiving for the wider-calved ladies, but looks are deceiving and also they are seventy dollars NO. But cute! 


New Countertops


I know I should just be happy I have a house with a functional kitchen and it IS functional and it WORKS and except for the doll-sized oven all its issues are cosmentic but I HAAAAAAATE the tile countertops. Hate hate hate. I didn't hate them until I began to use the kitchen and who in the WORLD thought a countertop with a million little grooves in it was a good idea?! OR the oak trim at the edge and the oak trim "backsplash"? I'm not a germaphobe at all and I'm seriously grossed out thinking about how many years of crud have built up in the teeny gaps and grout lines. UGH. My kingdom for a solid slab of SOMETHING with an undermount sink. The above would do quite nicely. In fact that whole design and look would fit my house perfectly. Now to harvest my money garden! 

A New Winter Coat


I love this coat. I stared it a good long time when Garnet Hill was doing 25% off women's fashion. I LURVE IT. But... not really sure how this would look on someone with boobs and no waist and ill-fitting rain boots. So I let it go - SIGH - but I actually really do need a winter coat. Last year when I was so angry and upset with myself for gaining weight, the only coats that fit me were the two puffer jackets my FIL of all people had brought home from two different trips to China. One was a knock off Prada! FAWNCY!And I wore the HECK out of those coats (the biggest size, because I am much bigger than Chinese ladies remember), so much so that I broke the zipper on the one I liked best and I can't wear it anymore. I NEED a new coat. And I am maybe five pounds under what I was last year, but! I am not (as) angry and upset and I FREAKING NEED A NEW COAT SO FIND ME ONE, INTERNET!

All right, I could go on, but dinner (rice noodles! YUM!) awaits. What would YOU like to spend your imaginary money garden money on?!

My always forever answer for the "what's the best thing about blogging" question

Long long ago I gave a toast at a wedding and it was awful. Awful. I'd stressed about it for weeks, was still writing it while having my hair done, and then when it was finally time to speak, no one understood what I was saying through all the CRYING. I have no memory of what I said, only the crying and the pausing to control the crying and the feeling like an utter FOOL. A few tears during a wedding toast is charming and sweet. Not being able to HEAR the wedding toast for all the SOBBING is just embarrassing. 

But when Liz and Adam invited all their people to a farewell gathering a week or two ago I was determined, for the first time in my life, to try this toasting thing again. I even had notes, which I'd typed up on my phone for easy access. I had ten years on my previous toasting experience, which is ten years' worth of increased not-caring-what-people-think. Also this gathering would be in a bar, so I would have ample opportunity to liquor myself up. BONUS.

The farewell gathering at the bar, however, was very loud and very crowded and I would have had to stand on top of the table and shout at the top of my lungs for my toast to be heard and, well, that required a kind of bravery even ten years older and liquid courage could not provide. So I had fun chats with the people sitting near me and then I went home, not even speaking to the host and hostess beyond "hello" and "goodbye". 

You know where introverted awkward people end up giving thwarted toasts? 


TO LIZ (and Adam, whom we so very much adore, but mostly) TO LIZ, without whom the last six years of my life would be shabbier, duller, and a lot more sober.

As a blogger, one's dearest wish is to be taken seriously by your corner of the internet, to inspire, to lead, to say fresh and refreshing things, to speak truth, to be KNOWN as a speaker of truth, and ABOVE ALL to MONETIZE. I had hoped, as a blogger, my byline would one day be seen by all the mommies in all the internetland, and that my ad network would reel in for me many hundreds (dozens?) of dollars. I hoped the hope that any woman - frazzled and exhausted, with a baby and an internet connection and an English degree - hoped: to be PAID to WRITE. And for a few years, inexplicably and randomly, I was paid the grand sum of $20 per post for contributing to a Parenting.com blog. This, I felt sure, would propel me up the massive slope that was Internet Rockstardom. LOOK OUT, DOOCE!

I go to Mass on Sunday mornings - a fact I've never managed to integrate smoothly into my scintillating online musings - and on one of these Sundays, as I was packing up the diaper bag for my one single baby and getting ready to leave, a bright and cheery woman accosted me. 


"I am?" I said. "I am!" 


"You do!" 




I had gathered myself enough to realize I should introduce her to my husband and my one child - "This is my husband -" 


(Maybe I am not remembering this exchange accurately, but eh, details.)

This was Liz. She became my friend. An Internet Friend, a real life friend, the Catholic friend I'd always hoped to have, the local stay at home mom friend I needed, the friend whose kids were the same age as mine, the friend who knew all my other friends, the friend I invited to my sister's wedding because my sister said, and it was true, "Oh sure Liz can come, she's practically family."

My longtime best friends, the Asian-American ladies I've had since my college days, well, they LIKED Liz (see above: Liz knew all my other friends), but they referred to her as my "white best friend", usually with a tinge of sourness. Of course I delightedly told Liz this, knowing she would enjoy the moniker as much as I did. 

