Monday, December 12, 2011

In case you were about to ask...

Do you know if it's a boy or a girl?
Yes. It's a boy.

Is your husband taking time off work?
Yes. It's the year 2011 and it's called egalitarianism (and being lucky enough to have jobs that give us time off, granted). We're working on it.

Are you nesting?
'Tis my middle name.

Will you go back to work?
Will I win the lottery in the next three months?

Are you swollen/sleeping poorly/uncomfortable?

Can you believe you're about to be parents?
Hardly. Can't hardly wait. Can't even begin to tell you how much I can hardly wait.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Getting a grip

Wednesday was a bad day. The only way I can say it here is... WEDNESDAY WAS A BAD DAY AT WORK. We rushed home in ridiculous traffic to meet the dryer repair guy, who made it to our house before we did. Whoops.

Since I spent the entire car ride home complaining about my HORRIBLE DAY, I walked in the front door and began my other form of decompressing: cooking dinner. I started putzing and chopping onion, whirred up some rosemary bread crumbs in my handy food processor, generally got my inner Ina flowing. Mmm. Meanwhile Dustin started to chat with the repair guy about soccer and this famous player from Repair Guy's home country, Ivory Coast. And that's when I perked up. Have you heard of Didier Drogba?

From Wikipedia...

Drogba is credited with playing a vital role in bringing peace to his country. After Côte d'Ivoire qualified for the 2006 World Cup, Drogba made a desperate plea to the combatants, asking them to lay down their arms, a plea which was answered with a cease fire after five years of civil war. Drogba later helped move an African Cup of Nations qualifier to the rebel stronghold of Bouake; a move that helped confirm the peace process. In September 2011, Drogba joined the Truth, Reconciliation and Dialogue Commission as a representative to help return peace to his home nation. His involvement in the peace process lead to Drogba being named as one of the world's 100 most influential people by Time magazine for 2010.

I'm sorry, but I generally don't buy the athletes as heroes spiel. But this soccer player literally SAVED LIVES. And he's one of the reasons that I believe in soccer as a global institution. It has value beyond basic entertainment. It's unifying on a level no other sport is. Sorry, hockey fans. Sorry.

Anyway, we chatted about Didier, and then Repair Guy, whose name we learned is Konate, started asking me about Rachael Ray. Hello Konate, let's be best friends. You have built a legitimate business as an immigrant, you speak six languages (French, English, Arabic and three tribal dialects), you like Didier Drogba, AND you want to talk to me about the Food Network?

Konate stayed for two hours, much longer than it took to fix our dryer, telling us all about his tribal initiation into manhood at 13 (running through the jungle while the older men make fake hyena calls trying to scare you), marrying his wife (who was chosen for him by his uncle), and raising his three kids in the United States (he believes that his kids owe their whole futures to their teachers, so they better not screw around in class).

Then he shook our hands, congratulated us on this upcoming baby, and dashed down our driveway into the pouring rain. I looked at Dustin and giggled, and I realized my world is still cracking open wider than my bad days.

Friday, September 30, 2011

What Happens When You Don't Work on Fridays

Me: If you come early, you'll see our messy house.
Guy from Heating Company who had an appointment: I'll let you know how messy it compares.

Surveyor who wanders into yard from Energy Company: You have a gas line here, ma'am.
Me: No, I don't. We would have heard about that in our housing inspection a year ago. And, you know, paid a bill or something.

Me: Hi, I'm calling because your Surveyor tells me we have a gas line, only it's unmarked and it doesn't exist according to the city's big fancy map. And she says that's a problem because that means nobody ever checks on it, and it could explode like that house did last week.
Customer Service Person from Energy Company: Well, ma'am, I AM SO GLAD YOU CALLED. We will send a serviceman out.

Me: Hey, you guys are making me nervous, just standing out here in your hard hats and neon vests.
Five Men from Energy Company suddenly in my driveway: No worries, ma'am. We were just in the area and decided to check out this gas line.

...two hours later, back at my front door...

Five Men from Energy Company: Ma'am, we're not equipped to do the work that needs to be done underneath your house, but we have a specialist who will be able to remove this illegal equipment from your crawlspace. We are SO GLAD YOU CALLED.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Maryann's Inspired this Fun List

Current music: NPR. How sad it that? I have completely given up listening to anything current, and somehow there's just enough noise during my day that I'm craving silence at night. And now that my life's greatest work is complete by making it on air, NPR has my full affection. I'm so boring but I can't help myself.

Current wishlist: Sleep. A solid night of it without strange body parts falling asleep. For example, top of scalp, one butt cheek at a time, heel of foot, elbow. Don't tell me how sleep deprived I'll be later. I GET IT. It's not like I can stockpile it, so bug off. I also wish that people would stop telling me their episiotomy stories. ENOUGH.

