May 30: Awesome thing #234

clockSometimes I have to post the day’s awesome thing from 1000 Awesome Things to my blog. Today’s:

#234 3:00am conversations with your best friend

I love where I am in life right now, but there are moments in my past I look back on so fondly that I almost wish I could experience them again. Most of the 3:00am conversations I’ve had happened in college. This was one of the best things about living in the dorm. Not all things about attending WWU were great, but parts were. The campus is small and felt very safe in those days, so walking outside after dark or even in the middle of the night was no big deal; leaving the computer lab at midnight, I rarely felt the need for an escort.

But when I had one—male or female—it certainly made the walk back to the dorm more fun.

Of course, the male escorts were usually more fun, especially if the walk to the dorm took us near the library or that one classroom in the Ad building. (Note that when I say “male escorts” I in no way imply that there was a male escort service on campus, nor did I run one—a quite popular one, I might deny—from my dorm room. No. Those were just well-substantiated rumors for which I could never provide Jen’s Big Black Book of Escorts or financial statement proof for the years 1986-90.)

I’m not gonna lie (about this next part)—with the male escorts, there was a chance of gettin’ some goodnight action outside the dorm. There were all sorts of in-the-shadows private spots, which many of us much preferred to the brightly-lit dorm lobby known as Makeout Central. If the moral code police had been smart, they would have installed sweeping floodlights on the roofs of every building on campus. Dorothy Foreman would die all over again if she knew what happened outside the building named for her.

(Don’t read this next sentence, Mother Mary...)

Because how many of us girls got lucky after a walk back to the dorm way past curfew?

I remember one night in particular in my junior year, my boyfriend and I stood outside the dorm saying goodnight. It was super-late and we were delaying our goodbyes, talking, laughing, kissin’ a little, and generally just being silly. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see two heads up in my hallway window, but every time I looked up they would quickly disappear. My BF was being uncharacteristically sweet until I pointed out that we were being watched, and then it was pretty much shake-hands-thanks-for-a-nice-evening-Miss-Jen and he left. I gave the standard excuse at the late curfew check (Computer lab! I was in the computer lab! Big paper due tomorrow! Totally not outside getting kissed!). When I went up to my hall, Sonya (she of future sister-in-law fame) and Jenn P were giggling, “Oh, he was so cute with you, you guys were adorable together, blah blah blah…”

Pretty sure he never acted sweet to me in front of the dorm again, or anywhere. If I forget what a jackass he was the rest of the time, that night is a lovely memory. I only have two with that guy, so I almost cherish it.

Eye rolling smile

On April’s first date with Jim, they parked in front of the dorm and talked for hours into the night. April said Jim’s car was a total shitbox, so she cleaned it out for him. We were all YOU CLEANED OUT HIS CAR ON YOUR DATE? Romantic. Also, I’m not sure “cleaning his car” was all that much of an accomplishment because she left a huge pile of trash in the gutter next to the car. That litter pile got smaller over the next week or two, and we laughed every time we saw it because it was still so big even after it started blowing away. Yeah, this happened in those days long before Jim started taking care of his vehicles and we all adopted proper trash disposal habits.

It was during winter quarter my sophomore year that it started snowing late one night and my roommate, Marilee, and I just had to get out in it. I don’t know why the dean let us out that late; maybe we snuck out. We called Victor (he of future husband fame, though that thought woulda made me laugh LOUDLY at the time) and he met us outside. The three of us walked down the middle of College Avenue, huge snowflakes falling all around us. Our world was peaceful but-cept for our glee, which was joyfully noisy. This is another of my happier memories of college, of dorm life, of living with friends, of not getting enough sleep, of that small college town.

There were oh-so-many 3am talks inside the dorm, too, and they took place in our rooms, hallways or parlors. The WWU site’s dorm tour currently describes our hall parlors like this:

Each floor of the dorm has at least one lobby that any woman can use. Women can be found studying, relaxing and worshipping together in the dorm lobbies.

HA! Oh sure, we studied in the parlors. We also had cartwheel contests, marathon prank call jams, parties for no reason, and many, many bitch sessions. The only “worshipping together” was under slight duress, when the RA would call us together for a hall meeting. The way WWU tells it, we read our Bibles together as often as all that other stuff. Good one!

The 3am talks were something I missed tremendously after graduation, and they are very rare occurrences in my life now. There are occasionally late chats in my neighborhood; we might gather with our neighbors outside on weekend nights, or I sometimes deliver PTO things to Heather or Sunshine (after we’ve texted to make sure we’re all still awake)—those kinds of meetings have a slight resemblance to the long-ago college days. Less kissing, maybe. Maybe.

