Saturday, November 24, 2012

Power to the She...indeed.

The Holiday Season is upon us!  Jingle bells ringing, lights a hanging, Whitney Houston's voice rings out on the local radio station that plays Christmas music 24-7 from Labor Day to March 31st ("KOSI 101, Home for the Hollllllllidaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyssssss"), like a sassy version of the Ghost of Christmas Past.  Yes, despite my best efforts to maintain Halloween year round, it appears that I can't stop Christmas from coming.  Which seems odd, since it's a balmy 59 degrees here in Colorful Colorado right now. 

My mom recently came to visit (or rather to be forced into the kitchen as Thanksgiving slave labor).  The day after Thanksgiving, my dear husband (who LOVES said local radio station) was making a delightful breakfast of pannycakes and whistling along to the Pointer Sisters "All I Want for Christmas is Yoooooouuuuuuuuuuuu!"  I must have been visibly cringing and frowning because my Mom commented to our girls (but mostly to me), cheerfully, "Oh, girls!  You're mother will get over being a Grinch yet!"
 Hmmmmm.  I'm pretty sure that translated to, "Katie, don't you love Jesus and want to celebrate his birth?"  Sorry Mom, but you didn't even scratch the surface.  If only I could light a lil' chocolate cup-cake spiced with Frankincense and Myrrh, and call it good, then I would.   And in case you're wondering how that would work:

Then add a chocolate cupcake.

Anyway, I just deteeeeeeeeeeeeeesssssssssssssst the mass commercialism.  Not to mention the self-induced holiday stress.  Aaron's birthday is the 14th of December.  Christmas is the 25th.  Mine is the 27th.  By the time mine rolls around I want to get on my bike and ride myself someplace warm and sunny...however long it takes to get there-...with a bottle of red and white wine in my water bottle cages.  My family is welcome to tag along,'s not entirely necessary and if they can't keep up...well, so be it.  

*Obviously I've put a lot of thought into this scenario each and every year.

I'd say many of us mommies feel this way.  Unless you are playing for the other team.  The team that is responsible for 99% of the stress.  Hanging lights after Halloween, setting impossibly ridiculous standards for classroom parties as the dreaded tyrant "Room Mom", baking cookies who's heads stay on when you fashionably ice them, sending out the perfect cards...on time, the annoying list goes on and on.

Those kind of women.  You know who you are.  We are most likely not good friends, but I appreciate your efforts.  Sometimes.  

Anyway, I was juussst getting a taste of all this the night I was shopping for Thanksgiving dinner preparations.  I was frustrated at all the cinnamon, spice and everything nice being thrown at me TWO DAYS BEFORE THANKSGIVING in the stores.  But then a blessing.  Something to truly be thankful for.  I arrived home and started unloading the groceries and there on the counter, Aaron had left me the mail before going to bed.  Yes, there it was.  Right on top. 

The December edition of Athleta. 

Oh, joy of joys.  Some of you know of the merriment I take when shredding the pretentious descriptions of catalogs page by precious page.  For example, I don't get J Crew, but recently a friend posted a pic from the page and threw me the challenge of writing it's caption on facebook.  I immediately dropped everything and responded with glee.  

Photo: Ok,  Katie Macarelli,  we need a caption! 

"For the Jackie O girl who's on the go in Colorado: get ready to walk around, carrying skis that clearly don't fit you in a diva-like state. Our Glittens allow you to experience the joys of frostbitten fingers while looking quite savvy for a mere $30. But it doesn't stop there. Are you tired of your bulky ski coat warming you up and protecting you adequately on the slopes? We are too! Freeze your ASS off with our sassy tweed ski-coat. Priced a little bit naughty but a little bit nice at $198. And finally. In order to really walk around like you've never even BEEN to Colorful Colorado, squeeze yourself into what we promise will be the least comfortable pants you'll ever own: our Pixie Jodhpurs for $148. Add up this lovely ensemble (not including the socks) and you could have bought a ski pass, my sassy, ridiculous friend! But then again, the plan was never to ski in the FIRST place, now was it! (Hand over mouth as you giggle seductively)."

My favorites are overpriced items with ridiculous backgrounds.  The more expensive, outlandish and preposterous, the better.  Athleta is by far my favorite to chastise (which is funny since my favorite wardrobe pieces are actually from Athleta--on clearance of course). 

