i want to wash my hands, my face, my hair with...SNOW

Like most everyone else in the Country, I am snowed in! When I look out the window, I see Pennsylvania. Just without the snow plows and salt. So, I'm getting cabin fever!

I'm dreaming of a not-so-white Christmas (so my parents can still fly to Oregon... that just might not happen this year!).

(side note: It looks like I waited too long to trim the roses again this year!)


Christmas Gift Idea #4: money towards a trip HOME! It's a rare day when my hubby mentions missing his homeland. It's a combination of the snow (unusual for where we currently live) and the Holiday season that is making us miss our families. Luckily for me, my parents will be here in less than 2 weeks!!! YAY!!!
For those of you that feel generic give cold hard cash, my German-inspired sister is really creative when giving money. She will make stuff out of the money (origami), put it in a picture frame, etc.

Holiday Cheermeister Tip #4 (from the ACTUAL Holiday Cheermeister himself): Ok, it might be a little redneck, but truthfully they look GREAT! My earth lovin' hubby always picks up his and everyone else's shotgun shells when he is hunting and hiking. This year he made his own Christmas light creation:

(I knitted that hat for him for our very first Christmas together! He wears it every day from October to March.)


Christmas Gift Idea #3: Here's one that's not even on my master list! Puffy vests in every color! I already have a lilac one and a black one, but I wear them every day! I used to not understand vests, I mean arms should not be exposed. But I get it now and I love them!

Holiday Cheermeister Tip #3: Buy a felt gift bag to turn your regular throw pillows into holiday delights! (crafty side note: I was planning on making a red felt pillow cover and then somehow putting white snowflakes on it. Then I walked into Bed Bath & Beyond and saw this mega felt bag for about $6! SCORE!)


Snapfish album review

My FREE snapfish album arrived today and I l.o.v.e. Previously, I've made books at mypublisher.com. I liked both programs. You do snapfish online in their program where as you make mypublisher albums through a program you download. I like that better because internet speed and activity doesn't affect your ability to work on your book.

Overall we really like the picture quality. Even the pics that I blew up to fill a whole page and received a warning that it wouldn't be good quality- yup, still good. I only added one page to the 20 free pages and now I wish that I had added another 20 and made the album complete. There's a lot of extra space in the binding. It isn't something that I would notice, but since I planned on making a Part I and Part II series it now seems a little silly.

Oh, and snapfish publishes au naturale photos in the book! As Jake's wife, that it is an important feature! I do wish they had a black bar that I could have digitally put on the pic, but sharpie will do the trick :)


Christmas Gift Idea #2:

I borrowed candlesticks for my Thanksgiving table and I do NOT want to give them back! I hate bright lights, so a few candlesticks is exactly what I want when it comes to lighting. I would be hard pressed to choose exactly the candlesticks that I want because I want a diverse assortment, but definitely in sets of 2 or 3. I have a thing for patterns!

Christmas Cheermeister Wanna-be Tip #2:

Get an Advent Calendar. Today I received an invite to a "Keep the Christ in Christmas" group on Facebook and remembered that I desperately want to find an Advent calendar to use this year. Advent is the time of year when Christians prepare and await the celebration of the birth of Christ. Advent officially begins this coming Sunday (Dec. 7th), so there is still time for you to do something. In the past I've had a special candle that I light every evening at dinner as a way to remember, meditate, and prepare.

When I got home from work today, there was a care package waiting for me with instructions to open December 1st. So, over dinner, Jake and I got our first Christmas present! I screamed for 3 entire minutes and declared it my favorite gift this year. So, if you are one of the people getting me a gift this year, shoot for 2nd favorite :) My sister had made a felt advent calendar for herself and I oohed and ahhed over it a few years ago. Now I have my OWN!
(The photos do not do it justice because I promptly hung my calendar up on my ugly, wooden. built-in media center- so I had to try to throw solid colors behind the calendar to snap the poorly lit photos.)


25 Days of Christmas Merriment!

Christmas countdown banner
If you are like me, you simply cannot believe that December is HERE! My hubby has already claimed the title of "The Holiday Cheermeister"... in fact he begged to be called that about 2 weeks ago! Ridiculous! But starting today, I will replace his "Master" title for "Holiday Cheermeister". As in "Yes Holiday Cheermeister" or "At your service Holiday Cheermeister".

I have been working on my Christmas list and checking it twice. None of my relatives have asked for gift ideas, so I'll post some - just in case they're being bashful. If they decide to do something charitable or earthy in my name- that would certainly be cool.

Gift idea #1:
  • Spread the wealth to those who actually NEED it. End world hunger, give people a chance, and help the earth with The Heifer Project (and not just 'cause I love the name) or give a deserving child the gift of a "Life Changing Adventure in Faith", the place that means the world to me, Camp Lutherlyn.

Christmas Cheermeister wanna-be tip #1:

  • Cheer up your loved ones by sending a photo card (side note: I LOVE Christmas letters and appreciate a card with your signature, but my favorite combo is pictures with a letter!). Now, I'm a bit of a slacker and haven't thought about Christmas cards, but perhaps I'll let this talented artist do the work and feel really good about all the profit going to the artist! Check out these gorgeous Christmas Photo Cards (tell her Kosker's Idlewild sent you): LTB Designs.


You are a homo

I, Jake get to post today. This is really Julie's blog but there are times when special events call for special measures.
As I was making dinner for Julie she was playfully kidding me as she usually does every day when she comes home. At some point I cursed back at her and as she reached into the refrigerator she said, "No. You are a homo." I looked at her in amused puzzlement and was wondering why in the world she pulled that one from thin air. She popped up and produced the carton as she quickly said, "A homo. Cause you bought homo milk."

Enough said. I love my wife.


the initial conversation

One of my hobbies when I give my thoughts the freedom to travel, is to think about the initial conversation behind products, names, and ideas.

This afternoon on my drive home from work, the store name "Bed Bath & Beyond" popped into my head. NO idea why (no I did not pass this store)! Anyway, there is only one possibility for this initial conversation and it is so lame that I think I might have stop shopping there (I've probably shopped their twice in my life... though I did get my all-time favorite pillow there this year).

In case your thoughts don't feel like traveling to that particular initial conversation, I'll type it out for you and try to embellish it to make it sound like my thoughts are more entertaining then they really are:

"Esmerelda, I want to start a store that focuses on products for the bedroom and bathroom. I'll market it to women of all ages."

"Sounds like a good niche, Ray, but as a woman I like to one-stop-shop for my household goods. So, I think adding kitchen stuff would be good."

"Ok, E, but the focus must be on the bedroom and bathroom. I really want to focus on fabrics and dishes. What should we name it?"

"Hmm, we have a nice alliteration going on with Bed and Bath..."

"Yeah, there would be no confusion, but how do we insinuate that we have more than just that?"

"by the way. besides. beyond.... BEYOND!

"Bed Bath and Beyond!!!!!!!!!!"

"Perfect. I love you Raymond." "I love you too Esmerelda."

(names have been changed to protect people's identities.)


Holiday Fever

Jake wants to write a post about Christmas. He is adorably excited about Christmas this year. I don't know what he thinks he's gonna get 'cause I plan on just digging some used coal out of the fireplace. I'm telling you so that you can peer pressure him into writing.

I will be finessing my Christmas wish list this week (and then I will post it. hey, the earring post worked well for me and now i'm greedy.). To do that, I'll be perusing the coolmompicks suggestions... it's as close to a personal shopper as I'm gonna get.

