Thursday, April 19, 2012


luke and i are currently renting a small bungalow house that has no grass in the front and backyards.  the idea behind this landscaping choice was that grass, being notorious for its water consumption, is not eco-friendly and so the family that owns this house decided instead to put in drought-tolerant plants and mulch over larger areas not planted with anything.  this sounded great to luke and i - lower utility costs!  woot!

sadly, it's become increasingly clear, especially after the first big rain during our first winter here, that mulch doesn't hold up well to the elements when used as a full-backyard landscaping tool.  therefore, our yards are essentially dirt, which really wouldn't bother me at all, except for this environment is excellent for breeding weeds.  everywhere.  every.  where.

for the first year we lived here, luke and i were really good about catching the weeds when they were tiny sprouts, and ripping them out of the ground with glee.  however, it soon became obvious that weeding a completely bare yard is a full-time commitment - for realz.  it is constant.  in addition, i actually started to like the addition of green plants to the brown backyard landscape and the dog really likes jumping through the tall weed stalks when we play ball.  thus, the plan to just ignore the weeds was born.

this plan has been working out pretty well for us.  the backyard is full of lush greenery and if you squint (or, like me, don't wear your prescription glasses at home), it looks like there are just a bunch of legitimate plants basking in the sun out there.  i actually kinda loved it.

...until today, when for some reason the weeds became less like pleasant alternatives to gray mulch and more like an indication of what a terrible mess my life is and how horrible i am at being a grown adult.*  thus, after i swept all the errant pieces of mulch off our patio and completely re-organized our "potting station" (i.e. the stainless steel kitchen counter we had no place for, and thus stuck in the backyard as a place for me to place new plants into pots each spring, hopeful i will spring a green thumb, only to forget to water them for days at a time, effectively killing everything), i decided to start digging out weeds.  most were almost hip-high on me and were therefore almost impossible for me to rip out with my hands. i grabbed a small trowel and, sans gardening gloves, ** i made my way across the yard just in front of the patio, manically removing all the weeds.  i did this for a very long time (or at least what seemed like forever) and paused only to wipe the sweat from my face.  i took a "before" photo of one portion of the yard, meaning to clear the entire frame of weeds before i stopped today, and i totally would have powered through had i not literally felt my skin slide off after i attacked a particularly vicious root with the trowel.  i had managed to get a blister and pop it and tear my skin off in one weeding experience. so proud.  i then had to wash all the dirt off of my bare hands and out of my exploded blister with antibacterial soap, which was so fun.

all in all, i think my bandaged hand was worth it.  my plan is to go get some gloves tomorrow and continue on saturday.  THERE WILL BE NO MORE GREEN on the left side of these photographs come sunday.  NONE.  (well, except for on the fence, because, you know, privacy.)

*luke and i had an extreme tax season this year, what with his new, declared small business and both of us working as "independent contractors" and such.  we owed a bunch of money until i entered in all the tuition i paid in 2011.  dear student loans: thanks for that.  the intensity of taxes made me realize that i definitely need to get my shit together.  no more "oops, i had no idea adult life worked that way, so i'm getting shafted."  no.  will not let it happen.  i will pull up all the weeds until i feel responsible again.

**my lack of gloves, and my inability to remember to buy them, was a huge reason i've ignored the out of control weed problem for so long.  today, i figured i should probably take advantage of the superhuman powers my sudden cleaning frenzy had granted me and just deal with the backyard, even without gloves.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

spring breakthrough

today marks the first day in three that i haven't had a splitting migraine from the moment i woke up to the moment i went to sleep.  i try to be a grown up these days and not panic at the slightest deviance from normal health and therefore, i was not immediately convinced that there was a brain aneurysm happening, but i got close.  so, imagine how pleased i am that it was not, in fact, that i was bleeding out into my skull - rather, i had a killer hormonal headache* paired with pretty top notch sinus congestion.  it's better now, so all is well.

in other news, i started my last quarter of my master's coursework yesterday.  i don't know how i feel about it.  i mean, i'm by no means done, as i'll still have to research and write a thesis.  if i'm feeling hopeful, i think i can finish that by december.  if i'm feeling fatalistic, i feel like it will never get done.  in addition, now i'm thinking i may get a second master's, in something like education (a decision part of me feels i should have made two years ago - hindsight being 20/20 and all). however, there is a satisfaction in knowing that after june, come what may with thesis nonsense, my life is my own again.  i will have a completely free schedule and will be able to work for money again, assuming i can find someone to hire me.  the good news is, though, that after months and months and months of having zero clue what i'd pursue post-graduation, i have a plan: i know i want to teach.  i've always loved to teach, i've always loved education, i've always advocated for passionate teachers and engaging curriculum.  that has always been a major passion in my life, and i think i would regret it for the rest of time if i continue to deny its importance to me.  therefore, i have a LIFE GOAL for once in my goddamn life.  now i just have to decide at what level i'll be teaching.  i love children, love preschool, love how incredibly brilliant children can be and how remarkable it is to watch them understand concepts most people think are beyond them.  so that's the plan.

and honestly, to have plan is pretty awesome.

