Monday, February 21, 2011

[JessFinds] Updates and More

We made it west and have set up shop on the other coast!

In odd news - my domain was suddenly disrupted, now it appears to be owned by someone other than me and they are trying to sell it. Very strange.

So, I have decided not to care. was a hoot. It ran for a long time, we had a lot of fun with it. The postings will remain up, hosted by Blogger. It is probably time for a new blog anyway since Marie and I are technically no longer cross-country blogging!

I will redirect to any new blogs when they are up and running. 

Update: You can find me at Jess Out West.


Monday, December 20, 2010

[JessFinds] First real snow of the year

Whew. Cutting it close! We sold our truck. Have donated and found homes for almost all of the stuff that we don't want to move. We need to sell our snow blower but I am watching the weather and hoping we don't need it to get out of our driveway! Just light snow for now.

Get to work kid...

I have both girls at home now. It could go great or go very badly. Gonzo is a bully and just pesters Miss Crab till she loses it. When they play nicely - it is bliss. I am really hoping for more of the latter.

My husband married the right girl when it comes to this life we have built. He does not drop roots and neither do I.  I am looking around me at this house, our improvements, our little plot of land and thinking ... meh. My little brother is my exact opposite. My mom too. They build up around them, engage in their surroundings, plant things and form attachments. I am a nomad. I moved six times while at the same college (why???). I must have just loved paying security deposits.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

[JessFinds] I am a mean one...

I am the Grinch. It is freaking my husband out.

See, normally I am all starry-eyed and filled with good cheer. He can rely on me to deck halls, shop, cook, show excitement, rally the family round the hearth and generally be Mrs. Claus.

I ain't feelin' it.

Listen, I have things to sell, stuff to donate, endless stuff to clean, organize and pack ... Christmas? I have a moving truck arriving before Christmas. Why would I possibly hang a single bell? Plus the doctors are running massive tests on me and I am out of blood. I am tired. Bah Humbug.

He is tip-toeing around me like I am some crazy person who invaded his home. But here is the funny thing ... he is turning in to a little Christmas Elf.  Throwing extra toys in to the cart. Putting up a small tree. If he busts out with "Jingle Bells" I am going to start worrying more about him ...


My daughter may be completely quirky, meow like a cat, speak in robot monotone to strangers and walk like a t-rex when nervous ... but she is smarter than all of us.

Miss Crab is having a sudden learning spurt that is throwing me for a loop. I don't know if they decided to start challenging her (she was bored) but suddenly she is reading at the top of her class and tells me how easy it is. Also, her math skills make me question if she is even my child. Super advanced math skills. Yay Montessori!

So, she can't socialize worth a damn, but she is smart as a whip and showing a ton of independence and humor. I am totally okay with that.

And now I will take her out of school for two months and then put her in a new school. See? We try to screw up our kids as much as possible. Can't win. I am going to be plagued with mommy guilt...

On a side note, I remember when I was in first grade and I was given my first math test. It was a 0+ test. 0+1. 0+2. 0+3. I panicked - at age 6. Total panic. Had no idea what to do. Thought I was going to throw up. I remember it like it was yesterday!

Monday, December 13, 2010

[JessFinds] Wordy, Wordy ... No Pictures

UGH. Total emotional drain! But we did it. We got through one of the toughest weekends ever with dignity and with grace. I am so incredibly proud of my husband. He might be up for the "Worlds Kindest Man" award. I think he deserves to sleep for a week straight!

I kept a smile on my face and acted as gracious as possible. I also answered questions bluntly and honestly. I am not obligated to sugar coat anything further. This situation was ugly. I have been so lucky to travel the world and live in a lot of different places. I look forward to closing the chapter on this place. I have a few friends from here who I will keep in touch with, cannagetta YAY for Facebook, but I can't imagine coming back.

It is so much easier to just be nice. Think the best of people first. Work collaboratively. Find solutions rather than focus on problems. I need my family to experience some kindness for a while. We signed on to live in a fishbowl, be public figures, have our lives held to a higher standard. I get it.  But honestly? It kinda sucks the happiness out of you when you become the subject of rumor, a target for aggression and a general punching bag. But enough with the dwelling on the ickies.

So, I am excited now. I am exhausted, but excited. 
  • I am having a firesale on everything I don't want to move across country. I am selling off so much stuff. It is so liberating!
  • I sold all of our white wicker sunroom furniture. In California, a sunroom is called a deck (hee). Still need a buyer for the Preacher's truck.
  • My husband bought me a case of Malbec. It is like he knows me.

  • My health is in the crapper - it appears that we can't stablize my thyroid function. Plummet after plummet. Just got the latest news today. I am going to invest in a fancy-pants Endocrinologist when we reach the West Coast. I have an irrational fear that I have thyroid cancer and I just need to simmer down and jump off the hypochondriac train at the next whistle-stop. We are going to be switching to the Kaiser health program. The Kaiser is not going to kill me, right? 
  • In other health news, I am getting my hip checked on Wednesday. Because I am apparently 120 years old and now have hip problems. It is okay, laugh at me. It is a family tradition to fall apart in our 30's only to be STRONG LIKE BULL from 40 on out. I will have the hips of a belly-dancer again. And the knees of a spry gymnast. A girl can dream.
  • Did I mention the hubby bought me a case of Malbec?
  • We have a moth infestation of grand proportions - my house is covered in them (outside). Anyone know what is up with that? I am hoping that tomorrow's freezing temps will reduce the moth population because it is feeling a little too Silence of the Lambs for my tastes.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

[JessFinds] More than you ever needed to know about my face

I am pale. Umm... I am really pale. I baby my skin with SPF year round so that I will look like a snow goddess in my 60's and beyond. I used to hate being fair when all of my contemporaries were bronzed, but you gotta rock what you got. Just born in the wrong century.