Holiday Gift Guide 2008


please leave a message after the beep

As my inner circle of family and friends will tell you, I hate talking on the phone. I absolutely loathe it. For one, it's just not enough. If I don't see or talk to someone regularly, I want more than a phone call to reconnect with them. For another, I'm not very good at focusing on the phone because my eyes and fingers are idle. So, I inevitably start cleaning, checking my email, or cook a meal (which I then can't eat 'cause my mouth is talking to you).

I have had the same conversation with all of my loved ones- just had this convo the other day with Stutzman Scoop. We talk about how we are great friends and how even though we don't talk regularly, the friendship is intact. When I sit and think about how many people there are that I truly care about and want to know how they are doing, I realize how freakin' popular I am. Ha, no- I realize how significant shared memories are and how lucky I am to have so many cool people in my life.

In one of my undergraduate Psych classes we learned the formula for relationships. LOCATION + THE OPPORTUNITY TO INTERACT. So Simple! It seems like it's not enough, eh? And yet, think about your inner circle. Probably a pretty diverse group.

I have Ms. Coach Bag herself, Anne from college- we couldn't be more different and yet I absolutely love her. I have my Venango County people who I can't wait to move home too. I have Igor, the neurosurgeon in Ukraine. I have Shannon, the girl I've camped and partied alongside of. I have cyber friends who maybe I met in real life, but the friendship has blossomed through social networking websites. I have my T men (Trenton, Ty, and Trey) who know me almost as well as my family members. Just beginning to think about who I could mention here and pick out the strange connections and shared experiences I have with each and every one of them makes me feel giddy with gratitude.

Though most of my inner circle shares common interests with me, not all of them do and I think that's really nifty (people that use the word nifty are automatically part of my inner circle!). Just don't be waiting for me to call.... that's just not gonna happen!


Snap(fish) to it!

I am predicting that most of my fellow bloggers will be MIA for the next 36 hours.
I know Lizzythebotanist is elbow deep in the same project. The reason is - we are all frantically cashing in on Opera's offer to make a free snapfish photo book. I made photo books from Mypublisher.com for our 3 moms after our wedding and they were SO cool! Wish I could make a wedding one for myself, but that would end my streak of never finishing a scrapbook for myself.... an accomplishment that I am oh-so-proud of!

Anyway, I am bound and determined to make at least two photo books before SUNDAY (therefore ending my streak, but I'm sure I'll slack somewhere else in life to make up for it)! Yes, I already cornered a non-techy friend and will be using her name and address to work the system and get two books for free. REBEL! (To the snapfish interns who are looking for such gluttonous misuse of this deal: The friend whose identity I will be using to make my 2nd album is about to have a baby. Once I show her my masterpiece- I fully expect her to embrace the technological age and go hog wild with albums of her growing family. You can reimburse me for marketing for you by giving me another credit for a photo book.)

I've begun working on the album of our move west (entitled "On the Oregon Trail". How original!) and I think there may be some foul play going on. The snapfish site is SO slow! Do not try to blame my computer or my internet connection- they are my lifeline to the world and I don't mess around with that. Anyway, I'm still on the COVER because things have been taking so long to load! I think I'll call it a night and do this all night on Friday in hopes that the East Coast cheapskates will get off snapfish and let me use it.

Speaking of East Coast. I feel really cutting edge because I knew about this deal before it even AIRED! Only because my mother who knows me so well watched Opera on the East Coast and emailed me before it aired my time.

If you hadn't heard of this deal yet- hurry up! You have to register before midnight on Friday and finish the book by midnight on Sunday. How many years of photos do you have sitting on your hard drive? Just think about how good it will feel to do something with them (not to mention that they'll finally be printed in case your computer throws up!).



As my mother so politely pointed out- you can't play the piano with long finger nails. Last night I decided that I would play a short diddy (like P.Diddy) for my students and so off went the fingernails. I have to admit that I'm glad I finally did it! I can type SO much easier, Jake no longer fidgets with them and pulls them back, and my nails don't click on the piano keys. My ex-nun (I assume it's a long and rather delicate story) piano teacher would have cringed to see me tickling the ivories with those nails!

I can't believe that I just blogged twice about my fingernails. I clearly need some inspiration for new content :)


cat woman

Yikes- scary photo! I have neglected my nails for more than a few weeks and now I have the longest nails of my life! I have a twisted fascination with them. I wonder how long they'll grow? They officially affect my typing abilities and for some reason I hit caps lock every time I type the letter "a". Yup, they are making my life difficult and I know that it's time to cut them, but...


Oh happy day (next 4 years!!!)

OBAMA TO BE NEXT PRESIDENT (copy and pasted from cnn.com)!!!

It's 8:05 pm Pacific Time and I am CELEBRATING!!! I can't even imagine what life will be like with a President that I respect, admire, did I mention respect???? I am SO proud of the US! I know that our country has some tough times ahead regardless of our President, but for the first time in 8 years- I'm not embarrassed of my Government (well, our future Government)!


murphy's law

I absolutely hate shopping. I would love to walk around a room full of people my size and purchase the clothing they are modeling or walk through people's homes and purchase home decor. But walking into a giant store that caterers to a gazillion different tastes and pocket books... gag me!

That being said, I made a semi-impulse buy today and boy was it a pick-me-up!!! I've been wanting to purchase a pair of awesome jeans for a long time and today all of the negative factors (common sense, priorities, etc.) simply didn't seem to matter. The reason is if I am lucky enough to get pregnant this year, well then I won't be in the position to buy something frivilous for myself for umm... the next 23-odd years. No day but today, eh? (who has RENT playing through their head now?)

So, I walked into the overlypriced high-end department store, walked straight up to a Sales Associate, and asked to be pointed to a perfect pair of jeans. Glancing around the store, I saw jeans in no less than 4 different areas. In retrospect, I perhaps should have spent more time describing what I was looking for, but the S.A. pointed to the counter directly in front of me, we grabbed a few pairs and headed to the dressing room. At first I was ticked that they didn't have talls, but then she politely explained that all of the jeans have a 35" inseam and the in-store tailor hems according to height. Is this heaven???

Because the pair I (or more accurately, she) choose have a lot of stretch to them, she talked me into the super tight pair. She assures me that they will loosen over time and I'll be glad I went with the smaller size. Um, shouldn't these diamond-encrusted jeans NOT stretch? Oh well, I'm wearing them, my tush looks brand new, and I feel happy. Now, I hope Murphy's Law works out and the one time I splurge AND buy tight jeans... I end up getting prego pronto ;)


trick or treat...

We went to a Halloween Party a few weeks ago. Our costume theme/goal was to do something to match Jake's mohawk. I LOVE the top pic... the hawk, cross earring, and fake cigarette... the anthesis of my husband.

Happy Halloween! I haven't been trick-or-treating since maybe 5th grade and I've NEVER distributed candy at my door (because I usually live in BFE). This year, I tried to fight back my loneliness by joining the community in their festivities. Since my house is only accessible by a dark creepy alley, I didn't plan on getting many goblins at my door. So, I turned the carport light on, hung a bag of candy on the door, and went for a walk. (note: the bag was still full when I returned and noone has knocked yet...what a loser!)

WAIT A MINUTE... since when do houses in neighborhoods not give out candy? I have memories of the streets of Oil City teeming with costumed kids, stepping into decorated yards, and literally going house to house. I walked for AN HOUR around my neighborhood and each street had MAYBE three houses with their lights on. Maybe every 4th block had ONE house that was decorated. DISGRACEFUL!

