Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Retro White!

Last fall, as I gathered up the dredges of what was left in my childhood bedroom before the arm of the excavator smashed down the walls, I finally addressed the big basket of shoes that I couldn't quite get myself to throw away.  This basket included five pairs of Doc Martens, some fun wedges that were just so early 2000's and these two pairs of white "street" tennis shoes.  Both were from college.  The Adidas "Superstars" were from my younger college years and the K-Swiss ones were from my older college and grad school years. 

I just loved those Adidas when I got them and for walking all over campus they were perfect.  In the early 2000's boots were not a fashionable choice except for maybe tall black dress boots for a dressy occasions (we affectionately called the Hooker Boots!) so these shoes were the best I had for all weather shoes.  And yes, the backs of my jeans were always wet and raggedy.  For whatever reason, I held on to these along with the Doc Martens even though I often question why since the Doc Martens together feel like they weigh 100 pounds and they take up a lot of space. 

Well, this summer I started noticing something on Pinterest...Fashionable ladies were popping up wearing what else but Adidas three stripe shoes! 

Well jeez...what do I have sitting in the corner of the garage in a garbage bag?  My own collection of white shoes just waiting to come out of their 10-12 year long exhile!  Only one problem...the shoes in the pictures are clean and white and mine are dirty and the soles are yellowed.  After a round of absolutely futile scrubbing with dish soap I searched the Internet for tips on cleaning the soles of shoes.  Apparently there is a community of athletic shoes collectors out there and they know a secret called "retro-brite" which is a product used for cleaning yellowed plastic on electronics and appliances.  The ingredients in retro-brite are things that a person usually has around the house.  First you put peroxide in a dish, add corn starch, and microwave it briefly.  When it is thickened you add Oxy-clean and it turns into a substance similar to shaving cream.  I tell you, I wish I understood chemistry because the every day uses of chemistry are very fascinating. 

So anyway, how this concoction works is you coat the sole with it and the place it under UV light for several hour.  You can use a lamp or the sun. 

So I coated those nasty soles...

and out in the sun they went. 

Here is an after photo. 

They look better, especially the rubber on the toes.  The leather really got clean where the retro-brite was touching it.  The soles still don't look great but they look better.  I might do a repeat and set them out in the morning so they can be in the sun for a whole day. 

The K-Swiss shoes really whitened up nice which is annoying because I really want to wear the Adidas more but I suppose I can wear these too.  I didn't see any K-Swiss outfits on Pinterest and when I searched a bunch of results showed up about swiss dot, which is a light fabric with little raised dots on it.  It's cute but not what I was looking for!  Justin took out the laces from both pairs and soaked them in OxyClean water overnight so they look really white except for where they were in the lace holes.  The annoying thing is these shoes probably wouldn't be so yellowed if I had cleaned them before shoving them in the back of a closet for ten years but how would I have known? 

So, if you spot me looking perfectly layered and nailing the street casual look like those thigh gap girls from the Pinterest photos, please say, "hey, nice shoes!"  And If you want a retro-brite recipe for sharpening up your vintage 90's game boy or computer monitor or shoe soles I can fill you in! 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Football Returns

It seems like we were barely away from it, but now college football is back again.  It feels like I was just waddling around tailgating at 8 months pregnant while 600 people asked me when I was due and if I knew if I was having a boy or a girl and now that boy is 10 months old and he attended his first game this weekend! 

In my past life I loved nothing more than a day of tailgating/day drinking followed by either going to the game or heading to the bar right away for more night drinking.  Those days are ancient history now and I admit I was filled with some foreboding all week when I tried to wrap my head around a football game day with all three kids. 

We decided to have Saturday be a day trip, which turned out to be a pretty bad idea for reasons which you will find out later so as soon as we arrived in Fargo we had lunch downtown at our favorite Chinese restaurant.  There was some rain in the forecast and it ended up being a quick and vicious storm complete with hail which we were caught in on the residential streets of Fargo.  I tell you, I've never seen as much hail in my whole life as I have seen this summer. 

We tried to hide under a tree.  I looked at my car today in the sun and I can see a few tiny dimples on it from the hail.  As everyone was saying, it was fitting because "HAIL the Bison!" 

One the storm passed we got to tailgating where the kids got busy picking up the "tiny balls of ice" before they melted. 

The day went pretty good, actually.  The kids were civilized, Milo kept it all in  his diaper and the weather ended up being good.  Tessa had her first outhouse experience, Ben is old enough to enjoy what is going on and Milo was his usual good natured self.

The game was a night game so the two younger kids ended up napping during tailgating time which was nice.

If only every weekend would be so warm! 

Milo saw with me the first half up in  my semi-nosebleed section seats.  He was very intrigued with the commotion and the crowds moving around him. 

