Best pajama shorts ever

I’m conflicted about Old Navy.  I never used to shop there when I was in high school.  The store was too loud, too busy, and too colorful.  I preferred the laid-back blue and gray tones of the Gap.  But, over the past few years I’ve wandered in and found some things I like.  I like their lounge pants, for one.  But,  you have to be careful to not dry them; otherwise, they will shrink at least 2 inches with each drying.  That’s the complaint I have with most of their clothes – they are inexpensive for a reason – they’re cheap.  No matter how awesomely they fit when you first put them on, if you dry them, they morph into a boxy, short, bastard version of their original selves.

So, I shop there with caution.  But I found some shorts I liked there last summer, so I went back last month to get some more.  I discovered 2 gems.

1.  I have a hard time finding pajama bottoms that I really like.  Is it just me, or do other people have issues with PJ bottoms that ride up while they sleep?  Maybe I am a really active sleeper.  I roll over a lot or scooch up and down the bed.  I don’t know.  I just know that the wrong pair of shorts can give you a mean wedgie.  You cannot get a good night’s sleep with a wedgie.  So, I thought I would try out the Women’s Jersey Lounge Shorts – for $5 if they didn’t work out, no harm no foul.

But, work out they did!  They are awesome.  They are the perfect length, super comfortable and very cute.  At least Tim always tells me I look cute when I wear them.  I liked them so much that I bought too more pairs.  Best…PJ…shorts…ever.

2. I also love these Mid-rise Zip Pocket Shorts.  The hem around the bottoms pulls in the legs of the shorts so they don’t flair out and make one’s hips look even bigger.  They are a great length – not mom-long and not hoochie-short.  They also have nice, deep pockets that will fit a cell phone.  I went back to buy them in additional colors, but of course they now only have sizes 0, 4, and 16.  Online they are out of size 10s in every color but white.  I am not a person who wears white below the waistline.  That is my other HUGE pet peeve with Old Navy.  They are always out of my size. Whatever I look at there are racks of miniature sizes and huge sizes and nothing for the plethora of us girls who are an average size.  Super annoying.  Hopefully Old Navy will bring these back next summer, so I can get some more then.


Herein lies an amalgamated synopsis of our busy June & July 2010.

In early June Tim and I, all dressed to the nines:

went to a wedding in Muscatine, and then stopped in downtown Davenport on our way home.  Of course we hit up our favorite tasting lounge first.  On our way there, we saw this amazing sky over downtown Davenport:

The beautiful sky lasted long enough for us to get a beer and then walk to the Skybridge.  By the time we hit the sky bridge, the sky was taking on a more ominous quality:

We hung out on the bridge until we felt the wind hit it.  The bridge started to sway underneath us, so we got the heck out of there.  We exited the bridge into a full-on rain storm.  We ended up having to sprint from the Radisson to our car, parked by Great River. Running in heeled sandals is not fun a’tall.

Since we were all dressed up, Tim tried to get some good pictures of us.  I have a disorder wherein I cannot keep my eyes open while getting my picture taken.  So we have a vast collection of pictures that look like this:

When I consciously try to keep my eyes open, I look as if I’m crazy.  Click on the picture below – it will enlarge, and you’ll be able to see what I mean:

Poor Tim.

Now, I’m fast forwarding a few weeks.  When Nate and Rachel were back, we drove up to Monticello, intending to canoe.  We got rained out both Saturday and Sunday.  So on Sunday we went to the Grant Wood Art Festival instead.

Attending The Grant Wood Art Festival is somewhat of a tradition in our family.  We used to always go on Sunday after meeting.  Actually, at one point the festival was on both Saturday and Sunday.  That was so long ago that I was in the face painting stage/kid tent stage.  I think I made a paper plate doll head with yarn hair and everything.  Back in those days, the festival was super awesome.  The first awesome thing about it was that, as an elementary student at Strawberry Hill, we had the chance to draw a picture that would be used on the buttons used to gain entry to the festival.  That was always super exciting.  I don’t think my drawing ever got chosen, but that was just due to the poor taste of the judges, I am sure.