And why is there no set age criteria for trick-or-treating? I saw a few greedy teenagers knocking on a door and the brats didn't even have the decency to put a costume on!!! Another group of greedy teenagers were in costumes but fighting about wasting time and how to get more candy. PARENTS... THIS IS NOT OK! I think that age 12 should be the cut-off. Once you're a teenager you can dress up and go to a Halloween party, but stay off the old ladies porches. Plus, teenagers have enough hormone problems without adding excess sugar and weight gain!

To end this with a positive note: As I was walking, the cold hard fact that I live without my people around me and in my neighborhood was hitting me kind of hard. As I began to sink into the depths of self pity, I heard "Hey Kosker!". Huh? Yup, one of my coworkers lives just a few streets away from me and I had no idea. So, now I have to wonder if that was God's way of telling me that I do have people here? I think I might start packing anyway...


Hot or Not?

Ok, General Tso, it's time you stop advertising your spicy chicken with that pepper symbol 'cause it ain't spicy! I have ordered General Tso a few times and each time I think "I must not have tried that before, it must just look like something else". Well, today I ordered it and I am declaring once and for all... that General Tso's chicken is NOT spicy!


My great white

Jake is officially off. He is embarking on his 7-10 day solo hunt. Well, tonight and tomorrow he will be kayaking with a friend, but then he's off to Eastern Oregon. The car is outfitted and I have to admit- it's pretty sweet. He will be sleeping in the car and he's spent the past 24-hours making our Toyota Matrix into a custom fit camper. I'll post pics when he returns... he has the camera.

Now I have a lot of time on my hands. Jake is always the productive one in our little family... and this week I'm going to work on finding my own niche. There are plethora of tomatoes and apples that need to be dealt with, there are unfinished sewing projects, and my metabolism has probably hit negative numbers (judging by my extreme chill even when hiking- Jake agrees that my metabolism has shut down). So, I'll let you know what I do with my productive time... starting tomorrow :)

p.s. "no misspellings found" in this post! I never get that spell check message :)


Am I the freak?

I just decided to start a new series in my blog.

Today's topic: High School Cheerleaders.

I've noticed that in every tv and movie clip involving stereotypical student roles, there are always cheerleaders...in their uniforms! Now I realize that I went to the only HS in history to not have a football team, marching band, etc. However, the cheerleaders did not wear their uniforms every day! They did wear them a few times for the BIG games (meaning basketball... Go Berries!), but it was a rarity (thank God!).

Am I?


FALLin in love

Pumpkin Patch with Mt. Hood in the distance. Gresham, Oregon.
Last weekend as I was driving with my grandparents through the countryside- we saw this gorgeous view. I have been on a quest to fully appreciate fall this year and I am succeeding. I have to look a little harder out west to find the beautiful red, orange and yellow leaves- but they pop up every now again. It's not as bountiful as fall in Pennsylvania, but this year I'm happy to exchange the fall leaves for this view of Mt. Hood over a pumpkin patch.


Grandma and Grandpa come for a visit

I wanted to post a few pics of my Grandma and Grandpa Krumich. They flew to Oregon from Pennsylvania and have been very busy visiting vineyards, exploring local parks and farmer's markets, and eatting :)

This is my all-time favorite photo of them... ever! It doesn't even need any picassa editing :)

If you stay in the wine cellar long enough- I wonder if you can get drunk on the fumes of evaporating wine? It was so cool to see the cellar (and smell it!).

My grandfather has a HUGE collection of County Courthouse pictures from around the country. Recently a friend compiled the pictures into a beautiful book for him. Now he has one more!

(Please note my gorgeous new dangly earrings in the above photo sent to me by Lizzythebotanist after I blogged about liking her earrings! Shannon Hill also sent me danglys after that posting. I have such great friends!! Liz, I like your Honda Element. Shannon, I like your Subaru Forrester. ;)

Jake sometimes complains about my constant picture taking... any guesses where I got that from?

Palin does not belong in DC!

When I get an email from my smarty smart smart Aunt Amy... I take it seriously :)

If you're interested, please vote and pass along. This only takes 20 seconds:

PBS has an online poll posted asking if Sarah Palin is qualified. Apparently the right wing knew about this in advance and are flooding the voting with YES votes.

The poll will be reported on PBS and picked up by mainstream media. It can influence undecided voters in swing states. Please do two things -- it takes 20 seconds.

1) Click on link and vote yourself.
Here's the link: http://www.pbs.org/now/polls/poll-435.html
2) Then send this to every single Obama-Biden voter you know, and urge them to vote and pass it on. The last thing we need is PBS saying their viewers think Sarah Palin is qualified.


Can I watch?

TMI alert:

As I was talking to my hubby about my upcoming woman's appointment, a thoughtful thought struck me. "Do you want to come and watch?", I said to my yearning to learn more husband, the nurse. "Do I want to come to your appointment and INTO THE ROOM?", he replied. "Yeah, what's the big deal?"

"Well, I just think my coworkers would fall on the floor if they knew you just offered that up.".

We have not yet decided whether this is a good idea or not, but my hubby appreciated the offer nonetheless. Cons: my hubby would view me in a completely non-sexual way, it might be awkward for the Doc, we might feel awkward in the end. Pros: he gets to learn more about Women's Medicine and as I said to him "heck, it's not like you've never seen it anyway!".


strawberries in the fall

Well, perhaps it's not a lot, but for the first time EVER (about 3 years of trying) Jake and I have a successful strawberry plant! I happen to know that commercial strawberries hold a high amount of toxins and it is one of the main fruits that you should avoid (someday I'll get Jake to blog about Dr. Weil's book which explains this). I've never stopped eatting store bought strawberries, but now I'm not sure if my taste buds can go back. Nothing compares to the exquisite flavor of my homegrown strawberries! They are so naturally sweet and juicy... it's all I can do from chowing down on all of our small supply and leave Jake only the stems!

The strawberries have helped pull me from my current funk. Fall is my favorite season and yet this year I just feel robbed of green time. I'm not ready for winter and that mindset is ruining my fall! Over the next few days, I'm going to be on a hunt for fall goodness. It's time I get myself back in the present and enjoy all the wonderful treats that fall brings! I need to focus on fall and not what it preludes.


poppin' the TAG cherry

Since I'm fairly new to blogging, I didn't know what a TAG was, until lizzythebotantist threw one my way. Perhaps one day I will share her disdain for TAGs, but I will indulge this once :)

3 joys:
  • rainy afternoons spent on the couch with a good novel
  • making Jake laugh
  • Family dinners with mom, dad, sister, hubby, bro-in-law

3 fears:

  • infertility
  • death of a family member. Yes, I'm at peace with death and God and yet I'm not willing to share my loved ones with death.
  • making an enemy

3 goals:

  • save enough money over the next 2 years to have a nice deposit for land or home
  • do something innovative and creative with my career
  • get healthy! I've started with my weekly yoga class :)

3 obsessions: this is a hard one!

  • reading
  • blogging/ internet play time
  • making financial planning spreadsheets

3 random surprises:

  • i own my own electric drill and can use it better than most men I meet. Thanks dad!
  • i never went on a Spring Break trip in college
  • i do not say the Pledge of Allegiance (and haven't since about 11th grade)

To pass on the love: I'm tagging MOK, Kelly, and Winona


it's a secret

If you are like me and my sister, you are addicted to internet tv. We have now entered the last week before premiere week and it has been a long, dry, boring life without The Office and Ugly Betty to entertain me (this was written somewhat sarcastically). So, without new tv shows, I have spent a lot of time staring at blogs waiting for them to update and looking for new internet addictions.

