Home Sweet Sarah
16Jan/172

Stuff to do in 2017

I am usually not one for making New Year's resolutions. A lot of times it's "do less of xyz" or "stop doing xyz" and no thanks, I do not live my life by 'cannots.' (Unless that cannot is, like, meth.) But, in looking back, I realize that when I have made a commitment to something, I have often stuck with it. For example, one year I decided I was going to floss every night. This was like 15 years ago and guess what? I still floss every night. So, I figure there's probably nothing wrong with making some choices for my overall well-being. Here they are:

Bring a snack to school pickup for LG
Homegirl can be cranky after school and it occurred to me when she was in daycare over the winter break and was SO NICE when I picked her up after lunch that DUH, she is just hangry after school. I figure if I just shove food in her immediately when I see her, then we'll all be happy.

Take LG somewhere after school once-ish a week
Currently, we come home from school and LG unpacks her stuff and then retreats to watch PBS Kids while I work. On Wednesdays, she does gymnastics, but the other days of the week are activity-less. I don't feel bad about her watching tv (she learns a lot from PBS Kids, no really, she does), but there's probably also some value in going and doing something. It will all depend on my work schedule, but I am hoping we can implement this most weeks. I'm thinking library in the winter and when the weather gets nicer, then we can go to the park.

Continue with the yoga
I set out to "do more yoga" in October and have been keeping up with that. Since I am now a member of my yoga place, that makes it even easier. I can sign into classes through the app and then sneak in through the backdoor and I never have to talk to anyone. It's great. My general goal has been a minimum of two classes a week/eight classes a month.

Run more
While 625 seems like a lot of miles completed in 2016, the truth is it was a lot of walking. Summer here was disgusting--so humid and gross--and winter was too icy for running, so I ended up slogging or gingerly tiptoeing through a lot of walks. It was fine, but I'd like to get back to actual running when I'm not yoga-ing.

Read more and READ MORE
I read nine books last year, which is...not a lot. I want to read more this year and in addition, I want to READ MORE than just the same old authors. I get stuck in ruts with the same authors I always know I'll enjoy, which is okay for a little bit, but I would like to give some new authors a chance. I have the following books queued up at the library:

  • A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles (I love, love, loved Rules of Civility, so I am hoping this one doesn't disappoint)
  • The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware
  • Superficial, by Andy Cohen
  • Winter Storms, by Elin Hilderbrand (I CANNOT QUIT ALL MY FAVORITES)
  • The Passenger, by Lisa Lutz
  • Not that Kind of Girl, by Lena Dunham (I will spare you the "LEAVE LENA DUNHAM ALONE!" tirade I went on on Twitter the other day)

Say yes to more fun things Chris suggests (get your mind out of the gutter)
Chris is our resident spontaneous fun person, whereas I would stay home all weekend and read books or lay around watching tv. On the day before New Year's Eve, he suggested we go into Chicago for the night and normally I'd come up with some reason not to, but I didn't and we had so much fun. More fun!

Write a cookbook!
More to come on this as we progress, but Chris and I are going to write a cookbook! This weekend we planned what will most likely make it into the cookbook (it was harder than you'd think to come up with meals that are truly "ours" and not adaptations from others). Next up is scheduling everything for us to cook throughout the year so that we can test and nail down the recipes. We also need to buy a kitchen scale and, dream of dreams, a second dishwasher like Queen Ina Garten. Anyway! Follow the hashtag #sundaykindofdinners for updates, etc.

3Jan/172

2016 review

I guess I'm a little late with this one, but oh well, I DID IT. Here's how 2016 shaped up. (I am kind of with my girl over at Life of a Doctor's Wife--it might be time to update some of these questions.)

1. What did you do in 2016 that you'd never done before?
Went to improv camp! Went on a week-long family vacation. (Related: Went to New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts.) Went to Michigan! Went to Wisconsin! Went to (brunch in) Indiana! Went to Mt. Hood! Went to a lot of new places!

