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Scattered Sundays

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Do you remember being a true crime loving little girl and watching Law & Order when you were nine (WTF were my parents thinking??), and hoping one day you’d solve a crime? No? Just me?

Well a few weeks ago, I may have just have played a part in (hopefully) solving a 30-year-old cold case murder. Here’s how it all went down…

One of the true crime podcasts I listen to is called The Murder Squad. One of the hosts is Paul Holes who help solved the Golden State Killer case. It’s legit. 

Each episode involves telling the story of an unsolved crime and then there is an assignment at the end detailing how the public can help solve the case. Basically, crowdsourcing for bored women. I listen but never ever do the homework. Until I did.

Episode 64 involved the Taco Bell Strangler (you hate me right now for sharing these names, right?), and who HAS been caught and convicted of crimes on the East Coast. The assignment was to find additional cases he may have been involved in around the country.

My ears perked up when they mentioned he had been in the Puget Sound area in the last 1980s. Given that it was local, I felt like I probably should do a cursory google search for unsolved crimes that fit his MO. And wouldn’t you know it…I found one.

It was late at night when I found the case, and even though I was hopped up on true crime adrenaline, I decided to sleep on it. What police department would want to hear from anyone at 11 pm? Does anyone take a phone call seriously at 11 pm? No.

I shared it with a few friends the next day and said I felt like an utter idiot for contemplating calling it in. They all agreed I was absolutely a giant dork but that it was worth at least a phone call.

Putting on my tinfoil hat and hiding in my closet so that none of my family could hear, I called the sheriff’s office. They passed me around to three different detectives (I’m sure I sounded like a dumbass and they were getting a giant kick out of me) until they transferred me to the voicemail of the detective in charge.

Sounding like a complete ding dong, I left a voicemail saying that this man had been in the area in the late 80s and that perhaps they should look at him for the unsolved murder of a woman and her child. I left my contact information, hung up, and died inside for being such a poser.

Welllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll my friends, the most recent episode of The Murder Squad included an update on the case saying that the police department was looking at the suspect for the EXACT SAME FREAKING CASE I SUGGESTED. 

They said that a cop heard the episode and called in a tip to the sheriff’s office. So it probably wasn’t my voicemail that did anything, and likely 400 other chicks called in the same tip. BUT STILL.

When I heard that update I started screaming so loudly that Troy and the boys came running into the room where I was working. I hadn’t told Troy I ever called the police, (it was so embarrassing at the time) so I had to get him caught up to speed on the whole thing. He called me Angela Landsbury for the rest of the day, which is pretty much all I have ever wanted in life. I would have ruled Cabot Cove.

No one from the sheriff’s office ever called me back (rude). I have no additional updates on the case, and none of the local papers/news stations have picked up the story. So basically I know nothing new right now. 

Even if I had nothing to do with this (which is likely), if the case gets solved because of the podcast, it will be incredible! There is no such thing as closure when you lose a loved one in this manner, but for the family to know the case is solved would make me one happy camper.

a boy giving another boy a ride on his shoulders

Bennett’s face looks like Steve Carrell’s from the 40 Year Old Virgin movie poster.

This was Jack’s first full week of school and it went well. He’s enjoying it but still talks about wanting to GO to school. Bennett has reached his peak boredom with being home and asks daily when he can go back to preschool. I ask myself that daily too buddy.

The smoke from the wildfires was really bad this week, and we were lucky compared to those closer to the fires. Our air quality was up in the 250s for a time (normal in my area is 2-7). We let the boys outside for about 20 minutes a day, and then it was back to hiding indoors. Which comes on the heels of basically being home for six months.

This is an unedited photo. The base board is white but the light outside was super yellow from the smoke.

The smoke + quarantine + the kids not being IN school really got to me on Sunday. I had reached my limit of being positive and patient. I may have texted my sister that it was time to move to an antibody-first policy and I was going to be first in line to start licking all the public doorknobs because I COULD NOT DO THIS ANYMORE.

That evolved into multiple ranting Instagram stories where I railed on non-mask wearers, climate change deniers, voting (as in you should vote, for the love of God, vote), smoke, and being trapped inside. I highly recommend having a public tantrum on social media.

Thankfully everyone was super supportive, and my favorite comment was from a reader who said they enjoyed my TED talk. HA! I needed a solid 24 hours of just being over everything before I could get back to doing what I knew needed to be done.

