Dabbling in drunken torture

As a new parent, you spend a lot of time obsessing about sleep, primarily how to get more of that magic elixir. A few weeks back during a rare evening out (thanks to Alex for taking care of the baby and my friend Jo for having a birthday) I was talking to another parent about these first few weeks, months, “oh god please not years” of sleep deprivation. She pointed out that forcing prisoners to go without longer stretches of sleep (aka the magical 4 hours needed for a cycle of REM) is an actual form of torture and can lead to a lack of mental functioning similar to intoxication.

Here is a brief history of Baby Olav’s* adventures with sleep

The first five weeks – To be honest I am not really sure how we survived this, but Olav spent this period of time refusing to sleep on anything that wasn’t a human and with no real sense of day and night. So Alex and I spent our time in 2-3 hour shifts around the clock. Fortunately both of us were off of work AND we had friends and family nearby who would sometimes take an evening shift or early morning shift which allowed us some much needed breaks.

The introduction of the rocker – Starting at around five weeks, Olav finally discovered that he liked the rock and play. And glory be, so did we. This was our first adventure in all three of us sleeping at the same time and it felt glorious. Nights were still pretty broken up by feedings and diaper changing, but the idea that we no longer needed to have either Alex or I awake at all times was tremendous.

Transition to the bassinet – About a week or two before I went to back to work (both Alex and I took 12 weeks off of work), we finally got up the nerve to go back less solid sleep and see if we could transition Olav out of his constantly rocking nighttime routine and into the world of non-moving flat surfaces. And Olav did surprisingly well. In fact this is where I started to get some of those first glorious stretches of 5 to 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

The first routine – Around 3 months, Olav had started to form a routine that was really working for us. Down to sleep around 9pm or 10pm, up for the first feed at around 3am, sometimes even as late as 4 or 5am, then back down for an hour or two before up for the day. While that wasn’t as early a bedtime as I would have liked, that made for some pretty bearable nights that included that golden 5 to 7 hour stretch of uninterrupted sleep.

The four month sleep regression – Starting around 2 (or 3?) weeks ago, Olav decided to do what babies do and regress! According to my extensive googling and reading of sleep books, this is a stage that all babies go through when they transition from newborn sleep habits to the sleep cycles they will continue to have for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately for Olav (and me!), this means he needs to relearn how to put himself to sleep. So far, with a few exceptions, Olav has been failing at this task. Our new reality looks like this:

  • Down to sleep between 9pm and 10pm
  • Up for the first feed between 11pm and 12am
  • Then up every 1.5 (booo!) to 2.5 hours later the whole way through the rest of the night.

Since all of these wakings are responded to with nursing, there is little Alex can do, so while he would love to help, most of these nighttime wake-ups are responded to by me. Which means I am back to that blurry tortured world of intoxicated sleep deprivation. Although unlike those first five weeks, I am still expected to show up for work every day and function like a real adult.

Now I didn’t intend for this post to be a whine fest about how tired I am, just a window into my reality at the moment. The good news is that so far I am doing a pretty decent job of reminding myself that this is just a phase. And if I have learned anything over the past 5 months is that most phases of parenting are short, or at least shorter than you realize. And second, despite the drunken torture that Olav is inflicting, he remains a fantastic lovable and adorable baby. There continue to be so many amazing moments to savor where I am oh so glad I get to be this little one’s mama.

Dapper baby in authentic 80s sweater

*Not his real name, but one that was on our list of finalists

2015, a very very late recap

I started this post back in 2016, and finally got around to adding the photos 2 years later. So here you go a recap from my year as it occurred 3 years ago. It sure was a good one!

January

Due to my job, I got rather invested in the Seahawks and their fight to the Superbowl. Mainly because the longer they played the more opportunity my nonprofit had to fundraise.
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Alex and I went out to eat (probably for brunch, probably where there was coffee).
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We enjoyed the chance to babysit the youngest of our friends’ daughters. It was great fun to get some solo time with her and see Alex show off his future father skills.
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At some point this was my grocery list, I don’t know what I was planning on making, but I am sure it was tasty.
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February

Spent two evenings creating the adventures of Seda, a half-ling ranger, and her wolf, Akela. With the help of a cleric and a warrior, we successfully found, stole, and destroyed the crown of the long dead Lich-king.
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Reached level 7 of Ingress.
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Got to cuddle this ridiculous puppy thanks to my former co-worker Erin.
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March

Ate brunch with Alex at Volunteer Park Cafe and then walked around the Arboretum to look at signs of spring.
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Went to Olympia to tell lawmakers to fund emergency food programs. Also spent time looking at the cherry blossoms.
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Alex purchased a long-a-waited desktop computer. He was very happy about it.
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Went to the Pacific Science Center with Alex to escape a dreary weekend, mainly hung out in the butterfly garden.
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April

