Posted in Family, Quirks and Other Weirdness, Starting Over, Uncategorized

Do the Opposite

Today’s life advice:  ALWAYS MAKE THE HARD CHOICE.

About everything.

Remember the episode of Seinfeld, where George decides his life sucks because he always makes bad decisions?  

George CostanzaGeorge: It’s not working, Jerry. It’s just not working.

Jerry: What is it that isn’t working?

George: Why did it all turn out like this for me? I had so much promise. I was personable, I was bright. Oh, maybe not academically speaking, but … I was perceptive. I always know when someone’s uncomfortable at a party. It became very clear to me sitting out there today, that every decision I’ve ever made, in my entire life, has been wrong. My life is the opposite of everything I want it to be. Every instinct I have, in every aspect of life, be it something to wear, something to eat … It’s all been wrong.

Waitress: Tuna on toast, coleslaw, cup of coffee.

George: Yeah. No, no, no, wait a minute, I always have tuna on toast. Nothing’s ever worked out for me with tuna on toast. I want the complete opposite of tuna on toast! Chicken salad, on rye, untoasted, with a side of potato salad … and a cup of tea!

Elaine: Well, there’s no telling what can happen from this.

Jerry: You know chicken salad is not the opposite of tuna, salmon is the opposite of tuna, ’cause salmon swim against the current, and the tuna swim with it.

Yeah, this is kinda what I’m talking about, only without the coleslaw.

If you don’t want to do it because it’s too hard, that’s exactly what you need to do.  
~ Cook or grab take-out?  Cook.
~ Walk away from the new jeans or buy them on credit?  Walk away.
~ Watch tv or work out?  Work out.
~ Study for an A or wing it for a B?  Study.
~ Coke or water?  Water.
~ Be comfortably introverted or introduce yourself? Come on, make a friend.
~Accept what’s in front of you, or wait for what you know is right?  Wait.
  For heaven’s sake, wait.

I’d love to tell you that’s what I always do, but OBVIOUSLY it’s not.  MUCH TOO OFTEN I take the easy road, sometimes out of laziness, sometimes out of impatience, sometimes out of thinking it won’t matter in the long run.   I can tell you from more years of experience than I care to admit, those are the decisions I have regretted.  But the times I have been intentional… the times I have been disciplined… the times I have thought through the consequences… THOSE are the times I can look back on and see the results and feel good about life.

Do the opposite of what your lazy self wants to do.  Sure, it’s difficult, hence the words “HARD choice”.  But today you’ll have taught yourself a little discipline and tomorrow you will like yourself a little better if you just keep at it.  

bed unmade.jpgExcept, of course, when it comes to making your bed.  (Even though my mom required it be done every day growing up.)  I just don’t get it. Nobody is going to see it except me.  Like Jim Gaffigan said, “It doesn’t make sense.  It’s like tying your shoes AFTER you take them off.”  So even though I won’t likely MAKE the bed today, it’s Monday, which means I WILL wash the sheets today.  

Even though I don’t wanna.

 

Posted in Birth Stories, Family, Quirks and Other Weirdness, Uncategorized

Sew Frustrating

 

Okay, I have this quirky brain. It has a hard time “seeing” certain things…like how to read a sewing pattern, or how to correctly miter corners, (trust me, the inability to properly miter corners becomes an issue at least once a decade), or these horrendous IQ test problems:

spatial relation 2
Which solid could you make by folding the pattern on the dotted lines?

Oh… I don’t know.

E.  A Chinese take-out box???

 

Apparently I have “mental rotation” and “spatial relation” issues.  The Medical DIctionary defines it as the inability to locate objects in the three-dimensional external world by using visual or tactile recognition. I choose to think of it as a genius flaw, much like wearing my shirt inside-out all day long. Only more frustrating. Much, much more.

When my youngest was still in-utero, I was sewing this snuggly-thing for him. Basically it was a fleece wrap with feet, wings and a hood. I TRIED to follow the pattern. Really, I did. But after sewing the stupid hood on backwards at least three times, I gave up. Then at 35 weeks pregnant, I had to put myself on bedrest. (The frustration with the snuggly and having to be put on bedrest are supposedly unrelated…I have my doubts.)

Anyway, after a week off my feet, the nesting instinct got the better of me and I had to vacuum the house and FINISH that obnoxious snuggly which had been spread out on my kitchen table the entire time. Vacuuming, I am happy to say, went well. Sewing however, did not. After multiple times of attaching the hood in various incorrect ways, I yelped a scream of attack, much,snuggly I imagine, like a Viking warrior cry, and threw a spool of thread against the wall. (This is, VERY UN-ME-like.) My husband came in to console me by asking, “Want me to finish it for you?”

