Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The birthday week

As many of you know, in my family we celebrate the birthday week. We do a whole month when we can get away with it, but most people won't let us (which is just plain ridiculous, in our opinion). Boyfriend has never quite bought into this supposed scam where we celebrate a whole week for my birthday (and my mother's, and my sister's, and if he's lucky, my dad's). I've always encouraged him to make a big deal out of his birthday, but he hasn't ever quite caught on to how awesome it is until this year.

Apparently it's the big 2-6 that's done it to him, or something. Because last year at the Giants' stadium, he couldn't quite grasp it (it was several days after his actual birthday). This year, he started to see the value in it on Tuesday night (last week).

"I'm too tired to bake cookies tonight, I'll just do it tomorrow," I told him, after he valiantly braved the (warm, beautiful) night to go fetch more chocolate chips from the store so I could bake said cookies — which I had promised him for his away-camp job to sustain him.

"But it's my birthday...week..." he ventured cautiously. Then, he apparently liked the sound of that. "It's my birthday week, bake them tonight. I'll help you."

I eyed him suspiciously, wary of the monster I may have unleashed, but baked the cookies while he "helped"...by eating batter.

Wednesday — being my only lonely day off last week, having had to sacrifice my other day off to training for the job (and so selflessly collecting overtime) — I woke reluctantly but determined to get my shit done. I had seven miles I needed to knock out before it got too hot to be bearable (it reached 88 in our backyard yesterday...at 6 p.m. when I thought to look at the thermometer), I needed to bake a cake for birthday boy's birthday barbecue and I needed to get some stuff at the store in order to make lunches for the week at work.

I managed to have a mere half hour of peace with my coffee and my breakfast until boyfriend came pelting down the stairs.

"What are we doing today?" he asked hopefully.

I sighed, tired from my six day week and rattled off the things I wanted to get done. His face fell.

"But it's my birthday week..." he said.

Little did I know, Wednesday would turn out to be one of the best days I've ever had.

My seven mile run went well, and I compromised with boyfriend who was super cute and wanted to come with on his bike the whole way, but I met him for the last two miles instead so we could be together — him on his bike, of course. I couldn't have handled him trailing me the whole way — seven miles you need time to do your own thing and the only time it works is if you're both moving the same way (i.e. running) — but I enjoyed him getting me through the last two miles.

I finished my run strangely exhilarated. Apparently, when you haven't been on your feet for nine hours it's not such a hardship to do a few miles. I baked part one of his cake.

At this point, I have to digress from the wonderful day in order to explain something. I don't make cake from boxes. Therefore, the word funfetti is pretty much the bane of my existence. What the attraction of the relatively tasteless boxed cake flecked with unnatural colors is is beyond my ken, but apparently, it's a big deal to some people.

I suppose I shouldn't judge — me, the lover of Necco conversation hearts and candy corn.

But when I ask my loved ones, "What kind of cake do you want for your birthday?" when they know my skills as a baker (bake-ess?), I can't help but get a little offended by the word "funfetti" when it leaves their lips.

When in Portland with Siobhan, I said, "Guess what kind of cake boyfriend wants for his birthday?"

Jokingly, she guessed, "Funfetti?" and then launched into the memory of the time when one of our other friends had said that to me and the look on my face apparently could have killed and I uttered the words:

"I. Do. Not. Make. Cake. From. A. Box."

Which was sufficient to cow that friend into meekly requesting an alternate.

After finishing the story, Siobhan looks at me and said, "I was joking when I guessed funfetti, but from the look on your face I'm betting he asked for funfetti."

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Tyler Buwalda — knowing my aversion to funfetti — requested funfetti. To the point where a friend of ours kept saying she would make him funfetti if I wouldn't. Unfortunately — or fortunately, I suppose, depending upon who you ask in this situation — I happen to love that man a whole hell of a lot.

Yes, my friends. I. Made. Funfetti.

Not from a box. Did you know you could even do that? I had an inkling, but not a full one. You make a white cake and dump a bottle of those long waxy-looking sprinkles into the batter. Voila, funfetti from scratch.

The cake was moist and thick, more of a pound cake than a true white cake, and if I could do it again, I would try a different white cake recipe, but as I don't make white cake very often (probably because like funfetti, it's something I'll only do by request because I don't particularly care for it) I'd never used the recipe before. So anyway, not going to use it again. Maybe just as a one layer white cake with a glaze, but not as a fancy cake.

I did do fancy frosting, standard vanilla buttercream with a twist of lemon zest. And of course an organic strawberry from Whole Foods and fresh mint leaves from the garden. I don't do box cakes, and I don't half ass cakes.

