Friday, August 30, 2013

Just sayin'.....

If the NSA has a $278 million budget for 2013 to reimburse telecommunications companies for the data they allow the government to collect, why do my cell and internet bills keep going up?

Good old fashioned greed?, or maybe this is a new stimulus package and we are suppling the stimulus?

Just sayin'.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Did I really agree to this?

New heights have been reached in the feeling old and possibly having a death wish category. I accompanied my 15 year old on his maiden voyage in the family van with his shiny new drivers permit.  Lord help us all!  Is there a patron saint for teaching kids to drive? Because I'm going to need some spiritual assistance, or maybe the assistance of spirits - tequila in particular!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Hipster Dinner

Now I know that technically my friends and I are outside the age window to be in any way considered 'Hipsters', unless of course you would be talking about people who have an increased chance of acquiring a hip fracture during their everyday activities.  That being said we found ourselves at a restaurant last night that may have been considered a little out of our 40-50 year old,  80s, Huey Lewis and the News hip to be square comfort zone.

About a year ago my husband and I decided that since the kids are ever more rapidly approaching the age when they will move out of our house -notice I said when not if- we should make more of an effort to carve out some time for the two of us to go out together even if it was just for a walk or a coffee, anything to make sure we still like each other and have something to talk about without the benefit of distractions like kids, house, sports, pets, homework........need I say more?

Being gluttons for punishment we decided to try and coordinate with 2 other couples to meet us for dinner.  It took 3 months, but we found a date.  Now to find a place.  Two of us live fairly close, but the third couple live on the other side of town, so we decided to meet in the middle.

Mexican was the fare of choice.  I have the Original Taco House on my list of things to do this year.  It has been around forever and is supposed to be great, but the location can get complicated on a weeknight with traffic etc. so we moved the search a little closer in.  The people who work downtown would meet us there and the rest would carpool.  We started google-ing Mexican restaurants in the general area and checked the menus and websites for something moderately priced, after all we still have kids at home sucking the life out of our checking accounts, remember?

We came upon Que Pasa Cantina http://quepasacantinapdx.com/. It looked great, was right where we wanted to be, had a diverse menu and the price was right. Game on! We were entering the trendy Hawthorne area, cute cafes, food carts, yarn shops. We may have been exceeding the maximum age, there were no skinny jeans, plaid ties, or Ray Bans, no one is gluten free or lactose intolerant. We were living on the edge!

By some sort of bizarre traffic karma we arrived before the agreed upon 6pm.  Lucky for us!  Happy Hour from 4-6.  The Margaritas (you may recall I am a connoisseur) were fantastic!  Chips and guac, YUM!  All of our dinners were excellent, and dessert? The warm cinnamon brownie with Mexican caramel.  There aren't words.  The weather was perfect for an evening walk, the sunset was gorgeous, we may not be hipsters, but I think we just might go again.

Tragically un-hip and loving it!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Does anyone ever TALK anymore?

It seems that a  popular topic for discussion lately, when there is discussion, is the technology, no technology, social media, no social media, electronics yes or no debate. It seems to affect our generation, in our 30s and 40s with teenage kids.  Many of us grew up with black and white TVs, no cable and no gaming system what-so-ever.  'Portable phone' meant you could make the long cord stretch from the kitchen wall around the corner and maybe into a pantry or closet or stairway.  If you were really lucky you might have a 'teen line'.

We like technology we have been growing up side by side with it.  The first mobile phones, shaped like a brick and weighing more! Atari, Nintendo and Sega. Cable boxes and the first TV remotes. We are conflicted though. We had great childhoods full of tree houses, camping in the backyard, telling ghost stories, running with a pack of neighborhood kids and staying outside from sun up until after dark.  We rushed inside for food and back out again.  We went to the library and read for hours.  We want these things for our kids too.

We rationalize by saying, well it's different now, kids can't just be out on their own like we were.  Can't they? or are we just so paralyzed by our own fears of what might happen that we can't let them out of our sight?  Shouldn't we be educating them as best we can so they can get out there on their own? Shouldn't we utilize the communication technology we have to increase their freedom? Instead of letting them turn into a bunch of mushrooms hiding out in the family room texting, messaging, gaming.......

Meanwhile we rack our brains wondering why they seem to be so unable to make common sense decisions, why they won't stand up for themselves, why they are constantly wondering what to do instead of just doing it.

