December 13, 2013

December 2013 Soundtrack

I'm still around.  I spectacularly flamed out at NaBloPoMo AND my 30 Days of Thankful, and then went radio silent.  Nice job, me.  The last 2 weeks have been busy, what else is new, right?  I'm trying to figure out how to configure my life so that I can find time to write regularly.  I have stuff to say!  Doing NaBloPoMo was a good kick start in a way, but there were a lot of days that I was writing so late that I felt like my creativity wasn't at it's best.  I need to find time when I'm altert and not just posting after the kids go to bed every night.

In any case, it was definitely a good experience, and I'm sure I'll do it again - maybe next time I'll actually succeed?  Today though, I want to talk about my current soundtrack.

I have been listening to more music lately even though I usually listen to audiobooks in the car.  I'm a bit worried I'm not going to be able to meet my 50 book goal this year, but lately I have just felt so much like singing at the top of my lungs.  The last couple of days I've been in the mood for Christmas music, somehow - despite the fact that I listen to it for 8 hours a day at work.  This is my theme song for this season:



I absolutely LOVE Sarah's version, but then I heard this on the radio, and oh, my heart!  Just when I thought I couldn't like Cee Lo any more... amazing.



Lately I've been having a newfound love affair with Maroon 5.  I don't know why that happens, re-discovering or finally listening to new music from a band you really like.  I've been listening to a lot of stuff from their last album, and right now, I am totally obsessed with these three songs:



Though I totally dislike the video... this video on the other hand, is awesome:



And I looked for a real video for this one, but it doesn't seem to exist, so you'll just have to listen.  I love it:



I am also loving this one, though it's prone to make me feel a sadness in my soul.



I've been enjoying that kind of music lately, you see it in my choice of winter song above, and in my calm in listening to this one.  I feel like I'm in the midst of some huge turmoil, and there is a quiet sadness about me. It's not bad, it just is.  And this music is my background right now.

This one is also heartwrenching in many ways, and touches me.



One of my other very favorite songs right now is this one.  There's just something about the saga-like sound, maybe it sounds like something from a musical and that's why I like it.  I have kind of fallen for Fun. this year, and this is definitely my favorite song.



On another note, today I heard on the radio that Paul Simon and Sting are coming to Seattle in February.  I'd like to go to that.  I feel like Paul Simon is one of those artists on my list of people I'd like to see, and probably won't get many chances for.  Maybe I'll be lucky and someone will get me tickets for Christmas.

Finally, let's leave it with my very favorite Christmas song ever, specific to this version.  Amazing:



What's your soundtrack like these days?
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November 27, 2013

Thankful Days 26/27: Nora & the Farm

I am thankful for my baby niece Nora, who lights up the world with her smile and makes the most hilarious noise when she eats, like she is some kind of engine revving up to take on the world.  She lets me pick her up and play with her and smiles at me even though we haven't met too many times, and she is the most adorable and beautiful little girl ever.  I am thankful for this farm where my sister lives with her little family, with the husband who loves her and who fits together with her so well, and who holds his daughter and carries her around while he works like they're two peas in a pod and it's just meant to be that way.  I'm thankful for this peaceful place away from the crazy world where my little niece will grow up, and the loving parents who will raise her, and the chances I will get to come here over the years and spend time with all of them.  Who'd ever have known that one day a little piece of my heart would live on on farm 30 minutes outside Colville?  But it does.
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NaBloPoMo Day 27: Fail/Not Fail

Well, you may have noticed there is no post for Day 26.  That is because, once again, I have failed at NaBloPoMo.  Sigh...  BUT, I don't feel that disappointed about it.  It would be cool to say I made it and that I had done it.  But I've made it so far, and I feel like it has done a lot for me already (post on that is forthcoming, for sure!)  We've been at the farm with all my family the last 2 days and today and yesterday I have been extremely tired and exhausted.  I don't know if it's because the kids are being a bit gripey, or because Danny's been extra whiny (growth spurt?  He ate an awful lot today!), or because I'm away from my normal responsibilities so my body's relaxing.  I've had a cold for about a week that I can't seem to kick and I just feel really tired, and haven't slept really great the last two nights.  I was in the bed with both kids, which was kind of nice, but also way too restrictive to my movements and left me sleeping poorly and waking up with my back hurting.  It's not quite the same sharing a double bed with two kiddos as a King like at home!  Anyhow, last night I went up to put Sam to bed before writing my blog, and I snuggled in under the warm blanket in between my two little boys.  And when Justin came up to check on me a while later and I was still awake, but cozy and sleepy, I decided to stay in bed with them and rest instead of getting up and forcing out some words onto the screen.  I don't regret it.  I was tired, and I was in a wonderful place at that moment, and you just never know how many moments like that are left!  So, I "failed," but I also didn't, because my heart was in the right place.  I'm still going to try to post every day until the end of November if I can, we'll see!
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November 25, 2013

Thankful Day 25: Modern Day Travel

I am thankful for cars and highways and airplanes.  Without them I would not be able to spend Thanksgiving in Colville with my Dad and sister who came all the way from the east coast, and we couldn't have made the journey here in 9 hours.  Yes, it seems like a long way to drive, but think of the alternatives if cars didn't exist or if the roads didn't go through.  We might not have any.  I am with my family because of the technology we have the infrastructure that's in place, and for that I am thankful.
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NaBloPoMo Day 25: A Small Miracle

Last Thanksgiving at the farm
Today we drove from Bellingham to Colville, and the trip went more smoothly than I could have imagined.  I got home from Seattle at 9:00 last night, and was SET on leaving at 10:00 this morning.  When I got home last night I hadn't even written a packing list for our 4 day/5 night stay at my sister's farm, let alone started packing anything.  I didn't do much last night other than clean up the living room and make a list.  Justin had done some housework, which was REALLY nice because there is nothing I hate more than coming home from a vacation with our mountain of stuff that needs unpacking to a dirty house.  There's a pile of clean laundry to deal with, but that's no big deal.

I really wanted to make it to the farm by dinner, and I knew if we left much later than 10, we wouldn't.  With two adults and maybe ONE bathroom stop, it would be a 7 hour and 15 minute drive.  With two adults and two kids, and SEVEN (yes, you heard me, we stopped seven times...) stops, it is more like a 9 hour drive.  I got up with my alarm clock today - his name is Danny - but he didn't wake me until about 7:15.  Pretty late for him, many days he is up between 6:15 and 6:45.  I sat with him for a few minutes, then started getting ready.  Justin was already up after not being able to go back to sleep at 5 something.

