6.15.2020

The Quarantine Life

Oh man. My last post was so long ago. The computer was basically hijacked for distance learning. Now it's used for tv time. I'm around my family 24/7. Haven't quite lost my mind yet but I feel a bit freer than two weeks ago - having to schedule time for school, and quiet time and crap.

Baby Chewie is 4. He had a Halloween Racecar Birthday party with family only. He can also now ride a bike with pedals, no training wheels.

I'm sewing masks during this Pandemic to donate. Holy shit, it's seriously like a dystopian novel these days. George Floyd was killed by police and for a week there was riots, police helicopters. We heard the flash bangs at night and sirens were basically non-stop. It's quieted down now that law enforcement has realized they're the assholes (yes, I am a FUCK THE POLICE person, they've literally only been helpful since we've become middle-class and homeowners, and that's not ok at all, they need to stop killing black people). So in any case, our President Cheeto is awful, there's been fires, floods, diseases, etc... I can't wait to vote out the asshole in November. 

Happy Monday. I'm hoping to post more this summer now that distance learning is done and I can hopefully regain control of the computer to do what I want to!





4.21.2020

Serious Sewing

I've sewn close to 75 face masks in the past two weeks. Oy, it seems like more than that some days. In any case, now that face masks are recommended in public, people are needing them more and more. And the government has recommended homemade masks for the general public when buying essentials in stores. This is straight up, the strangest time period to be alive - I'm glad the science is here to back it all up during this pandemic but it's all so counterintuitive because humans are social creatures. I'm an introvert though, so I do miss people - but not as much as I thought I would.

In any case, below are photos of what I've been doing. I switched from regular pleats to pocket pleats because it seems to frame the face better AND it's easier to sew.

At the end of the day we're all going to get sick, it's just spreading out the sickest patients so that we can all be taken care of. There's lots of people out there and we need to normalize wearing masks - other countries that have dealt with pandemics before immediately started wearing masks and are doing much better than the US (with the freaking idiot Orange Cheeto in charge). 

I just hope that we can help protect the elderly and the high risk patients. Covid-19 is a freaking killer of even those who are not at risk. Ugh.

On that note. Here's my week in mask photos. The sunshine this week is going to be amazing and we really need it!








4.13.2020

And Today There's Snow...



Phil got to dig in the pool for a bit on Saturday - and then on Sunday it snowed three inches. Today the kids built a snowman. I think on Friday it's going to be around 50 degrees again. HA!

Hopefully this weather will keep people at home to stay healthy. This shit is getting bananas. I've watched neighbors socializing on purpose in their front yards all week last week - and then take the party into their backyards. Ridiculous!! Hopefully this cold, snowy weather will keep people home. 

4.06.2020

Meal Planning for 3 Weeks

To meal plan for 3 weeks to keep us out of the grocery stores, I decided to turn to my current favorite cookbook - Eat At Home Tonight.

I choose to make tried and true recipes and throwing in some new ones but not too many - I need enough meals to get away with leftovers for lunch the next day, school lunches are available to pick up Monday - Wednesday up at the school, which are free. Tomorrow I'm going to run up to school and grab 3 extra lunches - one for Nana, my mom, and my mom's neighbor that we're delivering a few things to.

So here's my list:

Tacos Al Pastor
Skillet Chicken Pot Pie
Pulled Beef and greek yogurt pitas
Beefy baked sweet potatoes with cheese
Chipotle steak tacos
Lazy Marinated Chicken
Italian Sausage and peppers on hoagies
Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches
Italian Chicken and Parmesan Pasta
Autumn Chicken with Cranberries & Gorgonzola
Magic Chinese Chicken Salad
Bahamian Johnny Cake (serve with Chili OR leftover Chicken Souse from freezer)

More meals that we have ingredients for:
Ramen bowls
Chicken Soup
Chili
Pasta with meat sauce or meatballs
Macaroni & cheese
Fruit smoothies


Meal planning for weeks is kind of tough - Bimmer Man still likes frozen pizza a lot, it makes my stomach hurt and the last time, Baby Chewie refused it and The Monkey only eats the crust. I don't see a point in making it again - unless the kids can make their own pizza because then they will eat ALL of their pieces. But Bimmer Man just likes frozen.

