Feb. 27: February summary

februaryIt’s been forever since I’ve done a month recap, but the timing seems right.

Special days I celebrated this month and how:

Well, there was Katie’s birthday (recapped here—dinner at Grandpa & Grandma’s, sleepover with friend, manicures and shopping) and Valentine’s Day (recapped here and here—most celebratory thing was B&tB). Our 15th anniversary was last week. Victor took the day off and we had breakfast together at Carver Caféin spite of Twilight, not because of it. We’re going to celebrate bigger than breakfast soon, hopefully getting out of town for a couple nights. To the coast? Seattle? The mountains? We have no idea yet.

Gifts I gave and/or received this month:

For Katie’s birthday, she got shoes and her party.

Vic and the kids gave me flowers for Valentine’s Day.

They don’t really counts as gifts, but we won two of the raffle baskets at our school carnival Saturday night—Oregon Ducks and Dental Care (possibly provided by this dentist, but I’m confirming nothing). Right now there is an awful lot of yell-o and green in our house, but it’s certainly not on our teeth—they’re clean as can be!

And lookie here, I gotta rant for ya:

yellWe heard rumors that some people were suspicious that a PTO board member won a basket. I wasn’t the only PTO winner—Sharon, Wendy, and Adam’s families won baskets too. We planned the drawings carefully to show that PTO had no advantage, so if someone still thought we were cheater-cheater-pumpkin-eaters, they’re just jerks. People also might not have considered that we on the PTO bought hundreds of raffle tickets, so, y’know, odds were in the favor of everyone who did that. Duh.

And then there were people like Dina, conspiracy theorist extraordinaire, who tried to convince everyone around her of a vast and devious PTO cover-up. Nice try, Dina! Good thing no one ever listens to you.

Also, Jenn K’s family won the Disneyland passes. I call shenanigans on that one, but only because I’m sooo jealous.

Books I read this month:

The Red Garden, by Alice Hoffman. Out of Oz, by Gregory Maguire. It’s supposedly the final of the Wicked series. I’m halfway through and still waiting for it to get interesting. The other night I bought a new Chris Bohjalian book that I might just dump Out of Oz to start reading.

Movies and TV shows worth mentioning:

No movies, really. I am LOVING Downton Abbey, and watching Season 2 as slowly as I can because I know I’ll go through withdrawals until Season 3 begins later this year. I’m balancing it with silliness like Suburgatory and fun like Smash, along with the other sitcoms I’ve watched for years. Toss in a little Grimm and SVU and I’m good.

hasselback-potatoNew recipes or restaurants I tried:

On Facebook last weekend, I posted a picture of a new potato recipe I was attempting: Hasselback Potatoes (or, as I prefer, Hasselhoff Taters). They were pretty good, but I want to work on variations to make them special-er. But ultimately, they’re potatoes, so how can they be bad?

Special or unusual purchases I made:

It’s not every month I buy 48 whoopee cushions... Yes, stocking the carnival prize room was some very fun shopping for Jen.

This month’s disappointments:

I hate Express Scripts (mail order prescription service) so much I wish I could shoot surly bumblebees ass-first at them through the phone. Besides being complete morons, they have the most archaic system EVER. Dealing with them is so painful EVERY TIME. Effers.

Also disappointing is that we didn’t win that Disneyland basket Saturday night. I curse the kid who drew Jenn K’s family as the winner! (Not really. It was a totally nice kid.)

My accomplishments:

Well, planning our school carnival wasn’t my doing alone, but it feels good that I helped make it happen, and that it’s over and people enjoyed themselves.

Met some deadlines at work, blah blah blah…

Facilitated one of our best PTO member meetings yet—we spent $10,000! It was exciting to see how much good our little group can do.

Anything else noteworthy:

Crocuses are blooming! Daffodils and tulips are sprouting! That means spring is on its way! Just ignore that weird ice/snow that was on the ground this morning! It means nothing! Winter, be gone witcha!

That’s all I got.


Feb. 16: IDCEAYWTPFriday, Entertainment Edition

Edited to add 2/16 8:45pmSo, was anyone planning to point out that it is not actually Friday? It feels like Friday to me—the kids are out of school tomorrow and it seems totally believable that I’ve already done five days this week. Gah.

