Wednesday, April 15, 2020


Wow, it has been over a year since I have last posted anything on the blog.  And now I find myself stuck at home for over 30 days in the middle of the Corona virus pandemic and feeling the need to write... something.

When the corona virus initially hit the US, we were due to make a short weekend getaway to Omaha for Spring Break with the girls.  We were going to see one of my favorite bands, The Lumineers, in concert and then hang out in Omaha a few days exploring.  The day before our trip, we learned that the country was going into lockdown mode. Group gatherings like concerts were cancelled, people were discouraged from flying or leaving their homes...

So we spent Spring Break mostly sitting on the couch.  We hung out as a family but weren't able to really go anywhere since everywhere we could go for entertainment - movies, restaurants, shopping, video game places were closed.  Unfortunately, Josh & I both had vacation that we had to go ahead and burn or we lost it so that's what we did.  About mid-week that first week of Spring Break, we learned that school was cancelled for the rest of the year.  I actually think that was the best decision because the constant extension process would have been painful not only for the kids but for parents who needed to make arrangements.  I'm just glad that our kids are older and are able to navigate online learning and such on their own for the most part.  Several people on my team at work throughout the world are trying to work from home and teach children at the same time... that isn't going so well for them.

Speaking of working from home, not a lot has changed on that front.  I'm already a person who works from home but the difference is that my family is now also home all day.  The girls do pretty good to entertain themselves and Josh works remotely from his office so it is a pretty quiet day except for passing each other at lunchtime in the kitchen.

I wish I could say that I've made good use of the time stuck at home but to be honest, I haven't accomplished nearly what I would have in any other circumstances.  I think a lot of that has to do with anxiety over the uncertainty in the world right now, especially with the dictator in charge of the US at the moment.  I actually have been pretty firmly in rut this entire time and feeling that I am only living to work.  Which is strange since not a whole lot has changed for me personally....

But something has my brain out of whack.  I am not reading as much.  That has started to come back a little but I was on an average of 2 books a week and I think I've read 2 books in the whole month we've been stuck.  I have done some decluttering or purging in my house but I would have thought I would have it at it's cleanest and really, it feels like such a bother to work on.  I haven't done one stitch (cross stich) this entire time.  I have done more cooking although it hasn't been the healthiest and that's a whole different issue.  Keto went out the window when it became obvious that getting groceries was going to be a challenge... initially due to hoarding but then later because shopping was becoming virtual (deliver and pickup) and items weren't in stock or I didn't have the ability to make substitutions on the fly for different meals, etc.  So while I'm cooking and we're eating pretty good... I've gone backwards on my health goals.  I made a goal to work on writing this year as well and this time at home seems like it would be perfect to work on some projects but nothing comes when I sit down.

And work.  Well work-life balance is off again.  And to be honest, I've been pretty unhappy with work in general for the last month or more.  I won't go into the details but it is accurate to assume that I am being taken advantage of yet again by another company.  Not perhaps with the severity as my last company but for whatever reason, I fall into this trap time and time again.

Overall...I am in a rut.

And I know that I should give myself a pass right now and practice some grace but it is a struggle.

I know that there are things to work on and improve; things that if I did them would make me feel better yet I don't.  Instead, I watch the COVID-19 Task Force daily meetings for at least an hour and get panicky... I stare at my phone for hours reading articles about how messed the US is right now... I worry about work issues that I shouldn't even allow to consume my thoughts... and I fall deeper into the rut.

I don't care if I have to stay home another month, 2 months, or even 6 months.  I just want some feeling of security and motivation to return.  I want to wake up and not dread the day ahead , to work on my goals daily and not feel like I am wasting my life away. 

What do you do when all the things you thought you cared about don't seem to matter anymore and you have no idea what it is that you actually do care about now...?

Tuesday, January 1, 2019


2018.... what can I say?  I'm so utterly thrilled that you are over.  2018 was not a great year at my house.  The loss of family and pets, some health issues in my family, the political climate, my inability to stay keto, etc. all made this last year one of our most difficult to date.

