Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Eight things a-thinkin!


Here are some things I can't stop thinking about.
  1. Our wildly successful Costco trip in which the store FINALLY had mango slices!  On G+ I said one of the truest things I've ever uttered, "costco mango slices = prodigal son. i loved them, but they left me, but now they're back, and i have slaughtered my fattest calf in celebration" AND I didn't even mention this ridiculously delicious (Costco brand, no less!) Lavash flatbreads with rosemary, olive oil and sea salt.  I don't even understand how good these are.  We also got a 30-PIECE SET OF ADORABLE TUPPERWARE.  My life is complete.
  2. I am majorly jealous of people who can just look at a camera with no expression and look super hot.  Like, when they're not making any face at all, even smiling, and they still look smokin'.  When I'm not smiling in a picture I either look confused or pissed off.  I feel like French people do this particularly well.
  3. Someone is mysteriously sending us a Newsweek subscription.  Not even kidding.  This happened a year or so ago, and here it is again.  I entered the info from the label into Newsweek, and I am like 95% sure I did not pay what it says I paid when it says I paid it.  So mysterious sender, thank you!  This is lots of fun and takes me back to my childhood of devouring Newsweek.
  4. There should be a way to find friends on facebook simply by how many friends you have in common with one other thing you know, so that if you have NO idea what a person's name is, you can use your stealth skills of knowing where they went to college and the fact that you will likely have a million mutual friends, without embarrassing yourself by asking anyone.  Except facebook, and facebook doesn't care.
  5. Bellow is getting ridiculously good at not jumping on our bed at night, but jumping on our bed in the morning; so good in fact, that we don't have to shut her out!  Her cries were devastating, but it was also devastating to get leapt on in those precious grey moments of falling asleep, and then have to shove her off.  So anyway, great job, dog!  She is also waiting for her food, even after it's poured!  What a champ!
  6. FALL.  How do I love thee!  Let me count the ways!  Aside from that ferocious hailstorm two weeks ago, earthquake last week, and hurricane this past weekend, we have had AMAZING weather, with no crazy last-ditch heat stroke.  Starts out 60, gets to maybe 87, goes back down to 73.  Gorge.  Coming up: increased amounts of tea, candles, baking, and tights!
  7. Guys, guess what.  September is... NO RESTAURANT MONTH!  Faithful readers may remember this attempt last August and its questionable success.  This year we are armed with P90X resolution, a money-sucking house, and a homebody dog!  And two more CSA shares!  And with Costco mangoes and flatbread, who needs restaurants anyway.  Cinchy.
  8. Also, if you're somehow friends with me but not with Mickey, may I direct you to this.
also, who needs restaurants when you have these two on your team.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Goodbye summer, toilet seat

Oh man, This Summer.  Everything happened!  I danced with Matt!  I made then gave away lots of bowls, we had lots of friends over, we acquired a companion animal, our cabinets got their doors, I read Hemingway with an eleventh grader, we cleaned and cleaned some more.  Pretty much everything we do now makes me feel more adult!  We got a handheld vacuum!  I bought fabric and hastily made temporary (?) curtains!  I organized my collection of hotel-stolen toiletries and am USING THEM.  I am flossing.  FLOSSING.  WHO EVEN AM I.  I can't even list all the things we accomplished in the last eight weeks.  But, you guys know me.  The things that I'm most proud of, the things that have made me the absolute happiest, were these seemingly tiny changes that vastly improved the quality of my life.  And all I can think now is of being free, being liberated, to fix the things that bothered me on such a miniscule level that it was tempting to forget about them.  But of course!  They all reached a tipping point, I fixed them, and now I am constantly filled with joy.

Ever since setting up the guest bedroom, I hated our own bedroom.  The bed left three awkward feet or so on all sides, and it felt childish and clumsy.  I talked a skeptical Justin into switching walls to leave a big open floor at the foot of our bed, and he eventually humored me, and it instantly made it mature, sleek and friendly!  Score one for the rearranging-furniture-changes-your-life argument.  It just makes so much more sense, even though I am panicking a little about when we upgrade to queen size, complete with bed frame :( .  WILL ALL MY FURNITURE ARRANGING DREAMS BE CRUSHED AGAIN

