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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hate to burst your bubble...

The other day Andy and I were walking along the Alki promenade.

"Oooh, something smells of bubblegum!" Andy said with jubilant innocence.

I had to break it to him that it was because we'd just passed two Honey Buckets. What he was smelling was not bubblegum, but urinal cakes.

Speaking of urinal cakes, those are NOT bars of soap. Another easy mistake to make. If you have young kids, warn them.


Image via Wikimedia Commons

Woah. Remember Bazooka bubblegum? It's been a long time since I've chopped my gnashers down on one of theose delicious, rock hard rectangles. And they have jokes inside! Remember? I'd forgotten all about them until now.

Goodbye, 
Margaret

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Land of plenty

Today in the Safeway produce section Andy stared in bewilderment as the automatic sprinklers misted the veggies, complete with thunder sound effect. He laughed and shook his head. "This f-ing country."

It reminded me of an article I read recently about former Soviet President Boris Yeltsin's trip to Houston in 1989. During his visit he went to a local grocery store and was amazed at what he saw.

Image via Chron.com

He said if the Russian people knew about how much food there was in America—how good it could be—there would be a revolution. As he would later recount on Oprah's couch (not really, but I wish) this was his 'a-ha moment'.

In all seriousness, though, this was the moment when Yeltsin first soured on the whole communism thing. And that was just some shite Texas grocery store. Imagine what he'd think of Metropolitan Market!

Love,
Margaret

P.S. If these blogs were any shorter, they'd be my thumbnail!

P.P.S. I bit my thumbnail down too far the other day and now it hurts.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Where for art thou Internet?

I went to an Internet cafe today. How 1999 is that?

My Internet at home was being slow and I needed to upload a video for work. After about an hour of refreshing, turning the wifi off and on, fiddling around with Network Preferences, poking the router with a pen tip and praying to the almighty Skeegles, I gave in and walked up the hill to 'Alki Mail and Dispatch', a coffee shop meets post office meets Internet cafe.

But alas, the Internet there was also very slow. Perhaps all of West Seattle struggled with sluggish Internet toady. Perhaps all of Seattle. All of Washington. The WORLD. Who knows. It's just comforting to think I may not have been alone in this.

Kay kids gather around the fam's first computer. 

As I ran back down the hill—toes slamming into my boot tips, knees bracing themselves for every step, boobs sweating like Michael Jordan's head in the fourth quarter—I actually grunted "GOD DAMN IT!!!" out loud for the whole world to hear. Of course I made sure not to move my mouth so that people in passing cars wouldn't be able to read my lips or even know I was saying anything at all. But still. I was frustrated to the point of grunting in public. That's pretty bad.

Then I took a few deep breaths and reminded myself that nothing matters and everything will be OK.

Goodnight,
Margaret

P.S. I can't stop thinking about this 105-year-old Japanese sprinter. So inspiring! What do I have to do to be that healthy and live that long? I suppose I can start by cutting Recess peanut butter cups out of my diet.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Urethra Franklin

Last night I got up in the middle of the night to go pee. As I was peeing, I had a brilliant blog idea. Knowing that I was still half asleep, I repeated the idea in my head five times to make sure I'd remember it in the morning. I even thought about going out into the living room and writing it down, but that was a bridge too far. I'd remember it. I'd just have to.

Image by Ben Mills via Wikimedia Commons


Flash forward to 1:30pm today.

"Wait a minute. Didn't I think of some genius blog post while peeing last night?" I said to myself. "What was it!!???!?"

I tried hard to remember for three full minutes before deciding that it must have been something nonsensical. I must have still been in a dream state when I thought of it. Oh well.

BUT THEN IT CAME TO ME. YES! The genius blog idea! I remembered it! Here it is:


  • Thankfully, it seems that I'm back to vigorous, powerful pee streams. For a few months there, nothing but dribble. Something must have been up, health-wise. But no more! Urethra Franklin has her groove back!

Hmmm. 

I must say, it did seem a bit more groundbreaking at the time. 

Ciao, 
Margaret

P.S. What the heck am I meant to do with this? I asked for a green onion, not a seven-year-old tulip!



P.P.S. Penny for scale.






Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Old Lady Marge

Boom! That's it. Year-28 Challenge over.

Today is my birthday and I've now officially blogged EVERY DAY FOR A YEAR. That's 365 posts, for those of you who forgot how long it takes the Earth to orbit the Sun.

In honor of this joyous occasion, let's watch a short video of me on my sixth birthday.




How precious. Who could have predicted that seven years later I would type the word "grassyllama" at random into my AOL instant messenger registration and set the course of the remainder of my life.