Life like it was in college is happily in my past. But, oh, those long dorm nights with friends were very fun times for this girl. Awesome, in fact.


May 29: The weekend

This is the first morning of the last six that I have not awakened with a pounding headache. It’s good to feel normal again.

Yesterday Val and I saw Bridesmaids. I’m pretty sure we were the only people on Earth who hadn’t already seen it. It was as hilarious as I had heard, but there were a few surprising parts that were total bummers—like, suddenly my laughter tears were super-duper-sad tears. Overall, though: sooo funny. I LOVED when Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig sang along to Wilson Phillips at the end—priceless!

I stopped at Albertsons on the way home and they were selling half-racks of grilled and sauced-up ribs. The smell was irresistible, so I picked up a couple for dinner. The kids loved them, but Vic and I were kinda RIBS ON SALE OUTSIDE THE GROCERY STORE FOR $5 TASTE LIKE RIBS ON SALE OUTSIDE THE GROCERY STORE FOR $5. Disappointing? Yes. We need to find a good ribs restaurant. Of course, we say that whenever we have so-so ribs and then promptly forget about it, but if you can recommend a place for good ribs in the area, please do. And don’t say “Applebees.”

Vic took the kids and their BFFs to the aquatic park for most of the day yesterday. They left at noon and didn’t get home til 6:30. Since Katie and Jack have been at the aquatic park most often for swimming lessons, they had so much fun at open swim—the slides were open, they could go in any of the pools (there are five), and no one was making them swim properly. They were exhausted last night, but in the best way. Happy, happy kids.

Sunshine took off the other day for a last-minute trip to Arizona to visit girlfriends. Normally I would be really happy for her, but the night before she left I had a dream that she didn’t come back. Every fun picture and fun status update she’s put on fun Facebook all fun weekend is worrying me. Good thing the rest of her family is still here—she has to come back for them, right? Kim F’n-W has promised her access to spike strips will come in handy SHOULD THE NEED ARISE. And no, Chris B, we don’t care that you just got all new tires. We’ll do what we have to to keep our Sunshine Girl where she belongs.

This afternoon we’re going over to Vic’s parents’ house for a Memorial Day barbecue. I predict Darlene will have purchased two steaks for each of us (she frequently forgets we are not the teenage boys she had in the house 25 years ago), but, as always, everything she has prepared will be delicious.

The end.


May 22: Daybook

I think the Daybook is supposed to be a Monday thing. Meh.


Outside my window... there are things happening about which I’m not complaining... much. We had a beautiful few days of weather, and today we had some rain showers. ‘Tis okay, as long as the sun promises to return. Our yard came alive with new blooms last week, but it’s still got a long way to go. Come back, sunbeams in the yard!

This weekend, I… worked on getting my office better organized. Somehow, even with all my screaming and griping and cursing, it’s still the room where everyone dumps stuff, and it gets super-messy super-fast. Grrr. One huge task I actually completed was organizing all my PTO stuff into a file box. As co-prez, I sense I’ll be a bigger PTO nerd than ever before, so organizing that stuff is high priority.

This weekend, we did some family things: on Friday night we played poker—well, Katie watched the Disney channel while the rest of us played poker. Jack had a bad night, and he was really bummed. In our last hand, I went all in, even though I didn’t have anything, and so did Vic. Jack won the hand, and he was the happiest little guy EVER. It was so cute, I didn’t even bother explaining side pots and all that; we just let him have everything. We acted all angry that he beat us and were all FINE, THEN YOU CAN CLEAN UP THE CARDS AND CHIPS. Sneaky, huh?

Winking smile

Today we went to the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie. We all really liked it. There were several fun action sequences that got me a little sweaty-palmed, and overall the movie was better than I expected it to be. We give it eight thumbs up.

All the talk about pirate movies this weekend reminded me of how Jack used to be obsessed with Pirates of the Caribbean. He was five years old, I think, when he “read” the DVD cover and said, “See, it says ‘Pirates. Of. The. Carrot. Bean.’”

Also, this weekend we… were not raptured. Huge surprise.

I am thinking... that I am NOT ready for school to be out. There are only 12 school days left. I haven’t even begun to plan the kids’ summer activities and I just know they’re gonna be bugging me every day: I’M BORED! I’M HOT! I WANT TO EAT! So demanding, those kids.

I am thankful for... my friends and how they make me chuckle. Today April texted me when we were at the mall and said “Does your friend Val have a green and white lightweight jacket? We’re at Nordstrom and see someone who looks like her in your pics on Facebook.” I texted Val to ask if she was at Nordstrom and freaked her out a little. She said that yes, she was shopping, and I said my friend April saw her and I think that freaked her out a little more because she doesn’t know April. Unfortunately, April was on a very short shopping trip, so we didn’t get to meet up. We stalked Val to Jamba Juice though.