Current food: Blueberry pancakes from The Silver Palate with Orange Butter (plus lots of agave nectar since we were out of honey). Baked goods from scratch--booyah! I am a kitchen wonder.

Current TV show
: Felicity on Netflix, because our computer is now officially too slow to watch Hulu, which rules out Parenthood, Glee and Top Chef. What a shame. Or is it? Now I can stare at Ben Covington and covet Keri Russell's hair and cheekbones and everything on demand.

Current location: Spare bedroom turning into baby's room. We fold laundry there, pile up the hand-me-downs, sit and stare at the crib mattress that is currently cribless. It's a nice place to be gobsmacked about our impending future.

Current book: The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver just knocked me off my feet. It reminds me of that book from childhood called Walk Two Moons. Stories about brave young women never get old. Now I'm on to The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and I am stunned that Rebecca Skloot just made up her mind to be a science writer, nevermind the story, albeit fascinating. The woman literally studied science and THEN got her MFA in Creative Nonfiction. Seriously? You can do that and then find tremendous success? What the hell. Write a book about that, lady.

Current indulgence: Drinking London Fogs early and often. I also love being able to order Shirley Temples in a bar without feeling sheepish and/or cheap. I like the cherry syrup, damnit, and this baby bump has given me full license to drink that concoction with reckless abandon.

Current worry: That my reckless abandon will lead me to fail my test for gestational diabetes in two weeks. Also that I will not be able to figure out my vocational future in a way that will complement motherhood. Seriously. We need to 1) pay our bills, 2) be parents who love our kid abundantly, 3) not let our lives be defined exclusively by parenthood, 4) not be afraid to embrace parenthood just because we are paranoid about losing ourselves.

Current project: Researching graphic design classes and reading my new book for wannabe designers. Forwarding my Photoshop and InDesign skills on posters that end in ugliness, 98% of the time. Craving design success.

Current movie: Father of the Bride, Part II

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I'm basically the new NPR correspondent

Today I achieved a lifetime goal. Whilst gobbling down my Happy Meal and Diet Coke in the privacy of my car (sounds like the beginning of an episode of Intervention), I listened to Ross Reynolds on The Conversation as he invited listeners to share stories of their most beloved teachers.

So I called! And the screener person liked me story, so they put me on! And I told Ross all about my first grade teacher Mrs. Kloster, and I told him how her creativity has sparked all kinds of appreciation for creativity for me in the 20 years since I walked in her door.

Then I told the listeners that we panned for gold in the pool at Camp Side-by-Side this summer, which we actually did NOT do, since we decided that would be a major safety hazard. But we had talked about it and I was under major pressure to be clever on live radio. IT WAS LIVE, folks. But it sounded so great on the air. At least that's what my mom said.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

In Praise of Hush Puppies

Everyone I know is talking about The Help. The book, the movie, what you loved about them, whether they are a fair account of the way things were, on and ON. I read the book in three days and won't go another weekend without seeing the film.

But what I can't stop thinking about is how much that story aligns with my own family history. We never lived in the South, but my dad was raised in Mississippi in the 1960s: you do the math. It's fascinating to hear people talk about the movie and the book as if they were alien tales, because they really aren't. You want to know the Skeeters and the Hillys? You head to my dad's front porch in Red Banks and it will come to life. Ten minutes there and you will learn about the African American staff that raised up and supported the Harris family--Mama Lillian, Toad Frog, Doodle and Chubby. Toad Frog might even stop by. No kidding.

So as I untangle what it means to be part of this very complicated and...complicated...piece of American history (one that extends much farther back than the 1960s), I'm really enjoying the element of at least *knowing* my history. Very few people can trace their family roots the way I'm able to--back to Reverend William Harris of Bedford, Virginia, born in 1780. This website has all the juicy details from then until now, including some fascinating information on Harris soldiers in the Confederate army. Wowza.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Emotional Eating: Not Just for Rainy Days!

My Grandpa John is 92, and he's not feeling so hot this week. Since I'm here on the west coast with nothing to do but call my mom to check in, I decided to eat sweet corn in celebration of my favorite Nebraska farmer.

I was hoping to make a chilled corn soup, but since I *still* don't have a fine-meshed sieve (first world problem!), I bagged that and went for sauteed instant gratification.

