Friday, September 18, 2015

And I bother because of course

The longer the list
I have a list of things I need to get done today. It is a very long list and every task is hugely time consuming and overwhelming and my stars and garters, why do I even bother?

The Internet beckons, and I will answer. ’Tis Friday, after all.

Temporary grounding
Muffin is one of those kids that I’ve never worried about much. I mean, she makes good choices and tries her best and works hard and all that, so I’m not really concerned she is going to do something silly or stupid and land in jail or launch her pickup off a bridge. You know? The stuff some parents of kids her age are dealing with…wow. I just don’t have those concerns with her.

Anyway, she decided to be a teenager last weekend. The plan was for her to go to a (local) college volleyball game - actually a tournament - and watch. After that, she wanted to go to the movies with her friends, and I was totally ok with the agenda as she explained it to me. Except she didn’t go to the volleyball games. She went to the mall instead, and then went to the movies. She didn’t tell me her plans changed, and when I asked her about the games, she lied.

Ooo, baby.

I’m ok with plans changing, but the not telling me and then lying about it? That is a line one does not cross with me, especially if you are my offspring.

Anger didn’t factor in. I was hurt and disappointed about the lying. The lying concerns me.

So she is ‘grounded.’ For her, that means she still has her phone and driving privileges, because where we live and how we operate on a daily basis - taking those things away from her would punish ME, not her. What she isn’t allowed to do is anything extra, such as attending football games, movies or anything that is beyond school, volleyball and home. And I decided that it would last about one month. When Homecoming rolls around the last week of September/first week of October, she will have served her time and she will have her “fun” back.

I am obviously The Meanest Mom On The Planet since I’m bent on ruining my child’s life.

Last night on the drive home from a volleyball game (her team won and played great - fun to watch and all that), she was almost yelling, trying to argue her point about knowing what she did was wrong and that because she learned her lesson, she should be able to go to the Corn Maze this weekend with some friends.

Um. Nope. Not gonna happen, Kid.

I had to stop the conversation before *I* started yelling. Unimpressed with my inflexibility, she plugged in her headphones and ignored me for 20 minutes.

And today she sent me a text asking to go to the football game tonight.

Um. Nope. Not gonna happen, Kid.

She is just testing me to see if she can wear down my resolve. Grounding is such a weird punishment, really. But how else would or should a parent deal with something like lying? I dunno. There have to be consequences, I think.

Moar coffee
As someone who typically takes her caffeine ice cold, carbonated and from a can, I’ve recently developed an unhealthy need for HOT COFFEE in the mornings. String together a few super early mornings and you’ll find me leaning so heavily on the MOAR COFFEE, STAT!

As in: Set That IV Caffeine Drip To Wide Open, FTLOG.

I can’t (read: won’t) drink just black coffee, and because of self-imposed diet restrictions, I’ve resorted to lacing it with Premier Protein shakes. Because, of course. All my breakfasts are pre-fab.

Oh, what I would give for a giant Dirty Chai Tea from Caribou Coffee or Starbucks. And a colossal-sized bag of Cheetos.

Echosmith’s Talking Dreams
Beach House’s Depression Cherry

(I know. Still. But I’m really trying to figure out if I like this stuff or if it just lives in the background. Either way…)

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Cheat day

More Like Cheat Weekend:
The cousin managed to get married, despite the rain and wind and outdoor setting. Mud. Lots and lots of mud. And a very steep hill. And women in high heels (me, being one of them). And battered umbrellas. But the deed has been done, and I’m so very happy (that it is done).

Friday was the rehearsal dinner, and the weather was quite lovely for that, of course. But the meal was served buffet/picnic style, which means lots and lots of Things I No Longer Eat were taunting me. I stayed away from the chocolate cake frosted with buttercream and Heath candy bar crumbles and stood instead next to the deep fat fryer where perch and walleye fillets were being cooked to a tasty crisp.

Saturday, the diet officially flew out he window. Pulled pork with BBQ sauce. Potato salad. Baked beans. Wedding cake. Vodka Sours. I would have been fine, really, with what little I ate of The Bad For Me Stuff. The drinking part? Wow. I don’t remember the last time I drank that much vodka and remained coherent and conscious. And vertical.

