31 December 2018

Annual New Year's Meme!

It’s tradition! The New Years Meme!

1. What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before?
 Meditate!  Definitely recommended and something I hope to sustain

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn’t really set any last year so that’s a Yes!

3. My resolutions for 2019:
        Continuing to paint the interior of the house
        Consider getting a new refrigerator & stove
        Write more.  This is a rerun, and will always be

4. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Nope, no new babies this year. 

5. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes, and it was awful.  I believe things come in three’s and the
third hasn’t occurred yet.

6. What countries did you visit?

"Oh Canada, our home and native land.."
(This is not my favorite question...Let's try: What trips did you take?  We’ve had some epic roadtrips )

7. What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018?
A new government

8. What dates from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
February: we stayed the night at Semiahmoo and it was perfection.
July: Our first race this year and it was just Kevin and I.  It was the most fun we have had in years.
December: my birthday was another road trip that I loved

9. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

        Successfully completing and disentangling myself from the  
freelance situation

10. What was your biggest failure?
        Not remaining hopeful. This year has been so dark and society
seems to keep digging below the bottom

11. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Not this year!  I'm on a three-year spree!  Go, me!

12. What was the best thing you bought?
        My new bike!  We bought bikes to ride when we’re racing and I
love it, even though I’m a little ridiculous on it.

13. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Anyone who has made it through this no good, awful, terrible, very bad year.  And the Blue Wave

14. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

He Who Shan't Be Named and the people who support him.

15. Where did most of your money go?
        Racecar, mochas, books, bills

16. What did you get really excited about?
Good thing: going racing.                                                        Bad thing: governmental indictments & investigations.

17. What song will always remind you of 2018?
        In Case You Didn’t Know – Brett Young
        Almost 30 years in and there are still love songs.

18. Compared to this time last year, are you:
~ happier or sadder? Moderately happier
~ thinner or fatter? Same-ish
~ richer or poorer? Better than last year

19. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Read...I look at my bookshelf and want to read everything right now.

20. What do you wish you’d done less of?

        Despair at the current state of affairs

21. How did you spend Christmas?

Eve - at my parents with an excited five-year-old who still ovesthe joy of Tag! with Unca Kevin
Day - Next door, immersed in children's excitement and food

22. Did you fall in love in 2018?
Every day.

23. What was your favorite TV program?

       New: The Bold Type & Grownish, Old: The West Wing

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

"No. I'm not a hater. It's a waste of time" is my standard answer but this year He Who Shan't Be Named is SO on the list.

25. What was the best book you read?
         Looking at my bookshelves...umm, well.  There wasn't really a                     favorite this year

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
        The Greatest Showman soundtrack

27. What did you want and get?
          Time with Kevin

28. What did you want and not get?
           I'm pleased to say that I can't think of anything other than the                    obvious: puppy, books, mocha, chocolate

29. What was your favorite film of this year?
100 Foot Journey and The Greatest Showman

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 50!
We went on a road trip to Friday Harbor, which isn’t something normal humans do in December and it was glorious.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A functioning government and not the constant feeling of needing to flee to Canada

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2018?
I'm going to quote an old coworker "I'd like to get as close as possible to wearing pajamas to work yet still look appropriately dressed."

33. What kept you sane?

 Kevin. Lucy. Mochas. Television.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Lin Manuel Miranda (see: Good Morning/Good Night)

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
the whole gawdamned gawdawful thing.

36. Who did you miss?
My former co-workers.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
        I don't know that I met anyone new, really...

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018:
        Expect the Unexpected


27 December 2018

Defrocking The House 2018

It's about halfway through December 26th and I'm defrocking the house already. (TBH: now it's the 27th)

I'm on winter break for the next two weeks so I've plenty of time to do this.  Why I feel compelled to do this So Much today is a mystery.  I mean, it's not like we had an unhappy Christmas and I just want to be done now.  It was actually a pretty mellow Christmas, for once.

