Friday, February 28, 2014

Doodles and drawings

Last year I decided to try my hand at lettering. I bought some colored pencils and markers.

 I try to keep things simple. Here I fiddled with zigzags, but used my regular penmanship.

Sometimes I recreate what I see on the internet or Pinterest or Instagram. It seems easier to copy what's in front of me as best I can. Following along that way has helped me learn.

Here is an example of a style I'm actually good at. They're really just storybook caps. It would make for difficult reading to have a block of text in this style.

Usually I like a message and fiddle around.

This one below is completely original, so I'm fond of it. I did it this evening, but I tried it in pencil last week. I'd been thinking about this one for a long time.

Random 5 Friday

It's Friday and time for Random 5 Friday, which I still don't link to. There's also this thing called 7 Quick Takes on Fridays over at a different blog, but I won't link to that either because I'm lazy. 

1. I got to work to find a bacon maple donut on my desk. Need I say more? 

2. I saw the teenager yesterday and I told him a joke: If God had wanted us to use the metric system, he would have given us 10 apostles. THAT is funny!! He said it was lame and he flicked me. Twice! So I demanded a joke. He came up with this one: Why did the dinosaur cross the road? Because the chicken wasn't born yet. Seriously? Lame

Here's a joke we can all get behind: What kind of cats like to go bowling? Alley cats, of course!

3. Lent begins next Wednesday and I am still trying to decide what I want to do. It occurs to me that I could go through all of Lent without complaining about track meets.

The teenager

4. Actually, there are two teenagers referred to herein as The Teenager. They are not interchangeable. They are delightful and exasperating guys who make me laugh and cry. Sometimes at the same time.

5. I want new speakers for my office computer. I inherited these really big, clumpy looking things that probably date back to the advent of computer speakers. They are in my way because real estate on my desk is at a premium and they are really rather large. They take up the square footage. They're desk top hogs.

6. Since I'm blogging at you for seven days this week, I will do seven random thingys here this week. I was thinking this morning about all the work I put in a few years ago getting a technique down for making cut-out sugar cookies. Except that I consumed most of them, which isn't actually good for you. Was all that work for nothing? If I make sugar cookies now will I get it all mixed up and funky looking the way I used to?

7. Tomorrow there is a funeral for a teenager and a surprise birthday party for someone in her 80s. Life is strange that way.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Day 4, but who's counting?

I said I would write 7 days in a row. I didn't say I would do a good job. Nor did I promise you a rose garden.

I went to breakfast with my coworkers. This photo is posed because she's used to accommodating  my requests for photo shoots.

I love the movie When Harry Met Sally and of course as you may know, they order a lot of food in that movie. Going against what seems to be the popular choice, my favorite food-ordering scene from that movie is this one because of the waitress. But I know what Sally means: I just want it the way I want it.

I ordered toast at breakfast this morning and hold on before you roll your eyes. If you've ordered toast in a Midwestern restaurant at any time in the last few years, then you may know there is a wave of bad toasting going around. I blame Canada, but I'm blaming Canada for everything this year due to the lovely weather we're having.

I asked the waitress to be sure the toast was actually toasted. Brown. Crispy, but not burnt. She assured me, as has pretty much every waitress I have met, that
1. she understood what I was saying
2. other people have complained about it
3. she will explain it to the cook
4. she doesn't blame me for asking

Does this look toasted to you? Really toasted as in, "I think I'll have some toast this morning."

She put this breakfast sandwich on the table in front of me and then she hightailed it right on over to another table. I picked up a piece of bread and brandished it to Grande, the blonde girl. "Does this look toasted? It's warm, sort of warm, but it is not, in fact, toasted." I tore it in half to further illustrate my point. 

It has a brown tinge. That's because it was waved in front of a Bunsen burner, maybe. But it is not from an actual toaster. 

She's so good to me. She knew it was coming and she murmured affirmative noises. Then the waitress came back and asked if everything was ok. I pointed out that my toast wasn't quite toasted. Do you know what she said? 

"I thought the same thing." 

