Thursday, June 5, 2014

Remember When Forrest Gump Just Stopped Running? That's Kinda Me Right Now.

Maybe I'm running out of things to say.  I suppose after blogging three days a week for a year and a half, that could happen - even to someone like me who is constantly wording thoughts in my head.  Since I don't share all of my life on my blog, my subject matter is often limited to esoteric anecdotes, mindful living reminders, laundry and trouble with wild birds.  I choose not to share the vast majority of my thoughts and experiences in order to maintain my privacy and to protect the innocent.  That said, I'm discovering that the twenty percent of my life that's comfortably sharable and moderately funny, doesn't change much from year to year.  When I sit down to write, it's like deja vu.  Or Groundhog Day.

So I'm going to stop.  Maybe for awhile, maybe forever.  If something interesting or funny happens or I come upon some fresh insight or an unusually cute outfit, I might share it.  We'll see.  There is just so much out there and I want what I write to fill a unique and special space.  Is there even one available?  Regardless, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading my words.  It made me feel so good to write publicly again, but now you'll have to sneak into my house and find my journal if you need a little Minutiae.  But don't because that would freak us all out.

Remember to stay grateful.  And that there is humor to be found in almost every situation. 

I miss my blog already.

thanks and love.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

No Matter How Challenging It Is To Coordinate Multiple Teen Sport Schedules, Nothing Will Ever Compete With The Nagging Fear Of Missing Your Turn To Bring Post-Game Snacks When The Kids Were Really Little. I Spent Three Years Driving Around With A Case Of Capri Suns And 25 Mini Bags Of Sun Chips Just In Case Something Had Slipped Through The Cracks.

I think my weekly doses of Minutiae may be moving to a summer schedule of Tuesdays and Thursdays.  While these posts clearly don't take up my entire day - there is a significant amount of time involved.  I mean, those clothes don't just put themselves on the floor to be photographed, do they?  And we seem to have entered an entirely new world of summer sport-based 'busyness'.  Both the kids are on new teams that are competing all weekend every weekend and a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule of blog posts doesn't seem to be fitting in very well.

My Fridays are now devoted to last-minute trips to Dick's to buy my weekly load of Gatorade water bottles (where do they go??) and Google mapping the 17 fields we need to locate in the next 48 hours.  And Mondays find me wondering what in the world made me think it was a good idea to start a load of laundry on Saturday morning that I only remembered days later when we were all forced into a post-shower dabbing off with paper towels.  I am open to any and all tips regarding mildew scent removal.

These new teams are also run by younger people which has added an unexpected challenge.  Young coaches are a tad more comfortable with social media than I am, and now I feel I'm being forced to adopt new modes of communication just to stay up-to-date on the teams' goings on.  Soccer requires a special username and password to access the team website simply to confirm an upcoming practice time via the online calendar.   This is meant to be super useful - apparently your phone can simply sync up with the website calendar and voila! you're always current.  I do not use a calendar on my phone, I like a good old-fashioned paper calendar, but thanks to my lagging cyber skills I'm not only forced to spend extra time cross referencing their calendar with mine for last minute changes,  but I'm also battling the icy fear that technology is passing me by all too quickly.

Our lacrosse team communicates mostly via Twitter.  'Nuff said.

I'm wearing this:

Today I'm dressed in my hippie gardener look.  Because I'm going to finish planting all the stuff in my pots and I intend to do it while listening to music from the 70's.

gratitude:  a couple hours alone with the fam, ice cream, patio sitting, sleeping kids

thanks and love.

Friday, May 30, 2014

On Living With Teens Who's Days Continue Even After You've Gone To Bed. It's Always Interesting To Peek Into The Kitchen Trash Can In The Morning And Piece Together The Parts Of The Evening We May Have Missed. Apparently Last Night Involved Brownies.

Some of the transitions we've been forced to make made as parents are incredible when you really think about them.  It used to be that the whole house had to be cleaned up, locked up, and I would need to personally witness the sleeping faces of my sweet babies before I could even consider heading to bed myself.

Last night I crept up the stairs holding my cup of chamomile tea around 11:00 and looked over my shoulder at the children in my kitchen.  I saw JD laying on the island wearing only his lacrosse shorts.  Eliza and a friend were drawing a Colorado flag on his chest and mixing up some henna to cover their outline.  A male friend of theirs was standing nearby, chatting with the girls and swinging his car keys on one of those lariats they all carry narrowly missing our cabinets with every circle he made.  The floor was strewn with lacrosse equipment, flip flops, soccer sweats and a damp towel (cause of wetness, undetermined).  As I reached the top stair, the doorbell rang and, from the sound of it, at least two more people entered our home.  They were not using their inside voices.

So that's it.  Summer nights with teenagers.  I drifted off to a light sleep, but let's be honest, it's impossible to really hit a serious REM stage under those conditions.  Even though we're not reading bedtime stories and enjoying bath time, I still won't give up total consciousness until the kids have closed up the house and come in to say goodnight.  Now that I think about it, the nighttime routine is basically the same except our roles are somewhat reversed:  I'm being tucked in now.  I'll still get up from time to time to peek in at their sweet sleeping faces, but it's usually around 2:00 in the morning, and as I step into their rooms to make my way to their beds I make every effort not to fixate on the fact that nearly every inch of their floors are covered with clothes I swear I just washed.  I'm just glad they're safe and sound.  That's all that really matters.

I'm wearing this.

We'll be at a lacrosse game this evening, so jeans are in order.  Of course, based on the forecast, this entire look may be covered with a raincoat at game time.  "Can't get enough of watching sports in the rain," she said with a forced enthusiasm.

gratitude:  having a home the kids like to hang out in, Geoff's cancelled trip for next week, new sport adventures, my voice returning

thanks and love.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

In Keeping With My Tradition Of Mostly Writing About Whatever Happens To Be On My Mind, We Delve Into The Fascinating Topic Of Laundry Today. I Guess I'm Still Riding The High From Finding A Pair Of Socks For Geoff Before He Left For The Airport This Morning During A Frantic Search Through A Load That Had Been Moved From The Dryer, To A Chair, Then To The Couch And Included Those Microfiber Clothes That Every Single Sock Sticks To Like Velcro. It Was Quite A Moment.

I do all the laundry for our family.  We're not one of those households that require the kids to start doing their own washing once they hit the teen years or enter high school.  While I admire those of you that can confidently hoist that responsibility on your kids, my children will be total laundry rookies when they head to college.  And I'm okay with that.

Personally, I can't imagine the chaos that would ensue if we were all in charge of cleaning only our own clothes.  I guarantee we'd all want to do our loads at the exact same time.  We could make a schedule, I suppose, but schedules work for us for about two weeks.  It's nothing I'm proud of but how many chore charts and reading logs do we need to start and never finish before we realize that's just not who we are?

Plus, we have those high-capacity machines and I push them to their limits (trust me, there is always room for another pair of jeans in there).  It would seem like wasted space if we were each tossing in cute little bunches of clothing.  Our loads are worthy of a weight belt or at least a regular reminder to lift with your legs.

And I don't really mind doing the laundry.  It's not like I have to haul the clothes down to the river and beat them on a rock to get them clean.  Basically I sort them by color (which is somewhat soothing in an OCD kind of way), toss them in the machine and press a few buttons.  No big deal.  I think modern laundering is almost a celebration of how far we've come technologically as a people.  Folding the clothes, however, is another story.  How about some advancements there, inventor-types?

