Friday, October 30, 2009

Hometown rave

The view from my studying spot on the couch.

I feel a little guilty for ragging on Spokane yesterday. Especially when I have been wanting to move back here for so long. And it does have its good qualities. For example, even though you have to drive everywhere, the parking is almost always free. And there's pretty much no traffic, even during rush hour.

Coming over to get some snuggles. I had no idea that rabbits liked to snuggle.

Plus, of course, there are the people. I cannot overstate how wonderful it is to live somewhere with dozens of people who I can call to hang out with at any time. So wonderful.

And then there are the houses, which are so inexpensive that even a jobless recent graduate and new police officer (who is paid shockingly little, considering he gets shot at for a living) can afford to buy. Seattle for sure cannot compete with that.

And finally, Spokane has Lily bunny, who I have fallen absolutely head over heels for, and who I have no intention of returning to her true owner because I would miss her much too much. (Not really. I'll give her back. But G doesn't seem to miss her yet, so hopefully she can hang out here for a while more.)

So I will not complain, the next time some great looking limited release movie skips over the theaters here. Instead I will meet my friends for ultimate frisbee and put the movie on my Netflix queue. I prefer watching in my jammies anyhow.

Love, J

I like to read books. She likes to snack on them. To each her own.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hometown rant

Spokane is getting on my nerves today.

Reason #1: When I go to the store - any store - in this town and tell the checker (politely, I'm always very polite) that I don't want a bag for my purchase, I am almost always rewarded with a look that is part incredulous, part openly hostile. This happens even when I'm buying only one or two items. And 90% of the time, said snotty checker will try to talk me out of my decision.

Why do they care? What difference does it make? Is the checker who goes through the most bags rewarded with a bonus at the end of the month?

In other cities, this exchange has ended with the checker congratulating me on my commitment to the environment. I don't need such flattery, but it beats the crap out of having to explain myself to an eyes-narrowed, suspicious-of-my-motives employee at Yoke's.

Reason #2: Regina Spektor is playing at the Paramount next week. And the Paramount is not in Spokane.

This isn't me. It's some random, pretty photo from Spokane Yoga Shala's website.

Reason #3: The latest issue of Spokane's local magazine is full of 'Best of the City' lists. They have a yoga category. OZ Fitness is second. Yes, I am a yoga snob, but gym yoga is among the best this city has to offer? Really? I find that hard to believe. Plus they completely left out the Yoga Shala, which is unforgivable.

Reason #4: You need a car to get around in Spokane. Like, actually need one. I have tried so hard to understand the bus system here, and I cannot seem to master it. We've always been a one car family, but I can see the end of that era in the very near future and it really bums me out. Right now we're really 'one car' in name only, since I've been borrowing my step-dad's truck for months to get me to the store and such. I miss the Metro!

I think the honeymoon may be over and I'm going through a little bit of culture shock, being back in the 'burbs. I do appreciate its good aspects, but I keep noticing little things that didn't bother me when I lived here the first time around.

Time to go listen to some Regina on the iPod. If you're in Seattle, go see her for me. She's spectacular (or spek-tacular, rather).

Love, J

PS - This is another good Regina clip. It has her great singing AND encapsulates how I'm feeling about Spokane today. Plus, 'Weeds' is awesome.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Yard work on a pretty day

Last weekend we spent the morning raking all the newly fallen leaves. Well, he raked. I took pictures.

Can you spot the raking man?

Before & after shot. This is why I love this chore so much - it's so satisfying to see the work you've done!

Catalog pose. I made this sweater for him a few years ago. I thought he didn't like it that much, but it turns out Seattle weather just wasn't cold enough. Now he wears it all the time!

It's been a while since I posted a picture of myself.

Love, J


When I wasn't either out in the yard or moping about failing the test, I spent my weekend time working on my most recent craft addiction, which turned into a small business venture when I spoke to my best friend from high school last week. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I like your hat

My husband,

I really like your jaunty cap. You are a handsome, handsome man. Please come home soon so I can kiss you.