We managed to get everything packed for all four of us, get the kids breakfast and dressed, keep the house clean, clean out the entire car (including vacuuming and changing out the towel that covers the backseat under the carseats) and change out the entire stock of toys in the car to new ones for the journey, and left the house at 10:15.

WITHIN 15 MINUTES OF MY GOAL.

I don't even REMEMBER the last time this happened for a trip like this!  Usually if we plan to leave at 10 it is more likely we'll leave at 11 or sometimes even later.  I was so happy!  Not only did we leave on time, but the kids did incredibly well on the drive over.  They didn't even ask for phones to play games on until about 7 hours into the trip - unheard of.  They were just playing with their toys, and Danny took about an hour and a half nap.  Amazing.

We got here at 7:15 just as the first two pizzas were coming out of the oven, and had dinner, then I was surprised with a delicious triple chocolate mousse cake that my sisters made for me.  Now the Olsens and Justin are in the living room watching the Gonzaga game, I'm typing, my Dad is working on a big puzzle, and my two boys are coloring quietly at the dining room table.  I'm going to take about a million pictures this week.

It's so mellow and quiet here, and I feel relaxed just being here.  It's peaceful.  I'm really looking forward to the next few days on the farm.  Getting out of the car, hugging my sister Lianna and my Dad who I haven't seen in 2+ years, and then holding my little niece Nora for a while while Kira put away the stuff from making dinner, my heart already feels at home.  It's going to be really hard when this trip ends.

  NaBloPoMo November 2013
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November 24, 2013

Thankful Day 24: Lifelong Friends (Suman)

I am thankful for lifelong friends.  I got to have coffee with my friend Suman today.  We have been friends since 9th grade (holy shit, that's going on 20 years, AGH!), and in the last few years we've only seen each other about once a year, but we always manage at least that.  When we meet for coffee or drinks it's like no time has passed, and I am so thankful for this kind of friendship - the kind that feels like it will always be there, no matter how long it's been since you talked, and where the other person knows you from when you were young and you grew into adults together.  Sorry, I'm sap-tastic right now apparently.  Seriously though, it's awesome, and I had a great time catching up.  We always say we'll do it more often or sooner, and hopefully we will, but even if we don't, I will still know that my friend is out there if I need her.
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NaBloPoMo Day 24: To Decorate Me!

Guess what?  I have REALLY been wanting some new long sleeved shirts that are comfortable enough for weekends, but nice enough to wear to work.  How lucky am I that 1. TWO very generous people got me Lane Bryant gift cards for my birthday and 2.  There was a $40 off $100 sale, so I could get even more?!  I am having them shipped to the store so there's no shipping charge (yay!), but they won't be here for 4-8 days... how can I wait?  I went to the store today and tried stuff on so I would know it will all fit when it gets here.  Here's what's coming:

Lane Bryant Basic Black Lace Cami


Freaking Fabulous Lane Bryant Sequin Tee

Lane Bryant Classic V-Neck Striped Sweater

Lane Bryant Sweater Tunic with Chiffon Hem

Lane Bryant Classic V-Neck Sweater (in a green to die for)

Lane Bryant Zip Back High Low Sweater
I ALSO went to Kohl's yesterday because I wanted a new shirt to wear out for my birthday dinner and had a bit of other shopping to do, plus a 20% off coupon.  I ended up with this T, which is super comfy, sparkly, and makes me happy:

Apt 9 Embellished Top

Detail

And, my friend Brooke got me this blue shirt as part of my gift.  Probably at Value Village or Goodwill.  She has this weird thrift store magic where she finds awesome things.  I can never find awesome things like she finds when I go to these places.  It's Apt 9, so originally from Kohl's, and it's what I call a "Rachael shirt," she probably took one look at it and had to buy it for me.


I also decided Friday night I wanted fancy nails for my birthday, and I finally tried out the dotting tools I got forever ago and ended up with my favorite mani of all time:




Woo!

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November 23, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 23: Happy Birthday to Me

Well, it's my birthday.  If you'd sat down with me five years ago and told me that this is what my life would be like on my 33rd birthday, I definitely would not have believed you.  But here I am.

I'm not one of those people who worries about getting older.  In fact, if you ask my best friend, she'll tell you how weird I am because I basically spent the last half of my twenties waiting to turn 30.  I just wanted to be out of my twenties.  All of my friends who were at the same stage of life as me were 5 years older, and I felt like when people found out how old I was they just thought of me as young, and I didn't really want to be anymore.  Now that I'm in my thirties, sometimes I have to think about it when people ask how old I am because I just know I'm thirty something!

I like it here.  I don't think I'll ever be at an age again where I don't like it.  I don't mind growing older, and I'm not one of those people that will 'turn 29' repeatedly or hide my age.  I look at my mother, who is now 54, and she is beautiful and young and one of my best friends.  Why WOULDN'T I want to be in my fifties someday?  Grey hair and wrinkles tell the story of who we are, and what made us into the person we will become.

I am in Seattle for the weekend, celebrating with friends as I do every year.  We go out to dinner and usually a movie (Catching Fire, here I come!!!) and I spend time with some of my favorite people.  This weekend is something I look forward to all year, and it's special to me.  Then, this week, we will take the long drive over the mountains to Colville to spend Thanksgiving on the farm with Brent, Kira, and Nora as well as my Dad and little sis Lianna who are visiting from the East Coast.  I can't wait, I haven't seen them in nearly two years.  My Mom and Paul will also be there, and I can't wait to relax and just be surrounded by my family.  Oh, and for my Mom's pecan pie.

The last couple of years have been really, really hard in so many aspects, some of which I've written about, and a lot of which I haven't.  They are still hard.  I'm going to counseling now, and I love the woman I'm seeing, and I'm confident that next year will finally be the year that things start to REALLY get better for me and my family.  I'm excited for that, and I really hope that by next birthday when I turn 34, I will be in a different place than I am now.