So anyways, to continue our amazing day we rode our bikes over to the grocery store and the liquor store to stock up for the barbecue in the evening. Did you know that in Oregon, you cannot get hard liquor at the grocery store? I never realized how convenient having it all in one place was because I always assumed that it was normal to have the tequila near the beer and the beer near the bread. Anyways.

We enjoyed the sunshine and the short bike ride and then took a drive over to Tumalo Falls.


That's a pretty cute birthday boy if I do say so myself.

We topped the day off with a nap and then a fun barbecue with friends for his birthday. It doesn't get much better than that.

I was going to tell you all about my running lately, but I just did a little 8 miler this morning and it pretty much wiped me out. So that'll have to wait til at least tomorrow. As does what I wanted to tell you about my garden. I wanted to get this much written and posted today so I didn't hear about it from my peanut gallery!

Love you all,

TODAY: 8 miles
MONDAY: 4 miles and 11 mile bike ride (split)
SUNDAY: 9 mile bike ride (split)
FRIDAY: 3 miles with hill repeats and 9 mile bike ride (split)

Monday, June 27, 2011


Just so you know, I'm in the process of laboring over a large and extensive blog detailing the fun events of last weekend. I promise I'll finish it tomorrow so that those of you waiting with bated breath can read it.

TEASER: There may have been funfetti.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Oregon Drivers

I drove to Portland and back this "weekend" (my weekend, which by now, we know is irregular. It's Tuesdays and Wednesdays now, in case you were wondering). I saw Heather and met up with Siobhan and had a lovely time eating divine Belgian waffles and omlettes at Mother's Bistro and getting into trouble at Williams-Sonoma and Powell's.

Someday when I have a million dollars, I am going to go to both those stores and spend it all.

Not really, because we know I'm more sensible than that, but you get the idea.

Anyways, the drive reminded me of the greatest irony I have encountered since moving to Oregon: Oregon drivers. The irony is that as a "California Driver" I am supposedly a reckless speed-demon with no regard for lanes, lane-changes, or other drivers and therefore am theoretically the scariest thing out there.

Please note the use of "supposedly" and "theoretically."

Granted, as a California driver, I do go maybe a little faster than your average Oregonian driver. But that's about it.

Before I really go into this, I do need to say one thing I do appreciate (and like!) about Oregon driving laws is the fact that unless you're passing, you are required by law to remain in the right hand lane. That means that for the most part when Grandma is going 30 in a 55 zone, she's where she ought to be and the rest of us can safely pass her. The other thing I like is that in Oregon, you are required to move over into the left lane (if possible) when there's an "emergency vehicle" pulled over.

I am pretty sure I did that before, but having someone get pissed at you and scream by on your right kind of defeats the "safety" purpose (which is what tended to happen in California).

Now, everyone behaves (for the most part, there's always one asshole who can't drive out there on the road) and stays in the right lane when there's two lanes. The problem arises when there are three lanes. Oregon drivers just get so damned confused that they don't know which "right" lane to pick so they end up driving slowest in the middle lane with idiots passing them on both sides and causing general confusion and issues.

*Hand to face*

The next issue (and really, there are only two major issues...now anyways) is stop signs. We all know and love the "California roll" or "California stop." Oregon drivers think that is scary as all get out, but I would argue that at least with both of those "stops" the foot is touching (albeit lightly) the brake. Which is a critical point.

The "Oregon roll" or "Oregon stop" does no such thing. There has been more times in my seven months of living in Oregon than in the nine years that I have been driving and aware of such things that I have seen a person pull up to a stop sign and disregard it entirely.

"Oh, was that a stop sign? Well, it's just a suggestion, not really a rule or anything."

No brake, no token slowing, no nothing. Just...whoops!

It's scariest when I'm running and attempting to cross the street when they do that. I need to carry a bullhorn while I'm running so I can notify the idiots. Hollering doesn't seem to affect them any.

Luckily, they do believe in stop lights. Thank god.

And they say I'm the scariest thing out there. Nice try though.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Getting my butt in gear...

It's that time, folks. That dreaded time of year when you bring your summer shorts, tanks and skirts out of hiding only to discover that either your dryer has wreaked havoc on them and shrunk them all (which is the story we're going with by the way) or the winter months have wreaked havoc on your thighs and butt and the wiggling required to get into them is just not worth it.

I've started riding my bike to work with the onset of summer, and the 9 mile round trip will surely do me some good. Barring the downpour on Sunday evening that left me drenched and foul-mooded, it's a wonderful ride and a great way to wind down after the harassment of the day.