I'm wearing this.

I just don't have it in me to try to photograph myself today, so clothes on the floor it is.

And on a waaaaaaayyyy more meaningful note, I'd like to acknowledge the passing of the incredible Maya Angelou.  She has been one of my favorite poets for over 25 years.  I went to a reading she did at the University of Colorado when I was in graduate school there and I feel so lucky to have heard her live.  While her writing is undeniably beautiful and powerful, hearing her read her poems in person, with her unique tone and cadence, was magic.  Here is one of my very favorite pieces of hers:

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size 
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips, 
The stride of my step, 
The curl of my lips. 
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman, 
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please, 
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees. 
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees. 
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes, 
And the flash of my teeth, 
The swing in my waist, 
And the joy in my feet. 
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered 
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them, 
They say they still can't see. 
I say,
It's in the arch of my back, 
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed. 
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud. 
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels, 
The bend of my hair, 
The palm of my hand, 
The need for my care. 
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.
—Maya Angelou

gratitude:  the smell of summer, Maya Angelou's writing, lilacs, the end of the school year

thanks and love.

Friday, May 23, 2014

We're Headed To A Lacrosse Tournament This Weekend And I Have A Terrible Case Of Laryngitis. I Hope The Players Will Be Able To Function Without The Insightful Tips I Provide From The Sidelines. I'm Always Amazed That Having Never Played Lacrosse Before I Seem To Know Exactly What They Need To Be Doing On The Field.

We have these two doves hanging around our house lately.  As I understand it, they partner for life and I've seen real proof that they are truly committed to each other.  The other day one of them ran into a window on our house.  The bird was instantly knocked unconscious and fell hard into the garden.  The other dove landed next to the bad flier and tried to get it up again, nudging it with its beak, but to no avail.  Eliza peeked out the window to see what happened and must have startled the bird because it picked up its unconscious friend with its claws and flew to the base of a nearby tree for some privacy.  We checked back later and both of them were gone.  I've since seen the two feeding in our yard again and I'm sure the unconscious bird has no idea what happened.  The other bird appears relieved that its partner survived the accident, but I've also seen it just watching its friend with a faraway look in its eyes.  Eventually it just shakes its head and starts back pecking the ground for food.  I guess it's all part of being bonded for life.

On that note, I'd like to wish my darling Geoffrey a very Happy Anniversary this weekend.  If you ever flew into a window I'd whisk you away to recover under a tree and I can only hope you'd do the same for me.  I love you!

I'm wearing this.

I was looking for something that would transition seamlessly from a three-hour car ride to an FAC with a few team parents.  Boyfriend jeans and gladiator sandals seem to fill the bill.  Whenever do they not?

gratitude:  green landscapes, new cars, serendipity, long weekends

thanks and love.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I Need Glasses (Duh), But I Also Need A Pet. I Gave The Bunnies That Nibble Our Grass A Dirty Look When I Saw Them Eating In Our Neighbor's Yard. They Didn't Seem To Care.

Just a quick post today.  No time.  What I thought would be a lunch today has turned into a morning coffee and even if I'd wanted to plan ahead and write something last night, it would have been impossible as I was at the end of year high school soccer banquet where I ate a very carb-centric buffet dinner and squinted at a heartwarming video from the back of the room trying in vain to make out a shape on the screen that resembled my daughter.

And also from the #aremyglassesreadyyet? file, I was pulling into our neighborhood yesterday and saw the most adorable little animal at the side of the street.  It had a cute round head and short, floppy ears.  It even seemed to be playing in the grass, adding to its adorableness.  Was it a big prairie dog?  A small bear?  As I got closer, I saw that it was actually a brown paper bag that moved when the wind blew.  It was disappointing, to say the least.

I'm wearing this.

I don't know.  It's flowers and a sweater because it's cloudy, but not that cold.  It's jeans and sandals because it's wet, but not all the time.  Stylewise this weather is less than fun.

gratitude:  rain, Allegra, catching up, JD's homemade biscuits

thanks and love.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Recycling Day In Our Neighborhood Always Makes Me Feel Weird. Everyone Else Has A Single Plastic Trash Can And We Have That Plus Two Full Bins, Multiple Cardboard Boxes, And Extra Bags Of Stuff On Top. When They Pour It In The Truck The Sound Of Glass Bottles Is Deafening. I Want To Yell "We Entertained And Online Shopped These Past Couple Weeks!" But Then I Realize Probably No One Is Paying Attention To Our Recycling So I Don't.

Mondays don't look pretty over here.  Especially this close to the end of the school year.  Rather than drill sergeant my way through the weekend, I tend to just let it be.  People are constantly coming and going, balls are being thrown and kicked, food prepared and consumed, fire pits lit, blankets carted to the out of doors, papers written, assignments completed, projects forgotten at home that require last minute drop offs, and household tasks started and sometimes finished, sometimes not.   It looks chaotic because it is.  Sometimes I think I could do (maybe should do?) a better job of just keeping things in line, but if I did, I'd just spend my entire weekend tidying and reminding and scurrying and that just doesn't sound like how I want to spend my time.

So when Monday rolls around I try to regain control.  At least the illusion of control for only a few short hours.  And this being the last Monday of the school year it has dawned on me that we're entering basically a three month long weekend.  Our  school year rhythm will leave us next week and we'll be without our academic calendar-imposed structure.  I'm working to develop a healthy mindset to prevent the "it's all closing in on me" feeling you get when you feel you've lost control of the place you call home and you just need A MOMENT.

I'm going to live as if we're spending the next few months in a vacation house on the beach somewhere.  And that's basically what it'll be like here at home minus the ocean and noting there will, in fact, be regular work going on.  But even when you're staying in a vacation home, you still have to keep on top of things - like laundry, groceries, general tidiness, etc.  Somehow though, those tasks seem less annoying when you're vacationing.  So I'm shifting my brain to vacation mode.

Our pace will change, but since we must remain functional as a group, I'll consciously loosen my grip without completely letting go.  And when I do have to dive deeper into family management/organization/bossing around, I'll do it with a more laid back attitude (God willing).  I want us to enjoy this time - as our kids get older every minute just seems so incredibly precious - and I don't want to be a shrew.  I also don't want our kids to look back on their childhood and imagine they lived in constant chaos so I'll endeavor to find balance.  Sometimes I may have to do it with the help of a white noise recording of waves crashing on the beach (there's an app for that) and sometimes perhaps with a wine spritzer or two (heavy on the wine).

But always, always with so much gratitude because these are very special times.  Let us not forget.

I'm wearing this:

It's hot and I've committed myself to getting our raised beds functioning ASAP so I'll be playing farmer today.  Last year we planted pumpkins too late and ended up with only two and they we're pathetic - I think I saw a robin actually pick one of them up and fly away.  It was humiliating.

gratitude:  Advil, group texts between the family, online shopping for Geoff, evenings together

thanks and love.

Friday, May 16, 2014

It Was Time For A New Pair Of Glasses. I've Been Using A Really Old Pair For Years And They Are So Scratched That I Can't Look Through Them Straight On. I Have To Turn My Head And Look Out The Side Of The Lens Since That's The Only Part That's Still Clear. It's Very Hard To Drive That Way And If You're Watching A Movie, The Person Next To You Always Thinks You're About To Say Something To Them.