And then we went to the lake on Sunday and Monday for Labor Day, and there was much too much food consumption going on.

All told, I gained back three pounds. Not bad, really. Chad gained back seven.

Did you know that Diamond Dallas Page of professional wrestling fame sells Yoga DVD’s? Did you know that I own several of them? Did you know that I’ve never cussed a blue streak while attempting yoga moves, except when I use those DVD’s? Insane, I know, and it is really a good thing no one is home to see me sweat and hear me curse - and fall down - while trying to be graceful. (Ha!)

Falling down is hugely humbling. I tell myself it is a good thing, get back up, and cuss and swear and sweat some more. Some mornings I wonder if there is a dial for gravity and someone has spun that thing to 11.

New Music:
I recently purchased Depression Cherry by Beach House and Talking Dreams by Echosmith. Not sure how I feel about either, yet, but they are on constant rotation during the day.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Take a walk on your hands

The bills are paid. The house is (relatively) clean. The laundry is done. Random chores are complete. Phone calls returned. Questions answered. Supper is defrosting in the sink. I’ve blazed through my list and now - at the bottom of that list - the word “write” sits there waiting to be crossed off.

I’ve joined I don’t know how many writing groups, self-help email/motivational list-serves. None of that does any good. Instead of putting “write” at the bottom of my list, I just need to put it at the top. Maybe that will fix me.

Or is that too simple?

For the past few nights I’ve been having trouble sleeping, and I’m not sure why. Usually, I can chalk up a fitful night to a brain that won’t shut off or external stressors that must be obsessed over at 3am. But this time my arms hurt. Or ache. Or something. And it is keeping me awake at night.

Is there such a thing as “Restless Arm Syndrome”? Like Restless Leg Syndrome, where your legs feel like they need to move and kind of ache in a really uncomfortable - not-in-the-muscle-more-like-in-the-bones - kind of way…but in your arms? I’ve tried sleeping in different positions. I’ve tried all kinds of different over the counter sleep medicines (with the exception of the Trazadone I still have from a previous round with insomnia/anxiety). I’ve even cut back on the caffeine, thinking that after all these years, I’ve finally developed a sensitivity to it.

No such luck.

This time of year is weird in The Northland. Cold one day and hot the next. Jeans and a sweatshirt complete with socks and real shoes, then shorts and a tank top with (maybe) flip-flops. Sometimes Cold and Hot in the same day.

It all just foreshadows Winter.

And I’m not into Winter. Not at all.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Until it happens to you


The end of August/start of September means back to school, yes, but also doctor appointments and random yearly “stuff” that must be crossed off a list somewhere so as to maintain my family’s membership in the club of humanity. Apparently.

And now that I’m “of a certain age” I get to have additional appointments that require the squishing and squashing of body parts that should never be squished or squashed so severely. Ow.

In fact, I was so discombobulated after that appointment that I didn’t notice until I was getting undressed for bed much, much later in the day, that I’d forgotten to remove the little pasties the technician applies. I’m sure they serve a purpose - a medical purpose - and are not just something to point to and laugh.

Getting old is fun!

More weather observations

Today is hot. And sticky. This morning was 72 degrees at 7am with humidity hovering around 95%.

That kind of sticky weather requires all the insides of windows be wiped down or risk warping the wooden sashes. That kind of sticky weather also requires the full-time use of no less than two dehumidifiers or risk the health and life of the AC unit.

Heat and humidity do not bother me in the least. As long as I do not have to don panty-hose or wear makeup, I could not care less about hot and humid weather.


And there is always a BUT.

This weekend, one of Chad’s many cousins is getting married, and that requires dress clothes (no panty-hose, however) and makeup and probably even clean hair. The wedding is an outdoor affair - and therefore it follows that the forecast calls for rain, thunderstorms, wind, and probably a plague of locusts or maybe just a tornado or two.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Cornbread muffins on the easy

On dieting:

I hate it. I hate it - oh for the love of all things holy - I so very much hate dieting with the white-hot heat of a million suns. I hate counting calories. I hate figuring out how many carbs (and therefore how many teaspoons of sugar) is in the food I want to eat. I hate reading labels and obsessing about what is in a recipe that I’ve used for 30 years.