Rather than un-post this, I’m leaving it up because it’ll be Friday in a few hours. That I’m leaving it uncorrected oughta clear up any concerns that I might be a psychotic perfectionist who would lose sleep over a teeny-tiny error like getting the day of the week wrong. I will very likely get up during the night and fix it, though, in which case you won’t even be reading this tomorrow or tonight or ever.

ponchHere we go again with I Don’t Care Enough About You to Write in Transitioning Paragraphs Friday, with one small difference: my paragraphs have transitions (kinda). This post actually has a bit of a theme.

  • On Valentine’s Day we celebrated as a family by seeing Disney’s Beauty & the Beast, part of the Broadway in Portland series. (Lest you think we are so conscientious to plan our outing to happen specifically on that day, know this: all our season tickets are for Tuesday shows—in other words, there was no planning whatsoever.) Vic and I had seen B&tB twice before and really loved it, but this was Katie and Jack’s first time—unless you count the Clackamas High School performance a few years ago, and I don’t think you should because that sucked bad.
  • There were some differences compared to the performances we saw before, and one of them was that they took out the “No Matter What” song, which I love. Belle’s father was a young guy in a bad old guy costume. Cogsworth looked like George Costanza. There were a lot of minor differences like that, and what seemed like a little ad-libbing—I soooo did not approve of the character breaking. It works in some shows, but not this one. Generally, though, we really did enjoy ourselves. The tavern number was as fabulous as always. The transformation was the best one I’d seen. The music of B&tB is so good, and I cried in three different parts, which I almost NEVER do.
  • I don’t want to turn into one of those asshole theater critics who has zero right to critique. I mean, I know that high school productions should not be compared to Broadway productions. And the Broadway shows I see are touring productions, which are often scaled down from the original show. I’ve never even been to a Broadway show on Broadway—I’m just being a big fat jerk when I complain that Shrek The Musical was crap.
  • But, to be fair, Shrek the Musical was crap.
  • Next up: Wicked at the end of March. If they fark with that show, I’ll stand up and scream. I’ll stand up, in my cheap seats, with my purse full of bottled water and snacks for the family, and complain loudly. Don’t test me, touring cast of Wicked. I will do it.
  • Sometimes people you know are heroes and sometimes they get to be on TV because they did their job, which is being a hero. I’m an idiot and can’t embed the video, so watch it here, because OMG, you gotta check out the firedude at 1:29—he belongs to my girl Val! I think it’s awesome that he actually got to do something fire-related, since he seems to get called a lot by people who are freaking out over blood on their toothbrush.
  • This isn’t quite as exciting as Chris Fukai being the studliest stud this side of Studville, but it’s new music from Train and that’s not bad:
  • Here are some hilarious photos you have to see.
  • Pinterest silliness:


  • My favorite line from Modern Family last night, when they talked about Mitchell’s sister donating eggs for their surrogate mother and he started feeling weird about it:
    Mitchell: “What do I say to the baby? ‘Say hi to your Aunt Mommy.’”
    Cam: “Adorable.”
    Mitchell: “No, NOT adorable. Appalachian.”
  • Now I can judge the level of busy-ness of my week by how much I have to watch on Hulu—right now, I’m about three days behind the original air dates of “my” shows. I only caught Modern Family today because I was trying to kill time between two long phone calls. If I suddenly got sick and had to stay in bed all weekend, I think I’d be kinda happy.

Have a good weekend!


Feb. 14: The scent of Valentine’s Day

smellWe have a cabinet in our entry that has several cubbyholes with doors. When we first got it, the kids were assigned two of the cubbyholes each; Victor and I got the other two. The top of the unit is primarily a mail collection space for us. For the kids, the cubbies are where they throw everything they’ve been told to take to their rooms. Pisses me right off.

But, y’know, whatever. I occasionally open up all six of the cubbies and clean them out. I’m always surprised at how much trash is in the kids’. I mean, in our cubbies, Victor and I store gloves, chargers, spare keys, sunglasses, change… that sort of thing. When I open the kids’ there are two or three items of value and the rest is candy wrappers and permission slips and Chuck E. Cheese tokens until the doors barely stay closed on their own.

Besides mail, I keep my purse on top of this cabinet, as well as folders containing work and school stuff. In other words, I spend a fair amount of time standing at the cabinet looking at things. For the past couple days I noticed a stench, a body odor kind of stench, when I stood there. I smelled myself, my clothes, my purse… it wasn’t me. Later when I noticed it again I thought maybe it was a chemical on a new reusable shopping bag I had set next to my purse. It seemed to be slightly worse when I stuck my nose near the bag.