December is coming soon.  Today when Aaron gets back from his ride, we are...digging out the Christmas decorations.   I will do my best to fight the plump-pear-bottomed Grinch that resides on one shoulder. I'm going to try and pay more attention his doe-eyed, side-kick pup, Max who sits on the other.  
It will take all my power.  Some might will take "Power to the She".  

Therefore, I'd better energize myself.  Let the rant begin...

 Page 5. Powder Jean $328

Because everyone wants to look their finest when they are holding Yoga poses on the jeans.  "Seven pockets to shash your stuff".  Crimany.  That's a lot of stuff.  They make it sound like I'm going to be out there more than 1.2 hours (which is about all our family can take).  

Page 8.  Stoked Sweater $98

Raise your hand if you've ever felt under-dressed when you're getting dropped off on the slopes by helicopter!  Me! Me!  This "fun jacquard print" will solve that straight-away!

Page 11. Cabin Fever, a combined outfit for a mere $346

If you've been "off the grid" for a touch too long, ordered a crap-load of overpriced items, got in a fight with your husband over it when he voiced concern and then took a shovel to his head, you'll need this sleek, yet warm outfit when you carry his body from the cabin and proceed to bury it in a snowbank!  *Shovel is temporarily out of stock.

Page 16. Sleigh Ride!  From head to toe:

-Pistil Parker Cap $34
-Sequoia Tunic $128
-Knit Denim Slim Trek Pant $89
-Olukai Kalia Boot $250
Total: $501

This skinny-leg pant will stand up to the challenge of you hopping on your horse and riding away from the creditors that will surely be chasing you come December 26th!  

Page 32. Weekender Maxi $108

Seriously.  Can we let the Maxi-craze just wither out and die like it's supposed to?  "All in one outfits" sounds a lot like the phrase, "Giving up".  And again, if it's not entirely flattering on the Athleta model, I shudder to think how this would look on the average woman.  Not pretty.  Not pretty at. All. I can look frumpy for a lot less than $108. 

Page 36. Amani Sweater $118

Upon completing your $20 Hatha Yoga class, don't get chilled while you meticulously roll up your bolster in a perfect lunge.  This "open wrap sweater with a handkerchief hem" will definitely one-up that other suburban mom who thinks she's "all that".  And if it doesn't, then you can take it off and hog-tie her in the back room where they store the extra mats and leave her for dead.  

Page 47. Cocoon Cozy Sweater $98

Perfect ff you're that other suburban mom who thinks she's "all that".  When you find yourself hog-tied in the back room, you can thank us for being quite cozy in your cocoon within a cocoon!

Page 53. Tinker Tank and Kickbooty Pant $52 $79

When you feel like throwing your hands up in the air and screaming, "All RIGHT!  YOU WIN, Bastards!!!!", do it in STYLE!  Your yoga class will forgive you if you do it with just the right print.  Might we suggest "Port Wine" (on model)?

Page 66. Bindi Layer Tank $64

If this picture appeals to you, you clearly do not have enough to do.  Perhaps you should sign up to be the head "room mom" of your child's 2nd grade class!  You can assign the other moms ridiculous craft/game ideas for the upcoming holiday party with plenty of support.  
*Stand not included. 

Page 70. Wind Warrior Tight $98

As a mom on the go, you won't even have to worry about the incontinence birthing 2+ kids surely gave you. Put our stretchy, wicking, Velocitek fabric to the test!  If you'd like to venture out to hurdle some rustic fences, go for it!  When you pee these pants, their breathable CoolMax crotch gusset will quickly dry and be begging for more!

Page 81. Snow Stomping Good Time!

Smartwool Cuffed Beanie, $28
-Seamless Twist Hoodie, $89
-Snow Stomper Skirt, $89
-Seamless Twist Tight, $54
-Sorel Joan of Arctic Boot $150
Total: $400

Your hair too, can blow with reckless abandon as you shove the snowshoes you don't know how to wear in a stranger's old hollowed out kayak.  Your thighs will be flashy, fun and chafe-free thanks to our next-to-skin-fit and mid-rise tights.  The mini-skirt is bafflingly bulk-free so you can run away in style from the strange, old, creepy, woodsy guy who resides in the cabin just over your shoulder--your shoulder that's encased in anti-odor Meryl Skinlife, of course, for supreme performance! 

Page 89. Snowplow Sweater $118

Even your DOG will be impressed and more than a little jealous when you sport our classic zip-front, snow-flake-motif sweater on your ru-hu-huns! (superior giggle).  She'll WISH she had real arms and legs and not four legs so she could sport those raglan sleeves for mobility!  Sorry, Layla.  You have 4 legs and our sweaters don't fit you!!!!!  

