Monday, January 30, 2012

Helpful ghosts

I guess I’ll preface this by saying I had pretty awesome gandparents.I only had one set but they were awesome. ~20 grandkids and never forgot a birthday. We visited a lot and so did they. My Omi (my grandma was FOB German and her oldest child decided the grandkids would their grandparents Omi and Opa. I LOVED this as a kid), was stern but I’d say she and I had the most in common. She was really creative and crafty and I loved her creations. It is silly but I still use the scrunchies she made me over the years and it makes me happy to have a small something that reminds me of her and of old times. Since I use a scrunchie nearly every night, I think of her relatively often.


I have been thinking a lot about my Opa during the day lately. Opa was the fun one of the grandparents but my mom and her siblings found this hilarious since they wouldn’t have described him as fun. I wasn’t super close to him, he was tighter with my math-lete sister. The one thing I always knew about him, both from my own observations and stories I heard was that he was a very honest man and seemed to have a lot of integrity. The example of this I witnessed personally that stuck with me was when, after a dance competition, he found some cosmetic mirrors another contestant had left, the dance competition etiquette is that you just keep stuff like that, but Opa was determined to find the owner. For whatever reason this stuck in my eight year old head and I have always considered him the most honorable man I ever knew (sadly not hard since he was basically the only man I knew at that age).


Anyhow, this character impression of him has been coming back to me over and over again lately because WORK SUCKS. I feel so disconnected to it and find motivating myself getting harder and harder. I keep wanting to flip my work the bird and completely check out but then I feel the ghost of my Opa and I don’t want to disappoint him.


All of this says to me that I need to change things where I am (I think I’ve tried hard) or find somewhere else to work where I don’t feel so awful. I used to be able to self motivate and my work ethic was never an issue. Now I am digging up the ghost my best ethical examples to make it through the day. It is no good.

I’m honestly not sure what to do about this situation though. Things feel absolutely nuts but I don’t know where I would go or whether I would feel better about things somewhere else. I know I am in a pretty cushy position and I am valued at my current company; but the uncertainty and obstacles we have (or are putting) in front of us seem so overwhelming.

My goal for the immediate future is to give them everything I have while I am there. Make sure I am doing what I need to do plus trying to listen and be aware of the general situation and give useful feedback.

I saw this pinned and may try to stick with this:


anyhow, better get to bed so I can make the best of tomorrow

Friday, January 20, 2012

Coupledom and being a grump

Getting into work today sucked. The hill down from our house was clear on the road but the sidewalk was piled with a foot of snow and sneaky ice water puddles. I was NOT looking forward to the return trip. In fact it was making me grumpy just thinking about it. So I messaged my hubby (who was working from home) about whether it had thawed. He said no and valiantly offered to come get me from the transit center. But he acted like he was super snowed in which irked my grumpy butt since I saw that, other than our immediate street, it was wet pavement. Being a grouch, I just couldn't accept that we had two cars that were stranded by <100 yards of level street. But he said he'd try cause he loves me. Then during my commute get the call that we are in fact stranded. What I should have done: said thanks for trying and that I'm glad he is safe. And HTFU'd up and walked or waited for the snow route bus. What I did do: acted bitchy on the phone and asked in disbelief what the problem was and overall was ungrateful and semi-rude. In instances like this I hate being in a couple. I don't mind being grump with myself but whenever I do it to him I immediately want a redo. I know it doesn't make sense that I deserve less respect from me than he does but I expect myself to be kinder to others. Especially him. I know it is all part and parcel to being married, heck to human nature to be in a shitty mood and not be able to shield those around you from it but it makes me mad at myself to mistreat someone I love. I guess this also goes with how much I hate others seeing my immediate irrational reactions to things. In a perfect world I'd either have a more positive immediate reaction OR take the 5 milliseconds it takes to reflect and not be irrational. Unfortunately for M (and I guess anyone I am really comfortable with or close to. Shout out to my poor boss) sometimes I skip the 5ms and just react. Sigh. I will do my penance on my LONG walk home. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Snowed in= Forced vacation day

What to do?

It has been a good day so far.

I watched the havoc that snow/ice were causing my neighbors and I on TV for a while this morning.

Then I got busy.

While M worked hard


I cleaned out the spice cabinet


and cleaned/inventoried the pantry.


Then I finished my first sewing project with some of the awesome-ly awful fabric my mom got me as practice @ $1/yd (Disney channel Pop Rock Glam pattern was my first attempt.)


I was attempting to recreate this apron that I pinned:

Easy apron tutorial

It was pretty disastrous and full of corner cutting and fudging. But here is my end result.



The waistband and bottom I used some polka dot flannel I had left over from my Christmas scarves. I think flannel may have been too advanced for me to work with. Even trying to be EXTREMELY careful not to stretch the fabric I got all sorts of buckles. Ah well, this was my practice piece and I like it. I don’t actually know how to get better at sewing on my own though. I need to find a class and get some basic instruction. A friend who is a very talented seamstress also offered her services so I will have to take her up on that!

Then I took a minute to set up my new Eye-fi SD card. A long while back I read an article(ad?) about a memory card that talks to your computer and transfers your pics automatically by WiFi. This was right up my alley sine I can be terrible about transferring pics in a timely fashion. This hinders blogging too Smile. Way back then when I looked them up the were WAY expensive so I promptly forgot about them. Then last week I was at Fred Meyer and saw it on their clearance table for $22 (4G memory) so I grabbed it. So far I am VERY impressed. I took all of the pics above around the house and when I came back to my machine they were all loaded. It also can upload directly to Flickr or to Facebook if you’re inclined. There are so many people in my life who would love this (and frankly, need this), if there wasn’t a foot of snow on the ground I’d zip over to Freddy’s for the rest of the stock they have! I am so totally wireless now too! M got me wireless headphones for my phone…maybe since I am so badass I’ll set those up now too.