But that wasn’t it. And instead of investigating further (and giving myself a scent-triggered headache), I grabbed the things I needed and went to the table to read them. Since I was the only one who’d said anything about the stinkiness, I thought it entirely possible that it was my imagination or at the very least, my extra-sensitive nose.

I heard Jack rummaging around after he got home from school today, and then the cubby door slammed and he came running to me with a valentine. He stood proudly while I opened it—so sweet, that boy. But it was hard for me to show my appreciation because OMG, the valentine reeked. It was fierce. I smelled the card and, sure enough, the stench was definitely coming off it. There were stink lines and everything! (I might have imagined that part.)

I asked Jack, “Was this in your cubby?”


“Do you have something smelly in there?”


“Please check.”

Jack ran around the corner and I heard him open both his cubby doors. They banged around a little and then he slammed them shut. He came back to me.

I asked him, “So, did you find anything rotten?”


“Seriously? Then where the heck is that stink coming from?”

“I had a shoe in there, but I don’t think it was that.”

“Are you sure?”


“And was it just ONE shoe?”

“I lost the other one.”

“But you kept the extra? You kept the shoe you’d lost the mate to?”

“It doesn’t fit me anymore.”

(That’s me, shaking my head and trying to decide which line of questioning to follow.)

“And you tossed the lonely shoe in your cubby where it’s been ripening for Buddha knows how long?”


Jack started to smile. I’d like to think it was because he realized how silly that was, keeping an outgrown and very smelly single shoe. But I know the truth—his smile was at the thought of being responsible for the stench-tasticness of my Valentine and everything else within ten feet of his cubby.

When Vic got home this afternoon, he pet Lucy and said, “Ugh, there’s nothing worse than the smell of wet dog.”

Yup. Just wait until he gets his valentine from The Boy.


Feb. 13: Currently

Here’s what’s up.


… to utterly danceable Whitney Houston radio on Pandora. Whitney’s music was a favorite of mine through high school and a little bit beyond, and it’s sad that she’s gone. Listening to the really old stuff (her first two albums) brings back memories of unrequited love/lust, the long drive between here and Walla Walla, and late nights in the dorm.

(I like NOT to think about the constant play of “I Will Always Love You” after The Bodyguard came out. I loved the song and I loved the movie, but the hype was really much too much for even the hardcore-est of fans.)


… a quesadilla. Thank goodness all Katie’s birthday cake is finally gone, or I’d be shoving it in my face for the billionth time since Thursday.


… water with MiO.

Wow, this is boring.


… a hoodie, yoga pants, and slippers. Have I told you about my favorite slippers I got for Christmas? They’re warm and cozy, and sturdy enough for walks out to the mailbox.

Complete truth: they’re a little too warm sometimes. Also, I occasionally wear them to places other than the mailbox. Like, to school. It’s never intentional, really. I wouldn’t ever intentionally wear my slippers in public.

Complete complete truth: OK, sometimes it’s intentional. They’re very comfy slippers.


… better after three days of antibiotics. I have another sinus infection, apparently. Everyone else in the house has had the same thing now, but I’m the only one who got sick enough for antibiotics. Lucky, lucky me.

… proud of my girl. Katie turned 12 last week. She’s a sweetheart and we adore her, of course. Here’s Katie at our family get-together:

A little embarrassed at the attention

Telling Jack to “stop singing like that”

More embarrassment

A bit of boredom (it’s a long song!)

Thinking up a good wish


Got ‘em all in one breath!

“No, Jack, you can’t lick all the candles!”

Her response to “what did you wish for?”
(Gah. How is she already 12 years old?)



… is grey and a little dreary, but not too cold. It’s suddenly feeling like the transition between winter and spring, which is JUST FINE with me.


… a nap, of course. I’m always wanting a nap. In the book I’m reading, Glinda calls her nap “a little lie-down with the shades drawn,” and I think that sounds so much nicer than “I’m lazy as hell and so very tired of thinking about all the crap I need to do.”


… to get out the door and run errands. I started at least three projects this weekend that are begging for completion, and I have a meeting tonight and deadlines tomorrow.


