Monday, December 3, 2012

Green Eyed Monster

I wish I had some fabulous, interesting pictures to share.  Like "Design Mom" does, or Alice Currah of "Savory Sweet Life"  But nope.  Just a stay at home mom, with a camera, who doesn't take time to pull it out and take pictures.

I used to take lots of pictures.  Thousands.  But now that I'm learning a bit more about photography, I'm realizing my pictures are really amateur.  Probably doesn't bother my 4 loyal readers, but it bugs the snot out of me, cause I only want to produce perfect and gorgeous content.

Yes, I suffer from Blog Envy.

You know what else I suffer from?  Trained dog envy.

My dog is quasi trained, or more realistically, I am quasi trained.  Which means she'll sit on command, but as soon as she receives her "good girl" and head skritchy praise, she's right back to jumping around like a lunatic.  (She is, we've determined, part Jack Russell Terrier.  Jack's are of course notoriously smart and notoriously lunatic)

Case in point.  She will not get on the TABLE, unless our backs are turned.  Once the backs are turned though, whoop there goes another grilled cheese sandwich.

She figured out how to open the lidded step can wastebasket.  You see, Kleenex are in there.  And there's nothing so fun for this dog as a Kleenex shredding episode.  Except maybe for stuffed animal shredding, or pencil chewing.  Yep, pencil chewing's right up there.

I had this cat once who loved, and I mean LOVED to chew on drinking straws.  In fact he would play "fetch" with straws.  If you threw one for him, he'd chase it, pick it up and bring it back and drop it at your feet.  It was cute and funny, until he started jumping on the table whenever I had a drink from say a fast food establishment and pulling the straw out of the cup with his teeth.  I will say this for him, he never spilled my drink, so that's good.

At least my children are mostly trained.  Still can't seem to put dishes in the dishwasher when no one's looking, or hang a towel up to save their lives.  But I can take them out into public without fear of embarrassment.  Or at least fear of extreme embarrassment.  Though I do often feel the need to mention my seven year old "did her own hair."  (don't want anyone thinking that I created that cockeyed pony tail)

All this to say, that for today, no pictures on the blog.  Maybe tomorrow??? Probably not.  Maybe at least once in December.

Seagull in flight at Seaside Oregon, November 2012.  Taken by me.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Crash !! :-(

"Hey, where you been?"  "I thought you said you were back and rearing to go."

Well, if I may offer up feeble excuse number 37, my computer crashed.  And my husband, who is a genius at such things, was caught up in a big project at work and had limited time to devote to rebuilding my system. 

So there you go.  You see, my computer repair expertise stops at "check the cables and connections."  Oh, and turn it on and off a hundred times, see if that makes it work.  (surprising how often those two skill sets will solve the problem.)

We finally came to the conclusion that the computer was toast.  Crispy burnt up toast

I am now back in business.  (wonder what my next excuse will be?) more excuses.  I love writing this blog.  That's the problem.  I see it as a treat.  Doing something I love.  And fun comes after work and chores right?  Treats come after we finish our broccoli.  (blech..shhh, don't tell my kids, but I don't believe there is enough cheese sauce in this world to make broccoli palatable.) Things is, I'll never make it to dessert, cause my plate is always heaped full of mushy overcooked olive drab broccoli.

My day certainly goes better if I take a little time to do something I love.  Must change my mindset.  It's not necessarily wrong to do something you love - unless what you love is murder and mayhem.  It would be wrong to do murder and mayhem. 

Wait, am I on to something here?  If my day goes better, it stands to reason I'll get more of my chores done.  Or at least won't be so grumpy while I'm doing the chores.  (Which by the way, never stay done.  Ever.  Since the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results, I must be insane to keep doing chores.  'Cause I always think if I tidy up, things will stay put away.  Yes, I am clearly insane.) 

So now that I've had a little fun, guess I better go clean a toilet or something....blech.

Monday, September 17, 2012

What I did over my Summer Vacation

...or "Why I haven't posted since July 5th - ish"

Predominately, I spent the summer answering questions from a very chatty seven year old.  "Mommy, why does...." and "can I have a snack" 

"I don't know" and "yes, you can have a banana"

I also had Jury Duty in July.  Which was really expensive. You see, it was in downtown Seattle.  Day one I realized I hadn't brought enough to read.  So at lunch (2 hour break) I went into the downtown retail core and bought a couple of books and lunch. 