This picture is no indication but he really did not want to wear his ear protection.  Fortunately he didn't seem bothered by the noise either but I tried to hold them on during the loudest times. 

As most of you probably know, the game went into overtime and wasn't over until after 10 p.m. I had Tessa sitting with me the second half.  Believe it or not, people don't find whiny two year olds as charming and adorable as babies so keeping her contained was a bit more difficult. 

This picture was taken around 10:05 when I was ready to scream at the teams to "Just get it over with already!!!" I was trying to take her picture with the four tootsie roll pop mini's she had unwrapped.  We ended up winning the game.  Our day trip excursion ended with us being stranded in traffic in the parking lot until 11:00 and getting home at 1:30 a.m.  And, of course, Milo was up at 6:00 a.m.  But, in genereal, it was a good start to the season. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Olympics Wrap Up

The Olympics are over...The Today Show cast is back in New York, daytime TV is back to its usual boring self and annoying cartoons have taken over my airwaves.  At the gym I am listening to music again instead of the TV and my favorite standout moments are already starting to fade.  I would have done this post earlier so I remembered everything better but I found myself minus one two year old for two days so I couldn't stop with the productivity (between my last Olympic fixes).  I have been searching for the last week for  a box of 12 month boy baby clothes. I thought all the boxes of kids clothes were labeled and stored under the stairs but the 12 and 18 month boxes I found under there were missing things.  Most noticeably the several fleece sleepers that I knew Ben wore at Milo's size were not in the boxes.  I remembered some cute clothes that were also not there.  I checked and re-checked and looked in closets and drove myself crazy.  Justin said he checked the garage and didn't find anything.  Well, he just checked for cardboard boxes and it turned out there was one odd PLASTIC box on a top shelf in the garage.  When I blindly reached my hand in there I felt fleece.  YAAASSSSS! 

Finding this box inspired me to start packing up his nine month clothes (some are staying out because we have limited quantities of summer clothes in his size) which sent me spiraling down a rabbit hole of drawer cleaning, box condensing and donation pile making.  Some friends I know are having a fundraising rummage sale in a few weeks so I have already been making a pile of my clothing and some household junk.  This project took all weekend and was one of those things that makes such
a huge mess that if you stop and lose your momentum and see what you've done it can be overwhelming and a bit traumatic.  Just the act of opening the door to the crawlspace under the stairs causes me to feel a bit panicked because it is completely full so I had to get this wrapped up with haste.  But I'm satisfied with what I've done.  I could employ a part-time clothes rotator in this house.

Milo is excited to be a "big boy"! Once unpacked that poor box made it to the recycling bin.  I think it's been with us since we moved in 2013. 

Here is a picture of Allan that I caught.  He is wondering what the H3LL I have done to his usually pristine basement. 

Of course, I made sure to watch the Closing ceremony on Sunday night.  It was, as usual, filled with over the top excess, crazy dances and (in my opinion) mediocre music which I would never choose to listen to.  I did, however, enjoy the several parrot themed dances and parade floats (I think that is what that is?)

Image result for rio closing ceremony parrot memes

I think I found my Halloween I can match Tessa! 

After that performance, where the parrots formed various Rio attractions in marching band style, there was...ummm...some other stuff?  The flags all paraded in and then the athletes came in.  Some of them were carrying cups so I assume this really is a party for them and I would be all over that myself.  If anyone has earned a night of drinking it is Olympic athletes.  Then some dancers rode in on this float and there were singers...and dancers and athletes milling around and forming conga lines...

Then there was a fireworks display and it looked like the whole place exploded like an atomic bomb.

I think I'm blind. 

Of course, there was the handing off of the Olympic responsibility to Tokyo, and I have to say that the prime minister of Tokyo seems like a good natured guy.  He popped out of a vintage Nintendo warping tube like Mario of all things!

Image result for japanese prime minister closing ceremony

Here are a few thoughts that I still remember...

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I watched an interview with Pharoah himself, Ashton Eaton and his wife Brianne Theisen-Eaton who is also an Olympic medalist in the heptathlon for Canada.  They are the kind of people you want to hate because they are too perfect.  But then...they were talking about their last days in Rio which they were able to enjoy as a vacation and how they travel all over to compete.  They have a tradition of finding little trinkets from souvenir shops which they...wait for it...turn into ornaments for their Christmas tree.  Gaaaaaahhhh I'm dying.  I love them. 

We saw a lot of coverage of the Jamaican track stars which is fun because they are some charismatic and amazing runners.  I took a liking to Elaine Thompson.  I hear that name and picture any number of Elaines and Thompsons.  Our farm neighbor woman has a slight variation of that name in fact!  But this Elaine Thompson is her own woman. 