My plan for today was: nothing. Kevin had to work so the only thing planned was to watch Doctor Who all day.  BBC has a marathon going right now so it's been playing here since Christmas Eve evening, if Kevin isn't around.  (He just can't even.  He glances at the television and says "Because of course the Titanic is flying through space" and shakes his head)

Right now everything is piled in my office, which I just cleaned and organized on Christmas Eve morning so the organization lasted almost two whole days. The tree is going to be an hours long task and I'm just not interested.  It's still pretty, smells good and makes me happy

I think part of this urge is that this house LOOKS decorated at Christmas.  I just haven't found a balance of decorating for the holidays with this house.  It tends toward looking/feeling cluttered, in my brain.  I'm certain that it's not, in reals.

Many of the decorations have been changed or replaced since we moved in, in an attempt to appease this house. I've mentioned it before that this house shrugs off decorations like it's wearing an itchy wool sweater.  While the old house had plenty of surface to decorate and because it was an old house, it just preened in Christmas decorations.

I guess the best way to describe the settled upon decoration style for this house is like the real simple magazine. Lots of decorative candles, bulb ornaments, white lights, and beaded garland. A few years ago, Michael's had decorations that looked like they were from the Grinch Who Stole Christmas and I loved them. They are glitter heavy and bright green and red.

It must just boil down to the  cluttered feeling and needing to control my space.  It's been not a great year and I suspect that 2019 is not going to be much of an improvement.  Kevin is just relieved, because he is definitely the Once It's Done, Be Done guy.  I used to hold out until after New Year's Day.

I did better this year with my ornament obsession. Not being able to shop on my birthday is honestly the only reason. And we bought the perfect tree this year so I was able to use all the ornaments.  Although, I was lacking in green ones  so I bought a set, okay-three sets- at Goodwill.  It's all about balance.

I have some snowmen decorations that I put out for January, just so the house doesn't look barren and sad.  Because reasons, I took them into work for that same purpose and now I have nothing.  Instead, I made a quick trip to the dollar store and bought some extra white, short-strand Christmas lights and some new candles.  It's still a little cheery for the dark days of January and February.

Also what happens every year is the intention to organize everything while putting it away.  Then I get tired and frustrated and don't do it.  This year, I am determined.  My winter break stretches into January instead of being solely in December so I've got the time.  Label maker and bubble wrap will be employed.  I will pack the closet according to need. For instance: Christmas cards easily accessed so I can ignore them until days before Christmas, as is tradition.

25 December 2018

Merry Christmas

Whatever you celebrate, may it be with all your favorite people, things and eats.
Faith and family is what you choose it to be.

24 December 2018

Making A List

Kevin really is one of the smartest people I know.  Subterfuge is not his thing though.  I mean, take shopping for his wife as an example.  

He requested a list for Christmas so I made him one with five items on it.  None of them difficult and not requiring going to a special store.  My only request is that he doesn't go with his brother because it's super fun discovering that my sister-in-law received the exact same present as me.

Item #1: a man's watch.  He had forgotten his so I put it on my wrist to remember to give it to him.  I realized that I liked the weight and the looseness of it.  I don't like tight things on my wrists at all. (criminal in a former life, I'm guessing)

He didn't want to because he didn't want his wife to look like a truck driver.  LOL, what?  I understand that it's an unusual request.  He did ask if I wanted a watch like that or just liked wearing HIS watch and it's probably a little bit of both.  About a minute into the discussion I  realized something:  
"Wait, Kevin? Let me understand: you wanted a list of things to buy me for Christmas and now you're debating said list?"  He laughed and said yes.

Item #2:  After painting our bathroom, I want to do some remodeling.  BFF K gave me a mirror for my birthday. I can put in the common folk bathroom, or buy another one and put it in the master bathroom, or buy two more and have everything match.

