Thursday, August 29, 2013

Storm warning

Starting Tuesday, a whole lot of work starts raining down on me, and the deluge doesn't stop until mid-December—at the earliest. I've gone through work hurricanes before, but this one has the potential to be a Category 5, so to speak, and I'm really feeling pressed to start boarding up windows and stockpiling nonperishables. So to speak.

But how do you prepare for something like this? Clean the bathrooms? Freeze a bunch of meals? Give the kids plenty of extra hugs and kisses? Probably none of those things would hurt. But I decided my top priority was to finally turn my second monitor into a standing work station and to finish the office redecoration I started a million years ago. After all, if I'm going to be living here for the next three to four months, I want it to be pleasant.

My dad had agreed to build me a platform for the extra monitor but had not gotten around to it yet. So I seized on a moment of weakness—he was grateful because we rescued him from car trouble twice in one day—and basically handed him all the pieces and stood there with him in his garage until he made it for me. I can't run a welder or a grinder or a metal cutter, but I'm great at bringing ice water and making conversation and moving stuff around, so I did what I could to help.

Once that was done (and done to perfection, naturally) I got some photos edited and printed and then filled a bunch of empty frames that had been stacked up in a corner. (M.H. was kind enough to hang them all for me, but only because he didn't trust me with a hammer, which is silly and yet sadly understandable.)

And now! It's so beautiful and pleasant in here that I am feeling strangely calm and capable in the face of the sequence of events that we can refer to as Typhoon Dopey, Hurricane Happy, and Tropical Storm Grumpy.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

This is how you know you have a keeper

I feel much better after a good night's sleep. I guess the clear conscience thing does help, after the righteous indignation has burned itself down a bit.

M.H. and I took an extra long walk last night, and he was still in full righteous indignation mode. He provided a beautifully argued monologue about why people should treat each other with decency and respect, and then laid out a brilliant case for how everything should have been handled by every party to avoid all the drama and illegal and immoral acts.

As we were approaching home, I was overwhelmed with appreciation and let out a deep, satisfied sigh. "This has been music to my ears," I said. "Tell me more things I agree with 100%."

Without the slightest pause, he turned to me and said, "You have wonderful taste in shoes."

Damn straight.

Monday, August 26, 2013

No good deed goes unpunished

I'm having a rough couple of days because of some crazy drama with—of all things—my kid's swim team. I really hate drama, but sometimes, even when you are keeping your head down and minding your own business, it finds you anyway.

I don't want to discuss the specifics of the drama here (nor do I want to discuss it in front of my kids, so don't ask me in front of them), but I will say that my son's swim coach, Lucy, once came to my aid when a jerkface tried to bully me out of the pool, and it's now my honor to try to return the favor.

Anyway, my part in all of this has been to send several polite yet insistent emails to various other human beings, which stresses me out to the point where I can't sleep. Which is stupid because I've examined my actions and words from every perspective I can think of, and my conscience is clear.

Any tips for standing up for what is right without collapsing under the emotional pressure?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Post-sleepover, end-of-summer introspection

I've been thinking that my wanting to return to the school-year routine is not a longing for routine so much as it is for a return to discipline. As a family, we were headed off the rails anyway with our diet and sleep and just general level of doing useful, productive things. But now, in the aftermath of Mik's Birthday Sleepover Celebration of Debauchery, we are completely off those rails and somewhere in the next state.

I mean, there are empty Sunkist cans all over my basement right now. Like, more of them than there are children in the house. (Of course, it's still better than last year.)

I've heard that September is the "new January," and to me it seems like an even better time to make all sorts of resolutions and New Life Plans. Instead of atoning for just a few weeks of terrible eating and general-throwing-of-every-good-intention-straight-out-the-window like you do on January 1, in September you've got to try to repair two to three months of it.

I know I need to chill and that a kid only turns 13 once (bye, childhood; sniff), but I'm just thankful that as a family of four, we have only four days per year when cake and ice cream are mandated by federal law. Actually just three, because I'm such a lawbreaking rebel, but if my birthday were at the end of summer instead of in early February, who knows what kind of heady, unrestrained craziness would happen?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Oregon Coast is TheBombDotMom

We were in Portland for my cousin's wedding this weekend, and I loved it all. Witnessing the beautiful ceremony and reception, visiting with my extended family, going to the zoo, hanging out downtown, chilling in our condo with a good book…and, okay, there were a few moments involving the rental car and the Garmin that I did not enjoy so much, but overall it was a fantastic trip. And this part was the guacamole on the taco salad:


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Summer hiking, Part IV: Crazy Creek Falls

This was maybe the most enjoyable trip yet, despite another distinct lack of hiking. But just look at the view from the top of the Beartooth Pass:

Now look at my clever son who made up a fun car game for the long drive. Rules: 1. Look straight out the front window through binoculars while someone else is driving on treacherous mountain roads. 2. Scream in hilarious terror. 