So I went to the eye doctor yesterday.  That whole thing is just a weird experience.  I always somehow flash back to watching Little House on the Prairie when Mary started losing her sight, so I'm typically on edge, worried they may come back and tell me that due to my recent bout with Scarlet Fever my sight is ruined forever.  Except I never had Scarlet Fever, that was Mary,  I'm just old and would like to watch 30 Rock reruns on TV without squinting.

The doctor gave me a quick starter exam to see if I could pass a driver's test without glasses.  I cannot.  In fact, he asked if I had someone who could drive me around until I could see better (I couldn't tell if he was kidding).  I said no, and that I drive all day every day with very little problem because I drive mostly to all the same places and I have almost everything memorized so I don't really need to see that well at all.  Also that I have been living with bad and uncorrected vision so long now that I think my other senses have become heightened as a result.  He was not comforted by my answer.

My son has been playing lacrosse for almost four years and I have yet to actually see a lacrosse ball during a game, but I'm perfectly almost able to figure out what is happening on the field by watching what the players are doing.  When players clump together there is probably a ball on the ground they all want.  When the net in the goal moves that is usually a goal and I cheer.  Not seeing very well has actually made me more alert.  I hope I don't get soft when my new glasses come in.

I did, in fact, get some new glasses.  The doctor actually told his assistant to not let me leave without picking out a pair - based on my eye test results he was probably legally bound to do so.  Now I'm a little anxious for my new spectacles to arrive.  I've kind of enjoyed not seeing things too closely, like when I'd catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror - I do feel sometimes ignorance is bliss, especially when it comes to an awareness of my own facial aging.

However, I'm very much looking forward to reaffirming that trees do, in fact, have many separate leaves hanging from their branches and, enjoying the ability to read the names of upcoming streets so I no longer have to count the number of exits to find my way home off C-470.

I'm wearing this.

This look feels a little south of the border, so a margarita may be in order this evening.  We have an over-abundance of tequila after Cinco de Mayo and I'm looking for ways to put it to good use.

gratitude:  Fridays, time with Geoff and the kids, patio sitting, Pandora

thanks and love.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

So This Is My Blog's Version Of Behind The Music On VH1 Except I'm Not A Glamorous Rock Star Chatting About Recording My Last Album, I'm A Curly-Haired 40-Something In Pajama Pants Writing About My Writing While Trying To Get Banana Bread Crumbs Out Of My Keyboard.

The lovely Jodi Pyle of has asked me to participate in a blog hop (no, it's not a dance although I can't stop thinking about American Bandstand when I hear the term) about How I Write.  Bloggers are sharing some insights about their process and then tagging two others to share what they do on their own blogs.   I was extremely honored that Jodi tagged me because she's a great writer - a friend of Geoff's from college (Go Ravens, right?) that I've met through blogging.  Jodi's writing is beautiful.  Sometimes it's funny, sometimes nostalgic - but, it always makes me think and wish I could put words together as beautifully as she does.

Here are my answers to the questions on the How I Write blog hop.  On the edge of your seat, aren't you?

What am I working on?
Not eating so much bread, my posture and keeping our house plants alive.  But if you're interested in what I'm working on in the realm of writing, it's basically just my blog.  I also help edit some of what Geoff is working on and I write articles occasionally for one of his client's newsletters.  Recently, I penned a fascinating piece on a singer in a German choral group in Connecticut.

How does my writing differ from others of its genre?
Not sure.  I read a lot of blogs, but not very many like mine.  Mostly I'm into design or fashion blogs and some of them are really well written while others just make me realize that I will not be wearing overalls this season (I'd like to add that if you can remember Dexys Midnight Runners singing Come On Eileen you should NOT even consider wearing overalls).

I guess what may make my writing different is the perspective I bring.  Positively Minutiae is really just a glimpse a few days a week into the life of a mom of teenagers in her mid-forties who likes wine, has a sense of humor, does yoga, tries to look cute on a budget, adores her family, battles an addiction to candles, works to roll with the changes life brings, is consciously grateful and has lived through a pigeon infestation.

Why do I write what I do?
Because I'm too old to get a job writing for Saturday Night Live.  Also, because I want people to see that having a perspective of love, humor, acceptance and gratitude makes for a good life.  No matter what the universe throws at you.

How does my writing process work?
Quickly.  Because I come from an advertising background, I work fast.  I don't really plan ahead too much about what I'm going to write because I want my posts to have an unrefined freshness to them and also because I'm a bad planner.  I sit down at the island in our kitchen on Monday, Wednesday and Friday after the kids have all taken off for school and write.  It doesn't take me long to pen a post, maybe an hour or so, then I'll take a break for yoga and a shower.  Once clean and as energetically centered as I'm going to get for the day, I edit or completely rewrite what I'd written earlier.

I always include a picture of what I'm wearing (because clothes are fun) and it's the picture taking that sucks up most of my time.  My husband, Geoff, travels a lot so often I have to take my own pictures and I've been trying to use the timer on the real camera instead of photographing my clothes on the floor (which feels weird) or taking a selfie (which feels like I'm trying to be the 'cool mom').  Once I have a photo that kind of doesn't make me look like I'm having a stroke, I add it to my blog and hit 'Publish'.  Of course later, as I'm driving to the grocery store or back from lacrosse, I'll think of something I could have written that would have been 500 times better than what I'd actually posted.

So there's that.  Perhaps more than you wanted to know, but at least I'm not writing about how messy my house is right now.

Now I need to tag two other writers in the hope they'll share insight to their own process as well.  Thing is, I don't know a lot of other bloggers.  Although I do know a lot of other writers and really, really good writers at that.  Some I've known since high school - we had one heck of a Language Arts department - and others I've meet in college, work, am related to by marriage and/or blood, etc.  I'll just pick two because those are the rules but one I'm picking doesn't have a blog so he'll have to get creative.

Laura deMoye of Bucklebuttonzip.  A dear friend since high school I've reconnected with over the years through Facebook.  She writes a fashion blog that also includes other interesting tidbits about food and travel.  She's a lovely writer and has amazing style.

Mike Merschel.  Also from high school.  He's a legit writer at a BIG newspaper in Texas.  I love his writing - I regularly read his Facebook posts out loud to my family.  Not sure in what form he'll choose or even if he'll be able to take up the How I Write challenge, but he's creative so I'm sure he'll come up with something.

I'm wearing this:

I'm wearing booties today because I've decided to go sleeveless and when there is snow on the ground I think you choose exposed toes or arms.  Plus, I removed some red polish from my toes and somehow it's discolored the skin on my feet (even after a shower) and now they look inflamed.   I'd rather not have to explain that to people.

gratitude:  not having to come up with something to write about today, melting snow, yogic breathing,  coffee

thanks and love.

Monday, May 12, 2014

My Second Stitch Fix Delivery Was 100% What I Needed. They Were So On The Mark That It Wouldn't Have Shocked Me A Bit If They Also Went Ahead And Made Me An Appointment For Highlights And Provided A Few Numbers For Housecleaners In The Area.