An actual book from my G-ma's actual bookshelf.


Be back tomorrow (or will I?),

Margaret

P.S. Andy and I went to Jazz Alley tonight and on the guy's second-to-last song, he revealed he's Clint Eastwood's son. Way to bury the lead! Andy and I laughed silently about it while pretending to pop our heads to the beat intellectually.

P.P.S. Planning to respond to the Facebook birthday wishes individually tomorrow because 10:18pm on a Tuesday is no time to start such a task. But as always, it reminded me of why I keep Facebook around. Every annoying ad or banal status is worth it for the potpourri of birthday greetings you get once a year.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Food trend alert: store-bought PB&Js

I've noticed a new food trend since my move back to America. Store-bought PB&Js. They're everywhere. In the PCC deli. In Starbucks bento boxes. On the menu at your local sandwich joint.

What does this say about our society?
  1. We're that lazy 
  2. We think that nostalgia = good (seen across millennial culture, not just in the culinary world) 
But allow me to step down off my high llama for a second. I love this trend. Heck, I've been singing Uncrustables' praises for years now. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are delicious and, for those rare occasions when curried tempeh just won't cut it, I'm willing to pay $4 for one from PCC.

Image by Evan-Amos via Wikimedia Commons


Some more useful information relating to PB&Js:
  • The first reference of peanut butter paired with jelly on bread to be published in the United States was by Julia Davis Chandler in 1901 in the Boston Cooking-School Magazine of Culinary Science and Domestic Economics. (via Wikipedia)
  • Jam is made from crushed fruit, whereas jelly is made from fruit juice.
  • The average American eats 1,500 PB&Js before the age of 18. (via Thrillist)
  • April 2nd is National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day.
  • Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth.

I hope we all learned something here today. 

Goodbye,
Margaret

P.S. After its Emmy win, Andy and I decided to start watching 'Veep.' Our verdict? Hilarious. I recommend. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Two more days of court-ordered blogging

In just two days, my year of daily blogging ends. Although I hope to continue blogging every weekday into the vast, unknowable future, the end of my Year-28 Challenge has left me feeling...

...RELIEVED!

It's been good. It's been bad. It's been tedious.

In honor of the Emmys, I'm hosting my own little awards ceremony tonight in which all the nominees are ME.

Most mouth-watering:


Best celebrity-related post:

Best video blog:



Most mundane:



Best clickbait title:



Most conceited:

  • This post - WINNER




Nighty noodle, 
Margaret

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Things I will NEVER do


  • Pronounce poinsettia the correct way (point-set-EE-uh)
  • Be able to pull off a jumpsuit :(
  • Put my children on a leash
  • Get a six-inch Subway sandwich 
  • Download the Facebook mobile app
  • Go bungee jumping
  • Think highly of white chocolate
  • Say no to a back massage
  • Get on someone's shoulders in the swimming pool and do a "chicken fight"
  • Pinch a person for not wearing green on St. Patrick's Day, which is a cruel tradition that exists only in America
Image by antisocialtory via Flickr

Grandma Martha and I promised ourselves we'd try to stay awake until 9pm. It's 7:43pm now. I doubt we'll make it. She's in her room watching "The Proposal" starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. I'm at the kitchen table, typing this blog post and nibbling on some Trader Joe's olive oil popcorn. And by nibbling, I mean shoving in my face by the handful. Now that's something I'll never do—nibble popcorn one kernel at a time. Life's too short to eat popcorn one kernel at a time. 

Love ya, 
Margaret

Friday, September 18, 2015

Martha the matriarch

To say my grandma is a great conversationalist would be the understatement of the century. She is to words what the ocean is to plankton, the sky is to stars, a competitive eater is to hotdogs—filled to the brim.

Today's anecdotes included:

  • How her mother used to send her food in the mail. She once sent an entire pork roast by USPS.
  • How she was BFFs with a married Democrat atheist man. They would go clothes shopping together for his wife. He was also an avid weaver. "I think he was probably part gay," she says. 'Part gay' is my new fave phrase. Like being 'part Japanese' or something. 
  • How taking hot baths was her only escape from her kids, and even then, they would pass her notes through the crack between the floor and the door. 
A photograph of a photograph, taken with my web cam.
Look closely and you can see my laptop reflected in the glass!

She also says that the keys to a happy marriage are kindness and forgiveness.

I feel like Andy and I are in a constant state of silent, preemptive forgiveness—it's the only way two people this annoying can live happily together. 