But what I hate even more than all that is not feeling comfortable in my own skin. Feeling fat. Feeling unhealthy. Feeling…not like myself.

I love the results that come from all that miserable dieting. As of this morning, I’m down 31.5 pounds. And while it is kind of fun to brag about losing that much, I truly find it mortifying that I had it to loose to begin with. I’m not done. I have a long way to go before I can say I accomplished my goals - and really, with dieting, is one ever really done? There is always a Peanut Buster Parfait lurking around the corner just waiting to smack me into a (much welcomed) sugar coma.

The thing about dieting, though, is that, no, you are never done. It isn’t like many other behaviors that attach the word ‘addiction’ to it. For example, you wouldn’t tell a drug addict to shoot up three times a day (with a snort in the afternoon and another in the evening to hold you over ‘till morning). Well, maybe you would. But a recovering drug addict, trying to get and stay clean? I’m guessing no. But that is what we do with people like me with - essentially - an addiction to food.

So I diet. I cut out (or severely limit) sugar. No beer. No chocolate. No Cheetos. (My lands, I miss Cheetos.) I drink water like a crazy person. But I have to eat.

Not a fun party-goer, am I.

Back in a jiffy
Jiffy makes a cornbread muffin mix that is so simple and so good: milk, egg, muffin mix, and 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees. And now my house smells positively delicious.

I think I may be getting a sugar high just from the aroma.

Excuse me - I may have to step outside until I have regained control.

The rental property we own in town is currently rented to three college students. That is a very misleading, overly simplified statement. To get that rental property ready for those students to move in to was a Herculean Effort. I have earned my place at the side of Zeus, let me tell you. Washing walls. Painting every flat surface I could throw a paint brush at. Scrubbing floors. Taking apart light fixtures so as to remove 4+years of neglect. Moving appliances. Cleaning carpets. Fixing garage door openers.


After I had everything back together, fully functioning, and clean, I wanted to move in there myself because I could only imagine how desperately my own house - you know, the one I actually live in - needs to be overhauled.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Misplaced anger

Club volleyball season is upon us and thus goes the weekends in the spring. Muffin has practice a couple of times during the week, and man-o-live, I really appreciate how much easier my life is now that she has a license to drive and a vehicle with which to do so. Of course, I now get to worry about her eating at Budget Burger before practice instead of going over to her sister’s house or her grandparents house for something to eat that does NOT come from a greasy spoon.

But the weekends. Oy. Driving hither and yon. Spending an entire Sunday watching volleyball match after volleyball match - from 7:30 am to whenever they finish tournament play (after what is probably hours and hours of pool play) - gets long. And exhausting - and I’m not the one playing.

For whatever reason the scheduling gods have graced our team with a weekend off this weekend. I plan to spend Sunday with my feet planted firmly on the kick-out footrest on my recliner.


I finally had it with all the plastic containers clogging up my cupboards and random lids for said containers stuffed into various drawers and cabinets in my kitchen. Muffin and I went through them all, pitched the ones that were cracked or missing lids or were just random Cool Whip containers (Why? Why do I keep such things? AH AXE YE?), sorted all of the containers and lids purloined from my mother-in-law (and gave them all back to her). Then I ordered Pyrex storage containers complete with matching lids.

No. More. Random. Plastic.

 It felt awesome to do that - to purge and then to replace with something of value and function. I like finding containers for leftovers now. Unbelievable, I know.

Next is the spice cabinet. Maybe tomorrow or Friday.

Hey - I never claimed to be an overachiever. At least, not that I recall.


The oldest child is going to walk the stage for college graduation in May. Granted, she officially finished her degree in December of ’14, but you gotta know that walking the stage is the only way to commemorate such an accomplishment. That and a party. So we sat down with some fancy-ish stationery and invited a few family members and some friends over to her house in town to celebrate.

My mom is ordering cake. I’ll throw some hors d’oeuvres together and call it a win.

I’m looking forward to it. Very little fuss. Even less muss. The best kind of party to throw.