So the delivery came on Friday.  I had just returned from completing the drop-off leg of our lacrosse carpool which, if you've ever driven 14-year-old boys home after a sporting event, is a far more appealing task than the take-home shift.  It was perfect.  I was settling in for the evening, and it was officially happy hour, so I cheerfully availed myself a cocktail before I opened my wonderful Stitch Fix box.  This is what came.

First, the Pamplona blouse.
I love this blue.  And the scallops on the bottom remind me of ocean waves which, as a landlocked beach lover, pleases me a great deal.  This is what I'm wearing today:

I've paired it with some boyfriend jeans, a short sleeve cardigan and booties today since it's snowing even though it's May 12.   I'm shaking my fist at you Winter!

Now we have the Aiya blouse.
This is totally in my comfort zone.  I have about 7,368 white or off-white blouses, tops and t-shirts and there is still room for more, in my opinion.  This one feels very boho because of the cut and the eyelet detail.  Me likey.

And the Tara blouse.
I loves me an ethnic print and I am loving this color too.  It's a perfect pinky-coral.  It will look even better once I get some sun (or some self tanner) on my bod.  My daughter even asked if she could borrow this top, so I feel pretty cool.

Also the Isaac floral print blouse.
Now floral prints have been all the rage for a couple years now and I've really wanted one, but I've been unhappy with the colors or prints I've found.  They seem kind of garish, in my opinion, or a little too hipster calico.  Not this little top.  The color in it is amazing and the print is an edgy sort of traditional - kind of like Pippa Middleton.  I deem thee my Pippa top.  Cheerio!

And finally, the boyfriend jeans as seen in our first image.  Remember?
The lovely Stitch Fix stylist who put my box of joy together went to my Pinterest page and cleverly noticed I'd pinned a lot of looks with boyfriend jeans, so she threw a pair in the box.  It was like she'd read my mind or something.  I have a pair of boyfriend jeans that I wear all the time, but I've never felt all that happy with them.  The fit has always seemed weird and the finish was sort of blah.  Now I have new pair that fits great and has just the right amount of vintage fading.  Thank you Allison!

So there's that.  Round two of Stitch Fix and I kept everything in the box.  Well played, Stitch Fix.  Can't wait for June!

gratitude:  pretty new tops, the Pilates Summer Series, rest, brown rice

thanks and love.

Friday, May 9, 2014

I'm Fighting A Different Kind Of Mommy War. It's Me Vs. Mother Nature And I May Have To Tap Out.

I'll be spending Mother's Day watching JD in his lacrosse playoff games.  And, in an ironic twist, the forecast in Denver for Mother's Day includes the possibility of 3 - 4 inches of snow.  Wheee!

This calls for multiple layers and potentially some day drinking to stay warm.   But, you know what?  I wouldn't change it for anything.  It just reminds me how lucky I am to be a mom (and how lucky I am that we didn't get the 8 o'clock game).

It's a quick post today because a) I don't write my posts ahead of time and b) I'm taking Eliza to the doctor to see if indeed, she has been playing soccer on a broken foot for the past couple months - makes you feel like Mother of the Year to have the doctor confirm that you've let your child play sports while broken.  Sigh.

Happy Mother's Day!!

I'm wearing this:

The blazer juxtaposes the gladiator sandal making for, in my opinion, a more interesting look.  Business on top, party on the bottom.  Or something like that.

gratitude:  being a mom, youth sports, yearbooks, just life

thanks and love.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I Don't Appreciate Hanna Andersson Leaving Me On Their Mailing List. Every Time One Of Their Catalogs Comes In The Mail I Feel A Little Nostalgic For The Days When Eliza Wore Leggings And Dresses Together And JD's T-Shirts Had Dump Trucks On Them Instead Of The Foo Fighters.

What with Mother's Day fast approaching, I've taken to observing just how my particular mothering mission is going as of late.  It is, without a doubt, the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.  Motherhood, I mean.  But I've noticed that the job changes a bit over time and morphs into different shapes as the years pass.  I find I'm at an interesting place right now as a parent of teens.

I've likened parenting, in my mind recently, to working with a rock band.  In the early years, we're the manager.  We book the gigs (aka: playdates, lessons, etc.), we direct the costuming choices, we advise them on what kind of album their audience would like and make sure they have the best producers working on their behalf.  By the time they're teenagers though, a transition has occurred behind the scenes.

Turns out the band suddenly decided to try managing itself and, whether or not we agree or were prepared for this move, we still want to be a part of the show.  We love this band and would do anything for them, of course.  So we accept the job of roadie.  Now our job is to switch out guitars during performances, handle sound checks, tape down chords so no one trips over anything while they belt out their hits and then pack it all up on the bus for the next stop.  We stay in the dark, unlit corners of the stage while the lights shine down on the performers.  But we're always there for them, waiting for their call, wearing rolls of duct tape around our waist and proudly sporting a t-shirt from the band's last tour.

Recently, my role as mom/roadie has caused me to spend more money on hospital-grade gauze pads and a variety of antibacterial creams and sprays than I did on three nights of dinner this week.  You see, JD has taken to longboarding as of late.  It's all the rage.  Anyway, as much as we'd like to refuse to let him fly down streets on a surfboard with wheels, Geoff and I let him do it.  With a lot of rules.  But while I won't deny him this adventure, I will make darn sure I can care for him should the asphalt get a little too close to his precious skin.  He is, at this point, 10% scab.  Squirting some Polysporin and taping a yard of gauze around his forearm makes me feel like I'm helping out and have a place to shine.  And kind of makes me gag a little too.

With Eliza, it's girl stuff right now.  She isn't a carbon copy of me, thank God.  I love her strength and independence.  But, when I hear her talking to friends, I get the sense she'd like to know more about things like makeup, what to wear, and hairstyles that don't include a messy bun.  I want to help my baby, of course, but passing this info along to her as her mother is a recipe for disaster.  I don't know much about that stuff in the first place and getting style advice from your mom (no matter how cool she may think she is, ahem) is less than inspiring.  So, I found a wingman for the job in Youtube.  I now casually refer her to videos from Seventeen magazine's Youtube channel, then occasionally purchase a few of the items used in said videos.  I'm helping her, but not in a 'Follow me!' kind of way.  I'm just here to make both useful information and tinted moisturizers readily available.

I'm certainly not perfect in the role of roadie and not always happy about my morphing responsibilities.  I liked managing the band, to be honest.  But, I love my kids with all my heart and I'm doing my best to accept my shifting control.  My duties may alter from time to time, but what doesn't change is the overwhelming love I have for my babies and the complete feeling of gratitude I have for getting to be their mom.  I'm a roadie now, but I can see I'm on my way to groupie status in the future.  I'll take it.  I just hope they'll at least give me a shout out in the liner notes.

I'm wearing this.

I'm having an 'at-home' day.  Which means, I need to clean some stuff.  So I'm going with what I consider a functional lounge look.  Loose linen pants are the best for days when you think you could get by wearing pajama pants all day, but would actually like to avoid looking like you have the flu.  

gratitude:  light humidity, the word hyperbole, pink peonies, dinner at the kitchen table

thanks and love.

Monday, May 5, 2014

We Celebrated Cinco de Mayo On Our Patio This Weekend. There Were Beergaritas, Pizza, Fried Chicken And A Particular Type Of Cheese That Was Soaked In Balsamic Vinegar. The Steely Dan Station On Pandora Accompanied Our Festivities. We Clearly Elude Definition.