Then I have to remember which meal uses up the fresh ingredients first so there's no waste. And plan for lunches - I love having things already made for lunch OR making specific meals for the adults that you just microwave and eat. I did that last week and it went really smooth. We'll see what happens this week!

Isolation

Because of Coronavirus.

I've been making masks for people because now we are wearing them all out in public - everyone needs to.

I can't believe how awful the President and the Administration has been at their response. I think they realized they had to react because this virus is killing off the elderly, immunocompromised, and anyone with any breathing problems. Even healthy people are on ventilators.

OMG.

So that's our new life.

Isolation.

CJ working in the basement.

And I can't even begin to be so thankful and grateful for living in our house with a backyard with no shared anything.

DAMN. Life is so hard right now.

Last night I dreamt that I saw my friend (that lives close) in a parking lot and I gave her a hug. It's been almost a month with a no-contact and no socialization order. But this is to keep us safe, well, actually it's just to prepare the medical community for the onslaught of sick people, which I don't think a lot of Trumpers understand. WE ARE ALL GOING TO GET SICK. Healthcare providers need to get set with enough beds, ventilators, and isolation units for the peak of this virus so that we don't all die in hospitals WAITING for a bed.

I was seriously panicked for about two weeks, but then we did prepare - and I just ordered three weeks worth of food from Byerly's to be delivered. As long as we can stay home, that's one less person in public to spread the disease.

GAH.


3.05.2020

Another Tooth Down


We're back to losing human teeth around here. HA!!!

The tooth fairy still needs to come, but honestly, I forgot and she hasn't mentioned the tooth fairy so...I'll leave a $1 at her spot and see what happens???

3.03.2020

Spring is on Its Way!


Wool Pom Pom Hat: LL Bean
Waterproof Jacket: Madewell x Penfield
Black Vest: Patagonia
Denim Shirtdress: Old Navy
Green Leggings: Old Navy
Black waterproof booties: TOMS

There is a dog poop swamp in my backyard. There is a dead squirrel that fell from the front tree in the front yard. There is gross mud that the dog wants to roll around in. The gross snow mold is making Baby Chewie cough (I think! It started over a month ago, and that's one of the only things that I think it can be). The grass is NOT green, still brown and dirty.

Damn...I can't wait for spring rain to wash all the crap away!! Bring it on!!

2.17.2020

The Monkey Needs Glasses


About a week ago we took a trip to the pediatric eye specialist for the first time. The Monkey has been complaining that she can't see things on the Smartboard at school and I have seen her move to watch movies and cartoons on the television. She reads so much though, I'm surprised that she doesn't have more trouble reading. 


They dilated her eyes and found her prescription the old school way. They had her wear these cool glasses and put several different lens in until they found the right combination for her eyes.

It did take us several days and visits to different eye care places to find the perfect pair of glasses. This is a huge transition and I'm really excited for her to be able to see again! I'll have to update with a photo of her in her new glasses when we get them and also how she feels about wearing them.

2.12.2020

Wordless Wednesday


Mer. Cold.

Can we cut the super cold weather??

Ok, that kills mosquitoes and other super annoying so insects so maybe I need to change the question - can I leave this place while it has super cold weather to kill all the bugs??

There. That's more like it.

But the answer is no. Not this year.

Last night I noticed that we left for dance class and it was still light outside. I can tell the days are getting longer - or should I say there's more sunshine, which is fantastic because we need to spend some more time outside. Summer is so easy when the kids can just go outside in the backyard and just be outside. Plus the fresh air makes everyone happier and definitely more tired at night, but more dirty. HA!!

It's that time of year where I'm dreading the winter because I've run out of things to do, people have stopped shoveling their sidewalks making walking the dog a ridiculous chore (I actually went out and salted the street one day because I was tired of slipping and sliding walking down to the car), and I hate getting all the winter stuff on/off. It just makes getting out the door with young kids such an annoying thing. Though Baby Chewie has learned how to put on his jacket and boots, it doesn't mean that he actually WANTS to.

Most of my problem is that I don't want to wear boots anymore - I have several pairs of awesome shoes that I really want to wear but I don't want them covered in gross Minnesota winter crud from the streets. And I'd really like to just walk outside without wearing a jacket for once.