We lost two of Josh's grandparents last year in addition to our cat, Grimm, and dog, Molly.  Not a good year at all...

We did have some good things happen that I can't dismiss.

We took a family vacation to Oahu, Hawaii.  It was a great trip and found out that we really liked Hawaii.  None of us would complain about going back.  Or eating more Poke.

Josh & I managed to get away to celebrate our 8 year anniversary by traveling to Fort Lauderdale and then Key West.  The big surprise the Challenger rental car that he drove around for a week.  We also managed to see Phil Collins in concert, which was on our bucket list.

We also saw Smashing Pumpkins and America in concert.

I read a ton this year, 40 books to be exact.  Not a small amount of books but has definitely set me for a bigger challenge in 2019.

We paid off the PMI on our house.  This was a financial goal I had to get done in the next 2 years but we were able to do so earlier.  No more wasted money going to PMI.  Our IRA on the other hand... well I think we all know the stock market has been big disappointment in 2018.

There were Halloween dances (with dates), band concerts, choir concerts, girls going to movies by themselves, more sleepovers, checking out magnet high schools, honor's assemblies, more travel for work, many vet appointments, moving into a new office building for work (mostly impacting Josh), and just getting on with life.

I didn't do near the writing that I had hoped to this year.

I didn't finish cross stitch projects that I started.

I spent too much time thinking about my job.... not a good sign.

It felt like a year of fewer accomplishments and more just about getting through.  I suppose that's how some years just have to go.

Like last year, I wanted to share my favorites of the year of 2018:

Book:  The Sea of Tranquility: A Novel by Katja Millay

Music: Phil Collins

Craft: Paper Cutting

Run in with a celebrity: Unfortunately no run-ins in person but got some love on my blog and instagram celebs including Lang Leav, a poet I really enjoy

Art: Wyland.... reminds me of my childhood

Indulgence: Margot Elena box, Sour Gal wine, Wensleydale cheese with cranberries

Tea: I've been on more of coffee kick again, Donut Shop Vanilla Cream Puff is my current fav

Meal: Poke, Okinamoyaki, and mochi donuts... all in Waikiki

Concert: Phil Collins

Destination: Oahu, Hawaii - the North Shore

Thursday, December 27, 2018


After a bath and with a new bandanna!

It's that odd week between Christmas and New Year's Day that I have come to love because it is my annual staycation.  My family hunkers down at home to enjoy our new "toys" and venturing out for daytime activities that we otherwise are too busy to do... trying new restaurants... seeing all the movies... taking care of some chores...  It's typically a pretty good time and has been so the last several years since leaving my old, stressful job.  Prior to then, this week was a week of sleep and trying to recover from utter exhaustion.

This year though... my Molly girl passed away a couple of days before Christmas.  This is the worst time of year anyway... I lost my dad, my grandma, and an aunt all the week of Christmas in prior years.  It usually does make the holidays hard because there is a remembrance of what occurred that I try to distract myself from.   But this year, Molly got sick. 

Molly on left -- their first meeting, already sisters!
Molly was our 10 year old basset hound; we have two.   Mable was adopted first as a puppy.  A year after we got her, we thought it might be nice if she had a friend and the Humane Society happened to have a special needs basset that they were having trouble adopting.  Molly was 5 at the time and suffered from Addison's Disease.  To counteract symptoms and an Addison's episode, she needed a shot once a month that cost about $120.  This meant that we were committing to a pretty hefty pet expense in addition to other normal pet expenses.  But when we met Molly, it just clicked.  Mable went up to meet her at the Humane Society to make sure that they hit it off and they did.  Mable loved Molly and Molly tolerated Mable as a puppy.  She was calm and really just seemed like she was waiting on the right family to come along.  And to be honest, we heard others who were looking at her while we were and talking about how surely she didn't need a shot that often... and I just couldn't.  I couldn't let anyone else adopt that sweet girl and not take good care of her.