… that pretty soon everything in our backyard will be inside our house. Lucy has access to the entire yard now, and every few minutes brings in a new discovery—so far it’s mostly been tree branches and stalks of bamboo, but there have been some surprises too, like a long-forgotten popped rubber ball, dirty plant pots, and rocks OMG the rocks.


… some calm before the chaos of the week takes over later today. Ah, peace.

I hope you find some peace this week too.


Feb. 8: Plaid pancakes

chefI’m no food blogger, but I want to share a recipe I made up in my head. The last time I made waffles was not what anyone would call a success, but this attempt had a much better outcome. Don’t you love when your cooking WORKS? Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures at each step because then you would have seen my messy kitchen and that would have made you sad.

I gave my recipe a fancy name to go with the fanciness of its fancy fanciness:

gaufres au chocolat


  • pancake mix
  • water, cold
  • vegetable oil (or canola oil or safflower oil or whatever kind of oil you want, I don’t care)
  • Dutch baking cocoa
  • confectioner’s sugar
  • love

Have handy:

  • Band-Aids
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Cereal


  1. Follow the recipe on the box for waffles and then throw in a little cocoa and about twice as much powdered sugar.
  2. Forget the love. With that much powdered sugar you don’t need love.
  3. Mix it all really well even though the box says it should be lumpy. The box is an asshole. If you leave it lumpy then there will be little white spots in your waffles and your kids will ask what the white spots are and when you tell them it’s just little nuggets of pancake mix they will not think that’s OK and they will put the waffles down and refuse to eat any more and then you’ll say FINE I WANTED THEM ALL ANYWAY YOU INGRATES and they will cry. Your kids are weeeeners.
  4. Since you don’t have any cooking spray, make a half-assed attempt at spreading oil on the waffle iron. (Oh, I forgot to mention that you’ll need a waffle iron for this recipe. If you’re lucky, you didn’t ruin it the last time you made waffles.) It is really hard to spread oil on a waffle iron, BTW. You should get some cooking spray.
  5. Pour the waffle batter on the waffle iron and close the lid. Hope for the best.
  6. Watch Super Bowl pre-game stuff until you smell waffles burning.
  7. Peel the waffles off the waffle iron with a spatula, which is only slightly effective. Burn your fingers repeatedly. Curse. Throw waffle on a plate and shove it at your kids because you blame them for all that’s wrong with the world. Well, your burnt fingers, anyway.
  8. Repeat steps 5-7 until the batter’s all gone. It takes forever. Ugh. Whose idea was this?

The good thing is that, even after all that work, your gaufres au chocolat turn out beautifully:

gaufres au chocolatBest enjoyed if you are temporarily blinded by the smoke of your kitchen’s flames.

Remember, it’s never too early to start drinking. So says Chef Jen.


Feb. 7: Be a Hoe!

relayforlifeGet ready to start hearing about Relay for Life!

The kickoff meeting was a couple weeks ago, and as of today we have about 150 days to raise a kajillion dollars to fight cancer. Remember, if you don’t participate in Relay, or at least donate to ACS, that means you LIKE cancer. I mean, we’ll assume that you do...

We’re The Hoe-Downs again this year because it’s such an awesome name (thank you, Fancy Lori™) and we don’t want to change it. Last year’s theme was something about a rodeo. This year the theme is “Cruisin’ for a Cure” and is kind of a fifties thing. I think. The event chair was dressed like Lucille Ball, but it’s possibly she dresses like that every day.

Last year we were the fundraising-est team of all, thanks to Tony. But this year Tony is on a different team, so we abandoned (boohoo!) Hoe-Downs need to work our arses off if we expect to get another award like this one:

Hoe-Downs certificate 001

(Actually, if you look not even very closely, you’ll see that this certificate says that we participated, not that we raised money. But if you don’t look not even very closely, it looks like we won a prize.)

I’m asking y’all for one of three things:

  1. Be a Hoe. Join our team! I think the system closes us off at 15 members, so we’ll probably need two or three teams. Fancy Lori, pretty please think up some more good team names!
  2. Create your own team. It’s OK with me. More cancer fighters = more ass-kicking, and that’s good. If you’re a family as big as the F’n Wicks, you’ll have to create two or three teams just to get all of youse in! Winking smile
  3. Donate to American Cancer Society—donate in my name, to our team in general, or whatever you choose; it’s up to you. Ultimately, it all ends up in the hands of ACS.

