Setting Realistic Expectations

There’s another blog-a-day for September, and I’m just going to be honest… that’s not going to happen. I could set it up and try, but given what I already know my schedule holds for the rest of this month, I think I’d be setting myself up for failure.

Next week I have two more days of leadership training, and then we have a new staff person starting at work, and I will be her primary trainer. This is good; the previous person who held this position ever so briefly had two of us, and I think it got confusing really fast as to who had taught her what and there were probably gaps in her training. And the person before her, I trained. So I can train the new person, absolutely, since it used to be my job to do this work. But, that means a lot of time is accounted for already. Conveniently, I don’t have a ton of projects right now, and since we were unexpectedly short staffed, I have been able to delay some projects too. So I’m not stressed about the quantity of work or anything. But I also recognize that I probably won’t have time to sit here and blog. And as much as I try, I never remember to do it at home. So that’s that.

We have been spending the last week renovating the overhead storage in our garage. It’s one of those super weird projects that makes me question our sanity a bit, like when we spent a few weekends remodeling the stairwell. Don’t get me wrong – great projects, super functional, and aesthetic as well. But who does that? In the comments, I want to hear about the weirdest thing you’ve remodeled or renovated in your abode. (We spent the weekend before that redoing the lighting in our furnace room. Another weird project.)

August Blog A Day – Day 31

A time you took a stand.

Either I don’t do this very often, or I do it in ways that aren’t connecting to this phrasing, or my memory is failing me. I’m coming up with a lot of bubkis.

It’s Friday afternoon of a holiday weekend – I’m not going to force myself to come up with something. Sorrynotsorry.

But hey, it’s the end of August! I made it! Sure, a few of the days were posted late, and sometimes I ignored the directions, but they all got posted. I’m going to miss having the writing prompts, and am not sure how successful I’ll be at continuing to blog, but I’m going to give it a shot. Wish me luck!

August Blog A Day – Day 30

What do you collect?

I collect pennies and quarters (I have those books with the spot for each variety). It started with wheat pennies and state quarters, but grew a bit.

You could also say that I collect fabric, yarn, wine bottles, buttons, and various other things for potential crafting, but I wouldn’t strictly call those a collection – they are to be used, not kept.

August Blog A Day – Day 29

A photo of you making a ridiculous face. Be silly!

I’ve got a few funny poses, but not very many funny faces. Can I interest you in an awkward smile? Silly cat pic? No? Seriously, y’all should have taken me up on the silly pose offer. Or bad hair.

Since I’m at work, you’ll have to do with what I can find in my archives on Flickr.

Being silly
College Graduation

August Blog A Day – Day 28

Write a letter to your favorite grandparent.

No letters. This takes way too much time and emotional energy. But I can tell you some of my favorite things about each of my grandparents.

I’m a lucky girl who has a bonus grandparent, and at 40 still have a living grandparent. I know I’m incredibly blessed that I got to have most of my grandparents around for as long as I did.

My dad’s mom died before I was born, and I don’t know much about her, but I think she and I would have gotten along splendidly.

My dad’s dad was very much like my dad, often reserved, but he had this habit at Christmas of impatiently picking at the corners of the wrapping on his gifts, unable to wait for his turn to open the next one. He still did this up until the end, and he died at 97! Imagine still being excited about Christmas gifts at 97.

My dad’s dad remarried and so my bonus grandparent came into our lives. She is warm and loving, though she can also be quite … opinionated. She says that everything is “neat.” She tried to talk me out of becoming a teacher because “middle schoolers are awful” (she drove a school bus for years, so, yeah, from her perspective, they probably are awful).

My mom’s dad died when I was fairly young, and I don’t have too many memories of him, but I remember he called my sister and I Sassafras and Sarsaparilla, played the washtub bass (maybe? I think), and was kind to us.

My mom’s mom passed away recently, the spring of 2017, and she was a firecracker. She was poised and had high standards, but had some fire in her too. I feel like I knew her the best out of all of them, though I still only knew her as a grandmother and not as a person. I miss her the most, but I frequently bring her with me on days when I need a little more strength, by wearing some of her jewelry that I have.

August Blog A Day – Day 27

What fall TV shows are you excited about?

So we don’t watch live/broadcast TV anymore (except for the morning news), so I don’t usually keep track of what’s technically on the air. I’m more excited for June, when the new seasons finally show up on Netflix. And I really don’t know what’s new or continued….

