I Have Moved…But Not Too Far!

I have retired the Platypus Directive, and am in a new season of my life over at

Five in the Forest

So, join me there!

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We May Have Taken A Weekend Trip to SanFrancisco. It May Have Been Awesome.

 

After over 21 years together, you would think that by now Ben and I would have traveled together on an airplane…just the two of us…at least once.

It didn’t occur to us, until we were seated on the plane, that this was actually the first time we had ever done this.

Which is crazy.

So, after waiting all this time, if you think we did not take full advantage of this occasion…you are very, quite sorely mistaken!
IMG_7116Breakfast of champions. In Economy, of course. IMG_7119
 Within a few hours, we went from a car, to a boat, to an airplane, and now we are on a train. Or Bart…IMG_7122
 Boy, the skies are sunny in CA during December! IMG_7125    Selfies while Ben is working.

IMG_7126  Date night with an engineer  😉

IMG_7127Finally done with work (for the night), and off to the Palace Hotel for cocktails!

IMG_7128 Unfortunately, I whacked a waiter carrying a billion empty wine glasses with my backpack, which he dropped, and we had to high-tail it outta there before they got my name.

True Story.

IMG_7131All I said was, “I think you should have Lagavulin with your steak,” and he gasped, and left. To the bar.

(He brought me back Buffalo Trace, because he is a good man)

IMG_7132 One of my favorite moments of the evening. In the bathroom.

(also a shot of one of my favorite dresses)

IMG_7134 My absolute favorite moment of the evening!! Sitting in the Poet’s chair, in the Poetry room, in City Lights. Totally walked out of there with a backpack full of books. And a shirt.

IMG_7138 Beautiful California morning from the safety of my beautiful California hotel room.

IMG_7139 Man, I remember these hills. I had to walk 3 blocks down this hill in 3 inch boots.

My feet are still swollen.

IMG_7144 But we made it to Union Square, which is one of my favorite places on earth. Especially in December with the tree!


IMG_7147 That is a 2 story tall Snoopy. Totally worth a photoshot!

IMG_7154 And back home…

IMG_7169  Which you can’t really argue with.

Home is better.

 

I Need Help. I Have No Idea How To Decorate A Tree.

Edler Weihnachtsbaum. Prächtig in Grün, Silber und Weiß herausgeputzt, steht der deckenhohe Christbaum im Mittelpunkt ? auch später, wenn die Geschenke an seinem Fuß schon ausgepackt sind
This is not my tree, nor my house. I mean, they put flaming candles on their tree. I might as well just throw in the towel.

There may be many things I can do in my life very well. I just spent a good amount of time researching winter vegetable recipe ideas, and have made an amazing B/L/D menu to last us throughout the remainder of the month.

This, I can do.

However, decorating a Christmas tree is not one of the things I excel in…

I have no idea what I’m doing.

In the past, I have tried to get ornaments that match…but 90% of the plastic ornaments I still have don’t have the tops anymore. I have no idea what alternate universe they have transported themselves to, since they should be on the ornament, but they are all gone.

I have these long tinsel things (“rope?”), but they are all broken in pieces for some reason.

Fortunately, we have a star for the top, and that’s somethin’….

But when I woke up this morning and came downstairs, only to see my very sad, pathetic, totally ugly tree that would even make Charlie Brown cringe , I realized I needed some help.

To Pinterest!

Here are some ideas I’ve found:

  1. Ribbon Will Save The Day –  I hate to say anything against ribbon, but although one or two of these trees look pretty…a few look like they are about to invade a beehive, and the other two look like gigantic Russian fruit cakes. So, maybe not.christmas-tree-decorating-ideas-ribbon-2015-hgejnznzDude, who puts sailboats on their tree…that is BOSS level decorating.
  2. A Pro Will Save The Day  –  I think it is a little weird, personally, to be a professional Christmas tree decorator…but that is probably what “interior designers” do. Unfortunately, I am not cut from this bolt of cloth. As I was telling a friend earlier, if it was up to me I would live in a hobbit hole, with a pet dragon, and a stream next to us filled with magical fish and cheerful newts. So, what I’m saying is that the whole “Macy’s Showroom House” is absolutely never going to happen in my home. But the pros do have some good ideas.DIY-Christmas-Tree-decoration-Ideas-4The 80s-Madonna of trees
  3. Something Simple – This is much more my style. I would prefer some burlap ribbon with clear bulbs and white lights…and call it a day.christmas-tree-ideas3It isn’t as simple as I’d like, but I kind of like the huge butterflies, and rose garlands.
  4. Burlap Trees – I do like this idea. Nice, simple, humble. how-to-decorate-a-tree

Well, that’s what I got!  What are you doing??