For now, it's enough to be surrounded this week and weekend by some of the most important people in my life, and to celebrate that they are a part of it.
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Thankful Day 23: Tara

I am thankful for my friend Tara. I met her a little over 10 years ago through our mutual (awesome) friend Brooke, and shortly after that she founded the book club I've been in for the past 10 years. When I started having dinner with one of Brooke's other friends, then joined that club, I could never have imagined the love, support, and kindness that would be brought into my life. Tara's birthday is November 25, so I've made it a tradition to go down to Seattle for the weekend for my birthday and plan a birthday dinner to celebrate. I look forward to it for the whole year, and it's one of my favorite nights, spending time with my friends and celebrating one of the funnest, nicest women I know. Here's to you, and happy early birthday!
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November 22, 2013

Thankful Day 22: Nail Polish

This may seem silly, but I am thankful for nail polish.  I love painting my nails, and sometimes trying my hand at nail art.  It makes me happy.  I'm glad that people keep making more colors and coming up with crazy ideas for me to try!
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NaBloPoMo Day 22: Birthday Fantasy List

Tomorrow is my birthday.  I'm going to be 33 years old.  Which is a pretty good number, because it's two threes.  Anyhow, a couple of years ago I made a little Christmas dream list here, so I thought why not do the same thing for my birthday - it's fun to dream, right?

Peacock Feather Earrings

Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens

Alegria Feliz Prism Clog (Disco Shoes) in Size 7.5

Electric Blue Druzy Necklace

A quilt like this gorgeous rainbow stripe

 
Super Pop Book
Daisy Fuentes Sweater

Chevron Wallet

Jonathan Adler Ceramic Unicorn
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November 21, 2013

Thankful Day 21: Water

I am thankful for clean, cold water.  I drink a lot of water, I've always liked to, but since I started my diuretic medication I drink A LOT.  I like it ice cold.  I don't think very often about how easy it is for me to walk in the kitchen, pop in some ice cubes, and fill my bottle with cool, clear water from the tap.  There are so many people in this world who don't have that.
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NaBloPoMo Day 21: Dear Danny

Dear Danny,

As I told your brother, your birthday letter this year is quite late.  Sorry about that!

Today I am at home with you because you are sick.  You have had a fever since yesterday morning, it started at 100 but went up to 102 last night and this morning.  It's down a bit now with Tylenol, but you're still sick.  It's a milestone of your age that you were able to wait for me to go in the kitchen and get a bowl before throwing up this morning.  Even though I hate that you're sick, there's a part of me that likes just spending the time to cuddle with you and hold you and give you comfort.  I know that being held by me or Daddy right now is the best thing to make you feel better while your body fights off whatever it has going on.

You are amazing.  You are officially three and a half now, and it's hard to believe it's been so long since you were born.  Your whole life has been a surprise to me because you are just so completely different than your brother.  How can two little boys with blonde hair and blue eyes be so different when they both came from the same place?  It's amazing.  You have been the smiliest kid I ever saw since you were just a baby, and you're pretty good natured most of the time.  You're loving and you tell me all about everything.

Lately you've been crawling into my bed in the middle of the night, something you never asked for or liked doing before.  I know that Daddy thinks it's a bad habit that needs to be broken, but with working full time I see so much less of you than I used to, and I have to admit that having you snuggled up next to me in the night feels pretty good.

You are so smart.  You know all your letters, and you sound them out, saying things like "buh buh bat!" a lot.  I think that if I pushed it, you could be reading, but I'm in no hurry so I just let you go at your own pace.  As it is, you can look at words and spell out all the letters, and you know which sounds they make.  You know how to read 'on' and 'off' on your light switch in your room, and love playing letter and matching games.  You love puzzles and know your numbers up to 15 and lots of different shapes.  I see pictures you draw and am amazed at how good they are, so recognizable.

Your toddlerhood has been more challenging for me than Sam's was in some ways.  With being so happy most of the time, you also hit the extreme in the other direction.  Sometimes you get so upset so fast, and Sam was always a bit more even tempered, high highs a bit less high and lows not as low.  Navigating uncharted waters can be a challenge, especially when I feel like I should have a map since I've been here before.  

This fall has been really hard for me.  It has been a bit over a year since I went back to work full time, but for a significant amount of that time, you were spending 2-3 days a week with Grandma, then with me and Daddy over the summer.  When Grandma went back to work this fall and you switched to full time daycare, it broke my heart a little bit.  It still does.  There are aspects of working that I really like, and financially, it's necessary right now.  But having you spend more time during the week with someone else than you do with me is unsettling at best.  I miss our days together, of lounging around the house in the morning and then going out walking in the afternoons.  I miss having leisurely special time with you.  You bring joy to everybody.  When I take you places, you light up people's days just be being there with your smile and your observations of the world.

You are totally potty trained now, and you help put on your own buckle in the car seat.  You want to do things yourself as much as you can.  You love helping me with the dishes and sorting laundry, and the other day you vacuumed in the nude with our little dust devil for over half an hour.  It was hilarious.

You love your train tracks, and one day when I stayed home with you and Daddy and Sam were gone, you built about 8 different configurations of the track throughout the day.  You'd build one, play with it for a while, then start taking the pieces one by one and building a new track.  Grandma Edie thinks you're going to be an engineer when you grow up.  I don't know what you're going to be, other than a pretty awesome guy.  Your personality is just wonderful, I can see you growing older and just being the guy who makes friends with anyone and bridges gaps between groups of people who never would have melded.  Your light shines bright, and I'm pretty sure you're going to change the world.

And just think, you're not even four yet!  I love you little butt.

Mama

Favorites! 

Favorite Color:  Pink and purple
Favorite Book:  Little Critter Where's My Sneaker, Cars board book
Favorite Movie: Cars
Favorite Song: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, You Are My Sunshine, Baa Baa Black Sheep & Landslide
Favorite TV Show: Team Umizoomi, Animal Mechanicals, Handy Manny
Favorite Food: String Cheese,
Favorite Dessert: Donuts, M&Ms, Cupcakes, Cookies... you have a bit of a sweet tooth
Favorite Thing to Do Outside the House: Go to parks, Go exploring ANYWHERE, really!
Best Friend: Adrian

NaBloPoMo November 2013
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November 20, 2013

Thankful Day 20: Grandparents

I know that more than one of my thankfuls has been about Sam, but a lot of stuff is going on with him right now, and this has been an opportunity to see the side of it that warms my heart and gives me confidence instead of making me feel stress.  I am so, so thankful for Sam's Grandparents, and their involvement in his life and education, and support of us as parents.  Today Sam's Grandpa Rich came up to go to a meeting at Sam's school with us, and I was really glad he was there.  It was a long drive for him.  He helped a lot and partly because of that help, we are to a place with Sam's school where we feel much more confident and understanding about the IEP process and what's going to happen from here on out.  Sam is so lucky to have grandparents who have so much knowledge and care about him so much, and I'm lucky to have their support in all we do.
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NaBloPoMo Day 20: Just Once

After seeing Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, all I could think about was how just once in my life, I would like to wear one of these:


Which got me thinking about other things I'd like to have occasion to wear.