Got a new iPhone 6, giant computing power that fits in my pocket. Main use? Taking pictures.
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Went on a weekend getaway with Alex to Ocean Shores. Walked along cold beaches, made food that didn’t require an oven and lived in a tiny cabin 10 ft away from a hot tub = fun weekend. The more time I spend with Alex, the more I am convinced that I married an amazing person.
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Lindsay and I’s office amarylis bloomed!
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Alex and I went to hear Neil Gaimen speak at the University of Washington. Gaimen speaks as intelligently as he writes, or in other words quite well.
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Jenn, Katie and I made pretty smelling spa things. One out of three was very successful, but mostly I liked the time spent with these fun women.
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May

Seattle attempted to demonstrate just how many colors it could jam into one season
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My family came to visit!
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My friends came to visit!
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David and Sarah got married (While the highlight is truly the lovely ceremony that reflected their deep appreciating for community based activism, the main thing people talk about is the llamas).
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I went on a hike with family and one adorable dog.
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I started a tiny porch garden.
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June

I went strawberry picking with Katie, Jenn and kids. It was hot, but very delicious.
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I ate a burger at Miller’s Guild that will be included in my top ten list of things ever eaten.
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Alex and I joined up with Hedgehog friends from across the country and spent a long weekend in Cape Cod. The house was delightfully old, the beach was fantastically close, and the weather was mostly perfection. Side note: My friends seem to have only very adorable children.
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Celebrated various birthdays with the Peterson family women by eating and drinking our way through a lavish high tea.
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July

The sad departure of a friend at work brought about Bacon Hor-d’oeves day which was salty, fatty and completely delicious.
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I took the bus down to Portland to visit Meryl. Portland was in a heatwave, so we spent most of our time chatting, drinking iced coffee and seeking out air conditioning.
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We also spent one day hanging out and swimming in the nearby river – a completely lovely day.
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I reached level 8 of Ingress.
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Jenn and I hosted a baby shower for Katie and Bryan, for which we mainly focused on creating a spread of very tasty food. Highlights include the various tea sandwiches, Jenn’s Tres Dulce cake and my lavender creme brûlée.
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My amazing former co-worker Zan helped me get my very own signed photo of the Chef from Battlestar Galactica. #Nerdpoints
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August

Alex and I got very into making delicious protein salads like this one.
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I finally finished my contribution to a group knitting project – a Tardis themed baby blanket for Katie and Bryan’s baby.
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I ate homemade s’mores with my co-workers.
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I was offered a long awaited dream job – librarian and after much discussion with Alex made plans to move back to the Midwest. (No photo)

I baked a blueberry peach pie.
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I discovered an old macro cover for my iPhone and proceeded to take lots of extreme close-up photos around the apartment.
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Katie, Jenn and I enjoyed a celebratory (and final (for a while!)) ladies night by having dinner at a fancy waterfront restaurant.
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Alex and I “got sick” so we could spend the day savoring one last ferry ride around Seattle.
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We indulged in one giant weekend of RPG, trying to make up for the fact that we didn’t know when we would be able to play again. Battles were fought, Akela died a noble death, experience was gained, and so much fun was had.
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I reached level 9 of Ingress.
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September

I harvested the tiny red fruits of my porch plant labor and my spider plant decided to have lots of babies.
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Meryl came up for a visit and we talked, ate, laughed, Ingressed, talked, walked and laughed some more. Meryl is such a gem, I miss her lots.
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I went to my first ever Steampunk Tea and Painting Garden Party in costume and painted an owl. Somehow during my three years at my last job, many of my co-workers became dear friends.
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A baby was born! It was truly incredible to see such a tiny new life, only 24 hours old and to see two of my favorite people step up and become outstanding parents.
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David and Sarah treated us to an incredible meal at a fancy restaurant. We caught up on life and ate lots of tiny amazing food. This was dessert.
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While packing for our move, I found some outstanding old newspaper clippings that attest to both my extreme neediness and my brother’s early start to activism.
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As part of our farewell (for now) tour of Seattle, we spent the day at the zoo with our friends and their amazing daughters. It is very true that zoos are more fun with children along.
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After a feverish week of goodbyes, packing and much hecticness, Alex and I hooked up rented Uhaul and trailer and started our 5 day journey across the country.
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After a 16 hour first day, we took it a bit easier and traveled through Yellowstone on Alex’s birthday.
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Alex indulged my childhood love of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books and we spent one night and part of a day exploring the tiny town of De Smet, South Dakota.
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We finally arrived in Goshen, tired and ready to say goodbye to our Uhaul. My parents welcomed us with open arms and plenty of help with the process of unloading.
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Being back in the Midwest means getting to see several of dearest girl friends more regularly. This makes me very happy.
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October