This intrigued Kevin and he wanted all the mirrors to match because the OCD is strong in him.  Okay, I win.

Item #3: pretty light covers for the master bath light and our bedroom.  This started a "There isn't a light like that in the bathroom" debate, closely followed by a "We looked at the junk shop and couldn't find one that fit."  Because.We.Didn't.Measure.  I win, again.

Items #4 & 5: new cozy flannel sheets and a cozy new blanket for our bed.    
I knew he wasn't going to get either of those ones so it was kind of a throw-away request.

He went, was gone about an hour, and one phone call later, he returned.  Every year he leaves the present in the shop, wraps it there and depending on what it is, takes it next door or puts it under our tree.

I was very specific: the wrapping paper is behind the door in the office.  Scissors and tape are in the middle drawer of the desk.  I went into my office this morning and the door to Monica's Closet was open.  Why?  We don't know and we're not going to ask.

AND, I have a pile of about twenty paper bows on my desk that are crushed and mangled.  I left them there last night with the intention of googling what to do with them today.  Notice the bow when you look at the photo below.

When I entered the living room, I noticed the brown wrapping paper first.  It matches nothing else that is wrapped and is on top of other presents.  THEN I noticed the giant present LEANING ON THE TREE.  

Bless his heart, he will never work for the CIA.

21 December 2018

Dust in the Wind

The lovely Pacific Northwest had a "Weather Event" yesterday.  There was an expected windstorm that did lots and lots of damage throughout Western Washington and the coast.

While I was driving to work, I noticed once I got to the farmland that the wind was strongly blowing, pushing my heavy truck around.  Once I arrived at work, the lights kept blinking on and off.  We were all kind of nervously making jokes about getting to go home, all the while hoping the building wasn't damaged while we were in it.

Not long afterward, the power indeed went out.  The main office is windowless so it was pitch black.  This is the situation where you discover who are the helpers and the panickers.  One of my coworkers is a panicker.  I calmly grabbed my phone, started the flashlight app, and helped her find her phone and way.

Someone asked her where her emergency flashlight was.  She opened a desk drawer and brought out a torch (a Bic candle-lighter)  I was all "Umm, no..." gently taking it from her "That is a super bad idea."

I returned to my office, which is separate from the rest of them and made arrangements to go home.  But when I checked in later, they were huddled around a table with a flashlight in the middle and were talking about what they could do for lunch.

The interwebs was apocalyptic with photos and updates of downed trees, power outages, and then the only freeway we have closed.  I was a little concerned and befuddled that they were so whatever about it.  I guess that maybe they thought it would...wait for it...blow over.

I just wanted to get home safely, make sure we had electricity and everything was fine.  So, I left.  One and a half hours later, I was home. It usually takes twenty minutes. All the traffic lights were out, the freeway was closed, and it was gridlock everywhere.  Once I could get to a back road, I was great.  It was just getting to it.

We had power when I arrived home.  It looked like our road was the only one in the whole neighborhood  that did, strangely.  I can't see our backdoor from where I park and I was busy looking at the trees, wondering if there was anything I could do.  Then I rounded the corner of the house and Sonofabiscuiteatingdog.

Our roof was damaged.  There were twenty roof shingles scattered on the ground and in the garden.

I put my stuff down, walked back up behind our house to look at the roof (there is a gravel road that runs behind our house) And sure enough, a section was missing and there were eight shingles still laying haphazardly on the roof.

Unfortunately, I can't see the front of the house to see what's happened on that part of the roof.  I couldn't tell if it was better or worse.  So, here I am in a windstorm, making excellent choices, and getting a 10 foot ladder in the middle of a windstorm.

I set it in the middle of our lawn, planted it well, and slowly inched my way up three steps.  All the while, muttering "I am the dumbest person alive right now."   But my courage wore out and I couldn't get high enough to see enough of anything.

It took Kevin nearly two hours to get home.  And of course, it started to rain as soon as he was on the roof.  Luckily it stopped about halfway through the repair job.  And with that, the wind died down too.

