And August Oozes its Way Out with 1000% Humidity

81 | 365 - August 24, 2014

Six more days left of August. I say that as if it means something – as if September 1 rolls around and the weather will flip the switch and the temperature will be tolerable, my allergies will abate and I will no longer have hair so frizzy that it can only be contained by finally succumbing to the ponytail.

But six more days and as we near September first, the temperature has kicked up a few notches as has the humidity and OH MY GOD IT’S THE WORST.

(Snow and sub-zero temperatures are also THE WORST so as you can clearly tell: I have weather issues.)

But August is almost over and I AM SO GLAD BECAUSE UGH.

Let’s cross our fingers that it’s 65 and sunny on Monday.

Thursday Ten: One Foot In Front Of The Other Edition

1. I made it through his birthday and the anniversary of his passing and well, it hasn’t been the easiest week of my life but on Monday, several of us were sharing memories of him on Facebook and it was nice to have people to share that with – we all miss him so much and we all have such amazing memories — to pool them together was really a bit of a relief.
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2. And then I stood in the same spot where I stood a year ago and watched the sun set. My last goodbye to my grandpa was on his birthday last year – we had been sure that “that was it” that we said our goodbyes. Somehow he had managed to hang on another day and I couldn’t bear to say goodbye again… so last year on his birthday I watched the sun set. This year I did the same. He’s still with us. Still with me.

3. Sigh. On a lighter note… Just a week and a half left of summer and it’s BACK TO SCHOOL for the girls. They are bickering at toxic levels right now, though, so… it’s about time.

4. Because I was tired of my wretched burgundy door – after 12 years of hating it! I finally painted it this past weekend. Behr’s Cloudless. I sort of love it. I haven’t yet painted my shutters and I know my neighbors are wondering about that – if I’m going to leave those nasty shutters clashing forever (no, I’m not) – but I’ll get to it soon.
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5. It hasn’t been a very summer-y summer, weatherwise so I should feel guilty about complaining about normal summer weather but UGH THE HUMIDITY. (No: I don’t feel guilty). I was just not cut out to sweat so much. Give me that 70 degree weather back please.

6. Protein drinks with powdered peanut butter is an actual thing in my life now. Sigh. Concerted effort to get back into shape and that means eating less garbage. I miss garbage eating. KETTLE COOKED POTATO CHIPS NOM NOM NOM.

7. Realizing the window between driving in road construction and driving on ice is very very small.

8. Checked out a bunch of books from the library. They were all awful. I love that I can just shut them and return them without any guilt or wasted money. Love the library.

9. I don’t think that Facebook is going to suck my brain out through their messenger app but ugh I don’t want to download another app. (Also, my nearly dead phone with peanut butter in the receiver has limited space and not worthy of an app I don’t need).

10. Already making plans for the weekend and those plans involve TACOS. I win.

Happy Birthday. I Miss You.

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Dear Grandpa,

I have had a lot of thoughts in my head over the past few weeks – well, over the past year even, if I’m really being honest – and as today drew closer, I found myself overwhelmed with an odd mix of extreme sadness and determination that I would not let today get the best of me. It’s early yet, and time will tell, but I will do my best today to honor you in a way that would have made you proud. Perhaps, I’ll duct tape something.

It seems unfair to have to endure both your birthday and the anniversary of your death within a 48 hour span, but perhaps that’s just a way to rip off the bandaid and get all the truly hard hurting done at once, and then find a way to put one foot in front of the other until the next hurdles – holidays.

Which is not to say that it’s only difficult on those big days – but those are the days it’s worse.

Most of the time, though, when I think of you it’s with love and I am able to put away the sadness of a year ago at this time. The sadness of saying goodbye.

