Monday, April 29, 2013

Foot Callouses As A Nod To Our Shared History As Women. Am I Reaching Here?

 We had a wonderful weekend.  The warm weather was so fabulous, we played sports, we entertained, we had family time, there was much to love.  And while I sit here reflecting on our great time I do recall an awkward moment this weekend when Geoff walked in on me in the bathroom.

 A few days ago I thought I had a rock in my shoe.  It pained me, but I forged ahead anyway because we needed food. When I got home, I removed my cute pair of flats expecting to see some kind of stone, but nothing came out.  "That's odd," I thought to myself, then I caught a glimpse of the bottom of my foot, and what I saw was so disturbing I needed to sit down.  It was a quarter-sized callous on the pinkie-toe side.  I freaked out.  It looked like I was dangerously close to developing a cloven hoof.

I raced back to the grocery store to find something that would fix the problem, locating the foot care aisle immediately.  I never knew so many problems could befall our feet - Plantar warts, corns, hammer toes, fungus - it's a total nightmare.  As I perused the array of products designed to treat foot tragedies, I wanted to explain to people near me that I was just dealing with a callous and not something itchy or oozing.  I finally found Dr. Scholl's Exfoliating Foot File for Women.  It has become my new best friend.

When I got back home I ran upstairs to my bathroom, foot file in hand.  This is a very low tech product, so I was able to jump right in without wasting time reading directions.   Basically, you just rub the hard, nubbly stone on your feet and it breaks down any weird calloused part.  I couldn't believe that I could violently scrub the edge of my foot with this tool and not even feel it.  I kept rubbing and rubbing, eventually reaching normal skin again.  I was so relieved, but I noticed other parts of my foot appeared to be headed down the road to Callousville too.  Since I now wanted my feet to achieve maximum smoothness (and may have been experiencing trauma induced OCD), I'd add a little side trip to the bathroom when I could, and spend a few minutes filing my feet to supple perfection.  That's when Geoff walked in.

It's not the most attractive position to be found in, sitting on the edge of the bathtub filing the bottom of your feet.  As soon I saw him, I started explaining what had happened and informing him that the hoof had been avoided and now my feet were baby smooth.  He didn't seem surprised about my callous issue and noted he'd seen my feet before.  I guess I hadn't spent much time looking there, and maybe if I had, this would have been addressed earlier.  He didn't seem creeped out by my feet, but I think he appreciated the improvement.  

I asked to look at his feet and they looked perfect.  Like he never walked anywhere.  How is this possible?  Why no need for an Exfoliating File for Men?  Do they not callous?  Why women only?  I concluded that historically women were the ones in the fields harvesting, gathering, walking around the camps cooking for the tribes and caring for children, so our feet must have developed the ability to toughen up in order to make all these tasks more comfortable.  Hence, the occasional foot callous nowadays.  It's just part of our heritage as women.  Perhaps I should take some pride in my callouses.  On second thought, pride schmide - it's sandal season.  I'll just keep my foot file handy.

I'm wearing this today:

Since the snow is coming yet again, I've decided to fully immerse myself in summer whites.  I'm adding a splash of color with a scarf and a bag, and some texture with a gladiator sandal.  There you have it.

Panzanella in on deck for Meatless Monday today.  Here is a good recipe for it from Ina Garten.  Yum!

gratitude:  our golf outing yesterday, the smell of Coppertone sunscreen, patio planning, morning walks

thanks and love.

Friday, April 26, 2013

This Is A Tad Deeper Than Normal Posts, But Don't Think For A Minute I Am Any Less Weirded Out By Life Sometimes.

So I had a birthday yesterday.  It was great.  I wore this.

I felt the look was sort of a cross between Mrs. Roper and The Beatles during their East Indian phase.  Which really, when I think about it, kind of captures my current state of mind.  Like Mrs. Roper, I enjoy being at home.  Personally, I like working out of the house and not having a set schedule to adhere to every day.  And I like a caftan - or, in my case, clothing that sometimes has a caftan feel to it, like a tunic.  And like The Beatles during their late 1960's experimental phase, I too am seeking insight and finding my way along some new paths.  I also do a lot of yoga.  The Beatles did give up psychedelic drugs during this time, so I must admit I avail myself a glass or two of wine on a regular basis and I am taking Claritn-D right now.  Just to be clear.