Along with thousands of other people, I had to call the insurance company to start a claim.  It was surprisingly easy and I hope that bodes well for the process.  And if it doesn't, I tend to enjoy a good fight.  We're glad to be relatively small in this situation.

Oh, beautiful PNW, sometimes you make it difficult to love you.

17 December 2018

Happiness in an Envelope

It's my annual struggle: Christmas cards.

I love Christmas cards.  I love getting them, I love choosing them in the store, I love the idea of them.  I think it's a lost and important art.  A moment for two people to connect and remember each other.

One month ago I brought out the Christmas basket that holds all of our cards.  It has an assortment of cards, super random envelopes, glitter, and mailing labels.  Oh, and a green and red pen.   Every tool needed (except stamps) that a person needs to complete this joyous chore.  This year I even bought stamps ahead of time.

It's the 17th today and I'm just starting.  Every single year this happens.  Every single year I have the best of intentions.  I had the goal of having this task completed over the Thanksgiving weekend and now we're a week from Christmas.

I have no excuse.  A little bit of the Can't Want To.  A little bit of I left them in my office and "out of sight, out of mind." Otherwise I can only blame the Hallmark Christmas movies that are on constantly right now.

Last year I had the epiphany that it was because I have too many cards to choose from.  I have church cards, Santa cards, pretty cards, kid cards.  I try to cover all the bases.  What I should have is a huge stack of the exact same card.  If I just would do that, this task would be over in about thirty minutes.

But what fun would that be?  I like finding the Santa card for the families who have kids.  The doggy cards for our friends with dogs.  I like honoring someone with a church card because I know it's special to them, even if I'm a little meh.

I see the photo cards and I love them.  Each year I think "I should do those."   Photos of Kevin and I together are few, I'm the one usually taking the photos.  I don't want to be the childless couple who sends out a photo of their dog, even though Lucy is pretty cute.  Maybe some year I will do one and I'll probably love it and wonder why I ever did it any differently.

This year and last year, actually, I have an extra challenge: Christmas cards for Kevin's staff.  Yep, I've become the typical boss's wife.  I try not to make all the cards the same because I know they will probably see each other's cards.  I worked on what to write and decided with a simple "Thank you for all you do" and our signature.

Here is a Christmas mystery I have every single year:  where do all the envelopes go?  Every year I run short of a size of envelopes.  Yet I have a stack of too small envelopes.  How does this happen?  It's not like I make a ton of mistakes.  My guess is that I've too many times bought extra envelopes and each time buying the wrong size.  Because: I am clever.   I also have the tendency to hoard birthday card envelopes.  And yes, you're right: those are much too big for Christmas cards.  Yet, I continue to do it.

So, then it's prioritizing.  I usually start with my BFF first (your card reminded me of your house!) and then family, and then friends.  I should start with our Canadian friends because it takes weeks to get the cards to them, even though most of them are less than an hour away.  One year I'll accomplish that but this is not that year.

Family and friends who are smart asses get glitter or confetti in their cards. This has had consequences over the years as I have glitter all over my desk, or in my car.  One year the bag of confetti broke open and I didn't know it.  A lovely confetti trail went from one end of the old house to the other.  Sometimes Karma is instant.

Years ago I wrote a loving post about our address book.  This is another delay that I encounter: time has to be spent looking through the address book and remembering.  Each year someone is crossed off the list (usually sad reasons) but maybe sometimes people are added too.

And in another classic example: here I am writing about a task instead of completing it.

So, if you ever want a Christmas card, hit me up.  It will probably be late or last minute but look at all the thought I put into it! 

Image result for christmas card quotes

08 December 2018

It's Not His Job

Couple friends of ours have hit a rough patch.  They have two young children  and at that horrible time when neither of the kids are in school yet. Also, her Pinterest perception of what motherhood should look like is wrong.