We recycle.  Often our recycling bin is filled with old magazines, boxes from online shopping deliveries, empty yogurt and hummus containers, and wine bottles - which, for better or worse, offers a pretty good look inside the High House, really.  Besides recycling, I like to use natural cleansers and paper products as much as possible.  Although, I refuse to use natural paper towels because I require at least some kind of absorbency from my paper towels and have yet to find a 'natural' product that works any better than a piece of Kleenex.  And 'natural' toilet paper makes a fistful of leaves sound appealing...if you catch my drift.

Anyway, I like the feeling I get from using natural products or things made from recycled stuff.  Even if it costs a bit more, I think it's worth it.  But as much as I like the feeling of making conscious choices that are good for Mother Earth I don't like being guilted into it, and that's why I'm so put off by our coffee filters.

We ran out of filters the other day - I'd been telling myself I needed to pick up a new box of them but, of course, forgot to do it until one morning we were faced with having to McGyver a filter out of a paper towel.  That day at the store I wanted to pick up a new box and thought to look for a good natural brand, not just the brown version of the Melita filters we'd used in the past.  I found some 'natural' filters, but almost didn't buy them because they annoyed me so much.

The name of this particular brand is "If You Care."  Gag me.  It's so passive aggressive.  As a parent of teens, I fight the urge every day to use guilt to get my kids to do what I want them to do, but I hold off because it's not nice to guilt trip people and I don't want to be responsible for lengthy therapy sessions for them when they get older.   So there I am, an environmentally conscious mother of teens who fights the desire to use passive aggression when parenting, just trying to find some responsible coffee filters, and what do I get?  A massive guilt trip is what.   I bought the filters, but it didn't make me happy.

I think maybe they should come up with a new company name for these paper products like:  "Because you make great choices" or "Because you get it" or even, "Because you're cooler than people who don't recycle".  These are just a few options they could consider because this little passive aggressive approach makes me want to rebel and just buy the bleached white filters already.  That'll show 'em.

I'm wearing this:

It's a subtle nod to Cinco de Mayo.  Just noticed this outfit matches my house.  Bonus?

For Meatless Monday, we're doing black bean quesadillas and a huge salad with a creamy salsa dressing.  Corona with lime?  Possibly.

gratitude:  busy weekends, quick ab workouts, lots of water, sleep

thanks and love.

Friday, May 2, 2014

We Had Sodium-Free Bacon With Our Breakfast For Dinner Last Night And I Now I Know For Certain That Sodium Is The Only Thing That Makes Bacon Tasty.

I read somewhere that one way to motivate yourself to finish household tasks like laundry, etc. is to give yourself a treat after you finish a project.  The article I read suggested having a glass of wine after folding a load of clothes.  Of course, I don't know who wrote this, but I do about 120 loads every week and that level of wine consumption is a bit much, even for me.   I don't have a sweet tooth, so treating myself to chocolate or something, is far from inspiring.  And online shopping gets very expensive and doesn't provide instant gratification - so I save that prize for things like taking in the Goodwill, or Thursdays.

So yesterday, I used one of my all time favorite guilty pleasures to pull me through the task of cleaning all our kitchen cabinets.  Young adult fiction.  I used to carry a lot of shame around with me because of my fondness for this kind of storytelling, but I'm finding it healthy to just come clean on my addiction.  I blame my habit, partially, on the popularity of tablets and readers.  Once I had my first Kindle, it didn't take me long to realize I could read anything without shame because no one ever saw the cover of my book.  No one would know if I felt compelled to re-read the Lightening Thief series.  It's been quite a blessing, really.  And because this type of literature requires very little time or effort to read I can blow through an entire series in under 24 hours, thanks to the brilliant 1-Click order option from Amazon.

My last contact with young adult fiction was the Divergent series.  I loved it.  This time though, I wanted something shameless, something I couldn't possibly read without the anonymity of my iPad - so I chose the Selection series.  What caught my attention was the description of it on Amazon - it was called a combination of the Hunger Games, the Bachelor, and Cinderella.  How could I resist?  It was wonderful and ridiculous and totally entertaining - all taking place, of course, in a classic young adult fictional setting, the dystopian future.  Just what I needed to get me through the painful realization that getting white cabinets in the kitchen may have been a big, fat mistake and that Magic Erasers do weird things to your fingertips after a few hours of constant contact.

Unfortunately, as I crawled into bed last night to wrap up my read-a-thon, I learned the third book in the series won't be out until next week.  You can imagine my disappointment.

I'm wearing this:

I love the looseness of the drapey pant and the longer t-shirt.  It feels very relaxed, but pulled together.  This would look equally nice with some gladiators or low boots as well, but I wanted to try these new shoes instead.  I will throw on shorts for some time in the garden today, but due to my recent lack of sun exposure, I've spared you that visual.  You're welcome.

gratitude:  a warm, sunny weekend, outdoor lacrosse in the afternoon, Dad's new show, Geoff's return

thanks and love.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I Don't Know About You, But I Love A Recipe With Leeks In It. I Always Feel Cool With A Leek In My Shopping Cart. Clearly, I Need To Take A Good Hard Look At What I Consider Cool These Days.

Okay, so maybe I wasn't as Zen as I'd imagined over the weekend.  I've ended up with a canker sore on my throat which (as informed by a doctor years ago) is an unfortunate by-product of quiet stress and tiredness in my world.  Delightful.  They are pretty painful - especially when talking or yawning.  Two things I do all day long frequently.  So I'm in the process of self-medicating.

A glass of wine, of course, has numerous health benefits - one of which is the deadening of throat pain, I've noticed.  Will the wonders of wine never cease?  But my major weapon in battling illness is chicken soup.  I am a true believer in the power of a good chicken broth with veggies and the like floating around in it.  So last night, I don't want to brag or anything, I may have made the best chicken soup ever.

After wading through the Googled results of a chicken soup recipe search, I concluded most of them were way too labor intensive, time consuming, or plain ol' blah-sounding.  So I pieced together the parts I liked, added elements I recalled from fond soup memories, and created my own little concoction.  I wanted savory, tangy and spicy all at once and I think we have a winner here.  This whole pot-full of healing goodness was easily thrown together between a freezing cold soccer game and the lacrosse carpool.  Simple, tasty and curative.  Here is the recipe so you can feel like a doctor next time someone you love isn't feeling dandy.

Amazing Chicken Soup

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large leek - chopped, white and light green parts only
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 - 1 1/4 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into smallish pieces
coarse sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
8 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup orzo
1/4 chopped fresh dill
juice of 1 - 2 lemons

Saute the leek, celery and carrots in the olive oil until they start getting soft.  Season them with salt and pepper while sauteing.  Add the chicken and season with the salt and pepper again.  Saute until the chicken is mostly cooked through.  Pour in all the chicken broth and simmer until the chicken is totally cooked.  Add the orzo and cook until the pasta is finished.  Add the dill and lemon juice.  Simmer for a while - at least as long as it takes to fold a load of laundry.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  Serve it up and feel better.

* I may have overdone the salt a bit.  I like to season things as I add them to the pot rather than only at the end - I feel like it locks enhanced tastiness into whatever is being cooked.   So maybe next time I'd go with a low-sodium broth.  That, or I'll just drink some extra water before bed.  Do not skimp on the pepper though.  Part of the joy of this soup is the heat in the end.

