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I love tattoos. Which is funny, because I don’t have any.
I’m not bothered by needles, nor am I put off by or pain, rather I’m afraid of the commitment. I’m guessing this has something to do with the fact that I witnessed the tattoo regret firsthand. My name DID look awesome across my high school boyfriend’s arm, and we DID think we would make it forever, but as it was that tattoo far outlived that relationship.

Still I drool over other people’s ink on a regular basis, but somehow can’t seem to make the leap myself- which is why when I saw that Tattly had a monthly subscription- I jumped.

Someday I might work the nerve up to get something permanent, but for now- me, and the rest of my family will be switching it up every couple of weeks.

If you’ve got any ink yourself, I’d love to see it. Head on over to the facebook page and show us your ink, would ya?

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obsessions, yeah i have a few… most involve thrifting, so i never feel too guilty about picking up one.more.pillowcase., when it is just a buck at goodwill.

but obsessions can come in other ways, like coveting. i covet certain things. i long for them, pine for them, look at them online. see them all over flickr which only feeds my obsession, but rarely do i pull the trigger and buy any of those things i covet. i tie them into my thrifting obsession and think to myself, “maybe today kristin, maybe today you will happen upon those sandals.” not only is that chance more than slim that i will ever see ANY of those sandals at goodwill, but for them to actually be in my size?!?! yeah, dream on dreamer. what do i do instead? i buy crappy sandals, because they are cheap. and what do cheap sandals inevitably do? break. and usually at the most inopportune times. like walking around the city with a friend… and then you are left with one broken shoe and a barefoot march back to your car, ending your night out. ( been there done that.)

this year i pulled the trigger on one of my covet/obsessions, saltwater sandals. so many pretty colors! i loved the navy, the orange, and silver. i went with silver. trouble is you can only get them online.  i hit “buy” and waited.  to say i was excited for that box to arrive is a huge understatement. i felt like a kid on christmas!
they came when i was not home.
my mail lady did not leave the box.  😦
nooooooo!!!!! (exhale)
so i had to wait 1 more day to drive to the post office in town and pick up my pkg. EXCITED!!! i brought it home and tore it open, oooh pretty….
ou salty1

ou salty2

oooh shiny.
then i tried to put the first one on. hmmmm tighter than i hoped. then i stood up and it confirmed my already sinking feeling, they are too small. not a lot, but just enough. small enough that keeping them is silly. trust me i am tempted to force them on and keep them. but alas, i will box them back up and send them on their way back to CA and wait for the next size up… that’s the trouble with obsessions, they do not feel your pain.

ou salty4

“ENJOY YOUR SHOES!” it says… pour salt in my wounds why don’t ya.
until we meet again shiny sandals.
soon…

soon.

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do you covet/obsess over stuff?  do share, because i need new stuff to obsess over.

“Cure for an obsession: get another one.” -Mason Cooley

1 year ago today I was very pregnant.

1 year ago today I had only one son.

1 year ago today I was about to embark on the most amazing birth experience.

Photo Credit: Erika Ray Photography.

I struggle with what to say about that here, because I’m really kind of a “live and let live” kind of person. All too often, especially around parenting decisions, endorsing what works for us turns into inadvertently shaming others for their own decisions.

{Rant approaching} In a million years I would never begin to try to insist that everyone should have a home birth. I will insist, however, that everyone should have an empowered birth. This has nothing to do with epidural or no epidural, or cesarean or vaginal birth. This has everything to do with being informed, and being respected.   I do not care how you get that baby out- whether home in a birthing tub, or in the hospital under the surgical lights, the amount of strength, and power, and fortitude, and endurance it takes to become a mother is unparalleled. That experience for so many women is negative, and far too often women are told “all that matters is that you got a baby out of it.” Sorry, no. That’s not all that matters. If you felt disrespected, violated, traumatized, and depressed after your birthing experience, that matters too. One study shows (sorry, my academic side is showing) that up to 34% of women experienced trauma in their births. This is heartbreaking to me. This matters. It matters to every single one of those mothers, and those babies, and those families. We need to get our shit together, people. {Rant end-for now.}