But kindness? Are we kind? We're somewhat kind. But he could definitely give me more back massages and I could stop making fun of his far apart eyes. There's room for improvement. 

I'm TIRED. Up at 5:30am this morning. Took the first water taxi across to Seattle this morning. Sat on the top deck with a view of the skyline, all lit-up in the still-dark sky. Truly brilliant. Then a bunch of doofus seals had to ruin it by arfing loudly from their perch on a nearby buoy. But what can ya do? Seals gonna arf. 

LOVE, 
Margaret

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Pumpkin Spice – Disgusting or Nice?

Char and I went through the Starbucks drive-through this afternoon. We'd both had late night + early morning and we were dragging.

As we pulled up to the speaker, I spotted an advertisement for the seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte out of the corner of my eye. I did a double-take. It's been years since I've had flavored syrup in my coffee, but I suddenly had the urge to partake.

Call it nostalgia, my afternoon sweet tooth or simply the thrill of the harvest—whatever the cause, I had visions of nutmeggy coffee dancing in my head. I'd forgotten all about my usual, modest 8-ounce latte and instead ordered a grande PSL. With whip? Yes, of course with whip.

  • My first mistake – ordering a grande. Like a complete imbecile, I thought that grande is what comes after short. It's not. Grande comes after TALL. Tall is the size I was looking for. Instead, I received 16 mother-f-ing ounces of milky espresso. 
  • My second mistake – ordering a Pumpkin Spice Latte. It's disgusting. The sugariness is jarring, but I suppose I could get over that. What's difficult to ignore is the way the pumpkin flavor clashes with the strong coffee flavor. It ends up tasting like sweet dirt. 
I'd hate to leave on a negative note, so here's some good news: my Halloween costume is sorted! I'd mentioned that I want to be a conehead, so my dear, sweet mother ordered me one on Amazon! She got one for Andy too. Bring on October 31st!



Headed to the 'couve tomorrow to hang out with my Grandma. Perhaps the two of us will record a video blog. 

Love ya, 
Margaret

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

FB dislike button? There goes my blogging career

Facebook announced that it's going to add a dislike button, and guess what? I DISLIKE that idea. I dislike it very much.

Let's face it; this blog is a tedious experience for all of us. It's a chore for me to write and you to read. Sure, there are some gems, but more often than not, it's the banal musings of a madwoman in a housecoat.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

And unfortunately, I'm just as sensitive as I am self-deprecating. Only I am allowed to make fun of me. I can throw jabs, but you can't. Thus, the dislike button will crush me. Even just one dislike on a single post and I'll be throwing my laptop into Lake Washington and moving to some remote village in Canada.

I mean, I struggle with constructive criticism, so I can't even imagine what vague, unconstructive criticism would do to my psyche.

And the whole reason why Facebook is rolling this button out? So that it's not awkward when people like a news article about a tragic event or someone's status about how their cat died. OH COME ON. I've been a Facebook user for a decade (woah). By now, we all know that those people who 'like' inappropriate posts are simply using it as an 'acknowledge' button. Yes, it's lame, but we all know what they mean.

Apparently the new button is going to be presented in a way that makes it clear that it's not for showing disdain. It's supposedly going to be obvious that you aren't meant to use it as a way of saying, "Boooooooooooo! You suck!" But I don't know. We'll see.

Goodnight,
Margaret

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Oh what a night

My Car2Go registration finally went through. As soon as I saw the email, Andy and I were off to Home Depot to buy a piece of plywood upon which we'll plaster a giant map of the Puget Sound. Exciting!

The car is a golf cart with doors. It screams loudly when you go up hills, and you feel every single abnormality in the road's surface—driving over a leaf is like the grand finale of Splash Mountain.

Home Depot was easy. We found some plywood for $14 and the guy even cut it for us. We were in and out within 10 minutes.

Just one problem. How's this large piece of lumber going to fit in the golf cart with doors? Poking out the back window? No. On it's side, diagonally between the two seats? No. On top of the folded over passenger seat? No.


Alas, I drove home and Andy waited in the parking lot with the plywood for an (expensive) SUV Uber.

Now I sit here, exhausted from the evening's activities, inhaling Mod Podge fumes and rubbing my belly full of Morningstar faux sausages. Please don't make me get off this couch. I'll sleep here. It's fine. Just don't make me move.

Guess which ones are fake. 

Wednesday tomorrow. Time flies.

Love,
Margaret

Monday, September 14, 2015

American Beauty

I hated that movie. I didn't get it. Add it to the list along with "Punch Drunk Love", "Lost in Translation" and "WALL-E".