I cropped the picture so you can't see the bottom of my shirt, but it's wrinkly and has a big spaghetti sauce stain on it.  Driving home from dinner, the to-go box silently leaked all over my lap.  You'd think I would have noticed it early on, but apparently a moist, garlic-scented warmth spreading across my midsection is not strange enough to get my attention.  It's an imperfection and at this point in my life, I've accepted that those imperfections will show up from time to time.  I'm starting to learn that imperfection isn't the end of the world.  Just crop it out.  Use some stain remover.  Forge ahead and take the picture anyway.

So that's where I am.  Finding my way and realizing that even in my mid-forties, it's okay to not have the perfect vision of where I'm going.  I'm committing to act on what I do know I want in my life and hoping/believing/trusting that the clarity will come where it's needed.  So I will write, I will enjoy food, style and decor, I will be creative, I will be the best mom and wife I can be, I will take care of what I have, I will be open to learning, I will be present, I will remind myself that what I do everyday is a choice, I will remember to 'be love' and I will be grateful.  Because, really, life is pretty fabulous.

I will probably do other things as well, but I can't think of them right now.  And I understand there will also be days when I think that last paragraph is a bunch of hooey.

You know, each day is like a birthday.  It marks where you've been, but also gives you an opportunity for a fresh start.  There is wisdom, but also curiosity.  And celebration, because every day really is a gift.

So there's that.

Since it looks like a sunny and wonderful weekend, enjoy a sip and a nibble outside.  Try some Parrano cheese with a very simple cracker.  The cheese tastes best when it's been out of the fridge for a while and any food enjoyed on a patio tastes better than it does inside, I think.

gratitude:  over-the-counter meds, whatever yoga pose I did yesterday that made my back feel better, the fact that I get to live in the same house with Eliza, JD and Geoff, eucalyptus oil sprinkled in the shower

thanks and love.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Yesterday I Thought I Had a Disease, But I Got A Second Opinion.

I don't really care if medical experts recommend not diagnosing yourself online.  It's not like I'd schedule a surgery or something without speaking to an actual doctor, but if I don't feel good and I'm going to the grocery store where they sell things that could make me feel better, online information can point me in the right direction.  As can the helpful and friendly pharmaceutical assistant, tongue piercing aside.

Plus, I'm fairly confident in my ability to handle situations that would otherwise call for a medical professional.  I feel this comes from mothering children and basset hounds.  Sometimes, if you've seen the condition before, it's just not worth the time and effort to make it to the doctor or the vet.  It had gotten to a point in our lives that I could diagnose and drain a canine sebaceous cyst at home, then treat a case of childhood stomach flu while cleaning vomit from the decorative canopy that draped the vomiter's headboard.  In the same day.  Not for the faint of heart.

So, while I may not be a doctor, I've had kids and dogs and understand how Google works, so I'm good to go with an internet search of symptoms.   Of course, taking this approach requires a cool head because no matter what you're researching, the first symptom match that comes up is always something dreadful.  Yesterday, I thought I had an inner ear disease.  For about 10 minutes.

Thankfully, before I started saying my goodbyes, (because according to some website, in about a day I would likely take to my bed and possibly attempt a Vincent Van Gogh-type ear removal) I toggled farther down the page.  I found that my condition may also just be really weird allergies and could be treated with Claritin and a nasal decongestant.  I decided to follow that course.

So I medicated myself yesterday and felt a bit better.  My hearing hasn't improved (that may be subconsciously selective) and after the 12-hour tablet wore off, I could feel my ears filling up again. But I can breathe through both nostrils and I no longer feel like I'm on a ship in rough seas.  And, because I'm easily affected by medication, I have experienced a slight, but welcome, boost in energy.

 I don't know if this is because there is an ingredient in the pill that's used to cook meth or because I'm not carrying around a 300 lb. head anymore, but oh! am I productive.  Laundry and closet cleaning have been joyously completed, emails returned, business conducted, and bedrooms brought to order.   Today maybe I'll scrub down the showers with a toothbrush.

I'm wearing this today.

In Ines de la Fressange's book, Parisian Chic, she notes that low Converse sneakers in blue are 'must-haves', so of course I procured a pair.  They sometimes conjure up images of Creative Directors at ad agencies or Bennigan's Blues Busters, but I choose to focus on their timeless Frenchy appeal.

gratitude:  beautiful skies, light bulb replacement, kids vacuuming their bedrooms,  pancakes with peanut butter and syrup

thanks and love.