I had a baby, then she had a baby, then I had a baby, then she had a baby. Then two more. We moved houses. Twice. We got involved in church stuff and regretted getting involved in church stuff. We did Blatherings together - can I just say how crazy special it is to have a Real Life Friend who speaks Internet? We enneagrammed ourselves. And our husbands. Oh, and when our HUSBANDS became friends? That was even better. 

I had my amazing online community, I had my amazing real life community, and God saw fit to give me Liz as well. Liz really IS a testament to the goodness of God in my life. It was as if the relationships he'd already blessed me with were not enough, as if there were a gap, as if he said to himself one day, "Maggie appears to be lacking in the Wine-Drinking Friend With Whom To Bitch About Twitter And Church Committees Department, let me see what I can do about that!" And lo, Liz appeared after Mass, daring me to deny that was MY picture on Parenting.com.

I fear I've been a shoddy friend this past year. I decided my small amount of free time would be best put towards opening a questionable business. My disinclination to drive anywhere grew, my aversion to playdates anywhere but your home or mine solidified. Our kids went to different schools. I started going to a different church. I was nowhere to be found these last few months as the this-move-is-actually-happening drama grew large and unwieldy. Had the situation been reversed Liz would have brought me dinner at least three times a week. I wish I had at least shoved a case of wine out of my van as we cruised by her house. 

Growing up on military bases, your good friends move away every summer. And then when you graduate college, your good friends might leave for new cities and opportunities. But it's been a very long time since a good friend moved away from me and I am out of practice. I have not yet processed what this means. I have not really explained it to my kids. I have mostly decided not to think about it. 

This is probably not a good plan. 

TO LIZ. To the time we almost missed our flight to Sacramento. To being the awesome moms in the moms group, back when the moms group was fun. To Twoness. To being my plus one for nearly everything. To the post-committee meeting texts. To bringing dinner out of the blue. To the time we prayed over your bedroom, before Fritz was born, when everything was about to happen. 

To Chicago, and husbands who are home more than they are away. So thankful. 

To the best thing I ever got out of blogging. 

At this point in the toast, know that I am gurgling all my words and no one understands me. It occurs to me that Liz's dad would have an appropriate inappropriate remark to lightheartedly cap things off, so I'll let him end it. He'll whisper it, and add something about an exciting and bright and joyful future that I would be too sad and selfish to add myself. 

All the best in your new endeavors, Liz and Family. All of us love all of you. 

Lent is here AGAIN?

Yesterday I went to World Market and came home with a wine rack. A serious wine rack, with room for 25 bottles and hanging glasses. A piece of FURNITURE. As soon as I brought it home it became apparent that I have no PLACE for a serious wine rack, no matter how industrial-chic and desperately needed I think it is. I'm going to return it this weekend, if I can force myself to do it. 

And this is what happens, folks, when there is a Lull. I think I have identified the last week and probably the four or five upcoming weeks as a Lull and I HATE LULLS. Lulls are the worst. There's no big baking holiday to slightly push (slightly on account of being ILLEGAL, STILL) and I don't have enough pictures to update the website yet and we're having trouble finding the just right commercial kitchen space to rent. So the baking is sort of sitting right now. Annoying. 

No vacations any time soon, no important weekends or birthdays. No big plans of any sort, no obligations, and I'm starting to get itchy about my house again. I'm eyeing the downstairs bathroom and telling myself I'll go ahead and paint the cabinets now, why not? I want to rearrange furniture and hang a light fixture above the bathtub and press BUY on the bed I've picked out online (which I can't do yet because we're potentially spending Bed Money on Getting Rid Of Bats In Our Eaves instead. WOE.) 

I don't do well without purpose. I just sit and eat too much and refresh Twitter every five seconds. It's terrible. I also sit and stare blankly at the Typepad compose page. HMMMM, WHAT DO I SAY NEXT? 

Lent starts tomorrow. OF COURSE IT DOES. I have to say, I was greatly cheered by my friend Dr. Maureen who recently confessed that she ALSO dislikes Lent and that she's stopped trying to get something OUT of Lent and is content to suffer through it instead. This was so helpful for me. Every year I think: I should try and have a productive Lent! A meaningful Lent! A purposeful Lent! But Lent, for me, always seems to be a depressing Lull. 

I'll take Emma with me to the 9am Ash Wednesday service. We'll go to the church near my house and all the schoolkids will be there, which is good because that means the homily won't go over my head. And I will be thinking the whole time that I need to give something up and what should I give up (because we all know I won't be able to come up with anything BEFORE Lent) and I'll probably settle on doing something positive, knowing I'll crap out towards the end, or giving up something delicious, knowing that I'll most likely cheat. 

Daily I will send up "God, Lent is just so... LENTY" prayers and feel guilty because GOD KNOWS, you know, HE WAS THERE. I will attempt bouts of grown up spirituality, perhaps some important reading here and there, a group discussion if I'm really proactive. But mostly I will sulk and count down the days until I get to eat Easter candy in public instead of hidden in my bedroom because IT'S STILL LENT, FTLOG.

So! I wouldn't recommend this website for any great and holy Lenten insight these coming weeks! But if you're into complaining about Lulls and wondering if it's time to eat candy yet, I'm your gal. 