Shake your head because it's time for that obnoxious skinny-girl bitching. My waist is a trim as ever, but gravity, metabolism, and an inability to kick my own ass into gear is making my lower portion expand — not alarmingly, but disconcertingly and frustratingly. Isn't it the way of things too that we don't notice these things until it's time to do something about them? Wouldn't it be nice if they just stayed put and when we managed to finally start returning to the bouts of activity that we love, they're already where they ought to be?

That would be nice. Unfortunately, reality bites.

It wouldn't be so hard if my natural inclination during the dreary months was not sloth. When there's sunshine, I'm fairly easy to motivate into activity, but not so much with its dreary outside -- not to mention, snow is a serious deterrent.

In the spirit of the summer months being upon us (and boyfriend leaving me for six weeks for his job and so I have nothing better to do in the evenings other than run) I've signed up for my 3rd half marathon. I'm still doing the NWM in October, but October is a long time away. My ass does not have that kind of motivation six months out, and we've discovered that I need it!

Haulin' Aspen is the morning of Sunday, August 7th. That gives me about a month and a half to get into shape to get into gear. I am confident that I can do it, and now I have no excuses!

Here's to no excuses and the summer months ahead.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Yesterday after closing at work, a co-worker and I were assigned to move a security device beneath the "floorboards" of one of our displays. Where it was made it inaccessible, and as the touch devices tend to go off on a daily basis, we need to have them easy-to-reach to minimize obnoxious noise and aggravation.

As is usual, we had a customer finishing up with one of the other reps.

She had a little girl with her, probably about six.

As Ryan and I were struggling to push wires through a tiny ass hole in the floorboards — that his fingers could barely squeeze to and my tiny hands just reached — the little girl stood over us and offered her advice.

"Want me to show you?"

"Are you wearing a necklace? It's pretty. Be careful!"

"Are you doing it right?"

"Let me see?"

"I can show you if you want."

"Did you get hurt?"

"What's he doing there?"

"What do you have?"

"That's not going to fit."

"Do you need help?"

Our responses were varied and usually half-formed as the security thing kept going off. I couldn't help but smile though. She was such a good "helper" and was well-pleased with herself when the job was done.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Small Victories

It's important in life to focus on the small victories because the big picture will overwhelm you quickly if you're not careful. Yes, I have numbers to meet all month, but I had a killer day yesterday.  Yes, you may have six finals this week, but you prepared well for the one this morning and you know you rocked its socks off. Yes, you have a million things to do today, but you got the most difficult out of the way first so you're allowed a little slacking.

Small victories are the building blocks of the big picture, and without them, you'll never finish that picture because you'll just get too overwhelmed by the little things that didn't get done. Focus on the positives.

In other news, my bike ride to work takes 20 minutes. Hooray for sun and good weather continuing to inspire me to do that!


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Old Words

I have this file of stuff I've written. Some of it is so old I read it and cannot for the life of me remember what the angst I'm writing about was caused by. A boy? A girl? Drama? Dumped? Who knows. Time heals all wounds...if only I knew that back then and believed it.

This one caught my eye and has a happier lilt to it. I thought I'd let y'all have a look-see because I liked it.

Blues and Shoes
Why write a sad song when you could sing a happy one?
I asked myself today.
It’s about blues, shoes, and what you lose
Because you can’t take it with you.
But when your sky is painted grey, with the charcoal of depression
And your fingers can’t but help to tap that melancholy beat
Dream on, look up, and add a little sun to your rain cloud.
It’s about spaghetti and string beans, chai tea and good friends
It’s about staying up late, and singing out loud
It’s taking the beat of your heart and the heat of your brain and sending them to different corners
They don’t get to play today.
Because your mind just won’t play nice and leave your heart alone,
It sits and whistles its lonely lonely tone
When your heart can’t help but sing for love
And the beat rolls on.
Leaving you at home with your blues, shoes, and what you lose
Because you can’t take it with you,
But you might as well enjoy the abstract with all you’ve got
Never minding a little mud or those charcoal skies
Knock your mind some sense and tell it to stop
Because it’s not about grey skies and fat thighs and big sighs
It’s about a hug from your honey, a laughing tear drop
It’s about running because you can, and smiling because you can’t stop.
Why write a sad song, when you could sing a happy one?
Sing along to the words in the beat in your heart and joy
Chase those grey grey clouds away
Because this smile, this laughter, this love…it’s gonna stay.