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't make any. I might for 2017, check back here.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Nope. (I always feel like I must be forgetting someone. I hope not!)

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Nope.

5. What countries did you visit?
None.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you didn't have in 2016?
Clarity/direction around what I'm doing with regard to comedy.

7. What dates from 2016 will be etched upon your memory, and why?
November 8th was a real shit day and YOU KNOW WHY.

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?
I sent my little infant baby off to kindergarten. Towards the end of the year, I made a commitment to do more yoga, and I did something like 30 classes in three months. My teacher said she could tell my practice was improving and that I was getting stronger. I walked/ran 625 miles, the most I've done since I started keeping track in 2013.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I did a lot of thinking about what I'm going to do, instead of just doing.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nope. I am fairly certain I didn't get sick once--a far cry from 2013, where I was sick CONSTANTLY. Of course, for the last three months, I've been waiting for the winter cold to make its appearance, so that's fun.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Anything related to our family vacation.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
All of us who stood up for what we believed in.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
YOU KNOW.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Rent, travel, cocktails, dinners out.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Family vacation! Improv camp!

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?
That dance dance dance song by Justin Timberlake.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: A) happier or sadder? B) thinner or fatter? C) richer or poorer?
A) Maybe a little sadder.
B) Fatter. Who even cares.
C) About the same? Maybe a little richer.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Read books.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Drank booze.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
The three of us spent Christmas at home, just us and a shitton of food. The usual. (I kept this answer from last year because as I said, it's the usual. We're pretty predicable.)

21. Did you fall in love with 2016?
NOPE.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Vanderpump Rules, Below Deck, all the Housewives, Gilmore Girls (old school and reboot), The Americans, Billions, The Night Of (so good, so sad), Shameless, Stranger Things, Ladies of London, The Affair, Homeland.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
NOPE. I HATED HIM LAST YEAR TOO.

24. What was the best book you read?
The Bullet, by Mary Louise Kelly.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Maren Morris!

26. What did you want and get?
A family vacation!

27. What did you want and not get?
Comedy comedy comedy.

28. What was your favorite film of 2016?
I do not think I watched a new movie except for Moana on Christmas Eve. So Moana.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
On my actual birthday, we went to dinner here in town and then the next day we went to Chicago and went out to dinner there. I turned 33.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
IF HILLARY CLINTON HAD WON.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2016?
Work from home running and yoga clothes shower at 4pm and put jammies on chic.

32. What kept you sane?
Running, yoga, my friends, my family, avoiding the news.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?
DISGUSTING FLOPPY HAIR.

34. Who did you miss?
My mom and dad.

35. Who was the best new person you met?
Even though I haven't seen them much recently, I did meet fun new improv friends here in Chicago.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
Don't get too comfortable and don't believe what the pollsters tell you.

37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Last year I quoted Tracy Chapman and I'm doing it again this year. "Don't you know / They're talkin' about a revolution"

13Jan/16Off

Micromanaging their fun

When I first noticed this phenomenon, I felt bad about myself and my parenting. Then, as I noticed it more, I got mad and now I'm in a place where it just annoys the shit out of me. What is this?, you ask. It's parents micromanaging their kids' fun. Let me 'splain.

In California, where the weather is beautiful and gorgeous, we spent a lot of time at the playground. Invariably, there would be some parent (usually more than one) holding their kid's hand as they went along the play structure, or following their kid around as they played atop the giant lizard statue, or saving their kid from the two-foot drop off the spider web-looking thing. Sometimes, there'd be parents actively playing with their kids, going down the slide themselves or swinging on the swings.

I found all of this weird for several reasons, first of all because the play structure sign says Ages 5-12, not ages 5-35. I found it weird because I think it's healthy for LG (and other kids) to figure out how to get themselves out of sticky situations without their parents' help, because their parents are not going to be there to do things for them all the time. I found it weird because as a parent, I can be anxious about the swingy bar with a far drop to the ground, but it's my job to internalize that anxiety and let my kid play on her own, rather than be overtly nervous about her falling five feet off the swingy bar onto the ground. (I was very nervous about the swingy bar but I did not want to let LG know I was nervous about the swingy bar. I want her to be brave and fearless.)