The second thing that made the Festival awesome was that you could take a bus tour around Stone City, which is this super neat little town northeast of Anamosa, Iowa where Grant Wood started an art colony.  Several years ago, the bus would take you ALL over town, even to the burned out Green mansion.  You could get out of the bus and walk around the ruins of the limestone mansion.  It was such a cool thing to see.  One never sees stone ruins in the Midwest.  Eventually, however, they stopped letting you get out of the bus – you would just drive by the ruins, craning your neck to see as much as you could.  Then they stopped taking you past the ruins all together.  I think the ruins have actually been torn down now, which is so sad.  It was  just a portend of things to come, however.  After decades of having the festival in Stone City, the festival had to get moved to downtown Anamosa because the new owners of the 3 story barn that was the heart of the festival no longer wanted the festival on the grounds.

A Grant Wood Art Festival not in Stone City is just wrong.  The organizers did their best to make the event engaging and interesting, but attending a “festival” in a community center cannot measure up to one held in the magic of Stone City.

Plus, it was raining.  Buckets.

Hopefully some day the new owners of the barn will have a change of heart, and the festival can move back to its homeland. In the meantime, we’ll have to comfort ourselves with this:

It is easy to see why Grant Wood chose Eastern Iowa to found a colony.  It’s super serene and beautiful.  This photo was taken in my parents’ front yard.  Every time I visit their house in Monticello, I feel as if I’m in the Shire.  I’m re-reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy right now, and I’m afraid that what was true for the Shire in the book is also true of Iowa – there is no safe place from the long arm of Sauron anymore, not even in our beautiful heartland.  But, I digress.

Here is another picture of serenity to get your thoughts off the somewhat imminent (probably) destruction of our peaceful lives by greedy, evil leaders (aka Sauron).

We finally did get our canoe trip in.  Benny came back the last week of the month, and I took Friday off, and we hit the Maquoketa river.  It was a perfect day, and we had an awesome time.  I’m glad we got the trip in when we did, because with the dam breaking at Delhi, who knows when the river will be safe for canoers again.

My garden is producing fruit.  I’m pretty amazed that it is, because most of the plants look like something growing in the Dead Marshes.  I don’t know if they are getting too much sun, not enough sun, too much water, not enough water, not enough soil, or what.  They are mystifying me.  But, we’ve gotten some good peppers and small tomatoes from them, so I count the bucket garden a success.

Lastly, but not leastly, I’ve started a new blanket. This one is for the Benny Boo.  He wanted it long enough so that he can tuck the blanket under his feet.  Consequently it is NINE FEET long.  It is going to take buckets of hours to get it done, but it will be a thing of beauty and function in the end.  I know Benny will use the heck out of it.  The blanket is going to be a mix of Peruvian Print and Heather Grey.  I haven’t done any rows with Heather Grey yet; I’m too enamored with the Peruvian to switch colors.  I love variegated yarns – they are a joy to crochet with.  They keep it interesting, too, because you never know which two colors will meet up.

That is a random bunch of stuff, but there’s been a lot to write about lately.  I need to start posting more often and more succintly.  Some day…

Veronica Mars and What Not

What not.  It’s an interesting phrase.  I have a friend who appends it to the end of almost every sentence – “So, I got into a car accident on Saturday and severed my foot below the ankle and what not…”  Ever since I noticed this foible, I’ve become more sensitive to the usage of the phrase.  I hear it everywhere now.  What not.  What does that even mean?!

Well, thank goodness for the internets.  I just looked it up and discovered it’s actually spelled “whatnot.”  So, I guess it’s a word and not a phrase.  The origins, as explained here, are not that illuminating:

Word Origin & History

1540, “anything,” from what + not. As the name of a furniture item, first attested 1808, so named for the objects it is meant to hold.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

I am so glad that the Online Etymology Dictionary relieved me of my ignorance of the origin of the word “what not” by telling me that it came from “what” plus “not.”

Anyway, back to Veronica Mars and whatnot.  Tim and I recently discovered the first season of Veronica Mars on Netflix Streaming.  We are only 6 episodes in, but so far I really, really like it.  It’s freeing me from my Bones kick, which is good because the show was starting to annoy me, but I was so used to watching it that I couldn’t stop.  Plus Emily Deschanel is so interestingly pretty.  She’s hard not to watch.  Look at her!