Then, we were released at 2:00 for the day.  Only guess what, the first bus back to my park and ride didn't leave until 3:30. 

Day Two.  July in the Pac NW can be chilly.  And for some reason, the City of Seattle and County of King believe the Courthouse should have the air conditioning on.  We were released at 11:00 for lunch.  I was an ice cube.  I hadn't dressed warm enough.  Not even close.  What's a frosty girl to do with a two hour lunch break?  You guessed it...Downtown Seattle Nordstroms Flagship Store.  Where I bought a sweater, a pair of shoes ( I had been wearing sandals) and SOCKS.  And lunch.

We were released for the day at 1:00.  (that would be right when we came back from lunch)  No jurors were needed for the afternoon.  Not once did I even get called to be questioned as a potential juror.  Not once.  I sat in the jury room the whole time.  1:00 pm, and the first bus back is ...3:30.  Hmmm....what to do with all that time?

Following jury duty, ie - two day shopping spree - came the big ramp up for the trip to Romania.  Which also included getting the rest of the family ready to go on a two week vacation to Northern California to visit my husbands family. 

July 31, myself and three other women from my church boarded a plane and 20 some odd hours later, we were in Oradea, Romania.  Where stuff like this happened

Worship in the Apuseni Mountains
And this

And this

(don't ask....just a group of Christian women from the States blowing off a little steam)
And as so often happens after a trip like this, I spent the next two weeks getting up really early, napping and going to bed early.  And processing everything that had happened. 
It was at this point, I decided to abandon the blog until the kids went back to school. 
So, here I am.  Back and fired up and rearing to go !! 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Efficient vs. Expedient

In this corner, wearing the blue trunks, we have Efficient.
  • performing or functioning in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort; having and using requisite knowledge, skill, and industry; competent; capable

In the opposite corner, wearing the lovely pink paisley trunks, we have Expedient.
  • fit or suitable for the purpose; proper under the circumstances
Efficient is of course the desired method for doing anything.  Efficient organizers and tidy upperers would gather all like items together before putting them away.  Efficiency experts desire a world where no action is wasted. 

  • Hypothetically your desk is piled with stuff from all over the house.  You have dishes, a couple of magazines, a pair of socks (?) a dog training collar, TV remote, and AA battery.  The rest of your office (I mean "Studio") has books, kitchen towels, a pair of gloves, a pair of slacks, and copious toys brought in by a seven year old. 

  • Say hypothetically "I " were the "you" described above.  If I were efficient, I would gather and group together all the kitchen items, all the bedroom items, all the toys, and the rest of the miscellany.  I would then make one trip around the house, returning these things to their proper place as I go.  Maybe even humming a little tune..."la la la, look at me, calmly putting things away as if I have nothing else to do today la la la."
If we could return to reality for a moment, and leave June Cleaver out of this post.  (I do have pearls, but I don't wear them unless my handsome husband is taking me out somewhere "pearl worthy.")

Expedient is the method I generally employ.  Expedient gets it done...eventually.  Let's go back to the studio. 
  • first I say to myself..."how on earth did this room become such a trash heap?"  Then I start in one corner of the room.  Low hanging fruit first.  Garbage goes into the (wait for it) garbage can.  I gather up all the dishes, take them to the kitchen, and put them in the dishwasher.  (rule #1.  Don't make a mess somewhere else)  "Oh look, there's my calendar.  Why, that belongs in the studio...."
  • I put the calendar away, then grab some more low hanging fruit.  The socks and the slacks.  I take those upstairs.  "oh look, there's the receipts David emptied from his pockets. Why those belong in the office...(I mean "Studio")" 
  • I see the seven year old on the way back downstairs.  I tell her she needs to pick up her toys in my "studio."  "The what?" she replies.  I clarify, "My office."  "All of the toys?!," she asks.  "Only the ones you want to keep." I tell her. 
By following this method, when I inevitably have to abandon ship to
  1. Fix dinner
  2. Go to physical therapy for my arthritic neck
  3. put out any number of fires
I haven't made a bigger mess, which who knows when I'll be able to get back to and will be tripping over in the meantime.  Which is what used to happen, because for years I was convinced that Efficient was the only way to go. 