Jake invited his friend Kathy over the other night and I overheard them talking about "Stumble". "What is that?", I asked ruining my incognito eavesdropping pose. It's a search engine that you download, choose your interests, and view random web pages according to those interests. Now there is a bar at the top of my screen and when I am bored, I hit "Stumble" and a random web page pops up that I might be interested in! GENIUS! I haven't made my own account yet, so I stumble through Jake's interests. Luckily, we share many interests, but I have had to throw acid in my eyes to erase the political and peak oil websites from my mind.

This was one of my first stumbles and I L-O-V-E it!


garbage insights

While browsing through the newest Real Simple magazine, the following quote made me RUN to my garbage can in search of self revelations:

The things people discard tell more about them than the things they keep.

hilda lawrence

This is what I found out (in all 4 disposal areas which include dump truck trash, paper recycling, compost, and glass/metal/plastic recycling):

  • My cat poops a lot. I mean A LOT.
  • This household has a thing for cranberry juice and tuna.
  • I should buy stock in Monistat 3. (TMI again?)
  • I compulsively open and glance at junk mail before recycling it... SUCKER!
  • I have very little trash. I'm pretty sure this is because I hate to shop and therefore rarely bring new items home.



You may remember the posting a few weeks ago entitled "Uh, Thanks?". Well, though I still prefer to think of the miniature plastic rooster cups as fertility cups as my dad suggested, here is a tale about their real use.

For my birthday, I wanted to go on a car camping trip. For those of you that don't know the difference, car camping is when you load up your car with a cooler, camp kitchen (probably only if you're married to my husband), pillows from your bed, chairs, etc. You go to a campground that has running water and pay a small fee to have your own piece of land with a picnic table. The other type of camping involves carrying your gear on your back and walking to a primitive site in the woods... no cooler, no pillows, no picnic table. I love them both, but sometimes I crave posh camping.

We invited our new friends, JP and Brit, and headed to the Columbia Gorge. We shared meal duty and the Koskers were in charge of Saturday morning breakfast. In the spirit of missing my sister and wanting to try out my favorite birthday gift, Jake and I prepared a German breakfast (please note the table cloth- I thought it was a classy and authentic touch). We served baguette with meat, cheese, fruit, tea in our German tea pot (I don't want to get JP and Brit in trouble with the LDS patrol- they did not drink our caffeinated devil tea ;), and SOFT BOILED EGGS! That is what the rooster cups are for.

What is a soft boiled egg you ask Uncle Sam? Here is my sister's recipe- I did not get her permission to share this with the World Wide Web, so if you ever use or distribute this recipe, please send her $100 yen.

"How to eat German soft-boiled eggs"

1. With a disinfected thumbtack, make a small hole in the big end of a raw egg.

2. Boil the egg for 4 minutes. The yolk will be runny, but warm.

3. Place the egg, hole up, in an egg cup. (shot glasses work)

4. Cover with egg warmer until ready to eat (you losers probably don't have egg warmers- we were given these for Christmas... I said it before and I'll say it again- Germans are obsessed with eggs!)

5. To eat, crack top off egg and scoop egg out with a small spoon. Add salt and pepper.

6. Enjoy with toast!

closing remarks: which of my readers thought that this post was going to be about penises?


Are you charting?

There is a sub-culture that one only knows of when one is in it. Women who are trying to conceive give subtle clues to each other in order to discuss this conversation taboo. Once a woman gives one of these subtle clues, if the other woman is actively in the sub-culture she will reply with "are you charting?". As a sub-culture newbie, I would say "yes". I had skimmed the books and websites that discussed this, but I always just skimmed it 'cause it was boring. Well, FYI if you answer "yes", but really just mean "I put an x on my calendar when my . starts"- you messed up. You won't get kicked out of the secret, subtle, pseudo club, but you'd better start tracking your ovulation cycle with thermometers, pee sticks, and a handful of old wives tales.



I know that it's kind of taboo to talk about trying to conceive (TTC), but I'm gonna put it out there. My hope it that someone out there will have the magic advice which will change my TTC into an embryo :)

It's been about 5 months now that we Kosker's have been at it (haha) and my good attitude is growing thin. I know that it takes up to a year for the average couple, but I am impatient. Though I have talked to a few people who had to be patient, I also have a few fertility goddesses as friends. Man am I jealous.

Jake and I were so sure of ourselves that we started trying on the month we planned to conceive. Yes, we planned it all out. We had worked out the entire pregnancy to fit perfectly into our scheduled lives. Naive, a bit. Optimistic, a lot!

So, now that I'm 27, I hope that my eggs are perkin' up!


Did it hurt? When you fell from Heaven?

Ok... serious problem in the Kosker marriage! We are nearing the end of Jake's bi-monthly 6-day, 12-hour shifts. After we hurried through our hour together (which includes Jake showering, eating, and any other normal daily to-dos), I informed Jake that though he will be off the next 2 evenings- I won't. He then replied, "I'd like to date you. If we weren't married, I'd date you."

How's that for a look into our marriage? YIKES! Luckily we have a weekend trip planned- so I'll have plenty of opportunities to "date" my husband. Yes, that's what we kids are calling it these days.


I like the ones that dangle.

In the latter years of High School, I made a HUGE shift. I shifted right on over to the neighboring school district and became friends with a great (read: smart and hot) group of guys. Literally, I switched from being completely ignored by the guys at my school to having my pick of invitations every weekend. It's important to mention that though I was surrounded by awesome guys, I was still perpetually single.

After awhile there was one girl from their school district who became my friend. Now that I think of it, it's odd that there was only one girl and about 10 guys that were my friends. For Freudian insight on that refer to the title of this blog ;)

Lizzythebotanist was that friend. I suppose she didn't see me as a threat (she had a boyfriend) and we had some fun times. She is a fellow blogger and I've noticed that in 95% of the photos that she posts, she is wearing huge dangely earrings. They rock! She has since sent ("sent" is not the right word. Let's just move on 'cause that's what I came up with.) her sis-in-law (blogger, Beeta and Peeps) to Oregon. Yup, her sis-in-law is equally stylin' with her awesome earrings.

I recently posted a picture of myself with dangley earrings (post: let's revisit manners). I bought them on my annual shopping trip with my mom and Vicki (my personal shopper). Shannon, an old friend, was quick to notice the un-Julie-like dangles. Shannon and I have mastered the style of nature girl meets outdoorsy girl meets professional girl. We laugh about our style because it is unique yet we dress so much alike.

Anyway, I've decided that it's going to be my new thing. The dangley earrings glam up all of my plain boring clothes and make me feel like a vixen. Watch out Jake! (yikes- there are no parentheses in this paragraph!)


Freezer Teaser

Well my friends, you didn't guess the right answer. The most common guesses revolved around Jake's love of hunting. Yes, I do have a FULL bird (feathers included) in my freezer, but fortunately for my gag-reflex, this freezer teaser was much more benign.

IT WAS FROZEN BANANAS! Let's sing that horrid pop song: "This sh** is bananas. B.A.N.A.N.A.S." Yes, they were peeled bananas and when thawed, they were goo... but bananas nonetheless.

In fact, little did Jake's and my coworkers know when they were enjoying my Suzie Homemaker Banana Bread... they were eating the stuff while trying to solve the Freezer Teaser. Mwahahaha... soon I will conquer the world with my clever irony!