Cross Fit in the Forest

IMG_6260Forest Chillin. 

Cross Fit has certainly been the fad that quickly evolved into a fitness staple. I really thought it would go the way of the fad of Sweating to the Oldies, or the fad of Jazzercise.

Maybe it will in time, but for now: it is here to stay.

I am not really one for exercising. I should be. I need to be. But it is just so boring. And hard. But mostly boring.

So, when a gym is using an oversized tractor tire covered in sawdust and placed on a 6 foot tall step for starting out…heaven knows my puny arms can’t lift that thing. I have trouble with my overstuffed kitchen trashbag. And my reach of box jumping is limited to small Amazon boxes we’ve left on the porch in front of the door, because we’ll get to it later.

Now, fortunately, I have found tons of things around me that I am sure…I am certain…is the equivalent of CrossFit training.

Let me introduce you to the new exercise trend: Forest Cross Fit!

Arm Day: 

Wash forest cat in the bathtub. Make sure to comb the moss out!

Extra! Wash Cocker Spaniel, who has the love of rolling in every patch of dirt, moss, branches, dirt, fleas, dirt and leaf piles in the forest and has a long winter coat with the absorbency of an industrial sponge. Make sure you squeegee the tub after, or you are going to grow an ecosystem overnight.

Calories Burned: 1500

Leg Day:

Dragging 2 overfilled trash bins downhill along the gravel driveway, and 1/4mile down a gravel road to the pick up spot.

Extra! It just rained, so there is very squishy mud and potholes in the dirt road.

Calories Burned: 5,000

Cardio:

This is what I call “Hey, let’s go for a hike!”

This one is where you think you are going through a walk in the forest on some trail that begins as clearly marked, and turns into a Nickelodeon obstacle course. The trail might be easy to see at first, but there was a small storm yesterday so now there are 3 fallen trees, a small ravine, 2 rock cliffs to climb down, and 3 slippery logs your Bogs Boots are going to slide right off, leaving you slightly impaled by cedar branches.

And then you have to turn around and go back.

Calories Burned: 1,000,000…minus 500, for the make-up ice cream afterwards.

So, you see? Exercise can be fun, and painful! You just have to find the fun 🙂

 

It Happened To Me: I Fell Off The Face Of The Earth…Once School Started.

You may have noticed that once September landed upon us, as a lead weight of freshly sharpened pencils, my writing went from daily, to weekly, to nothing.

Which made me rather sad, if I am going to be honest.  I enjoyed writing every day. I loved writing ridiculous top 5 lists, or bagging on current issues. It was fun for a while, and I am glad to have done it.

However, I have had to put some priorities in order since September, as I, apparently, do not have an unlimited amount of time during the day. If it was up to me, days would last 48 hours and I would have energy to get through at least 40 of those hours before finally passing out and getting my beauty rest.

Unfortunately to us all, this is not the case. I have, at most, 12 hours to get things done during the day. If I plan things very, very well.

So, what am I doing, if I am not blogging? There must be something earth-shakingly important that would draw me away from the Platypus Directive!

These two things are the earth-shakingly important reasons:

  1. We joined a public school homeschooling program, and me, being the person I am, was just darned curious how on earth that system worked. Henceforth, I have attended every PTO meeting, regional PTO meetings for all the PTOs in the area, parent meetings (see: coffeehouse), parent-teacher conferences, newsletters, bulletin boards, website revivals….along with the ubiquitous schoolwork we need to accomplish daily, to boot.

It might not seem like it, but all that takes up an insane amount of your day. For reals.