GAH. But we get all four seasons and fresh snow is just so lovely. I shouldn't complain too much because with climate change, at this point, who knows what will happen - we may get colder before the extreme heat. I'm not sure, but I need to start paying more attention so that I can start to plan my garden too (because there's Phil, I'm going to need to move a lot of my plants to the front yard. He demolished a few butterfly friendly ones that I'm in mourning of).

So enough with the complaints and on with the week. Happy Wednesday!

2.02.2020

Accountability


I've been trying to work out daily since December in the early morning.


I haven't done it all days - I feel like every 2-3 days my body straight up shuts me down and says, nope, not today! So I have skipped morning workouts to get my sleep and then did them later in the day - but then I feel like I've lost part of my day to get things done and I rush and rush to clean, cook, get the kids' shit together (and get my shit together!). 


In this I've also realized that I really LIKE lifting weights and working out so I really don't want to miss a workout. I think they're fun - I have also noticed that I've had to buy bigger weights...so yay!!!


When I miss a day, I realize I'm pretty darn cranky and I just feel anxious or like I should be doing something or getting more steps in or frankly, just moving around more. 


So I thought I'd share my sweaty selfies because I think it's important to share my accountability. I WANT to workout and I need to make sure that I somehow keep track of everything I do. Also, Phil is totally on my team. I think he's been in every one of my sweaty selfies since November!!

1.31.2020

Book Review: Two Children's Books



Baby Chewie loved this book from the library this past week. Originally I reserved this book because Baby Chewie is taking swim class and he was not a fan of putting his face in the water. I was on a hunt to find books to help him get over his fear of putting his face and nose in the water. As it turns out, this crocodile really didn't like water because SPOILER ALERT he wasn't a crocodile. The illustrations are quite lovely and I like how the story progresses. It's easy for a 3.5 year old to follow along with the pictures. 

Baby Chewie says, "I liked the dragon and his sneeze!"



This book is so much fun to read and such a fast and easy read. I really appreciate the fact that people of color are the prominent family and that makes me so happy to share with my preschooler. I really try to make sure that we include books like this because it is so important for kids to see different people and see the way that families of all colors, shapes, sizes live. The little boy wakes up first. The little boy eats breakfast first. The little boy gets hurt first. The little boys cries first. The boy washes up first. Baby Chewie is in a phase right now where HE HAS TO BE FIRST and this book completely spoke to him. He knew exactly what the boy was feeling and Baby Chewie enjoyed reading this book over and over again. I really liked it too - the words matched the pictures on the page very well and the illustrations were bright, colorful and simple to understand. 

Happy preschool reading!!

1.30.2020

Bubbles for Phil


I was watching an Instagram video of dogs popping bubbles with their teeth and immediately wanted to see if Phil would pop bubbles. And he does!


If The Monkey blows bubbles, then both Phil & Baby Chewie jump for the bubbles. It's like two kids in a candy store. I'm really excited to try the bubble machine this summer!!

1.27.2020

Book Review: Red Clocks by Leni Zumas


Ooh. This book. This one got to me and at the same time I rolled my eyes so hard.

The characters in this book absolutely thought that laws do not apply to them. But then they all learned the hard way.

No abortions. No IVF. And adoption is possible to 2-parent households.

So there it is. That's the basics of this book. Then you can guess what happens with the plot - a lovely teacher is single and and 42 and she wants a baby so she goes for IVF. It doesn't work. Then she finds out a student is pregnant. The teacher wants to adopt the baby but just can't find the right words to say when the opportunity arises to ask for the baby. 

A woman wants to leave her husband. She tries to have an affair but honestly, she finds the biggest dumb-dumb of a man so that obviously doesn't work. 

The local healer gets arrested because a woman claimed that she was pregnant and asked for an abortion. (Turns out the woman was beaten and being abused by her husband).

There's quite a few storylines here. And they're all really sad. I'm not sure I agree with the reviewer who said they love this book with their whole heart (A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, that book is AMAZING and lovely and that book has my heart). I say this because I've read better books about women-hating culture - Vox is another good read where women cannot speak more than 100 words per day. Which, fuck, that would never happen here. I would probably be burned alive on a stake after a week trying to save my daughter from the same fate. 