Monday, April 22, 2013

I Want A Nap. And Someone To Make Me Lunch. But Mostly A Nap.

It's funny to look at a Monday and the beginning of the work/school week as a break from the 'busyness' of a weekend - but that's exactly how I feel.  I woke up this morning and felt 'Ah, Monday!'  Routine, predictability, the daily grind - finally! I'm sure by Wednesday this will wear off, but right now, I'm luxuriating in it.

Eliza was helping out at Prom this weekend and I slept for about 30 minutes Saturday night as a result.  She was supposed to spend the night at a friend's house, but I had requested periodic, update texts throughout the event (which was scheduled to run until 4 a.m. - dear gravy!).  To her credit, she did contact me a few times (after I sent a very friendly inquiry text) even though I'm sure it was a burden to have to report in.  For that I am grateful.

However, even if you're expecting to receive a text or call during the wee hours of the night, you still have a mild heart attack each time your cell phone alerts you and pulls you out of whatever kind of pathetic sleep you were in previously.  Turns out she and another friend decided to spend the night at our house so I found myself driving to a 3 a.m. pick up on Sunday morning.  I impressed myself with surprising alertness at that hour and even managed to dodge a coyote with a death wish on the way to the school.  Of course, after the adrenaline rush of the open road and engaging in actual conversation with two teenage girls, sleep didn't come easy.  I'm still feeling it's absence.

I had big plans, y'know, for the weekend.  I procured all the foodstuffs to prepare a fabulous and healthy pot of white beans and sausages to be served with a dollop of pesto atop each steaming bowl.  Something that would scent the house, fill us up and symbolize home and comfort for days.  Turns out we actually never ate dinner together as a family all weekend and it seemed like every time I opened the refrigerator over the past few days, the kielbasa waiting in there on the shelf mocked our lack of familial coziness.

Well, Mr. Kielbasa, your days a numbered.  Of course, this being Meatless Monday, you're off the hook tonight, but I'm coming for you on Tuesday.

I'm wearing this today:

It feels a little British rocker/cowboy.  Not sure if I'm emotionally connecting to either one.  But, it'll have to do.  The laundry has backed up a bit and my options are limited.

For Meatless Monday we're having the Pioneer Woman's Best Grilled Cheese Ever.  At least that's what it's called in her cookbook.  Here's a link to the same recipe on her website.  We've had it before, and it is fabulous.  A Meatless Monday dish that doesn't cause whining is always nice to find.

gratitude:  70 degrees by the end of the week, the promise of a night at home together, roll-on perfumes, wardrobe additions

thanks and love.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Not Quite A Slasher Movie, But Close.

It's a busy Friday, but I am for sure squeezing in a trip to Old Navy.  I had a shaving incident and now I need new pants.

A week or so ago I cut my knee shaving - granted, I'm a speed shaver so this is not an unusual occurrence.  It was just a nick at the time, but since then I've re-injured myself each time I run the razor up my leg.  I'll look down while I'm rinsing and it's like the shower scene from Psycho.  I don't even feel it anymore.

So yesterday, it happened again.   Shaving, blood loss, rinse, moisturizer, etc.  No big deal.  I got out of the shower and slapped a scrap of Kleenex on it to seal it up.  Then I got on with my routine.  Hair, makeup, fold some laundry, tooth brushing, check email - the usual.  After about half an hour I felt it was safe to throw on a pair of jeans - I had to get going.  I left the Kleenex in place on my knee as a precaution.  As I was racing back from the laundry room I looked down to find the bloody scrap of tissue on my bedroom floor.  Gross, but no problem, I thought.  The wound must have sealed up and the tissue dropped off once it had done its job.  I looked down to confirm this and was horrified by what I saw.

The knee of my jeans was covered in red splotches.  Some were small pinpricks others were almost dime sized.  It looked like a crime scene.  How could I not have felt this kind of injury?  And, worst of all, the jeans were my white skinnies!  A critical wardrobe element.  Instantly I was not only concerned about my loss of blood - wondering if I was getting lightheaded and maybe needed a glass of juice before I did anything else, but it also occurred to me that I had just eliminated numerous cute outfits from my rotation by ruining this single pair of pants.