Image result for Elaine thompson

Those runners are something's hard to believe they are real when their legs move so fast they are a blur.  The U.S. and Jamaican rivalry is pretty fun too. 

Here is the they are owning everyone else in the 4x400 relay. 

Speaking of track, I saw a few disqualifications for false starts and other violations painful and awkward to watch.  I saw one runner being told he was disqualified from his bronze metal on TV.  He didn't know yet.  Ughhhh.  All the tears. 

I watched the Men's marathon on Sunday morning, the original Olympic event which started it all in ancient Greece.  I also saw the Ethiopian runner throw up his symbol of rebellion and read about how he may be killed along with his family when he gets home.  Ummm...gulp?  Someone help him?  Once again, I'm so glad I live somewhere where athletes can clown around and grin on TV and express themselves and not have to worry about being killed even though they do dumb stuff like stay out all night vandalizing gas stations. It makes the ongoing swimmer nonsense seem downright stupid.  It already was that.  Ugh, Ryan least my main man Nathan Adrian wasn't involved it that nonsense. 

See you in Tokyo, Summer Olypmics. Who knows where I will be in 2020.  I will have an eight year old...I feel like I was just hanging out in 2000, sitting at the kitchen table at the farm, with Napster on the computer and a tower of CD-R's by my side as the Sydney Olympics played on the little kitchen TV. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Back to School (Shopping, that is...)

August is waning, sports practices have started, my teacher friends on FB are back at school preparing and I just realized Ben doesn't have a decent non-screen printed and faded t-shirt to wear for the first day of school besides the one he wore to "graduation" back in May.  What does this mean?  It means a shopping trip is in order!  I don't think I am unique when I get the urge to back to school shop this time of year, even though it's been eleven years since I left college and eight since I had my last year of grad school.  And no, I didn't exactly school shop the way I did in elementary and high school for college but it is always hard to resist the fall displays and one of my grandmas always send some cash my way for school shopping which was the perfect amount to buy a pair of jeans or shoes. 

School shopping was so fun when I was a child, back when you actually had to buy a full wardrobe of clothes every fall because nothing fit from the year before.  I remember going to JCPenney and loading up my arms with various Arizona Jean Co. brand clothes with some Levis thrown in and hitting the dressing room.  When I started transitioning from the girls department to the juniors sizes there were trips to the "mature" stores Maurices and Vanity.  There was no online shopping, Old Navy or Kohl's and Target and Walmart were a bit too chintzy for school clothes at the time.  Scheels did not yet have its extensive youth sections and only really carried mesh shorts and jerseys. The "mall stores" like Children's Place, American Eagle and Carters were not around yet.  The main choices were JCP, Macy's (aka Dayton's and THE place to get trendy brands like Guess, Tommy Hilfiger, E.N.U.F. and Bum Equipment) and Herbergers.  The school shopping haul, along with some school team clothing, would be the clothes I would wear on a weekly rotation until Christmas came around which was usually when I outgrew my jeans anyway. 

Speaking of those old trendy brands, I tried to find some pictures of E.n.u.f. and BUM Equipment clothes and there isn't much out there on The Googles.  This was the best I could do. 

Image result for bum equipment

Even the Internet wants to forget they every happened. 

Anyway, I channeled my shopping urge toward the clearance section Athleta, my favorite expensive workout and athleisure store.  It is so expensive that the only option is the sale section unless you feel like buying $70 workout pants and $100 swimming suits.  My mom had this vest from there that I want so I went searching and came upon this cute swimming suit.

I like plaid and windowpane patterns and I like black suits and this one has the gold standard in slimming swim suite design with the black panels on the sides. It also has a cute keyhole thing in the back.  I would never pay $108.00 for it even if I had the money for such nonsense but the clearance price seemed reasonable since I trust the fit of Athleta.  I scrolled down to the reviews to see if there was any feedback about the fit and the first one seemed promising.  The woman wrote..."I am 5'8" (perfect), 140 pounds (Hmmmm sure, close enough), and 70 years old..." WHAT?  A 70 year old has this suit?  Suddenly I wondered what I was thinking.  I'm only 33 after all.  But I decided to order it anyway.  Free returns, after all.  It probably won't fit anyway.  Shopping for swim wear has descended down a depressing slide from, "Hey, this one's cute!  Oh, it fits!" to being pretty darn close to a "Kathy" cartoon.

Image result for Cathy cartoon swimming suit

Now, the Olympics:

First things first,  Ashton Eaton.

Image result for usa decathalon

I feel like someone needs to remake "The Ten Commandments" and cast this guy as Pharoah. 

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He'd be like Pharoah 2.0.  I'd watch him in a loincloth type garment for the time of a full length feature film for sure.