*i apologize for the overshare.  however, i've gotten really shameless in my old age.

Friday, March 30, 2012

no money, mo' problems (part 2)

i think anyone who knows me personally could tell you i'm not a huge fan of the conservative movement in this country, for much the same reason i'm not a huge fan of people who eat too loud, spit on the sidewalk or are just generally totally inconsiderate of the people around them.  i was raised by parents who emphasized the importance of staying the hell out of other people's business.  if it's your personal issue and you don't feel like sharing it with me, i respect that.  i'll be here waiting to help you anyway, if you ever need to ask.  i feel like that's just a normal human consideration of other human beings' right to make their own decisions.

thus, the conservative attempts to legislate what people who are not conservative can do with their bodies or with their love offends me not just politically - it offends me morally.  if we're talking morality here, people, let's consider how morally offensive it is to dare to force your personal opinions on people who don't share your viewpoint.  ugh.  it's hypocritical and gross and i can't deal with it.

however, i have decided that when i have children, while i will be raising them as tiny heathens who (gasp!) respect and love everyone because of their differences, i will be taking one page from a conservative handbook: namely, i will teach my children how to manage their money.  i grew up in an incredibly fortunate family, where money was never an issue and i always had more than enough.  that was wonderful and there is no non-disgusting way of complaining about it.  unfortunately, because money was there and because it was used for things like food and clothes and sports uniforms (and not vacation houses or trips to europe), it became something that was never discussed.  taken for granted, perhaps.  a middle class existence was expectation, and as such, while we never felt money as a motivator (something i am very grateful for), we also never learned how to go without.  because of this, i graduated from college, jobless, and continued to eat out, drive around all the time, refused to move back home to save money, etc.  again, i did nothing extravagant - i just didn't know to live within my very different budget.

the terrible thing is i still do it.  i still operate under the assumption that despite not living with or being supported by my parents who are twenty years more advanced in their careers than i am, i can spend money like i am.

so, conservatives, teach me how to keep my children out of debt, how to force them to start funds for college and for home ownership, how to get them to understand living within one's means.

this liberal hippy has no idea how to do it.

Monday, February 6, 2012

food fight.

i'm currently simultaneously not working AND not panicking about that for the time being, which is a feat in and of itself (luke is supporting us until i finish coursework in june, as a) we can afford that sort of one-income family crap for a few months and b) both of us working twelve hour days = two grown married people living in college dorm squalor).  however, as much as this arrangement lessens the crazy money perma-stress i've been carrying around for pretty much the entirety of my grad school career, it has illuminated to me yet another problem: namely, i am a terrible cook.  as in, horrible.  i have one staple meal that is delicious, but as it is a spicy, bean-heavy veggie chili, it is not acceptable for daily consumption (at least not in a world where we want to fit into our jeans on a daily basis).  also, i make a mean veggie saute that can be eaten over microwaveable trader joe's rice (or, in the case of the photo below, an israeli couscous quinoa mixture that i had to actually boil - can you believe it?).

however, aside from these two culinary masterpieces, i am hopeless.  i attempted to make a potato and pea curry the other night and it was such an epic failure i couldn't photograph it because i was too busy crying in the bathroom about what a huge waste of time and money it was.

it almost makes me miss the days we ate out all the time.  i am actually pretty convinced that when one's definition of "dining out" is "subway sandwiches and bean and rice plates from baja fresh," it's actually cheaper to eat out than it is to cook at home.  more importantly, it's easier, which is good enough for me.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

also, a necklace, which i adore.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

when the going gets tough, the tough get crafting.  i made myself some earrings tonight.  they're simple, but they're awesome and, although you can't see it so clearly in the super high-res photobooth picture above, they are turquoise, so i am, of course, in love.

(also, this is a pretty excellent photo of the damage the animals have done to our living room blinds.)

sad face.

i'm about to begin the third week of winter quarter, so i'm having to work even harder at staying positive and present.  the past year and a half has taught me that the least healthy thing i can be doing right now is try to see into the future, because that makes me panic about where i'll work, how i'll make this worth it, when i'll finally be able to contribute financially to our lives, when we'll be able to buy a house, etc. etc. etc.  obsessing over this makes me feel guilty about going back to school, because i feel like it put our lives on hold and incurred new debt for essentially no reason.  i have to remind myself that i'm only 25 and, regardless of how horrible this limbo period feels, it's completely acceptable for me to still be working on my life.  still, though, bllllargh.  i'm over it.

luke and i have spent the weekend lazing around, mostly.  i caught up on all the reading i've been avoiding for a while and luke is currently still trying to jam all our hundreds of dvds into genre-coordinated cases.  i've been in a bit of a fog for the last few days - just really not feeling up to being a big ball of sunshine.  nothing is particularly miserable.  i'm just ready for the next phase, i guess, and hopeful that this glorious next phase will include some clarity and a paycheck.