I mostly found it weird, though, because if my kid wanted to play with another kid, oftentimes that meant also playing with that other kid's parent and here I was, on a bench nearby, listening to a podcast or reading a book and seeming like I was uninterested in my kid as she played with another kid(s) and their parent. Now, this would actually not be untrue! I did not take LG to the park for my fun, unless you count the podcasts or books as fun, in which case, I guess I did take her there for my fun, but not in the, "I'm going to heave my giant ass through this tunnel and pretend to be a monster" kind of fun.

Listen, I don't ever want to grow up and I spend a fair amount of time doing non-grown-up-type things, like doing improv. The other day, at LG's initiation, I pretended there was a sleeping dinosaur in our garage and we had to be veeeeeeeery quiet when we got in the car and then we freaked out about the dinosaur and we talked about the dinosaur several more times throughout the day. Yesterday, at LG's request, I reenacted her birth in our kitchen. It was less messy than the first time and I kept all my clothes on, but my point is, I do indulge my kid in fun things. I am not a monster.

However, when we go to the playground, that is LG's time to play with other kids her age, not her lame mother or other adults her lame mother's age. It's the time where 4-ish-year-olds convene and work shit out among themselves. It is Lord of the Flies out there, except it's only for an hour or so. And then, if it turns out some kid is being an asshole, we can talk about it either right there, or later that day and we can have a discussion about how some people are assholes and here is how you don't act like an asshole.

This brings me to the current day, where it's cold and snowy and you can't play at the playground, so you play at the library. Our library is pretty great. The entire downstairs is for the kids, so they can run around and be themselves without the constant, "SHHHH!" from their parents, because there are people trying to study or research or play online poker at the computers a few feet away.

The problem is, I see library time as I saw playground time, which equals reading time for me. I have no interest in sitting in the kid-sized chair and watching LG play a game on the iPad (WHY DO THEY HAVE iPADS AT THE LIBRARY? Different rant for a different day.) Without fail, though, there are other parents at the library, following their kids around as they play and then when my kid tries to play with their kid, it turns into their weird game where the kids are being refereed by this other parent as they, like, do puzzles, and there I am, reading Fates and Furies (still not finished) and looking very disinterested. BECAUSE I AM! Because I have plenty of work to do at home, but I am here, for my child, so that she can learn and grow and become independent and a problem-solver and make friends. I don't need some other woman monitoring whose turn it is on the iPad. I don't need some lady saying to my kid, "Are you here with your grandma?" as if that would make the absence of a parent make more sense. Oh, tired grandma is taking a rest, for surely if your mother was here, she'd be hovering over you, telling you how to do this puzzle correctly.

I don't know, maybe I'm the asshole.

Filed under: LG 3 Comments
30Dec/15Off

2015

2015 was a year. A year, it was.

1. What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?
Performed weekly with an improv team. Lived in the Midwest.

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't think I made any resolutions. I am not making any for 2016.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My sister-in-law!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No.

5. What countries did you visit?
None. (CRYFACE EMOJI.)

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you didn't have in 2015?
(Haha, last year I said, "A finished kitchen." Since we sold our house, now I don't give a fuuuuuuq about my kitchen.) Anyway, I would like a goddamn vacation.

7. What dates from 2015 will be etched upon your memory, and why?
September 15, the date our shit was packed up and headed off to Illinois. September 19, the date we left California for Illinois.

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?
Being asked to perform weekly on an improv team, finding a job I really liked, being a very supportive spouse.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I don't think I failed at anything.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nope!

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I can't really think of anything that I bought that was that great. Champagne?

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Chris got promoted! He's a badass. LG continued to be chill and took all the big changes in stride. I was, once again, a very supportive spouse.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
After marriage equality, when people continued to passive-aggressively quote Bible scripture on Facebook as if to make some stupid point...STOP IT. The only point you're making is that you're a bigot. Go away.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage/rent, daycare, food, booze.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Being asked to be on an improv team!