So I take care of it.

My skin is also very dry. And as I get older, apparently sensitive. Fun. I found myself (at 36) looking like I was going through puberty. I have always had clear, albeit pale, skin. Not any longer. Stress does a number on me. So does winter weather combined with dry indoor heating, etc...

So I have this dry, flaky, dull, broken-out T-zone face. No moisturizer or exfoliant has helped. I was looking tired. A quintessential stress-worn face. I had a few "I am not stepping outside of this house" days of late.

I tried tea tree oil hoping that it would clear me up, but no luck. So I did a little research and remembered reading that olive oil was good for dry skin as it is incredibly nonreactive.

O.M.G. (Yep, I omg'd). I have been rubbing a small amount of extra virgin olive oil in to my face each morning for about seven days now and my skin is almost 100% healed. It feels like cheating. Shouldn't I be back at my dermatologist spending a fortune on small bottles of imported French cleansers?

Olive oil.

Friday, December 10, 2010

[JessFinds] Traveling with Wild Animals

Car travel with kids can be daunting, especially when your children start whining within moments of hitting the asphalt. Mine yell things like: "I feel like I am gonna barf." It is their charming variation on "Are we there yet."

I am building up an arsenal of go-to travel toys for when we depart for our cross country adventure. I plan on keeping these toys hidden until we are actually on the road.

Here are some of the newest additions to my bag of tricks:

The Victorian Wonder Ball has been a time eating joy for parents since the 1800's. Each of my girls will get a ball to unwind, gather the trinkets, play with and then attempt to strangle each other with the yarn. I picked this up from ThinkFastToys.

These little card sized games were picked up for under $2 each. Also at ThinkFastToys. I love the little Magnetic Mini Dozer - you use the magnet to push the dirt in to piles. Catch a Mermaid has you flipping the little plastic mermaids in to the net.

A certain Uncle and Auntie are sending the classic Etch-a-Sketch and a Crayola Glow Board. A certain grandmother has tended to their comfort w/ soft car blankies and fleece coats.

Now all I need is that tranquilzer dart gun... (it is a joke people)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

[JessFinds] Boot Obessions, Darn Cold, Swatting Gwinny

I am in the midst of moving hell. And apparently, hell just froze over. It is COLD! I think we had a high of 28 yesterday. To quote one of my favorite men: "Burrrrrrweeenies." Did I mention I am moving to California? (sticking tongue out)

It is cold enough to reconsider my stance on (shudder) classic Uggs. Footwear that makes you legs look like they end in tree stumps. Almost.  I did buy these in  from Lands End.
Women's Chalet Faux Shearing Boot in Stone Gray

They arrived yesterday and are super cozy. I may sleep in them. These may be my go-to boot for the cross country trip. As a matter of fact, people on the San Francisco Peninsula better get used to seeing me in these boots any time it dips below 45 degrees.

Today on GOOP (oh yes, guilty pleasure ... I do subscribe) Gwinny talks about all of her favorite winter boots. I love having early morning unbridled hatred of Gweneth Paltrow while sipping eggnog in my coffee. I love her clueless pretension as she goes on about her $1,000 boots and how you can have a knockoff for under $200. She is so darling. Did she mention her BFF is Stella McCartney? No? Don't worry, she will in the next paragraph. Thank you for handing me early morning snarkoportunites Gwinny. I feel protective of you. Like if someone else talks poorly of you, I will need to kick them with my knockoff boots. Or at least nail them with the $53 leather flyswatter you promo'd in your last newsletter.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

[JessFinds] Goodbye to our play structure

This is the first thing I have had any emotional reaction to. We have sold our play structure / slide / swingset for $100 to the lucky person who found it on Craigslist first and is willing to come disassemble it. We spent over $1000 building the mamajamma but figure that it would be a really great find for someone on CL.

It is going to a really nice military family over the bridge from us. Sigh.

My husband built it before we even started unpacking. Still had boxes to the ceiling and he was off buying lumber. Could not wait to build it for his girls. We had many buried treasure hunts in the sandpit. And, shockingly, nobody ever was hurt on the structure. Plus, I love the University of Oregon colors on the canvas! Go Ducks!

Now there will be a giant sandbox. I am sure that the neighborhood cats will appreciate that.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

[JessFinds] Backpacking through Europe seems like much more fun.

My moving truck arrives in 2 and a half weeks. Gulp.

Today I started attacking my wardrobe. So painful. I figure if it has not been on my radar in a season or two, it is outta here. Lots and lots of clothes will be donated. I am working on a travelers wardrobe that all coordinates together for our month of living out of suitcases. Minimalism! Everything else is being boxed up and shipped.

I have one guilty pleasure I am holding on to: a beautiful medium gray wool sheath dress that is lined in bright sky blue satin. I have not fit in to it in 3+ years. But I will. Oh yes, I will.

Preacher and I spent six weeks traveling in Europe living out of backpacks. These backpacks specifically:
Rick Steves' Classic Bag / Backpack
Now, admittedly I was never in the same place for very long so I did not worry too much about fashion. We traveled during the Spring so we had to layer, but most of it was light layers. Still, if I can do six weeks out of that, I can certainly handle four weeks! With two children and two angry cats... Sure. No problem.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

[JessFinds] A family architecture firm

Miss Crab shows restraint, careful thought and placement in her home.
Gonzo threw a bag of candy at a pile of frosting.

I opted for a small cabin with a fire pit.

My mother-in-law proved to be a wicked master of the icicle.

My husband's fine work. Note the stained glass window, gravestones and door.