I have to say that the first time I remember ever seeing Val, I immediately knew who she was because I recognized her from Sunshine’s Facebook photos. April’s really not creepy, Val, I promise!

I am creating... piles of things to take to Goodwill. It’s such a good feeling to fill up the trunk with donations, or better yet, the back of the van. I went through kitchen cupboards and filled up the empty boxes our new dishes came in, so I’m getting rid of as much stuff as I added. Yay me!

One of my favorite things… is when Justin Timberlake hosts Saturday Night Live, like he did last night. He’s right up there with Alec Baldwin as BEST HOST EVER, at least in my mind. Every episode he’s in is so, so funny. LOVE. Watch it here if you want.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Work, a party, a trip or four to Goodwill, hopefully a date with my girls.

Here is a picture I gotta show you: This is the Google street view of my mom’s house. At first, I thought it was probably from before my mom lived there, but then I recognized Erin’s car in the driveway and Erin’s husband and Erin’s dog. I guess if we know the date Erin and Kevin visited Mom, we can pretty well pinpoint when the Google camera came down her street.


I’m so disappointed; there’s nothing exciting on the Google street view of our house. It’s obviously autumn, and this was done before we tore down our front porch rail and re-landscaped our yard. Booooring. Pouty/yawn-y face.


Want to blog your own Daybook? Here’s the info: The Simple Woman’s Daybook.

May 21: Bravery from Katie’s point of view

One of Katie’s writing assignments this week was to tell about the bravest person she knows. What she wrote says so much about the sensitive girl she is, not to mention the person her father is. I am so lucky to have these two people in my life.



I think my dad is the bravest person I’ve ever met because even though he cried, he was strong when Scout was put to sleep. He’s not afraid to be himself or a little crazy. He saved my brother in the street at night when there was a car and dad got hurt. My dad is the husband of a cancer survivor. My dad is not a very good dancer, but he’s a doctor, so he helps when something hurts. I’d say he’s also very brave because his family had about 15 pets and some were Great Danes, German Shepards (my favorite!), and many more. Even if they died, he still cried. And when we went to a funeral, the person’s body was there and he looked at it.

Yeah, so she thinks her dad’s a doctor. That part’s kinda cute. But did you notice that almost every word was spelled correctly, and the whole thing was very smartly punctuated? That be my girl.


May 19: Mean people suck

I need something to take my mind off the people who are mean for no reason except to be big fat meanies oh my buddha I hate them so much I get all stabby and twitchy-eyed and I just know my day is about to become a Lifetime movie because I’ve got a lighter and a lot of flammable liquids in my pantry.

That image is of someone yelling, sure, but it doesn’t even come close to how I feel. I feel more like this…

…y’know, crazy enough over this that it shows. (Except I don’t have a porn ‘stache.)

I know I shouldn’t let these meanie jackholes get to me, but I’m human and I can’t help it. I just don’t understand how people go through their lives leaving a path of destructive hurt and cruelty behind them. My guess is that some don’t even know they do it because it comes so naturally to them, and I think that’s super-sad. I also think/hope that karma will get them in the end. Unfortunately, karma doesn’t always follow my timing demands.

I’m not completely self-deluded; I can be mean. I can. I just usually need a good reason for it. Oh, who am I kidding? Sometimes totally innocent people are on the receiving end of my grouchiness. I apologize when I’ve done something wrong or insensitive or mean. though—but only if I truly feel it. In in the end, I hope everyone gets what they deserve. I like that you-get-what-you-give thing. But mostly, I try not to go out of my way to be a meanie.

I don’t like being lied to, especially when it’s done in a two-faced way. Can I trust you or can’t I? Just wondering that makes me think I probably shouldn’t trust you. And when these liars are people I associate with regularly, that makes trust a constant battle.

I also don’t like having someone pissed at me when I have no idea what I did to deserve it. If they think I should know why they’re pissed, then I feel like an idiot and wonder if I’m just as clueless as they are and then I start hating myself and questioning every behavior and personality trait I can identify and then I feel like I need one of these things:

Or this might be more appropriate:

The problem is that when I’ve presented my case to an unbiased ear, if that ear completely takes my side and blames everything on the meanies, I question the validity of that too. I mean, when my friends support me and say mean things about the mean people, I appreciate it but I know they’re doing it because they love me. But someone I PAY to listen to me? They don’t have to be biased. They have to be honest, right? And when they say, “those people are jackholes,” then I tend to think maybe things are more like I see them than I thought. Maybe I’m not so far off when I say some people are mean for no reason.