Okay.  That fully gave me my fix.  

We can rock this merry season, my Grinch sisters and brothers.  Let us not give into the ridiculous notion of commercialism but find a healthy balance that will keep the magic alive for our kids and ourselves.  I don't know, maybe don YOUR snowflake sweater and go frolic about.  And I challenge you to do it without the hefty power-stretch, polartec, merino-wool price-tag.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner

Today is Wednesday.  We move into our "real house" on Friday.  If I were Southern or maybe a Southern-Baptist, I might follow this up with a quick, "Thank'ya Jesus!" (with a mini 'raise the roof' motion to accompany).  But I'm not.  We're Episcopalians--a touch more private and reserved.  So I will just say it in my head and perhaps whisper it like I do when I narrowly avoid being crushed by a car on my bike.  

And that's what I feel like.  This move, this summer, it was like our entire family narrowly avoided being crushed by a car...or rather, an entire FLEET of cars. Wait. An entire fleet of Escalades. 

What would that look like? Well, the pain starts at $63,170.

We made the first of our dreaded Double Move on July 2nd.
 How a double move signals it's arrival. 
And from there, the roller coaster began.  

1. We had a contract on a Victorian house built in 1871 on 12th st.  This was at the top of our price-range, great location but it needed a lot of work.  A LOT.  Still.  We hunted it down through an expired listing and it seemed like it was going to work.  The inspection proved otherwise. It failed everything.  Every.  Thing.  As in: not really livable.   The guy doing the inspection told us "I would not buy this house. I've only said that to one other person in 20 years of doing this."

We were back to square one.

2. We found a place East of Hwy 93.  In view of our new Elementary school.  It was a short-sale, which means it may have taken 6-8 months for everything to go through.  It was gorgeous.  But HUGE.  Spacious doesn't really explain it.  More like cavernous.  This went against one of our main goals in moving in the first place; to DOWNSIZE and to be within walking and biking distance of almost everything day-to-day.  So the ginormousness didn't settle with any of us.  BUT. It had truly spectacular views off the back deck overlooking Golden and Lookout Mtn. The house was really amazing and very modern and right at a doable price-range. So in an effort to just lock it in, in case nothing else came along, we went under contract with that one.

And we kept looking.

3. We found the perfect town-house on 8th street. And when I say "perfect", I mean it. 

  • just a few blocks from the library and creek on 10th
  • our church is on 13th
  • biking and walking distance to the Elementary school by path and sidewalks 
  • on the lower end of our price-range
  • and the perfect size--right in the middle of the size of our first house and our last  
  • not too big, not too small
  • a rock climbing wall in the basement-seriously
  • little front yard for girls to run around in
  • and about 2 blocks from the rec-center and Lion's park

We love it.  All of us love it. We ditched the short-sale and are set to close and move on Friday.  

There are many things I am looking forward to.  Some of which surprised me.  Like wanting to use a real dining table again instead of our grotesque card table.  The very sight of this table irritates me on a level that is truly frightening. 

Also.  I hate the sinks here.  I'm not sure why, but I clean them obsessively. Although, I stopped doing this as of yesterday in an effort to distance myself and focus on what really matters: getting enough caffeine in my system to kill a small horse (or a pony, if you will, but not a dwarf pony, because I think those things are creepy).   

Our poor espresso maker that a dear friend gave us for Christmas a few years back, has also been displaced.  I didn't dare put her in either of our two storage garages, but there simply was no room for her in this shanty of a kitchen.  Yet, I still needed her presence.  So.  Here's where she's been all summer.  

That's right.  In the bottom corner of our pantry.  A shell of what she once was: the reigning queen of our previous kitchen, dare I say, our HOUSE even.  Sure, we didn't use her powers every day, but even the coffee maker that we use sometimes 3 times a day, knows she is a mere second best.  This is but a metaphor for the entire move in general.  I feel like a tired queen that got shoved in the pantry holding up boxes of EmergenC.   Only it was more like the queen  who must battle dirty hippies in our town-house community that chain smoke and strum (poorly strum) ukeleles.

So it is with great joy that I will be packing up the queen today.  Dusting her off and finding her a place of honor at our "real house".  She will reign again.  Because despite the summer of uncertainty, we DID dodge the Escalades and nobody.  NObody puts baby in the corner.  