All my love,

Your wife

Monday, October 26, 2009

Got myself a little study bunny

I have a riddle for you. Don't you love a good Monday morning riddle? Of course you do.

Whose visit means I have to put our power cords up high...

And can get me out of my warm bed when it looks like this outside...

And when I know I am about to spend my day becoming reacquainted with the Uniform Commercial Code?

Lily the rabbit, of course!

The incomparable G, who among many other things is generous beyond her 11 years, gave Ms. Lily permission to spend a few days here to keep me company and boost my morale as I take up my legal studies once more. And I must say, she is just the most delightful house guest. She silently hops around exploring things, eating the treats I leave out for her and retiring to her cage when she wants to rest.

It's great to have another little soul in the house, even if she's not very chatty.

If you too are experiencing a stormy Monday full of the one task you dislike more than any other, I highly recommend finding some bunny to share it with. It really takes the edge off.

Love, J

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


A week ago, I almost wrote an entry on law school and how it had cured me of my pride. How every other student in my class had traveled extensively, had great careers and multiple post-graduate degrees, and were more worldly and well-spoken than I could hope to be if I lived 3 lifetimes. And how after spending my life at the top of my class, being at the bottom gave me much needed perspective and humility.

This week when I found out that I failed the bar exam, I realized that law school had not humbled me a bit.

I know this because I opened my mailbox on Monday with as much hubris as I've ever had, fully expecting the letter to begin with 'congratulations,' and not, 'we regret to inform you.' Even after spending three years at a school full of people who are smarter, more talented, and harder workers than I will ever be, I still was stuck up enough to assume I would be one of those who passed the test.

Because most people do pass. This year there was an exceptionally low pass-rate, and it was still something up near 70%. And also, because I studied. Really, really studied hard. I have never tried so hard at something and then failed so utterly.

When I called my exam prep school yesterday to ask what I should do next, the woman I spoke with looked up my file and said, 'Oh. Your practice essays were well within the average - I wonder what happened?'

Yeah, lady, you and me both.

And I wasn't even close to squeaking by, either. If you score within a certain margin and still fail, the bar association lets you appeal the decision. I wasn't even near the appealable range. My scores were so low, it would be almost funny, if it weren't so heartbreaking. I mean, I really tanked.

And so now I start all over again. I'm going to give myself until Monday to nurse my ego and overcome my denial, and then it's back to outlining and flashcards and essays until the next exam at the end of February. Oh, it makes me sick just thinking about it - it was all supposed to be OVER when I opened that letter, not about to begin again.

But mostly I am dreading it because now I am truly humbled. And while my ego may not have helped me pass the exam, it certainly kept me going while I studied over the summer. Every time I'd run out of steam, I'd think, 'All you have to do is keep going. Of course you will pass if you just put in the time and give it 100%.'

And then even after giving that 100%, I came up way short.

So what am I supposed to say to myself when I get worn out and run down while studying this time around?

Oh, I'm sure there's a lesson in this. But I'm still too freshly stung to see it.

Love, J

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rough week

Yesterday I got my bar exam results in the mail, and opened them eagerly, because I knew I'd passed and was excited to get the news. I was wrong.

Today I woke up in a blind panic, positive that there had been some mistake with the exam results. I felt really, really good about how I'd done, and I had studied my ass off. So at 4:30 am I pulled on my sweats, jumped in the car, and drove to Seattle to get a copy of my test and find out what had happened. When they gave it to me, I thumbed through it and found that there was no mistake. My answers all uploaded correctly. My test didn't get mixed up with someone else's. I just failed. So I got in the car and drove back home, with the new, awful knowledge of what it's like to have complete faith in yourself only to find out that you shouldn't have.

More later (more complaining, I'm sure), but now I'm still shell-shocked and in denial about the whole having-to-do-this-all-over-again thing. I need to curl up and whimper until that's out of my system. Be back in a few days.