Most of the time I think of things like potato pancakes and duct tape, of you shoveling the driveway even though everyone offered to have it plowed for you, how you always had Lifesavers in church, and how you pronounced my youngest daughter’s name funny. How you were so proud of them. How you were so proud of me. How you sent me postcards when I was a kid living in California and when we’d talk on the phone we’d race to say “Gotcha!” to each other. How you taught me to start my car with a clothes pin. How you were such an awful driver (you were. Grandma said one day, as we sat by your side during those last weeks, that she always figured you’d perish in the car – those were her words: Perish in the car. She followed that with, “Not that he was a bad driver” but yes, yes you were). The sound of your voice singing. When you called grandma “babe” when you were planning to renew your vows on your 60th anniversary.

You were and are so very loved – and I miss having you around. I hate that you’re not here. I wish you could see my daughters. I wish you could see that my life is coming back together. I’m glad you got to meet Chris and he got to meet you and these are all things I probably said last year right around this time but if I say them twice I must really mean them, right?

You were the glue that held us all together and since you’ve been gone there have been so few occasions where everyone’s been in the same place.

We didn’t get together on Father’s Day but we were all heart broken.

The thing is, you were so amazing. You were so strong for us. You were funny. You made us smile. You – just by being you – captured a permanent place in each of us and without you, it’s very clear that something’s absent.

And I don’t want to fill that void – but I don’t want to be sad either.

Sad feels ungrateful.

Some people are never as lucky as we were. Never as lucky as I was to have had someone like you in my life for so long (I’ve forgotten, grandpa, how old I am – isn’t that the funniest thing?).

We were blessed.

We were loved.

We miss you.

I miss you.

Forever grateful to have had you in my life.

i still love you.


Thursday Ten: I Don’t Relax Well edition

1. I took two days off this week – originally, Chris and I were going to head down to Black Dog Gelato (YUM!) in Chicago to take a gelato making class. I know, I know, it seems silly – but their gelato is PHENOMENAL and the class was set up so each person could design their own flavor, take it home, blah blah blah. It just sounded fun! Plus – I LOVE CHICAGO. A mini-escape seemed the perfect adventure as summer is nearing its end – buuuuut… the class was canceled. I have therefore spent the past two days at home cleaning my house and DOING stuff because I don’t do well just sitting on my butt doing nothing. Not a fun vacation. My house is clean, which is good, but ugh.

2. My Facebook feed has been flooded this week with back-to-school posts, but here in Michigan, the girls have another few weeks until they start just after Labor Day. Admittedly this summer has flown by faster than any other I can remember – and usually by now, we’re all crawling out of our skin waiting for school to start. Perhaps it’s because I’m working full time this year – I’m not sure. I feel like I haven’t been around as much as other years which stinks – but it also means that yeah, we’re at August 14 and it’s still fairly calm around here. Calm is good.

3. Facebook has also been filled with a lot of posts about Robin Williams. I can’t think of a celebrity death that has moved me as his has and I think it’s because Robin Williams was in several of my favorite movies. Though I wasn’t as much a fan of his comedic roles, I know that his art brought a lot of joy to many, me included, and it’s a huge loss that he’s gone. And while I don’t have much to contribute to the discussion on depression and Robin Williams’ death, one of the pieces that moved me tremendously was this one from Casey.

4. I bought into the hype and I bought the square marshmallows for s’mores. I’m a chump. The kids said they’re better. Um. Okay.
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5. When you go to get a hair cut and you say, “I NEED A CHANGE!” and you walk out with… the exact same hair cut. Sigh. That.

6. I love Apple and am pretty much a fan girl but WHOA, does iTunes get less and less usable? I hate its format now. I want old school iTunes back.

7. Speaking of fangirling… Less than a month until the rumored announcement about the newest iPhones. I’ll be waiting to get one. Mostly because my phone doesn’t work because the receiver is probably full of peanut butter.