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

We're Gonna Move

On Easter we started seriously considering attempting to move.  It suddenly clicked.  We wanted to be back in the town we loved. Immediately we broke out the Pros/Con list. Please click the link below to really get yourself in the mood for this list.  

Pros for moving to Golden:
  • It's where Aaron and I first met.
  • It's where we lived for almost 10 years--feels like home.
  • It would be closer to family.
  • We'd be intentionally downsizing.
  • It's where our church is (that we don't go to enough).
  • More biking/walking opportunities.
  • It's got that happy, "outdoorsy" feel we all LOVE.
  • Prospect of making new friends and meeting new people.
  • And lastly, (this is just a guess), more coffee shops per capita than any other city in Colorado. 

Cons for moving to Golden:
  • Showing your house is a detestable experience. 
  • Moving is a gruesome, apoplectic experience.
  • We would be moving from a ginormous dream house to what will most likely be a shanty.  
  • That shanty will probably more expensive.
  • The girls will have to change schools.
  • Loads of uncertainty.
  • Leaving good friends and good neighbors.
  • Sore backs.
  • Not even a full summer to enjoy last summer's landscaping oasis. 
  • The possibility of not finding a new house therefore having to live in my in-laws' RV for the next 3-5 years. 
 It was quite a decision.  But in a few short weeks we'd decided.  We would go for it.  And just like was on.  On like...well, not like Donkey Kong, because we never had that game as kids.  Maybe more like "On like Zaxxon,"  

You may be asking yourself, "Why the nonsensical twist of a good phrase? Zaxxon?".
a. We DID have that Atari game.
b. I was awesome at it, JUST like I'm awesome at staging a house.
c. I find it just completely hilarious that "The object of the game is to hit as many targets as possible without being shot down or running out of fuel—which can be replenished, paradoxically, by blowing up fuel drums".  -Wikipedia 
d. It was also one of the first video games to display shadows, to indicate the ship's altitude above the surface.  Take that you stupid Gorilla. 
e. I also simply hate when people say "It's on.  Like Donkey Kong."

So like many things in our lives, we decided to choose the path with the MOST resistance and rally the family to move.  And just like Zaxxon, I feel like the object is to hit as many people as possible  with house fever without being shot down ourselves or running out of fuel.  Although stressful, this has seemed much easier this time around in that we didn't have to tile anything, our girls can make their own beds and this house is fantastic.  None of which was the case the last time we moved.  

We shined, mulched, touch-upped, lost our tempers with each other and our kids, and planted pretty purple flowers.  I even resorted to baking cookies right before the showings.  Because that's just S-M-A-R-T.  I used my mom's recipe from my home-town church cookbook (which is a future blog in and of itself).  

And I only burned them once.  Which to be fair, we found out as we were packing for a weekend of camping and mtn. biking that we had a showing in less than 45 minutes.  

Just like Zaxxon, many times I needed to refuel.  This meant maybe one or two (or...more) of the famous Rose Dobler chocolate chip cookies and/or iced coffee.  Because yesterday was the hottest June 4th on record and we had two showings.  
Notice in the background the artful, yet whimsical display of lemons and limes, the fresh cut irises and how SHINY everything is??!?!!?  SOOOOOOO SHINY!

Yes.  Two showings and hopefully our last.  13 days on the market, 17 showings, 5 mowings, 7 batches of cookies, 6 iced coffee's later and we were under contract as of 5:30 a.m. today.  That was right about the time when I was shining my bike headlight into my sister's house Morse-code-like.   Lynette and her girls just arrived from Kazakhstan (I KNOW.  It sounds like ZAXXON) for the summer. Giggling maniacally.  Coincidence?  I think not.  

The girls and I later went into Golden to see them for lunch. Not sure how everything will trickle down, but I definitely felt like we were refueled for at least the day.   No showings, no stress, just coffee, giggles and summer. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

17 Crafts to Make with Tape

If our family had it's own game of Pit, it would contain only 3 hot commodities:

1. Coffee
2. Peanut Butter Panda Puffs
3. Tape

Wha?  Huh?  Not familiar with the classic Parker Bros. game of Pit?  Well, let me and my friends at Wikipedia educate you:

Still not sure how it looks when played?  Here.

The first family commodity is self-explanatory.  Coffee.  It needs little hype.  If we have coffee in the house, the world keeps turning.  If someone hogs it or we are out completely, I turn into that creepy girl from "The Ring".  The sun is eclipsed, my hair gets greasy, I walk with an unnatural gait and I start pushing people into wells.