The ABCs of Me

A: is for Attitude

Because I have one. A large one. On days that it's particularly bad in a smartass kind of way, one of my managers will shake his head and say, "So it's one of those days is it?" and then rebuffs the 'tude with strenuous coaching that allows me to get the smart-aleck out of my system before I hit the floor.

It's like he knows me or something. 

Mom, no lecturing me for being a smart-aleck. I'm pretty sure it's genetic.

B: is for Broccoli

Because I love it. And adore it. Wes Chesbro (you know, one of the politicians in California? His wife used to run a daycare that I went to when I was little) once told me that they were miniature trees. I think I've been addicted ever since. My favorite is broccoli with the "blue box" mac 'n' cheese. Fake, neon orange cheese has never tasted so good.

C: is for Caring

As a friend, I will always love you. No matter what. I will be there for you when you need me, even if you're not there for me. The only thing that would make me walk away is if you take that caring and throw it in my face.

D: is for Designer

It is my first love and my last love.  I will design and do art for the rest of my life.

E: is for Evil Genius

I am not an evil genius. Though it is something to aspire to, but only in the best way possible. In the sense of my love for surprises, I want to be an evil genius. I adore surprising people in a good way. Thinking up the surprise is even better than chocolate.

A couple years ago, two friends and I conspired for our other friend's birthday. We kidnapped her from her work — conspired with her co-workers even to keep her there when we were running late — and treated her to a beauty evening, made her up and gave her a dress and shoes and took her out for drinks. Unfortunately, she ruined the evening later at her party by throwing a tantrum (rather sad as it was her 25th birthday and "It's my birthday and I can cry if I want to" is only cute when you're six).

Last summer, I conspired with my sister to surprise our mother with a visit. I picked her up at the airport in San Fransisco on the way home from a road trip for a friend's wedding and took her home. We knocked on the front door (which no one ever does, really) so when Mom opened the door she was super confused to see us and didn't register immediately that it was my sister home from New York to see her for a whole week. That was probably one of the best presents we've ever given her.

F: is for Friendship

Without my girlfriends (and guyfriends) I would be lost. I just re-lived the whole "new town, no friends" situation for the 3rd time in my life and I must say, it's not a favorite of mine. I desperately miss my friends in SLO (that's you, Siobhan...well, not just you, but hey! Shout out!) and now my Heather is in Portland and that's sad too. But I'm making new friends here in Bend. Like Staci and our neighbors and Staci's boyfriend who is now my State Farm Agent because apparently Geico sucks.

Just saying.

And yes, I did mean to say "my Heather." Well, I didn't at first, but at re-read I liked the look of it, so I left it. 

G: is for Goodie Goodie

I used to get taunted with that moniker in middle school. The only thing that's changed since then is I've learned that dying my hair is the bee's knees and I've got ink'd. I'm still a goodie goodie to the bone though. I don't do stuff that's too bad. Like text while driving. Or jay walk.

Okay, maybe I jay walk a little.

H: is for Hot Stuff

Because let's face it, I am.

I: is for Ice Cream

I don't like buying ice cream for one reason: I love eating it. Doesn't even really matter if I don't like that particular flavor all that much, I'll still manage to choke it down. It's problematic.

J: is for Jubilant

I'm bubbly when I wanna be, damn it. No, really. I tend to be bubbly and obnoxiously sunshiney when I'm happy. Which definitely isn't as often as I would really truly like, but it's a good thing right?

I'm also obnoxious in the morning. I have to have a book to read in order to not be. Or just get up and do stuff. Maybe O should be for obnoxious.

K: is for Kristen

Oh, come on. I had to.

L: is for Little Sister

"The most important thing about Kristen is that she has a little sister named Laurel." I once wrote those words for a school project. They're true. My sister is awesome. She is rockin' and super smart, beautiful and has just as much 'tude as I've got. We had some shaky years growing up, but we've finally reached the maturity to be friends again and I am super lucky to have her as my sister...even if at one time I wished we could just put her back.

M: is for Maddie-Cat

Our little Terrorist and ever-popular with guests, she's invaded my life as thoroughly as any other animal has. We have conversations, she tattles on Tyler, and encourages general mayhem. I don't know what we talked about before we got her.

N: is for Noodles

I love noodles. And basically I couldn't think of something else for N. All that would come up was Noodles! But I do eat them often. My other staple is bean and cheese burritos.

O: is for Overshare

If you don't really want to know the answer, don't ask me. Unless we don't know each other that well, I won't even give you the warning shot. If you ask, I will probably tell you. I don't see the point in beating around the bush if you legitimately want to know.

And sometimes I just share without you asking.