2. The websites I had been writing for shifted gears, and their                                          conversations were not the same conversations I was involved with.

 

So…I have just been focusing on raising kids, making meals, occasional laundry, and Ben.

This disclaimer out of the way, I need to make it very, abundantly clear:

I have not stopped writing. 

For verily, I have a book in the works.

And I am almost 35,000 words in.

And it will be beautiful.

So fear not, my friends! Something greater than blogging is on the horizon 🙂

Home Comforts on Rainy Days

I love cold, rainy days.

I think cold rainy days are fantastic, because it draws everyone closer together. People stay inside and find things to do with each other, and it becomes a warm and cozy environment.

Well, unless some people just got new raincoats and they need to go outside and break them in…

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Me?

I prefer to stay inside with rainbow fuzzy slippers and a nice up of coffee…IMG_6504 IMG_6505

And snuggly company.IMG_6508

And hot dogs.

Listen, these things are *fantastic* hot comfort food for a Sunday afternoon 🙂

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Autumn In My Woods

 

 

 

 

Autumn is by far, my favorite season.

I love the wide range of colors. I love the wide range of sounds. I love the coming of crisp mornings. I love the seasonal foods.

Autumn is just the best.

So, how happy am I that I am living in an area that actually looks like autumn??  It might be a little autumn in California, but it is very autumn up here.  Trust me, I am loving. it.

These are some pictures from my neck of the woods 🙂

 

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You Can Say You Knew Me Before I Got Published In The New Yorker!

Granted, it might be a while.

But that’s what I’m shooting for. I figure why not.

From what I see, my short story needs to be about 7,000wc, and I have 5,000wc already…which makes me super excited. Because after another day of writing I get to edit.

And I love editing. (no I don’t)

 

I just feel like writing something different these days. Fiction, it is!

 

Why, yes! I would love to accept the prestigious award for author of the millennium! Thank you!

 

 

Right Now, I Am Okay.

I am doing things.

And I am finishing things (thank goodness).

But these days, I feel like I am barely keeping up. Not with my schedule, but with my expectations.

My accomplished tasks for today have been…

• Make iron skillet buttermilk biscuits from scratch for breakfast.

• Check email/news.

• Get math going for the kids downstairs.

• Take a shower.

• Check on the kids and figure out they have been messing around while I was in the shower. Move my laptop and coffee into the schoolroom and supervise math. Scores suddenly go from 70% to 90% (not a big surprise).

• Finish 2 lessons of math, while the younger kids watch Reading Rainbow.

• Take a break and do laundry/dishes.

• Make burritos for lunch

• Get back to Language Arts, make phonics cards for younger kids.

• Clean chicken coop, rake old straw out, restock water, food and fresh straw.

• Do another load of laundry.

• Find lost binder, finish literature.

• Sweep house.

• Put older kids on computers for schoolwork.

• Put chicken in the oven.

• Collect all trash and take it outside.

• Do phonics card games with younger kids.

• Make another pot of coffee.

• Find iPad, and sit down with coffee.

• Find husband in the house all of a sudden. Drink coffee on porch.

• Suddenly realize I needed to do a “Who Am I” poster for two kids for school tomorrow.

• Write list of what I remember doing today, so I don’t feel like I have done nothing and am constantly falling behind on accomplishing anything, and failing my family by letting them all down because I can’t keep my head above water.

Maybe if I was sitting in Starbucks, drinking a macchiato and listening to Bob Dylan music, I would think I was relaxing.

But, when I am sitting at my kitchen table and typing…all I can see are things I have not done.

The floor is not mopped.

The dishes are not completely finished.

The bathrooms have not been bleached.

Upstairs has not been vacuumed.

The himalayas of clean laundry have definitely not been folded.

The quilt I just sewed doesn’t have an edging yet.

I haven’t finished 2 writing projects I wanted to get to.

The list just goes on and on. And, it is a neverending list that will continue to go on, as long as there is still breath in my body.

So, for now, I will make one cup of Irish coffee, and just relax.

I still have tomorrow, and there will be time for everything.

For now, I am okay.