Monthly Archives: April 2012

Soul mates

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My best friend Kristin and I love to shop at Target. Our relationship as we know it today was born in Target. Well, it was actually born in Walmart, but then they built a Target in the next city over, so we started going there. Because Target > Walmart. But I digress.

We have a funny relationship, Kristin and I. We don’t do phone calls. Instead, we shop, usually at Target. We buy shampoo, movies, clothes and toilet paper. It doesn’t matter what we buy, it’s the fact that we’re together. That’s where all our conversations, deep and shallow, happen.

We’ve always imagined living on the same street, raising our kids together, but life hasn’t worked out that way, so far. I moved 3,000 miles away, have no kids, and she isn’t married. Still, we’re connected in ways we never realized. We’re best friend soul mates.

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Geoff and I had pictures taken together this weekend. I obsessed over my outfit until I made sure we both matched and looked good. I bought this shirt on clearance at Target, just before we went to Hawaii. At the last minute I remembered this shirt, and decided we’d look good matching. (Side note: the barista at Starbucks commented that we matched! I just laughed and said we were getting pictures taken)

Anyway, when we got the proof, I posted it to Facebook. In a random email thread Kristin and I were having, she mentioned that she has the same shirt.

Three thousand miles away, we’re still shopping together at Target.

Fur Baby Friday!

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Tuesday night I was talking to Geoff in the kitchen. I’d just given Hermione and Clarabelle their nightly treats (Clarabelle’s in medicine, but I have to give them both a treat) so Hermione was hanging around the pantry closet door, looking for more.

I didn’t think much of what she was doing until I looked over and saw this:

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Yeah, that’s a potato. She’d dug it out of the bag next to the fridge, and was rolling it around on the floor. I let her play with it long enough to get a good picture, but she would have kept at it.

Meanwhile, I buy her balls and bring them home and she won’t look twice at them. Weirdo cat.

This post is linked to Fur Baby Friday.

If I say it out loud, that makes it real

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I spend a lot of my time writing about depression telling people to be open with their feelings. I encourage people not to let others blow them off, but rather seek help in any way they feel necessary. This is what I believe…no one should have to suffer quietly.

For the past 3, 4, maybe more weeks, I haven’t felt well. I’m not referring to my allergies, or the random cold that slipped in for a week a couple weeks ago. I’m talking about my emotions. I knew something wasn’t right. I knew the fact that I had 3 sobbing (the ugly cry, too) meltdowns in 4 days wasn’t normal, especially knowing I hadn’t missed any of my medication doses. But I kept quiet. I kept quiet for 3 long weeks before finally making an appointment with my doctor. When I got there, I found I couldn’t quite explain what was going on. We upped my medications a bit, but I still left feeling unsatisfied.

Aside from a visit to my doctor, I’ve kept this quiet. Not that I go around telling people about my depression, but I didn’t talk about it. I didn’t think about it. I think I felt like, if I said it out loud, that makes it real. Have you ever felt like that? Speaking something makes it real, and sometimes I don’t want something to be real.

I was talking with a friend and finally said it to her. I’m feeling a little depressed. I confessed that I didn’t want to say it out loud, and she said, “But if you don’t say it, you can’t change it.”

Good point. So, I guess I’m saying this because…I don’t know what is going to be coming out of my blog. I took a big step and moved to wordpress (without my own domain, for now) and didn’t advertise well that I’m switching. So all (a term I use loosely) those followers I had have either migrated, hopefully, or are still reading my old blog, which obviously isn’t being updated. I say all this because…it’s been really freeing. I feel like I can write what I want, and, nice as comments are, and much as I’d love to make money off my blog, it’s not about that. It’s about my writing, and I’m free to write whatever I want without worrying if people are going to enjoy it, or read it. Of course if they do enjoy it, then that’s a nice bonus. But sorry, dear readers, I’m not writing for you.

Tonight, I write about my depression. I’m saying it out loud. Things aren’t right. But I’m not stopping there. Oh no, I’ve lived too many months happy to take this lying down. Depression, I will fight you and I will win.

See you on the flip side…with less depressing posts coming soon.

Narrowing down one thing I love about my job? Impossible.

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There are so many things I love about my job. I love when I get a random appreciation hug from a child who I’m never quite sure is paying attention. I love it when one of my kids is about to walk out the door with her mom, only to turn back and run to give me a goodbye hug. I usually love hearing “Miss Megg?” in their little voices. I love the kindergarten and first graders I work with every day. But one thing? Narrowing my days into the one thing I love about my job? Impossible.

Instead, I’ll tell you about what we did on Monday.

It was 75 degrees out with hardly a cloud in the sky, which is unusual for late April out here. We had our pre-shift meeting outside, and I found not just my mood, but everyone’s to be elevated thanks to the weather. My supervisor’s one request was that we get the kids outside as much as possible, so we decided to have snack outside.

When I came back from my particular bus run (we pick the kids up at school), we were transitioning into snack. Bowls of salad with dressing were lined up on the table, and the kids systematically washed their hands and grabbed their snack. There were only a few, “I don’t want dressing,” or “can I have the red cereal bar?” requests, and soon we had about 50 children (30 of them from my class alone) spread out on the grass in the sun.

As I stood there, looking around, all I could do was smile and think about how awesome my job really is. I looked at the kids, perched in the grass, chatting with each other. I looked at R, sitting on his heels, eating his chips and salad on the sidewalk. I saw F, J and E, inseparable friends, running around, pink cups of water abandoned. I saw A’s face light up when I told him he could run around (within our view) when he was done with his snack. I watched him tell his friend, C, and saw C’s face light up too at the change of routine.