Maybe I was just too young to understand it at the time. If I were to watch it now, would I enjoy it? I'm dubious.

Today our new coasters from Crate & Barrel arrived. They're made of rope. Very nautical. I can't wait until I rest my first mug of tea on one. I'm eager to see how it protects our newly-painted, white coffee table from unsightly cup rings. If all goes well, nothing will happen.

Stay tuned for updates.



I don't know if you knew this, but this blog is art. I'm an artist. Or as we in the marketing industry like to say, I'm a "creative". Ruminate on that.

Amen,
Margaret

P.S. I took a quiz today to see if I would get into Oxford. Based on my score, I would not.

P.P.S. The credit card machine at our local coffee shop wasn't working. They were having to use an old-school slider doohickey. But wait! These days, credit cards don't have the raised numbers. They're not bumpy anymore! How can one make an imprint? One cannot.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

TH!NK about it

As Andy and I were walking up one of Seattle's steepest hills today—West Dravus Street in Magnolia—I heard him humming "Family Portrait" by P!NK to himself. That's the one that goes...in our famiLY portrait, we look pretTY happy. We look pretTY normal. Let's go back to that. 

Got it in your head now? Good.

Anyway, I asked him, "Who sings that again?"

"It was P!INK," he said. "It was during that time when her and Eminem were both into releasing a goofy song followed by a sad song. Sad song, goofy song, sad song, goofy song, sad song, goofy song..."

WHAT AN OBSERVATION. I wish I had made it myself. Let this be a lesson. Just when you think you're getting sick of someone, they can turn around and say something brilliant.

Image by jm3 via Flickr

Speaking of P!NK, some thoughts..

  • When I saw her open for *NSYNC in 2000, she sat on a stool and introduced ones of her ballads as, "The best song I've ever wroten." WROTEN.
  • Crazy that her and hubby Carey Hart broke up and then got back together. That almost never happens with celebrities. 
  • Before she made it as a solo artist, she was in a girl group called Choice and their single "Key To My Heart" appeared in the movie Kazaam (starting Shaq). What's that? You want to listen to it. OK, here you go

Hopefully, one day in the future, something in this blog post will be the answer to a question in a pub quiz you're doing. Because if it's not, I can't promise that it wasn't a complete waste of your time.

With love,
Margaret

Saturday, September 12, 2015

That's why they call it the Peeyew-get Sound!

This morning I woke up at 8, drank a latte, ate a muffin, charged my iPod and threw on my running clothes. I was geared up and ready for a decent-sized run. At least five miles. I had the whole day ahead of me and I was actually looking forward to it.

Half a mile in, I was feeling great. Not tired. Not bored. Not too hot. There was a nice breeze. The water was sparkling. This was going to be a good run.

As I ran along the back side of Alki, around the other end of the point, I admired all the waterfront homes. Checking out fancy houses is one of my favorite parts of running. Helps take your mind off the ghastly physical exertion. Like a podcast, but for the eyes.

But the good vibes didn't last. About two miles into the run, there's a small park that breaks up the otherwise long stretch of waterfront homes. As I approached it, houses no longer sheltering me from the Puget Sound, I was hit with a hot wave of fishy, sulfuric swamp stench. It nearly knocked me over.

Image by John Murphy via Wikimedia Commons

Now, I grew up around the Puget Sound. I decorated my sandcastles with slimey green seaweed. I petted sea anemones at Camp Casey. I accidentally stepped on a dead seagull with bare feet on TWO SEPARATE OCCASIONS. The point being, I am completely familiar with the brackish saltwater smell. What I experienced today was on a whole different level.

Whatever the cause—perhaps a bunch of dead shrimp baking in the low-tide sunshine—my body had an instantaneous reaction. It went into complete survival mode. Before I had time to think, I was dry heaving like a bloated labrador. With each step forward, I dry heaved harder. Running made it worse. I needed to regain control. I stopped and pulled over to the side of the path.

I couldn't believe that I couldn't get it together. I have a strong stomach. I almost never throw up. Maybe twice in the past decade. I'm one of those people who will feel sick but can't throw up. But today, I came close.

Unable to continue, I turned around (still dry heaving) and hobbled back down the street until I was safely sheltered by the fine West Seattle real estate. Alas, my run would have to be cut short. At least my abs got a workout.

Toodledoo,
Margaret

P.S. I learned today that in Scotland they refer to dry heaving has 'having the dry boke'.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Schlafen ist langweilig

Getting the right amount of sleep does a body good. It makes you happier, healthier, smarter, more attractive...

But of course, you already knew that. Studies show that sleep is the best. CEOs all make time for their eight hours. It's old news.