Finish it FOR me?!?!?! NO! This is a matter of principle! A matter of pride! A matter of doggone-it-I’m-an-intelligent-human-being-and-I-am-capable-of-sewing-a-stupid-hood-on-a-baby-snuggly!!! He had never used a sewing machine before, much less read a pattern. On second thought, “Sure, finish it for me.”  I was certain he would mess it up as well and I would at least feel vindicated, if not accomplished.

He sat down to the Singer, put his foot to the pedal, and zapped that sucker right on the first time. Took him all of 45 seconds.

Ugh. It’s hard to be grateful and exasperated at the same time.

Within a couple of hours contractions began, so…grateful won out.  

Posted in Down on the Farm, Just Funny, Uncategorized

Ice Skating with the Devil

Back in January, the cowboy made room in our 24×28 garage for me to park the car. We’ve lived in this house 16 years and this is a first.  I mean, I never minded NOT parking in the garage, but when the temperature outside rivals the interior of the deep freeze, or I’ve got a trunk full of groceries to haul inside, it sure is lovely. Point being, now that I can park my car in the garage, I have no need to be outdoors. Not even a desire really. In the winter it’s too cold or too windy or too gray. In the summer it’s all buggy and weedy and there’s the ever-present “odeur de equine” that blows northwest from the barn. I’m just an indoorsy girl at heart. Give me a bookstore or a museum and I’m happy as a nerd.

My husband, on the other hand, spends every waking not-at-work minute outside. He comes in the house after dark to eat and sleep. If he’s not working with his horses, he is cutting down trees, or disking up fields, or hauling hay, or chopping firewood, or, well, you name it.

So, he comes in from the mailbox the other day, the latest edition of “Saddle Boy” magazine in hand, proclaiming, “I have found the destination for our next vacation!”

I glance at him skeptically over the top rim of my 2.25 reading glasses. One, because we rarely go on vacation, and two, because we never agree on anything, much less recreation pursuits.

“No, I’m serious,” he assures me.

I’m in a good mood, so I bite.

city slickers
from “City Slickers”

He proceeds to describe a “vacation” that has all the appeal of Yemen and ranks right above Chinese Water Torture on the fun-o-meter: a working dude ranch.  I’ve seen “City Slickers”, thank you very much, and there ends the extent of my interest in Big Sky Country and, for that matter, the late Jack Palance’s acting career.

Once again I glance at him over the top rim of my glasses. This time with less skepticism and more sarcasm, “You’re a funny, funny little man.”

He gives me a sales pitch with all the perks: You get to work with horses, cut down trees, disk up fields, haul hay, chop firewood, and, if you’re lucky enough to have double-X chromosomes, you also get to help fix the chow! And, let us not forget – YOU get to pay THEM for the experience!

feltandwire
from feltandwire.com

The cowboy cannot seem to grasp the concept that THIS IS NOT A VACATION. Not for a sane person. But to him it sounds like heaven. To me it sounds distinctly like something I plan to do… right after I go ice-skating with Satan.

Posted in Just Funny, Quirks and Other Weirdness, Uncategorized

Dances with Wools

Things I Hate:

Injustice. Litterbugs. Mosquitos. Wintergreen. Comb-overs. Fluorescent lighting. People who have to “one up” your stories. Having only vowels in a Scrabble game. The smell of sardines. Using “would OF” and “could OF” when you mean “would’ve” and “could’ve”. Cheese Whiz. Not being able to find my keys in my purse. People who mispronounce the word nuclear. Pumping gas in the winter. Three friends – two final pieces of sushi. Yogurt. The guy who decided Pluto could no longer be a planet. Getting all comfy in bed and realizing I forgot to pee. Reality shows with housewives or bachelors or anyone willing to compromise our intelligence for their 15 minutes of fame.

But the one thing I hate most?

Socks. Darn them.  

Cotton. Wool. Nylon. Striped. Solid. Argyle. Athletic socks. Trouser a socksocks. Ankle socks. Knee socks. Crew socks. Toe socks. They are evil in its purest form. Be a-frayed. Be very a-frayed. Masquerading as “essentials”, “comfort items”, “fashion accessories”, they are nothing more than vile, wretched, sweat-inducing, pedicure-hiding, foot-enclosures. AND. I. HATE. THEM. Wearing them forces my feet to go spelunking against their will. I don’t mean to be a heel, but it’s cruel and unusual punishment. And to add insult to injury, I’m pretty sure some of my toes are claustrophobic.

Three-fourths of the year my toes are happy little campers. Strappy sandals or microfiber mules or casual clogs – all sock-free. But then winter sets in and my feet either roast or freeze. And since I don’t particularly look good in blue…

Besides, my oh-so-comfy winter-weather leather loafers require socks. So, for Christmas, I asked my children to buy me socks. Cute ones. Cute enough to get your attention, but not so cute that you lose respect for me. And comfortable ones, though I know in my heart there are no such things. My children refused. Kacey even went so far as to Facebook her brother saying, “Do NOT buy our mother socks. No matter WHAT she says she wants, she hates socks. You don’t want to be remembered forever as the ‘child who bought her those stupid, awful, toe-torture devices’“… or something like that.