Just once.


To feel like a princess.


To glitter.


To be fancy.


For a little while.


To be able to WALK in these!


To sparkle.


To have these wild curls.


Just once, just for a few minutes.  Aaaaahhh...  What's your fancy fantasy?
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November 19, 2013

Thankful Day 19: Professionals for Sam

I am thankful for all of the professionals who have helped us with Sam and all the different issues that have come up.  We went to an amazing open house at Sam's eye doctor tonight about Vision Therapy, and every time I talk to someone new I get a little more of this big picture of how everything with Sam is all linked and I can see how his development has progressed.  We have been very lucky to work with some amazing professionals for OT, Encopresis treatment, Eye care, all of it, and hopefully will continue this great luck into the future.
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NaBloPoMo Day 19: Concepts I Just Can't Get Behind

The 12th Man

I just.... can't.  I get that fan support is important, but I bet that they would play without fans for those millions they get to take home.  Just because you put a flag on your car or make a lot of noise in the stadium doesn't make you a part of the team.  You didn't win.  The team won.

Elimination Communication

If you don't know what it is, you can look it up.  But it is basically about "potty training" babies by holding them over the toilet when they do certain cues.  Then people say their baby is potty trained at 12 months or whatever.  Hey, guess what?  You didn't potty train your kid, you trained yourself to hold your kid over the toilet bowl.  What a pain.

"Obamacare"

No, it's not that I dislike the Affordable Care Act.  I think it's a step in the right direction, though I wish we could just go to universal healthcare and actually providing for everyone like they do in Europe.  And yes, I know the tax rates are really high, but the market adjusts and you get used to it, and there's a huge benefit to it.  Anyhow, that is totally off topic.  What I'm talking about here is calling the ACA "Obamacare."  I can't stand it.  It's totally annoying and usually said with this certain tone of voice that makes me want to throat-punch the smug throat that said it.  People do realize that Romney kind of made this plan first as governor?  Why can't we just use the correct name for it??

I'm sure there are more, in fact, I'm pretty sure I just thought of one right before I started writing this and then promptly forgot it.  My brain is not what it used to be, apparently.  Sigh...
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November 18, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 18: Priscilla, the Paramount & a Public Proposal

Image Credit: Joan Marcus
As I wrote about yesterday, we went to see Priscilla, Queen of the Desert last night at the Paramount, and the show was spectacular!  I enjoyed it so much.  The costumes were amazing, it was funny, and the musical numbers were big.  It was just FUN, and the audience was into it, which always makes it better.  There is just something about a show like this with the subject matter and the confrontation of homophobia and misunderstanding that occurs, and knowing you are in a room full of people who are completely accepting and love what they're watching warms your heart.  It was really refreshing after the last show we saw ended up being kind of a lukewarm disappointment in many ways.

It had been long enough since seeing the movie that I didn't remember the main plot point about why the queens were going on their desert trek, so it was nice to rediscover it.  I really want to watch the movie again now too!  After seeing it, one of the things I thought was how someday I wish I could just wear a big, feathery, showy headdress.  Just for a few minutes!

What we didn't know going in was that the show we saw last night was the last show of the U.S. tour.  After the end of the show, the actors stayed on the stage after the curtain call, and Scott Willis, who played Bernadette, began to speak.  He talked about the last 3 years working on this production and the costumes and the big-ness of the show - that it won't tour often because it's such an expensive show to produce, and the bus (which cost nearly a million dollars!) was never meant to leave New York, but they figured out how to do it.  It's a hugely technical show with a lot of lighting and other moving parts on the set, and there were 500 costumes - astronomical for a show where in most scenes, 25 people at most are on stage.  In the program there were some fun facts, one of which was that they used 2 lbs of glitter a month, and so much lipstick!

He talked about how it was so special to be involved in this show at a time when he feels that America is on the precipice of a time of true acceptance.  I feel it getting closer, but there's such a long way to go in so many ways, on so many levels.  It's nice to imagine a day when it will all be true though.  He spoke about the cast and their relationships with each other, he got choked up and so did I - I am kind of an empathetic crier (and a crier in general) then he turned to one of the young actors who played Benji and he was also choked up and it was just crazy and wonderful to be part of their farewell.

Scott turned it over to Wade McCollum, who played Tick/Mitzi, and he spoke about the players involved in the show and how they had made a beautiful tree with crazy colorful leaves and now those leaves would fall and all become part of some other tree.  They mentioned the costume designer and several others, and asked the choreographer to come up onto the stage.  I never noticed when Bryan West (Adam/Felicia) stole offstage to change from his costume into street clothes.  Then it was his turn to talk.

He said that one of the things this show had brought him in the last 3 years was the love of his life, the choreographer for the show, who he'd met and fallen in love with during this production.  Then he got down on one knee and proposed.  What?!  It was awesome.  I have never witnessed a proposal before, and what a perfect end to the night - two men getting a standing ovation for getting engaged at the final show of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert?  Sometimes, the world is just amazing.

NaBloPoMo November 2013
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Thankful Day 18: Acts of Kindness

I am thankful for random acts of kindness, today especially the hot cup of coffee on the way to work on a cold, rainy day courtesy of Leah who pretty much always makes me smile.  Cheers to Facebook for random friendship and connections, and to the little things that make my days.
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November 17, 2013

Thankful Day 17: Music

I am thankful for music.  Sometimes blaring the right music and singing at the top of my lungs is almost as good as a therapy session.  Going to musicals and listening to songs that speak to me in my bones and singing my kids their favorite songs at bedtime.  Life would be dull without it.
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NaBloPoMo Day 17: A Night at the Theater

This year for his birthday, I got Justin season tickets for the Broadway at the Paramount series in Seattle. One huge reason I went for the season tickets was because season ticket holders had first dibs on tickets for The Book of Mormon, coming back to Seattle next summer!  It came in early 2013, and the tickets pretty much sold out to season ticket holders, so I thought it might be my only chance, and I know Justin and I both REALLY want to see it.

