I can do greener.

I think that part of my general dissatisfaction with life lately stems from the gigantic gap between my beliefs and my actions. I talk the talk in so many areas of my life, but I rarely walk the walk.

Not putting my beliefs into action has led to a good amount of self-hatred, self-pity, and a spiraling self-, self-, self-fixation and generalized uckiness.

So. In the interest of making peace and finding balance, I challenge myself to do better. But! I need something concrete on which to focus my effort. I can't just say, "Oh I'll try to do better." Because inevitably, I won't. I won't try, and I won't do.

My first attempt, then, at putting belief into action is going to be a small one (baby steps!), something I feel like I can do and continue doing and feel good about.

From here on out--no more plastic bags!


No more plastic bags.

I own plenty of market bags, tote bags and what have you. I don't need to bring more plastic bags home from the grocery store or from Wal-mart. They clutter up my cabinets because I can't bring myself in good conscience to throw them in the trash, but I never get around to recycling them.

Environmentalism is something that makes sense to me. It's something that I pay lip service to, but that rarely figures into how I live my life and the choices I make. No more!

So from now on, I'm keeping my reusable market bags in the car, and I will NOT go into the store without them. If I do, I'll go back out and get them. If I don't have enough to carry all my purchases, I will make fewer purchases. If I leave them at home, I'll shop the next day.

I realize not using plastic bags is a teensy, tiny progression toward the greener life I should be living--I want to be living. But, like I said--baby steps.

And, come on, let's not forget this other very important contribution to the earth that I make on a regular basis.



Today is my 2nd blogoversary.

Two years ago today, I was sinking in a sea of post-partum depression, going crazy with the monotony of diaper changes and feedings, feeling cut off from the world. I sat down at my computer and carved out a space where I could start to get sane. My own little world built from the repetition of ones and zeroes. So simple, and so complex.

I'm still here.

Thank you, Al Gore. I'm so glad you invented the Internet.


Color me happy.

Donned my boots and took a bit of a nature walk today. As you can see, I have trouble minding the rules.

Ahem. But I promise, I did not do any trapping. Just walking, taking in the colors of fall and breathing the delicious country air. ;)

Life is good today, and not just because I had a piece of chocolate meringue pie after lunch.

(well hello there, pretty blue flower!)

Coming out of yoga class this morning, I saw a little something on the sidewalk, something I first thought was a clod of dirt. As I got closer, I started to think it was a lizard, and I bent down, curious. It was a baby turtle, stuck on its back, right on the sidewalk near the entrance of the student rec center. She (or he, of course I don't know) was struggling in vain to right her tiny little self. I picked her up and put her right side up in the grass, out of the way of the walking traffic. Good luck, little turtle! May the force be with you!

(Sadly, my camera phone insisted on focusing on the ground rather than the turtle.)

I sort of felt like nature had smiled at me in some small way. I headed off to a counseling appointment with a considerably lighter step.

(ah, beans--the lifeblood of Illinois farmers!)

Later, after a yummy lunch with a friend, and three (three!) cups of coffee, I went to my art history class, which is really getting interesting. Unfortunately, we're also getting closer to the first exam, on which I'm quite sure I will embarrass myself. But then as I was walking to my car, the air full of light mist, I reached up to brush my hair back out of my face and what did my hand come away with but the brightest little yellow leaf I think I've ever seen! It had fallen without me feeling it, right onto the top of my head. :)

I practically skipped to my car.

(a not so stinky collection)

So, hey, make a wish today! You never know. The universe just might grant it.

(Oh how I wish Seth were sitting here to give me a snarky roll of the eyes so I could then grin and kick him! ;) )
All my love,


Just scrapping along.

Playing with the Studio Calico kit:

This one's been lying on my table since the last crop I went to at Daisy Lane. It's one of those I played around with forever and was never happy with. Finally just glued it all down. Done, and done! :)


Licking the beaters.

Licking the beaters. from Rachel on Vimeo.

So I realized belatedly that there's no audio here. I don't have any idea what happened to it, but just to distill the whole thing for you, it basically consists of me baiting Eliot into saying the word "chocolate" repeatedly, a word that comes out of his mouth garbled and sounding something like "cock it," which makes me laugh. And then I tell him he's 100% awesome and he agrees with me.

Also, the video is wayy too long for anyone but this kid's mother to sit through, AND a good portion of it is sideways. So if you do hit "play," just don't say I didn't warn you.

That is all.


Surrounding myself with loveliness.

Since moving back into the house, I've begun trying to decorate and arrange according to my own tastes. No more blank walls because someone will get irritated at me for making nail holes. No more hanging back and letting things go. No more guessing at what he wants and then acting accordingly.

I want to surround myself with things that I love, things that speak to me of beauty and simplicity and goodness. And he will either like them or not. But mostly he will like them because he loves me. That's how it goes. Why did I not come to this realization much sooner?

In any case, I've been having a love affair with turquoise and red lately. This bland, blonde wood dresser from Grammy's house recently got a makeover.