So WHY, then, is staying up late so much fun? WHY, as I'm just about to doze off, do I get the urge to eat pretzels, take a bath and binge-watch Empire? WHY do I get annoyed when Andy suggests we make the nightly migration from couch to bed?

I have a guess: it's boring. Sleep is boring. It feels like giving up on the day. It's wasteful and ridiculous. It's also the definition of 'in between time', and I've never done well with in between time.

Boredom aside, I'm a better person when I'm well rested. I reckon I'll always have to fight my inner insomniac and force myself to do what comes so unnaturally to me: sleep.

Severe yawning? I've had that. Yawns that are so large they hurt your neck veins.

Image by Mikael Häggström via Wikimedia Commons


Honk-shoo,
Margaret

P.S. I do enjoy certain sleeps—the ones where I'm utterly exhausted and fall into a thick, dreamless sleep as soon as my head hits the mattress (pillow thrown on floor in disgust).

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Tech talk

Crazy that Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani are dating. Total downgrade for Gwen.

Anyway, here's an observation for you: my life can fit into two duffle bags, but my computer is practically popping its buttons. I actually had to PAY to download software that helps me locate useless/old/duplicate files and delete them. Such is the life for us Macbook Air owners. But I can't be mad. My computer is slightly thicker than my thumbnail (and slightly thinner than my toenail)! With the amount of warped-face Photobooth selfies clogging up its arteries, I'm surprised it's lasted this long at all.

Speaking of Apple products, Andy's had one heck of a struggle getting his iPhone up and running. Carrier/unlocking problems. In fact, after three days of phone calls, a trip to the Apple store and a brand new phone, it's still not working. Tomorrow he'll do what he should have done in the first place: go to a sketchy tech repair place and ask the guy to work his magic.

Wouldn't life be easier if we all still had bedazzled Sidekicks?

Image by Wireimage via Popsugar

Today was one of the prettiest sunsets we've had here on Alki so far. Yellow, then pink, then orange, and then an even better orange. Andy, Barbie and I ate ice cream sandwiches on the beach and played catch with a baseball (no gloves - ouch!). At one point, three ferry boats glided (glid?) by in different directions. Seattle was really showing off.

Now I'm tired and my head hurts from the single, weak vodka soda I drank four hours ago. Best get my arse in bed.

So long,
Margaret

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

What year is this?

Francie and I went to Olympia on business (gotta love when people say 'on business') and I felt like I had walked straight into 2001. Something about the place reminded me of high school. Maybe it was all the driving to and from strip malls that we were doing to kill time.

We went to a coffee shop and there was all sorts of bootcut jeans + coach purses +  studded belts going on. I ordered two 8-ounce, 2% lattes and a chocolate chip cookie.

"OK, a chocolate chip cookie and two nonfat lattes—anything else?" the lady says.

"Nope, thats it. But actually, do you have 2% milk for those?"

"Yep. Nonfat, 2%, same thing."

I was stunned. Not knowing what to do, I just nodded and said, "Ah, okay" as if I'd only just then learned that 2% and nonfat were the same thing. Who knew? 2% and nonfat? Turns out, SAME THING. I know, crazy. All this time I was walking around thinking that they differed by a margin of exactly two percent, but I must have been mistaken!

I don't know. The situation baffles me. At first I thought maybe she was trying to say, "We don't have 2%, but is nonfat OK?" But no. She was clear. She said that 2% and nonfat were the same thing. Here's the kicker, I honestly think she believes it.

Now don't you tell me I'm being a snob. That lady works in a coffee shop—knowing the different milk percentages is 80% of the job. Also, I didn't care at all and happily guzzled my latte in less than five minutes like I always do. No harm, no foul.

An old photo and my old boots, which I'm still mourning the loss of. 


Later,
Margaret

Monday, September 7, 2015

Life is but a dream

Whenever you feel stressed out, remember that. Life is but a dream. Nothing is real. It's all a beautiful, hilarious mirage. Those people walking around, the sounds of cars driving by, the grass, the pavement, the shirt you're wearing—all part of the dream.


Speaking of dreams, here's a list of recurring dreams I've had in my lifetime:
  • Floating down from the sky on a magic carpet
  • Teeth falling out
  • Working on a tedious project on the computer / emailing
  • Discovering a new room in my house
  • Dancing at da club
  • Having a baby
  • Forgetting about an important deadline, only to remember several weeks later
I taught myself lucid dreaming from a young age as a tactic to prevent nightmares. Whenever I felt that a dream was headed in the wrong direction, I'd work hard to get it back on track. Lucid dreaming is hard work because your sleeping brain doesn't like changing gears in the middle of something. If my dream started leading me somewhere sketchy, I'd use all my brainpower to teleport to a happy place, like my classroom at school or my living room on Christmas morning. 