It was an expensive investment for us, but I just absolutely love going to the theater.  Musicals are my poison of choice, though I wouldn't turn down a play if someone wanted to go.  I bought the cheapest package possible - our seats are in the highest balcony, but not in the last row.  It's not too big a theater, so I don't think there are any bad seats, I can go and be in the last row and still be happy, though on those rare occasions when I'm down on the floor I have an extra special time.

Our first show was the new Andrew Lloyd Webber production of The Wizard of Oz, which we saw last month.  I was excited because I have loved Andrew Lloyd Webber ever since I was introduced to him when I was about 14.  I had heard Jesus Christ Superstar before that, but this was my first live-show experience of an ALW show.  There's a performing arts school in Fargo, where my Dad used to live, and that year I did the summer program there for younger teens where we got to perform a couple of song/dance numbers before the show started one night.  The production that year was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and I was HOOKED.

Well, I didn't love the new Wizard of Oz.  I felt much the same way about it as I did about the movie that came out earlier this year - the movie with Judy Garland is just so GOOD.  The show is was mostly based exactly on the movie with a few extra songs. There were a couple of parts I was impressed with/really liked (the Wicked Witch of the West's minions performance after she melted was pretty great), but for the most part I just kept comparing the performances to the movies. No one can really compare to Ray Bolger's scarecrow, and the cowardly lion inexplicably didn't sing "If I Was the King of the Forest."

I've had some really memorable experiences at the theater.  Seeing Les Miserables for the first time with Justin in Seattle, and being brought to tears by the sheer beauty of the performances during On My Own and Bring Him Home.  My first time seeing Rent.  Seeing Jesus Christ Superstar with Ted Neely and Carl Anderson, who played Jesus and Judas in the 1970s film, with my Dad when it toured.  My nights out with my girlfriends seeing Mamma Mia and Hair.  Seeing Starlight Express on stage in London when I was there since it's kind of the only place to see it because of the stage.

I love to sing, and I think if I could have any job, not considering any other aspects of life or talent, I'd be a broadway star.  I'm excited for the rest of this season, tonight we're seeing Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and the remaining shows in the series are The Lion King (which I've seen once before), Once, and Evita (which I am SUPER excited about because I have heard it a million times but never seen it on stage), then The Book of Mormon next summer.  I can't wait!

Here are the shows I've seen in the theater (that I can remember):

  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (x2 - once at Trollwood School for the Performing Arts in Fargo, and once on stage in Vancouver, BC)
  • Jesus Christ Superstar
  • Rent (x4, one of my absolute favorites)
  • The Phantom of the Opera (in London)
  • Smokey Joe's Cafe (off Broadway, NY)
  • Footloose (Trollwood School for the Performing Arts)
  • Beauty and the Beast (Broadway in NYC starring Jamie Lynn Siegler as Belle)
  • Cats
  • Little Shop of Horrors
  • Hair
  • West Side Story
  • Singin' in the Rain
  • The Lion King (Broadway in NYC)
  • Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk
  • Les Miserables
  • Mamma Mia
  • The Wizard of Oz
Do you like going to shows?  What's your favorite?

NaBloPoMo November 2013
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November 16, 2013

Thankful Day 16: Washer & Drier

I am thankful for my washer and drier.  Because my cat barfed all over my bed today and I'm so glad I didn't have to wash all of that by hand.  And with the amount of time it takes me to do laundry WITH the machines, I can't imagine how long it would take if I had to hand wash everything in the tub and then hang it to dry, especially since my house is tiny and it rains all the time.
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NaBloPoMo Day 16: 10 Tips for Having a Great Natural Birth


I taught class 3 in the Birth Boot Camp curriculum this morning, about choosing your birthplace and care providers.  I am so inspired by the curriculum and by my students.  I'm teaching a private class right now with just one couple, and since it's just them this week I went to their home for the first time to teach them in their own space.  It was so warm and comfortable, and they are delightful.  They're so interested in everything I have to say, and I can tell that I'm really making a difference for them.  I've only known them 3 weeks and I'm already convinced their birth is going to be amazing.

 Since I was feeling so inspired by birth today, I figured that I would post something birthy here since I don't do it all that often.  I would like to have that crossover more often since I'm so passionate about it and it's a big part of my life.  This was originally published on my blog over at Ready, Set, Birth.  Enjoy!

10 Tips for Having a Great Natural Birth

There are so many things you can do to prepare yourself for your birth.  Here are 10 tips that will get you on the right path to having a great, natural birth!

#1: Consider a doula!  Research shows that a doula’s presence at a birth tends to result in shorter labors, fewer complications, more positive feelings about the experience in general, and reduced need for pitocin, forceps, and c-sections.  If you’re aiming for a natural birth, having a doula by your side for labor support can be an amazing tool.

#2: Trust your intuition.  There is a difference between fear and the sense that something is wrong or unusual or needs to be checked out.  My number one advice to new moms is to trust themselves – mother’s intuition is not an urban myth, and it starts when your baby is still in your belly.  Our inner voice is there for a reason, and if you’ve banished fear from your birthing process, you’ll be able to trust yours.

#3: Banish fear.  If you have fears about birth, take the time to sit down and journal, check out a book about working through fears, or talk to someone – a care provider, a friend, your birth teacher, or even a counselor.  The best way to go into birth is anxiety free and in a state where you are making decisions based on what you want an don the facts of your labor, NOT on fear of what might happen or lingering fears over what has happened in the past.

#4:  Take a childbirth class.  I recommend Birth Boot Camp (haha!), but in all seriousness, find the time to fit something in to your schedule, whether it’s my class or someone else’s.  The two hour class at the hospital with tour is not going to provide you with the information you need to trust yourself in birth and making any decisions that need to be made, the opportunity to practice the techniques you’re learning, and the chance to connect with other parents whose children will be the same age as yours.

#5: Don’t be afraid to switch providers. If your provider seemed supportive at first, but now is pushing for induction or scheduling or going back on his or her word, you don’t have to stay. If you get the feeling they are not supportive of your birth plan, you don’t have to stay. If they don’t treat you with respect, you SHOULDN’T stay.  I switched midwives at 30 weeks because I was just not clicking with the one I’d hired, and didn’t want someone at my birth who I wasn’t comfortable with.

#6: Relax! Spend time while you’re pregnant practicing relaxation and learn how to relax. This is one of the most important things you can do to prepare for a natural birth, which is one reason we practice this at almost every class in Birth Boot Camp. Learning how to breath deep and in your abdomen can make worlds of difference in letting your body birth your baby.