Tomorrow is my one year anniversary of the greatest experience I have had in my 33 trips around the sun, and as much as I love my little boy, it’s ironic that this has nothing to do with him (well, in so much as that’s possible). It has to do with the respect and awe I have of my own body. It has to do with the love I have for those who were there with me, holding my hand, and documenting the experience. Ultimately my son’s birth gave me a gift of knowing the strength I have within, and as trite as this sounds, as long as I live that is something that no one can take away from me.

Photo Credit: Erika Ray Photography.

This summer, and every summer at this time, I’ll be not only celebrating my son’s birthday, I’ll be celebrating and remembering my own strength. And I’ll be working to empower women to celebrate it within themselves as well.

All photos are courtesy of Erika Ray. Hear her take- including why all women should have a photographer at their birth, and see more of her amazing pictures on the experience here and here.

By Becky Reno

Everybody knows a chicken ain’t nothin’ without her sexy bitches, right?

Enter the three little letters that equal summer to me. C.S.A.

It stands for community supported agriculture and it’s basically like buying a tiny share of a farm, and getting a weekly payout from June through October.

I feel good about supporting local, and I’m generally a freak about not wanting to waste food so it ensures I eat healthy for at least half the year.

Interested? Go here and search for one in your area. It might be too far into the harvest year for some, but you can always get acquainted with them for next summer.

Some tips- talk to people who have used that CSA in the past. Not all CSAs are created equal and if you’re not careful you could end up with a summer full of radishes. Also, make sure the pick up location is convenient. You might not mind that 30 minute drive for a week or two, but you want to look forward to picking up that bag full of goodies, not dread it. Finally, start collecting recipes or following blogs that cook with fruits and veggies often. (This one is great, as is this one.) Nothing is worse than staring at a drawer full of turnips and having no idea what to do with them. (Here’s one answer, by the way).

Do you CSA or farmers’ market often? (yep, I’m making them a verb). Feel free to add additional recipes or websites in the comments. I’m always looking for a creative way to use up my weekly bounty.

By Jill Greenwood

So . . . where are you road tripping this summer? I’m road tripping to the same place I’ve been since I was 14: Springfield. Look at an almanac, and you’ll find about 30 Springfields throughout the United States, but there is only one that I call home: Springfield, Ohio. I moved to this Springfield when I was in the 8th grade. I didn’t want to, but my father’s job transferred positions, and we moved to Springfield. It was pretty much the way that my life went when I was in the middle school. Growing up, I didn’t know any different other than Springfield  and Young’s Ice Cream and Schuler’s Donuts and cruising High Street on a summer’s evening in July.

And every summer, the girls – my Jordan and Shelby – have gone back to Springfield (and Cambridge, Ohio) to visit their grandparents. Only recently have I been able to travel with them as I did this summer. Here is our official road trip from the summer:

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What images scream “road trip” in your mind? I’ll bet I’m not the only one who thinks of a turnpike whenever they hear that word. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t give 100% credit for the photos to my daughter, Shelby, for the images since she was more than happy to take the photos while I drove. Thanks, sweetie!

yep this girl right here!

dang. sorry. ok regroup.

