Why so frustrated, cowboy?



Just what in the world could make a cowboy so frustrated?

A snake in his boot?

The wind blew his hat away?

Someone swiped all his sarsaparilla (sass-par-ill-uh)?

Maybe he hasn’t made it up to Brokeback Mountain in a while?






Ok, so I didn’t get a pedicure before going on vacation.  I thought I might treat myself to one while away, but I didn’t.  I didn’t feel the need.  Why bother?  Who cares?  They’re aired out for three days and then they get wrapped in warm swaddling socks until summer.

I didn’t anticipate my toes being in any pictures…you’ve all seen those annoying vacation photos of the girl’s perfectly pedicured toes in the sand.  Yeah, I thought so.  We know you’re on vacation…stop taking pictures of your feet and take a picture of something pretty!!!  Or something boring like your dessert of creme brulee.   I would rather see a million photos of the water and the waves and the sand and anything else.

I didn’t even take a picture of myself on my trip!  Wait…now that I think about it, I did take a picture of my bangs sticking straight up one morning.  I also had my toothbrush hanging out of my mouth.  What can I say, Danger is my middle name.  Yeah, baby!

My toes were not supposed to make an appearance in this picture…and I neglected to crop them out.  And now, it has taken over my whole train of thought….because as I type this, those fat little cheese sticks are wiggling hello at me.





Life is better when you end dinner with dessert.  Or if you begin dinner with dessert…or if you have dessert in the middle of the day just because you want to.  Life is better with Creme Brulee.  Let’s face it, it just is.  No questions, hands down, absolutely better with a whole creme brulee all to yourself.

Be still my heart…



We were out on the Pier in Oceanside, gazing out into the ocean.  The waves were crashing, the wind was blowing, and life was good.  Surfers were paddling out and riding waves, families were watching their young ones splash on the shore.  A man was feeding little fishies to a pelican and the seagulls were hovering over, waiting for a little crumb to snack on.  There was even a group of people from the Sea World rescue collecting sea lions.

We had just driven through all the adorable coastal towns of Encinitas, Carlsbad, and now into Oceanside.  If we kept going we would be in southern Los Angeles.  Each had their own feel and their own charm.  They all had their own set of characters.  We could see them all from the end of the pier.  We could see how long the beach stretched.

I was in awe.  I was in awe because this beautiful coastline is enjoyed by people every single day.  I live near one of the Great Lakes…and it is not enjoyed to this extent year round.  It just isn’t.  It would be if the 70 degree sunshine were smiling down on your face.

Oh man, the San Diego area is stealing my heart.  You better up your game, Wisconsin…

I like it



I’m coming back here.  I am.  I definitely like it here.  I like the beach and I like the water.  I like the colors and the wind.  I like how everyone says gnarly and bro.  I like it.  I like the laid back yet productive vibe.  It’s similar to Hawaii but different….it’s as if more things get accomplished in less time and there’s more time to enjoy the sun and the beach.  It’s less like ‘island time’ and more like ‘life is good.’

Now, don’t get me wrong, I still like my home.  I do.  I like it a few months out of the year.  It seems that as I age, I get more and more bummed in the wintertime.  I do not like that.  I try a lot of things to get through and every year it seems to last longer and longer.  Also a hunk of money will last a lot longer at home.  Well, friends…

I like it here.  I do.  I even liked this storm that rolled in yesterday.  You can see it looming on the right side of the picture.  Sunshine and a storm and then back to sunshine.  It was great!  I like that my eyes are tired from squinting in the sun…and I like that my freckles are popping out on my nose.  I like that an artist can make a good living.  I like how people wear winter jackets and mittens when it drops to 50 degrees….it’s kind of cute.  Ridiculous, but cute.

I’ll be coming back for sure.






I am on vacation.  Va-kate-tion…this is who I am on vacation.  Va-Kate!

Despite the rain and 55 degree temperatures here in southern California, I am quite content.  I am up for anything.  I have no plans…I will make little plans.  I seem to always have plans and responsibilities and children and people to tend to.  Today…I do not.  And I am going to enjoy it, dammit.