P: is for Princess

Because I am one. We know this already. Enough said.

Q: is for Queen

"If they just let me wear the control-the-world helmet all the time, we would just be better off," are words that have dropped from my lips from time to time. My dear friend Robert has said time and time again that I need a shirt that says that. Things just go better that way.

R: is for Running

I love to run. I really do. Once I get my butt out the door and get moving, I love the rhythm, the peace of it and the results most of all!

S: is for Sunshine

I could never permanently live in a place that has sunshine less than half the year. I don't care if it's freezing or sweltering, just so long as I can see the sun shining in a bright blue sky.  My mental health is important to me (obviously) and I have learned that I require sunshine.

T: is for Time

I never have enough. I want more for love, laughter and peace of mind. I want more time to spend with the people who mean the most to me. But as we know, right now I have to make my bricks so that I have that time and money later.

U: is for Unwritten

My life is full of things I've written, I'm just waiting for those things that I will write and I hope that someday I have a book published.

V: is for Virtues

As in: patience is not one of them. Boyfriend will attest that I am much happier if I am in the driver's seat. That being said, I do have many other virtues.

Loyalty, honesty, organization. You know, the works.

W: is for Wine

I love wine. It is delicious and fantastic and it makes me tingly and silly.

X: is for eXtreme

Did you know that nothing adjectivial (it's not a real word, I am aware) begins with X? We're going with eXtreme. Because in one sense, I am. At least...I'm told I can be.

Ultimate frisbee is my one "extreme" (that I'll cop to, anyhow). I've recently been told that when talking about it I act and sound "extreme." I am, I suppose. How many people can say that they caught the disc and concussed themselves, but still got up and finished the point in spite of the world spinning?

Yes, I suppose I'm extreme.

Y: is for Yuck

There's a lot of stuff I'm willing to try. Squid, tongue, oysters, kale, cauliflower...I intend to try frogs' legs and snails before I die. I'll never say no to a "no thank you" bite. That being said, I still manage to be the world's pickiest eater (according to everyone who's ever had to go grocery shopping with me).

Peanut Butter? Nope.

Bell peppers? No thanks.

Pork chops? Uh, no.

Nuts? No way.

Bread crumbs for breading stuff? Ick.

Canned vegetables? I'm sorry, that's just not food.

Z: is for Zucchini

Why can't I get it to grow?

Friday, June 3, 2011

I bet you didn't know

I bet you didn't know that my boyfriend loves stickers. Loves them. Adores them. With the fascination of a six year old filling sticker books. Only instead of filling books he saves them. Hoards them.

He has a manila envelope labeled "STICKERS."

And even better: he puts them on things. When the stickers come out, I feel like I have to be on guard and not stay still too long or else I'll be stickered. His brand new Wii has been be-stickered. Already.

My hairbrush, my deodorant, my retainer box, our remote, the underside of the coffee table, our tape dispenser, his water bottle, my water bottle, his ski tub, his truck. He tried to sticker my snowboard this winter. I very nearly killed him. Only my squalling as he hovered, sticker in hand, over the pristine surface of my beautiful board stopped him. He looked at me with an innocent expression.

"What?" he asked.

"That's my snowboard," I wailed.

"I know," he agreed. "It needs a sticker."

I'm still afraid to leave him alone with it.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Terrorist

This is going to be a story about the fuzzy, striped terrorist who has invaded our hearts and lives. I only wish I had pictures of these antics to share with you.

Yesterday she ran into a wall. Not grazed, ran into. She was chasing my feet in some bizarre game of her own that I wasn't playing - I was just walking along, minding my own business - and as I left the room, she missed the doorway. How embarrassing.

Last night, she and I played her favorite game. Keep in mind, i was sleeping (or rather, trying to) at the time. It's called "are you sure you don't want to pet me? Because I think you do" and it involves pushing her way under my sleeping arms and hands and loooooooving my chin with her cold wet nose, and streeeeeeeetching out her paws into my nostrils, eyes and mouth claws (mercifully clipped and blunt because of these tendencies) fully extended. Oh, and did I mention she also purrs like my family's old Toyota Corolla when the muffler fell off? Loudly. Insistently. In your face.

She goes ballistic over socks. They're better than the myriad of toys she now owns. She prefers them balled so she can get s good grip with forepaws and teeth and still get some good kicking in, but she's not terribly picky. Boyfriend's smelly, dirty socks that have only minutes before been removed from his man feet work just as well. She even cleaned them a bit for him. You know, like cats do. With her tongue. Yeeergh.

It's a good thing she's such an adorable weirdo.