I immediately removed the jeans and began what has turned out to be a futile rescue effort.  Half a bottle of Shout Advanced and what was left of our Spot Shot combined with three washing cycles has left me with a cute pair of jeans that appears to have a light, henna-colored, Jackson Pollack sort of design on one knee.  And I think I have a mild case of carpal tunnel syndrome from the repetitive motion of squeezing the trigger on the stain remover bottles.  My knee is fine, however.

So jean replacement is on the docket.  Maybe I'll buy two pairs (the Rockstar jeans are not real investment pieces anyway) just to be on the safe side.  And I'm going to try to slow it down in the shower.  I may need to throw on a pair of shorts soon and I don't want to have to worry about open wounds.

I'm wearing this today:

Dark skinny jeans, a white t-shirt and a blazer.  With a fun necklace in Springy colors.  I'm fighting the snow with happy accessories.

Since it's Friday, and it's been quite a week for all of us, I think we should enjoy something bubbly and refreshing.  Try a sparkling wine or champagne with the teensiest plop of lemon sorbet in it.  Throw a twist of lemon and a mint leaf on top for flair.

gratitude:  Nature's Path Optimum Power oatmeal, Eliza and JD collaborating on a school project, an uncluttered home, meditations on peace

thanks and love.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Can Self-Tanner Be Applied To Goosebumps?

Well, it's snowing again.  And there's nothing like freezing temps and blizzard warnings to make me feel like it's time to get my tan on.  A couple weeks ago, in a laughable attempt to welcome Spring, I purchased a fresh bottle of self-tanner for the season.  Now, I know that too much sun exposure is a dangerous thing, so I'm always careful to use sunscreen with a freakishly high SPF when I'm outside.  Of course, that kind of protection means that even if I spent two hours actually on the surface of the sun I'd barely get a faint shading of color.  So, to hasten the process and protect the general public from having to witness my winter white limbs, I use self-tanner.  I've always felt better with just a little bit of color to my skin.

In college, because it was the 1980s and we didn't know better, I spent more time than necessary in a tanning bed.  There was a tanning place about four minutes from my sorority at DU, so I often chose bronzing myself over studying for an art history final.  And when I wasn't tanning I must have been snacking, because when I see photos from those years, I barely recognize myself.  I looked like a blond Kardashian.

Now I'm a slightly scrawny forty-something, but I still enjoy a hint of skin color during the warmer months.  I do take issue with the strange smell that comes from the tanner once it starts interacting with my skin.  I try not to imagine what causes that.  Gross.  People have suggested a spray-on tan, but the thought of holding a pose in my undies while I'm doused with a brown liquid makes me hysterical.  Just the picture of it in my mind is too much for me to bear.  I tried to watch a video the other day about how to perfectly apply self-tanner, but it involved pumice stones and rubber gloves so I checked out shortly after they ran through the list of supplies.   Therefore, self tanner it is for me, applied barehanded in the privacy of my own bathroom so only I can marvel at the odd spots on my legs and contemplate how in the world I could have bruised myself so badly without a trip to the hospital.

Of course, I'm going to hold off until I see some melting outside.  Why waste a good application?

I'm wearing this today:

I'm writing and doing other things at home all day, so skinny jeans and a black t-shirt are perfect.  The fabulous scarf serves a dual purpose - providing neck warmth and the creative vibe caused by wearing something flowy and colorful.

gratitude:  the amazing blue bird I saw down the street today, vases of flowers, fresh sheets, the neighbor's potted lemon tree we are babysitting for a while

thanks and love.

Monday, April 15, 2013

I'm Cleaning Out My Purse And You're All Invited.

I'm starting this week on a note of personal organization.  It occurred to me, as I scrambled yesterday to find some Chapstick in my bag and ended up grabbing two peanuts, it's time to clean out my purse.  Here is what I found in it after this weekend:

Four grocery lists.  Two are written on notebook paper, one on the notebook paper packaging, and one on a folded up piece of letterhead from my former real estate staging business (always nice to be reminded of failed business attempts while stocking the pantry - at least I've provided the family with some fabulous scratch paper).

Two sheets of illustrated exercises for Eliza from her physical therapy appointments.