When we got to Crazy Creek, we nabbed a little campsite and then walked over to the falls, which are an amazing area less than 10 minutes off the road. The cascade was huge and cool, and there was no way to photograph the whole thing, but here are some pieces of it:


Before we left I posed the menfolk for their album cover:

We really weren't in the mood for a lot more hiking, and the prospect of a fire was calling our names, so we gathered up some driftwood, headed back to our campsite, and sat around all afternoon and into the night talking. It was awesome. And here is how Dex likes his s'mores: 

The plan was to stop on top of the mountain again in the dark on the way home and watch the Perseid meteor shower, but we were tragically foiled by clouds. Will have to try again someday. The end. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The joy of the 10-minute workout

Speaking of routines, I realized, too, that I've actually gotten a nice exercise rhythm going this summer, sort of by accident, simply by doing what I've felt like doing. I go to my favorite yoga classes on Friday and Sunday. I walk with M.H. just about every evening, or whenever we want a break from working. And on Tuesday and Thursday, when I haven't done anything hard for a few days but don't have a lot of time, I do a high-intensity 10-minute workout in my office.

At first I went looking online for these 10-minute-type workouts, but I realized that they're mostly all just a series of three or four exercises done over and over for the allotted time. So now I make them up, with occasional trips to the Internet for ideas, and it's a lot more fun. I just make sure I incorporate something for the upper body (like pushups), something for the lower body (lunges), something awkward (side plank leg raises), and something explosive (jumping jacks). There, I just wrote a new workout.* Creativity, but with an underlying structure.

* Except here's how I'd do it:
- One pushup
- Three side plank leg raises on the right side
- One pushup
- Three side plank leg raises on the left side
- Jump feet to hands and stand
- Five jumping jacks
- Ten forward lunges, alternating legs
- Jump feet back to plank position
- Repeat for 10 minutes

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Consider this a retraction

Not 24 hours after I posted my grievance about a lack of summertime routine, M.H. started pulling out laundry baskets and sorting clothes by color.

"I'm not sure how it happened," he remarked, "but laundry day seems to have slipped from Wednesday to Thursday."

"Um, oh," I replied. "You've been doing laundry every Thursday?"


Three-second pause for further reaction. "You probably shouldn't read my blog, then."

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The point at which I stopped embracing summer

If you know me, you know that by this point of summer I am DYING for a return to the daily routine. I mean, I get up anywhere between 5:30 and 10. I've been working anywhere between zero and 16 hours a day. The kids, with no remaining sports practices or obligations of any kind, have gone feral. No one ever knows when or if laundry is going to be done. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner have all become unscheduled. Sometimes the whole family is in bed by 9:30; sometimes we're all in the kitchen foraging for food at midnight because we forgot to go to bed. Or eat dinner. It is chaos.

I have been going with the flow ("the flow" being three other family members who kind of like chaos) as best I can, but I'm over it now. Excuse me while I go make some kind of chart on how to fix this.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Summer hiking, Part III: Does this even count?

We were back in the mountains this weekend, walking around with my parents, my sister, and her three kids. The actual hiking, however, was pretty limited by this little guy:

And probably also this little guy:

Although I think this one might have been able to handle some hiking:

It was fun anyway. We walked around a teeny, tiny lake and then did a teeny, tiny walk up to a waterfall and then found a place to sit near a pretty stream and dipped our feet in. Dex found several huge boulders to climb, so he was happy:

Mik seemed to enjoy himself okay, but the kid's got a reputation now, so I couldn't resist getting this picture of him looking mopey:

The big fun for me, besides hanging out with the family, was playing with my camera:


Then my sister treated us to too much pizza in Red Lodge and we were home in time for M.H. and me to take a long evening walk. Hiking! The end.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Eggsperiment results

Tomorrow marks three weeks since I gave up eggs. Want to know how that little experiment went?

Well, so did I. I didn't really feel any different, and giving them up was slightly inconvenient, but not really horrible. Just kind of a no-big-deal all around. So I decided today that I'd actually try on those size 10 dresses purchased on eBay to see if there was any change on that front. (One of them I could not quite zip before this, and the other one I could barely zip.)

Whoa. As of now, one of them fits like a glove, and the other one fits like…a pretty loose glove.

I was supposed to "challenge" eggs again tomorrow (i.e., eat some and see how I react), but now I'm not sure it's worth it. In fact, I feel like being more diligent about keeping wheat and dairy out of my diet.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Wrath of the spambots

Oh, dear. It turns out the formerly fawning spam commenters are actually reading my blog, and now I've angered them. Here are the two comments I got today:
I used to be able to find good information from
your blog articles.
Next time I read a blog, I hope it doesn't fail me as much as this particular one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read through, nonetheless I actually believed you would have something useful to say. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something you can fix if you weren't too busy seeking attention.
On the plus side, with some line breaks, the second one would be a rather nice addition to my robot poetry anthology. There's an important lesson in there for us all.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Spam comment poetry

I get a lot of spam comments on this blog, which I guess Blogger deletes from the posts themselves, but first I get to see them in my Feedly feed. They're usually pretty funny ("Your site appears to be like great") and always very complimentary ("Finally I've found something which helped me!"). I don't mind them much. At least, I don't mind them as much as I would mind forcing my commenters to prove that they're human all the time. Based on my own failure rate with those, I sometimes wonder if I myself am part robot.

Today I got this little beauty, broken up like this as if it were a poem.

Wow, this post
is nice, my sister is analyzing these kinds
of things, therefore I am
going to let know her.

Couldn't you just see me making a big anthology of short poetry, by robots, for robots? I could call it "Everyone Loves It When Individuals Get Together and Share Opinions." Don't steal that idea. I'm actually going to do it.