8. Picking songs again for my 365. It’s my least favorite part of the whole shebang. Ugh.

9. My allergies are absolutely miserable right now. Damn you, ragweed!

10. If the weather holds, my project for the weekend will be to paint my front door. I’ve done so much painting around this house – huge rooms, even – I’m not sure why I’m letting this door project intimidate me. What I do know is I hate the color red, and so by default I’m not loving this burgundy door I’ve lived with for twelve years. Time for it to go. And yeah, I actually considered buying a new door versus painting this one. My wallet won: paint it is.

Thursday Ten: Swimming In Dog Puke edition

1. He has now thrown up just about every day for the past week. He seems fine otherwise, but I’m hoping that getting him groomed yesterday solves the problem. Because he’s a labradoodle, he doesn’t actually shed – so when his fur gets long and unruly and muppet-y, I think he chokes on it when he grooms himself. Hairball-esque gag reflexes trigger puppy puke puddles in my dining room. Sigh. Do not like. Hope he’s on the mend.
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2. Summer is FLYING by. My Facebook feed is full of first day of school pictures already! I can’t believe it – but here the kids will start school in just under a month. A few more weeks of summer schedules – and then the kids can start going to bed at normal times again! WHOOP WHOOP! (Seriously, bedtime keeps creeping later and later as summer rolls on and then I look at the clock and I’m all, “GO TO BED!” Kind of. I mean, they’re in bed by ten most nights but oy.)

3. So I watched a YouTube video of a crying baby going nuts when Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” came on and aside from people letting their babies listen to stupid music, the other thing that blew me away (but not surprised me) was how kooky the comments were. People are nuts.

4. Speaking of… do you really think an IQ test you take on Facebook is really gonna be accurate (because I gotta say, there’s a few of them I don’t think would break 100)…

5. Top Chef Duels > Chopped

6. Chris and I took a day trip to Traverse City last week to spend the day admiring gorgeous scenery and tasting yummy wines. I love Traverse City and it was really a much needed break from life to get away from things for a bit, to spend an amazing day with Chris and to treat ourselves to the day. Oddly enough, despite my not being a “dip on crackers” kind of person – I’ve been kind of craving the cherry jalapeno dip served with crackers at L Mawby. Already wanting to go back!
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7. I need a change. I need a hair cut. I can’t decide what to do. Let’s see if I actually get ANYTHING beyond a trim this evening when I go in for a hair cut.

8. Only a few weeks remain of this year’s 365 – it blows my mind how quickly this year went.

9. So, all that StitchFix hubbub and I can’t decide if I care if they’re marking up clothes so drastically because HEY I suck at shopping and I figured there was an upcharge and all. I should want to cancel my next shipment but I really need shirts without having to go to a mall.

10. My twenty year high school reunion is next month. *gasp* I. Uh. How the hell has it been TWENTY YEARS since high school? I shouldn’t sound shocked – I feel every single one of those twenty years, but I shouldn’t be this old and UGH. I am. Whoopty-freaking-do. (And yeah, I’m probably going to the reunion.)

A Letter to My Sweet Pumpkin on her 9th Birthday

Dear Pumpkin,

Nine years ago this morning, I remember calling in to work saying, “I don’t think I’ll be in to work today because apparently I’m having a baby.” I called them back less than an hour later to tell them you were born. You made a swift arrival into this world, sweet pea. A swift arrival. An early morning arrival. Every year I’ve said, “You’ve been an early bird ever since!” The past week or so, however, you’ve had days where you’ve slept so late that I haven’t seen you before I leave for work – grandpa arrives to watch you and your sister and I say, “She’s still sleeping!” and he’s amazed as I am because since when do you sleep past seven a.m.?

Since now, apparently.

For your birthday, I bought you a pair of leggings from H&M with a print of pug faces all over them. They are so gaudy, but I think you are going to love them! I bought them two months ago when I was shopping for your sister’s birthday and I have been holding on to these pug pants ever since. I also picked up a pug tee, another shirt with a dog with a matching headband, socks with dogs on them, and a Web Kinz that looks like it could be our puppy’s twin. But smaller. You still really really love dogs – and while some people think, just how many dog stuffed animals does a kid need? I don’t much worry about it because you like what you like.