A torn up copy of JD's birth certificate from lacrosse registration.  Don't know why that hasn't made it to the trash.  I fear identity theft, I suppose, and figure that can be avoided if I just carry the scraps around with me forever.

A receipt from JD's doctor appointment last week to diagnose a cracked tailbone.

An envelope of deposit slips for the bank.

My wallet.  Red, because I heard that a red wallet creates good financial energy.  I don't know if I should blame Suze Orman or a Feng Shui practitioner for this.

A bag of trail mix.  When my family members go low blood sugar they become irritating.  The bag of trail mix prevents those issues.

An expired coupon for American Eagle.

A pen from a hotel in Boulder.

Sunscreen, lip products, roll-on perfume and Advil.  The workhorses.

Keys to our mailbox on a disc made from those colorful plastic pieces you melt together with the iron.

A key to a friend's house who needed some cat sitting done last week.

A sweater.  Because I chill easily and JD's lacrosse game in Boulder yesterday looked (and felt) a lot like base camp on Everest.

And for the grand finale, three sets of chopsticks.  There is no explanation for this, but if someone near me lamented their lack of Asian utensils, I would feel so good whipping out one of these babies.

So there you have it.  A lot of my mess is unavoidable.  As a mom, a wife and a person with a diverse range of daily activities, I need to be ready for anything.  Admittedly, I could improve a bit on my organization.  Perhaps I'll get a small notebook for my lists, I'll try to file paperwork from appointments right away (or fold it up in my new notebook, if I'm being totally honest) and, I'll throw out trash.  I'll also pare it down to just one set of chopsticks.  I'd feel unprepared if I eliminated them altogether.

I'm puttin' it all in this snazzy number.

As one of my myriad activities, I dabble in Stella & Dot and dearly love all the goodies.  This bag is part of their new collection and I'm putting it to use as part of Project Spring Cleaning.  I like the size, the color, and the fact that it's all wipeable.  My life calls for a certain amount of water repellency more often than not.

And, it's Meatless Monday once again.  Tomato soup and a loaf of toasted Ciabatta (rubbed with garlic, of course) sounds like the perfect counterpoint to the weather today.

gratitude:  family rooms, French doors, scarves, home

thanks and love.

Friday, April 12, 2013

My Elevated Heart Rate And New Facial Tic Make A Lot More Sense Now.

Eliza has her Driver's Permit.  This means that at any given time of the day or night she could be behind the wheel and we, her parents, will be teaching her to actually drive.  I would like to ask the community as a whole right now for patience, forgiveness and understanding.  It's not that she's a bad driver - but she has a lot to learn.  And I'm surprised/a tad concerned that much of this coaching is up to Geoff and me.  We are not professional instructors.

When I'm driving with Eliza, I try to be cool.  I don't want to freak her out and I want her to believe she can do this.  This is probably because my early driving experiences didn't provide me with a lot of confidence - my dad actually dove out of the car and rolled into the front yard the first time I backed out of the garage.  I want her to feel confident, but certainly not overly so.  When it comes to driving, a little bit of self-doubt based fear can actually be a healthy thing, I think.

I never remember training to drive with my parents.  Back in the '80s (how weird is that to say?) we just had Driver's Ed at school, and through that program we were given time with an instructor and at a driving range - both of which provided me with some ego crushing experiences.  At the range, we were each given a car and tasked with a variety of driving exercises like turning and parking and changing lanes.  We were monitored by an instructor who stood in a tower and used a loudspeaker to correct our performance.

While parallel parking, I backed over one of the orange cones that marked a corner of the parking space.  Unbeknownst to me, it had lodged in a part of the undercarriage while I tried to maneuver the car into place.  I don't know if I was expected to notice the missing cone, but the instructor publicly announced that the driver of Car 7 (that's me!) needed to get out and remove the cone from the back of the car.  I'd forgotten what number I was, so I kept attempting to park wondering what yahoo had managed to get a cone stuck in their car.  After he repeated himself a few times (and seemed to be running out of patience), I realized he was talking to me.  The cone didn't come out easily, it was a windy day, and I was wearing a cheerleading uniform.  'Nuff said.  I avoid parallel parking to this day.

Another time I accidentally put the car in a (very small) ditch during a real road driving session.  In my defense, it was icy, the road was gravely, and I swerved to avoid a chipmunk.