* These are all rough measurements - don't feel tied to any amounts, really.  Except for the broth.  I know I emptied out two of those box things the broth comes in nowadays so that amount is right on the mark.

I'm wearing this:

It's an at home day, but I still wanted to look presentable.  Jeans, a loose sweater and clogs fills the bill.  I feel better when I take off my yoga pants and just get dressed already.  Even if no one but that guy that sells "high-quality" meat door-to-door sees me.  That's just how I am.

gratitude:  the weekend weather forecast, Kathryn Budig's yoga classes, slipcovers, baguette

thanks and love.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Our Weekend Was So Busy, The Last Thing I Wanted To Do Was Make A Trip To The Grocery Store. That's Why Dinner Last Night Consisted Of Plain Pasta On A Few Leaves Of Spinach And Breakfast Was A Frozen Bavarian Pretzel. Mission Accomplished.

What a weekend!  We enjoyed a bit of everything these past few days - birthday fun, lacrosse, soccer and our first prom as parents.  What we didn't enjoy much of is sleep.  And we're not done yet, tonight we're hosting Eliza's high school soccer team for a team dinner.  A taco bar has been requested.  Slow clap.  I figure if I start chopping now, I should have enough toppings prepped to feed 25 hungry teenage athletes.  Wondering if Qdoba takes last minute orders...

I've noticed that days like these past few give me a nice opportunity to practice going with the flow - which is a critical skill to raising teenagers without needing heavy doses of therapy or prescription meds.  As much as I wanted to give helpful tips for eye makeup application, picture taking locations and other bits of event details, I just laid off and let it be.  I let love, gratitude and joy be my vibe - and didn't allow my default grasping need for some control or impact rise to the top like it has (more often than I'd prefer) in the past.  And you know what?  Everything worked out just fine - probably better than fine because I like the way I feel today after having taken a more chillaxed attitude over the weekend.  I proudly remained loving and joyous even when faced at 4:30 am with five teenagers borrowing our luxurious new throws to keep warm while they watched the sunrise at Red Rocks after prom.

It's no mistake I made sure they were machine-washable in the first place.

I'm wearing this:

This top from Anthropologie and a turquoise belt buckle are a quiet nod to our dinner theme tonight.  The pattern on the top feels a little South American, so I'm hoping it'll get me into the fiesta spirit as I brown seven pounds of taco meat.  It's all I've got because tequila shooters before a team dinner would be inappropriate.

gratitude:  tea, clean sheets, freesia-scented candles, funny games

thanks and love.


Friday, April 25, 2014

Yesterday I Bought Myself An Under-Eye Illuminator/Brightener And The Latest Copy Of More Magazine. I Also Made Sure To Eat Yogurt And Dark, Leafy Greens. Guess Who's Turning 47?

Ah, birthdays.  A perfect time to review where we've been and where we're going, don't you agree?  While I sit here in the later half of my forties, I can honestly say, I've never been happier.  Aging is indeed, an honor.  We shouldn't forget that.  What a gift to be given another trip around the sun!    I'm so grateful for Life and the ability to live it as beautifully and joyously as possible.  

I also really appreciate the wisdom that comes with age (we tend to tap into our inner Yoda as we get older, don't we?).  The wisdom of knowing we have the freedom to be any way we want to be at any time in life.  It's too bad you can't live your life as a twenty-something with the mindset of someone older.  But I suppose it's all part of the process - it's possible we wouldn't appreciate where we are later in life, if we'd been this way the whole time.  There's a shifting of our mindset over time - at least there has been for me.  We move from thinking about 'what' we want to be, to 'who' we want to be, to 'how' we want to be.  And it's living life how you want to live it that makes everything so. much. better.

Think about how you want to be when you get older - no matter where you are in life.  Imagining an older you is always possible.  Then be that way, right now.  Find older person role models to give you examples and inspiration.  We can control who we are by choosing how we are in every moment.  And birthdays are a great time to think about how we want to be today and in the 364 days to come.  By living how you want to live every day, you'll create a life that feels like a celebration - and that's really how it should be, I think.  Because celebrations are fun (and often include good music and a cute outfit - also fun). 

I'm wearing this:

Because I want to be an older woman who wears tribal prints and orange necklaces with aplomb.  I'd like to do a lot of things with aplomb.  Three cheers for aplomb!

I will also be sipping my new favorite vino tonight on the patio facing the sun, of course.  It's a blended white called Evolution (which is a cool name).  It's got a really funky label too, and it's from Oregon.  I find it quite tasty.

gratitude:  creative freedom in life, the song 'Here Comes The Sun', Fridays, peace

thanks and love.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Yesterday, For Earth Day, I Bought A New Plant In Celebration Of The Holiday. I Think I Heard Mother Nature Let Out An Audible Groan.

Admittedly, I'm not a green thumb.  But I have such desire to be one that I feel it should count for something.  I really want to add more plants to our home - they offer health benefits, make you feel connected to nature, and give your decor kind of a funky 70's vibe.  All good, in my opinion.  So the plant I purchased yesterday is, what I would think, a good starter plant.  It's one of those mixed bowls of succulents.  Those are supposed to be low maintenance, right?  I certainly hope so because it's the plant maintenance that I struggle with from time to time.

Are some people born knowing how much to water a plant?  Because I was not.  We have a shamrock plant that has been around for several years now.  It's a real fighter, that one.  Sometimes the pot is bursting with willowy stems and leaves and sometimes there's just one withering sprig making a valiant effort to keep the entire pot from being pitched into the trash can.  It seems to me the plant begins to fail most often after I water it.  Isn't that what you're supposed to do?  When I ignore it, it takes off and sprouts all sorts of new life.  I don't get it.  Do I love too much?

Last year we babysat our neighbors lemon tree while they were in Brazil for a few months.  They left with us a lush, leafy shrub sporting numerous future lemons.  When they returned, it had approximately 15 leaves remaining, a lot of what appeared to be lemon raisins, and some kind of mite infestation.  It was an embarrassment.  And, unfortunately, not a surprise.

But, I'm not a quitter, so I'm giving it another go.  When I picked up the plant at Whole Foods, I whispered an apology to it - it seemed the right thing to do, all things considered.  I really want this to work.  I figure I managed to sustain two human babies, why not a few plants?  Here's to hoping my new Earth Day pot of succulents represents the turning of a new leaf (intended) in my quest for botanical success.  You can stop rolling your eyes now, Mother Nature.

I'm wearing this.

Somehow a peasant top, gladiator sandals, and moto jeans felt right for a conference with JD's math teacher.  I don't know why.

gratitude:  green things, asian salads, being happy right now, orchids

thanks and love.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Sure, You Have To Do A Little Extra Work When The Family Gathers At Your Pad For A Holiday, But You End Up The Next Day With Clean Toilets And A Couple Extra Bottles Of Champagne. Not Bad, Really.

Hosting family events is a great motivator to get some projects wrapped up before your guests arrive.  Take yesterday, for example.  We hosted Easter over here and, while I did need to run three loads in the dishwasher and developed carpal tunnel trying to scrape baked on egg off a baking dish, we ended up getting all of our outdoor curtains hung and our side patio about 90% finished.  Here are some visuals.

The Before.