#7: Get rid of negative energy – if there are people around you who want to be present at your birth but are not providing positive energy, they need to hit the road.  It may sound callous to say that you should kick Grandma or your best bud out of the room, but the reality is that their nervous or unsupportive energy can affect your labor, and not in a positive way.  It can cause you to lose sight of what you’re doing and worry about someone else when all you should be thinking about is meeting your baby, or in the worst cases stall your labor because you’re not comfortable.

#8: Educate yourself about birth and what it is REALLY like.  Those birth scenes you see in the movies where the water breaks all over the floor in the grocery store, followed by immediate contractions that have a woman doubling over in pain and then screaming her way through delivery?  Not realistic!  Watching positive, peaceful, natural births not only instills confidence in your body and the process, but can give great examples of the kinds of breathing, toning, and sounds that can be helpful during a natural birth.
#9: Visualize and think positive. A lot of people feel silly at first doing visualization exercises  but guess what? No one thinks it’s silly when Olympic athletes visualize winning the gold, or football players visualize the play that will win them the Heisman Trophy. So WHY not visualize your birth the way you want it to be? Think about trusting your body and how you’ll bring your baby down.

#10: Make a birth plan!  A birth plan is not a guarantee.  It is good to have a flexible attitude about labor and birth because it’s impossible to know what mother nature holds in store for you.  I still recommend that everyone make a birth plan.  In the process of sitting down and writing down what you want and don’t want in your ideal situation, you learn what is important to you, where you are most flexible, and educate yourself about all the options.  This will allow for calm and educated decision making should things not go as planned during labor.
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November 15, 2013

Thankful Day 15: Electricity

I am thankful for electricity.  Seriously.  Because ours has gone out twice in the last week and then I just sit here thinking about how dark it is and if I go to sleep how will I know when it came back on and whether the food in the fridge is still good, and then I think - man, I have a magic box that keeps my food cold so it doesn't go bad.  THAT IS SO COOL.  Electricity.
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NaBloPoMo Day 15: Friday Fragments


It's been quite a while since I participated in Friday Fragments, but I used to do it regularly when I blogged more often.  I like having a place to empty my head of those little thoughts that get in there during the week but just aren't enough for a full blog post.

***

I watched a documentary tonight called "The Elephant in the Living Room" on Netflix.  Netflix is like the pot at the end of the rainbow for documentaries - it's hard for me to discover new ones I want to watch sometimes until I start perusing Netflix and then I end up watching all kinds of crazy stuff, and it's all great.  Who knew a documentary about a font ("Helvetica") would be so interesting.  Anyhow, the one I watched tonight was about people owning exotic animals (especially dangerous ones) in the United States.  It was interesting, though if you're an animal lover, just beware there's a scene in the last half hour where an animal dies from a tragic accident and it's very sad.  In any case, it's bizarre to me that people out there think it's okay to own the most poisonous snakes in the world or Siberian Tigers in their backyards in little cages.  So weird.

***

I'm listening to the 2nd book in the Partials Sequence by Dan Wells, "Fragments."  I really like it so far.  I have been into all kinds of dystopian YA books since I read The Hunger Games, and this series is one I really like.  My other favorites are the Divergent series, the Delerium series, and I really liked the first book in the Monument 14 books.  What are your favorites?  I need to read them!

***

Our power just went out.  It is 10:08 pm and I am writing this on my laptop with the battery.  This is the second time this week our power has gone out at night.  The first time was last Sunday and I got home at 2 AM (NOT usual for a work night, but I was in Seattle for book club and ended up going to a movie and then hanging out with my best friend, and I was in great need of some girlfriend time!), and it was all down our street.  I'd seen a fire truck and ambulance on the street out nearer the main road, so I thought that had something to do with it.  Not sure what's going on this time, but Justin's going outside to investigate.  I say if I can't post this until after midnight, it still counts, as long as I finish writing it before midnight.  Our internet connection won't work with the power out, which also means that our phones won't work, so I can't even go on Facebook and see if anyone knows why the power is out again!  GAH!

***

We have tickets this Sunday for our 2nd show in the Broadway at the Paramount series - Priscilla Queen of the Desert.  I am looking forward to it!  I liked the movie, and I wasn't that impressed with the new Wizard of Oz, so I'm hoping this will make me feel happier than that did.  I think after this our next one is in January, but I can't remember which one it is.

***

I feel like time is just flying by - I can't believe at all that it's halfway through November already and there is basically only a month until Christmas.  WHAT?!  I think the rest of November is going to go by really, really fast because we have so much stuff going on - the show this weekend, lots of appointments next week, my birthday next weekend including a sleepover for me in Seattle, and then heading to the farm in Eastern Washington for Thanksgiving.  Wowza.  I'm feeling a little anxious even though it's all fun stuff, well, except the meetings.

***

In case anyone is reading that was here yesterday, my eye doesn't hurt anymore.  So, that's good.  I must have poked myself or something and made a bruise.  Who knows?

***

Our cat has taken to hissing as a form of communication.  It's really weird.  He's an old-guy cat, I think he's 12 years old?  Maybe 13?  He is kind of needy and meows at us a lot, and he had fleas that got really bad earlier this year, so he started hissing when he wanted things, like to go outside, or basically for us to pay attention to him.  Basically, he just randomly hisses, and it's not anger, it's like he's just decided that is a new way for him to talk to us.  It's especially distressing when he is sleeping on the back of the couch right behind your head and you either don't know he's there, or don't realize he's awake, and he suddenly just hisses really loud in your ear.

***

The movie I saw last Sunday was called "In a World."  It has Lake Bell and I think she either wrote or produced it, it's about voice actors.  It was a lot funnier than I expected it to be, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes funny, quirky, independent comedies.  Very entertaining!

***

Well, I think that's about it for this one!  It's only 10:23, that didn't take long!  I love it when I start out feeling uninspired and then I just type and stuff comes out and it feels great.  I hope you all have a great weekend, I'll be around figuring out what to write about!  I wrote Sam's "birthday" letter, but still owe one to Danny, so maybe I'll work on that one of the days.

HA!  11:01 and the power just came back on.  Boo yah.

NaBloPoMo November 2013
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November 14, 2013

Thankful Day 14: MOM!

I am thankful for my Mom, Edie!  She is really the best mom ever, I couldn't ask for a better one.  She went to visit my sister over in Colville last weekend so I haven't seen her in a week.  If I go more than a week without talking to her I start to get Mom withdrawls.  For real!  I just love my mama, that's all.
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NaBloPoMo Day 14: Reaching the Limit

I want to be uplifting, but I am feeling so overwhelmed right now.