I’m currently enjoying “Anne with an E” and “The Gilmore Girls,” and need to get back into “Jane the Virgin” too. I just finished “Drop Dead Diva” which I don’t recommend – well, the first season or two are good, but definitely not worth watching all the way through.

I’m anxiously awaiting the next seasons of “One Day at a Time” (the new one) and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” I highly recommend both.

August Blog A Day – Day 26

Describe your typical Sunday in a gif or emojis.

I chose to use Bitmoji.

Start with coffee.
Check at least a few things off the list. This weekend it was moving the dirt pile in the driveway so I can power wash the patio furniture later.

This weekend was far from typical, as we have house guests with children staying with us.

Stamps is not coping well, but there’s not much to be done about that. Brunch in a little while, then probably power washing after they leave, and some gardening too.

No idea what to meal prep, but probably something to use up some beans and cucumbers, as the fridge is starting to fill up. I’ve got off-site training this week and was encouraged to bring a lunch, as the cafeteria lines can be long at peak times. Should be… interesting, if nothing else. Gotta find some time to do the last of the homework for that too, as there was no time at work Friday.

August Blog A Day – Day 25

What’s your favorite season and why?

All of them except for winter, and I’m working on not hating winter.

April snow
That’s a lot of snow
Birds in snow

Spring is so lovely in the flowers and green and hope and possibility.



Summer is full of sun (so many daylight hours) and warmth and growing things and excuses to relax.

Hummingbirds and sunhats
Funny bee
Welcome, Summer!

Fall is cozy and crunching leaves and pumpkin spice and apples and all of the best colors. It’s probably my favorite, but I have a hard time dealing with the ever-decreasing daylight hours. Everything else about fall is perfect.

Apple picking
Pumpkin carving
Warm fires

August Blog A Day – Day 24

Best decision you’ve ever made.

Moving to Minnesota, hands-down. To be clear, the worst decision I ever made was taking the job that got me here. I don’t regret it, but it was not a good decision for a multitude of reasons. It’s the example of why I don’t usually make personal decisions based on logic and reason, but feeling (on Myers-Briggs, I’m an ISFJ, and that F is for Feeling). But I digress….

That job aside, moving here was still the best. My sister is here (which is why I actually moved here), my mom has moved here now, I’ve made friends, I met and married Prince Charming…. I have no regrets, and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. (Except in February, when I’d rather be someplace warmer, which is just about everywhere else.)

August Blog A Day – Day 23

Throwback Thursday. Tell us about the year this photo was taken.

Dad, Alison, and me, 1980.

Ah, 1980, a year I don’t remember, except that it’s the year my beautiful sister, Alison, was born. This picture would be from probably late August, as she was born mid-August and stayed in the preemie unit for a while (don’t know how long, but there’s a picture of me visiting her there, so at least a few days I’d guess). I also know that when my parents brought her home, Dad walked into the house carrying her, and I took one look at the two of them and burst into tears, or so the story goes. I don’t remember that, obviously, I was only 2.

Did any else remarkable happen in 1980? A quick check of Wikipedia says that yes, lots of important things happened, like boycotting the Olympics, the first use of the word “yuppie” in print, Reagan getting elected, and the murder of John Lennon.

August Blog A Day – Day 22

Write a letter to the person who has hurt you the most.

At this moment, it would be really cathartic to do this for someone who has left us in the lurch at work. But, I don’t blog about work (mostly), because I’m not stupid.

I would like to talk to the squirrels who have been digging around the seeds I just planted for the fall crops. I am NOT happy about that. Peas, arugula, radishes, and spinach – hopefully these varieties of spinach and radish will turn out better than the last ones, which 1) got some wilt/mildew disease, along with both attempts at chard this spring, or 2) produced very few actual radishes, just a bunch of red roots that looked nothing like radishes and were too skinny to do much, but there sure were a lot of leaves….

We are drowning under zucchini, beans, cucumbers, and jalapenos right now. And I harvested a bunch of cilantro and parsley, and made up chimichurri sauce, so I’m having a delicious spinach, steak, farro, and cucumber salad for my lunch this week.

The basil and dill have died, though, perhaps succumbed to the heat? They were looking sickly, so I pulled them, and planted peas for Prince Charming in that space.

In related news, we converted a cabinet in our furnace room from storage to a drying space for herbs. Drilled a giant hole in the side and installed a fan (that makes more noise than we think it should), which runs at a pretty low speed and is drying the 5 large bunches of sage that I hung in there at an alarming rate. (That was only about 1/3rd of the sage plant – the rest is still in the garden!) I’m hoping the removal of some of the herbs and cutting back of others will allow the remaining ones to thrive, particularly the lavender and rosemary, which have stayed rather small but would dry very well if they got big enough. I wonder if either of those will be a perennial here in Minnesota.