We had furniture out here last year, but when we purchased our firepit (in a shameless effort to tempt the kids and their friends to hang at our house) we moved all of it to the back patio for seating around the pit.  We were left with a dirty rug, a lone table, and a bird's nest that our feathered friends have deemed too much of a fixer-upper to nest in this year.

And now, the After.

We love it.  The kids have even been hanging out here with their friends which makes me think we can put off finishing the basement a while longer.

So there's that.

I'm wearing this.

I wanted to wear something soothing.  This weekend was exhausting mentally and physically, and a long white t-shirt over some grey jeans felt functional and calming.  Of course, there's a pendant necklace because I'd never be too tired to accessorize (duh) and gladiator sandals because they are awesome.

For Meatless Monday we're having pasta with truffle butter (a donation from our neighbors who are cleaning out their fridge before they move to Arizona) and a nice big salad because after eating countless Reece's peanut butter eggs yesterday, we could all use a little roughage.

gratitude:  finished projects, peace and quiet, pretty flowers, detox tea

thanks and love.

Friday, April 18, 2014

I Joined Instagram To Stalk My Children, But Now I Can Enjoy Candid Peeks Into The Lives Of Peter Griffin From Family Guy, The Vice President, And A Cute Cat With A Smooshy Face That Lives In New York.

Since young people these days are so technologically savvy and connected through all sorts of social media, I honestly think it's important that we, as parents, at least attempt to understand what it is they are doing out there.  This isn't an easy thing for me since I don't understand why sometimes the clicker doesn't work.  Technology makes me urpy.

But just because we don't understand or even want to use social media, we need to be aware of and involved in it as much as possible because our kids are, and it's actually a great way to keep tabs on the goings on of our teenage babies.  Once when I was out to dinner I checked Instagram while I was waiting for a stall to become available in the loo and learned, through observing one picture, that my kids had invited a few friends over, ordered Chinese food and were drinking the pineapple juice I'd purchased to use in a brunch dish for the next day.  It's like having a baby monitor for teens.  Sort of.

I've also heard that Instagram, besides being useful in the effort to spy on your kids, is also a good way to draw traffic to your blog.  And, it does make me happy when I know a post has been read by lots of people.  I even went so far as to take an online webinar on how to maximize Instagram for your blog, but I fell asleep while I was listening.  Not good.  I think unconsciousness was the only option to save my ego from being completely diminished by my lack of basic social media knowledge.

But I'm not letting that stop me.  I'm going to give it a go for a while.  Maybe Instagram will be fun.  If I don't like it I'll just disappear again, fade into the background of Instagram, and just use it as a handy way to round out the dossier I've prepared on my daughter's prom date.  

I'm wearing this:

This may be the worst picture ever taken.  Is a UFO landing behind me?

gratitude:  laughter, our side patio, white candles in sand, orange tulips

thanks and love.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

If I Have A Little Spring In My Step Today, It's Because We Weren't Late To Middle School. Starting Your Day At The Very End Of The Drop Off Line While Wiping Sweat Off Your Upper Lip From The White Knuckle Ride You Made Just To Get There Is A Tad Defeating, Really.

We're entering that part of the season where the rumblings of all sorts of warm weather projects can be heard in the distance.  And as usual, Geoff and I have big plans.  Whether or not we can pull them off has yet to be determined, but at this point we're very optimistic and never far from a tape measure.  Our most pressing task is hanging some outdoor curtains.  Our patio faces west and from May to November the setting sun constantly threatens to cause some dangerous retinal damage.

And thanks to a uncomfortably surprisingly swift delivery process, we're 'wheels up' with the curtain project - it's way past fantasy now.  We purchased the curtains (big sale at Ballard Designs) and they were delivered in what seemed like only hours (gulp), but may have actually been closer to two weeks.  So there's no turning back.  We have 14 panels of sand and brown awning stripe fabric sitting on our kitchen table - it looks like an earth-toned circus is in town and they've stashed their Big Top at our place.  Thankfully, the kitchen table is so full of homework, lacrosse heads, and what I hope are clean soccer socks that we haven't eaten there in days (many, many days if I'm being honest).

So, weather permitting, this may be the big weekend.  Maybe by Sunday evening the curtains will be off the kitchen table and hanging patioside.  And we'll be out there toasting our success.  We'd probably be out there toasting anyway, but this time we won't be squinting.

I'm wearing this.  I call it Bohemian Cat Burglar.

And this is Bohemian Cat Burglar With A Chill.

gratitude:  extended forecasts that include temps in the mid-70's, the Stella & Dot Joy candle, Ina Garten's Chicken Salad Veronique, good lotion

thanks and love.

Monday, April 14, 2014

I Have Found Something That's Like Shopping With A Really Fashionable Friend, But You Don't Have To Feel Bad If You Order Wine With Lunch And They Get An Iced Tea.

So I've been hearing a lot about StitchFix lately.  It's a personal shopping company based out of San Francisco and basically they help you find cute things to wear.   When you sign up, you give them all sorts of information about yourself - how you live, how old your are, what your style preferences are, budget, what you do, sizes, etc.  Then they send you five pieces of clothing or accessories that they think you'd like based on your profiled information.  You try it all on (they even give you suggestions of what to pair with each piece) and decide what you'd like to keep.  You can keep all of it, none of it, or as many pieces as you wish.  You pay online and give your opinions about each piece in the process, then mail back the pieces you're not keeping within three days.  It's amazing.

Really, who doesn't love coming home to a box of goodies you scored during an online shopping session?  Especially if you get to the box before any family members notice you've been shopping again, right?  StitchFix is even better though, because it's a surprise - it almost feels like you're getting a present and when you have to cook dinner every single night, you deserve a present from time to time.

Plus, they make it really easy to return what you don't want to keep.  A weird chair (still in a box) and a floorlamp (also still in a box) from Ikea have taken up a permanent residence by our snowblower, simply because making the return was such a hassle that when I finally decided to do it, it was too late.  Maybe someone will ask for a cheap floorlamp for Christmas!  StitchFix actually sends a postage paid envelope with the clothes and you just stuff whatever doesn't work for you into it, seal it up, and drop it off at the post office.  I did it on the way to a lacrosse game and was still there in time for the first face-off.

This is another thing I really appreciate, it forces me to look at things I wouldn't normally consider for myself.  While I dearly love clothing and style, I do find I get into a bit of a pattern when shopping for moi.  StitchFix is like when the salesperson at a clothing store brings by an item for you to try on that they just got in or she thinks would look great on you, and you think she must be high to even think for a moment this is something you'd like, then you try it on and realize you absolutely love it and wonder if you could just wear it out of the store.

So here is what I received.  First this:

I love this top.  I'd been looking at a similar piece by Free People at Nordstrom Rack for a while, and this one is way better.  It's so much more versatile than the one I had my eye on and actually has a bit more visual interest to it.  I wore this with a pair of dark boot cut jeans and some new gladiator sandals that have gold detailing on them to a lacrosse game this weekend and was very, very happy.

I also like this:

I love a tribal print, but I probably wouldn't have been drawn to one in these colors.  Turns out though, these colors go with so much and really pack a stylish punch.  It's just what my highly neutral wardrobe needed.

This one was a surprise.