What did NOT happen, my dear coworkers, was me getting up in her business in my polite way and saying, "BUT YOU BROUGHT IT OUT TO ME ANYWAY, DIDN'T YOU?"

No. What happened is that she asked if I wanted her to take it back. 


No. What happened is that I said it was fine and I would eat it. 

As we stood at the cash register and perhaps she was trying to distract me from mentioning toast again because she's pretty good at that technique, Grande asked what I had done to my hair. 

"What did you do to your hair this morning?" she asked. We fussed a little and then we departed. 

I drove all the way to work before I took my hat off to look at my hair. Ladies, you know what it means when someone says, "What did you do to your hair this morning?" But did I look at my hair? No. I could incubate tiny animals in my hair, so I take this in stride. A little too much. 

I drove to work. I parked the car and for some reason I took off my hat and looked in the rear view mirror. 

What had I done to my hair? I wasn't sure and this photo doesn't do it justice, but I put the car back in gear and drove home to wash it and start all over again. For anyone who might read this and knew me in high school: it took 20 minutes from walking in the door to walking out the door. So there. 

Because my faithful reader Rose cares, she asked what I decided about my hair. Please brace yourself:

 Right. I got a trim

I sat down in the chair and I told her everything that was wrong and she pointed out various curly-hair related issues with my desires and so in the end, I just asked her to shape it back up and get rid of the split ends. All that. For this.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Good day, Sunshine!

Even though it's colder than a monkey's behind outside, there's this to make you happy:

This sunshine was pouring through my window this morning:

I know spring is really on the way when the sun begins pouring through my window onto my hands when I get to the office. I use sunscreen in the morning, but I need to put it back on my desk, apparently. Gotta protect my hands! 

You might think this is great, having sunshine everywhere, but in the meantime...

We have a cat named Henry. Henry is a sweet thing who's elevator doesn't go all the way to the top. Last Sunday he got out the front door and then, in his panic, he became wedged between the house and a fence post. In the snow on a freezing cold day. We were right there with him and once he calmed down, he turned, relaxed and wiggled his way out of the predicament. But ever since we got him back in the house, he's been different: He's been loving. He's sat and slept on us, which is something he would never do before. 

We think, because it was 4 o'clock on the nose, that he thought it was supper time. He eats in the garage, so he goes through an open door to get there. Poor thing. 

Here is a helpful infographic you may want to post on your refrigerator for future reference. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Big Purse Dump

I have decided to join a blogger named Jen and write for seven consecutive days. Her blog has a gazillion readers and other bloggers who have joined the 7 for 7 thing and they all link to it properly and I just don't usually remember to do those things, but I'm blogging at you for 7 straight days, so prepare yourself.

I will link to this one I'm doing today. It's called the Big Purse Dump and you just dump out your purse and see what's going on in there.

Disclaimer: I go for months without a purse at all because I dislike them so much. I happen to have rejoined the pursed ranks a few weeks ago because I was spending the day with a teenager and I figured I might need to some storage space. I've been using it ever since because un-pursing myself also takes a little work.

Here are some suggested categories:
It's my favorite thing in here; Wow, I really have a lot of these;p I've been looking for those; Huh. THAT shouldn't be in there. 

Here are the contents of my purse: Two pair of sunglasses, a watch, a checkbook, a pad of paper, two pens, one mini-toothbrush, business cards, today's Wall Street Journal, a page torn from Woman's Day magazine about socks, an invitation to a local college's football campus visit, DayQuil, M&Ms, a pink rosary, lip balm, a thank-you note written by my 7-year-old granddaughter, my wallet, two one-dollar bills a receipt, An Excedrin bottle and an envelope full of gift certificates I have won from my local library's winter adult reading program. 


Here's what I know:
The bottle of Excedrin is empty because I took the last two pills on Sunday morning. I was at church, so I threw the empty bottle back in my purse. The DayQuil was for the teenager. So is the campus visit card. In fact, the whole idea of carrying a purse was because of him. The page from Woman's Day is in there because I thought some of the ideas were clever and I wanted to see if it was already on Pinterest (I have not, of course, actually checked). 