I think they are losing their ability to communicate in any way that involves direct person to person contact.  All that 'skin to skin' bonding we did with them when they were infants, the eye contact, and constant chatter so they would have well developed brains and vocabularies.  We are systematically reversing all the work we did by handing them device after device in the name of advancing technology.  They don't want to call, they would rather text.  They are more than happy to meet online for gaming or group text, but if you ask them to go out with their friends and meet somewhere, TALK TO EACH OTHER, they act like you just asked them to go to school in their underwear.

We have struggled with all of our kids from kindergarden to high school with a reoccurring theme on all report cards and conferences, it boils down to 'more work, less talk'.   Not surprisingly my husband and I both have ancient report cards with similar comments on them!  As parents we dutifully chastise them for talking when they should be listening, and tell them to do their talking during lunch and recess, not during class.  As the kids we used to be we totally get it!  How can you possibly contain all the excitement of the day into some cafeteria or playground chat?

I had a realization the other day while running.  I do a lot of thinking while running, after all how can you run that far, that much without some sort of distraction.  Music can only do so much for a person.  Maybe we should be proud of them for communicating in a non electronic fashion. Obviously we would not in any way encourage them for talking at inappropriate times or distracting others, but there is a small secret voice in me that says, 'way to go for being a good old fashioned Chatty Kathy, for getting out there and exercising your mind.'  I guess if that's the only negative comment on the report cards, I'll take it.  Never mind they all have the handwriting of a serial killer because no one teaches handwriting anymore.........I'll save that for another post.


Monday, August 12, 2013

When you realize life is good....

Getting off work early on the 4th day of your stretch.
Thai food for dinner with spontaneous friends.
Sitting outside for dessert so you can laugh until you have tears and your belly hurts.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Did you ever think maybe you're punishing yourself more than the kids?

A few years ago, before I ever thought I would need it, I learned about Amish days from my friend Mel at work.  Amish days are just what you might think, if it requires electricity you will not be using it, with the exception of household appliances, in case chores need to be done and of course lighting.  It was Amish day for the kids at our house today.

It always seems like a good idea when all the electronic devices are going off simultaneously, and no one can seem to find any of the thousand pair of headphones or earphones that we own and then the bickering starts over the TV which they are all watching while texting and or messaging on iPods, iPads and cell phones.  When you call their names to try and put some order to the situation they glance up at you with a blank look, the white/blue light of their electronic device of choice reflected in their blank zombie like gaze and say, 'Huh?'

'THAT IS IT!'  The last nerve is finally gone. 'Tomorrow is Amish day!' For a moment you revel in the thought of the quiet that will surround you in the house and if there was a sound track for the day it would be, 'Heaven, I'm in Heaven.......'  Then it hits you, hold on a minute, now I am going to be alone with these beasts all day.

Why can't they be more like the dog who sprints to you with wild abandon, ears flying and tail high when you merely say- 'Come on, let's go!'?



Friday, August 9, 2013

Have you ever wondered, what Victoria's actual secret is?

Well, I think I may have figured it out!  Get ready, this may be a shock for some of you out there.  No one over the age of 20 has boobs that look that good no matter what kind of bra they wear.  Unless of course they have had some sort of gravity defying front end work done.  If you ever had a braless-hippie-chick phase (about 3-4 years for me), then proceeded to have and nurse three kids then continue on to lose 50 lbs, well it's kind of a rock-in-sock situation as my friend Susan says.  Don't get me wrong I think Victoria's Secret is great, I get all my bras there -overshare alert- if anyone can give the girls a mini makeover its the Body by Victoria demi. The have to have some sort of design savants creating these engineering marvels with lace and bling on them.

The thing is we aren't talking actual boobs anymore it is something formerly know as boobs that I strap into the demi for a truely new and improved look.  I am being totally honest here, so gentlemen keep that in the back of your mind next time you are admiring what you think are the best looking set ever, it is not all truth in advertising my friends.  Is it real? or is it a secret between your dream girl and Victoria.

Victoria really has the marketing locked up though, who can pass up a free panty or $10 off a bra?  They send those little coupons for a free panty and $10 off about once a month, if you are brave enough to give them your email address.  I know they think that once you get in there with your free panty coupon you will just go crazy and spend a zillion dollars, which you could.  At least I could.

I myself have no problem walking in there claiming my free panty and hitting the road.  That's just me.  It is an adventure of sorts, you never know what the free panty will be, Cheekys, Laceys, Hip Huggers, Boy Shorts, Thongs.  It is a panty extravaganza!