Love, J

Monday, October 19, 2009

Tomato soup

My cooking skills are noticeably improving, as I stay at home and make meals from scratch most days. I'm not going to say that the days of boxed macaroni and cheese are gone, but they're definitely taking a break while I'm out of work.

The fall specialty is turning out to be soups. Great in the cold weather, and perfect for using up all the harvest that Grandma S. and my MIL give us each week.

This weekend I played with tomato soup and made a variation of a recipe I found on another blog (I'll share the link when I find it again). It was fantastic, and here it is:

1 large onion, sliced up
3 or 4 garlic gloves, diced
3 medium potatoes, sliced (I think I used red potatoes)
A bunch of tomatoes, sliced - I leave the peels on (I probably used 7 or 8 medium sized tomatoes and a hand full of cherry tomatoes)
2 cups of vegetable broth
1 can of white beans, drained
1 Tbsp of brown sugar
Salt & pepper to taste, fresh basil to garnish

The point of this recipe is to use up a bunch of tomatoes, so add as many as you want and just eyeball-adjust everything else accordingly.

In the pot you'll make your soup in, heat olive oil and toss in onions. Heat until soft, add garlic and cook them together for a couple minutes. Add potatoes for a couple minutes. Then throw in the broth and tomatoes, put the lid on and let it all simmer for about half an hour (until the potatoes are soft all the way through). Add the beans, and puree the soup. I did this by sticking my hand mixer in the pot and stirring it all up, but you could also pour it a bit at a time into a blender. Return it to the stove top, salt and pepper and stir in the brown sugar. Add a few basil leaves to each bowl when you dish it out.

I really, really despise tomato soup from a can, but this stuff is actually pretty good. I like how the potatoes and beans give it texture.


Love, J

Friday, October 16, 2009

How a sewing machine works

NOW I get it...

How a Sewing Machine Works

via Bits and Pieces

And also, something funny to send you off on your weekend.

Love, J

Thursday, October 15, 2009

No autographs, please

A couple of weeks ago I sent a message to a semi-famous blogger I adore, and who I got to 'friend' me on Facebook. I'd seen something online that reminded me of her, and I sent her a link to it just in case she hadn't seen it yet. This woman gets hundreds of comments on most of her posts, and has almost 4,000 Facebook friends, so I assumed that my message would float off into the ether, probably unread. But it seemed like a nice gesture, so I went with it.

This morning I found a message in my inbox. From her. And my head swelled to twice it's size. Any tiny brush with celebrity, no matter how insignificant, makes me feel famous. And I love feeling famous. You may not know this, because it rarely comes up in everyday conversations, but I am one hysterically star-struck lady.

This is a tough afflication to be taken with, because I have never actually had a sighting of anyone even mildly famous.* But that doesn't stop me - I can still live through the experiences of others!

Celebrity encounter #1: About 4 years ago, my friend was in Ireland with his grandparents at some swanky golf game and ran into Michael Jordan in the men's room. According to him, the conversation went like this:

Friend: 'You're Michael Jordan.'

MJ: 'Yes I am.'

Friend: 'Wow.'

And then, get this, they SHOOK HANDS. I know, that's some pretty wild stuff. I probably shouldn't give away all this good material for free, you know, I have to save something for my tell-all biography about the inner-workings of Hollywood/the sports world/high level politics later on.

Oh, okay, one more:

Celebrity encounter #2: My cousin's friend (who I've never met but I almost met once, so we're practically sisters) is a singer and went to CA a while ago to record an album and got to go to Scarlett Johanson's house for dinner because they knew each other through a mutual acquaintance. So if you ever need a place to stay in L.A., let me know, because I can hook you up in ScarJo's guest house. You know, because I know someone who knows someone who met her once.