You’ll be entering fourth grade in the fall and you’re an amazing student – teachers really like your creative mind and your reading skills are exceptionally high. You ask amazing questions and you are curious and insightful. You’re friendly and welcoming and you like people. You have pretty awful handwriting though. Your teacher last year said he wasn’t worried about it- he could still read it and could see the thoughts you were trying to express and it wasn’t worth fussing over. I think you just get so impatient. You want to get those thoughts out. You prefer typing though.

Lately, I find you often typing stories on the computer. Or you’ll tell me about a dream you had that you plan to make into a series. You amaze me – because not only do you have all of these ideas ping-ponging around in your brain, but you’re fabulous at expressing them. While you don’t always like to share what you’ve written, when you do, I’m completely impressed. And I’m proud of you a lot and I’m proud of me a little – even though you would still be you if I wasn’t one who likes to read and write but I like to think that by seeing me read, that you decided that it wasn’t an awful thing.

Who knows. You’d probably be  a writer if I was illiterate.


Your hair was cut into a short, sassy do earlier this summer and I’m in love with it – the ease of it, the elimination of that big ever-present snarl that was always a daily battle. You like to brush your hair now. You look more like YOU. A little bit older – not too much – but you were lost behind that tangled hair. You radiate and I can see your clear blue eyes and your delicate shoulders and you aren’t trapped by hair. It seems a silly thing, to be so amazed by a haircut, but it truly makes me smile.

You are empathetic and are very concerned with others’ feelings. Not just other people, but things. I worry about your heart sometimes, how much you hurt for things – you cuddle with one stuffed puppy and worry that the rest might have their feelings hurt. Your hurt is sweet and genuine and I am blown away by your big heart and your caring but I am afraid for you and afraid of the world sometimes that isn’t always kind to tender-hearted souls. I hope that you will be strong when faced with life’s challenges. But I’ll try to not worry too much about it – for I’d rather you feel too much than nothing at all.

Empathetic. Kind. Silly. Fun.

Big heart. Sweet smile.

The other day on a trolley ride, I asked if you would sit in my lap. “MOM! I’m too old to sit in your lap…in public,” you said. Good to know you’re still my little girl, even though you’re getting older.

Some days you and your sister are best friends. Some days the bickering drives me bonkers.

Some days you clean your room without asking. Some days I find ten empty Capri Sun pouches hidden behind the couch.

Some days you want to write and write. Some days you want to play at your friends’ houses until I say it’s time to come home.

I really like you, Pumpkin. Not only do i love you but I genuinely like you. I think you’re a really neat kid. I think you’re lovely. I like having you around. I am so blessed, really, to have two amazing daughters.

I am so glad you were born. I hope that 9 brings you a lot of great things. You’re gonna move mountains, miss.

Happy birthday, sweet girl. I love you with my whole heart.




Thursday Ten: Yesterday I Put On A Hoodie and I LIKED IT edition

1. After two miserably hot days earlier this week, temperatures dropped yesterday and by last night i had goosebumps and even put a hoodie on. I’m not gonna lie – it was GLORIOUS.

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2. The hot weather makes it hard to work out. On one hand, I’m trying to keep in the habit of always moving every day. On the other hand HOLY CRAP I’M MELTING. So. Laps around my mom’s pool like an old lady. No shame, no shame.

3. It’s a very bizarre feeling to finish editing a portrait session. There’s that relief and the “whoohoo I’m done” aspect of everything and then there’s a funny bittersweetness – you get familiar with some many details of your subject’s faces as you edit – the ridges on the edges of teeth, eyebrows, when the face is at rest and when it is tensed as faces sometimes are when they’re being photographed. Anyway, wrapped up editing a shoot.