Funny to think that she will have graduated twice before Muffin manages it once. Such is the sitch when siblings are spaced that far apart.


This morning, I tried on a bunch of clothes in my closet. Specifically, dresses and skirts that have not seen the light of day for about six or seven years. Some fit. Some didn’t. Some really didn’t. In fact, I gave myself that claustrophobic my-god-I’m-going-to-have-to-rip-this-off-my-body panic feeling more than once, trying to pull a wow-that-is-way-too-tight-sheath dress back over my head.

I have more work to do. Not that one can tell I’ve done any work at all. So I walk. And I yoga. And I drink water (and occasionally sneak in a Diet Coke, because come on). And I grill instead of fry. Bake instead of … I dunno.

I’m not seeing or even feeling any improvement at all. Unless you consider my achy, tired, and crabby self an improvement over my previously uncomfortable, exhausted, and ornery self.


Playlist: paused

Monday, March 23, 2015

Lists on lists

Analysis paralysis

A cat is sitting on my “book of all things” so I will not access my to do list until he moves. This could take a while.


The heck?

My “book of all things” is a black and white graph composition book. I saw a “Bullet Journal” tutorial and liked the concept. I’ve been using the system for about a year and a half. I find it very comforting to know everything is in one place. Things like recipes, crochet patterns, to do lists, passwords, shopping lists, scraps of writing or ideas for writing, doodles, meeting notes, events for every month, checklists for motivation, quotes I like, lists of books I should read - - anything and everything can be written/taped/attached/tucked into the pages and then easily referenced in an index set aside in the beginning of the book. I’ve even started color coding and tabbing the thing with sticky notes to make flipping through the pages easier.

I find having everything in once place is a bit disconcerting, too, however; after leaving my previous book on a counter overnight, a cat peed on it.

Yes, the cats are assholes.

And Yes, the Cleaning Of All The Things is a never ending activity in my house.


I got nothing.

The oldest child came out to spend part of the day with the family on Sunday. We also had the lovely task of getting everything arranged for her student loan payments, starting in April. I don’t remember things being so damn complicated (multiple usernames, passwords, security questions, security pictures, and on and on and on, and for the love of anything holy yes it really is an authorized person on this end of the fucking website).

The day a bank starts using facial recognition software to authorize access to an account is the day I will back away slowly from the internet and begin my life off the grid.

Maybe. I like me some internets.


(Random bits of detritus from recent days gone by:)


I have lists upon lists in my head of things I need to do including various projects that involve cleaning out closets full of clothing I’ve not worn since before my second child was born, planning a graduation celebration, paying bills, applying for various jobs in the area, and maybe running a vacuum cleaner around the baseboards. But it is raining or snowing or something uncomfortably cold outside, and that just makes me want to start a fire (by clicking the remote - heh) and spend the rest of the day cozied up in my chair working on something with yarn.

But I didn’t do any of that.

Instead, I made pork chops and rice in the slow cooker, and in another slow cooker is bread pudding with Dulce de Leche. (Winter still has a vice grip on my recipe book *and* the Northland, it would appear.)



I poked my head into the broom closet for whatever reason the other day and noticed a huge stash of plastic grocery bags stuffed into the back corner.

And thus a project was born.

I found directions for making Plarn (plastic yarn). File that under “Internet wormhole” because wow. Plarn construction involves a whole damn bunch of folding and cutting plastic grocery bags from Stuff-Mart. I have broken blisters on my fingers from cutting plastic bags into strips.

You gotta know that I take crochet a little too seriously when my hands bleed for the craft.

Once I have everything cut, then I loop the strips together to form a long rope and roll it up like yarn. It isn’t difficult, but it is tedious. And is taking far longer than I expected.

My plan is to make “beach bags” or **GASP** “grocery bags” that can be used over and over. The great thing about Plarn is that the beach/grocery bag can be thrown in the washer (with something like towels) and hung to dry. Recycle the recycling.

Anyway. That is my most recent crochet project.


Playlist: It is a compilation kind of day

A Hundred Miles or More: A Collection (Alison Krauss and various artists)

Anchored in Love: A Tribute to June Carter Cash (various artists)