But I digress. I did like this book - but I felt there were lots of story lines and they all intertwined with one another in such a way that this story would only work in a small town, which thankfully is the setting. The author also glosses over the complacency and inattentiveness to the news and media - how people just let things happen to them and say that the new laws won't affect them. It's really interesting how the author pushes her characters forward with life through everything that women and families now CANNOT do. 

There's a short blurb on the resistance in this book, I wish there would have been more dedicated to the resistance and underground helpers working to get women abortions (or IVF too). It didn't seem like that was such an important area of the book and I wanted more about that, or to have the main character join it or somehow do SOMETHING. Which I think is also a point the author was trying to make - people let other people make changes and make laws and didn't stand up for what was right and what they believed in. People stood by and let misogynists take over government and let the women-hating go on. 

SOOOOO...if you need to get fired up about saving Roe v. Wade, read this. If you need IVF and you think that men don't hate you - read this. In my opinion, the government needs to stay out of the doctor's office when it comes to personal choices like choosing to do IVF or having an abortion. Whatever you want to do...do it...without worry that you're going to be thrown in jail.

I don't feel that I can say "Happy Reading" for this one considering the topic of the book, but I can for sure say that if you're interested in women's fucked up literature, then this is a book for you.

1.23.2020

Book Review: Normal People by Sally Rooney


I really enjoyed this story, about two teens growing into themselves and then through their time in college. I was concurrently reading a Tana French mystery which also takes place in Dublin. I confused myself a bit and had to look at all of these places on a map to try and picture where all the different places are - especially Trinity College and then the different parts of Ireland. Much like America, the Irish can tell where people are from in Ireland because of their accents. It's like the "Ya, sure, you betcha" that sticks out if you're a Minnesotan. This definitely comes into play in later parts of the book when the two are in college.

First, the two friends have a different relationship from what most people would deem as normal - Connell and Marianne ignore each other at school but are definite best buddies outside of school. They have a romantic relationship. Marianne is convinced that Connell would be embarrassed that he's with Marianne. He eventually asks a different girl to a dance and breaks Marianne's heart.

Then they go to college.

It turns into the opposite - Marianne is the popular one and Connell is not. She pulls him into her circle and she has some asshole friends (which eventually she figures out in the last few pages of the book, because of course when you're a teenager you don't know you have asshole friends). They're together off and on. They each have different lovers and date other people.

One thing that I think irritated me the most was that Marianne's character wasn't as well developed as Connell's character. I kept wanting to know WHY she was the way she was and HOW she got to be the way she is. The little bits of background stories basically told nothing - only that her family wasn't that great. Finally towards the end of the book we got more information but yet that didn't make up for all the lost information in the beginning. Marianne comes from a rich and wealthy family where she fits in better at Trinity College. I think the readers needed MORE information - and more insight into what the characters were thinking and why. Connell isn't exactly a dummy but he is a young male which means that he thinks a heck of a lot more with his penis than his brain. In the book, he thinks more with his brain than his penis - and Marianne thinks more sexually than what most people would think. Is this wrong or bad? Nope, absolutely not! But it seems that Marianne's character development is really poor and some background stories may have been added as an afterthought instead of being included in backstory to help the reader understand Marianne's thoughts along the way. This isn't something that totally detracted from the story, just an observation.

To note Marianne has an abusive relationship towards the end and this is where the reader gets more background information. I also enjoyed reading about Connell's mother and her background - I just wish that Rooney would have written more background information about Marianne's parents and family to round out her character.

Rooney seemed to give up the information about Connell without a care - his story seemed to pour out but Marianne's seemed a bit harder to write, possibly? I'm not sure. Both characters had their flaws which make them more human and relatable. 

I really enjoyed Marianne's realization of who her friends were/are at the end of the novel when she's speaking with a friend that moved away. The friend she was speaking with said something that suddenly made something in Marianne's head click - it was like a switch flipped and she figured out why she was miserable or why her friends seemed not to be her friends. That really made Marianne's character grow and mature - but I wished that realization had come a bit sooner in the book and maybe had a different outcome at the end? I'm not sure how that might play out.