The second commodity is quite possibly the best cereal I've ever tasted in my life.  Peanut Butter Panda Puffs.  Discovered when Bella was 4, in our pantry ever since.  Every person in our family loves it.  It's a touch expensive, but it's GLUTEN FREE! None of us are gluten intolerant, mind you, but that's beside the point.  It's also heavy on the environmentally-happy scale.  We as a family, are Panda experts!  I know all there is to know about their cuteness, habitats and the mean people trying to squash them into a gray blur of fuzz.

But the third item.  The third item seems to be out or missing 364 days out of the year despite the fact that I buy it in bulk at Costco every week.  Okay, that's an exaggeration.  I've priced it out in bulk at Costco, but the simple fact is I can't justify buying the Scotch-brand (a.k.a. "Purple rich people's tape") when I know that my girls are going to do things with it like "tape up the Barbie to make her a mummy!". So...
  • Tape is always on my grocery list.  It's a staple like, "apples" or "milk".
  • When I'm riding my bike and thinking deep thoughts, "We are out of tape," will pop into my head at least twice per ride.
  • Daily, DAILY you can hear the phrase uttered, "Where's the TAPE?"  with a little annoyed edge of emphasis on the last word.  
And really, WHERE IS IT?

Yesterday I needed some tape.  Each Friday when the girls bring home their school folders, I like to take the new week's spelling words and TAPE them next to their breakfast place-mats for easy memorization. I also like to tape my kids to their chairs in order to ENSURE the memorization process works.  Kidding.  I would never do that. It would be a waste of a precious commodity.  Aren't you paying attention???!!  But the "why" is not important.  It's never important.  It's really just the WHY NOT?  As in why can't I use it when I want and/or need it?  And of course the tape was missing.

"Where is the TAPE?"  I asked aloud, to no one in particular.  Again, it's the same voice I use when I ask, "Who drank all the COFFEE?!"  Or "Who ate all the Peanut Butter Panda Puffs and left the EMPTY BOX in the PANTRY?!??!"  It's a voice that my family has learned to hide from in silence.  So I went on my daily process of elimination scavenger hunt for the 17 missing rolls of tape.

Come along.  Let's take a tour, shall we?  And let's start with where the tape is NOT. 

It certainly wasn't in "the drawer" next to the chap-stick and the glue-sticks--which have their own story of mistaken identity and mayhem that will have to be covered a different day.

It wasn't in "the homework bin" where the girls have their own personal stash in order to not take MINE.

It wasn't at the top of the steps where there was something sinister going on with "Baby" that involved costume changes and torn up "to-do" lists.

It wasn't in Gabby's room...although to be fair, I wasn't really going to set foot in there to find out.

It wasn't in Bella's room. And I have to say that I suspected her all along.  She got a new "American Girl" magazine with the following headline, "17 Crafts to make with tape".  What??!?!?  What kind of article is that?  And seventeen?!  I mean, I'll give you one or two, but seriously.  17?  Thank you, American Girl.  What's next month, "17 crafts to make with your mommy's earrings and coffee beans!"? But it really wasn't there.  Bella's taken on a new obsession with a clean room--which I'd show you, but she made me promise no pictures.

It wasn't on "my side of the office" with a plethora of art supplies and anything else you might need for a sudden Armageddon. 

Well this was baffling.  UNTIL.  I turned just a quarter turn to Aaron's side of the office and there it was.  Two.  TWO rolls of tape just lying by the wayside all sad and mildly dejected.  Not even being USED!  What does he need tape for?  He's an engineer!  I'd be surprised if he even knew HOW to use it...unless he read the March/April edition of American Girl magazine.  This commodity is not really for all four of us.  It's mainly a 3/4 family commodity.  And to have 2 rolls, so haphazardly strewn about was just an insult to the 3 people in the family that NEED it. 


I quickly scooped up the two rolls, put one in the girls homework bin.  The other?  I hid it in the empty coffee can, in the cabinet above the microwave.  The same coffee can that I hide my chocolate.  The good chocolate that friends give me and I refuse to share with the other savages in my family. 

Is this what I've become?  A grown woman who hides tape and chocolate in an empty coffee can from her family?  Yes.  And I'm perfectly fine with that.  Feel free to stop on by for a cup of coffee or a bowl of Peanut Butter Panda Puffs.  But if you come a knockin' for some tape, I will back away, closer to the microwave, guarding my precious stash and mumble something like, "I know we have some tape somewhere.  You should check the drawer."