The North Clackamas Relay for Life 2012 is July 7 and 8—get it on your calendar. Even if you can’t be part of a team, you can still visit! We’ll be there for 24+ hours starting at 10am-ish Saturday. The event is all-around great fun for a life-saving cause!


Feb. 6: Daybook


Outside my window... the sun is shining and it’s gorgeous. It was like this all weekend too. I think it was just last week I was saying how dreary it was, but WOW, the gleaming outdoors right now sure makes up for that. It looks like spring outside. Still feels like winter, but looks like spring. This makes for some very happy Portlanders.

This weekend, I… went to Seattle (more on that below) and watched three more episodes of Downton Abbey, on which I’m currently hooked—note to Mother Mary, YOU WILL LOVE THIS SHOW. We also got a LOT done around the house… cleaned the outside of all the kitchen cabinets and doors… swept and vacuumed… hung pictures in the living room… cleared off the dining room table (our catch-all spot)… organized PTO papers… bagged up donation stuff… did the laundry that piles up and never gets done unless my mom visits… so much work! I was a 409-wielding housewife, yessirree.

I am thinking... that if I can keep this momentum going, I might actually get a lot done during the week too.

I am thankful for... the love and support of very dear friends. Victor and I went to Camille’s memorial service on Saturday. It was a heartbreaker, for sure. She was loved by so many, and this is a loss keenly felt by her adoring family and dear friends. As people talked about Camille’s artistic ways and sensitive nature, I was reminded of so many times I was on the receiving end of her talents—she sketched my favorite picture of me and my dad from my wedding day, made me a set of beautiful sparkly earrings, and prepared many a fancy plate at our parties, to name just a few of her many gifts. She was CAMILLE. So special.

I am also thankful for… the pharmaceuticals that kept me from turning into a blubbering, wailing mess that day.

I am creating... a school carnival! Well, I’m having a lot of help. A LOT. We have our big-deal WinterFest coming up at the end of the month, and it’s unbelievable how much planning goes into it. WinterFest is the biggest event of the year, with games and food and fun and prizes and raffle baskets and much excitement. This year we got donations of some really amazing stuff to raffle that I think I’ve blathered on about already, but here we go again: four Disneyland park hopper passes, this year’s American Girl doll of the year, a Keurig machine, $300 of Stampin’ Up supplies, a $900 Electrolux vacuum cleaner, gift cards, and tons more. We be a thrilled PTO!

I am hearing... peace and quiet. I have a meeting at 1pm, but until then I’m catching up with emails and PTO stuff and enjoying a semi-leisurely morning—this starts once the kids have left for school and the dogs finally stop romping. Ahhh.

I am wondering… how I have a 12-year-old. Katie’s birthday is Thursday—seriously, how did this happen? I remember wondering WHAT WAS I THINKING like it was yesterday, yet it was ten days after she was born. She’s a pretty good kid; for that I credit the village that’s raising her, not so much me. But her height? Definitely a Saltmarsh thing. That girl is TALL. I know Sunrise, Sunset is a wedding song, but I think I could sing it to Katie just about every day. And she would smile and hug me sweetly and tell me to please stop singing right now.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Several meetings, a little work, a visit from Mother Mary, and Katie’s party on Friday night; she’s invited just one friend for bunches of fun, girly things. A mani/pedi for everyone? Yes please!

Here are a few things you should see because they are funny and I like funny:






Here’s to a week full of joy. You deserve it.


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

Feb. 3: Sad goodbye

Thanks, April, for letting me steal this photo without even asking. ;)

Here are two very pretty girls, who come from a large family in which everyone is undeniably beautiful and unbelievably nice. It’s true, almost sickeningly so. Smile

And, lucky me, this family has been a part of my life for almost 30 years. There on the right is April, who has been my classmate, roommate, bridesmaid, traveling companion, and all-around best friend. On the left is her sister Camille, whom I also considered a dear friend.

Sadly, Camille passed away last weekend.

Hearts everywhere have broken at this news. Camille was a thoughtful, generous, artistic person, and our world is noticeably less bright without her. Please keep the Knudsons, Santos, Jordans, Knapps, and Hogates in your thoughts as they endure tomorrow’s memorial service and, for the long term, life without their daughter, wife, mother, sister, and aunt. Camille was a blessing to us all, and she will be missed.

Red heart



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