Grandpa John's Creamy Sweet Corn

6 ears sweet corn, cut from cob
2 Tbs. butter
1 spoonful low-fat cream cheese
1 glug skim milk
paprika (smoked if you've got it)
sea salt and cracked pepper

Heat up a skillet, melt half the butter and throw in your corn until it's turning a happy sunshine color. I could eat sweet corn raw, so I don't cook it more than about four minutes. Add the S&P, paprika, and cilantro. Then toss in the cream cheese, help it get melty in the pan, turn down your heat and finish with the butter and milk. Add more S&P if you like.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What I'd be saying on Facebook...

1. I think The Help is about to land itself on Stuff White People Like.
2. Heartburn is like having little gremlins climb up your esophagus and yell, "BITE ME, you sonuva gun!" And I just whimper in reply.
3. The week after Camp Side-by-Side is also the week when I remember everything else that's still happening in the world: riots, bills to be paid, flower beds to stare at helplessly.
4. It's a hard to take care of oneself around people who don't know how to do that for themselves. Or who do it so differently than I do.
5. I miss Oprah.
6. Grocery shopping at Target is literally the opposite of watching Food, Inc.
7. Chicken: You are so disgusting when you are raw, and sometimes when you are not raw.
8. Marital satisfaction rises when all parties are doing their chores.
9. Most pregnancy trends have turned out not to be true.
10. I'm hoping most parenting trends will turn out to be unimportant: I'm not paying much attention to them because it's too easy to get freaked out.
11. I still love making new friends.
12. We are having a BOY!!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Like asking her to swallow the sun

I'm trying to form a new habit these days, and part of the new habit is breaking the old habit--spending too much time on Facebook. Ugh. Anyway the point is that I want to redirect some of those gossipy pitstops to more interesting and authentic ones. So far I'm reading EVERY article in the paper and wondering how many cute baby picture posts I'm missing.

But this morning I woke up to read a blurb by a local food-writing hero, Molly Wizenberg, and she pointed me in the direction of a TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert. I admit that I'd heard of TED and knew that all important techy, savvy people liked it, but until two weeks ago when my friend Lacey practically DEMANDED (on Facebook, oh sweet irony!) that we pay more attention, I hadn't even been to the website. I'll go ahead and embed Ms. Gilbert's talk because you know I love to embed videos, but more importantly, I just have to say out loud: I'm so glad to know other creative people get stuck too. And I'm so glad creative people can look at each other and say, We got to stick together. Because the injustice of creative people literally losing their minds? No thanks.

I might be giving myself too much credit here, I don't have an Eat, Pray, Love under my belt, but I do understand the shitty state of depression, so I resonated in about 1,000 ways with the way she describes that tipping point in a creative process where you think you have NO talent and NO potential and, as my mom would say, you're going to end up in the GUTTER. And then the other side of the mountain is where God's spirit (that's how I see it, at least) bubbles up through you and all that magic and creativity gushes on through. That's quite a tightrope.

This is all pretty woo-woo. But you know what? Without the woo, we'd all be engineers.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Another video. I know, I know...

But this one makes me proud to be an American, a girl who has grown up into a woman, and a Katy Perry fan. These women are elegant and strong and such an incredible picture of what it means to stick together. So you should soak up these gorg photos for all eight minutes.

PS- I *am* proud to be an American. And I get pretty annoyed when people act like that's the equivalent of being an ignorant xenophobe. I just think we have a lot to be thankful for, and I'm proud of a LOT of who we are. So deal, y'all.

PPS- Dustin played soccer with a guy who tried to ask out one of these players at a bar in Portland a few months ago. And then Abby Wambach came over (double fisting her beers like a badass), and said, "THAT IS MY GIRLFRIEND." Hehe.

PPPS- Hope Solo (the keeper) played at UW, and her coach was in Dresden to watch this game. Also, my boss's son plays on the U-21 Men's team and I won't be surprised if he's in the World Cup again. Baller. (Get it? Literally a baller.)

PPPPS- I miss writing letters where I did this PS thing in such an out of control way. Who needs to structure their thoughts when we have PS? And PPS?

Monday, July 11, 2011

I'm getting worse at returning phone calls

And folks, that is saying a lot. Because I can't get much worse. But in my defense, the alluring halo of Google+ and other social networks options (ad nauseum) are making it hard to keep track. These guys agree with me.

Friday, June 24, 2011

I did not spare a ruffle

That's what my mom says when she looks at my baby pictures. Because folks, a ruffle she did not spare. And since genetics are not just a theory, I too hold ruffles in high esteem. (Sidenote: I also have her chin and her fine German nose.)

For example, I am going to redecorate (or...decorate for the first time, finally) our house in paraphernalia from this fine Dutch company: PiP. Brace yourselves for the FLORALS, the ruffles, and the brights. Get a life, beige.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Merciful heavens, this is hard.

Let me tell you all the ways I know I am pregnant.