Happy Birthday to me!

Today I turn 27! WOW! That sounds strange. 26 was close to half-way between 20 and 30. Now I'm solidly closer to 30. My thoughts might change in the future, but I am still at the point when I am happy about having an older age. I feel as though I'll get more respect when I'm done with my 20s. I also plan to have a family and own a house and land in my 30s. So, BRING IT ON 27--- I've been anxiously awaiting you!

27 things I love about my life:

  1. My hubby. I blog about him a lot, but I never describe the countless thoughtful things he does for me daily. Truly, he does at least one nice thing every day. He might think I don't notice, but I do! Yesterday he cleaned his desk, picked apples and pears for us, AND made the bed (which he almost always does anyway, but it still makes me happy to find a freshly made bed when I crawl in!).
  2. My family. We're not perfect, but we're pretty darn close to one of those happy, loving TV families! I try to not take it for granted.
  3. PICKEL. Despite her current fleas, she still brings joy to my life.
  4. Having a plethora of good friends.
  5. The new friends that I've made in Oregon. I have been so lucky to meet great people at work.
  6. Having an adventurous sister who I will get to see this year!
  7. Being able to afford mini-vacations/ adventures once or twice a month.
  8. Being able to walk, climb, swim, dance. My body is the only SUV I need!
  9. Knowing that my childhood home is still there- it's a nice security blanket.
  10. Knowing that Lutherlyn will always be around.
  11. Eating chocolate hazelnut in every form.
  12. The kids at my school. I'm so happy to see them every day!
  13. Having a lush garden and the roses that I enjoy tending.
  14. READING!
  15. Being able to play the piano and sing.
  16. Having a husband who willingly does the grocery shopping and cooking!
  17. Being married to my best friend and adventure guide.
  18. Being raised next-door to my Krumich grandparents. I feel so lucky to know them so well. Can't wait for their visit next month!
  19. Laughter. I have a lot of that in my life.
  20. My body. It's far from ideal, but it works for me!
  21. Having a lifestyle that allows me to indulge in the things that are important to me.
  22. Being raised in the technology age!
  23. Having 2 college degrees.
  24. Living in Oregon and planning my future in Pennsylvania. The best of both worlds!
  25. Being on-line. I heart the internet!
  26. Living in a world that encourages dreams.

  27. Having people in my life that care about me!

Uh... Thanks?

I received a Birthday Teaser from my sister and brother-in-law. Can anyone give me any clues as what what these miniature plastic rooster cups with matching spoons are for? They said it was from the DDR :) Whatever they are- they're HILARIOUS! I'm going to be serving an once of soup or SOMETHING in them as often as possible!

(sorry for the image quality- it's 5am)


at what price?

Every so often, my hubby has the opportunity to work over-time. As all working middle-class know, over-time pay rocks ones socks off! Since I am equally determined to meet our financial goals each month, I started a part-time job.

I am a Psychiatric Crisis Mental Health Screener. Yup, pretty much as intense as it sounds. Basically I meet with people who are at risk to commit suicide. I then determine whether they need to be hospitalized or if there is a less extreme way to help them. The perks are that there are quite a few awesome people that work there and on slow days- we get to sit around and shoot the shit (quite literally! recently I had a huge discussion about Leave No Trace packing out poop when backpacking.). However, for every slow day, there are multiple crazy days!

Now that school is back in session, I am required to work one 4-hour shift a week which includes being on-call for 15-hours. So, the worst case scenario is that I'll have to work from 5pm- 8am on a school night. YIKES!

Last Friday I was talking to my boss on the phone as he was making his semi-frequent calls to get more coverage (we are mega short staffed!). I was exhausted at 1pm on the first Friday of the school year, but ever wanting to please others- I picked up the nightly on-call shift. That evening as I was trying to focus on the psychotic client that I was screening at 1:30 am in the ER, my thoughts paused on this thought "what price do I put on my own life and what is this job costing me?".

Saturday night is my usual shift and as I was hurriedly finishing up the garden fresh green bean casserole that Jake requested, he and I had a few minutes to chat before both heading off to work. The conversation went like this: "Julie, I want you to quit that job.". I guess it wasn't much of a conversation :) I have ignored his request, but am determined to not pick-up any more shifts out of the kindness of my heart.

Now I must finish this blog as it is time to squeeze a nap into my day!


Freezer Teaser

Here's a little contest for my readers! Whoever comments first with the correct answer will win a snail mail surprise from me (ok, I don't have the prize yet, but there will be a prize and snail mail is so exciting!).

Inside my freezer you will find, delicious treats of every kind. Make your guesses, I won't mind. Tell me what was in my freezer, help me out of this bind.

Contest how-to: Post a comment with your answer. If you don't think that I have your address, please email me your address. My email is: koskersidlewild@gmail.com. IF the comment feature isn't working, you can email your answer and I will still be able to tell what time each person posted or emailed their answer. The winner will also be featured in an upcoming blog.

Please note: my husband, the household chef, is not eligible for this contest.


PETA, this is not what it looks like

Creepy, crawly, critters have taken up shop in my cats fur.
Last month we noticed the flea problem, dropped some goo on Pickel's neck, and patted ourselves on the back for being good parents. However, when we returned home from a recent road trip, we noticed flea dirt everywhere. OOPS!!! So, despite our end-of-a-roadtrip fatique, Jake jumped back in the car to buy some reinforcements.

Pickel was so good about it! The shampoo helped a lot and she let us pick a gazillion more off of her while she was still wet. Currently she is curled up in my lap enjoying some rest after her days of relentless itching. Either she has no memory and therefore cannot hold a grudge, or is smart enough to fully appreciate why we tortured her and is being affectionate to show her gratitude. I know that we have not yet conquered the fleas, but soon, very soon!


let's revisit manners

So, my first mega concert in over 10 years was fun, HOWEVER I will not be attending another (the only exception would be for Jack Johnson). Unfortunately we missed OAR and I'm a bigger fan of them than I am of Dave Matthews (don't spit on me- I like them too). I'm not sure when OAR played, we were only a 40 minutes late and they were already taking the stage down from the intro band to prepare for DMB. Perhaps the time on the ticket was wrong? Bummer.

Jake and I were aggressive and weaseled ourselves into a spot that we thought would be perfect. It was about as close as you can get with lawn seats and we were on the edge of our step- so we thought we'd have a great view for the evening while sitting in our Crazy Creek chairs munching on baguette and cheese. We're high class.

When I pay money for a concert, I want to hear the concert. I do NOT want to hear 10,000 drunk fraternity/sorority kids (not to stereotype, but let's face it- that's who primarily goes to these things) yelling the lyrics and "woooooo yeah" every 5 seconds. Jake was the one that noticed that every "wooo" is followed by a "yeah". This fact should be interesting to future anthropologists.

Additionally, it is not polite to stand during concerts- specifically, it is not polite to stand in front of me. Even once I stood with 3 inches of ground between me and a huge step, people still butted in front of me. I don't care where we are- that is rude. I also hate 2nd hand smoke, whatever it is your smoking next to me. I do not think you're cool, I do not want to smile at you, and I do not want to share my blanket or food with you.

My mama is proud that she raised me to be annoyed by these things. I'm afraid that I'm destined for a life of classical music concerts. So, my kids may not know who Jimi Hendrix was, is that so bad???

Though I have my complaints about the concert, the venue was breathtaking!


this is how I roll... in the hay

So, as promised it is time for me to share WHERE I SLEPT this weekend :) First I want to set the story up...