But this change, this one cannot be undone, even with certain future upgrades.  If you've been to our house, you have certainly seen, if not used, the World's Worst Toilet Seat.  I humbly apologize to everyone for its existence ESPECIALLY if you used it.  If it makes you feel any better, I used it way more than you did, and was furious about it every time.  If you haven't seen it, or if you have and would like a refresher course:  It was one of those cushion ones, except it had a slice in a side from which the yellow (original color I THINK) foam burst out, especially with shower humidity.  The foam was also dysfunctional in one side so that you felt some weird plastic grid in the seat when you sat on it.  The white was starting to fade into a weird bluish (I know) glow (?).  By this point I know you're thinking, Pam, what is wrong with you, that sounds like the grossest thing in the world.  And you would be right.  But you know what else was the grossest thing in the world?  EVERYTHING IN OUR HOUSE UNTIL LIKE THREE WEEKS AGO.  It got lost in the shuffle of the chopped-up five-layer floor, rotting cabinets, marker on the walls, chewed up bathroom door, and the various holes (ranging from scores of nail-size to 4" diameter) in bedroom walls and ceilings.  But ANYWAY.  You also probably know that this whole process is taking eons longer than we imagined, so you may not be surprised to hear that I realized this was one super-gross thing I could fix, so I bought a reclaimed wood toilet seat at 7 am one morning.  It was the best $10 I ever spent.  After some finagling with weird, cheap plastic screws and nuts, I eventually, triumphantly tore the wretched thing out, scrubbed where it was on our pink and teal (no joke) toilet, engineered some parts to fit, and screwed the new shiny seat in.  And I nearly wept with delight.  It is SOLID and REAL and WHITE and CLEAN.  I still look at it admiringly when I pass it by. 

So, another silly event, another life lesson learned.  Let your anger stir you into change.  The longer you're angry, the more time you're wasting that you could be happy.  I was limiting myself and didn't know it; this creativity and possibility with the whole house reminded me just how much power we have to make these minor adjustments that renew us.  Best summer ev-- well, since last summer.

Monday, August 8, 2011

SPT: Guest Post

Welcome (or should I say Willkommen!) to today's installment of Sad Paragraph Tutorial.  I came across a stellar example of a sad paragraph, and, with the author's permission, I have reposted it below.  (Read the rest of his irresistible prose here.)  This piece might take the classification "vignette;" it is more than just a paragraph, but it's not quite a story.  Unlike in my description, the sadness only becomes clear in the last sentence.  See, my children, there are as many ways to write a sad paragraph as there are sad authors' sad concepts.  It was written on a Tuesday, the saddest of days.

Up or Down
by Mickey Mangan
A man was walking down a road. In his hand he held a rope. The rope was very long and one end of it dragged behind him for hundreds of yards as he walked. The other end rose, gently, up from his grip and into the sky. It was attached to a hot air balloon. The hot air balloon floated delicately above him, moving across the land with him as he walked. There were many sunny, cloudless days when the balloon was the most beautiful thing in sight, and the man wanted nothing more than to climb into it and float off into the sky. Other days, however, were not so beautiful.  The man was glad to have the firm ground beneath his feet. Even so, he knew that someday he would work up the courage to climb that rope and see the world from his balloon. Eventually the ground he walked on began to slope downhill. The change was very gradual and, at first, he did not notice it. After many downward steps he was clearly able to see the road ahead.  It stretched gracefully for miles and miles and miles. He admired his view, and saw that he would be safe on this road no matter what happened. Still, he found himself looking longingly up at his balloon. He knew that the view from up there would be far better than any vantage the ground could give him. One day the man found himself looking back on the ground he had covered, and thought he noticed that the rope dragging behind him was shorter than it had been before. Looking up, he realized that the balloon had gotten further and further away from him as he walked down the slope. He tried to pull it back down toward him, but he simply was not strong enough. He tried climbing, but he knew that his arms could not carry him to the top. He knew that he might have been able to climb it before, when the balloon was closer. So instead he kept walking, and kept readjusting his grip to let more of his extra rope out, and kept reassuring himself that the balloon was still there if he really needed it, and that one day it will be close enough to climb to again. He did this for many days, until one day he didn’t hear the rope dragging behind him. He looked down and found that he was holding onto the last feet of rope. He looked up and could barely see his balloon. Was it red? Was it blue? He couldn't even remember what it looked like. If he held onto the rope any longer, it would lift him off of the ground. He let the rope go and kept walking further and further down the road.