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?
"Changes," by Langhorne Slim and The Law. I heard this in my last yoga class in California the week we moved and I cried and then I couldn't find the song anywhere and then a few weeks ago, I randomly heard it during an Auto Trader commercial and I was like, There's that song! And also I need to send my yoga teacher a Christmas letter! Life works in funny ways sometimes.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: A) happier or sadder? B) thinner or fatter? C) richer or poorer?
A) Same.
B) Same.
C) Richer.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Improv or anything else comedy-related. Stand-up, sketch, etc.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Ate fried food.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
The three of us spent Christmas at home, just us and a shitton of food. The usual.

21. Did you fall in love with 2015?
Nah.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
All the Real Housewives, as usual; The Affair; Homeland; The Americans; Better Call Saul; The West Wing; Vanderpump Rules.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Nope.

24. What was the best book you read?
Yes Please, by Amy Poehler.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I recently downloaded Grace Potter. I dig it.

26. What did you want and get?
More comedy!

27. What did you want and not get?
A family vacation!

28. What was your favorite film of 2015?
Haha, "film." I don't think I saw any movies this year, except the Peanuts Movie, which was really quite stupid, and Inside Out, which was not stupid, but which made me cry.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Chris and I went to San Diego--alone!--and hung out with friends and went to the bar where we met. I turned 32.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
It was a pretty legit year, so I can't say there's more I would have wanted. Don't be greedy.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2015?
All I can think of is that most recently, it's puffy coats.

32. What kept you sane?
Running, yoga, podcasts.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?
There are too many shootings in this country and I don't know how to solve it, but it needs solving because what the fuck is going on?

34. Who did you miss?
My mom and dad. They came to almost every improv show and I loved seeing their faces front row center every Wednesday.

35. Who was the best new person you met?
My bosses; my old cubicle-neighbor, who has turned into a real friend; and improv people.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
Just say yes--adventure is a good thing! Be loyal to your family--ride or die.

37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"Gimme one reason to stay here and I'll turn right back around..." (LG and I have been listening to a lot of Tracy Chapman.)

23Nov/15Off

Thanksgiving menu

So it snowed last weekend. Our first snow! Today I went for a run and while it was very nice (I do enjoy running in the (somewhat) cold), I also quickly realized that my shoes are serious dry-weather shoes. So I'll be buying some new ones that don't get my feet soaking wet.


LG enjoying the snow.

Anyway, this week is Thanksgiving, aka: my favorite holiday ever. We're sticking close to home this year (uhh, by which I mean we are just...staying home), which is sad, but good. Sad because no family, we have to do all the cooking. Good because no family, we get to do all the cooking. Here's what's on our menu this year.

Breakfast

We debated on doing Bloody Marys and bagels with lox, but then I randomly bought bagels and lox a few weekends ago and so that didn't sound great anymore. We decided to just do Bloody Marys and appetizers instead, so here's what apps we're having:

Meat, cheese, and crackers
Brined items
Potstickers (Costco, from a bag)
Jalapeno poppers (leftover cream cheese from bagels and lox day + bacon that needs to be used + jalapenos that need to be used)
Shrimp and cocktail sauce (homemade sauce, Ina's recipe)

Dinner

We'll probably eat around 2pm or so. Maybe a little later, depending on if we're starving or if I decide to make an emergency flatbread with the pizza crust I stress-bought last week.

Turkey with sage and Kerrygold rubbed all up on it
Stuffing with sausage
Mashed potatoes (from a box! But I am roasting garlic to add in)
Green bean casserole (topped with onion rings, Chris's favorite)
Maybe a salad (the produce here sucks and so the spinach we bought a few days ago is already bad. It's either go to the store this week for new salad ingredients or...just forgo a salad)
Possibly roasted carrots (this is the portion of the show where I start to worry we won't have enough food)
Cranberry sauce
Gravy
King's Hawaiian rolls

Dessert

Smitten Kitchen's Pear, Cranberry, and Gingersnap Crumble, but with apples instead of pears, and vanilla bean ice cream on top
Irish coffees

What are you having for the big day?