1. All I can do is barf and/or feel like I'm about to barf. Or sleep, or moan into the wind about how I'm about to barf.
2. I am crying a lot, but it's not necessarily in predictably sappy moments. I cried today when I stopped at a friend's house: "I AM TOO SICK TO STAY FOR BOOK CLUB AND I AM JUST SO MISERABLE." She looked and me and said I looked peaked. Which, according to, is not a flattering term.
3. People keep saying that my hair will be lush and gorgeous from all the hormones, but I only notice that hair growth in areas besides my head. Attractive.
4. My guts stick out in a way that is neither womb-like nor distinct. I am just thickening up. Mmm.
5. Our yard is a regular jungle. Literally, I do not care that my prized flower beds are overgrown and disgustingly prickly. How far we fall. How very far we fall.
6. I have seen three full seasons of The Cosby Show on Netflix and have incorporated the word zrbtt into my regular vocabulary. I also want to name our child Rudy.
7. Our house smells so disgusting. We have cleaned and cleaned but it's the mix of Bounce dryer sheets and bacon from breakfast. The wafting just doesn't stop.
8. I'm still taking time to think about the ways I wasn't really ready for this. I felt so excited and so ready on many levels, but then it came faster than we planned (duh, that's what happens), but I don't get to consider that stuff anymore. It's just irrelevant, even though my doubts didn't magically disappear when the stick turned pink. Sigh...
9. I am collecting baby books, and that's good comfort for the bigger, scarier parts of this process.
10. Again, we have watched SO MUCH COSBY. I zrbtt you. And when this baby comes, I'm going to zrbtt her too.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

WHERE to begin?

Well, folks, like all the big time blogs (HA), this little corner of cyberspace is about to become a dialogue of burping, pooping, crying, lack-of-sleeping, stressing, hoping, and wondering...what does it mean to be a PARENT?

Because that's what's happening in our neck of the world. We are having a baby. Ready or not, that baby is going to arrive and we are going to be in charge. Of its small human life. Of its college fund. Of whether or not it has memorable family vacations. And so on.

The weirdest part so far is that I am feeling really, really disconnected from the whole deal. Even after an ultrasound a few weeks ago, I just can't get my brain around the concept that there is a whole little person in my gut. Because let's be real, my gut is busy doing so many cartwheels, it's not really sending the snoozy, cozy, new life vibe. It's sending the "I hate you and I'm going to make you hug that porcelain throne all day long, BOOYAH" vibe. Of course that leads me to wonder if I'm going to be like those wild mammals that look at their newborns and then go stroll the savannah, leaving their young to whichever whippersnapping predator wanders by. AM I GOING TO BE THE APATHETIC LIONESS? This is what would keep me up at night, except I'm way too tired.

Speaking of tired, I am winning every sleeping contest in the world right now. I can sleep all day! Every day! And be ready for bed again in half an hour! And the best part is that I can drink POP with caffeine in it. Because unlike the first 26 years of my life, caffeine now has 0% effect on my ability to sleep. Dr. Pepper, come to mama.

The baby is coming around New Year's Day. I'm going to pretend that an actual due date doesn't exist so I just give birth whenever I darn well please, and I won't be traumatized when I'm 50,000 hours past the day I wanted to be done being pregnant.

We'll see!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


My dear boss at Side-by-Side is hitting the road next week. She has a sweet opportunity and makes me wish big things for my own life...especially when I am 51 and have three kids and wear cute clothes and have a dog named George Constanza and have friends who are cosmetics buyers at Nordstrom. Wait, I guess I just like her life. ANYWAY.

In no particular order, what I have learned from Colleen!