The green pen was lifted from a local church. The blue pen clearly came from the office. The M&Ms were supposed to be a little treat for my husband, but once I get home and I drop that purse, I'm not rummaging through it for a darn thing, so there it sits. The teenager will get it, most likely. The rosary because I finally found my beautiful wooden one and I wanted the pink one in the car. I can't remember how it got in my purse. Unless it never made it back into the glove box. I can't remember. 

I just got the thank-you note from the granddaughter on Sunday. I have no idea why it went into my purse. The business cards are funny because I always think I don't have any on me. So that amuses me, but probably it isn't at all amusing. 

The two pair of sunglasses is because I was too lazy to look in my purse for my regular sunglasses this morning. I popped open the compartment in my car that has my (expensive) spare pair, which were cold and fogged up on me, but I was still too lazy to get into my purse to see if my regular sunglasses were in there and they were and they would have been warm, too. 

The green thing is my wallet and that's typically all I carry. This would not have been as revealing.  
I will look inside the green thing now to see if there is anything surprising within. 

One bobby pin
57 58 83 cents
Key fob
A medallion from church
credit cards, rewards cards, security cards
fundraising cards for places I never go
Driver's license upon which I look like a criminal because we aren't allowed to smile anymore
Receipts I will never remember to give to our accountant at work
An expired coupon for Folgers coffee

As for the categories: 
It's my favorite thing in here: oddly enough, the pens and paper. I have to think hard about why I have paper in my purse. I went to talk to the teenager's coach and I guess I thought he'd say something worthy of being recorded for the future or my bad memory.

Wow, I really have a lot of these: I don't have a lot of anything. But I have more money than I would ever expect in my purse. I don't usually carry much. No idea why I have $27. 

I've been looking for those: I think the only thing in here that sort of surprised me is the white watch. I didn't know it was in my purse. I wasn't exactly looking for it, either. 

Huh. THAT shouldn't be in there: The M&Ms because I specifically grabbed those out of the candy dish to give to the husband last night. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Is it time to panic or get a hair cut?

I'm glad you dropped in because I have a pressing tale of woe to share with you and there is just no hope but to ask the interwebs for advice. It has been a very cold winter with a lot of snow and a lot of me sitting around unlike the rest of the year when, I'm told, I'm rushing from one thing to the next like I'm getting paid to be in a hurry. 

Therefore with all this time on my hands, I've had the pleasure of looking at my hair. A lot. When you have naturally frizzy hair, there just isn't any reason to sit and look at your hair. A bad idea because there isn't much to be done about the situation. Just not much at all. That's why this post is a disaster before it gets off the ground. But here goes. Put your life vest on. 

This is freshly washed hair. I did nothing to it. I took it out of the towel and shook it. This dry, not wet. 

That was Saturday. I don't wash my hair every day, which if you have curly hair, you know why and if you don't have curly hair you just think that's gross.

I straightened it today:

My goal is to get that top layer to grow out to my shoulders. I can't remember anymore for sure why this seemed like a good idea five months ago. The layer is now in a spot at which it only irritates me beyond my patience. It is almost to my shoulders when it's straight, but not when it's curly. Curly it hits my jaw, more or less.

So these photos illustrate where things stand right now. I have an appointment tomorrow with the brave person who cuts my hair. Here are the photos of past hair I wanted you to look at. It may seem like a bad ploy to get you to look at me, but it isn't. Not this time, anyway.



I think I like the shorter length the best. I was happiest with my hair in the black coat and light blue sweater. Let's face it, whatever I do is going to end up being a variation of one of the above and unless I cut off four inches of hair, no one is going to notice a difference.

However, I would love to have a hair cut like this one:

If I had straight hair down to my jaw, it would bounce up to the middle of my ears and look like a poodle. But this is tempting to try. As Grande said, it will grow back. But I'm afraid I will end up with this:

I HATE this hair and I know exactly what it would look like on me because I've had people do this to my hair in the past. The only thing about this photo that would look OK to me is the gun when my hair looks like this. It's fine on, no it isn't. I don't even like it on her. Hand me the gun, Helen.