Next...Did everyone see those three American runners sweep the hurdles last night?

Image result for USA Hurdles sweep

Can you imagine anything better than that?  I can't help but grin every time I see these ladies! I can imagine these three, as the years go by, getting together occasionally and always sharing the bond of winning together at the Olympics in 2016.  And Nia Ali there has a kid.

Image result for Ali women's hurdles

Whenever I hear about an Olympic athlete who has a kid (and I refer to the women since their body had to actually have the kid...if the men have kids that's great too but it's not the same...) I immediately take an interest in her.  What would that be like? 

Image result for dana vollmer rio

I am a Dana Vollmer fan too.  That's a really young baby.  I saw a story about her and he's 17 months old.  There was footage of her swimming with him and I was melting.  It was so cute. 

Syncronized swimming has been shown on TV more now that regular racing swimming is over.  This is a sport we only see on TV once every four years and I forgot how weird it is.

This is on right now as I type.  I don't remember there being a dance routine on the deck of the pool.  Seriously, though, people mock it but I challenge them to tread water upside down with their arms.  I've tried it and I don't see how it's possible and I'm a proven water treader from my lifeguarding days.  I can do it for a long time and with legs only and while holding a weight. Doing it upside down is no easy task.  Synchronized swimming must take some major strength and training.  It's not just about the waterproof makeup and hair pieces.

Only a few more days!  Waaahhh!  At least new TV shows will be starting soon! 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Weekend Recap and Olympic Recap

So...I just spent several minutes writing and decided to upload a picture from my Blogger app on my phone and somehow deleted everything I wrote but the pictures are still here.  I don't have time to rewrite it summary...

Milo can finally stand up so we can be outside without him crawling into the rocks or me having to haul baby holding equipment out on the deck.  He loves the water table.

Yes indeed, he loves the water table. He gets his clothes wet.

Allan watches like a creep out the window.

Ben likes to play with him.

We saw baby Alice this weekend and Milo kept trying to climb on her in this chair.

The other kids got to hold her.  Whew!  Now I'm caught up to where I left off, which was the beginning of my Olympic commentary.  That's more interesting anyway, I think. 

Over the weekend we were at my parents' house and I tried to catch as much Olympic action as possible.  My sister and I were talking about the neon yellow shoes all the athletes are wearing.  They wear one pair for casual wear and on the metal stand and the track stars are wearing a style that is neon yellow with a pink ombre effect on the back. 

Image result for  nike shoes rio olympics

The casual shoes...

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The performance shoes.

Well, Nike's evil plan worked and we decided we want them.  The casual shoes are $130 and who knows about the performance shoes. 

Well, I just got new $100 Nikes for Christmas so I know I won't be getting more new ones.  I am on a 2-3 year rotation for workout shoes.  However, my previous pair is quite similar to the Olypmic ones in that they are a neon color and have a white sole and a soft, mostly mesh body.  They got really filthy earlier this summer because I wore them to hoe our pumpkin patch for two days in a row but I put them in the washing machine and now they are bright and new looking again!

Yes, this is the picture that I decided to add that caused me to lose my writing.

Did anyone see that Chinese woman get proposed to after she was on the metal stand for winning a silver? 

Image result for chinese diver engagement

This is the most awkward thing...I know there are cultural differences in how much emotion we show but I feel like she wasn't really happy about his timing.

I have been watching gymnastics and the night of the vault finals I randomly observed that you rarely see athletes from India even though they have a huge population.  Then, a few minutes later, a gymnast from India named Dipa Karmaker is being introduced!  And she was in third place and poised to get a bronze metal...but guess who hadn't had her turn yet...Simone Biles.  So we all know how that turned out.  I was hopeful for Karmaker though.  Of course our commentators were pretty much saying without saying that she should be lucky just to be there but sometimes they need to just be quiet.

Image result for dipa karmaker

Also regarding gymnastics, just last night I watched the beam finals and a gymnast from the Netherlands, Sanne Wevers, did the strangest routine on the balance beam and ended up winning the gold medal in that event.  I don't know much about what makes a routine special or difficult but there was something fascinating about this one. 

Image result for sanne wevers

Nothing against Simone and my favorite gal Laurie, but Sanne was awesome.

I'm already missing swimming which ended on Saturday, I think.  We will all remember Michael Phelps' last race and of course, gold medal.  I personally enjoyed watching the less famous swimmers in all their glory, including this tearful young man from earlier in the week:

Image result for Men's swimming relay rio 2016

Oh, Ryan Held, you stole my heard with your earnest display of overwhelm! 

OK, I have kids whining and pestering me for attention so that is all I have time for although I could go on all day. One final observation...apparently I have a problem remembering that "medal" is not the same as "metal" and I keep writing metal.