Then I watched as they circled up, and started playing Drip, Drip, Drop, a form or Duck, Duck, Goose, with water. I laughed, when M jumped up and ran, giggling, not even understanding that he needed to find another spot in the circle.

Their eyes, lit up with the excitement of doing something unusual. The glint of sun off my blonde-haired students. The smiles on all their faces as they soaked in the sun. The giggles and the sound of their carefree running feet as they cartwheeled through the grass. There wasn’t a care in the world. For about 45 minutes I didn’t hear any, “Miss Megg, so-and-so pushed me!” I didn’t have to tell anyone to read quietly, or to play nicely. For about 45 minutes even my own cares and stresses were gone.

I guess that’s the power of the sun in Seattle.

This post inspired by Mama Kat’s writing prompt “What do you love most about your job?”

Before and during…

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Since it’s likely going to be another month before I actually finish this project, I thought I’d post a during update on the chairs I’m painting.
Before I get started, I have to say that this is the biggest decorative/freecycle refurbishing that I’ve undertaken yet. It’s a big deal, for me.

I love my living room, and those two wingback chairs were the last to arrive (via Freecycle). They make the room, and are exactly what I envisioned when we first bought the house going on 2 years ago. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a fan of the 1989 blue and flower fabric.

Chair, before.



I know it’s from 1989, by the way, from the tag under the cushion.
Since it was a nice, sunny afternoon, I pulled the chair out of the garage, and started painting. I followed this tutorial.

Here it is after 1 coat. Alternately titled, it gets worse before it gets better.

And here is after 2 coats. It took me a couple hours (I wasn’t timing myself, so I’m not sure how long exactly), and you can tell it’s later in the afternoon from the progression of my pictures!

It still needs another coat with acrylic craft paint, apparently. I’m going to see what it feels like after it dries, because it’s currently a little stiff. I haven’t poked it too much, though since it’s wet and all. From what I’ve seen online, however, they’re not cuddling chairs. Which is OK, because my living room is more for show anyway!

Oh, and I’m using cornucopia, by Martha Stewart because I loved The Hunger Games it matched the curtains best in the living room. I can’t tell without dragging the whole chair in there, but I think it’ll go great in the room!

Stay turned for the completed project!

Kitty day care??

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The other day, in an attempt to find someone reasonably priced to groom the matts out of Hermione, I came across what is possibly the biggest waste of pet money I’ve ever seen. Kitty daycare.

Now, I understand doggy daycare. Some dogs just need interaction while their family is out of the house. I understand the overnight care, of course, though I prefer to pay my neighbors in IHOP gift cards for watching our cats in the house. But kitty daycare? Really?

I’m pretty sure my cats are thrilled to pieces whenever we leave the house. I’m also pretty sure they sleep the whole time because all Clarabelle does with her life is sleep, and Hermione tears through the house at night so I know she gets her sleep in during the day.

So what, pray tell, is kitty daycare all about?? I especially love the picture on the site:

What’s the story behind this? Kitty mom watches happily while her fur baby is brushed. Meanwhile, she has time to hold her human baby while she sleeps. Thank goodness for Kitty Daycare at Petsmart!
The best part is the description: This service is great if you need a place for your cat to spend the day while you’re away. Your feline friend will stay in one of our Kitty Cottages and enjoy personalized “TLC Time” with one of our caring associates.

I looked in the overnight care section, and I’m pretty sure “Kitty Cottages” is just another word for cages. Which might be fine if you have to leave your cat there for a week, but wouldn’t kitty be happier to wander the house during the day?

There are some things in this world that I just don’t understand, although I do get much amusement out of this one.

Would you ever bring your cat to kitty daycare? Am I the only one who just doesn’t understand the concept??

Master Baking Mix!

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As a frugalista-wanna-be, I’m always looking for new ways to save money. For example, this week I’m going to call our trash company to get a smaller trash bin. I’ve noticed that we rarely fill it, as we typically only have 1 bag of trash a week. Yay for saving a little money!

I have also pulled out this cookbookall over again, and I love it! I love when I rediscover an old cookbook.

It’s a collection of Mennonite recipes, a community collection. It may not be the most exciting looking cookbook inside, but it’s full of gems.
The ingredients of the recipes are limited, which is nice because often they are what you have in the house. It’s about stretching the ingredients you already have (though I often have to go buy the required vegetables) and making a meal out of them. The meals aren’t gourmet, and some are plain, but they’re good, and I love the whole, “more with less” mentality too.

One of my favorite recipes in this book really isn’t a recipe. It’s called the Master Baking Mix, and it’s basically Bisquick. From this mix, which makes up to 8 pounds, you can make biscuits, pancakes, coffee cake, muffins, and probably a lot of other things that you can make with Bisquick. The nice part is there are 6 or 7 ingredients, and I can pronounce all of them.

Master Baking Mix (recipe for 4 pounds, half or double as necessary):
Combine:
10 C flour
6 T baking powder
1 1/2 T salt
1 1/2 t cream of tarter
1/4 C sugar

Cut in until the consistency of cornmeal:
2 C shortening

Stir in 2 C dry milk powder (optional, but it will add more protein)

That’s it! Store in an airtight container at room temperature. I keep mine on the counter.

Then? Cook with it! There are a lot of recipes you can use Bisquick with, and it’s so easy to just scoop out a cup or two of the master baking mix. Cost-wise, I don’t know how it compares with a box of Bisquick, but I like the limited ingredients and no preservatives. It can also be made gluten free, if you use the right flour.

We use it most often for pancakes!
1 C milk
1 egg
1 1/2 C master baking mix

That’s it!
It’s small, but it’s frugal, and even these little things make me happy.