One sleep phenomenon that I had little control over, however, was my sleep paralysis. That's when your brain wakes up before your body. It's terrifying because you're completely awake and can hear the sounds of the room, but you can't open your eyes or move any part of your body. It would happen to me a few times a year as a kid and probably lasted for less than a minute each time, but it was terrifying none the less. My trick for emerging out of it was to force myself to fall back asleep (or just pretend to fall back asleep - shhh, don't tell my body!). 

Sweet dreams,

Margaret

P.S. Which dream song do you prefer?






Sunday, September 6, 2015

Rusty

Below is a descriptive essay I wrote freshman year of college. It's difficult for me to read, as old writing always is. But I figured, hey, it means I get to relax and watch TV instead of coming up with something original to blog about tonight.

Full disclosure: we never called the van 'Rusty'. Creative license.



Margaret Kay
English/Herrick/9:30-10:45
Descriptive Essay

It was a big van. Not one of those 15 seaters that requires a special license to drive, but one big enough to make mini-van drivers feel minute and inferior. Its bench seats could hold all seven of us plus one lucky friend that, not knowing what they were getting into, willingly came along.  We affectionately named it “Rusty” partly because of its burnt orange paint but mainly because of the many patches of brown rust that resided on its exterior. The morning of the semi-annual Seaside, Oregon trip I would hurry down the driveway, slide open Rusty’s thick, dented, and recently “keyed” door, and claim my spot by the window.
            It was the same routine every time. After about 73 minutes of loading the back with duffle bag after duffle bag plus around five of our bikes we squeezed into the van. The seatbelts were a salmon color and about an inch think. They were so ancient and heavy that we had taken to calling them “safety harnesses”. I clicked the dense, shiny metal parts together and tightly squeezed the belt across my lap. Only when all eight clicks had sounded, could we begin our journey. My mom was the driver and the rest of us were the backseat drivers, turning our heads and cringing nervously every time Rusty came within inches of crushing a Honda civic or taking out a parking meter. Once we reached the freeway, though we breathed easier knowing there were less objects to run into. It was also when I first became bored. Yes, the drive had only lasted fifteen minutes but my attention span at age six was about as long as the lifespan of our countless pet goldfish. I stared out the window, but the trees were bent and the cars were smudged blurs of color which made my stomach hurt so I confined my eyeballs to the van’s interior.
            The seats were a blue and orange plaid with little balls of fuzz all over them. I picked them up and made a cotton ball sized clump. Placing the bundle of fluff in between my pointer finger and my thumb I pinched it, clamping down, releasing and repeating. While performing this customary road trip ritual with my right hand, I reached my left hand into the pouch located on the back of the seat in front of me. The pocket was a limitless ravine stuffed to a point far beyond dysfunction. Crammed with Babysitters club books, baseball cards, brain quests, and half-eaten lollypops covered with lent and hair, only the brave and severely bored bothered to reach into the swarming pit. My fingers collided with a bendable item wrapped in plastic and about the length of a pencil. Childish hope drew me to conclude it was a half eaten laffy taffy rope, still partially wrapped and simply forgotten by its previous owner. With a firm tug I pulled it out and to my dismay it was not at all what I’d dreamed it would be. In my hand there lay a string cheese spotted with mold and stamped with “Best by December 19th”. I wasn’t sure of the day’s actual date, but I knew that Christmas had been months ago and the cheese was probably no longer eatable. Disappointed immensely, my gaze meandered toward Rusty’s cloth ceiling. It was off white and the way it drooped reminded me of our tent after a night of camping in the rain. What amazed me most, though, were the amebic brown splotches covering the ceiling’s fabric. Automatically I assumed they were coffee stains caused by lidless mugs full of Starbucks and their simultaneous encounter with a speed bump. Well picturing this fantastic image the car came to a halt and through the air my fuzz ball soared, nestling lightly atop the navy blue carpet and just out of my reach. The clump of lent was joined by other tiny items of clutter , blanketing the van’s floor. There were grimy, greenish pennies, various hair rubber bands and scrunchies, a New Kids on the Block cassette tape, three cue tips, a baby blue, sparkly toothbrush still in its wrapping, around six guitar picks and many other things that had found their way from someone’s jeans pocket to Rusty’s floor. My sister nudged me and said “Come on!” The van had stopped and the misty smell of ocean clung to my nostrils.
            I gathered my walkman, pillow and water bottle in my arms and took the lengthy jump from the van’s edge to the cracked asphalt of the cabin’s driveway. My legs had forgotten their purpose so I flexed them firmly. A satisfying ache jolted through my calf and up into my thigh. I felt my muscles awaken as the elevator of sensation ascended through them. At the deafening slam of the sliding door we walked away from our home of four and a half hours and headed toward the cabin. I glanced back at the beastly machine which was looking pudgy in the Cabin’s narrow driveway. There Rusty would sit for the remainder of our vacation waiting loyally for the return trip home.