A few weeks ago we were in PA celebrating the wedding of Heath and Jess.

Since they are a fellow Lutherlyn (http://www.lutherlyn.com/) couple, we share A LOT of friends. Their wedding was truly the highlight of my summer. Yes I'm super happy that Heath found his match, but really the wedding for me was all about old friends. The Lutherlyners at the wedding are known among camp as the "Lifers", people who never really leave summer camp. These people range in age from 21-60 (ok, I don't know how old everyone is... we might be past the 60 mark!) and yet they are the most wonderful group of people. Being around them is like wearing my lucky underwear. I feel comfortable, at ease, inspired (yeah, my undies are that good), and everything just fits. I think the last one is the biggest for me- I can be around a lot of diverse people and have a good time, but rarely do I truly fit-in. Here's a pic of some of them:

I think they're telling me to shove a fork in it and put the camera away!

Since we are camp people, of course there was a group of us that camped after the wedding (it helps that the wedding was held at the farm co-owned by Heath http://www.blackberrymeadows.com/). Jake and I were in a tent borrowed from my sister (oh, Marianne- we borrowed your tent. Please and Thank You.) The other 20-40 year olds were also in tents. My parents on the other hand were in this:

They admitted that for a fraction of a second they felt silly that they were the only 50-year-olds camping out, but I think they quickly realized that that just made them cool.

So, inspired by the VW bus idea, Jake and I turned our small Toyota Matrix into a fabulous traveling bed!! We can both lay flat and it has many perks over tenting in certain situations. The DMB concert was one such occasion as were the naps we took in shaded parking lots throughout our weekend roadtrip!


we're so hip!

So, after an absolutely crazy week of work for us both we are heading to Washington to enjoy a Dave Matthews/ OAR concert at the Gorge Amphitheater. We are so excited! Though Jake and I are both super into music, neither of us goes to concerts. Truly, we went to hear the Juliana Theory (bonus points if you know why, triple points if you can sing a line of one of their songs to me) when we were dating, I went to Lilith Fair in high school, and he has seen The Village People. That's the extent of our non-classical concert experience. Tease if you will, but we spent our young 20s investing in camping and climbing equipment. We had priorities.

Anyway, I don't want to spoil my future post, but I can't wait to tell you about what we did, what we saw, and WHERE WE SLEPT!!! ohhh... the suspense must be killing you.

Until my next post, I will be getting 2nd hand high, watching orgies, and exploring the high desert. Toodle loo!


Now that's a woman to stand behind!!!

As I was writing my previous blog, I flipped on the TV because the next episode of HSM:GITP was on in a half hour and I decided to watch it live. Though I read "The Week" and make uninformed opinions all of the time, I am mostly naive about our Presidential Candidates.

Let it be written that I will vote for any man that is married to Michelle Obama! WOW! Yes, her speech was written or edited by speech writers, but I don't care. She loves her husband, she is smart (actually I'll vote for anyone that is intelligent- that be a great CHANGE) and accomplished, she rocks. More than once I was the weirdo sitting at home alone smiling and saying "wow" to myself.

I will be following things more closely as we draw near November- but I am now a HUGE fan of Michelle.

Get your head in the game

Time for my semi-weekly confession. STOP READING if you can't deal with the fact that I'm a bit of a cheese head.

I love watching tv on the internet- specifically abc.com. Since it isn't sitcom season, I've been trying some new shows. Recently I began watching the reality show "High School Musical: Get in the picture". It is FABULOUS! I've never watched a complete season of American Idol or Last Comic Standing, but you can bet your scooter that I'll watch every episode of this show.

The high school age kids on this show are SO talented! In the most recent episode that I watched, they made a mini-musical out of a Bare Naked Ladies song. It was fabulous.

I think it's time to embrace my cheese and rent High School Musical 2 ('cause I've already seen the first one... yes I LOVED it!!!).


Revisit: Silent Song

It has come to my attention that I need to update and clarify a few things regarding the "Silent Song" posting.

1. Jake loves my voice when I'm not singing churchy/Broadway/Opera. Last night as I was babysitting Jackson, I began to sing a certain Johnny Cash song. Jake said, "That's it! That sounded awesome! See, I DO like your voice." He's been feeling a little upset about my claim that he doesn't like my voice (not to mention that his female coworkers have been razzing him about it- thanks ladies- I owe you one :)

2. As my sister pointed out- I have been a bridesmaid 6 times (last I checked I barely had that many friends!). Additionally, she pointed out that a lot of people do not want their friends "working" at their wedding, but enjoying and celebrating. So, that criteria is void... but I would like to sing at another wedding someday- once I master the Johnny Cash sound!

3. Finally, Elegantly Random paid me a compliment that was hugely flattering. See, she has an amazing voice and is quite a vocal technique expert- so her opinion means a lot. So, thanks Sarie- you lifted me out of my funk!

Sing, sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong
Sing of good things not bad
Sing of happy not sad.
Sing, sing a song
Make it simple to last
Your whole life long
Don't worry that it's not
Good enough for anyone else to hear
Just sing, sing a song.
Sing, sing a song
Let the world sing along
Sing of love there could be
Sing for you and for me.
Sing, sing a song
Make it simple to last
Your whole life long
Don't worry that it's not
Good enough for anyone else to hear
Just sing, sing a song.


Am I the ONLY Sky Mall fanatic?

Boarding a plane is a mix of emotions: excitement for the destination, worry/sadness about what you're leaving behind, annoyance with travel, eagerness to relax and veg on the plane... I sit in my seat and try my hardest to fully build the anticipation (some might say climax?) towards the single greatest thing about flying.

I LOVE THE SKY MALL CATALOGS that are stuck in each seat pocket. This trip was the first time that I've taken them up on the offer to take a catalog home with you. Why not? It is the only time in my life that I find something BRILLIANT, CLEVER, and TOTALLY ORIGINAL on every page of a magazine.

I have yet to purchase anything, but I do believe that the time has come. Will it be the portable AND inflatable whirlpool spa for $899.95, the Underwater Light Show for a pool (a great Christmas present for a certain mother-in-law of mine!!), the Cookie Diet Kit (I could have sworn that I invented that idea), jewelry, home decor, furniture, clever gadgets.... the list is endless!

Tell me, am I the only one that things these magazines are entertaining and the items are enticing?

(In case you don't travel, but need to do some shopping: http://www.skymall.com/)


welcome home???

After 2 whirlwind weeks in Pennsylvania I arrived home and went straight to work. I'll write more about my trip later, but for now let me give you an idea of my welcoming committee:

A cat with fleas.

A BIG rabbit (what happened to the cute baby bunny?).

I think this is quite a mean joke :)


my silent song


I LOVE to sing! I even loving singing on stage. It's something that I did a lot in high school and college, but since then my song has been silent. I used to think that I had a good voice. I received quite a bit of recognition during the 8 years in which I was a choir fanatic. Now however, I'm less sure of myself.

My husband is a very honest fellow and therefore I know that he doesn't like to hear me sing. It's a little to operatic for him. 98% of my friends haven't asked me to sing at their weddings- so that might be an indication, or it might not.

Regardless, I know my vocal techniques solidly. I might even teach voice lessons one of these days because I feel that I could be good at it. I work with the choir in my school every once and awhile and the girls sound a whole lot better when I'm done and that makes me so happy.