13Nov/15Off

Greetings…

...from the Midwest! Hi, yes, we moved to Illinois. I figure you already know this because you follow me on Instagram and/or Twitter and/or you're my mom or grandma. If none of those apply, then what a surprise for you! Anyway, so we're here now and seem to be surviving just fine. I found a school for LG and am looking into my options for comedy (which are great if you're IN Chicago, but less-great if you're in the suburbs, which we are.) It has not snowed, but my weather app shows a snowflake for next Saturday, so that may be my first opportunity to bust out my fancy Sorel boots and Lands' End down coat. I am sure they'll get five minutes of play before I go back inside the house like a normal person. Meanwhile, I tell everyone I meet who mentions the mild weather we've been having, "Yes, I am here from California and I brought it with me you're welcome." Just trying to endear myself to the locals. People here are very nice, which makes me highly suspicious (WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?) but I am trying to go with it. Luckily last night, I had the opportunity to call our old eye doctor in California and yell at him (long story), so I am feeling much more myself.

In makeup news, I bought Benefit's They're Real! mascara for not the first time a few months ago and...did they change the formula? Because it suuuuuuuuucked. It's not waterproof, yet it would. not. come. off. EVER. I felt like it was ruining my eyelashes, like one day I'd wake up and they'd just be these little mascara-covered stubs. I threw it away and wen't back to L'Oreal Voluminous and am much happier.

I also picked up Maybelline Color Blur Cream Matte Pencil (in Berry Misbehaved) and I quite enjoy it. My new thing for winter, I think, will be buying brightly-colored lipsticks. And also maybe snow-shoeing.

Alright, I have to get the little one off to school. Stay warm, my friends.

8May/15Off

Friday!

Weekend plans

Hey, did you know, it's Mother's Day weekend? Mother's Day weekend, guys. THE WEEKEND OF THE MOTHERS.

Okay, so admittedly, Mother's Day is not a huge deal to me. It's one of two days a year I allow myself to eat donuts, so that's fun, but other than that I pretty much just like to be left alone (so no different than any other day of the year.)

This year, après-donuts, I am going to go to yoga (mamaste) and then to Mexican food brunch with my two faves. I bought two different bottles of rosé today, so maybe I'll bust into one of those. The possibilities are endless. (Actually not really, as I have a job interview at 9am Monday.)

Tomorrow we're going to the farmers' market and then to the fair. I am not the hugest fair-going person, but I like this one because it's on the smaller side and it's early enough in the season that it's not disgustingly hot outside yet. We'll check out the car show (Chris's favorite thing on the planet), the baby animals (no one's favorite thing), try to coerce LG onto some rides (seriously no one's favorite thing), and after half an hour, we'll probably flee to the nearest beer-monger.


This one told me she didn't want me to go to Muffins With Mom at her school today. Excuse me while I go cry in my cheerios.

Meal plan

Tonight we're making these pizza rolls. Tomorrow is fair food. Sunday is clams and pasta. Monday is burgers. Tuesday is chili. Wednesday is TBD. Thursday is also TBD, but I imagine I'll have Chris grill up some chicken thighs when he grills burgers on Monday and then I'll make a few sides to go with them that day. Speaking of sides, anyone make any good side dishes lately? I am in a salad rut (I KNOOOOOOW) and need some inspiration. This cucumber and avocado salad looks good (I'd use Greek yogurt or sour cream in place of mayo), as well as this grilled Greek panzanella salad. Ooooh, and this: roasted red peppers with anchovies, garlic, and goat cheese.


Last night's buffalo turkey lettuce wraps. Ugh, healthy food, I am over you.

'Tis the season...

...to update my closet. I bought a few of these shirts on MamaBub's recommendation. They should arrive tomorrow and when they do, I'll report back. I am also trying one of these tank tops. As much as I'd like to buy nicer things that will last a long time, the truth is I am terrible on my clothes. I literally had to take the last white t-shirt I bought and throw it in the trash the first day I wore it because I spilled coffee on it. So now I'm just like, fuck it. I'll spend $12 on a t-shirt and if I ruin it right away (likely), then who cares?