All the bits of random bouncing around my head

I haven't seen Downton Abbey yet. Don't tell me about it. SHHHH! I was going to watch it tonight, but then Phillip decided to go to the APPLE STORE of all places, at 8:45 at night, with our friend who I will rename Apple Store Enabler. And Downton Abbey is a show we watch toGETHER so... harrumph. 

Friday night Phillip went to get a massage. (I got him a membership at Massage Envy for Christmas. Do you think that's weird? My family thought that was weird. Phillip was elated, which is what counts.) Saturday he hung out with friends and watched some dumb movie about robots and the world ending. SUNDAY he spent the whole afternoon watching the Hobbit and eating burgers with my brother-in-law. And now he's out again? Phillip has had entirely too much social interaction lately. Unfair. 

I am going out tomorrow night. I meant to cancel my hair appointment and then it got too late to cancel my hair appointment and now I am going to my hair appointment tomorrow night. To get it colored. Which I have never done before. I was definitely going to dye it blond until the girl at the salon was all, "Yeah, you'll spend $300 to have blond hair for a week." That just made a lot of SENSE, you know? But I'd already sold myself on having New Hair so I made an appointment to do SOMETHING and now I just feel SILLY. And self-indulgent and spoiled and NERVOUS. As soon as I publish this I'm going to spend the rest of the night on Pinterest pinning short-haired brunette celebrities.

Tomorrow Katie and I are going to make a bunch of Valentine baked goods and take pictures of them with Phillip's new camera that I have absolutely no idea how to use. Because we're going to be legal by Valentine's Day. RIGHT, WASHINGTON STATE?

I went to Whole Foods today to buy one of the hippie supplements my hippie doctor wants me on and a protein powder thingie, but then I ended up buying blueberries (Emma wanted blueberries!) and some fancy yogurt and cookies (obvs) and bacon from Applegate Farms. That took ALL of my money. Jeez, Whole Foods. And I am having a HECK of a time figuring out whether the meat I am purchasing was happy before it ended up in the store. Do you know what I mean? The "cage free" label was simple enough for eggs, but at my regular store there are no helpful labels on beef and pork and I've recently discovered that the humane raised label on the chicken I buy may or may not actually mean humane raised. I know for sure that Applegate Farms is a-ok when it comes to this stuff (as if I couldn't tell by the price) but I have seriously considered vegetarianism a time or two in the last couple months. It would be EASIER. Except for the part where my FAMILY likes to eat meat. I don't know. I'm doing my best. I've also decreed the bakery will be getting its ingredients from happy and preferably local animals. 

I went for half a walk around the lake today with Emma and my FitBit was all, "FINALLY."

I feel like I haven't seen my friends in eons. I'm turning into a huge grump with nothing to say on her website. THIS IS TERRIBLE.


In which I take two terrible selfies

SO. One thing I DO really like about myself is my hair. 

Photo (6)

Wow, that is big. Ok then. This is me, just now, taking a picture of myself. (I'm shutting my eyes because I feel silly. If you don't look, you don't see how silly it is. Until you post it on your blog. ANYWAY.)

I haven't cut my hair since a week before the Blathering, at the end of September. 

Photo (7)

See? (Still embarrassed, but this time my hair is hiding my shame. Also I have no idea why this is sideways. Who cares!)

I need a haircut and I am STRESSING because if I get my hair cut NOW, then what do I do 5 weeks from now when I throw a Christmas party and need Fabulous Hair? 5 weeks is the earliest I like to go back, but I know from experience that I will not be feeling all leisurely and haircutty the morning before the party. THERE IS DECORATING TO BE DONE! So I could go the weekend BEFORE, but then that would only be 4 weeks and that feels too soon. Hair cuts are not cheap, for one thing, and you want them to COUNT... Sigh. First world problems, etc. 

While I was debating when to schedule my hair cut (the jury is still out) I started googling around for pictures. Except I've sort of explored all the short cuts I'm comfortable with and the short/tight in the back with long bangs seems to be the one that works for me. I toyed with growing it out this summer and no. So I'm a tiny bit BORED with my hair. I like it, I even like how you go from one style to a much different style in the span of 5 or 6 weeks. But, well, wouldn't, you know, wouldn't going BLOND be kinda FUN?

Yes, I'm back there. Again. The platinum blond pixie has been sweetly singing my name for years. And I've ignored it because, dude, ME? My hair is so dark people think it's black. (DARK BROWN, PEOPLE.) I've never colored it. I never thought I COULD color it. It would look so FAKE!

But I have to say, fake sounds kinda FUN. And there's a colorist at my salon whose hair is naturally dark like mine and SHE'S a near-platinum blond. And it looks awesome. SO YEAH, I'M BACK HERE AGAIN. 

This article, by pixied platinum blond Joanna Coles, editor of Cosmo (I know her as a Project Runway judge) did not help. 

Neither did this article, which spoke to my fears about attention and reminded me that a change can INSPIRE!

And shoot, you guys. If Jennifer Connelly can go blond...


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 Amazon.com.

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. 

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.