Yet, I want to find MY voice. Not the sculpted, technical, classical voice I developed through my own voice lessons, but my raw sound. HOW DO I DO THAT? I know that most of my Koskereaders are talented singers, so please help me! I'll take technique suggestions, music/book suggestions, anything. I've thought about finding a vocal jazz coach, but I'm not sure if that will help me to find me or teach me to mimic just another style.

Happy Anniversary Love

Happy 2nd Anniversary dearest love of my life! It's been wonderful... I love you.


pink shoe whit would fall on the floor

One of my favorite people on this earith is "pink shoe whit". She and I have grown-up as psuedo relatives and grown into being best friends (though I can't remember the last time I talked to her... it's one of those friendships that surpasses expectations like that). Her shoe collection is fabulous enough to be a museum exhibit. She is a frequent flyer, world traveler and you can bet that her matching luggage contains mostly shoes. When we've traveled together, she has a different pair of shoes for each day. I'm lucky if I have a different pair of underwear for each day. It's a little unfair because 3 of her petite shoes take the same amount of space as one of my banana boats.

Jake and I spent the evening excitingly packing for our trip home. Due mostly to our excited energy, we have overthought each item that is being packed. Jake packed our largest suitcase full of the supplies he will need for his camping/climbing/spelunking trip with his buds. I packed 1/3 of the medium suitcase with my clothing and filled the rest with presents for future holidays (hey, shipping is expensive) and Jake's non-wilderness clothes.

Here's the real shocker... I packed ONE PAIR OF FLIP FLOPS (to be fair, I should mention the one pair of birks that I'll be wearing to travel)! That's it! I'm even going to a wedding, but instead of trying to do the whole outdoor wedding thing in adorable dress shoes, I'm wearing my non-matching chaco flip flops because I love them.

How many pairs of shoes did pretty pretty princess Jake pack? FIVE!!! This revelation is so mind boggling (both my shoe minimalism and Jake's shoe extremism) that I don't know how to react other than blogging about it.

p.s. though the pic may lead you to believe that she and her hubby are boozers. they are not (typically). Also, yes, we are playing electronic clue :)


Help a sista

As I sit here trying to remake my running play list and make a play list for traveling, I am at a loss. I need ideas!

Please comment with your favorite musicians and songs!

(this is serious, I haven't bought new music in about ummm... yeah, can't remember buying anything since I quit my Columbia House membership in the 90s)


Where old men and homeschooled kids meet

Disclaimer: Some people have a gay-dar, I have a home school-dar. I will admit that I have met a few cool home school kids in my day (I've worked with a lot of them through various jobs). However, most home school kids- reek of home school.

Today Jake and I went to the Oregon Steam-up. Steam powered engines, tractors, saws, etc. For the $8 admission fee, we got to walk around and look at engines... all day. Jake's supervisor told him that this thing is a BLAST. It was mildly interesting, would have been more interesting if they had some tutorials on the engines and how they worked.

I think my dad and grandpa would have enjoyed it. And the Amish- they would have loved it!

Why is it that Jake and I always end up doing things with the geriatrics? Hopefully it's because they are older, wiser, and more tuned in to the quality things in life....


Boogie like it's 1999

When I was in High School, I was a true eager beaver. I wanted to be a part of everything! They were good years all in all and I came way with the unsoughtafter title of "Class President". Next summer will be my 10-year class reunion! Unbelievable.

So, dear Koskereader's (term coined by RKnep- he's so clever), please tell me what you have liked and disliked about your class reunions. I'm starting from scratch and am hoping that all 5 of my regular readers (Cathy- glad to know you and the rest of Jake's Harem... OK colleagues is more accurate, less exciting though... are reading) will have some great tips and ideas for me!


HELLO! Can you even HEAR me?


I have a fetish. It isn't sexual, but I do get a weird pleasure out of clean ears. I love cleaning mine (and even Jake's... don't ask) and I always notice yours! Recently, there has been an increase in ear wax in Salem, OR. I'm not sure what's going on. Perhaps it's the hot weather that keeps us out of our hot steamy bathrooms. Anyway, it takes all of my will-power to refrain from reaching my pinkie into your ear and getting that nasty wax out! What you do with your ear canal is your business, but the opening and outer ear- that's my business. There's no social etiquette for this, so I keep my mouth shut while I choke back the nausea.

Qtip anyone?

side note: I hope the pic makes you want to hurl. Now you know my pain!

a tad sexy

There were no clients tonight, so I got to chat and hang-out with my coworkers at the Psych Crisis Center. Throughout the conversations I learned a lot about how I'm perceived:

"I thought you were a conservative Christian."

"You are always so stylish."

"And a tad sexy."

WHAT??? Clearly I am an alien to myself! I see myself through the eyes of my college friends who described my style and mannerisms as "Danny Tanner". I'm glad I'm seen as wholesome, but the conservative Christian line pretty much means close-minded nerd. (It was my Supervisor who said that and I promptly began swearing as much as possible to get rid of that impression.)

Anyway, I know I'm a dork, I dress like a dork and clearly give a dork impression, but for a few seconds today, I also felt stylish and that was nice.

Perhaps my wardrobe of all white or black shirts is a little hipper than I thought ;)


I wanna talk about ME

I figured out why I love blogging, but not journaling. My chosen profession involves a lot of sitting, listening, and being empathetic. This is my way of getting my own voice heard (even if it's just my mom and sis reading- thanks!). Actually, it's me that needs to hear my own voice and to tell my own stories.

On our vacation, I was on an anti-social mission. I cold-shouldered the friendly people at the neighboring campsites and avoided the nice lady with a baby on the ferry who kept trying to start a conversation. Seriously, I avoided her. I put her on the elevator and then "decided" that there wasn't enough room for me and my huge bag. Then when she found me, I pretended not to see her and ran away.

Who am I? Though I always want to make new friends and hear about the lives of my old friends, I'm no longer into the social small talk. I know that it's because I hear people's stories all day (or night) long. And that's great- it's a gift to have people open up and share their innermost thoughts and demons. But, after I check-out on my time card, my ears are closed to strangers! In fact, I'm on-call right now... so I made $2.50 while writing this blog. So, I've come full circle and I'm getting paid while hearing only my own voice!


For whom the bell tolls

I have now entered my LAST week home. Granted, I will then be at my other home in PA for 2 weeks, but still the finality of my summer vacation is looming. As I leaf through my mental to-do list, I realize that I didn't check many of the items off. 26 years of photographs still sit unorganized, I haven't made a dental or dermatologist appointment, I haven't contacted all of my friends to catch-up, I haven't had many dinner parties... And yet, I feel peaceful, my shoulders feel relaxed, I've discovered that I can put food on the table (almost) every night, and I've had some great vacations. I truly don't know how people can work "regular" jobs and only get 1-3 weeks of vacation a year. I have 3 weeks of vacation left and I'm finally energized and relaxed enough to really soak it up!

BTW, I have now been an Oregonian for over a year! Time flies! It was a great year, lonely at times, but great. My relationship with Jake has continued to grow and every day I think "this must be it- this is how in-love, close and comfortable you can feel with your husband" and the next day I think "nope, today is better." At times we both feel anxious to start a family, move home to PA, buy land, be near our family... but, today I can truly say that I'm living in the present and I'm content.


An unlikely spot for a drug store

As any impatient woman knows, you can't predict conception. I tried, but I lost. Currently, my bathroom is a shrine to the ways technology has taken away mystery. I resisted at first, trusting mother nature, but after a few months, it was time to join the rest of my peers and spend a small fortune at the drug store. I now have to chart things about myself that I truly had never knew existed. Not only do I have sticks, thermometers, and gizmos, but I also am expected to write notes on a corresponding chart for each of the instruments. Wonder of wonders.... there is barely any mystery left!

note: this post was originally written in July, but I didn't post it because I was trying to hold back on only talking about conceiving. It felt right to publish it now.