I have a couple pairs of shorts (Gap boyfriend shorts are my favorite, but I am laughing/crying at the fact that anyone can wear them rolled. NOT ON THESE THIGHS) and a couple maxi dresses. If the shirts/tank work out, I'll buy a few more in different color/patterns and a new pair of boyfriend shorts. I could also use a new pair of sandals, as I haven't bought any (minus my Birks) in a couple years. I was just perusing Target, my favorite place for cute summer sandals, and everything on there looked horrifyingly '90s, so that's not great, Bob.

Parting thought

I'm finding that spending most of my time with a 4-year-old is really great for my improv skills. There's a lot of character work ("I'm a dog!", "I'm a cat!") and today we worked on accents. (Not that accents are necessary for improv, but they certainly help when playing a character.) Today LG ate some bread and she said, "This is a tasty orange!" and I was like, "Is it juicy and delicious?" That's basically improv in a nutshell. Yes, I will go on this bread-as-orange journey with you. LET'S DO IT.


Possibly the most well-lit picture of me ever taken on stage. Thanks, Mom!

31Mar/15Off

Status updates

LG
I don't know if I ever mentioned it, but the contract at my job ended last month, so it's just me and LG here Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. We are keeping her in school Mondays and Fridays, which is nice for two reasons: 1.) Chris has Mondays off, so Monday is officially Monday Funday for the two of us, and 2.) ALONE TIME FOR ME.

The other days of the week, LG and I have been doing library storytime, the park, or getting together with EBJ and K-Dubs. While I am trying to keep us busy, I am a little...lacking for activities. I hate to say I'm bored, because I'm a big believer that only boring people are bored, but damn, I am sort of running out of things to do. I am still on the job hunt, so I have to do that every day, but if nothing new is posted, then applying for jobs (or, not applying for jobs, as it were) doesn't take a lot of time. Plus, applying for jobs isn't really a kid-friendly activity. So, I dunno. Outside of the library and park, we've been spending a lot of time cooking, riding trikes outside, etc., and then Chris gets home and saves us, so I suppose we've been finding stuff to do, it's just the same stuff every day.

If anyone has any insight on letter/number worksheets for the almost-four-year-old set, do let me know, though. I guess it couldn't hurt to continue to hone her spelling/reading/whatever skills since she's now only in school twice a week.

TV
Is everyone watching The Americans? Please tell me everyone is watching The Americans. They are KILLING it this season. I don't think I've been this invested in a show since Homeland season 1, which has been fun. I tend to get confused with the plot-lines of a lot of shows (the final few seasons of Sons Of Anarchy come to mind), so while I am into a lot of shows, I am not as invested as I could be. But The Americans, while a spy drama (so you'd think it'd be super confusing), is easy to keep up with. Occasionally I am like, Wait, what's going on?, but mostly, I can understand everything, which makes focusing on the actual point on the show (the marriage of Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys's characters) that much more enjoyable. WATCH THIS PLS & THX.

I am also enjoying all my Bravo shows immensely. Vanderpump Rules was great. I am looking forward to the Bev Hills reunion starting tonight. Shahs is completely ridiculous. And NYC comes back next week and both Bethenny and Lu are back this season. THE COUNTESS, YES. I am also finally getting into Southern Charm and am watching the newest season of Newlyweds: The First Year. Oh, and Blood, Sweat, and Heels. Lots of Bravo.

Other shows I am excited to see: Mad Men (talk about a show I am very invested in; what will I do when it's over?) and Outlander.

Sigh, I just love TV.

Food
I got a random mini-issue of Eating Well in with my Better Homes & Gardens this month and I am trying three new recipes from it this week. Last night I made pinto bean stew with jalapeno dumplings and it was tasty. I will note that I did mine on the stovetop, not slow-cooker (I used canned beans, not dried), I added pork to mine, and I doubled the salt.