So driving with Eliza involves Geoff and me tamping down our fear, not coloring her experience with emotions tied to issues from our youth, and loving her no matter what happens.  Just like everyday parenting.  Only faster.  And we're not holding the steering wheel anymore.

I'm wearing this today:

It says, "I sometimes like to look French in a cliched way." I am not wearing a beret, however.  I have my limits.

gratitude:  avocado toast (recipe below), Fridays, budding trees, the smell of basil

Mash up one half of a really ripe avocado.  Add a bit of coarse sea salt and cracked black pepper.  Spread on a slice of hearty bread (perfectly toasted).  Enjoy.

thanks and love.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I Ate A Tic-Tac I Found At The Bottom Of My Purse. This Has Nothing To Do With My Post. Just Sharing.

I am a bad planner.  Or a blow off.  Perhaps a bit of both?  They give us a snow day yesterday and what do I do?  I dress for yoga (and never do it) then spend the rest of the day hosting a houseful of kids for a snow day social of sorts, and surfing the internet doing vacation research.  I also made homemade chicken and noodle soup.  Here is proof:

What I didn't do was glance at my calendar once. Even though I confidently approved of Eliza's attending a Saturday night birthday event for a friend.  I just mumbled an affirmative, eyes focused in a steely gaze on my iPad, while I compared the amenities of various resorts in Palm Beach.  FYI - one of them actually listed Complimentary Sunglass Cleaning as a special service.  I am both attracted and repelled by that.  But, did I plan ahead and draft a blog post?  Heavens no!  Did I utilize my found time and get ahead on some Spring Cleaning.  Absolutely not.

So that explains today's offering.  Minute Minutiae, one might call it.  Turns out, I'm pretty busy on this Wednesday and once I realized that fact, there wasn't a moment to spare.

I'm wearing this today.

Denim on denim (with a sweater).  I've heard it called a Texas Tuxedo, but I don't want to offend anyone from Texas so I'm just mentioning that as an aside.  Since I am super short on time, I went with a combo that required no coordination.  Then I threw a sweater on top because I looked like a blue Otter Pop, plus I was cold.

Happy Wednesday, y'all!  Perhaps there is something to that denim combo...

gratitude:  iPhone cameras, bamboo window shades, robins, snow days

thanks and love.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Are Tiny Rodents Eating Out Of My Belly-Button?

I really like a plain, white t-shirt.  Frankly, I don't feel a wardrobe is complete without one.  You can wear them casually with a jammie bottom to lounge around the house on a lazy Sunday, or you can dress them up with a faux leather pant or an amazing skirt and feel confident attending a fancy-schmancy event.  Their versatility and general usefulness makes them quite valuable in the closet.  My question is this.  Do you spend a lot on such a piece because it is so important and a fashion building block, or do you spend less on it knowing the vast amount of usage it gets will cause it to need frequent replacing?

While I loves me a good investment piece, I could not ever in a million years spend a great deal of money on a white t-shirt.  The ranges I consider start with the Hanes 4-pack for $8.00 from the Boys Department at Target, to a designer version purchased at the Saks outlet during an additional 30% off promotion.  I'm not out buying Helmut Lang numbers for $385.  I kid you not.  For a t-shirt.  And here's the thing.  While I have never personally inspected a $400 t-shirt, I feel fairly confident it looks very much like a $30 t-shirt.  And eventually, even with the huge price tag, it would somehow develop bizarre, unexplained holes in it at about the level of my belly-button.

I know others of you out there have experienced this.  For years though I lived with a silent shame about my tiny, mid-section t-shirt holes.  I couldn't imagine what was causing them - was it my seatbelt, were my jeans unusually pointy there, did I rub up against the counter too much during dinner prep or, was there a laser beam that secretly shot from my navel?  Whatever the cause, at about month four or five, the holes start to appear.  Unexplained - like fashionable crop circles.  If a t-shirt company could produce something that prevented these holes (like the Toughskins jeans of our childhood that had the reinforced knee?) I'd be tempted to pay a higher price.  Investing in a t-shirt that had a special layer of magical fabric over the belly-button that was impervious to laser beams, jean buttons and seat belts wouldn't be out of the question.  Until then, I will continue to sample the lower priced versions of this classic piece and just expect to replace them when the unicorns start poking me in my stomach (another possible explanation).

