Archives for October 2012

Thursday Ten: I Saw Snow Yesterday edition

1. I saw snow yesterday and that is some ridiculousness because hello? It’s only October and even though Michigan is not necessarily known for having stable weather conditions EVER, it’s still far too early for the frozen stuff. (Knock it off, Mother Nature)

2. Tis the season for gymnastics competitions to start – well, soon anyway. Two aggressively worded emails from the owner of the gym last night and one cranky over tired gymnast at the tail end of a four hour practice session and I was feeling NO LOVE for gymnastics yesterday. Is today any different? I dunno. Ultimately, The Princess loves gymnastics. I think the schedule sucks for her right now (four hours of practice immediately following a full day of school? Recipe for cranky pants), and thus it sucks for me… but I think when all is said and done, it brings her more joy than grumpiness so, in she stays.

3. Oh the things I see when I’m out walking.
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4. I was going to take the week off from Kitchen Through the Lens and then changed my mind. Not only did I change my mind – I’ve already decided what I’m making next week. Sometimes I am so ahead of the game that I impress even myself.

5. The girls and I spent this past weekend in the Chicago area visiting some friends of mine as well as cheering on runners in Saturday’s Chicago Marathon. What fun we had. The car ride was probably the least fun part of that equation, but beyond that? The kids had a great time playing with new friends and we visited a fun farmers market and there were s’mores made with peanut butter cups and it was a fun time.  Also: I remain in awe of marathoners. To RUN for 26.2 miles? I can’t even wrap my head around it. Really amazing to see.

6. I’m getting sick. I’m not happy about that. Alternating cups of tea with cups of hot water, lemon and honey and wishing for sleep.

7. ArtPrize is over for the year and a piece I had basically walked right by with only a slight glance was the winner. Granted, I didn’t like last year’s winner either – but this year, I felt very detached from the whole event and felt that overall the quality of entries was, if not lacking, then just… different enough that nothing resonated with me. Not even the elephants that won. That’s okay. I think, though, that I may challenge myself to enter a photograph in next year’s ArtPrize because, hell, at least it’s not another crappy exhibit made with driftwood.

8. Speaking of entering a photograph in ArtPrize – that may need to go on my 40 before 40 list. I don’t really want to call it a bucket list – but I’ll be 40 in just over 4 years, and I think I want to create a list of things to do before then. LIIIIIIIKE…. ride a Zamboni, for example. (Really. I don’t know why. BUT YES.)

9. During that ride to Chicago last weekend, the iOS 6 maps function took me on an tremendously convoluted route to where I was going. Probably added an hour to the trip. My friends recommended the Waze app – which is free – and I’m kind of a fan. Not only does it give you turn by turn directions, but other Waze users are constantly updating it – so if there’s an accident or a police officer up ahead, it tells you that too. What can I say? I’m easily amused.

10. As a treat to myself recently, I signed up for Birchbox. Not because I needed to or because I was itching to spend more money – but because it seems like a really cool thing. Also, ten bucks a month to get fun surprise pamper-y stuff in the mail, probably worth it these days. In this time of stress and chaos, I look forward to having something to look forward to. (October’s box should be here soon – should be interesting to see what’s in it)

Wherein I totally forget what day it is

I thought it was Wednesday just now. Just now I was thinking, It’s Wednesday, tomorrow is Thursday and I’m gonna have to come up with ten things for Thursday and what has even happened this week that I want to blog about and really, is it gross if I tell people about the note on the vending machine I saw today, the one that said that the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups were expired and would result in ‘a nasty side effect’? Because that’s gross and I can’t even imagine leaving a post-it note like that and how can you REALLY know it was the candy’s fault, anyway?

But it just so happens that today is Tuesday, not Wednesday.

And tomorrow is Wednesday, not Thursday.

And I’ll get it together by then so I won’t have to talk to you about people and their undesired Peanut Butter Cup side effects.


Six Squared Minus Some

In a week and a day it will be my birthday and I will be 36 and already as the day approaches I’m a little bit nervous because 35 sucked so badly. Not necessarily the year, because that has had its definite ups and downs, but the day itself was tinged with just an overwhelming sense of blah that I find myself almost dreading next Tuesday.

There’s nothing special about 36.

Admittedly, 35 messed me up a lot because at 35 you’re old enough to be president. Some people in charge decided that 35 was old enough somehow to run the United States of America. Surely that’s kind of a big job. Surely you have to be OLD and MATURE to do something like that and surely there’s no way that 35 is old enough or mature enough. But someone decided it was and that freaked me the hell out.


(You either see how this freaks me out or you don’t. If you don’t, I’m guessing that you’re somewhere in your early 20s and you have yet to find your first gray hair and maybe you still get carded regularly. I don’t hate you. I don’t. But… shhhh.)

But 36 is nothing. I’m still old enough to run the country (and sometimes I seriously consider it because y’all, really? I think I’d be kind of okay at it) but beyond that, nothing new. More grays more wrinkles more stress more blah.

I’m not sure I had any idea last year where the year would take me. And I’ve earned the right to celebrate this year. I’ve earned the chance to enjoy the day and celebrate the day my mom nearly gave birth to me in the car (I know, right?).

I need to snap out of this dread thing. I need to embrace my birthday the way I used to. I need to quit being a little whiny bitch about it all.

In just over a week, I’ll be 36. I’ll be closer to the election of 2016. I’ll be ready to run the country then.


Thursday Ten: No I Don’t Buy School Pictures edition

1. Both of my daughters have now had school pictures taken this year and I have done the unthinkable: I have not ordered any. I am so over paying a fortune for bad pictures that don’t even look like my kids. Last year, I ventured into taking my own and this year, I’m repeating that. My kids are beautiful and have beautiful spirits and attitudes and no school photo has ever been able to capture their magic. Why sell a kidney to pay for those? I almost felt guilty, not sending that order form back, but… nope.