She's probably ticked off about the hair cut.

OK, so now I have another problem. I hate coloring my hair. My hair is darkish brown, in the family of filthy dirty dishwater, but there is a lot of red underneath it all. That's what I think is wrong. I color my hair, it washes out and I'm left with red, mostly red, streaks of red. Red is notoriously difficult to cover or re-create. I love the red , but I'm graying like a brunette would gray, so I think I'm really a brunette. Here is what people see when they look at me.

It doesn't look so bad in this photo, but trust me from what I hear, it's just hideous. Any advice for letting it go? If it matters to you, I'm 48. But the "you're too young to be gray" is probably going to fall on deaf ears because
1. I'm 48
2. I'm going gray
3. Therefore, I'm clearly not too "young" to go gray

Also, there are these fine points:
4. I hate pony tails on me, but love them on other girls
5. Curly hair can't successfully be worn short, so a super short cut is out of the picture. A shag, a pixie...all that is o.u.t. out. I will look like I have a cotton ball on my head.
6. I have a long face and a high forehead, so a lot of layers will make me be all face, which I do not like.

Also, did I mention that I'm super lazy and I only get around to coloring my hair every 3-5 months? Also, I hate coloring my hair and having someone point it out, which embarrasses me. It always has, although I've been coloring my hair since I was in my 20s. It was just so much simpler when I was doing for the heck of it and not because I had gray roots.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Random 5 Friday

1. I am late because I forgot to post my randomness. I also forgot a small list of things I needed to do today. I remembered all of it once I was at home for the day. As you do.

2. I'm watching a commercial in which Alex Tribeck walks into an office meeting and asks what they think about life insurance. I'm pretty sure if that really happened in an office meeting, they'd talk about Jeopardy! and not life insurance.

3. I just don't like muffins. I try. I think I "should" like muffins. But I don't.

4. I am considering what would happen if I let my gray hair grow out. I hate coloring it. People don't like seeing a woman go gray.

5. Penzey's now has seasoning for frozen pizza. I must buy some ASAP.  I don't eat much frozen pizza, but I feel like this is an urgent purchase!

That's all as random as I've got!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The one(s) that got away

Have you ever had a favorite food product or consumer item discontinued after you fell in love with it? Are you the angel of death for products you love? Do you find something and then discover it has been heartlessly ripped from the shelves of your local emporium?

I've gathered you here today to tell you about three things I loved that are gone, probably never to return. I say probably because, well, just keep reading.

I loved this gum. I don't like Altoids mints because contrary to peppermint's ability to calm an upset tummy, the curiously strong taste of an Altoid mint has the exact opposite effect on me. But the cinnamon gum! I found these one day during a trip to Ohio and I bought them faithfully. At some point, they began disappearing from shelves in various stores until finally, the last store to have them, which was Trader Joe's in my area, stopped carrying them as well. Apparently, they are gone. Sad.

Here is the product that changed the lives of many a teen-aged girl a few decades back. Oh man, how I miss you! This stuff was identifiable in a busy high school hallway more than any perfume back then. Back in the early 90s, I went into a small, old-fashioned drug store in Topeka, Kansas. They probably don't even have drugstores like the one I visited anywhere in the United States anymore. I went in and I was looking around, killing time when BOOM! I saw a few bottles of this stuff sitting on a dusty shelf. I bought them right away.

The problem with this shampoo is only that they stopped making it. You can buy a reformulated GYHST from Vermont Country Store, but it doesn't smell the same and it doesn't have the staying power in the slightest. The VC Store comments on the website that the original formulation included deer musk, which is no longer considered an acceptable ingredient, so at least we have some information. But it isn't the same. Not at all. Sad.

I came across this compact powder on vacation one year. I was at Walmart because all vacations center around a Walmart visit sooner or later and I needed something with sunscreen in it that I could reapply during the day during travel. I saw this with sunscreen, so I snapped it up. It's fantastic! Miraculous! I don't wear a lot of makeup mostly because it all comes up off my face and mingles with other elements of makeup, smears, flakes and so on. It doesn't seem to matter if I use expensive or cheap or somewhere in between, but let's not get me started on my makeup woes. I have fully accepted the fact that in truth, life with almost no makeup is just a lot easier.