On Oct. 1, I fulfilled a dream I first started to have back in 2006 and got my first full-fledged librarian job. While changing careers is always hard, I am excited to say this job continues to inspire me and make me excited to grow in new ways.
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After our arrival in town, my parents promptly left on a week long vacation, so Alex and I took care of their chickens for the week.
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Another favorite of my fall was getting to see my younger brother Jonathan more regularly and get to meet his really awesome girlfriend.
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While Seattle will always win in terms of mountains and water, the Midwest really takes the cake in autumn.
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A quick weekend trip up to Evanston brought with it fun city adventures and more time with Jess, who is always incredible to hang out with. This also brought about my first visit back to the Chicago Botanic Garden is probably over 5 years. It was as lovely as I remembered.
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November

Part of the advantage of living closer to the middle of the country is that one can easily take a day off of work and make a quick trip east to attend a cousin’s wedding. So good (if all to brief) to see family. (No photo)

The Midwest delivered a spectacular first snow of the year. 6 or so fluffy white inches and one very gleeful Norwegian husband.
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Another highlight was the indulgent Saturday spent with girlfriends watching all of the previous three Hunger Games movies in anticipation of the release of the final one. Fun was had by all. (No Photo)

Thanks to our interest in cooking and disinterest in choosing only one kind of cranberry sauce, Thanksgiving was an expansive feast including three different red (or pink) dishes.
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I reached level 10 on Ingress.
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Family fun also included a game of disc golf, whereupon the four non-Jonathan members of the family attempted to beat the frisbee king at his own game by playing together on one team. We were unsuccessful.
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Jonathan’s dog Mathilde is the cutest.
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December

I love living closer to more of my family. Now all that we need to do is find a way to bring Tim and Charlotte a bit closer to this part of the country.
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My growing appreciation for my new co-workers reached new heights with Ugly Christmas Sweater Day.
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Winter means seeing a lot more sunrises, this is not always a bad thing.
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We decorated the christmas tree with my parents.
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My co-workers are intelligent, dedicated and also incredibly goofy.
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Alex and traveled for the week of Christmas to Seattle where babies were cooed over, dear friends were hugged, coffee was imbibed, chats were had, food was eaten, presents were opened, family was enjoyed, and then we flew back to Goshen to celebrate Christmas in Goshen.
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Bagels were baked, sweaters were knit, games (oh so many games) were played, food was cooked, presents were exchanged and lots of laughter.
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We finished up our time together with a day trip to Chicago on the train.
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Point for cleanliness

Today was a relaxing day full of reading, chatting with family, and actually a little productivity. Behold the great bathroom cleanup of November 2014. While I still really need to get some organizing baskets or something, at least the counter is finally clean and the stuff factor is reduced significantly.

Before and After Bathroom

topic to be determined

Three posts seems to be as long as it takes for me to start questioning this whole blogging every day thing. While there is no shortage of interesting topics to write about, so many of them are ones that I put in the “do these right” box. This is also the box for drafts that “need more polish”, “should be revised first” and “probably can’t be written in the 20-30 minutes you usually give yourself for these things”.

So instead I started browsing my flickr account looking for photos that would spark and idea for a post that wouldn’t take forever to write and would *bonus* include a photo.

But instead of a story, I was just struck by how good my life is. All too often it is easy for me to get caught up in the frustrations of the moment, the discomforts of not knowing the future, the irritations of a 9 to 5 job, the sadness of being far away from many of the people I love. Yet, when I take a second to look, it is clear that I am so incredibly blessed.

From living in a place on this earth that lets me see sunsets like this,

to lovely ladies like this, who I am lucky to call my friends.

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From hilarious small humans like this, who I get to occasionally babysit,
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to siblings both old and new who make my life approximately 147% better.
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From my chance to go through life with this gentleman,
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to the chance to live in a city that gives me nerdy opportunities like going to cons.

That is not even scratching the surface of all the many ways that I am getting to live a life full of riches completely incomprehensible to 99.9% of people who have ever lived on earth. For that I am truly grateful.

Hamsgiving 2: Electric Boogaloo

Yesterday was so much fun, that Alex and decided to replicate much of it. However this round, we were much more productive and actually cleaned most of the apartment and cooked a Hamsgiving meal of spiral-cut ham, scalloped potatoes, stuffing, peas and salad.

The feast

Katie and Bryan came over a little after noon bringing with them a happy cornish hen for Katie and scrumptious pumpkin pie for dessert.

Alex carves the ham of Hamsgiving

After stuffing our faces we had a relaxing afternoon playing a new drinking related game that Katie and Bryan brought with them. I don’t remember the name, but basically you played a character with a unique deck and compete to try to get your fellow players to pass out from drinking. Very fun, luck based game, with a smidgeon of strategy thrown in.