Then I wish I was this:

Ultimately, because all of this uncertainty and self-doubt magnifies the tiniest issue, it makes me hate being a girl at times.

But back to my venting…


…please ‘scuse me while I get some of this frustration and anger OUT of me:




And to try to change it around, today I’ll work on remembering this:

"Holding on to anger and resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die."

And this is a good one too:

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.


May 15: All the busy-ness

I’m more than a little bit surprised that I made it through this week in one piece. It got pretty crazy there for a while, with work and PTO thangs and fundraiser parties, oh my. Yesterday I spent most of the day relaxing and recuperating. I was so glad not to have a deadline for an entire day.

The weather was nice, so I decided to wash the winter filth off my car. Only in Oregon does a person need to clean MOSS off their car—I scrubbed with a toothbrush forEVER to get that gunk off. Sheesh. My Jetta is a happy car now, moss-free and ready to face spring.

I came up with a semi-brilliant idea to get my kids to de-clutter their rooms a little bit at a time. Today I handed them each a grocery bag and said I’d give them a dollar if they’d fill it with stuff they no longer wanted. The rules were that I had to okay each item—no giving away family heirlooms or beloved items belonging to a sibling—and the bag had to be overflowing. Jack was done in five minutes; Katie took close to an hour. Now if I can get them to do that AT LEAST once a week, preferably more often, then we can lower our home’s junk level considerably. I did the same thing in my room, by the way. ‘Twas good.

I broke a candleholder yesterday so I got the super glue out today to repair it. I was careful not to stick my fingers together, but I still got lots of it on my fingers and it’s driving me crazy. You really have to file that stuff off your skin, dontcha? Geez.

For the past few weeks I’ve been hearing about Pinterest from Sherilee and some blogs I follow, and I think I’ve finally figgered it out. Imagine having a bulletin board with photos of stuff you like pinned all over it. Maybe you have a bunch of bulletin boards, each with a theme. Anywhere you go on the Internet, if you find something you like, you can “pin” it to one of your boards. Other people can re-pin your photos, they can comment on your pinned items, and you can follow other people’s boards to see what kinds of pin-worthy things they find. It’s cool to look at your boards after you’ve pinned a few things—they’re like little collections of parts of YOU. I like it very much. I made a board with photos of the plants and flowers we have in our yard; it may not be of much interest to anyone else, but I love seeing everything together like that. Pinterest is a whole big ton of fun!

You know two colors I’ve decided I do not like together? Grey and yellow. There’s a LOT of grey and yellow pinned on Pinterest boards, and it’s supposedly the new hot color combo, but I THINK IT IS HORRIBLE. I know, I’m probably the only person in the whole world who thinks this—it would seem so, anyway—but UGH.

Thursday evening I had a Relay for Life fundraiser at my house—a Miche Bag party. I think it went well, but I don’t have final numbers yet because my party is still open. This means, of course, that if you wanted to order something but didn’t make it to the party, it’s not too late. Let me know soon, though, ok? These are the classic shells I got, BTW:

Thirty percent of the total party sales will be donated to our team. I’m grateful to all of you who bought bags and helped us raise more money to kick cancer’s ass! And to my mom, who purchased the base bag and Madelynn shell for me, THANK YOU!

Open-mouthed smile

I got a new iPhone game that’s fun and addictive, at least for the short term: Doodle Fill. It’s free.

One of the goodies I prepared for the fundraiser party was a last-minute decision based on something I saw on Pinterest. I made rainbow fruit skewers, served with a simple but yummy dip made of strawberry yogurt and Cool Whip.


Here are my thoughts:

  • I used canned mandarin oranges for the orange color and they were less than ideal. I did it for time’s sake, but were I to do these again, I would either use fresh oranges/tangerines/clementines/whatever or cantaloupe. Canned mandarin oranges aren’t firm enough for skewers.
  • These really need bigger cubes of pineapple. Next time.
  • What is the flippin’ deal with kiwi fruit, anyway? They’re a pain in the ass to peel, and when you finally get all that whiskery skin off, they’re totally slimy and slippery. And they taste like grass! They may look pretty, but I think green grapes or honeydew would work just as well and taste a lot better. The kiwi is pretty, I’ll give it that.
  • Bigger, fatter blueberries: required.
  • The raspberries were perfect (though expensive) but watermelon or strawberries would also work. I wouldn’t do watermelon if I’ve used cantaloupe and honeydew—too melon-y!

I froze all the leftover fruit and dip and blended it up into a delicious smoothie the next morning. Nummers.