This stuff goes on smoothly and it COVERS things like little sun spots and redness. It's absolutely amazing. Everyone should be wearing this stuff every day of every year. So what does Physician's Formula do? They stop making it.

The good news is that maybe since it isn't in stores anymore, people have forgotten it and I just bought two more compacts from some company selling through Amazon. It said "only 2 in stock" so you bet your sweet bippee I bought both of them. I'm about 90% certain they were in an acceptable shade.

Do you have any former loves that are no longer available? Is there anything you'd like to get off your chest about a favorite product you can't find anymore? Do you have a success story?

Monday, February 17, 2014

How the weekend got away from me

On Friday, I raced over to the high school and spent several hours in a hot and small square room selling food to masses of people at a high school basketball game. I was with the Kid and we had a really good time. Best of all is that he was the one who suggested doing it. We were in the small room with four other people, but we were busy and each person learned to stay in their spot and do the job that was nearest them. Mr. Personality was at the front window taking orders and making change. I was pulling out pizza slices and water bottles. I couldn't help but notice all the attention he was getting from other students, but one girl in particular needs to stand down. Let's just leave it at that. 

Sunday afternoon, my friend Cindy and I had lunch at the fancy new restaurant in the botanical center.  I have gotten very bad about taking photos, so I took this from their web page. It's very nice. We sat at the bar, but there was no man on a laptop at the time. If you are in Des Moines, you should eat there. 

Right outside the door, it was 91 degrees with 51% humidity. It felt fantastic! Here I remembered to take some photos. 

 They had a simple wooden fixture build that fit 3" or 4" pots. The pots sat at a little angle, like the way some spice racks do, you know? 

So then the result is a wall of plants and you can vary the colors and variegation of the leaves. Very pleasant.

This is my money shot. BWAH HA. Look at the composition! 

This little flower was growing from a tree and it appears as though a flower will come out of each of the pink sections. It would be nice to visit every day and watch that. There was a man and a woman sitting on a park bench reading from books. I mentioned that they had the right idea and we should do that! The place was cram-packed with visitors and they had a small jazz band or quartet playing, so I don't know if it was easy to concentrate on their reading, but they looked like old pros and were oblivious to the crowds around them.

After we left the warm plants, we headed over to the civic center and just LOOK at the fantastic seats we had!! Close, but not too close and almost center stage. This was a show called The Gershwin Experience and it was phenomenal. I've been told not everyone loves classical or "vintage" music, so I will just gush about how amazing it was and leave the details. But don't think I can't go on and on about how much I love seeing live performances of classical music as well as the classics. Oddly enough, I don't really enjoy live concerts unless they are orchestra, symphony, etc.

Here is a good photo of Cindy. The jacket is so striking. But I sort of messed it up.

OK, I lied. At the concert, there was a camera focused on this guy's fingers. The video looked like it was sped up to a crazy, cartoon-like frenzy, but the video was in real time. This guy is a Gershwin expert and he plays each piece without sheet music. The music gets started around the 4-minute mark, but the beginning of this video tells a bit about Gershwin and the piece, which is Rhapsody in Blue. It is obviously done without the orchestration here, so the soaring and most lovely bits are missing.

Finally, later in the evening, we celebrated birthdays: granddaughter and great-grandma, both in the photo. One is calm, one is excited. One is 7, one is 83. I'll let you sort it out.

Here's the cute cupcake for the younger one. This aptly named cupcake is called 'The Princess.' The rest of us had delicious, fancy, grown-up cupcakes.

Saturday was given over to lots and lots of snow, completely unexpected by me. That irritated me, but it enabled me to get my housework done.

Friday, February 14, 2014

My foray into organized girlhood

When I was in elementary school, we lived in Dayton, Ohio. That's why I go back to Dayton a few times a year, you see. I have lots of family there. So I lived there in a little suburb of Dayton and I had friends who lived right next door. I had acquaintances across the street and I had someone you'd never guess who lived on the other side of our house. More later on her.