I'm wearing this today.  It is a Vince t-shirt and I love it.  It was more expensive than my Hanes t-shirts and kinda feels like it should be.  I'm also digging the khaki skimmers from the Gap.  Yes, I do have wet hair in this picture.  Sometimes, my photographer (Geoff) has a conference call and we have to take the picture before my hair is dry.

And, believe it or not, Meatless Monday has arrived yet again!  Tonight I will be cleverly turning some side dish leftovers from last night into a luxurious (yet meatless) pasta dish.  Our Sunday dinner consisted of peppered tenderloin steaks, roasted potatoes, roasted cherry tomatoes and a lovely gorgonzola cream sauce (this is a riff on a menu in Ina Garten's Parties cookbook).  I'll saute some zucchini, summer squash and fresh tomatoes then add the remaining roasted tomatoes and the gorgonzola sauce to the pan, creating a creamy, cheesy veggie-filled liquid.  I'll pour it over some penne.  I know the family likes this and it's easy, so I don't feel the onset of crabbiness associated with making a huge meal effort only to be met with lukewarm diners.

gratitude:  old friends, a clean garage, Geoff and JD for cleaning the garage, tunics

thanks and love.

Friday, April 5, 2013

I Hope To Find Some Roasted Red Peppers In There Because They Get Really Gross.

Did you know that cucumbers practically liquify if you leave them in the fridge too long?  As disgusting as it is, every time I pull a Zip-Loc of cucumber remains out of the fridge I get a tiny thrill.  I have a soft spot (pardon the pun) for rotten, moldy things.  I can't watch horror movies and I'll never jump out of a plane, but the disgusted terror triggered by discovering a really moldy or disintegrating foodstuff in my fridge or pantry is my kind of living on the edge.

This makes my task over the next few days one of mixed emotions.  I need to clean out the pantry and the refrigerator and as much as I love to stumble upon things past their prime, I really find the whole process annoying.  I always start out with the best of intentions.  I begin promising myself that I'll empty all containers of old stuff, rinse them thoroughly and dispose of them properly in the recycling bin.  Numerous cartons of sour cream dotted with blue spots, fuzzy loaves of whole wheat bread and berries that look like dustbunnies are all eliminated.  But after a while, even a mold-loving girl like me just doesn't have the stomach or the time for it.  If the lid to the crusty salsa jar puts up too much of a fight, I chuck it straight in the trash.  Same goes for unidentifiable frozen things and cereals that have formed single bricks in the box.  I feel bad about it at the time, but eventually the overwhelming desire to speed purge wins out.

When I'm dragging the overstuffed trash bags to the garage I'm struck by how much of our stuff never gets finished.  I like to use fresh food and try to avoid things that are prepared, preserved or overly-processed as much as possible, so typically our bread starts to go funky on the drive home from the grocery store.  I think another factor is that our kids are a couple of streakers.  They'll fall in love with a particular product - like the Whole Foods cocoa flavored crisped rice (we cannot call them Cocoa Puffs) and eat them 24/7.  I literally can't keep the stuff in the house.  So I buy even more each time I go to the store just to feed their habit.  Then about the time I take advantage of a 4 for $7 deal on their FAVORITE cereal, they can't swallow another bite of it and I'm left with at least one half-eaten box that no one can bear to choke down.

Either way, by the end of the day today weekend we should have a pantry and fridge that includes nothing fuzzy, furry or grey.  And hopefully that container of hummus I've secretly been pushing to the very back of the refrigerator will have started to do some pretty disgusting things by now.

I'm wearing this today - fridge cleaning be damned.

The top is a hand-me down from Eliza.  I  think the look was a little too hippy for her.  I love it and think white skinnies, gladiator sandals and a breezy top are the perfect welcome to a warm, spring weekend.  Of course, this being Colorado, temps could drop in an instant and the springy look can still be maintained by adding an oversized charcoal v-neck.  See?

gratitude:  peanut butter and bananas on toast, pedicured feet, The Skimm, the possibility of success on one's own terms

thanks and love.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Picture This.