Love, J

* Back when I could still stomach watching 'America's Most Wanted,' I often thought I knew the suspects from work or the gym or around my neighborhood. But Mom never let me call in to report them, so none of these sightings can be confirmed. My ability to recognize at least one killer per episode is one of the reasons I stopped watching it. I don't need to know that my grocery checker is on the lam; it really inhibits polite small talk.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Make like a tree and leaf

Yesterday I raked. A lot. We have really, really big trees and they grow a LOT of leaves. But you know what? I love raking. On my list of 'household chores I like to do,' it ranks up around laundry and getting the mail.
It's just so satisfying, to clean up the messy yard and make colorful, fluffy leaf piles. And it gets you outside in the fall weather.

When I was done, I scooped as many as would fit in the bed of the truck, stomped them down, and took them to the dump. I even had to pay 70 cents to drop them off, which I was proud of because your first 100 pounds are free, so I know I had at least that much.

My problem is that I could only fit about 1/3 of the raked leaves into the truck. And there are still LOTS more on the trees. And today it is pouring rain. And the forecast calls for rain/snow for a ways out.

I've never been in charge of a yard with leaves before. What do you do when it rains on them? Or snows? Do you rake them up in the snow?

I do enjoy raking, but really only weather permitting.

I assume the answer is that I rake them up and take them away in the rain, snow, whatever. That's not so bad, but if that's what needs to be done then you can bet your booty I will be waiting until every last leaf drops before I resume this project. No more raking until my arms ache and then looking behind me to see freshly fallen leaves covering my progress. In the brisk sunshine that makes me laugh at the silliness and shrug my shoulders. In the rain, I'd probably go all Hulk and snap the rake over my knee. (It could happen - I'm strong now from all the raking, remember?)

Any other suggestions? What do you do when it snows on your leaves?

Either way, today I'm taking a break. NPR and a cup of tea are calling my name, and I need to visit them on the couch, where I will crochet slippers and watch the rain.

Love, J

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

You all know what a sucker I am for a contest

Living Locurto's giving away an iTouch this week.

If I don't win, then I hope you do!

Love, J

Switch plate covers: a photo essay

Salvation Army, 19 cents, thankyouverymuch.

Playing with decoupage.


Again. My favorite of the decoupage batch.

Value Village. It came in a grab bag and included a lightbulb, paintbrush, and some twine.

Love, J

PS ~ The hubs survived his underwater adventure yesterday, and came home a little chilly but no worse for the wear.

Monday, October 12, 2009

And you thought YOU were dreading Monday

Today's forecast says there will be a high of 42, low of 30 degrees here today.

And the hubs, as part of his very exciting police training, gets to jump in a lake this afternoon, to practice water rescues. He'll dive in clothes, protective vest, and all. And then stay in the water for a while, showing he can get to the bottom to pull a dummy up, tread water for a few minutes, and complete any other challenges they give him.

Two weeks ago, it was still in the 80s here. But when we spent this last Saturday morning outside at G's soccer game, I got an ice cream headache.

Tearing up the field in her super-cute candy cane stockings

Looking like a linebacker in my 3 layers of clothes + big scarf, and still freezing my buns off

Of course he is being a characteristically good sport about the whole thing. I am dreading it much more than him, and right now I am bundled up in sweats and wrapped in a blanket because I get cold just thinking about it. Sympathy pains, or something.


Love, J

PS: Happy post-big-birthday bash, Aunt Chris! I hope it was even more fun than expected!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Laughing babies

This is not a laughing baby. It appears to be a squirrel burying a nut in our yard. I suspect it was taken by the tall guy who lives with me, as he has a thing for Where's Waldo-type photos.

Even I can appreciate a baby when it's happy and not making a mess. Or sleeping - they are cute when they sleep.

These are for Missy & Grandma R., but anyone who needs a smile should click the links:

For sure overly cutesy, but it makes me smile. I bet that dog gets sick later though.

This kid looks like he's going to pass out, he's laughing so hard.