Once this was all set up (did take a few tweaks to get our WiFi to accept it), M braved the elements to clear the front porch.


While I whipped up some meringues 



But I forgot to wear my new apron.


The rest of the day ought to involve some more cleaning, a run (I am on week 3 of Hal’s Intermediate Half M Training), making a new recipe for dinner, and hanging with my sweetie watching TV.

I don’t love that I now have one fewer vacation day but having a day like today was kinda good for my soul.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Reading is FUNdamental

I truly had forgotten how much I enjoy reading. And, moreover, how much I enjoy reading fiction. I wanted to start recording the books I’ve read and some thoughts on them.

This post will be a partial list of books since our honeymoon.


Sarah's Key 

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay- I like historical fiction and  have a crazy interest in holocaust stories. This novel hit the spot for both. I also learned a lot about the Vichy government in France during WWII. I still need to see the movie on this one.

One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus– Hands down the best book I read last year. I thought it touched on women’s rights, the idea of assimilation, the definition of civility, what defines culture, motherhood, ownership…I could go on and on. It is a great read.


Those Who Save Us

Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum- Again with holocaust books. This one got me thinking about what people will do to survive and how that changes them forever.

The Paris wife : / McLain, Paula. – I loved this book about Ernest Hemmingway’s first wife. She risked a lot for him and I liked watching her grow and demand more for herself.

Mary : / Newman, Janis Cooke.- I know this is historical FICTION about Mary Todd Lincoln but I love, respect and pity her now because of this novel. It was ROUGH being a strong, opinionated, smart women in the 19th century. She made bad choices but her options were so limited.

Product Details

Water for Elephants: A Novel by Sara Gruen- This one was pretty good and the movie SUCKED. I liked the way the old man retold his history.


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins- LOVED THIS SERIES! It was so much fun and so twisted. I cannot wait for the movie and usually that isn’t my bag.

Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account by Miklos Nyiszli- This book is so hard. It is written by a CZ prisoner/pathologist who was recruited out of selection by Mengele himself to perform autopsies and run sham experiments for the Reich. He worked in the crematoriums and gives witness to the horrors with a scientific tone. It is chilling. The foreword to the book shook me up too by provoking thought about why a whole race of people “allowed” themselves to be slaughtered. I am still thinking about it.

Nanny Returns: A Novel by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus- I had a love/hate relationship with the Nanny Diaries and so it was with this novel. I always like seeing how characters are doing years after I left them. The plus was that I got it at Borders at 80% off Smile


The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy - I didn’t love this one. Set in a small British island territory during German occupation in WWII. It was an interesting perspective on survival during occupation. But I just didn’t latch on to the love story.

The Edge Of The Sky by Drusilla Campbell - Got this at Borders when books were 80% off. I was OK. It was a decent story about motherhood in a hard situation.

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach- M loaned this to me when I ran out of books on our honeymoon. The author does such a good job of teaching with humor.

The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain- This author reminds me A LOT of Jodi Picoult who I love yet frustrates me with how she ends her stories. Despite having one too many implausible plot twists this was a good story. It shows how secrets can rot inside you without anyone really noticing.

Red Hook Road: A Novel by Ayelet Waldman- I have read a bit of this authors work and haven’t been blown away yet. The aspect of this book I appreciated the most was how smoothly she made the progression in time. The reader gets to see how the character’s lives change from year to year and what parts of them will never change.

A Yellow Raft in Blue Water: A Novel by Michael Dorris- Some of my favorite reads aren’t new at all. I read this one for 11th grade English class and barely remembered the story at all. Rereading it now, I’m not sure how it didn’t stick to me. The three generations of women and the assumptions they make about each other. I hope it will remind me that I don’t know everything about my mom and her actions and my daughter can never know every piece of me; I hope going forward I can respect that.

The particular sadness of lemon cake : / by Bender, Aimee.- Just sort of odd. I was excited by the premise though, that when you eat you can taste the emotions of the chef. It went down a strange path though. I didn’t fully get it.

A stolen life : / Dugard, Jaycee Lee,- SO awful. I had a really hard time getting through the first part of this book. I am glad to hear how well this woman is doing now considering the horror of her early life.

Ready player one / Cline, Ernest. – A dear friend in France recommended this book for M, he read it and LOVED it. So I read it and it was really fun. A must read for any child (esp boys) of the 80’s or for anyone who loves one of them. 

Secret daughter / / Gowda, Shilpi Somaya. – I liked this book but didn’t love some of the characters. It was a interesting perspective on respecting culture and insecurities for adoptive parents.

Artisan bread in five minutes a day : / Hertzberg, Jeff. – This book has changed M and my  lives. We have been using this method to prepare yummt bread and spreading the gospel for about 4 months now.

The Dirty Parts of the Bible: A Novel by Sam Torode- I just finished this one, it was a really fun read. Set just after the Great Depression. The preacher’s son is sent on a quest after his father falls from grace. He has to figure out what to believe in and what believing actually means. It was quick and fun.

The Dirty Parts of the Bible: A Novel


Since starting this post I have finished another book. It’ll be another post. I am going to try to add all of the books I read in 2012. Lets see how it goes.