(I will preface this with I really like her, I really do.  She's almost twenty years younger than me so my perspective has experience behind it that she doesn't yet possess.)

And then there's Jesus.   

She'll talk about praying to understand why life is so hard, or for strength, or whatever, quite a bit.  Then she'll mention not finding the help/solace that she's looking for.

I just want to grab her by the shirt and say "JESUS isn't going to FIX THIS" while gesturing wildly. This is not broken, this is difficult. This is what life looks like. Her life is exactly the life that every stay-at-home mom with young kids has.  I  want to dial my nephew and niece with the six kids, three pets, and two jobs then hand her the phone: "Talk to them about your problems.  I think they'll find your problems Adorable." 

She has this perception that if she prays hard enough that suddenly her kids won't act their age, or that her husband won't have to work 8+ hours plus commute so she can be home, or that the puppy will stop doing puppy things.  Also, Jesus didn't make any of these choices so yelling at him about it seems misguided.

I'm not demeaning that it's difficult, I'm demeaning the approach that he's going to suddenly notice her and make it better.  She's a SAHM with little financial worries and a good support system. I know this is surface level and thou shalt not judge and all that but it's not like she's the opposite of all that. 

None of our kids are religious so we haven't really bumped into this situation.  Also, It's a confident guess that her upbringing was vastly different than what our kids experienced.

It's just astounding to me when someone has a skewed perspective of their life then gets frustrated that Jesus doesn't fix it.  a) it's not his job 2) it's not broken: it's life and c) let's look around at others lives and find some perspective. 

This is the part that I find ironic.  Wouldn't life be just a little bit easier if you're not waking the kids up on Sunday and dragging them to church for most of the day?  Or to bible study during the evenings?  They are younger than six, I think their tiny souls will be alright.

This is one of those situations where I find religion frustrating. She believes that if she just prays enough and is dedicated to the church enough that life will get easier or she will suddenly gain insight.  Umm, no. that's not how any of this works.

I always imagined praying was meant for the big stuff.  I imagine God/Jesus/whatever thinking "Really?  This?  This is what you're asking for?"  Let's keep prayer in reserve for the dying parent, the sick kid, the gratitude when things are good; not just because kids are messy and loud.  The rest of the work is on us mere humans.

If you're a believer, you don't get to know why things happen.  He considers it none of your business, he has a plan.  Stop interfering, stop asking.  Just suck it up, buttercup.

Image result for even if the prayer is just thank you

06 December 2018

I Can't Want To

I'm learning something new at work and usually I'm all in with this situation. 

Today though, man, I just can't. 

So far, I've more frequently than necessary checked email and social media.  I've completed other tasks of my job.  I've decorated for the holidays.

I'm not normally like this.  I usually like learning new things.  But I've had this project since right before I went on vacation and it keeps getting bumped (unintentionally and intentionally) to the bottom of the pile.

I started today with the intention of completing it.  I have thirty-five minutes left of my day and here we are:  Off task.  And sure, I'll be pouty and resentful when that folder is staring me in the face tomorrow.

Now I'm being all self-analytical.  "Why? why don't you want to do this?"

To be fair: I haven't been fully trained in this task.  I know about half of what I need to know.  I'm referring back to training that I had years and years ago: "If there is a field asking for info, fill it."  Which is helpful, but the documents don't match the screen; which prompts a lot of "I know I just saw it. *flipping pages* sonofa...Oh, here it is."

Oh, and some of these forms are in Spanish.  I get extra Challenge Points for that.

AND, I can't refer to the University of Google and YouTube because it's a specialized database.  Nothing in my bag of tricks is making this work.

If I really think about it: I don't like things that I'm not immediately successful with.  Not to be all Miss Smarty Pants, but stuff like this usually comes super easy to me.  So when it doesn't, tantrums ensue.  And I make mature decisions like "Hey, I'll write about this and then at least I accomplished that."