My friend and her husband are graciously hosting me here in Del Mar, outside of San Diego.  It is gorgeous!  Why doesn’t everyone live here?  Why do people choose to stay in the arctic winter that is the Midwest?  I don’t know….It seems pretty wonderful.  The beach, the sun, the green and blue, the never-ending supply of local, organic produce….heaven.

Yesterday, after I arrived, we ate brunch at a place called Snooze.  Don’t you want to eat brunch at a place called Snooze?  Yes, yes you do.

We then strolled a farmer’s market and browsed through adorable art galleries and boutiques.  I had visions of opening up a fun little shop with coffee, art, comedy, and good vibes. The rain drops splattered on my glasses and it felt great.  It felt great to feel rain and not snow, to feel a chilly rainy California day over a bitter blast of below zero winds.

I was worn out from travelling but wanted to soak it all in.  After our peaceful strolls, we snuggled up on the couch and enjoyed some pizza, a cocktail and a little Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.  Yes, yes we did.  We laughed at how much we remembered about the movie and also at the parts that we’d forgotten.

Today, I am sitting in the sun on the balcony.

Let’s save some dough and travel, yo!


Ah, travel.

We are heading to get my Lovely #1’s passport today.  Her 4th grade class is taking a trip this spring to Denmark.  Seriously.  4th grade.  International travel!!  I’m so grateful she has all these opportunities so early in life.  I anticipate her getting bit by the travel bug while she’s away…which means that I will have to start saving even more money so that we can hop on planes and take adventures.

I was scrolling through my old photos and came across some beauties from Hawaii.  It seems like ages ago that we went, but in reality, it’s been only a year and a half.  Then I got to thinking about all the places there are to go…and how few I’ve actually been to.  And how few the kids have been to.  What are we doing?  Why aren’t we saving every single penny so that we can travel the world?  Why aren’t we taking a cross-country road trip every summer??  There are so many great places we can drive to!  I’m tired of these pesky jobs and obligations getting in the way.  It’s time to reorganize priorities and budgets, don’t you think?  Although, we probably don’t have to break the bank if we’re road tripping.

Where would you go if budget and time wasn’t an issue?



How lucky will I be to eat these pancakes?  Pineapple and coconut?? It’s too good to be true.  I just love Hawaii.  It’s sad.

I try to think up money making schemes so we can afford to move there and grow pineapples and mangoes in the yard. But aside from ticket scalping…I got nothing. 

Until then.  I shall pay exorbitant amounts of extra shipping to have kona coffee and hula girl pancake mix sent to my door.  And the very moment it is warm enough, I will wear the shit out of my flowery dress. 
It must be sickening to be around me though.  I’m simply still infatuated with the islands.  Just a pale, freckly Midwestern gal trying not to make everyone too jealous about my piddly week long trip.

I can’t surf though.  I can’t even swim that well.  Especially after eating all these delicious pancakes.  I’ll float like a buoy.

Salt in my wounds


This tv show I found tonight on HGTV is killing me.  It’s called Hawaii Life.  As if coming back to 20 degree weather wasn’t hard enough.

It’s basically like taking my already sad, dry skin and scraping it over lava rocks and then dipping it in salt water. 

Like forcing my Midwest pale-ness to sunbathe minus sunscreen during the hours of 10 am and 2 pm. 

It’s like taking that 3rd degree burned skin and sending it out to the pineapple fields to pick a peck. 

Torture.  Yet I can’t look away. 

What day is it?


I thought I would be fine.  I was fine on the way there.  Why not the way home?  I had an overnight flight….I slept uncomfortably on and off for that flight and the next one. 

My neck.  My aching neck.  And for a moment I thought the feeling would never come back into my right hand.  The circulation had been cut off for who knows how long.  Panic. 

What will I do? How will I work?  Amputation is the only answer.  How will I explain this to my boss??

Nearly one day later…and my hand works but my brain doesn’t. 

What day is it anyway? What time? Why isn’t it warm? Where is the blue sky and green grass?? Where is the sun and the beach?  Why don’t my eyeballs work? Why are my children hungry?  Why can’t I get warm enough??  Ice and snow? 

Valentine’s day? 

I suppose the least I could do is get one of those heart shaped pizzas and nurse my wounds.