Man, am I ever tangential tonight.  Back to Veronica Mars.  It’s a good show.  I can’t wait to find out what really happened to Lilly Kane (the estimable Amanda Seyfried, who won my heart in Mean Girls).  Maybe some night when Tim is not home,  I will skip to the end and watch the last episode of season 2.  Or I’ll read the plot synopsis on the internets.  Mu ha ha ha.  You can’t stop me, Teem!!!

Weird Food

As I mentioned, Tim and I recently had a house-full of guests.  As a result, we had a medley of unusual food loitering about the place.  Tim and I often take the easy road and pick something up for supper, but last night we decided to be resourceful, and we actually ate food that already existed in our kitchen!  It was weird but delicious mix of:

1.  A microwaved sweet potato.  I did the old grocery bag trick, and the potato cooked up perfectly in about 12 minutes.  It was a huge potato, BTW.  I added butter and salt and pepper, and it was delicious.

2.  We had 2 leftover jalapeno and cheddar hot dogs, so Tim sliced them up, fried them in a skillet and added them to a can of Pork and Beans that mysteriously appeared in our cupboard.  It was right next to a package of ramen that was tucked away deep in the cupboard.  The interesting thing was, that someone had only used HALF of the ramen packet.  Yes, half of an 18 cent package of ramen.  That person then sort of folded over the open end of the ramen, tucked the 1/2 used packet seasoning back into the package, and then stashed it in the back of the cupboard, never to be seen again.  I’m pretty sure the culprit was the Teentz, but I can’t say for certain.

3.  Cheese!  The Beentz is a huge cheese freak, so we had 3 different kinds of cheeses opened and half-eaten – colby jack, swiss, and a mysterious soft, white cheese I couldn’t quite identify.

4.  Our bucket garden is starting to produce, so Tim cut up some tomatoes and peppers.  He added the peppers to the pork and beans and hot dog stew – tried to health it up a bit.  We ate the tomatoes straight-up.

5.  Tim polished off his supper with some Rold Gold sourdough pretzels.  I was already full by that time, however.

It was a weird, albeit delicious, supper.  We felt very proud of ourselves for using our groceries, too.  We are so grown up.

Tonight Tim is making pasta.  He added some garden-fresh peppers to the sauce, as well as some black olives, and he is grilling MorningStar patties.  We are going to cut them up and add them to the pasta.  I’m sure it’s going to be awesome.

Too fast, so goes my life

Again, it’s been forever since I’ve posted.  It’s ironic – the busier I am, the more I have to write about, but the less time I have to write.  When I have time to write, I don’t have anything to write about.

It’s been another busy weekend, on top of a busy month.  Nate & Rachel visited in early June, and we had an awesome, jam-packed weekend with them.  We had one weekend off, and then we had more visitors – my brother, his girlfriend, and Tim’s brother.  We spent the 10 days visiting Mom and Dad, chilling on the back patio because the weather was the most perfect weather I have ever seen, playing Bags on the awesome Bags setup Benny built, drinking lots of microbrews, playing Euchre and Settlers of Catan, canoeing, watching the misty galaxies float by in Monticello, and dodging spinning firecrackers that tried to attack Mom and me.  Our cooler saved us and has the battle scars to prove it.

This was our first weekend guest-free, but Tim was driving shuttles for the JD Classic, and I was bringing our household back in order.  It went by in a flash.  I did get to run yesterday, which felt great.  Amazingly enough, 10 days of brats, beer, and pretzel M&Ms kind of jacks up the body.  I feel one million times better after running yesterday and walking today.  I think my posture has even improved.  I know my mental disposition has.  I woke up out-of-sorts today – I blame it on the clouds and loneliness.  One day to myself after a busy, full week is perfect.  Two days is too much.  I missed the Teems.  I forced myself to get out and walk (I couldn’t muster up the energy to run), and the birds, and the trees, and the breeze cleared up my head and put me to rights.

Hopefully I’ll find some time this week to get my writing caught up with my thoughts and activities.  I have so much to write about – Star Wars in Concert, my new purse, the new blanket I started crocheting, the table my brother and dad are building for me, the Fair I want to go to, the books I want to read and have read, the movies we watched, the trials and happiness of living in a small house, the joys and frustrations of trying to raise tomatoes, the best pajama shorts ever, etc. etc. etc.

But now it’s tea-time, and I need to finish Fellowship of the Rings.  Good night until I have another pocket of time, energy, and inspiration.