1. Oprah is worth watching. And quoting. And talking about the next morning. And DVRing.
2. Self-talk is not a cheesy phrase. It's what we all need to pay attention to more often. This is not the same as pretending I am blameless at all times.
3. When you need to correct someone, help them avoid the bad self-talk they will dish out on themselves by being nice a nice person. Whenever I made (small, medium and big) mistakes in my job, especially early on, she'd walk me through an alternative option and say, "LEARNING, LEARNING!" And we would giggle and I wouldn't feel awful. I'd just learn.
4. When your mom is far away, it's okay to let other women Mom's age see you cry.
5. Pay attention to the way of the world and adapt and learn about it, especially if that means more fundraising dollars for your nonprofit. Don't be a stick in the mud just because you like mud.
6. Photos tell stories and should be printed LIBERALLY and rotated often, so we remember all the stories.
7. It's smart to be logged into Facebook during work. You can look up people's email addresses and tag them when you need volunteers at the last minute for boring jobs. And perhaps notice when your volunteers start dating each other!
8. When somebody like Susan Boyle happens to the world, close the dang spreadsheet and WATCH. And talk about it with your people at work, and tell the department next door.
9. Remember that every single soul has a gift to give and a place to shine. No matter how quirky or personally annoying I may find that soul. Let people do jobs they are going to be good at.
10. Grief brings up grief. When a volunteer works with a family who has a sick kid, lots of other ish is likely to flood that volunteer. Because when you're confronted with somebody else's sad story, you remember your own, so it's good to think about how that might happen and reflect on it, so your sad story doesn't drown somebody else's in a really crap way.
11. Back to #3, I think I actually did have bad self talk for a LONG time when I was learning (at my job and maybe in all my life). And so my favorite lesson from Colleen is that learning doesn't have to be so uncomfortable. It doesn't have to include self-loathing and regret. It can mean noticing what to do differently next time, apologizing some of the time, and getting on with the day.
12. Take care of your people. When our staff was torn up about a kiddo who died last year, really, really torn up, Colleen didn't try to coach us out of being (actually, disproportionately) sad, she took us for pedicures. Everybody. We sat there and talked about his funeral and the weather and read People magazine. And that is exactly what we needed. So take care of your people. Spend some money if that's what it takes. But don't talk them out of it--care them back.

No gracias

Again with the Facebook marketing!!! They just suggested I be friends with my dad's divorce lawyer. I mean, can you at least suggest my mom's as well??? WTH. (I'm such a prude.)

PS- Sometimes I know my posts are actually tweets but I cannot handle the linky links on Twitter. I have tried to like it and I do not. Fickle, fickle, fickle. So I tweet here, in your humble blog presence.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Tina Fey's prayer for her daughter

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, may she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her when crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen.Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, that she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back. “My mother did this for me once,”she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.


-Tina Fey

via MightyGirl

Saturday, May 21, 2011

False Cognates

Recently, a certain member of our household confused the words loofah and doula. (Hint: This person's name starts with a Du and ends with a Stin.) The following is a 100% accurate transcription of our conversation.

Confused Household Member (CHM): I really need a doula in the shower.
Me: (Blank stare.)
CHM: I just really need one to scratch my back and stuff.
Me: What are you saying?
CHM: I like the scratching on my SKIN! Why is that weird?
Me: OH HONESTLY. You mean a LOOOOOOOFAH. You are very confused about what a doula does.
CHM: What's a doula again?
Me: A childbirth support person. Typically a woman. She scratches your backs during labor.
CHM: Hmmm. Well, maybe I wasn't so confused after all.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Master Gardener on the loose!!!

Today I am 26 years young. I'm liking 26 so far. Especially because I feel comfortable enough in my own skin that I boldly asked for a pasta attachment for my KitchenAid and a raised bed for vegetables. 2011 is the year of Holly's luxurious vegetable garden.

So we stopped at the UW Center for Urban Horticulture for this fabulously overwhelming PLANT SALE. (You know how typing in caps is rude because it's yelling? Well, I am yelling, and I know you know that I'm booming about 80% of the time, so I feel it's just a more authentic writer's voice. FYI.)

The PLANT SALE was abundantly staffed with the most knowledgeable, eager slew of Master Gardeners as you ever did see. These people love to us coming because we need all the help we can get. I've killed enough impossible-to-kill plants to know that it's worth sounding dull in order to get every detail clarified. (In fact, the women standing behind me must have been whispering about how many questions I was asking. Hehe, get in line, ladies.)

And since those lovely Master Gardeners loved us back, here's the fruit of our birthday labor:

That's 32 square feet of heaven. We're planting three types of tomatoes (Early Girl, Sun Gold, and a basic Roma that's supposedly to be better than the average Roma), sweet peas, rainbow chard, kale, chives, cilantro, Walla Walla sweet onions, polka dot lettuce and a another rusty red lettuce. And corn, if I play my cards right with Dustin, who is unreasonably skeptical about that one.

Here's to another year of messy adventures!

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Remember how disgusting it felt to watch people celebrate after 9/11? Pretty disgusting. How soon we forget.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Good News

Several crotchety people in my periphery have complained this week about all the royal wedding hoopla. You want to know what I think?

When the world holds its breath, it's always for bad news. Earthquakes, terrorism, assassinations, scandals. Today the world held its breath for hope and joy and BEAUTY. Alexander McQueen-style beauty. Ancient tradition-style beauty. It's not everyday we can all stand up and cheer. (Except for Grace Van Mumsen.)

Long live the queen!