 And the winner, by TKO, is Expedient !!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Bustin' Loose

I have a dog.  A little dog.  I know, you already know this.  My dog loves people.  LOVES people.  And running.  And running to the bus stop in the morning. 

Yesterday, she got out.  Now we're still working on basic commands like "come."  She's pretty good at "come"...if she knows you have a treat.  But unfortunately, "come" is not powerful enough to overcome the siren song of the bus stop. 

Like I said, she got out into the front yard.  Which she does on occasion.  Usually she just hangs out nearby.  But schools been out for a week.  She hasn't seen her bus stop entourage.  She's apparently going through bus stop withdrawal.   

Which explains why she headed straight down that way.  I got her to stop, but hadn't yet convinced her to "come" when all heck broke loose.  She spotted some of the boys from the bus stop walking to the park.  They were a full block away.  And away she went.  Charging past me, barrelling out across the street - without looking...I might add.  Straight towards the boys, who by this time had gone around the corner and out of my sight. 

I gave chase.  Remember though, it's summertime, and I wasn't wearing my running flip flops.  Nope, I was wearing my cutie wedge flip flops.  And a skirt.  Picture if you will...little dog running down the street, ears flying back.  Middle aged mom (me) running after said dog at top "mom" speed in a skirt and flip flops. 

Next up, comes teen aged boy (Brian), who was barefoot, following suit, and overtaking mom in flip flops.  The dog, by this point, had come to rest at the feet of a group of boys, tail wagging.  "Hi, hi, hi, whatcha doin?"  "whatcha doin?"  "wanna play, huh, wanna play, hi hi hi."

Brian reaches her, and scoops her up.  I catch up to them.  "hi, hi, hi, did you see me? did you see me? I ran real fast...real fast.  Hi, hi, hi!"  "you ran good too, mom!!"  "can we do it again?"  "can we, can we?"

She is soooo grounded. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

La Multi Ani

Yesterday was my birthday.  My 47th birthday to be precise.  And in exactly four weeks, I'm going to be getting on an airplane and travelling to Romania.  Hence the post title, which is how Romanians wish you "Happy Birthday."    It's one of the few phrases in Romanian I know.  The other one is "Ham and Cheese."  (sunca si cascaval)

I'm going to Romania on a short term mission trip.  To be more precise, I'm leading a short term mission trip to Romania.  The team and I will be there for 8 days.  We're holding a women's retreat the first four days, then travelling to another city and presenting a Reader's Digest Condensed version of the retreat at a women's conference there. Finally, we'll be hanging out with Romanian women in their homes and learning about their lives. 

And for all you would be robbers and thieves...the rest of the family is staying don't be thinking my house will be empty and easy pickins.

Now if you had told me 5 years ago that I would be leading a mission trip, I'd have thought you nuts.  Let's see...five years ago, I had a teenager, a tween, and a toddler too at home.  A toddler who refused to nap.  Oh, and I had a cat who peed on the walls.  Honestly, my "five year plan" consisted of
  1.  not changing any more diapers. 
  2.  going to the grocery store in the middle of the day all by myself
  3.  having intelligent conversations with other adults on a regular basis. 

Nope, I'm gonna say going on an overseas speaking trip, much less leading an overseas speaking trip was not anywhere on the radar screen.  Not even a tiny blip. 

Five years ago, I'd have peed on the walls myself, before I'd have gotten up in front of a bunch of people and spoken.  Or at least have spoken for any duration.  I think five years ago, I had begun to speak in front of the church - giving financial updates as the Church Financial Officer.  You know, two minutes tops, spewing out numbers.

And I was planning to upload a picture of my first trip to Romania in 2008 here. A picture of me standing up in front of a crowd of people with a microphone in my hand.  The picture clearly shows enjoyment and enthusiasm on my face.  That picture documents the start of my love of public speaking. you may recall, my computer crashed a few weeks ago.  The pictures are nowhere to be found on my hard drive.  They are on the backup my husband makes on the home network, but...I have no idea how to access anything on the network.

I hope my husband never dies...cause I will never be able to sort through his technology.  And all will be lost.