Here’s the thing #1. Anyone I personally know who has kids at home is not ok right now. We’re just not. We’re exhausted. Many of us are trying to work, educate, and be the social cruise director for kids who have been home for half of a year. HALF OF A YEAR. And if you’re a parent/guardian/grown-up of littles on the West Coast, you’re now trapped inside because of air quality.

smoke covering trees

This photo was taken at 11 am.

When this shut down started in March I predicted I was going to lose it being home with the kids all the time. And I’ll never forget when a reader decided it was a solid move to publically shame me for saying that “because others had it worse and I was setting a bad example for my kids”. Keep in mind, I was ranting on a blog my kids do not read…

Here’s the thing #2: it is ok to not be ok from time to time. It is ok that no matter what your situation is, you feel like crap and decide that you’re serving cereal for dinner (again) and showing a movie because you just cannot deal with fighting. It is ok to not be ok and anyone who tries to gaslight you by saying it isn’t…can just keep it to themselves.

I’m not an expert in the narrative of anyone else, and would never assume I know how they are feeling. Everyone has challenges right now (kids at home or not!) and someone will always have it worse than you. 

But it is ok to have a day where you’re officially done with being a grown-up. Rant away. I’ll come to your TED talk. And instead of a judgy attitude, I’ll bring brownies.

a woman working out while wearing a mask

This is my “I’m officially over this face”.

Friday’s news of Justice Ginsberg’s passing hit me like a ton of bricks. Within five seconds, I felt a mix of extreme mourning for an incredible life, sad for her family and the nation, and scared out of my effing mind for the country.

RBG was an incredible light for women’s rights and that mantle needs to be passed on, especially now. The traditional patriarchy has failed us during this pandemic, but more than anyone, it has collectively failed women.

Of all the people with kids at home that I know, only one has a father/male partner who has had to sacrifice their career for pandemic-parenting. The rest is predominately falling on the shoulders of women.

There is a real danger of a lost generation of women who delayed careers, promotions, and will have limited earning potential because of this. This (short) podcast is an amazing examination of the virus pushing women out of work. Highly recommend a listen.

Ladies, the system has failed us. Again. And since society has made it perfectly clear that the voice of Black, brown, and indigenous women is not valued, I’m going to ask my fellow white women to meet me here at the mic.

We’ve been in this situation for six months with NO national plan. Letting people flounder, lose their homes, jobs, and kids losing eduction is NOT a plan. And because women are being called on to tackle these issues at home, nothing is changing because the work is not valued. It’s time to get mad.

The economy will not recover until women rise up and get pissed. If you have ever sent a tersely worded email to Zuililly about your delayed shipping, use 10% of that anger and contact your representatives. Nothing will change until our collective rage is louder than the bullshit that is currently being heard.

And while you are making your voices heard, make sure you are elevating the voices of others who don’t look like you. Give voice to those who society disregards.

Ladies, it’s time to get shit done. Do it for your friends or family. Do it for the single parent who is deciding every single day if going to work is worth the risk to herself and her kids. Do it for yourself. Do it for RBG. She passed the torch. It’s time for us to all be notorious. 

an instragram post that says "we've all got to be notorious now"

Source: Whippet.lab

Last week I spent the whole week sleeping in until one of the kids or the chickens got me up. I felt like I just needed to rest, even though my brain was still waking me up between 4:30 or 5 am but I still stayed in bed and dozed.

I thought it would be refreshing and just what I needed. After a week of this, I realized it was doing the opposite. It made the rest of the day feel rushed and I wasn’t getting in the quiet work time I enjoy for re-grounding myself. I didn’t feel at all rested.

This past week I was back to getting up before the sun and it’s been a 100% improvement in the start to my day. I’m just a morning person and I need to stop fighting it.

a white mug on a knee

The mug is from this shop on Etsy.

We are starting week 3 of Whole30 “lite” and we’re in cruising territory right now. It is definitely been an easy time so far, which is not my experience from the first time we did it.

We had my inlaws over on Monday and I made Whole30 compliant Zuppa Toscana, a big salad, and garlic bread. Troy and I didn’t have the bread or the fruit pizza my mother-in-law made. It looked delicious but oh well. We’re going over there on Saturday for her birthday and won’t be eating the cupcakes I’m making, or the pizza we’re ordering. First world problems.

You’re not supposed to weigh yourself while doing Whole30, but we’re not doing the “real” version, so Troy has weighed himself at work. He’s lost at least five pounds already because he’s a dude and just has to think about losing weight and it happens.