Tales of a foiled crafter

As you know, I am constantly trying to up-my-game as a wanna-be housewife (I say wanna-be because I'm currently working part-time and work full-time during the school year). Last night's dinner was spaghetti, that's it. No garlic bread, no salad, no wine. Just spaghetti. Fortunately, today is Saturday which means my weekly trek to the Farmer's Market. So tonight we have fresh bread, Julie-made blueberry cobbler (I'm predicting another cooking blog with that recipe!), garlic marinated tilapia, and squash or salad.

Since pretty pretty princess Jake (that just sounds good and I can't stop saying it!) sleeps during the day, he wears eye covers. Not just any eye covers, but the free ones you get on airplanes. His current rotation of 3 eye covers originates from our trip to Germany for Christmas of '07! Yes, they are nasty.

SUZIE HOMEMAKER TO THE RESCUE! Last night with 3 attempts and 2 completed projects, I was one proud wifey this morning when Jake got home. Unfortunately, I miscalculated his bird-sized head and made them TOO tight (it really is quite small). The biggest mistake was the silky one which I filled with a blend of lavender, orris root (my favorite!), rose, and flax seed. It is SO overstuffed! When he put it on, he lovingly said "it's so full that it presses down on my nostrils... so at least the smell is muffled". Should've gone with my first impulse which was to add more flax seed so that the smell was fainter. We'll see what happens tonight ;)

What a relief

Each day I get my news from a trusted news source: yahoo's pics of the day. I know I sometimes seem too scholarly and intimidate you little people, so please don't feel bad about yourself for relying on other news mediums. If you're not familiar with it, every day my yahoo homepage shows me 3 or 4 photos- the most emailed photos of the day. Today's photo caption has cured me of nightmares, my fear of anything scary or evil, and my unease with sleeping alone. It reads: "A pet rabbit in Australia was credited with saving its owners Thursday after scratching at the door of their bedroom as their home burned, emergency workers said(AFP/Christian Puygrenier)"

If Peanut (the baby bunny we just adopted and who I placed in Jake's fenced in herb garden for the entire day... you can imagine his reaction... "oops" says the good intentioned, yet sarcastic wife) wasn't so cute, this piece of news would have been all it took to convince me to keep her :)


Good morning baby!

This morning I awoke early to babysit for a friend who was fulfilling her civic duty- jury duty. I was more than happy to have a morning of cuddling with Oli. Jake didn't know that Oli would be here, so before he got home from work- I moved the evidence-o-baby from the front door. As he walked in, I walked into the room saying "look what I found!". I'm not clever nor original, but I thought he'd be startled and that's all I really wanted. Instead he smiled and said "look what I found!". He was holding a baby bunny. Thank goodness I foiled his plan- which was to use the bunny to wake me up. If that had happened one of us wouldn't be alive and I'm truly not sure who!

So, now we are the new parents of an adorable albino bunny. We're thinking of naming her Peanut (Pickel and Peanut... sounds nice, eh?). However, we're still open for suggestions!

If you're wondering why we have a bunny... it's a long story that I will summerize here: Jake wants to raise chickens for eggs and meat. Living in a small neighborhood makes that not impossible, but difficult. So, he decided he'd breed rabbits to either sell or eat. Already he is leaning towards selling them because our bunny is SO cute (though she would be the breeder). My only concern (clearly I have lost some sanity if I only have 1!) is whether there is any need for bunnies? Is there a market for them? I don't want to sell them to be eaten... that would be savage!


entitled to own

One of my favorite bloggers (and old friend), Elegantly Random, recently wrote about the pressure our generation feels to own a house and the sense of entitlement that pushes us to do just that. I have been very aware of my generation's misgivings as I have watched every other employed 20-something purchase new cars, electronics, and now homes. Each time a friend posts pics of their gorgeous new home or I get to watch a TV that actually has a remote, I do feel a twinge of self-pity and envy, but then I also feel pride for my resistence. At times, I have been too prideful about it- like how for years Jake and I bragged about owning just one car and then when a deal too sweet to pass up came our way- we switched to a 2-car family quicker than you can say "budget". Now I can't phathom living without it! In fact, though Jake rode his bike 20-miles to work in the winter, it's summer and we don't even consider it. Yes, I am a Gen-Xer/ Millenial.

That being said, I am enjoying my 2-income life. Jake and I are on a really strict budget, but that budget includes "fun money" and "vacation money". We figure that it will be hard to continue working diligently on our goals if it is completely based on self-sacrifice.

So, now that I feel that I have adequately distanced myself from the entitled home-owner, I am ready to admit that I did just purchase my first residence! Oh the excitement.

The other day, Jake and I swung by the NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) campus that he was at a few years ago and purchased one of their used tents. If new, this tent would cost $675! Suffice to say that we spent less than a Ben Franklin on it. But, now I feel a little less envious of my mortgaged peers. Yes, my home has patches and doors that zip, but it's a bad ass mountaineering tent that has a history hidden in it's high quality breathable walls. We don't live in it (yet), but we could weather all 4-seasons in it if we wanted too. It certainly doesn't make up for the money we throw away in rent, but it makes me feel like I own something wonderful and protective and if I wanted to- I could live in it.

$12 for a private island

We've returned from our tandem kayak adventure. It was our favorite vacation yet! The San Juan Islands are gorgeous and we had a lot of fun with our "divorce maker boat". Though I loved the trip, I had a few concerns. Here are some of my thoughts from the trip:

1. Why am I spending hours paddling against the current (tide charts, what?!?!) and worrying about not making it to our next human-powered only campsite?

2. Why don't I just sit on my private 2-acre island instead of exerting physical energy paddling to another, yet more of the same island. Yup- this took me .5 seconds to convince Jake to stay put for a day... it was the best crabbing spot in the region.

3. Why is crab so @#&&*(&@ hard to eat? I was STARVING (because I was in charge of packing the food and rationed a little too tightly) and Jake plopped a full crab in front of me. "You have got to be kidding". I sat there sulking until he pulled the meat out and piled it on my plate. Pitiful, yes. Crabby, yes.
4. I love tandem things (we've now biked 70 miles and kayaked) because I like having a captive audience and benefiting from Jake's physical fitness.

5. The "divorce boat" (as tandem kayaks are known) did not affect my happy marriage.... well, except for the fact that Jake wanted to pull-over to pee every 1/2 hour (embellishing only slightly!). The kayaks we rented were really high quality and therefore we were instructed not to "beach" them. So, I had to do wet exits and pull the kayak onto shore while pretty pretty princess Jake hung-out in the tail end of the boat (he was in charge of the steering and also had to exit in the water, just after I pulled the thing 1/2 on shore). So, each pull-over took a fair amount of time and I have the bladder of a camel (I assume they rarely pee since they hold water for so long). After a few "fine we'll stop at the next island beach, just don't talk to me... I need a LITTLE time to chill!", Jake found a bottle washed up on shore and began to deal with his bladder while floating. CRISIS AVERTED ;)
6. Wild animals are awesome! We accidentally floated within 5 feet of a baby seal whose eyes were (still?) shut. We also saw numerous seals (which we have named Sea Pickels), bald eagles, weasels, porpoises, crabs, star fish, and more!