2. I love my commute to work on autumn mornings. You really can’t starting with a view like this.
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3. My laptop after several years of sporadic service has finally decided that it doesn’t want to work anymore. Boo. I’m actually surprised it lasted so long, but damned if it didn’t pick the worst time to die. (Also, I will never buy a [BRAND NAME] again.)

4. National taco day. National. Taco. Day. NATIONAL TACO DAY. Are you celebrating? You should celebrate. Oh, you’re not celebrating? I’ll eat enough tacos to cover your share. Yours too. Don’t worry, y’all. I got this.

5. Speaking of eating all the food – I saw a picture of myself from a few years ago and thought to myself, “Wasn’t it nice when I had all that time to work out and had those amazing arms?” Yeah. I miss those. I should be doing pushups now. I wish I could find a way to type vigorously enough to be considered a toning workout. I’d be rich. With arms to envy.

6. ArtPrize has been kind of a disappointment to me this year. I said that last week and then… last Friday was Lights In The Night – and? It was amazing. It’s in the Top Ten, and it’s got my vote and I know there are some who say it doesn’t count – but it moved me like nothing else that was entered this year. I was grateful to not have had my hair set on fire, and I was so happy to be down in the middle of it all watching these lanterns floating up towards the sky. It was really so beautiful. I felt like a kid seeing fireworks for the first time. It was really a sight that took my breath away.
lights in the night

7. Sooooo, the debates were last night. That’s all. Yep.

8. I stay up too late and I hardly read anymore. So, assume that it will take me a month to read the next book I start: What should I be reading?

9. I find at night after I’ve tucked in the girls, I put on my headphones to listen to music quietly… and then loudly belt on the songs that come on. Remember the days of “Shhhh, the baby’s sleeping?” and now it’s more like, “If she can’t sleep through my rendition of Lisa Loeb’s ‘Stay’ then she needs to TOUGHEN UP!” They both manage to sleep through it and I satisfy my need to sing loudly. Somehow everyone’s a winner in this really bizarre anecdote.

10. We’ve been talking a lot about Meyers Briggs at work lately – we’re hiring in our department and most of us are quite similar in personality. So similar that we all fall around the top line of the grid (we call it Bingo – since it’s almost a straight line across). And maybe I’m wrong to put so much stock in it, but I find those descriptions to be tremendously accurate for most people. I’m an INFJ and rely a lot on my intuitive nature – probably a lot more than most people. And when I read that description, I agree with nearly every aspect of it. Do you know where you fall on the Meyers Briggs grid? Will you tell me so I may analyze you?

And so.

drink me

I opened up this page to write a new post. I typed some words. I deleted some words.

I wanted to share. I didn’t want to share.

That’s life these days – there are details that spin through my head – things I’m learning and adjusting to and it’s a different sort of life and it’s okay. And I’m doing it. I’m getting by. The kids are doing well. And who knows, things may snap into place as new routines are created. Sometimes I doubt my ability to carry me and the girls through – but I keep putting one foot in front of the other and things keep getting done and we get through each day no worse for the wear. I may wonder if I am able to do it, but here I am, doing it.

Not that any of it’s easy. Surely there are things I could do better (I am slowly improving with respect to my grocery shopping skills, but OH I HATE IT SO MUCH).

But for the days that are tough, we are really doing okay.  Me and my kids, we’re okay.

I type that, and I read the words over again.

Are we really okay? I ask myself.

Yes. Yes, I think we are okay.

I think these moments of doubt are natural and if they’re not, if other people don’t question their own strength, if they don’t question their abilities, if they’re not stressing about how they will accomplish everything, well… maybe something’s wrong with them. Maybe I’m the one who has it right.

The above photo was taken at a cocktail party I shot last week. Those are not my drinks. Nor did I have to wash those dishes. Thank god.

Through the Kitchen Lens: Blueberry Muffins

blueberry muffins

To tell the truth, I’m not sure why or how these made the list. I don’t eat blueberry muffins. I barely even eat muffins unless out of desperation. Muffins are too much like cake, and I’m not really a cake person either. But, my kids like blueberry muffins and they like blueberry muffins made with one of those cheap 50 cent boxes of Jiffy muffin mix and I don’t do cake mixes so I should banish muffin mixes too, am I right?

You’d think.

all of the blueberries

I pulled the recipe from one of The Princess’s cupcake/muffin cookbooks. Yes, the kid has her own. She loves to make cupcakes. (That cake/cupcake/muffin hating thing I’ve got going on? She does not. Kid LOVES cupcakes and baking them and going all Cupcake Wars in my kitchen.)

It was easy enough.

Baking always seems to be.


doughy muffin blobby mess

That’s what I was thinking anyway. I mixed and scooped the dough into the funky muffin liners that filled one of my grandmother’s muffin tins that made its way into my kitchen after she died (By “made its way”, I mean, it was given to me from her house. It’s not like the haunted muffin tin that somehow made its way from Traverse City into my kitchen, carried by the spirit of my grandmother… though… that wouldn’t be too far out of the realm of possibility if you believe in that sort of thing. I could see her being the kind of muffin tin delivering spirit that would do that.)

Fifteen to twenty minutes in the oven and I called the kids down to sample the muffins, ready to unleash upon them the wonder of using fresh and real ingredients.

Turns out. They like the fake crap.

Oddly enough, I liked these. So, there’s that.


Did I like them enough to eat a whole pan of muffins? Nope.

So, a successful experiment that will likely go to waste. A little bit sad, actually.

Oh well. Better luck next week.