Guten nacht, 

Margaret

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Undaunted Courage

Saturday, September Fifth, Two Thousand and Fifteen

Dearest Internet, 

This evening was more enjoyable than I would have ever thought possible. 

Williamson and myself, set with the task of painting our furniture, were discouraged by the many hours of backbreaking work that lay before us. It was, however, in the decision to watch a Ken Burns' documentary on Lewis & Clark whilst we painted that the otherwise toilsome affair turned into a convivial episode we both shall remember for many years hence. 

Although Mr. Burns' eloquent storytelling had us in high spirits, it wasn't more than an hour into our expedition when trouble struck. Just halfway through priming the bookshelf, all the tins of primer ran dry. We owe it to our good fortune and the undoubted majesty of this fine country that we made it to the hardware store with only minutes to spare. We were delighted at the sight of the local traders, with whom we gave a handful of paper notes and coins in exchange for more primer and cloth masks to stop us contracting painter's lung. 

All matters were now in readiness to commence the operation of applying the paint of our chosen colour, 'white cloud'. We worked into the night, pleased by our progress and in knowing that we were serving our great land of Alki, West Seattle, Washington and yes, her eminence, the United States of America. 

Now, as I write this by the glow of a laptop screen, stars stretch across the sky as far as the eye can see and morale is the highest it's been since we embarked on this finest westward adventure. 

Adieu and believe me your affectionate blogger, 
Margaret



Friday, September 4, 2015

Help me Rodda

I bought a three-wicked candle today. Finally, this house is a home!

We also went to the hardware store—West Seattle TrueValue—and bought some paint for our furniture. We (seriously) debated over 'cloud white' and 'white cloud' for a while, before settling on 'white cloud'. It was the white decision. Har har.

Remember that commercial for Rodda paint that parodied the The Beach Boys' song 'Help Me Rhonda'? Well, that version of the song has been running through my head since 1995. At any given moment, stop me on the street and ask me what song's running through my head. You can have no doubt that it will be 'Help Me Rodda' from the Rodda paint commercials.



Truthfully, though, I don't need Rodda's help. Homemaking comes naturally to me. Making home—I enjoy it! I have ever since I was a wee'an playing house during recess at Arrowhead Elementary. I remember sweeping the "kitchen floor" with an evergreen branch and telling all my friends that this chunk of damp, rotting wood I found was a cheese grater. I was always the mom or the older sister. A lot of my friends wanted to be the baby, which I never understood but ever-so-graciously allowed.

It's not just decorating that I enjoy. I like cooking too. Nothing gourmet. I'm a cook, not a chef. I don't do elaborate, fancy dishes with a million ingredients. Too impatient. What lures me into the kitchen is the satisfaction of getting a hot meal on the table. I actually enjoy the timing aspect of cooking. The multitasking relaxes me somehow.

So, you have decorating, cooking...is there anything else? Uh oh, you guessed it. CLEANING! Ding ding ding! I love cleaning too. Not always. Not on a day-to-day basis. But a nice, deep clean once a month or so? The best.

That's all.

Goodnight,
Margaret (aka the Real Housewife of Alki)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Underrated and overrated TV shows

UNDERRATED



Boardwalk Empire


Obviously this show achieved a decent level of critical acclaim, but it never got the massive following it deserved. There were some truly gripping scenes through its five seasons, but even its less-than-stellar episodes were consistently very very good. Plus, it had Richard Harrow in it, who is my favorite character to be in a TV show ever. PLUS, it had this scene, which Andy and I recite to each other often.



Recess


There was something about Recess that struck a chord with my generation. We were all at the perfect age for it when it came out. But if you aren't in your late 20s right now, you probably haven't even heard of it.



The Americans


Again, like Boardwalk, this show is well liked by critics. Yet, because it's on FX and not HBO, it's still off a lot of people's radars.


Young Americans 


This show on the CW only lasted one season, back in 2000, but it was great. It was about a posh boys boarding school. One of the boys was actually a girl disguised as a boy. It was totally before its time.