4. Was unable to attend the one concert I wanted to see this summer – the Counting Crows were in town earlier this week. I was, however, able to pre-order their new album and have downloaded the first two songs. And… I don’t know what I think about them. This won’t be an “August & Everything After” that I will listen to start to finish. It’ll be like “Desert Life” where I pick and choose a handful of songs and leave the rest. Which is a bummer.

5. I don’t mean to pee on anyone’s cornflakes but I totally don’t get the Weird Al thing and I’m tired of seeing him all over Facebook.

6. I have been tired all week and I can’t get un-tired.

7. Pumpkin turns nine this weekend and I have no idea where time has gone. And I’ve waited until the last minute to do her birthday shopping. What to get, what to get.

8. Television news is depressing.

9. Isn’t it cute how every few months I say i need to read more and then it takes me three weeks to read one book? I’m TRYING to get better, y’all.

10. I need a vacation. I need rest. Life is so much better than it was when 2014 began, but dang, I need a moment to breathe, to slow down… Calgon take me away.

Thursday Ten: Salad Fueled edition

1. In effort to detox from the massive amounts of junk food i ate over the holiday weekend, I’ve eaten so many salads this week. I feel all virtuous and mighty but OH MY GOD DO I WANT A COOKIE.

2. The girls and I spent the holiday weekend with Chris and his family. It was great to get away from home and we had a lot of fun. Also? Got to see the Blue Angels for the first time in YEARS.
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3. Ahhh, the joys of summer and kids who resist going to bed at a decent hour. Sigh. I know, I know, they don’t have school to go to in the mornings, but they still need their sleep and I still need an hour or so of downtime each night before I zonk out. “I’m rolling up my yoga mat,” is the latest excuse for procrastinating bedtime.

4. Took The Princess to a pediatric orthopedic specialist yesterday for an injury she got during gymnastics which turned out to be… no big deal. The verdict was tendinitis and she has instruction to take it easy for awhile to let it heal. I’m relieved it’s nothing major, and am actually pretty impressed with the local medical center for kiddaroonis. It was a good experience (easy for me to say because it turned out to be nothing).

5. As a surprise, my sister cut Pumpkin’s hair a week or so ago and I LOVE IT. The short and sassy style suits my daughter’s face and personality so well – and the upkeep is much much easier for her tangle-prone hair. She may never have long hair again!

6. Every time I watch “House Hunters International” I wonder if the realtors are thinking, “You stupid Americans, didn’t you do ANY research on how much it would cost to rent a flat here before you decided that THIS was where you wanted to move?” Why do they always seem so surprised when it’s expensives?

7. Currently reading: Eleanor & Park. I know it’s a Young Adult book but it’s sweet (so far) reading about a first love.

8. Maybe I should get a hair cut.

9. My next Stitch Fix is due to arrive next week and boy do I need some new clothes. Here’s hoping there’s some good stuff in there.

10. I treated myself to a pedicure after last week’s web launch and you know, I have to do that more often. Not just so I can avoid having janky feet, but because it felt heavenly to pamper myself. I’ve found a great place near by that doesn’t cost a fortune, so maybe I can make it happen at least every other month. It’s a splurge but it’s sure nice for peace of mind.

Thursday Ten: Lack of Depth edition

1. I get a little bit down sometimes that I am not doing any real writing here lately. I hate that I write once a week and it’s just a series of thrown together thoughts and I can’t seem to put anything more together. I HAVE THINGS TO SAY, GOSH DARN IT. I just…don’t.

2. My lack of words here is more about time than it is about self-censorship. The self-censorship affects me everyplace else. My biting my tongue about stuff is how I get to the point where I’m rambling to Chris about Hobby Lobby at midnight on a Tuesday. Poor guy. I HAVE OPINIONS ABOUT STUFF. I am also reasonably certain that no one is looking to be convinced – one way or another, most people have a pretty solid belief base – and I’d either be preaching to the choir or raising someone’s hackles. Either is…unnecessary. So, you know, midnight Hobby Lobby ramblings.