My eye has been hurting all day and since my last eye problems led to my IIH diagnosis, it's freaking me out a little bit.  It's different, it feels like a bruise on the side of my eye socket, and my eye feels swollen even though it doesn't really look swollen in the mirror.

I slept on my boob wrong last night and it was sore for half the day (what the hell?).

We are still in the midst of figuring out Sam's IEP and new evaluations and some way to get him some kind of vision therapy and figuring out when to go pick up his new glasses, and which of us is going to take him to the counselor tomorrow, and how to optimize his medication and timing of when he gets it for his encopresis since he goes straight to after-school care and is away from home for like a billion hours a day, and getting him a new pediatrician so we can get a consult to a neuropsychologist to do a full workup to make sure we really know what's going on but oh wait, I should call the insurance company first to figure out what is covered and how and OMG.

I have several phone calls I need to make that need to be done during business hours and then I never am able to find the time at work to take a break, and I just need to do it already.

Even though I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving at the farm and seeing my family, the rest of this month is PACKED with stuff - a play in Seattle this weekend, my birthday celebration with friends next weekend, and going to the farm, and I'm not looking forward to the 7 hour drive or the mountain passes possibly being snowy and difficult and the fact that Sam sometimes gets carsick.

Aaaaaand things are just complicated in other ways that are making me feel tired and weird and counseling is amazing but it's also hard to let my feelings come out because apparently, if you take the last few months (years??) as an example, I'd rather shove them down and put a cork in them.  Oops.

Also, I haven't seen my Mom in a week and am getting withdrawls because I love my Mom and need to talk to her more than once a week.

Did I mention that my IIH isn't actually gone?  I mean, it's much improved, but my optic nerves are still slightly swollen and I'm still on 500mg/day of Diamox (a diuretic) and need to lose more weight.  I lost like 20 lbs but have gained almost half of it back and am having a hell of a time trying to do anything about it.  I have to stop eating my feelings, and somehow in the midst of all of this I am supposed to find time to exercise??  Or I could go back on a special diet, like Medifast, but that costs like $330 a month and that's just a lot of money.  Who knows.  Maybe it would even out, but right now it's just stressing me out and I just ate a bunch of handfuls of Captain Crunch Oops All Berries from the box.  ARGH!

My to-do list is full, I haven't talked to my sister or other family in forever, I stay up too late every night trying to get stuff done and then I'm tired, there are too many bills to pay and too many calls to make and too many places to go and too many messes that need to be cleaned up around the house, and it's just all a lot.

I go and go and go and I feel like I never have time to breathe.  There has to be a light at the end of this, right?

  NaBloPoMo November 2013
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November 13, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 13: Totally Random College Throwback

So, I randomly came across my personal statement.  The one I wrote when applying to the University of Washington Business School.  It's always strange to read old writing, but in this case it's also surprising because there is so much about it that still feels the same, even 12 years later...  I still miss Human Resources and why I went into it.  I get to dabble in it a tiny bit at work, but not that much.  I loved the HR class I took at UW, and hope I'll get to use them more someday.

University of Washington School of Business Personal Statement

1. “You’re such a dork!” I remember very clearly the words I heard my best friend say to me one day as we were walking home from class in the ninth grade. I listened to her talking about how when I got some money, we would go shopping and I could buy myself a new wardrobe. She didn’t seem to be considering the fact that I might not want a new wardrobe. I suddenly realized that she wanted me to conform because she was embarrassed of me. She wanted me to turn into another version of herself, which she would find more acceptable. It all started years before that, when I changed schools in second grade. I had many nicknames after that, such as “geek” and “nerd”. Although I got used to it, it never stopped hurting. I became resigned and just accepted that I would never be part of the “in” crowd, just because I was five pounds heavier, or because I tucked my shirt in, or laughed differently. By the time I was in middle school, I’d accepted the teasing and taunting as my fate. Before I knew it, the transition to high school had arrived. My best friend through middle school decided she didn’t want to be friends anymore, to reasons I have never discovered. Although it was hard, it also forced me to get out there and make new friends, to stand up and say, “This is me”. Ninth grade changed everything. I got less and less shy, and made friends who liked me for what I was, not for the clothes I wore or the way I talked. I still wasn’t part of the “in” crowd. I probably am not part of that crowd now, and never will be. After all these years, I know there are still people who think that I’m a dork. I have much more confidence in myself though, and I know how to stick up for myself. Our society bases so much on fitting in that many people never realize how important it is just to be yourself, and realize that in itself is special. It’s not all about what clothes you wear or what car you drive, or how high up in the company you are. It’s nice to know that I didn’t go through all of those years of being a geek for nothing. 

2. By the time I reached my sophomore year in high school, I didn’t feel that the classes I was taking were very challenging. Luckily, my school offered Running Start to their students, and during my junior year I was able to start attending classes at Whatcom Community College. I loved everything about it. I liked being treated as an adult and being challenged by my classwork, and I embraced life there. The one downfall I saw in the program was that by the time I finished high school I was only one quarter away from earning my Associates Degree. Although I was proud of this achievement and glad to go back for one more quarter to continue and complete my classes, I also think that completing that much schooling in such a compacted period of time is very difficult. By the time I finished my degree, I couldn’t imagine being in school any longer. However, I managed to keep my grades up at a pretty good level, and to make the deans list my last quarter there, which is something I am proud of. I went back to school one quarter later to study overseas, and then took the following year off. What this time off allowed me was to once again become excited about the prospect of being in school and learning new things. I am just starting my second quarter at the University of Washington. Last quarter, I took Accounting, Math, and Economics classes, and loved every minute of it – I even liked reading my textbooks! My year working and time off allowed me to discover a new and interesting career path, and to learn a lot about what it’s really like being involved in a corporation.