And then since we were working in the furnace room, we decided to improve the lighting situation in there, so we spent an evening pulling out a bunch of telephone wires in the ceiling to make space for more electrical cables, and have been slowly working on installing new lights. I’ll have pictures when it’s all done. There’s also some empty conduit to remove…. There’s a lot of stuff going on in the ceiling in a less-than-effective way (or at least not as simple as it could be). Yes, we’ve lived there nine years with the telephone cords just chillin’ in the ceiling, despite having never had a land line. Our house is a work in progress, and that has not been a priority. I mean, I still haven’t painted the living-dining room, and I don’t like the color it was painted when we moved in. And the kitchen…. One cannot do all the projects at once.

Now I need to go see if I can make sense of an old database that I redesigned about 8 years ago and is still a hot mess… cleaning up one’s old messes is a special kind of fun.

August Blog A Day – Day 21

What weird things do you do when no one is around?

Talk to myself, sometimes under the guise of talking to the cats. Sing loudly along with the music. Dance badly. You know, the same stuff everyone else does when no one is looking.

August Blog A Day – Day 20

An interesting dating story

Hmmm…. Having not gone on that many dates in my life until I met Prince Charming, it’s a fairly small pool of events to pull from, and most of them are not very interesting.

There was one the summer of my junior year of college, when I was living on campus and there was a weird love rectangle (there were four of us, paired up wrongly, in short, but the long version is way weirder, anyway…) and the first date I went on with my soon-to-be-boyfriend (and soon-to-be-ex) was to see Saving Private Ryan, which was a terrible first date. After exiting the theater, we decided to postpone the second half of our date until another time (which we did – that’s not what did our relationship in, that was him hooking up with his best friend, who was not part of our love rectangle, so was it a love pentagram? that sounds ominous for sure).

Once in high school I went on one single date with a guy I’d been crushing on, only to find out several hours into the date that he was quite boring and we didn’t really click, so much so that I don’t actually remember what we did on said date, I only remember him dropping me off at my house and trying to politely tell him there would never be a second date. Later that year he asked me to prom; that was a “no” from me.

Prince Charming and I had lots and lots of dates, but they’re all already chronicled here, or at least the fun/interesting ones. We occasionally still drive by the spot of our first date, which was the Caribou Coffee on Grand Avenue in St Paul (because I could walk there, car-less as I was at the time). After coffee, we walked up and down Grand for a while, eventually ending up at Cosetta’s for pizza. He dropped me off at home, and the rest is history. Who knew a cup of coffee could be so life changing? (He doesn’t even drink coffee!)

August Blog A Day – Day 19

A book, album, or movie that changed your life.

Changed my life? That’s a tall order! I am positive there have been several music albums that fit this bill, particularly from 1990-2004-ish, but I couldn’t say what any of them were.

Likewise with movies, though I suppose one could argue that if I can’t remember them, they weren’t that influential. I would disagree with that logic.

I read The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce, by Judith Wallerstein, Julia Lewis, and Sandra Blakeslee, which is a giant 350-page hardcover about a 25 year study of children of divorce. It was fascinating and really helped me put my parents’ divorce in perspective, despite the fact that most of the book was about people whose parents divorced while they were children (whereas I was 19). It helped me process things.

The summer I worked in San Francisco, I read one chapter a day from How Now Shall We Live? by Charles Colson, another giant 562-page hardcover, which helped me get through a grueling summer. I also read the complete Chronicles of Narnia that summer, buying one paperback at a time because that’s all I could afford.

I could probably list at least a dozen Christian books that shaped and changed me over the years, but without my bookshelf in front of me, it gets hard.

In more recent years, though this was still probably 13-ish years ago, The Red Tent by Anita Diamant was very influential in helping me see things (especially church-related things) more… flexibly, less black and white. It’s hard to explain any other way; while reading it, I had to set aside my personal beliefs and philosophies and live in the book, set aside judgement and all the personal disagreements I had with things that were in that, and just… live in the book. I’ve been on a mental journey to be less judgmental for most of my adult life, and this book helped me with that.

These days, I prefer to read enjoyable, entertaining books that are mostly fluff and have no ability to change my life whatsoever. Sometimes you want that. Usually I want that, to lose myself in another world and just… enjoy being there, meeting new people and seeing new places. That goes for movies too. I just want to be entertained.