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Tonight reminded me that the traditions of my faith are not always as inspirational as I expect them to be. Por ejemplo, UPC's Maundy Thursday service was tonight, and even though I don't know what Maundy means (capitalized?), we showed up with our small group hoping for some reflection, some beautiful music, some shared sense of the importance of Good Friday and then Easter! I love Easter! I was excited to THINK and REFLECT and PREPARE.

But we were late to the service by almost 30 minutes. So we arrived midway through a sermon about Hosea (Um, where's the story about Jesus, people?), and we sat in the back row and smelled strongly of waffle fries, since that's what had made us late. Waffle fries from The Ram, and the waitress who served them so slowly. Anyway, the point is that we didn't get a chance to put ourselves in the right frame of mind. I didn't, at least. Strike one.

Strike two occurred when I recognized a fellow pew-sitter in the parking garage after the service, and I stopped her to compliment her hair. She was STUNNED. And not in a flattered way, because her hair was so awesome that she obviously knew it was gorg. She just said, "I don't think I know you!" I'm sorry ma'am, we just sang a hymn together. Can't you just say thank you? Sisters in Christ, much? It was exactly what I don't like about a big church. Or maybe I just didn't like this lady.

Strike three? While waiting 15+ minutes to exit the parking garage, from whence all church-goers came, a shiny black Mercedes refused to "do the zipper" as we tried to merge down the ramp. Again, we just sang a hymn together.

And so on the way home from Maundy Thursday, I didn't reflect on Christ's death and resurrection, I pondered 1) why The Ram is *never* good, 2) how to get hair like that lady, and 3) why I have such ridiculous expectations when it comes to church. I am accustomed to flawless musicianship, strong preaching, policemen directly traffic. I appreciate a community that values excellence--but have I become a spoiled churchgoer? Yes! Yikes!

I think I need a visit to Mexico and a rousing round of Alabare to get my attitude in check.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Before Bed

This is one of those things that is super fun to watch right before you fall asleep. I wonder what you'll dream about?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Marketing Genius?

These ads were personally selected for me thanks to Facebook's fancy "I will read your mind and generate links that make you want to BUY or PARTICIPATE" software.

Except they aren't working for me.

True Life: I am working retail

A few months ago it was clear this whole homeownership gig was going to be a LOT MORE MONEY than we planned. And we planned for a lot of stuff, but who can imagine a house with brand new windows would *literally* be 61 degrees all winter? No matter how much one pumps the heat, frigid we remain. I finally feel justified when I go to REI for high quality ski gear.

Thus, I got another job. Have I already told you this? (Side note: I'm going to put it all out there today and tell you that this new, sent-from-heaven medicine called Pristiq also affects my memory. I am upbeat, energetic, not depressed, which is the point (!!), but boy do I forget my thought in the middle of the sentence. Time will tell if this side effect is tolerable. But for now: spacey!)

What was I saying? Just kidding, I looked at my last paragraph for a refresher. I got another job. I'm making coffee at a new little shop in South Lake Union called Kakao. (Please don't stalk me if you're a weirdo.)

I LOVE IT. But first I hated it. First of all, I haven't really been a coffee drinker since I am so naturally energetic. Duh! So I didn't feel confident in terms of what the drinks should taste like, or what people meant when they said no foam. Foam? Like a mattress? What was I saying? This was also compounded by some very, very low expectations set for me by my friend Rory.

"I promise you that all you need to know about making lattes can be learned in one afternoon."

Maybe the fact that Rory is my age, has a master's in creative writing, likes to do calculus for FUN (Still? Who does that?), and has a column for McSweeney's should have tipped me off that my learning curve might be steeper. But it didn't. Because I am not depressed but spacey. Unlike Rory, who has his career in the bag and kicks ass.

After several miserable training sessions, from which I left covered in scalded milk and espresso stained fingernails, I nearly quit. I even planned a little speech about why the bus schedule had changed (it did), but somehow I persevered. Just kidding, we were just desperate for the money!

But it got better. Little by little, I got the hang of steaming milk. And I have learned all about the bouquet of espresso, and thanks to the early mornings, my body is happy for the caffeine. One day someone ordered a breve and I had to stick my head under the counter and pretend to look for lids, but actually I was googling breve. But nobody caught me, and that lady left happy.

Best of all, I have made lovely friends. The fellow baristas are my new favorite people--they are all in grad school and inspire me to get gutsy with my vocation--and the customers. I think baristas in Seattle serve more as bartending therapists more than I knew. What to say to all the Amazon employees that think nothing of coming TWICE a day for a $4.00 latte and a heart to heart?

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Friday, April 8, 2011

I am not pregnant. But I love this.

What does having a baby feel like?

"It's like when you're a little kid, and it's the way you feel on Christmas morning as you race down the stairs, and you can't even wait for the day. And you cry a lot because you're so tired and excited at the same time."