i could blame it on the 4th of july and all the beers i consumed, but well that would be a lie. actually i had exactly 2 cans of PBR in the fridge of which i drank none.   soooooo i have no new photos to share with you, and i am literally throwing this together as i type, (what you thought we planned this stuff?!)  but i do have a definite opinion on summer.  seems we have 2 camps brewing here at o+u . erika firmly, and sweatily, planted in the haters camp, and then tiffani in the lovers camp.  i have to say i am team tiffani on this one. (sorry erika) although i have a body by ben & jerry’s, not hooping.  i own zero bikinis (BAMkinis) and know no one with a boat in which to jump off of (damn that tiffani!). i digress. summer.  oh sweet summertime. i live in the land of the cold. seriously i joke, but it is true.  i was not born or raised here. my blood will never ever thicken enough. we have 6 months of winter a week or 2 of spring, yeah our autumns are gorgeous, but fleeting and chilly because winter is breaking down the door like a mad hungry bear….  so summer we savor.  it is our reward for surviving another winter, for shoveling our roof (yeah that actually happens), for not seeing the ground below our feet from nov/dec til april. that messes with your mind people!  just ask joelynne. i know she will back me up on this one.  it’s just not right.  snow should melt in between storms,  not form an iceberg.  so you see, i could never ever shun summer, no matter how sweaty i may get. summer i wear as little as possible, i get to run around barefoot all the time, my hair/skin/life just looks and FEELS better in summer. i don’t wear enough sunscreen, i don’t own a pair of sunglasses, i soak up all the uv rays and vit D i can get my greedy little hands on, because come february i will be crying in my chicken and dumplings how winter beat me down… again.   my feet will no longer be bare, but buried. noooooo!!!!!!  (take me to the kittens!)  😉
pola(r) feet

i was always this way, i grew up around a pool.  my childhood memories are few, but my best ones are of summers at the local pool. (mohnton swim team PROPS!) 🙂  i would leave my house right after breakfast and walk up the hill to our town pool for swim practice. i was 7. i would dive into that freaking cold ass spring fed swimming pool happily. i would stay in that chlorinated oasis til dinner.  my fingers so wrinkled from the water they were beyond puckered. my toes worn raw from the rough concrete finish on the bottom of the pool. my hair a nice shade of yellowish-green and dry as straw from the sun and chlorine. so tan. SO tan. i had crushes on all the older lifeguards. i ate lunches that consisted of a rectangular piece of frozen pizza heated in a toaster oven at the pool refreshment stand and every once in a while, a brown paper bag of penny fish. after dinner i would walk back up for swim meets and i would swim my little heart out. crash into bed completely wiped out, sunburned, and happy.  totally 100% happy. i’d wake the next day and do it all over again. no parents. no rules. no real trouble either. they knew where i was. i never left. it was my home away from home every summer day. so you see, my love goes DEEP. eventually i grew boobs, became FAR less streamline, and left my swim team days behind, but they live on in my heart… and on film.
water rat ~ memory lane

another thing i LOVE about summer is i like the mom i become in summer. the kids lounge around in their underpants all.day.long.  this is encouraged. they have super cute summery skin, and who can resist little one’s underpants? not me that’s who. plus an unexpected bonus, less laundry! we eat popsicles for lunch. we have recently discussed the benefits of ice cream for dinner. there is no place to be, or get to, or be late for. i am not nagging about brushing teeth and hurrying up or they will be late for school!!!! no.homework. who knows when they last took a real shower. our days are ours and we fill them (or don’t) any which way we choose. what is not to love about that?

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.” ~ Sam Keen  i’d say we are highly respectable then.

erika was looking for reasons to love summer, i have a few: ice cream in a sugar cone. the smell of my kids’ hair, that intoxicating blend of sweat/salt/sunshine/and fresh air.  tired children, the good worn out fall into bed happy kind of tired. less cooking, it’s hot that’s why. homegrown tomatoes right off the vine, quartered and sprinkled with salt & pepper, just like my pop-pop taught me.  and lastly, a cold, COLD, beer. when you are hot, nothing tastes better than a really cold beer.  ice cream is nice, but a frosty beer hits the spot.cheers to your weekend.

CHEERS!

i collect stuff. i think it may be an addiction. pyrex, vintage sheets, now vinyl.  some to play, and some to play with…  the 50 cent bin at goodwill is no longer left untouched.  there might be a gem in there just waiting to be found. seriously, have you ever seen this one, herb alpert’s tijuana brass : whipped cream & other delights. BRILLIANT! they just don’t make em like that anymore.