And one more. Mostly I like how funny the dad thinks the baby is. But how confused is that kid going to be when he gets in trouble for ripping up his books? (Post edit: one very last video - these guys remind me of those little alien dolls on Toy Story. Maybe because they sound sort of the same and all look alike?)

Have a happy weekend - COLD but pretty, if you're in Spokane! I will be planting tons o' garlic in the yard with the hubs tomorrow, & going to the soccer game of one of the coolest 10-year-olds ever to walk the planet. I hope your weekend is just as good!

Love, J

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ah, sisters

A friend sent me this and as I watched it I was very, very grateful that KT didn't know about this joke when I was in high school, because she would certainly have done it. More than once. She's never been a prank-someone-laugh-about-it-and-move-on type of girl. She likes to make you feel extra silly for falling for the same joke 5, 6, 7 times over a span of a few months.

Her favorite was to rubber band the spray nozzle on the kitchen faucet open so that when you cranked the water on, you got soaked. This is pretty much exactly how that went, every time. I'm sooo glad this was before YouTube, because I think she would have been a lot more creative and persistent in pranking everyone if she knew she could film and disseminate our reactions.

Lately I've been missing living in a house full of people, but I'm a little less nostalgic when I remember all of the booby trapping that went on.

Love, J

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Two stories and then another

Story 1: Because of my husband's whole 'following his dream' thing, we are going to miss the wedding of a close friend of his family in a couple weeks. The police academy frowns on future police officers missing taser training so they can fly to Arizona to do the electric slide with 100 of their closest friends & family. I'm sure she understands.


Story 2: There is a very old episode of Mad About You where Jamie quits her job and is drifting about trying to decide what she wants to do next in life. In one scene, she wants to write a book. In another, she and her friend are eating brownies so delicious they inspire her to open a bakery. Etc, etc. This has been me lately.*


Story 3: The hubs and I spent last night visiting while I crafted a card to send to the bride whose wedding we're flaking out on. And because my readership has peaked at about 5 people, almost all of them immediately related to me, I can now show you said card with no fear that she will see it before it reaches her in the mail later this week:

Eh? Eh? Okay, it's sort of weird but it's also
not generic at all and I personally think it's much worse to be generic than weird. And I should get to add a few personal touches to the card since the gift (cash) is as impersonal as you can get.

Anyhow, I was so pleased with the way it turned out that I promptly had a conversation with myself about starting a card selling business. But then I thought about how it took about 2 hours to put together that one card and how bored I'd gotten by the end, and I lost interest in that plan faster than it took for the Mod Podge to dry on my fingertips. The end.

Love, J

*I think this casting about for a career thing may have ended yesterday - I found and applied for my dream job. Keep your fingers crossed for me! And I'll keep working on my book but it will be a little slower in getting done (and just that much more anticipated, right?)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Livening things up

With some new artwork around here.

Bought this from Value Village:

And turned it into this:

I'm on a big 'color' kick lately, and this hits the spot quite nicely.

I dedicate it to Auntie Mary for the inspiration and to Mod Podge, because, hello, Mod Podge rules.

Love, J

Monday, October 5, 2009

I've said it before...

These photos are super-blurry because it was so dark - but it works out great because this way I don't have to ask everyone's permission to post their picture, since you can't tell who anyone is anyway, right?

... and I'll say it again. Spokane's biggest asset is its people. Well, usually I say that Spokane's only asset is its people, but that's sort of snarky to write here.

I haven't lived a ton of places, but I've really enjoyed each of the cities I've called home. Pullman was fantastic, so small and sweet, and I loved that on my morning runs I could reach the edge of town within an hour, no matter which direction I went.

And Seattle... don't even get me started on Seattle. After I had so enjoyed a tiny college town, I was very skeptical that I could get any pleasure from such a big city. But it turns out I am a big city girl. Who knew? I think I'd like to go even bigger, if I could; San Fransisco, New York, London. I can't think of anything I didn't completely love about city life, except maybe not having a garden. But even a flower pot garden on the patio could satisfy me, I think, so that doesn't count.