We don’t own a scale, but my clothes are fitting the way I want them to and I feel better in them. I never get the results that most people get on Whole30 (lots of energy, better sleep, better skin, etc.), but feeling more comfortable in my skin is lovely.

In the Garden This Week

I’m not sure if the weather has actually shifted, or if the smoke screwed with everything, but I could definitely feel the seasonal change this week. I’ve yanked out the cucumbers and squash and will be adding compost (AKA chicken crap) to that raised bed. In a few weeks, I’ll be planting garlic in there.

We’re still picking raspberries but I noticed the second wave of berries is very underwhelming compared to previous years. Our neighbor is painting his house and cleared a ton of brush away from some of the windows. He piled it up near our raspberries (we’re on a hill so homes are terraced) and I think it is blocking our afternoon sun enough to impact the crop.

There are still A TON of blueberries on some of the bushes and frankly, I can’t keep up with them. Anytime I see a bird hanging around there, I want to yell “tell your friends”. Our bushes are low because of space, and the berries are small and hard to pick. I can pick for 30 minutes (sitting on a stool because I am now old), and not even make a dent!

I finally started doing things with the tomatoes this week. Other than just eating them like apples and giving them away to strangers I see walking up the hill (hi Diane, it was lovely to meet you on Wednesday).

I canned whole tomatoes, did a few quarts of tomato soup base, and used my 15-year-old dehydrator to make a half-pint of tomato powder (that post will be coming in 2021).

a large bowl full of tomatoes

This was from 2 of 19 plants.

The tomato plants got a hard-core trimming on Thursday. Now is the time of the season when you want to cut them back to almost nothing, leaving just the unripened fruit still on the vine. Any straggly vines and any flowers need to go so that the plant can focus on ripening when it has already produced.

Bennett and I picked a bunch of our very tart and very large apples from one of our mini drawf apple trees. No, I don’t know what the name of these apples is. Yes, I should have kept the tag that came with the tree. I’ll jump in my time machine and go back five years to when I planted it.

These apples look stunning, but they’re very odd. They are either almost ripe or perfectly ripe and falling off of the tree. There is no in-between. Trying to salvage what I can, I made a batch of slow cooker apple butter. I ended up canning 10 half-pints. I had to add more sugar than I prefer, but dang son, these apples are puckery!

jars of apple butter

A shocking number of people on Instagram thought these were shooters. That pretty much sums up where we’re all at right now.

Not entirely garden related, but I defrosted our garage deep-freezer last week. It was pretty thrilling. This life I lead is sure to become a reality show…never.

The freezer had become disorganized, I had an oversupply problem with butter, and my life felt chaotic (see TED talk above) and thus I rage organized. A well-organized freezer was calming to my soul.

The butter issue was a bit out of hand but in a good way. I had been trying to get a case of butter from Azure Standard, but they had been out for a few orders. I got really “smart” with my last order and added three different cases from different brands to my cart.

My thinking was ONE of them should be in stock. Turns out two were in stock, and now I am hoping butter can be used as currency when the world ends. Oh, and yes, you can freeze butter. Just stick the whole box right in the freezer and call it a day. It will last for a year or more. 

a tub of butter


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What I’m Listening To This Week

A few weeks ago I discovered Morally Indefensible, a podcast from the creator behind The Jinx and Crimetown (one of my favorites!), comes a story of murder, friendship and betrayal.

If you end up liking this podcast, there will be a companion TV show on FX later this month. Do heed the explicit warning if little ears are listening.

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Long-time reader Izzy left this five-star comment (with awesome substitutions) on our Paleo Salmon Cakes {Pin this recipe}:

So since this is a go too recipe for me I thought I’d share that I experimented with different flour. I make a homemade mix of GF flour made up of brown & white rice flours, potato starch & tapioca flour. It takes a lot less flour & holds the cake together really well. The kiddo likes them better this way. I like them both ways. 

a platter of paleo salmon cakes with cilantro and chimichurri

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Roasted Frozen CauliflowerSave time and money by making Roasted Frozen Cauliflower part of your weekly dinner rotation. It’s so easy to whip up this toasty cauliflower for a fast and healthy side dish. {Pin this recipe}

a plate with colorful roasted cauliflower on a white wooden board

Whole30 Mashed PotatoesThese are the best homemade Whole30 Mashed Potatoes ever! This easy recipe for delicious garlic mash is easy to make ahead of time. You’ll never even believe they are dairy-free and can be made in the Instant Pot! {Pin this recipe}