There is one type of homework assignment that causes me to grit my teeth: a project that requires printed photographs.  Usually when the kids have been given a photo-based assignment, I never even know we need photos until I'm well into preparing dinner or I've settled on the couch with Geoff and a glass of wine.  My usual response is, "Are you kidding me?"  When will the kids learn that we don't print photos anymore?  We haven't printed a photo in 10 years (this does not make us proud).  If they need photos, we need time.  And the night before the project is due does not qualify as time.  Not only must we find the images on the computer and transfer them to a flash drive, but we consistently have to deal with the inevitable Walgreen's Photo Kiosk log jam.

I have been to Walgreens for photo developing at all hours of the day (and night) so I know for a fact there isn't a good time to try to get photos developed.  Usually I arrive there, flash drive in hand, needing just a few photographs developed.  I race in foolishly thinking it will just take a minute and immediately I can see that the two kiosks are already occupied.  One is usually held by either a person with a suspicious cough or a crying toddler.  The other kiosk is occupied by a dedicated photo crafter.  She is running through photos from the last three years of her life and taking up valuable time picking just the right border to accent the image of her dog in a wagon.

I stand there needing only two pictures developed and wondering why in the world they don't have an express lane for student photo needs.  My frustration is amplified because I know that the person working the photo station at Walgreens has the ability to print the photos on my flash drive from their master computer behind the counter and send me on my way without waiting for the cougher or the crafter.  Once, a very nice photo assistant did that for me and now I'm ruined for future visits - of course, I haven't seen her since.  Instead, I just stand there working my "patient but pained" expression to no avail.  It does however, give me time to peruse the "As Seen On TV" section of the store which always provides great entertainment.  Who doesn't love reading the operating instructions for WaxVac, the Gentle and Effective Ear Cleaner?

On another note, I'm wearing this today:

I love the addition of a blazer to most any outfit.  It feels really Frenchy and cool to me because one of my other style icons, Ines de la Fressange, wears blazers all the time.  And she is Frenchy and cool.  Voila.

While Emmanuelle Alt is my peer icon, Ines is like my older sister icon.  She provides a nice European contrast to American mid-life fashion options like Chicos and Talbots which, at the age of 45, tease me mercilessly with their sassy ads and snazzy catalogs.

gratitude:  everything bagels, fog, hardwood floors, open windows (both literal and figurative)

thanks and love.

Monday, April 1, 2013

How To Find Peace At The Mall.

Today marks the end of Spring Break.  I'm always so sorry to see break time end.  We didn't go anywhere this week, but we did spend over two hours in the Brookstone store at Park Meadows.  It seems no one in our family has anything to wear if the temperature gets over 70 degrees, so we hit the mall.  JD suggested we check out Brookstone while we were there.  I've always feared stores like that.  Something about the general public sampling massagers together gave me the heebie-jeebies.  But my oh my, how wrong I was.

Once we worked our way past the ion removers, towel warmers and nose trimmers we found the massage chair section.  Because of my natural fear of cooties, I've never been one to try a massage chair - I can barely let my head rest back on airplane seats.  But Eliza, JD and Geoff jumped right in, and since I didn't want them to end up with lice or ringworm while I stood by unscathed, I gave the Shiatsu Seat Topper with Heat a try.  It was magical.  At one point, all four of us were using different massage chairs; Eliza had a headpiece attached and looked like she was in a scene from Young Frankenstein, JD appeared to be convulsing his chair was vibrating so heavily, and Geoff was nearly upside down in a zero-gravity number.

I came to through a fog of combined Shiatsu back massage and heated foot squeezing to see lines of people had formed next to our chairs.  Apparently we'd monopolized an entire section of the store for over an hour.  We scrambled to get out of there, gathering purses and shoes on our way - wiping drool from our cheeks, and had to take a few moments outside to pull ourselves together before moving on. I now highly recommend setting aside some time in Brookstone to refresh a bit during lengthy mall excursions.  Just remember the Purell.

We also dyed eggs this weekend.  Here is a sampling of our work.

I introduced water colors and glitter glue this year to our dyeing extravaganza.  The water colors were a surprise hit - the glitter glue, not so much.  Of course I had to deal with a lot of complaining and mocking at the start, but by the end of our evening, the family was really taking to the new approach.  Geoff, however, could have made more of an effort.

It's Meatless Monday and most of the family has eaten their weight in ham, so I'm serving up a huge salad with white beans, red onions and tuna (dolphin-safe, of course).  And baguette.

gratitude:  wonderful family Easters, the weather yesterday, doing yoga with the doors open to the outside, movie nights

thanks and love.