Then we pulled out an old favorite – Elder Sign and worked to defeat Ithaqua, an ice monster who toke away one stamina from an investigator bold enough to use a spell or special item. While we did have two characters die, we managed to hold the monsters at bay for another few decades.

Getting ready to make some stuffing

I was also realizing that this 4 day break is the longest time I have had off of work AND been at home in probably close to 2 years. It is truly lovely to have two back to back relaxing lazy days and still have a whole weekend ahead of me.

Foggy locks on the way to Thanksgiving dinner

Katie and Bryan got married: the re-cap

This past summer my dear friends Katie and Bryan finally got hitched and it was wonderful. It was truly simple, elegant, a blend of traditional and modern, sincere and even a little bit nerdy (their processional music included Star Wars and Firefly nods!). And as added bonus Katie asked David and I to take the photos. Here are a few of my favorites:

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I like how the Sarah, the make-up artist frames Katie’s eyes in this shot. Sarah did an incredible job and Katie looked incredible.

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I love this moment of the bride and her sister enjoying some good old fashioned squeeing as they got ready.

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I really like it for two reasons. First, Katie looks lovely in this light and second, I managed to successfully edit out the TV in the upper right which you can see in the above photo.

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Another fun make-up application framing shot. I love Anna’s expression in this and way her face is perfectly in focus.

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Katie and her father squeezed in one last dance practice in the hotel room before the ceremony. While the lighting made it hard to get this shot completely in focus, I really liked how this turned out in black & white.

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Anna kind of steals the show a bit in this shot, making it another favorite of mine.

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This was taken not long before I literally filled up my camera card (even the extra one!) and discovered why you can never have too much memory when taking photos at a wedding.

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Bryan and Katie showed the flawless results of their dance lesson during the reception with a lovely waltz (Or at least I think it was a waltz? I don’t really know the names of dances…)

Want to see the rest? Check out these sets on Flickr.

4 for 4

Tonight was lovely, but seeing as it was my fourth night in a row this week of doing something directly after work, I am kind of tired. Plus tomorrow I have to be at work by 6:45am AND get to help with a food drive on Friday evening. Then on Saturday I am driving out to Redmond to help at another food drive (can you tell I work at a food bank during the holidays?), but at least with that one, I recruited some volunteers from the 501st Legion to help out. I think we all can agree that storm troopers make everything better.

But all that to say, today’s blog is mainly going to be this picture of Katie and I from the very sophisticated focus group thing we went to tonight.

Katie and I went a very sophisticated focus group tonight and got to drink wine and eat fancy cheese!

Catch-up

The past two evenings have been fuller than I was originally anticipating and tomorrow evening is already full with fun plans (yay! Pathfinder!). Which means I need to both finish the secret project AND write a blog post AND finish baking the brownies for a co-workers goodbye party tomorrow. So let’s play a little catch-up!

Monday, two of my co-workers and I got the brilliant idea that we should go boot shopping at DSW after work. Which meant I got to spend the afternoon talking about going to the mall and making lots of high school jokes. I meant to go shopping for winter friendly work friendly comfortable stylish shoes. But instead I found these two pairs on the clearance rack. The one on the right is a Tom knock-off by a brand called Cloud. It has a felt wool dark mossy green upper with a nice cushy footbed. I wore them all today and liked them quite a lot. The pair on the left are Dr. Scholls and represent my 3rd attempt to find comfortable casual/yet dressy brown flats. And it is still a bit early, but I think we may have a winner. With a comfortable foot bed with some actual support and a simple, yet elegant design, I am excited to give these a go.

I bought new shoes!

So that was last night’s adventure. Tonight after work, I took advantage of some free movie passes that my work place mysteriously got in the mail and went to see Delivery Man with Vince Vaughn. While I think it helped that I went in with very low expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised. Instead of being an over the top raunchy comedy, Vaughn played more of a straight man and honestly seemed to wrestle with some real issues regarding being and adult and becoming a father. If it ends up on Netflix I think I can honestly recommend it for a good evening’s entertainment. Plus Robin from How I Met Your Mother and Andy from Parks and Rec are in it, which is two strikes in its favor.

Also in looking up that trailer, I discovered that this movie is apparently an almost frame for frame remake of a french movie called Starbuck. Seriously every seen in that trailer is identical to the movie I just saw. Hollywood is weird….

Night of the voting

This will be a short one, since the evening was spent in the following ways:

-Driving home from work-Picking up groceries-Making a salad-Walking over to David’s and Sarah’s-Eating a delicious dinner-Pumpkin pie for dessert-Playing a game of Monty Python Fluxx-Reading votor’s guides and filling in bubbles-Writing this list

Ballots are due tomorrow, so time to do some voting!

Soon to be followed with going to bed.