a high-heeled walk on the wild side

The guidebook calls this a "Portland institution"... I call it "men dressed as women gropping their fake breasts and lip-syncing". However, it was a HOOT(er)!

Darcelle (pictured below) is a 78-year-old man with 2 grandkids. He is super nice, sings proudly in his bass voice, and tells great jokes. My mother-in-law loves all things dealing with theater and enjoyed being picked on by Darcelle. I have a few pics of some of the other women (I think it's insulting to call them men, but it is quite confusing!), perhaps I'll post those another day to give you a few kicks!


a smashingly good time

I've been MIA from the internet because I got to spend a week with my sister and brother-in-law! We hadn't seen each other since Christmas '06... a ridiculously long time for a family that's close! Today they left our house in Oregon (or so I was told... I was a little teary) and are driving to Alaska where they plan to settle. How cool is that?

Here's a nice snap shot of the Kasch and Kosker couples. If you look closely, you may think to yourself "boy those girls have cute toenails!". We had just returned from our sister's spa afternoon of massages and pedicures :) I can't write more 'cause they wore me out and I need to go to bed :)


snap crackle POP!!!

I have been complaining for weeks about not looking pregnant. Now, Jake and I truly think this picture is a bit deceiving in how big my belly actually is (perhaps I'm arching my back... whatever I did, it was an unconscious attempt to look big). However, I love being pregnant and I'm glad that I can look this preggo in a photo! I still haven't felt a kick, sometimes I think I might and then decide that it was my imagination. Soon I'll feel this sock monkey and I'm going to be so excited that I might attempt my first EVER back flip!

The clothing crisis was partially diverted when a super generous friend lent me two HUGE moving boxes FULL of maternity clothes (I also drive her old car which should have sold for much more than I paid... a very generous friend). We're talking super cute, fashionable clothes. My wardrobe has doubled and once I start wearing it all, people will wonder why I suddenly woke up with a sense of style :) Unfortunately, the pants issue is reaching critical levels. I did learn that Target carries some pants with huge hems, so I officially have one pair of work appropriate pants. I'm beginning to think it's time to stop being cheap and drop a Ben Franklin on 1 or 2 pairs of dress pants. The Bella Band has been a life savior- it's a spandex tube that you wear over your pants so you don't have to button/zipper them. However, it requires a lot of adjusting throughout the day and I'm pretty sure that my students are sick of seeing me pull up my pants and down on the strange white thing I wear everyday :)
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Hindsight really IS 20/20.

Today I was spreading goodwill to all and being a kind citizen by holding up myself and the 20 cars behind me to let someone out of a driveway that was next to a traffic light. So, to be sure that you're picturing it correctly... picture a huge line of cars and some poor sap sitting in their white sedan being completely stuck because everyone wants to go, go, go and not pause to let them out of the driveway. However, after I let them out, I was slammed in the face with their opinions on everything from abortion (bad) to McCain (good) to what radio station I should listen to.

As a counselor, I spend my days in an open-minded, accepting mindset. It isn't fake, but having someone else forcing their opinions on others just pisses me off (unless they are presented in a funny manner). Plus, only people who are really passionate about something have bumper stickers. I'd love to see a bumper sticker that reads "I thought buying organic was going to be too expensive, but I heeded your bumper sticker and figured out that if cut cable tv out of my budget I could afford it and it's working for me" or "I like you just the way you are". And really, has anyone ever changed their mind about anything after reading a bumper sticker (as in "Oh, you're right, Obama is a liar and Palin WOULD have been awesome" or "I think I'll follow your car and ask if you will provide a loving, supportive home to raise my baby in because I am no longer willing to get an abortion." or "That's such a cool leaf, I think I'm going to start smoking pot". )

My question of the day/week is: Do any of my readers have bumper stickers? I won't hang you, but would love to know what they say and why you want it on your car!


Someday you'll find the magic shoe that's a perfect fit.

Last night I got to see the musical WICKED. It was fantastic. MUCH better than the book and quite different. I want to see it again and again and again. Before the show, I went out to dinner with a few friends and we had a great conversation about finding the right guy and then knowing if he's husband material or not.