Image from
Paraphrased from

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I remembered!

Dustin and I are jumping back on the food reviewing bandwagon. So tweet your little hearts out and follow us @seattleeatsout.

Don't worry, The Pink Door is already following us. We're VIPs.


Is booyah technically a term coined by the marines? I remember when I was in high school and my mom would use the word sweet, and it just sounded SO DORKY. I think that's what my kids will experience when I continue to say booyah in 2032.

I'm booyahing because my itch to learn more about graphic design is finally getting scratched. Lucky me! And the best part is that it's freeeeeee. Booyah! A designer at work is giving me one-on-one lessons in Photoshop, InDesign, and hopefully Illustrator. I'm loving every minute, but the best part is that I'll finally have some ability to create a cool layout for this fine blog! Won't that be fun? It might be a reason to click on out of your Google Reader page for once!

There was something else I wanted to blog about and now I've forgotten. Typical. I will tell you that I bought some $2.99 shampoo the other day at Target. This is a big deal because I spent all my nanny money in college developing expensive taste and a love for Bumble and bumble (I really like their font, what can I say). Basically, this is hair-backsliding.

So Dustin asked me yesterday how the poor-woman's shampoo was working. And I launched into a long list of reasons it wasn't going to work out--weighed my hair down, looked kind of dirty, didn't smell as good, etc. Then he asked me where it was... as he stood looking at the Target bag in which the SHAMPOO STILL SAT. Unopened! And I legitimately thought I had a bad hair day from the Tres Semme. That's what anti-depressants do to your brain, folks. They take away your troubles and your frickin' memory. Oolala.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Next to Normal

Just when a hard day seems like it might end with a bucket of Breyer's Vanilla Bean, a long phone call with my mom saves me the heavy cream. Nothing quite like it. Four--one, two, three, four--families connected to Side-by-Side lost their children this week. No words for that. And the regular stuff of life marches on too. Car repairs, tax returns, poorly dyed hair. What a world, eh?

Last night we trekked out to see Next to Normal at the 5th. As much as I love the arts, sometimes I get bored in musicals. Then I follow up the boredom with guilt about not being cultured enough. Blahblahblah.

Not this time! Maybe it's because it felt so familiar, maybe it's because I saw at least ten people I know from my NAMI class, but I was howling with laughter and dripping with tears until the lights went up. All. the. way. to. the. end. It was superb. And there was an UNDERSTUDY playing the lead!

Take a listen and then go see this show.

Friday, February 25, 2011


I can't tell you how delightful it feels...

 put some creative SPRING back in my step.

Even though my only camera is on my phone...

I think you can tell I've been quite busy.

(Ruby likes to observe the art up close. Preferably
while she's wearing adult clothing.)

I roasted a lady-like chicken for sustenance.

And I made a plum tart/pie/thing for dessert.
(I ate this whole thing by myself while Dustin
suffered through P90X in the other room. Sucker.)

Then I spent some time with a mismatched baby.

(I adore him.) (My use of parentheses is wild and rampant.)

Then we flew to California so I could hold my other favorite baby, Ike.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

This too shall pass

There was a shooting in Seattle late last summer. A man died--a man who had a very hard life, filled with addiction and homelessness and poverty and a lot of living on the fringe. The man who shot him was a Seattle Police officer who perceived the man as a threat. The city of Seattle is turned completely inside out over this--how could a policeman be threatened by an inebriated woodcarver? People are furious.

But I am just so sad. I'm sad because that police officer is a guy we know personally. And frankly, he is a man of incredible character. I don't know what happened that day, but I do know that this loss of life is a tragedy. And I could never, never, never believe it was a calculated murder. Or that his action was motivated by racial prejudice. It was a horrible, painful tragedy that makes me sad for the vulnerable people on the streets of Seattle and sad for people like Ian Birk--people who have tremendous integrity and have to make terrifying split second decisions every day in the name of public service. They are human beings.

If you're the praying sort, send a prayer for our community and the fractured relationships we're trying to sort out. Nobody wins here, and it's going to take a long time for this to heal.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Priorities? Oh, they're darn straight.

Lately we've been watching quite a bit of Friday Night Lights. Yes, we are five years behind the rest of America, but our friends won't stop talking about it. However, it's been about a month of three-episodes-per-day watching. We managed to go out for Dustin's birthday and patch our leaking roof, but otherwise, that's all we've done since Christmas.

So today in a staff meeting, we had a little prayer time. (That's not so weird if you work at a church.) I was praying and I took a little pause, and then I prayed the Panthers' motto:

Dear God,

Please give us clear eyes, full hearts, so we can't...lose.