BTW, the plates in the photo above? New. We were long overdue to replace our old, scratched up dishes and when I saw these at Pier 1 I just couldn’t resist. Here’s a better photo of the set:


The weather has improved a bit lately, and even on the rainy days the temps are higher than they’ve been for a long while. Victor and I have been taking walks in the evenings; it’s lovely to be outside and enjoy springtime in Clackamas. We’ve tried to walk a mile or so every night. If we go without a dog or kid, it’s easy and even though it’s not all that leisurely, we still have a good time hangin’.

We’ve gone through scrapbooks and photo albums a lot in the past couple weeks as we reminisce about our sweet Scout. I ran across this photo and I just have to share it. No, it has nothing to do with Scout and I don’t suddenly think my grandma’s the best thing ever, but she certainly does love Jack. This was taken in August 2006.

On Friday, my author friend Lisa Schroeder spent the day at our school. She gave three presentations to portions of the student body, and the teachers selected a handful of students from each class to join her for one-on-one time during lunch. She signed tons of books the kids had ordered, and we had a drawing for signed copies of the promotional posters. It was so cute seeing the kids around her—some were completely star struck and speechless, and others couldn’t shut up. I’ve heard really good comments about her visit. I hope we can do more author visits in the future—I think they’re very inspiring to the kids.

Friday night was our last family night at the school for the year. We did a game night and set up board games around the cafeteria and had kickball in the gym. The weather was gorgeous, and lots of kids spent the evening out on the playground. Popcorn, Italian sodas, candy, and rousing games of Scattergories? OH MY GOODNESS YES. It was such fun!

Speaking of school, Jack said there are only 17 school days left. How did that happen?

Another busy week ahead. Wish me luck.


May 9: Total misrepresentation

Katie is on the student newspaper staff this year. For the April issue, her assignment was to report on Rex Reader, an annual PTO-sponsored reading program. She thought it’d be a cinch because she’d interview the closest PTO officer (me) and be done with it. I find just a few problems with her reporting skills:

  1. I was not aware I was being interviewed that time she plopped down on the floor by my desk and asked me two questions about Rex Reader and giggled at the dog during my answers.
  2. In her very short article, she managed to make me sound like a complete moron.

See for yourself (I highlighted the “My mom is a dummy” paragraph for your pleasure):

Rex Reader

This is slander or libel or somethin’ sinister I saw on Law & Order once. Pretty sure.


May 8: Sunday things

mothertattooHappy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there, including mine. Pretty sure my mom’s better than all y’all’s, so… y’know… neeners.

I don’t have much to say. This week mostly sucked. I miss my Scout.

  • School stuff was fun. We did a bunch of Teacher Appreciation things all week. We tried a new thing called Send Your Teacher Packin’, which let kids/parents purchase $1 raffle tickets to enter their favorite teacher into a drawing for a weekend getaway. We weren’t sure how it’d go since we’d never done anything like that before, but it was a huge success—we sold over 500 tickets, so the winner is going to get a nice little trip! I love how everyone pulled together on this activity—it ended up being a great way to show how just a little bit of effort from a lot of people can make something nice happen for a deserving teacher.
  • We also ended our month-long reading program with a book giveaway. My favorite part of seeing all the kids come in to choose a free book was that it happened on Nerd Day of Spirit Week, and some of them were REALLY nerdy-lookin’. I think some kids had no idea how hilarious they were. There was even a first grader with Ed Grimley hair. It. Was. Awesome.
  • On Thursday this next week I’m hosting a fundraiser for my Relay for Life team. Have you heard of Miche bags? They’re purses with changeable covers (“shells”) and some of them are really cute. They’re not crazy-overpriced either. Instead of getting hostess credit for having the party, the consultant will write a check to our team for 30% of the total sales. If you’re interested in ordering, let me know. If you can actually be at the party (whether you order or not), even better. Let me know!
  • I dropped my phone the other day and it made that terrible cracking sound that made me want to cry. Instead, I turned my tears into an iPhone 4. I know what you’re thinking: FINALLY! I know what you’re also thinking: she turned tears into a phone? She is MAGIC. It’s true. The best part is now that I have a 4 my friends will stop mocking me. (I have not very nice friends when it comes to phones.)
  • That should have been a good enough Mother’s Day gift, yes. But there was more: Vic is sending me to the Chelsea Handler show when she comes to Portland in June! Val and Cindi and I and I don’t know who else are going. I am totally gonna need a diaper for all the peeing of my pants I will undoubtedly be doing.
  • OK, speaking of excessive laughing, this made me laugh way too hard. It’s so stupid and so funny.

Busy week ahead. I need to get myself psyched up for it. Buh-bye.



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