We had the option of choosing another name for her but I loved Molly.  She was a Molly and that's all she had ever known so Molly she remained.  That didn't stop us from giving her other "pet" names that she also learned to respond to including -- Molls-Bolls, Ly Ly, Fatso McGee, Molly-Balls; you get the idea.  The people at the Humane Society were so happy to have gotten her a good home, they waived all fees, and nearly rushed us out the door with her.

Molly was a great dog but often a very sick dog.  Addison's is something that can cause other health issues but if treated typically doesn't shorten the lifespan.  We learned quickly that Molly was often with an ear infection.  It's pretty common in basset hounds due to their ear flaps and inability for the ear to get air.  Molly had an ear infection 80% of her life. Not untreated.  In fact, when new medicine came out, we were the first to try it.  And ear cleaning in our house was a daily event.  She hated it but she knew it had to be done. Molly was also chunky; something that bassets are also prone to but made worse because of the Prednisone she took.  Molly also had the worst allergies.  Itchy paws, goopy eyes, sneezy at times... she also took allergy meds.  Molly also came to us with really bad teeth.  We had teeth removal surgery twice.  She had 11 teeth when she passed.  It didn't stop her from eating though... my girl loved to eat.

When it was food time, she would scratch at the carpet like a bull and waive her head around motioning to the kitchen.  We called her our little bully because she was pretty demanding at times.  She liked routine.  She knew exactly when the girls would be home from school each day and would wait at the front door for them.  She loved her dog beds.  She wasn't able to get on furniture due to her weight and shorter legs than Mable but no matter because she had 5 dog beds in the house.  She also frequently used a pillow on a dog bed because she liked to have extra cushion for her head.  When we did feed her, she would stand outside of our laundry room (where the food is stored) and she would do the hound roooo-roooo at us.  It always sounded like she was saying FOOOODDD!

Molly was incredibly smart.  She hadn't been trained (other than house trained) when we got her but as we worked with her and Mable, they both learned Sit, Come, Wait, Speak, and Touch.  Molly always learned much faster than Mable and would get so frustrated when it would take Mable so many tries to get it right.... waiting on Mable meant she had to wait to do her next trick.  Wait was our favorite because she was such a foodie that when we made her wait, she did a little dance that had her backing up almost like she was telling someone to hold her back.

Molly taught Mable to be a proper dog.  Mable was initially raised by our cat, Grimm, who passed away earlier this year.  Mable didn't enjoy outside, or barking, or even eating that much until Molly came along.  Molly was the dominant one and Mable just went with it.  I'm not sure that Mable would have ever figured out the dog door without Molly to guide her.  Molly was a cuddly girl, loved to sit and be petted.  She would stretch out at your feet often hoping you might give her a little nudge with your foot when watching TV.  Molly was that dog that truly just enjoyed being at your side and hanging out -- lower energy but as loyal as they come.  She was often my visitor to my office during the day while I was working. She just liked to hang out.

So when Molly abruptly wasn't feeling well a week before Christmas we took her to the vet.  They know us there -- so much so that Molly knows to walk in and get on the scale by herself.  We have a great relationship with out vet and initially they didn't think it was that serious.  They gave her some antibiotics for her tummy and put her on a limited diet of food.  After a couple of days she wasn't any better so we took her back and they did lab work trying to see if it was something more serious.  In that time, she had been more sleepy but still able to get around and had an appetite.  That all changed in one day.  She lost her appetite, her hind legs were very shaky making it difficult to stand and she was obviously uncomfortable.  We didn't have the lab results back but didn't think we could wait so we took her to the ER.  They were very concerned about Molly and went ahead and did more labs and x-rays so we could immediate results.  They were worried about a tumor which seemed like the worst of our fears but the scan came back clear.  So they started treating her for Pancreatitis.  Pancreatitis is treatable in most dogs but there are rare occasions where it can be fatal. Unfortunately for Molly it became fatal.  She had a plasma transfusion as she was having a lot of internal bleeding and we were hoping that would help to clot the blood.  They also gave her pain meds that would help her rest, IV fluids, and more antibiotics.  The next day we went and saw her at the ER and she was almost coma like -- resting but moaning a lot too.  The vet thought that we could keep pushing antibiotics and hoping she would turn around.  At 230 AM the next day... Molly crashed.  She was brought back but too far gone to truly come back.  We made it up to the ER in time to say goodbye to her.  We were and still are devastated.  We put so much into saving our girl from the moment we met her.  And yes, we knew special needs and being 5 years old when we got her meant probable shorter time with her but we were so attached.  A lot of that was because she was special needs and it meant that we all had to care for her.   She was Mable's girl... because Mable believes everyone is on this planet to be hers.