On the docket is also fish with garlic/almond/caper sauce (I JUST REALIZED I AM OUT OF CAPERS NOOOOOO) and three-cup chicken (I will be using boneless thighs.)

Fitness
I had a pitiful showing in February (LG was sick, I was sick, we went out of town), with only 16 miles, but March was much better (54 miles.) I haven't been keeping up with my daily yoga, which I am certainly going to try to bring back in April. It's just such a nice way to start the day.

LG again
She turns four in 20 days. I didn't authorize this; where should I send my letter of complaint?

Podcasts
Here's my first update on podcasts and here's my second update. Now, here's a mini-update for you:

Last time we talked, I was thinking of ditching The Momo Show, which I did in fact do. Too political for my liking.

I gave Comedy Bang Bang, Improv4humans, and Indoor Kids a chance, but none of them stuck.

I tried The Moth and Risk--they're both keepers and have made it into the rotation.

I am totally into Totally Beverages And Sometimes Hot Sauce (how is a beverage podcast entertaining? I don't know, but it is.)

Chris and I listened to all the available episodes of Invisibilia when we drove home from Oregon earlier this month. RECOMMEND.

I am newly into a podcast called The Blaze, all about Beverly Hills, 90210. (Beverly Hills, 90210 is incidentally, a show that was left off my Top TV shows list, which was a completely egregious error on my part. I should add it in posthumously.)

Garden
Garden season is nearly upon us. I started peppers (bells, serranos, jalapenos, anaheims, and habaneros) from seed, so I hope they do well. I will hopefully sweet-talk EBJ into giving me some of her tomato plants, which always do well. And that's it! I am saying fuqit to trying anything new. I try something new each year and each year I am disappointed. My cucumbers are always lumpy and sometimes bitter and my zucchinis haven't been doing well in years past. So, I will grow the two items that are important to us and then spend a whopping $1 on pounds and pounds of zuccs and cukes at the farmstand and be done with it.

Sort of garden related, we re-did our front area, so now it's not the ugliest house on the block.

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Before/during.

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During/after.

I wish I had a true before, i.e.: all the shit that the previous owners just threw into the ground seemingly without planning, but oh well. We've been slowly ripping it out over the years, anyway. Imagine a lot of overgrown crap that makes no sense and looks terrible.

And those are all my updates. C'est fini.

19Mar/15Off

I mustache you a question

Stolen from Hillary. Feel free to steal for all your blogging needs. (I just went to comment on some blogs and it seems that none of us have been posting much, so get on it. I'm talking to you Holly, MamaBub, Raven, et. al. XOXO.)

The highlight of my week... Installing new lights in our kitchen, FINALLY. It makes me happy whenever I go in there. Also, today's playdate with EBJ and K Dubs was pretty fun, especially when Katie tried to hug LG goodbye and LG ran away from her. The manners on this kid, honestly.

The low point of my week... Waking up this morning with a raging headache. Lack of sleep hangovers are some serious bullshit.

The best book/article I read... I've been reading Yes Please (Amy Poehler) and enjoying it quite a bit. Yesterday afternoon I'd read the part about how the Upright Citizen's Brigade theatre's theme is "Don't Think" and last night at improv I saw a shirt on someone that just said Don't Think on the back and I was like, Hey, I know what that means!

My favorite photo I took...
New lights!
New lights!

This week's workouts... Consisted of a lot of walking to the dreaded playground.

The best money I spent... I checked my bank account this morning and found that the winery charged us for our next wine shipment, so even if it's not in my hands yet, it's still a good purchase. Also, new lights for the kitchen!

My plans this weekend... Tomorrow LG goes to school, which means my weekend officially begins. I'll go to yoga in the morning and we'll probably make pizza for dinner. Saturday morning, I am going to a yoga class featuring a DJ, which should be fun. Sunday is brunch/lunch with the ladies. Monday funday (Chris's day off and LG's other school day, so an extension of the weekend) is still up in the air. Hopefully something fun with my bae. (I just said bae, how hip am I, guys?)