But Spokane has the people. It's got the highest concentration of people I love, friends and family, so it is home. And wow am I ever glad to be back home. I knew I was lonely the 7 years I was away, but I had forgotten how great it is to see everyone so frequently. To not have to drive hours and hours for every holiday. To be able to stop by for lunch with one grandma before catching a matinee with the other. To meet for dinner once a week with friends I've had since seventh grade. And to go to all of G's soccer games and school plays (even on weekdays!) How lucky am I?

Maybe (probably?) everyone will scatter in 10, 20 years and there won't be the huge crowd there is now. If that happens, the hubs and I will reassess and likely pack up and give another city a shot. I still think living overseas would be just awesome. But for now I am glad to be home.

I love you guys. And maybe the rest of you, living all over, would like to think about moving back home too? It's really fun...

Love, J

Friday, October 2, 2009


On Wednesday this week, I spent the day in the kitchen. I churned out a slow-cooked zucchini-and-other-assorted-vegetable-scraps soup, cubed zucchini fried up with some herbs (I'm still trying to finish that mountain of zukes), cornbread, and a plum pie. We had a friend over for dinner, ate it, stored the leftovers, and it was fine. None of it was worth writing home about, except the pie which was sort of fantastic.

On Thursday, I woke up hungry and did NOT want to cook. Not one bit. Because, like with most things, I'd gone overboard the day before with my 6+ hours in front of the stove and now I needed a break.

This was not a problem for breakfast; I scrounged up some bread and fruit and made tea and was quite happy.

But at lunchtime, I found myself doing tiny laps around the kitchen - fridge to cupboard to lazy Susan and back to fridge - looking for something good, something that didn't require preparation.

I could have eaten out, but that would have meant leaving the house. And if you know me at all, you know that most days I absolutely will not leave the house unless I have to get to an appointment, or I have a gun to my head. Well, I've never actually had a gun to my head, but I think probably that would motivate me at least as well as having to meet a friend at the mall.

It got later, and I got more hungry, more desperate. I began to wonder why McDonald's doesn't deliver. Because a filet-o-fish & fries would really have been awesome. Except that I don't know of any McDonald's near our place, and I'm trying not to learn where the closest one is because I think in the long run it's just better for everyone if I don't know.

In the end, this is what I settled on:

And I sulked the whole time because making it required that I boil water, and that, in my book, is 'cooking.'

Then I texted the hubs and asked him if he'd be so kind as to pick up McDonald's for dinner, because we were officially out of food.

Love, J

PS: We really do have fast food only very rarely, but I've found that when I'm craving something it's best to give in right away because I latch on and can't let go until I get it. Fortunately for my thighs, gut, and heart, I hardly ever crave filet-o-fish & fries.

PPS: Now that I'm in a more lucid place and not delusional from hunger: how gross would it be if McDonald's delivered?

To make you smile

This video makes me so, so happy. I even cried a little, seeing everyone's reaction.

Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

Love, J

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Stuff that I, a white person, like

This post will be lazy, because I'm not actually writing anything new, just referring you to a very funny website that I discovered this morning.

First I want to direct Grandpa S. and Uncle P. here. This just about sums up my feelings on the subject, except for some reason he leaves out the part about there being too many bugs. Oh, and I have allergies, so I guess that settles the matter?

The whole site is sort of awesome. I love this: "...once a book has been made into a movie, a white person can no longer read that book. To have read the book after the movie is one of the great crimes in white culture, and under no circumstances should you ever admit to doing this. Literally dozens of white friendships have imploded when it was revealed that someone read Fight Club after 1999."

Camping is about the only thing on the list (besides coffee) that I don't like. The rest of it reads like a catalog of all my favorite things. So is the site tongue-in-cheek or dead-on accurate? Hmmm...

And then I found this page and got creeped out because it's too uncanny and now I feel like I'm being watched for material or something.

Love, J