So when we lived in this neighborhood that was cram-packed with children, I lived next door to two girls, Kim and Belinda. Kim, Belinda and Caron: all the same age. Belinda and I went to school together, I think. But I have zero memories of Belinda in school. Funny, I just realized that. All the memories I have of her are neighborhood memories. Kim went to the Catholic school not far away.

One day, pretty early on, someone started a Campfire Girls Bluebird group. I told my mom how much I wanted to do this and I am fairly certain at least one of the Kim/Belinda pair was doing it and I was either being "encouraged" to join or I thought I would be left out if I wasn't a part of it.

Let me digress. A few years ago, I asked my mom what she would say of my adult personality that was identifiable from my early childhood. She told me something about not remembering what she had for breakfast and I never did get any clues as to how long I've been awesome and did it begin early on, etc.

But here is one thing I can tell you about myself. Bluebirds was for the birds then and to. this. day. I cannot imagine being a part of a group of women and actually enjoying it. That isn't to say I haven't tried. I have. I spent years in a group of women here in Des Moines and we did good things, but it felt exactly the same as the Bluebirds did way back in the early 70s.

My memory is probably really incomplete and my mother will be of no help because she's busy trying to sort out breakfast, but as I recall I went to one Bluebird meeting at which we tried our hand at making some sort of craft (another adult failing of mine) and when I left that meeting, which in my mind was the first and only meeting I attended, I knew I would not be back.

Not ever.

And that was that. I never once joined another group of that sort. Except for when I moved to Des Moines. Then I did. But do you know why I did? I was being "encouraged" to join and I thought I would be left out if I wasn't a part of it.

The neighbor on the other side was younger than I was. I'm not sure how much I want to say about her because I don't want certain Google searches landing on my blog. How do I put this? Her dad was the publisher of a magazine that had pictures of ladies girls people without their clothes on. He may or may not have been shot by someone back in the 70s and ended up in a wheelchair.

Anyway, this is what her photo looks like on the interwebs now. She did not look like this back in the 2nd grade or so.

P.S. that women's group resulted in one lifelong friend and for that I will always be glad I was there to meet Cindy. OTHERWISE, it was the Bluebirds all over again. Like the time I brought treats and was indelicately told I had brought too much. Yea, like that. 

Random 5 Friday

It's Friday and I'm not prepared, but I'm not prepared for the weekend ahead, either. I have much going on with children of various ages. But that's not what I'm here to complain talk about. Here's my five:

1. I went to lunch this week. My favorite Mexican restaurant. We each order $4 worth of food and drink water. The owner waits on us. Full of love for us is what he is. The big spenders. He tolerates us, too. Maybe the world is more tolerant than I imagined at first.

2. My niece is selling Girl Scout cookies and I put up an order form. Then my boss' boss brings in a dozen boxes yesterday morning. This is what was left over after a few hours. They're gone today. I've sold 9 boxes, by the way. I'm not a girl scout, though. OH, let me tell you about my foray into organized girlhood.

3. This coworker also went to the Mexican restaurant with us. She is not so much into funny faces and is pretty serious about checking her phone when she's done with the queso and shenanigans, which at this point were complete. I may have made a comment about her short legs, but I probably would never do something like that.

4. I was at an open call for a beauty pageant a week ago. No, not for myself, but admit it: you thought just maybe... No! probably you thought, "She does strange things and then never blogs about them."

Anyway, a child in front of me had on these shoes. They are ridiculous and I make no apologies for expressing this opinion. I took this photo and the two adults who were with me leaned over and whispered, "Send me that photo."

5. Pandora sent me an email saying they know I've got a station with a piano concerto by Mozart, so they've added songs. They added piano music. Not classical music. Not concertos. Just piano music like Richard Clayderman and some dude named Silvard. It's fine because I like piano music. But I wouldn't have expected the contemporary piano department store music mixed in with classical concertos. Well, the selection is pretty random, so I thought it would fit into the Random 5 scheme.