HC 4

HC 1“I wish I had as much in bed as I get in the newspapers.” –Linda Ronstadt (don’t we all)

HC 5

HC 7“Misfits aren’t misfits among other misfits.”– Barry Manilow   (so fits our group here at o+u!)

HC 3

HC 2
“The best music is essentially there to provide you something to face the world with.” -Bruce Springsteen

amen bruce.

A. men.

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so go on, find your local thrift store, yard sale, or dad’s attic and pull out a gem of your own and have some fun.  i dare ya to buy some shaving cream and try a headcover of that tijuana brass album.  i double dog dare ya.

Music has always been a part of us. Before kids, when it was just me and Brant, we went to shows every weekend. The Other Paper sat on our coffee table with the line up of who we were going to see. My memories are walking out of Oldfield’s holding hands giggling and then heading to Taco Bell. And when we weren’t going to shows Brant was playing music in our house. There were late night jams on our backporch with friends or Brant was out playing with his band.

And then came kids. And going to shows every weekend came to a screeching hault. And I miss that part of us. We will see a festival pop up and throw down the line up exclaiming we are “old”!! We don’t know any of these bands anymore. And when Brant goes out to play I can’t find a babysitter or forget to.

But then there are new memories made. The first time we brought our daughter home. Brant played to her as she laid in our bed. Watching our kids dance on the end of the guitar as he played before they could even walk. They will grow up with music in their home. When Brant brings out his guitar Falon comes running with her tutu. She points out when she hears a banjo on the radio.

So the shows aren’t what they used to be. But I am enjoying these even more.

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By Becky Reno

This idea of deviate is a bit tricky, isn’t it?

To even mention deviance is to acknowledge the existence of some sort of “normal,” which I think is a myth. Unlike unicorns, and fairies, and jackalopes (which I just found out aren’t real, and am still pissed about, by the way), this myth is an asshole. This myth pits us against each other, and stirs up insecurities that should never exist in the first place. It obscures the reality that we all have far more commonalities than we do differences. That’s not to say that there are not differences though, in fact, just the opposite. We’re vastly different on a whole range of things, and those differences are precisely where the magic lives.

There’s a scene towards the beginning of Amélie where the stunningly brilliant Audrey Tautou describes people’s idiosyncrasies. (Naturally she does so in French, which makes them sound like the most amazing things in the world, so if someone could translate mine I would feel far more sophisticated (especially the mustard one).)

The funny thing about these little nuances, sometimes they’re so ingrained, so natural, they’re invisible. That’s the thing about our individuality- one woman’s normal is another woman’s deviate. Here is a list of some of the ways that I stray from the norm.

  • My dining room table is at most six steps away from my kitchen. Despite this, at least 90% of our meals are eaten on the floor.* To class it up we call it a picnic.

  • I rarely, if ever, close a cabinet door. This is also true of dresser drawers. This might be true of doors in our house, but we don’t really have any.**
  • I still hold my breath while I drive past a cemetery.***

  • When I put away mustard with a twist top- I lick it first.
  • When I see animals, I assume I’m getting some kind of message. I bought my house because of owls. These are two of the owls below, in fact. I had my son because of cardinals. Right now it’s dead birds.**** I’ll let you know what I figure out. And yes, predictably I did take a lot of Native American spirituality classes in college.

I’m sure I have so many more, but I don’t know they’re deviant until someone points them out. Help me out here, I’m not the only one, right? What are some of your little quirks?

*ON the floor, not off the floor. We use plates. Give me a little bit of credit.

**My husband thinks not closing doors/drawers is a thing. I think this is definitely NOT a thing unless that thing is laziness.

*** Except when I took this picture. I had to breathe, or I’d be joining them. Shit, I’m just realizing I’m probably full of spirits now.

****Not in a SARS kind of way. More like a “natural causes” way. Currently there’s a bird nest on my front porch. I’m expecting a macabre scene there any day. Hmm…putting these last two bullets next to each other is now making me link spirits and dead birds. I don’t suppose exorcism is anyone’s quirky little thing is it?