We're all trying to adjust to the emptiness in our house and hearts right now. Mable is feeling very lost and sad but we are trying to spoil her with attention and nothing is more comforting than her loves anyway...

It's going to take some time to get over this loss. Nothing can replace our Molly-girl.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

First Day of Fall

Fall is my season.  Something about this time of year brings out the best in me.

I'm far more content than any other time of year and I find my lost creativity returns.  Spring does nearly the same although it usually brings back my desire of health and minimalism.  It's interesting how as I get older, I've come to terms with things that are just me.  Fall makes me want to listen to deep music... like some Mad Season... And write poems, lots of poems.

And read, but then again, I always like to read.  Today I read a book of poems.  Lullabies by Lang Leav.  I really enjoy Lang Leav; her poems remind me of my style of writing.  I find that she taps into my inner voice and makes me thing about things from long ago... memories good and bad. Her art is quite lovely too; like it be belongs in a children's book.  I highly recommend Lullabies or any of her books. 

I'm going to be doing some traveling again here in a few weeks.  Josh & I will be celebrating our 8 year anniversary by taking a trip to southern Florida, Ft. Lauderdale to see Phil Collins in concert then a few days in Key West and Miami.  Hopefully the hurricanes stay away. Ernest Hemmingway's house is definitely on the to-do list.I then am headed back to Minneapolis for work for a week.  Fall in Minneapolis is pretty great as well.

In November I'm headed to Orlando for a week; a work conference, but I am looking forward to it still.  I'm hoping to get to see some friends who work in my field while there. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Bookish goals

Well I skipped blogging the whole summer.  I dunno know happened.  I wasn't too busy... I just forgot to blog.  I guess I was probably distracted by books.  Reading books.

I love to read and sometimes go through these phases where I read a book every day or two.  That's what happened this summer.  And it hasn't really let up. Although, I admit, the book I am reading now currently hasn't been quite as engaging.  So what did I read this summer?  A LOT!

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer
Michelle McNamara
3/5 stars

I wanted to love this book.  I picked it up right around the time that arrest was made of the alleged Golden State Killer so I was able to follow what was happening on the news as well.  But I was disappointed.  The personal details about Michelle and her life (and marriage to Patton Oswald) were some of the better parts but the telling of attacks by the Golden State Killer were drawn out way too long.  I found myself more interested in the author than the crimes that were committed.

Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days
Chris Guillebeau
4/5 stars

My desire to constantly have a side hustle brewing often encouraged by the words and stories of Guillebeau.  I'm not one for business or get rich quick books and this is nothing like that. Guillebeau speaks of life of freedom supported by side income that can ultimately lead to full time income and greater happiness.  I've read everything that Guillebeau has written to date and there is a reason why is driving a movement towards more fulfilled work and life.