I do not envy my friend who is at the point in her 2-year relationship where she either needs to break it off or prepare herself for a big excited "Yes, I will marry you". I remember the sickening feeling I used to get when past relationships started to go sour. There's nothing more admirable than a person who knows their self well enough to leave a relationship with a good guy simply because it's not the right shoe (sorry, but I did spend 3 hours enjoying a musical that talks about magic shoes... the connection in my brain between the two subjects is just very strong). However, I truly don't know how to help my friend figure out if it's not the right guy, if it's commitment issues, or if it's simply cold feet.

Reflecting on my past, I feel that there were 3 men in my life who I truly thought I would marry. If I pull out the key feature of each of these men, I find the 3 greatest parts of myself: Music, Religion, Adventure. Do you already know which one I married?

The Musician: He was attractive, incredibly talented, fun, and smart. However, he broke up with me all of the time! It was a very on again, off again thing. I enjoyed his company and put up with the confusion for quite a long time. At one point he was studying abroad in Italy and told me that he was shopping for engagement rings! Initially my heart dropped, but then the dream of being married won and it was very exciting. In the end, he had cheated on me while in Italy and he just couldn't forgive himself. (side note: It turns out that the reason we broke up a lot is because I am a woman and that just isn't his cup-o-tea :)

The Religious Man: He wooed me with his "deep" connection to his spiritual side (not to mention he was tall, smart, and goofy!). This is a tough one for me as it is the most toxic and painful experience from my past. A religious man was how I viewed him, but he taught me to view myself as someone with evil intentions. I became convinced that I was a very mean and selfish person. Of course I was entirely dependent on him, without him how would I ever learn to be "good"? Just writing about it makes my hands shake in anger. The religious man eventually dumped me after asking me to take his virginity so that he could sleep with a married woman. Hmmm... I guess I forced God to make things clear because I was being so blind!

The Adventure Guide: ah, a breath of fresh air after writing about the other men. This man may never sing duets with me nor star on Broadway. I consider him to be a very spiritual man, but I will not try to smooth over the fact that not sharing a deep religious connection is very difficult for me/us. However, he is kind, intelligent, hilarious, a true jack-of-all trades. My adventure guide taught me how to really live and if I ever need to figure out if I'm a good person or not, I just look at myself through his eyes. Since most of my posts provide glimpses into how the Adventurer impacts my life, I am not going to try to sum him up in a paragraph.

All I know is I HAD to live through heartbreak in order to recognize my perfect fit. I don't know how I knew, but I took a gamble and bet it all... thank you God!

(no, I will not divulge the names of the heart breakers... unless you're an ex who is panicked that it might be you :)


advice coupons

I've reached the point in adulthood when you rise above poverty level and tax time changes from a time when you get some cash, to a time when you owe some (gulp, major) cash. It has not been a pleasant discovery. I won't complain too much because I support the idea of taxes and public works. In fact, get me started on a discussion comparing Pennsylvania public education and Oregon public education, and the impact of a lack of state sales tax (probably just one factor among many) in Oregon will cause a heart attack (unless you're from Oregon and know no differently).

Over the past year and a half, I've semi-followed David Ramsey's "Total Money Makeover" (that title is SO embarrassing) and I've studied the ideals of "Your Money or Your Life". I finally feel IN CONTROL of my money and yet I'm still seeking ways to improve and stretch my money. This is especially important for me in 2009, otherwise known as "the year of the baby" and unofficially known as "the year Julie thinks about starting life as a homemaker and thinks about moving across the country".

So my dear internet friends, what are the ways that you stretch your money?

I'll get us started:
  • I reuse the q-tips that I use for make-up touch-up. Yup, I leave a dirty q-tip sitting on the sink and use it for days. That HAS to save at least a penny a month!
  • I eat leftovers (since many people don't, I'm using this as one of my ideas).
  • I don't pay for cable tv and instead count on internet tv and netflix for entertainment.
  • I don't buy books. I borrow them from friends or borrow from the library.
  • I don't shop for fun. This one is easy for me because I don't like shopping. However, every time I go to the mall or Target, I find things I NEED... so I just don't go!
  • (your turn)