Apparently the Lord's Prayer just wasn't at the top of my mind. Apparently my mind is full of NBC television.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Move ON, Nutella.

Yesterday I left the grocery store with approximately 12 dairy products purchased=18. That should tell you something about how well Jillian's 30-Day Shred is going. But I'm not here to moan. I'm here to tell you how to make the world's most splendid bagel spread.


It goes something like this: Take a clementine or orange-like fruit, squeeze the juice into a softened block of Neufchatel (pronounced noof-shah-tale, IMHO), add a little spoonful of brown sugar, a wee bit of almond extract and prepare to be exalted by all who consume this glorywork (new word I invented).

Photography is a hobby that I have only mastered in my brain, so instead, let this vivid description compel you to cook/stir!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Hello, Ego

If I try to blog about being married, then I inevitably spend two hours debating the line between attempting to be a funny writer and attempting to pick a fight by sharing an embarrassing anecdote about my husband's personal grooming. So. Even though the post I just wrote was highly funny, Olympic-level comedy (I'm giving myself so much credit! My sense of self is improving! THE THERAPY IS WORKING!!!), it was at my husband's expense. Just so you know, it was way funny. Pretend you got to experience it, and then nod in appreciation for my highly developed sense of prudence. Prudish. Prude. Teehee.

So although you'll have to go without the funny grooming story, I won't deprive you of the recipe for my wildly successful dinner tonight. (Again, the self-confidence is astounding.)

That's a helluva glaze. Am I RIGHT? Costco makes it possible for us to maintain a highly carnivorous lifestyle, despite Dr. Oz's bestselling attempts to turn us into away from meat forever. Get excited, this is going to make you a supahstah.

Ego Pork

2 lbs pork tenderloin (mine were two separate loins...if you know what I mean)
1/2 bottle Newman's Own Light Italian Vinaigrette (the point is that it's not full of disgusting gelatinous chemicals, otherwise it can be just about any oil-based dressing, even homemade!)
2 Tbs dijon mustard
1 lemon's juice
lots of cracked black pepper
lots of sea salt

Dump all goodies into a gallon-sized ziploc and marinate overnight, if you can. Take 'em out of that bag, sear them in a heavy duty skillet to get a nice crust. Don't give up too fast! Let the crust happen. This is a good time to appreciate the word crusty. Invite your neighbors to come hold you accountable, in the words of the Baptists. Whatever you have to do to leave that crust alone and make it crusty. Turn it over little by little, working that crust like Julia Roberts worked Hollywood Boulevard. It's a metaphorapalooza!

Then add a little glug of water to the pan and pop it in the oven to roast. Now I have seen recipes insist on 475 degrees and I have heard caterers claim 375 will do the trick. I opted for a preheated (duh), 400 degree oven, and I just kept testing those little loins until they were done enough for my liking. I don't mind a little pink, but my gramps eats bacon while it's still squealing. Mmm.

Say you're following my lead and roasting at 400 degrees--you'll let that loin roast for about 35 minutes, then check to make sure it's to your liking. Use a thermometer if you're fancy, or cut into it if you aren't going to panic about the leaky juice situation.

Oh my gosh, this post is so long you could've already eaten dinner by now. Sorry about that. Skip forward to when you take out the cooked-to-your-liking roast, let it rest for five minutos, then slice and serve with some pan juices drizzled over top.

You're welcome!

PS- You can also make my luxurious mashed potatoes by adding melty cream cheese and an extra scoop of cheddar to your own personal recipe. You're welcome again.

PPS- Can you tell I had caffeine today? That was fifteen hours ago and I am still so tightly wound, I just, I can't even think of how to explain it but to refer you back to the 1000 word blog post I just wrote. Next time the 'roaster who is training me (I got another, additional job, btw) says caffeine isn't really that much of a stimulant, I will refer him to this post.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

We are so grown up

Guys. We bought a table at Crate and Barrel yesterday. And we didn't even use leftover gift cards from our wedding!!! It was a floor sample that was on crazy-bahungas clearance, but people, we are officially acting Like a Pair of Married Yuppies.

But if it means we get to enjoy furniture that didn't come from the side of the road, then I'm okay with that. Maybe someday I'll actually post pictures of our own personal house, then we'll be a Pair of Married Yuppies Who Blog about Homeownership. Also, the first meal we shared at our fancy table was Taco Bell. Extra packets of hot sauce.

Also, I totally get crackly cry voice when I talk in front of people. It's like the sonar version of ugly cry face. I shared a prayer request (I know, I know) at church and the crackly cry voice haunted me all day. I'm such a crier!

See you soon. I totally installed a hit counter so now I am lurking back, lurkers.