I chose the color, bought the paint, sanded and painted the dresser and replaced the hardware, all by myself. So proud! I am sort of rethinking the coral pull, though. Not sure how I like it amongst all the round ones.

Also, I found a lovely set of owl bookends to hold my "to read soon" shelf. These live under a window in the bedroom.

My "to read soon" shelf spills over (not surprisingly) into a wicker basket that I picked up at Wal-mart and spray painted red. And I'll just let you in on a secret here: spray paint = fabulous! I'd never spray painted anything before and the instant gratification is wonderful. Wonderful! Sad little plain basket becomes snappy happy cherry red basket in a matter of minutes.

I might have to lose the basket liner. I think the bow is a little too cutey cute for my taste.

Also in the bedroom, we have the wall o' pictures:

Most of these were taken by dearest Seth at Gram and Granddad's estate auction, though there is also one of Mog playing naked in the yard, an old photo of Gram giving me a bath when I was a baby, and a strip of Eli and me from a photobooth in Vegas. Fun stuff.

Adventures in decorating shall continue as I try to find frames and homes on the wall for all the prints I bought at Renegade. Hip hip hooray! :)


Why I love my husband: reason #348

He always puts just the right amount of sugar in my coffee.

And, no, that isn't a euphemism for anything sexual, people. It's just sugar. And coffee. And it makes all the difference in the world.


We don't have cooties.

Just a quick Etsy share before I'm off...to Renegade Craft Fair (!)...for the weekend.

The picture should link to the listing, by the way, but I'll warn you: this shop has many more cool items to peruse. Browse at the extreme risk of being tempted. :)

I found these and first thought with a beleaguered sigh, "Really? Kids have to have their own cards now? Yeesh. How yuppy." But then I looked closer and my heart was captured. They're just so darn cute. I'm in love with the "We don't have cooties" one.

Lately I've taken to stalking potential mommy friends on facebook. (Yeah, sorry about that R, if you're reading. Did I mention we don't have cooties?!) So maybe I need to break down and get some of these...


Viva la difference!

Last night I watched two very different movies.
(500) Days of Summer = my pick; Total Recall = Eli's pick.

Now if you haven't seen either of them, and wish for me not to spoil anything for you, you should probably stop reading here. Cause we know how I like to spoil things for others. Then again, if you haven't seen Total Recall yet, chances are, you aren't going to. (You've had almost twenty years, people!)






Ya still with me? Ok, then. Good. Let us proceed.

(500) Days of Summer, despite its title's gratuitous use of parentheses, is a wonderful movie. In fact, it's quite possibly the best movie I've seen this year. I can't remember any other contenders just now, so we'll go ahead and call it my favorite movie of the year. Why not? The only thing I wasn't really likey-likey about was the ending, which was a little too saccharine, and seemed to run counter to the point of the entire rest of the movie. In my opinion. What did you think? Oh. You haven't seen it. Huphmf. Well go see it, then, and run right back here and tell me your opinion of the ending.

Basically, boy meets girl. Boy falls in love. Girl doesn't. Boy's heart is broken, repeatedly. But with lots of quirky humor, wise words from boy's precocious adolescent sister, irresistible irony, and lots of charming montage.

Hmm. It's quite apparent that I don't write movie reviews for a living, huh? I'd have to sell it a little better than that, I'd think.

I liked it for many, many reasons. Because it did two things that I tell my freshmen writers they need to strive for when writing personal reflective essays: forge a connection with the audience by giving them something recognizable, and then surprise them with something new, something they didn't already know, so that they can discover a new way of thinking or seeing. Tall order for college freshmen? Maybe. But not for this film.

I appreciated the way that the film's writers show us a female character who runs counter to popular stereotypes. She doesn't believe in love and she's candid about it. This is recognizable. And needed!--recognizable, real female characters are so sorely lacking in Hollywood. Girl doesn't feel the need to be part of a couple in order to feel whole, and she won't apologize for her opinions or defer to others. She simply says, "Well. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree, then." Albeit in a wide-eyed, doe-like manner. (Zooey Deshanel is so innocent and sweet looking, you just can't seem to hate her. Great casting choice.)

And yes, as a viewer, you kind of hate her for breaking poor boy's heart. Because boy is quite charming, loveable with his consistently mussed hair, his small frame, and his great taste in music. We love him, yes?! So why doesn't she?

The answer is: because she just doesn't. She doesn't love him. And that's the part that hit me as discovery. The idea that just because you love someone, it doesn't mean they will necessarily love you back. Unrequited love isn't exactly new, but this seemed different, because the two characters seem so right for each other. But only because you're "seeing" their relationship through his eyes, not hers. As precocious sister points out, "I know you think she was the one, but I don't. Next time you look back, I think you should look again."

Ah, the wise one. Her character's name is...drumroll..."Rachel." a-hem.

My favorite quote from her? "Just because she likes the same bizarro crap you do doesn't mean she's your soulmate." Ah! What a revelation! So true. So true.

I could gush on and on about this movie for a good long time, but then I wouldn't have any space left to devote to Total Recall, which, in its own way, I have to admit, was also delightful.