What about you all--what's new?

2Jan/15Off

2014 in review

The last time I did one of these, I called the post, "Goodbye 2012, you and your bitch face" and then I didn't do one at all in 2013, so I guess I had a rough few years? But hey, now that 2015 is here, what better time to recap 2014?

1. What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before?
Took an improv class, performed in an improv show, ran 500 miles, watched the Seahawks win the Super Bowl.

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't think I made any resolutions. I did try to drink 80 oz. of water a day and eat one salad a day and I did pretty well at that, actually. I set a goal of running 500 miles, which I achieved. For this year, I'd like to incorporate more yoga into my life. I don't need to be doing headstands and shit, but I've been practicing for over 10 years and I still only go to yoga maybe once a week. I know (and I know enough yoga) I can do more on my own.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes! Chris's best friend's wife and Chris's cousin's wife. Two beautiful baby girls (my favorite brand of baby, though I may be biased.)

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No.

5. What countries did you visit?
None. I haven't visited a country since 2009 and that was just Mexico, so let's go with states. In 2014, I visited Washington, Hawaii, Oregon, and Nevada.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you didn't have in 2014?
A finished kitchen.

7. What dates from 2014 will be etched upon your memory, and why?
I am so bad with dates, I actually forgot Chris's birthday. So. None of them are etched upon my memory, clearly.

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?
I got into the pay grade I wanted to be in. I ran 500 miles. I enjoyed my marriage (not that I've not enjoyed it in years past, but I especially enjoyed it last year.) I finally figured out a small piece that was missing in my life (improv, although I don't know that that's specifically what was missing, but it's definitely helping me figure out my path.)

9. What was your biggest failure?
I need to put my phone down after, say, 8pm. I really improved on not bringing my phone out during family time, but once LG and Chris are in bed, it's total zombie phone time. No bueno.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No! And considering 2013 was The Year Of Ailments, this was quite the treat.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Airplane tickets to Hawaii.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
LG's! She is always so amenable when we have big life changes going on. Being yanked from school to home with me full time to being back in (a different) school...She just takes it all with ease.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The whole Ferguson thing, and everything stemming from or related to that, was appalling.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage, daycare, food.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Our Hawaii trip!

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?
Oh geez, who knows. Was it on NPR? Then I didn't hear it.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: A) happier or sadder? B) thinner or fatter? C) richer or poorer?
A) Happier!
B) Fatter, probably. Who the fuck cares?
C) Richer.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Read more at night.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Sweeping the floor.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
My parents came over on Christmas Eve and we ate a big dinner and drank A TON of champagne and then spent Christmas morning watching LG enjoy all her spoils.

21. Did you fall in love with 2014?
Sure, why not? It was a damn good year.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Homeland, Sons of Anarchy, The Americans, The Affair, all the Real Housewives.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Nope.

24. What was the best book you read?
I guess Life After Life. That was quite the thinker.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I've enjoyed Sam Baker a lot.

26. What did you want and get?
A family vacation!

27. What did you want and not get?
A finished kitchen!

28. What was your favorite film of 2014?
Preeeeeeetty sure I didn't go to the movies at all and I cannot remember any that I saw, even on tv. We got something out of the Redbox, but I can't remember what. I watcher Her on the flight home from Hawaii and it was WEIRD.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Chris and I went to San Francisco and had a blast JUST THE TWO OF US (as nature intended.) I turned 31.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I really can't think of anything. Maybe a new car?

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2014?
Swans and pineapples. I have also decided to get back into novelty socks. I don't know why I thought giving those up for plain black socks was the thing to do.

32. What kept you sane?
Running, yoga, crossword puzzles, friends, my mom and dad, and Chris.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?
I have steered clear of politics this year and it is glorious!

34. Who did you miss?
All my family I don't get to see enough.

35. Who was the best new person you met?
I met some cool people at my job and also some cool people at improv.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.
Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke.

37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"...And this is All Things Considered."