So thanks to Victoria for helping us all look like we have 20 year old boobs.  It was just one of those secrets I couldn't keep to myself. And I think maybe our husbands also thank you for the demise of the granny panty and the surprise panty of  the month that is probably going on in houses all over the United States.  Lets face it how can you complain about anything that was free.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Cr8tive Places

I thought I might elaborate on some of the links I have posted.  At first glance you might be thinking, 'What the heck, kind of random' so here we go!

Seasons and Generations:  About a year and a half ago I sent out one of my then 'imaginary blog posts'.  Occasional comments on daily life in our household.  I usually sent them to some friends and family.  On this particular story my Aunt replied, 'Have you ever thought of publishing?' Well no of course not, I mean I totally have my plate full with family and work this was just a infrequent indulgence to write these little tidbits and e-mail them off.  Long story short she forwarded it to her friend who was starting a monthly publication- Seasons and Generations.

Too Cute:  One of the Moms from school ventured out into the children's resale business.  She also includes some artisan crafts. One of which is my ever popular Felted Coffee Cuff.  They have been referred to as, 'the best gift ever!'

Wendy Green Yoga: Wendy Green has a raw foods yoga retreat on the North Caribbean Coast of Honduras.  She and my brother  host 10-14 day 'deep green' retreats year round.  It is truely amazing.

Road ID: Three years ago I decided it was time to take charge of my personal fitness, so I started running.  I still don't think I really consider myself a 'Runner'.  I did decide to keep track of my miles this year, so at what milage do you consider yourself a 'Runner'?  Anyway, since I don't want to be lying unidentified in a ditch or on the side of the road somewhere I invested in a Road ID band.  Love it!  Also great for kids when they start out on their own riding to school and friends houses.  Great for the little guys too because they have your phone numbers right there if they are on a school trip or the whole fam is at the amusement park.

Active:  Lots of great health and exercise tips for whatever you are interested in doing.

Map My Run:  No matter where we go I can map a run, know my route and distance and my hubby will know where I am headed. ( He worries.)

Mountain Girl Silver:  I gave myself one of her disc necklaces with the kids names for my 40th birthday.  I LOVE it!  I always get compliments and people want to know where I got it.

Ravelry: Anything you could possibly want to know about Knitting, Crochet etc.  If you have a yarn problem, and you know who you are, you have to check it out.

Etsy:  I think the name says it all. If you think you might want it, they have it.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Best Mocha Ever...

So, I wouldn't say I have to have a coffee everyday, and we're not talking some drip coffee I make at home, we're talking COFFEE.  In an emergency I can do a Starbucks instant Via, but that is my limit on home made stuff.  After all we all have our places in this world and the baristas of the planet hold a special place in my heart.

I have no brand loyalty, I'm pretty much like that across the board.  If I like it I will try it, as long as the price is right. ( I'm a bit of a cheap skate as well)  There are a few local coffee places that I love and if I have the time I would prefer to go there, because the coffee is gooooood.

When I am on the fly though, between errands, chores, dropping off and picking up kids, I'm a Starbucks girl just because they are reliable.  If they actually make what I ask for I can usually count on it tasting the same no matter which one I go to.

Sometimes I will give a new place a try.  There is always that moment though when you think, 'Is this going to be worth it?'  Because of course I have rules.  My kids think I'm crazy, but oh well, more fodder for their future therapy right?  I only have one coffee a day, I only get a coffee if I have done my workout for the day and had at least half of my water for the day- I know you are all thinking 'crazy train', but if not I end up drinking coffee and not much else, the water gets lost in the shuffle and all I have to show for it is a headache and crankier than usual attitude. No comment from family and friends here!

If I buy a coffee I will usually suffer through even if it is not great.  It has to be really horrific for me to give up and dump it down the drain.

OK, so here is where I was going when I started this whole thing.  I had the best mocha ever last weekend on a road trip in Montana.  We were visiting friends in Western Montana, not a lot of population out there and certainly no Starbucks, but over the last 8 years that we have been making this summer trip some coffee carts have been popping up.

We stopped at Cheri's Coffee in Thompson Falls, MT  It is on Montana Hwy 200 right next to the Ace Hardware.  She was just closing up, put popped back in to make me a 12oz.  double iced mocha.  Delish!  I'm picky about my mochas because if there is too much chocolate that makes it too sweet and it overtakes the coffee.  This was fantastic just the right amount of chocolate vs. coffee.  Cheri's is my new go to in the Western Montana area!

Bad news is it is an 8 1/2 hour drive from here.  I just have to keep up my local search.