Now, I’m not stocking up on them, but I did break down and buy my own socks. And I broke down further and wore my own socks.

I think I may have to start a humanitarian group called “PETF” – People for the Ethical Treatment of FEET, or maybe the ASPCT – the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Toes.

The absolute worst is sleeping in socks. I don’t know if it’s the fact that my bed is on the north wall of the house, or that my cotton sheets lack warmth, or that I frequently sleep alone; regardless, I find myself often wearing socks to bed this winter. At some point during the night, Emma Lazarus calls to me… “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free… “ and my right big toe grasps the top of my left sock and frees my left foot and my left foot returns the favor by stepping on the toe of the right foot so my right foot can free itself, then both feet push the socks into the floor (“Out, out damned socks!”) while my ten toes do a little socks by the bedmiddle-of-the-night emancipation dance.


And for some bizarre reason, despite the fact that the kitchen is clean, the towels are always
tri-folded, the sheets are washed every Monday, and the dvd’s are alphabetized… the socks remain in the floor until their services are required again.

I don’t know why.

Oh yeah, because I hate them.

Posted in Family, Minimalism, Quirks and Other Weirdness, Uncategorized

In the market

After completing a three-hour road trip where an antifreeze leak kept us smoking a good deal of the time (I should clarify: the car was smoking, Kevin and I were not), and also left us driving in 27 degree weather with no heating capabilities, I am reminded that I am in the market for a vehicle.

Now, when I say ‘in the market’ for something, this merely means I am beginning to think about a purchase. I tend to think and plan and shop for an item so long  by the time I decide to pull the trigger, I’m mentally tired of it and change my mind.  I’ve been ‘in the market’ for new living room chairs since this time last year and still have yet to purchase any appropriate seating for said room.

That being noted, I am in the market for a perfect vehicle.

It should:

*Have seating for 8. Or better yet, 10.
*Have a relatively short wheel-base so it’s easy to parallel park next to the coffee shop.
*Have cup holders wide enough and deep enough for my 32-oz Contiga flip-top water bottle and my 16-oz latte-to-go.
*Come with voice activated heat/air and stereo controls. You know, Distracted Driving is Deadly Driving.
*Get 30+ miles to the gallon. In town.
*Be self-cleaning, like my oven. Although, in all fairness, I actually USE my vehicle, so that gives the oven an unfair advantage.
*Cost less than the remaining mortgage on the house.
*Have a nifty little compartment specifically for my diva sunglasses.
*Have a center console large enough that my daughter doesn’t inadvertantly buckle my purse straps into the passenger seatbelt, leaving me frustratedly fumbling for my lipgloss while driving.
*Be a pretty color. Not like a “SWEET, there goes Stephanie!” pretty color, but more like
“That vehicle is nicely understated and Honda-Odysseyis unobtrusive in the driveway
and doesn’t at all clash with the shutters.”

There. Like I told daughter-face earlier this week, “I am not that picky”.

“MmmmHmmm,” she replied, as she buckled my purse strap into her seatbelt.

Posted in Uncategorized

In Whatever Form it Comes

“Take a deep breath. I smell snow. It’s coming. It’s just my favorite time of the year. The whole world changes color. I love snow. Everything’s magical when it snows. Flakes, flurries, swirls, crystals, whatever form it comes in, I’ll take it. Sleigh rides, ice skating, snowball fights, I’ll even take curling. I love curling.” (~ Gilmore Girls)

I love snow. Did you know? Love it. IMG_20160109_234857Some of the best memories of my life are wrapped up in this frozen water-wonder. Stirring homemade hot chocolate. Making snow cream. Building snowmen. Warming by the fireplace. Sleeping late on snow days. Creating snow angels. Bundling up so thick with layers upon layers that you can hardly move. Catching snowflakes on your tongue. Watching the Northern Lights in Anchorage over a snow-blanketed city. Breathing in the ice cold air and watching the whole world turn white. Love it. Love it. Love. It.

We go way back, snow and me.

When I was a kid we lived in Texas for awhile (where it never snows). It snowed. Five inches.

I watched the snow fall on the Chugach mountain peaks the day my daughter was born . . . August 13.  Yes, August.

My baby boy was born on the coldest day of the year in 1993. Snowed that day too.

It snowed tonight.  A mild, rainy day morphed into frigid flurries, and we will awaken to a sparkling crust icing the ground.  What a perfect winter night.  Stop for a minute and be in awe.

I love snow.