Easy Air Fryer AppetizersYou’ll love these incredible Air Fryer Appetizers for parties, holidays, or as healthy game day snacks. All of these poppable bite-sized air fryer appetizers are perfect for a small group or even a crowd. {Pin these recipes}

9 photos of different air fryer appetizers

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

  1. How to Can Pears – cracking open a jar of these in February is pure heaven. {Pin this tutorial}
  2. Mojito Mocktail – e’rbody loves a mocktail! {Pin this recipe}
  3. Canning Peaches – this post dropping in the rankings is a sure sign that fall is coming. {Pin this tutorial}
  4. Crockpot Apple Butter – I made a batch of this with our own tart AF apples from our micro-farm.  {Pin this recipe}
  5. Canning Tomato Soup Base – I canned a few quarts using this recipe this week. {Pin this tutorial}

Meal Plan

One of the best things I did last week was to make a GIANT batch of soup. I ate the leftovers for at least six meals, including breakfast. I’m doubling up the soup I’m making on Wednesday so I can have easy lunches for the week.

Monday:: Air Fryer Chicken Fajitas (tortillas for the boys, over salads for Troy and I) and cut up veggies.

Tuesday:: Takeout to support a local small business.

Wednesday:: Spicy Butternut Squash (going to add some ground sausage instead of beans to make it compliant), salad, and bread (for the boys).

Thursday:: Hot dogs (bun free for Troy and I), potato wedges, and salad.

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night. Troy and I won’t be partaking in popcorn.

Saturday:: Burger bowls and homemade potato wedges.

Sunday:: Paleo Salmon Cakes and roasted veggies.


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25 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. Sarah, you brave soul, I absolutely believe you should take some of the credit if/when this cold case is solved. Any future retellings should most definitely include language such as, “this one time I helped solve a cold case” or “my amateur sleuthing skills were pivotal in jumpstarting this cold case”.

    Suffice it to say that my work is law enforcement adjacent but even so, I dread calling the police department for any reason other than an actual emergency. I’ve only had occasion to do it once or twice but by the time I’m done prefacing the conversation with all of my disclaimers about how I don’t normally do this kind of thing, how I’m not crazy, assurances that I am not a “Karen” (my apologies to anyone named Karen) and some waffling on how it doesn’t really mean that much to me if they look into it further or not, we are fifteen minutes into the conversation and I haven’t even touched on the reason for my call. It is just such a cringe-worthy experience. You should get a medal just for making the call, in your closet or not.

    With regard to being home, even more than me not being okay, I was more concerned for my kid. He needed the socialization. With each passing day I worried more about his mental health and development.

    While I agree with you that the majority of the pandemic-related logistical burden has fallen on women’s’ shoulders, I am not certain that a failed patriarchy or even lack of a national plan is solely to blame. I think you made reference to knowing one father/male partner willing to sacrifice his career for pandemic parenting but unless all the moms at home are single mothers, I think that some onus should be placed on the shoulders of the husbands/fathers. Whatever the reason, this decision should have been made together, between partners/parents and within the household regarding who would stay home and potentially sacrifice promotions and earning potential.

    • I can feel you cringing at those phone calls!!

      Yes, the spouses should have discussions about how things go. In my personal life, everyone I know has a male spouse with an essential job, meaning they are still out of the house.

      Troy is a great husband and dad, but he is still gone 24 hours at a time. Not much he can do from 75 minutes away!

  2. “Mother’s Choice” may be the best and sketchiest name for butter I’ve ever seen. Made my evening. 
    Thank your for these scattered Sundays, I’ve renounced social media until after the election and have missed out on the insta TED talks,  so I look forward to the new posts each week. This, postsecret,  and virtual church make my weekends 🙂

  3. I have to wholly disagree with your assessment. This pandemic has given me the one thing that I longed for, an opportunity to spend with my child instead of having to work full time and rely on daycare. I get to feed him breakfast, make sure he brushes his teeth, etc, all the things that I was never able to do before. 

    Whether the national government has a plan or not people are still going to be complaining so I’m not sure that would do much good anyway we’ll see how everything plays out. 

    • For sure each situation and family is different. But you are literally the first person who has told me that their life is better since this all started. Every other parent I know is struggling HARD. The texts I get from people about being at the end of their ropes scare me sometimes.

      For me, I still have to do everything I was doing before…with the kids always around. I work 40-50 hours a week and I used to have 15 kid-free hours per week. That time has vanished. Being self-employed means I don’t have sick leave or vacation. I don’t work = I don’t get paid.