3. While I was out of school, I got a job as a customer care representative at VoiceStream Wireless. During the year that I worked there, I was exposed to things that I never knew I would be interested in. In that time, I experienced exponential growth and three mergers/acquisitions with them. At VoiceStream, everything was always changing. While I was working there in 1999 and 2000, I also witnessed big changes in the atmosphere and morale of the work environment. At first, it was a dream come true. They treated every worker as an individual; even the managers knew our names. I was able to earn extra skills, like handling escalated customers, and could earn pay raises and receive additional training. We were also empowered to help the customers in any way that we needed to in order to fix their problems. VoiceStream had the best customer service I had ever experienced, and I was a part of it. Things changed and by the time that I quit a year later, it was a rare occurrence to even see a smiling face. It seemed as though everything had been taken away from us. We were no longer allowed to use the extra skills we had earned, as the general customer queue was so behind all the time. We were rarely informed of policy or companywide changes when we needed to be. Any opportunity for career advancement within the call center had disappeared. I no longer felt that the people higher up in the company really cared about me as an employee. There were many issues that had been brought up involving morale and the changes in the company, but it didn’t seem like anyone’s concerns were being addressed. The change that I saw happen while working for VoiceStream made me think about the way that companies treat their employees. Working there allowed me to see a world I had never experienced before- the business world. It was one of the most interesting things I’d ever seen. I wanted to learn more about it, and could see myself being involved in it for a long, long time. Because the employees are at the heart of the company, and in many companies are dealing directly with the customers; the way that they feel and are treated on a daily basis can affect everything from efficiency to customers’ impressions about the company. I have seen these effects firsthand, and how important it is that employees feel appreciated and heard. My goal is to involve myself in HR or management, focusing on employee relations to develop healthy and efficient ways to relate to their employees, while still running the firm efficiently.

NaBloPoMo November 2013
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Thankful Day 13: Honeycrisps

I am thankful for Honeycrisp apples, because they are delicious and my favorite.  I especially love the big juicy ones from Bellewood acres, grown right in Bellingham.  Best apples ever.
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November 12, 2013

Thankful Day 12: Fleece Sheets

I am thankful for fleece sheets.  It's getting cold and dark outside and I just want to be cozy.  I am feeling especially this way tonight because I am SO tired after staying up too late the last 2 nights.  I always get cold in the winter so after I'm home from work I pretty much always have either slippers and a sweater on, or have a blanket on me.  I love crawling inside my bed when the fleece sheets are on and snuggling down deep.  I am also thankful for Helene having introduced me to them and gotten me my first set!
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NaBloPoMo Day 12: Not That Kind of Girl

There are certain things that you will never catch me doing in a million years, because I'm just not that kind of girl.  It's not that I don't see value in these things, or that I judge people negatively for doing them.  It's just that for me, it's never going to happen.  I could kid myself and say there are certain things in life that I'd like to experience or go on some sort of conquest for.  But I know I'll never do these things, and I'm okay with that.  Honestly.  Some of these things are just easier to do when you're younger and don't have so many kids and responsibilities and are more fit.  Some just start to seem too young or distasteful as you grow older.  I mean, let's just agree on this.

I will NEVER:
  • Have a flower garden or landscaping at my home that is free of weeds and looks as nice as the one in front of Danny's daycare. Unless I've hired someone to maintain it for me.
  • Be able to bake anything without following a recipe for measurements.
  • Read any books by Charles Dickens.
  • Eat Foie Gras.
  • Have a TV-free home.
  • Go backpacking.
  • Walk across the Capilano Suspension Bridge, or any other crazy-ass suspension bridge.
  • Compete in any kind of group athletic challenge, up to and including an iron man, a triathalon, or a marathon.
  • Have a house that's dust free.  Unless there's a housekeeper involved.
  • Separate my whites and darks when I do laundry.
  • Floss on a regular basis.
I'm just not that kind of girl!

So, what about you?  What are the things that you just know you'll never do, even if they seem nice/good for you/rewarding to other people you know who do them?

NaBloPoMo November 2013
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November 11, 2013

Thankful Day 11: Veterans

I am thankful for my freedom.  Nowhere is perfect, but my life is pretty good here.  I am thankful for the veterans who have given up a lot to fight for that freedom.  Whether or not I agree with every single fight, I will always support the people who are out there standing up for me.
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NaBloPoMo Day 11: A Short One

NaBloPoMo November 2013 I am SO tired today!  I went to Book Club yesterday and it was awesome.  I really needed it this month, and we had a good discussion about the book, which was my pick, so that was cool.  I ended up staying and visiting with my best friend and going to a movie.  I thought, hey, why not, it will get out a little after 11, not TOO late, if I got home by like 12:15 I'd be okay for work.  Except after the movie, we ended up talking forever, and I didn't get home until 2 AM.  And when I got home, the power was out, and I ended up talking to Justin for a little while, so I probably didn't really fall asleep until around 2:45 maybe?  And got up at 7.  Not enough sleep for me!  I was planning to use the writing prompt for today, but Sam is sick and just came out of his room - he's been in there for half an hour and I thought he was asleep, but he's not and he has a fever and wants to lie with Mom, so I've got to close the laptop and cuddle my sick kid.  More tomorrow!

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November 10, 2013

NaBloPoMo/Thankful Day 10: Book Club

Book club in Bellingham!
I am beyond thankful for my book club.

We have been meeting for almost 10 years.  In that time, we have seen many pregnancies and births, we have seen deaths, we have seen injuries and illnesses, hard times, times to celebrate, and everything in between.  We have read 100 books together.  We meet once a month, alternating between the homes of our members.  We talk about the books we read, then we move on to talking about how we are doing.  A large part of the focus will often land one or two specific ladies each month - those of us who are most needing to reach out and find support or guidance.  Some months it's 3 hours, other months we are together for closer to 5 or 6 and all find ourselves surprised at how late it is.

Christmas potluck & gift exchange 2011
We are a diverse group of women, several stay at home moms, a couple of working moms, one with no kiddos.  We all know each other in different ways, and the common link for most of us was the woman who started the club.  We come from different walks of life, and different backgrounds, and have different views on many issues.

Once a month, we gather.  We laugh together, eat together, drink together, sometimes cry together, and it's always a time that rejuvenates my soul.  We celebrate birthdays together with nights out several times a year, and most years we take a weekend trip to a beach house or somewhere fun with our kids.  Last year I am pretty sure we had 20+ kids and 6 adults in one house.  It was awesome.  We have had grown up sleepovers, and next year we'll be going to Suncadia for a weekend to celebrate our 10 year anniversary.

Me and Tara, who started the book club
I cannot imagine my life without these women.  They are some of my best friends in the world, and going to book club is always a highlight of my month.  These women have supported me through the hardest times in my life, and I know they will always be there for me.  When I sat in that room 10 years ago and met some of these women for the first time, I never imagined what this group would become, and how large a part of my life it would be.  I couldn't have.  This is my tribe.  And I feel so, so blessed. NaBloPoMo November 2013
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