While I love the Mary Tyler Moore aspect a wrap dress brings with it,  I'm not a huge fan of anything in a minty green color.  But this was so incredibly comfortable - and the mint color made my pasty winter skin almost look okay.  Plus, I liked the shorter length and the fact that it's machine washable.

I did send back two things, a pair of dark skinny jeans (because those pants have multiplied like rabbits in my closet) and a coral colored knit shirt (felt a little too 'office' to for a free-wheeling stay-at-home mom/unpaid blogger like me).  When you return things you get to explain why you didn't like certain pieces so they can better select things for you the next time.  And by the next time, I mean next month.  You can get monthly 'Fixes' or schedule them farther apart.  I'm going for monthly because it's been some time since I've had a bit of a wardrobe refresh, but I'll spread them out after a while because, you know, money.

Give it a try!  You can click on this code and it'll take you right there.

For Meatless Monday we're having a salad with a creamy lemon dressing and a poached egg on top.  With a baguette and the end of the bottle of Sauvignon Blanc we opened last night.  What about you?

gratitude:  melting snow, decor inspiration, wardrobe enhancements, the massage chair JD picked up at our neighbor's garage sale

thanks and love.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

There Was A Full-Size Kit Kat Candy Bar, Wrapped No Less, On My Garage Floor And I Seriously Contemplated Eating It. For Days.

I share this story with you in the hopes that you'll no longer feel embarrassed about experiences in your own life.  That, and because finding meaning in my battle with food on our garage floor is pretty much all I have going on at this point.

From the Kit Kat's placement it must have fallen out of the backseat area of the car.  Probably something the kids had with them that dropped out of their grasp as they carted their belongings into the house.  I never bent down to touch it (that would have drawn the kids' attention to it and I would have had to share the candy bar with them if it was deemed edible), but I could see that the packaging appeared fully intact.  This gave me great hope that some gross garage cooties hadn't entered the treat and contaminated it.  I also felt that it seemed to have avoided being crushed by the car.  Lucky.

What struck me as odd was that the kids never picked it up or showed any interest in it.  This concerned me a bit.  Of course, I shouldn't be surprised that my kids didn't lift it off the floor of the garage because they seem to not have the motor skills necessary to perform such a task.  Given the heaps of clothes, both dirty and clean, on their bedroom and bathroom floors, proves they may lack the musculature required for "picking up".

I considered that maybe it was a trap.  Did the kids leave it there so I'd pick it up and find I'd touched a Kit Kat bar that had fallen in the toilet at school or something?  Then I remembered that laughing at their mom is okay, but they'd never stoop so low as to trick me.  I think.

Finally, I thought that maybe all my preaching about healthy eating had made a difference and the kids were immune now to the siren song of junk food.  That thought quickly passed when I went to place something in the trash can and noticed no less than three giant-sized slushie cups in the canister. Clearly, they're a-ok with a little sugar and artificial flavoring from time to time.

After a few days of wondering about the candy bar and becoming increasingly concerned about my hopefulness in getting to eat it, I simply picked it up and threw it out.  The whole experience annoyed me after a while.  I mean, geez, if I wanted candy I could easily pick some up on one of my 6,000 trips to the grocery store each week.  Am I not treating myself to something special often enough?  Should I go shoe shopping?  So many questions!

When I lifted it from the garage floor I observed it was slightly crushed, which relieved me - I'd made the right choice to toss it.  I was glad that upon making the discovery I was in the process of throwing it away, not greedily snatching it off the floor and opening the wrapper with trembling fingers.  It made me feel better about myself.  And it's really the little victories in life that make all the difference, isn't it?

I'm wearing this:

A maxi skirt and sandals.  Kind of a bohemian chic look that works just fine for watching a girls' high school JV soccer game.  'Cause that's how I roll.

gratitude:  birds nesting, new fish, gladiator sandals, warm weather

thanks and love.

Monday, April 7, 2014

It Occurred To Me Recently That Ranch Dressing Has Taken Over Our Palates. I Ordered Pizza For Dinner Thinking I Was Making A Very Popular Move, But The Children Were Disappointed That I Didn't Order Ranch With The Pizza. I Was Unaware That Dipping Your Pizza In Ranch Dressing Was Now A Thing. Seriously. I Worry We'll Be Drizzling It Over Ice Cream Soon.

I remember when I was a kid and Ranch dressing made it's first appearance on the food scene.  It had probably existed somewhere else for years already, but to a girl in 1970's Denver, it seemed almost mythical.  It was a magical liquid from a special place called Hidden Valley, right?  Honestly, I spent years wondering if maybe there really was a place called Hidden Valley - was this recipe a part of their shared cultural history?  There were occasional moments for me when the whole Ranch dressing thing crossed a line from trendy condiment to anthropological query.  Of course, we never really ate this Hidden Valley treasure at our house.  My mom was a bit of a food stickler (I wonder where I got it?) and all of that herbed creaminess didn't meet certain dietary requirements she held.

Of course, you could find this dressing almost everywhere and I'll admit, when I saw that green topped bottle at the end of a buffet line, I coated every bit of iceberg lettuce on my plate with it (I think that was the only acceptable salad lettuce until the late 80's).  Thing is, I wanted to really love it, but I just didn't. It always tasted a bit too sweet for me.  And its glossy thickness gave me pause, at even a young age.  Turns out, there are all sorts of thickening agents to thank for that particular Ranch dressing's creaminess and the extreme sweet/tangy flavor can be attributed in part, at least, to sugar and the dreaded Monosodium Glutamate (MSG).  Bummer, because the concept is a good one and it does make a raw broccoli floret something special.

By the time I had kids of my own, Ranch dressing had become the default flavor in dips, dressing, chips, even Goldfish crackers.  It was impossible to escape.  But even the 'healthy' versions of Ranch didn't always hit the mark.  Finding a healthy Ranch dressing that tasted fresh and flavorful was like Prince Charming trying to find who's foot fit the glass slipper.  Until the Magic Spoon Cookbook came along.

My mother-in-law gave my daughter this cookbook when Eliza was in kindergarten (see Note).  It came with a clear mixing spoon filled with a glittery, purple liquid.  But more importantly, it came with a Ranch dressing recipe that I still use to this day.  It's a game-changer.  Give this a go - you'll forget there ever was a place called Hidden Valley.

Ranch Dressing from The Magic Spoon Cookbook

1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
1/4 tsp. garlic powder or  one small clove of garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp. onion powder (I actually use organic dried, minced onion)
1/2 c. mayo
1/2 c. buttermilk or plain yogurt

Mix all ingredients together and pour over all sorts of things.  Enjoy.

*Note: My daughter, Eliza, grew up watching cooking shows on TV.  We played together in the kitchen a lot. And now, at 16, she has zero interest in cooking.  We are clearly outliers when it comes to the belief that involving your kids in food preparation and kitchen activities helps them make better food choices as they get older.  She thinks slushies are their own food group. 

I'm wearing this:

Layering some items better suited for warm weather is apparently how I'm going to spend this first part of April.  Can't decide yet on a scarf to today.  It may be a game-time decision.

For Meatless Monday we're having artichokes because my nice neighbor, Susi, showed me how to make them in the microwave.  I may supplement with a frozen Whole Foods goat cheese and pesto pizza because I would need to prepare 75 artichokes to fill up my children and who has that kind of time, really?

gratitude:  ease, new clothes, yoga, trash day

thanks and love.