If you're interested in a coming-of-age book that takes place NOT in the USA, and has a slight Romeo/Juliet feel, this is probably the book for you. Overall I give it 4 stars, but just wished that Marianne's character was a little more developed and had more information before the last quarter of the book. It was like reliving high school and my first year of college all over again - to a certain extent! HA! 

1.18.2020

Book Review: Tana French's The Secret Place


After reading Broken Harbor I decided to keep going with the Dublin Murder Squad series so that I wouldn't forget the characters. I had taken so long to keep going with the series in the past that this time I made it a priority to keep going with the series. I like French's writing style and I like how her style changes with her characters. The Secret Place was next up in my reading queue. 

The main character that this story is told through is Detective Stephen Moran - and I couldn't quite remember the other detectives in the Squad room from previous books. I don't really want to go back to read them though because I have so many books on my to-read list, I just wanted to read the book.

The mystery was good but also in a way, a bit predictable. I like how French captures the dramatic teen moments (or what seems to be dramatic by adult standards) and really makes them stand out showing that teens really do live day by day and moment by moment and live to avoid embarrassment almost at all costs. And friendships - the way the friendships were described and written were very realistic, the keeping of secrets between teens and thinking secrets are ok, the keeping secrets to possibly protect one another but because it's four girls, the keeping of secrets goes just terribly wrong. Someone ends up dead. And one of the four girls knows something.

Now should I tell spoilers? Is anyone actually planning on reading the book? 

I'm going to spoil from here so stop reading this now if you're planning on reading the book.


I'm not sure I can follow the believability of how the detectives get together as a team - however, the book only takes the courses of action over one whole day. The beginning of the day is started in the office, the end of the day the murderer is caught and sprinkled between the investigation is the interweaving stories of the dead boy and the four girls.

There's also this weird magic witchery shit that's in the book that I don't think is relevant at all. That could have been left out - it's literally one girl making light bulbs pop and moving objects. The first time I read it, I thought nope, cut this shit out. It really had no serious affect on the outcome of the story. At all. The editors should have caught that crap and cut it all out of the book - it was just added words that didn't need to be part of the story. 

Overall, I thought the mystery was good but I kept thinking I was missing something when the actual killer was revealed - if you pay attention to the small details, you'll be able to spot the killer from the  beginning. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. 

Happy reading, friends!

1.16.2020

Chicago!


We went to a friend's wedding in Chicago and stayed at the hotel across the street from Google. The hotel was the MOST MILLENNIAL hotel that I have ever been in. Seriously. 


While the boys had bagels with the groom, I made my way around Chicago and stopped at an Italian bakery and had a lovely coffee and a croissant sandwich. So delicious! Especially since I was a little hungover after having a few cocktails at Rick Bayless's Tacqueria/Brewery.


We went to Au Cheval for lunch. Apparently they're supposed to have the best burgers in the USA. Unfortunately, I didn't think so - I live with two children that are burger connoisseurs and I have definitely had better burgers at other places - including a Juicy Lucy and the ever-consistent 5 Guys. I also have to add that Au Cheval has a special sauce that they put on the burger and I'm not a fan of mayo, nor sauces on my burger - so I usually never opt for sauce because a burger is supposed to show off the burger. I didn't know that Au Cheval put sauce on their burgers when I ordered so I think had I known, I wouldn't have got the sauce and I would have liked my burger better. See? I'm a bit of a burger snob. The bun was delicious and I really enjoyed the homemade pickles though - and I really liked their Bloody Mary! I could definitely get that again. 


Despite the face that I thought the burger was just ok, I still ate the shit out of it and it definitely disappeared from my plate and into my stomach. 

The wedding took place at a vintage furniture store. Seriously. Everything had a price tag on it. I really wanted to bring this home for our backyard but Bimmer Man said no! BOO!! 


Even in college, this is exactly where you could find the Sigma Nus - right at the bar! I had to take a picture because it was seriously too funny to see...15 years after college.

Bimmer Man stole my phone and discovered that I had a portrait setting.


And my morning workout after the wedding. I realized I needed to sweat out all the booze I had. It was a real serious all HIIT cardio workout and my stomach was turning after the Triple Bears but I still did it. I got through it. And I'm way too old to stay out later than 2 am.