(Also, it was sponsored by CocaCola and there were tons of scenes of the characters drinking Coke. People made fun of it, but I didn't mind because I like watching people drink Coke. I imagine how delicious it must taste and how satisfying the carbonation must be and it makes me feel happy for them. So THERE!)


OVERRATED


Homeland


I bailed on this in the middle of the first season. It was so overacted and there was no chemistry between Claire Danes and the guy. A few seasons later, everyone bailed on it and I felt vindicated. 


House of Cards


Don't get me wrong, I LOVE it. But it's still overrated. You know it is. That last season was insane and pretty bad in some parts.


How I Met Your Mother


Ugh. Sitcom. Laugh track. Never could get into it.



True Blood



Remember the vampire years? The world really liked vampires there for a while. This show was OK, but it wasn't as good as people thought.




I wish those lists were longer, but there's a lot of things that I wish were true that aren't. That's life.

Love,
Margaret

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Would a poop by any other name smell so bad?

What words and phrases do you hate?

I'm not fond of 'starter home'. When people say "it's our starter home" they are being pretentious.

My mom doesn't like it when people say 'no problem' or 'no worries' instead of thank you. Andy and I both admit that we do this all the time. Must be an our generation thing. She also doesn't like 'how's your day so far' or 'my bad'.

Andy hates when people throw 'go ahead' into a sentence for no reason. For example, "I'm going to go ahead and add you to the email list" or "If you could just go ahead and provide your feedback, that'd be great".

My dad can't stand when young people respond to something with a trail of yeahs. He says he'll often say something very interesting, only to be met with "yeah, yeah, yeahyeahyeahyeah..." Apparently it happens all the time.

Francie, according to Char, doesn't like the use of 'super' as a substitution for 'really'. For example, "their wedding photos were super cute" or "they just bought a super big starter home".

Oh god—want to know the WORST one? I was once working on some copy for a large UK bank and one of their employees let me in on some juicy insider gossip. An irritating new phrase was spreading like wildfire through their office.

"Please revert"

YEP. That's how people at this bank were signing off their emails. They'd say something like, "Hi Bob, I've attached those reports that you requested. We're keen to hear your feedback. Please revert. Thanks, Sally"

Is that not terrible? Please revert. It doesn't even really make sense. Apparently it originated in India. Software developers and other tech professionals were using in their emails to colleagues in the US and UK. And the rest is history.



In other news, today I got a strawberry smoothie (they call it a smoothie, but really it's a milkshake) from Tully's and it was TO DIE FOR. I don't know if it was just because I'd walked 35 minutes through a soulless business park on Mercer Island to get there, or if it really was that good, but boy did it hit the spot. Obviously it did, as I'm still thinking about it now, several hours later.

Goodnight,
Margaret



Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Addleman and addled man

Old man in wheelchair story #1

Yesterday, at BECU, Andy and I overheard an old man in a wheelchair chatting with a clerk about his business plan. His name was Addleman. Full name, potentially Addleman Addleman. We'd observed him entering it for both 'first name' and 'last name' in the self-service check-in before wheeling over to the waiting area.

Addleman was applying for a business bank account and explaining the nonprofit he was planning to start—a segregated community for sex offenders. How it would work is that sex offenders would no longer sit in prisons wasting tax payer's precious money (we foot the bill for their food, their healthcare, everything!), but instead they would be sent to live in a quarantined colony of other sex offenders, forced to create their own economy and societal structure with help from the nonprofit's donated funds.

"I don't expect it to be successful in my lifetime," Addlman told the clerk. Not a ringing endorsement, but you have to respect the honesty.



Old man in wheelchair story #2

This morning Andy caught a bus from 3rd Ave and James St. It was due at 12:28pm, so at half past when it hadn't arrived, he started to worry.

Suspecting he may have jotted down the times wrong, he walked over to the side of the bus stop to view the scheduled stops. An old man in a wheelchair was positioned in front of the timetable, forcing Andy to stand to the side and lean across to check the times.

"GET THE F--K AWAY FROM ME!" the man shouted.

"Sorry, I'm just trying to view the bus times," Andy said.

"OH, SORRY MAN! I'M JUST RURRRL PARANOID."

"Er, no problem"

Just then, the bus arrived. Both Andy and the man in the wheelchair got on. He apologized again. "SORRY ABOUT THAT MAN. YOU KNOW, JUST PARANOID!"

 Andy accepted his apology and all was forgiven.


In related news, isn't life interesting?

Goodnight,
Margaret
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