3. Midnight Hobby Lobby Ramblings is my new band name. MHLR, for short.

4. Know what’s super great? People who start their Fourth of July celebration super early. Yeah, fireworks all the time, all week. That’s not annoying.

5. Launched a client’s website at work this week and instead of feeling relieved, instead my brain is awash with things that still need to be done. Oh, goodness. It’s my first huge project and it’s hard to take a sense of joy in the completion when there’s immediately a list of things to fix. I went to work Tuesday preparing for all to fall apart – and dressed up for the occasion: Launch a site, look professional and if the world collapses, at least I’ll look good. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. Yesterday a few things went a little wonky and so while the new site is live (WHOOHOO!), I wish I had just more time to revel in the accomplishment before I had to get right back to work making improvements to it. Sigh.
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6. I’m a little bit in love with Coke’s #ShareACoke campaign. I even bought a diet Coke (which I kind of don’t love) because it had my name on it. What a fun campaign. I love looking for the names of people I love when buying beverages. Yes, I know that soda is bad for me. I also know that I don’t drink much, I don’t smoke, and I don’t do drugs. Coke Zero is my drug of choice. That, and tacos.

7. To soothe the chaos of a website launch: Margaritas.

8. Sciatic nerve pain is a pain in the …(“There is no butt, there is only the tops of legs.”)


10. coming up with the tenth thing is often harder than it should be. Today my tenth thing is about how difficult the tenth thing is – mainly because if I keep trying to think of a tenth thing, I’ll kick something.


Thursday Ten: Nothin’ Like a Blown Fuse and a Bad Lamp Edition

1. A fuse for my living room tripped the other day and no matter how many times I tried to re-set it, it kept shutting itself back down. Flash forward two days – a friend came by, poked around all the electrical outlets in my house and everything worked fine. Later that night, out it went again. To spare this from becoming a crazy long post about my stupid house, the culprit was a living room lamp that now resides in a pile of trash somewhere in west Michigan. Yes, the lamp kept throwing the power out. And now I need a new lamp.

2. I got a sample of Jamberry nail stickers and loved them. I ordered some and put them on my nails last night. It didn’t go as well. I think my nails may be too short for a Jamicure right now. (If you don’t know what they are – they’re nail decal stickery things. Basically because I can’t paint my nails without messing them up. Apparently I mess up stickers too.)

3. In a mission to take better care of myself, I’m exercising regularly again and (sigh) using the LoseIt app to count calories. I think perhaps it just may work. It’d work easier if people quit bringing yummy food into the office. I resisted both brownies AND doughnuts the other day.

4. I can’t believe it’s Thursday already. Summer makes the weeks fly by so quickly. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s…less good.

5. You can tell the week has been busy by the number of times I take pictures of flowers.
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6. My daughter’s gym emailed the other day to let me know of the price for this year’s competition leotard and apparently there’s been some sort of shortage in lycra trees or the spandex farmers are on strike because the leotard cost 26% more than last year (Oh yes, I did the math). And I’ll buy the damn leotard, but I really get irritated at stuff like this. Says the gym owner, “We try to take the cost into account when we select the suit.” Oh? Because there are gorgeous suits that cost a lot less. Same brand, same quality. Given that they recently hosted a slumber party for the gymnastics team, and then ASKED THEM ALL TO BRING CLEANING SUPPLIES FOR THE GYM, I’m on my guard when it comes to extra expenses.

7. I peeled off my Jamberry stickers while writing this post.

8. My dog has taken to sleeping on the floor at the foot of my bed. He likes me best. Probably because I buy the dog food.

9. After, I think, six beautiful and perfect spring weather days, gross summer weather is here with a vengeance. OH THIS HUMIDITY. The weather is doing not very nice things to my hair.

10. People who share awful news stories on Facebook – Why? I don’t want to see the abused dog. I don’t want to see the gross pictures. I don’t want to see video of people being abused. So… why are they sharing? Less gloom and doom, more pictures of puppies.