Oddfellow's Orphanage
Emily Winfield Martin
4/5 stars

I'll be honest.  This book was going to get a high rating from me just because of the artwork and whimsical style of Martin. Emily Winfield Martin is a favorite artist that I have purchased from several times and her work adorns my home.  When she started creating books, I was thrilled.  Oddfellow is a children's book about misfits who live together at an orphanage and find happiness in being surrounded by other's who are different like they are.  The book is a quick read with great illustrations and leaves your mood a little lighter after a read. I have her next book, Snow & Rose on my TBR shelf.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Gail Honeyman
4/5 stars

I've heard people either love or hate this book.  I loved it.  It is a bit sad and depressing as Eleanor has a sad and depressing life but parts of it resonated with me.  I've had moments in my life when I've been utterly and completely alone for months on end I recall how those times felt, like not a soul on earth could understand how I felt let alone understand where I was coming from.  We make up our own realities and that's exactly what Eleanor has done in her life...

Summer of '79
Darren Sapp
2/5 stars

As a child of the 80's I really thought this book would be reminiscent of my childhood and bring back all those old feelings I get when I watch Stranger Things.  No such luck. Honestly, this book could have been set in any time period... it was very light on the nostalgia.  The book was meant to be a mystery but was very predictable and the writing was fairly immature.  I'd pass on this one.

Not That I Could Tell
Jessica Strawser
3/5 stars

Set in suburbia is the story of neighbor women who one night drink a little too much and when they all get up the next morning they learn that one of the women is missing.  This was a pretty quick read but had some predictable parts but did leave for a surprise ending.

The Last Time I Lied
Riley Sager
4/5 stars

I'm really digging Riley Sager lately.  I didn't know who Sager was until a few months ago when I picked up Final Girls.  Sager, although male, feels like he intimately knows is lead women characters and has deep insight into how his main character feels.  The Last Time I Lied is incredibly suspenseful and reads like a movie.  I wouldn't be surprised it was made into one next.

House of Secrets
V.C. Andrews
3/5 stars

I've read a lot of V.C. Andrews over the years including originals by Andrews herself and then after she passed and her work was continued by Andrew Niederman.  House of Secrets is like most Andrew's books is full of teen angst and incestuous relationships It had actually been years since I had picked up one of her books and found it disappointing.  It might be the writing just isn't as a good or maybe I've just grown up?  My Sweet Audrina still is my favorite book by Andrew's of all time.

I've realized that I've read way more books over the summer than I even realized... and thus must continue this into another post.  Look for the second half of my summer list in the next few days.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Book Review: Kill Creek: A Novel by Scott Thomas

I recently finished Kill Creek by Scott Thomas.  The story is set just outside of Lawrence, Kansas. I didn't realize this at the time that I started reading the book but quickly realized that much of the information about Kansas was accurate.  I quickly looked up the author, Scott Thomas, and realized that he was in fact from Kansas - very cool.

Kill Creek is the story of four famous horror authors who agree to stay overnight in a supposedly haunted house and be interviewed as a publicity stunt. Each author has their own experiences in the house that sparks a fury of writing once they all return to their homes -- each aggressively working on their next horror novel. The authors begin to realize that they have similar strange ideas, eerie thoughts, nightmares while writing, that tie back to the Kill Creek house. They join back together again at the haunted house to find out what is causing these strange behaviors and what is really going on in the Kill Creek house.

I enjoyed Kill Creek.  I found some parts very predictable and others parts surprising. There is some edge of your seat suspense and a few graphic horror parts but overall nothing I couldn't stomach. One of my favorite parts are all the references to my home state and the towns of Lawrence and Kansas City.  It feels like a great book to make into a movie... I'll be interested to find out if that happens.  I'd definitely pick up another book to read by Scott Thomas in the future.

4/5 stars

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Kawaiian Island Update

Kawaiian Island News

Hello friends.

It has been awhile since I have updated on my side business, Kawaiian Island.  It is still around but I've not been able to grow it much this last year mostly due to the platform that I have been using for sales, Cafe Press.  It is incredibly hard for people to find my products but I'm hoping that will soon change.  I have recently moved my selling platform over to Amazon and have been getting t-shirts migrated to sell.  I will still be keeping my existing Cafe Press store but am hoping Amazon to generate more sales as well for t-shirts.  Check out Kawaiian Island on Amazon.