Oh, how I love the wet towel wrapped around his head to thwart the tracking device. A wet towel? Really? They can colonize Mars with giant atmosphere providing enclosures, but their "futuristic" tracking technology is stymied by a wet towel? I don't care who ya are--that's funny!

Also, you have to love Schwarzenegger's one-liners. Are they so prevalent because he's just too dumb to remember longer lines? Or because audiences love to equate the appearance of bulging muscles with stupidity? Maybe a combination of both. "Consider that a divorce!" after plugging a round into his wife's forehead. Now that is some funny shit.

The best thing about both these movies, perhaps, was watching the two of them in the same evening, with the same person. After (500) Days of Summer we had a thoughtful conversation. After Total Recall we repeated one-liners at each other and marvelled over the three-breasted woman.

But sitting there in the dark laughing, crying, and laughing again with Eli, I was reminded that we don't have to have much in common in order to love one another. One of us prefers our entertainment fare multi-layered, nuanced, and cerebral. The other prefers special effects involving explosions, weapons, and alien nudity. But that's okay. Because with each other, we can constantly be discovering. If we both liked ALL the same "bizarro crap," life would be boring. And that ISN'T what makes people soulmates.

I don't know whether I believe in soulmates, truthfully. But I do believe in love. And I believe that there is a lot more left to discover. We just have to be willing to make the voyage together.

But not to Mars. Lest I kick you in the crotch and yell, "You KNOW how much I hate this fucking planet!"


Downward facing dog: not as much fun as its name would suggest.

Luckily for you, there are no photos to accompany this blog post. Because if there were, you'd be looking at a picture of my substantial ass jutting up into the air as I balance on my toes and the palms of my hands, my blustery face pointed down at my yoga mat, my unwashed, unbrushed hair careening into my eyes and mouth as I attempt not to fall over, or worse, fart.

That was me this morning as I made my first official foray into yoga at the student rec center. I would tell you more about it, but I'm afraid the full story will have to wait until some point in the future at which I imagine my arms will regain full function, returning from the mass of quivering jelly they seem to be just now.

Ouch. And also, uuuuughhh. I am in pain.

Excuse me while I assume child's pose. I'm gonna be there for awhile.


Working with high efficiency.

Our washing machine and dishwasher punked out on us this week, so we're sort of cautiously waiting for the third shoe to drop around here.

And handwashing our dishes. But. Eli made great strides in his trek to redeem himself by going out and scoring a ridiculously good deal on a new high efficiency washer AND dryer.

And I love them. Love, love! Want to do laundry ALL the time now. All the time! The washer is top-loading, but doesn't have one of those big central agitator thing-a-ma-bobs (I'm fairly sure that's the technical term for them), so I can easily fit my beloved quilts in. And massive loads of clothing. So. Many. Mog. Clothes. In. ONE. (one!) Load. Yes! And also, yes!

I'm always so skeptical about pricey consumer goods. I sort of shy away from them because I'm afraid they may somehow possess the ability to steal my soul. Expensive stuff just runs counter to my thrift store, Goodwill, Salvation Army lovin' self. But let me tell you what: these machines rock my world. It's very much like when I finally got a DVD player (okay, Eli bought that for me too) after refusing to entertain the idea of upgrading from VHS for years and years. And then the first DVD I ever watched I was all, "Holy God--this is AWESOME! Dude--you can go to any scene you want. Without having to rewind! Or fast-forward! Ohhhh, the power! The sheer, unadulterated power!"

So anyway, we bought Whirlpool. Eli bought Whirlpool.

And it's so much darn fun to watch the clothes spin around and the water fill the basin and the spinning! Oh, can I just tell you about the spinning?

Our old washing machine sounded like a rocket ship bound for Mars when it started to spin. This kitten purrs and hums, and it never gets unbalanced and tries to walk out the door.

And there are all these different settings, and the gleaming green lights are lovely, and both machines are a wonderful gray color. They will look great with any color I decide to splash on the walls of the laundry room. The laundry room is due for upheaval. We can't very well have these amazing machines sitting on 1970's sparkling floors, with such dated blah yellow walls, now can we?

And, oh shit. I think I just heard my soul skip right on out the back door.


What all the cool people with anaphylaxis will be carrying this fall.

There has to be something in our genetic code that causes this oddball humor, right?
This was a gift from my little sis this week, a gift that she lovingly crafted with her own two hands.

I nearly peed my pants when I saw it and read the accompanying note, I was laughing so hard. Seriously. Favorite. Gift. Ever. Ever!

In fact, I'm quite sure the demand for these will be huge and she'll have to quit her job to start knitting epi-pen cases full time.

The only thing that came even close to making me laugh this hard recently was when last night at the ballgame, after nearly seven innings of this chubby obnoxious kid seated above us yelling "Charge!" every time they played the music, Eli's dad turned to me and said, "I wish I had a beer bottle; I'd chuck it at that kid."

Oh, the hilarity. Okay, that last one probably isn't funny unless you know my father-in-law, but trust me: it's funny.