Now the whole point of this post, as originally intended was to talk about how the "five year plan" can be a good thing, but we can't cling too tightly to the plan, cause "stuff" happens.  And often times, that "stuff" can lead to a better "five year plan." if we let it.  And, as if to prove my point, "stuff" happened in the midst of my plan for this post. 

Time will yet tell, if this was a better way to convey my message.  Which of course, is usually how those things work...the frustration of "here and now" blocks our view of "the big picture" until much later.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Inspiring Inspiration

What inspires me?

I was thinking about this after I spent about 2 hours reading crafting and organizing blogs this morning.  (and before 7:30.   &*^$%# menopause - waking me up at 5:00 am)

Today's the first full day of summer break for the kids.  I thought some "ME" time to brace myself, till I get my tolerance to people home all day built back up might not be a bad thing.  I decided to go ahead and get up.

I found myself totally inspired by my surfing session.
  • Cute craft projects.  It's been awhile since I've had a good old fashioned crafting session.
  • Fabulous pictures of gorgeous scenery. 
  • Pictures of clutter free closets.  No really.  I'm not kidding.
  • The women who write these blogs, and their stories.
Now if only I'd thought to save links to those images.  If only there was a way to do that electronically, while I'm doing what I like to call, "Blogsearch."  (that's short for "blog research" know, it's part of my job as a blogger.  "Blog", being short for "web log.")

There is?? ... There is a way?? 

Doh !!  I could have had a Pinterest !!

Next time, I promise I'll pin them.  But, in the meantime, have some fun wandering around the web on your own.  See what sort of inspiration you can find.  If you need a place to start - some of my favorites are on the "blogs I like" tab. 

And now for something completely different.  I know it's going to be received as oversharing.  But I made a sugar scrub a few weeks ago.  With brown sugar, good olive oil, and grapefruit essential oil.  I used it this morning.  Apparently it's delicious, cause my dog won't stop licking my legs.  "Unh, get off me Wiener Dog !!"


Monday, June 25, 2012

"mom...I'm bored"...sigh

Say it with me, "Go clean your room." 

And so last weekend, on a rainy Saturday, when I realized I was indeed bored, I cleaned my room.  It started out innocently enough.  Just put away the laundry from Friday.  But as so often happens, once you get to puttin' away, it's kinda hard to stop.

This past winter, I gave a talk at a MOPS meeting about homemaking shortcuts.  One of my faves, and best received tip was... to sleep like Europeans.  (It might have been a fave, cause of my props.  I brought a blow up bed, complete with blow up headboard.  Unfortunately, I didn't bring a camera. )

The tip?  Do away with top sheets and utilize the duvet cover as your sheet.  (like they do in Europe)  I knew I was going to meet with some pushback on that one.  Nobody likes to change a duvet cover.  But, I'm here to tell (type) you, a duvet cover can be changed by one person in less time than it takes to put on and tuck in a top sheet, and making the bed in the morning becomes simply a matter of pulling up the comforter.  PHWOOP, bed is made.  Literally.

How?  How is this possible? 

Back to cleaning my room.  The last thing I did in my room cleaning expedition was to change the bed.  I asked myself, "Self, since the room is no longer an embarrasing junk pile and the husband is home, why not have him photograph me changing the duvet cover?"

What follows is a duvet cover changing tutorial.  We timed it, and it took me two minutes, start to finish. 

Step one: Lay your duvet cover inside out on your comforter of choice.   (hint:  it always ends up inside out when you take it off the comforter.  Just leave it that way when you wash it.)

If your cover comes equipped with little ties in the corner, go ahead and tie them around the corners of the comforter.  It really does help to keep the comforter in place. 

Step two:  From the bottom, reach up inside the duvet cover and walk your hand up to the top corner...

...grab hold of the corner and duvet cover from inside the cover and pull the corner through.

Step three:  Repeat the process on the other side.

Step four:  pull the duvet cover straight down to the bottom on each side and stuff the lower corners of the comforter into the lower corners of the duvet cover.

(Those buttons to be buttoned outside in across the bottom..."fuggedaboudem".  One button, in the middle is all you need, especially if you have a footboard.)

Final step:  The big finish.  Flip and Fluff.  The "g" forces take care of the rest. 

And there you have it.  (probably should have taken a final picture of the bed all neatly made, but the hubs was knee deep in rebuilding my computer after a crash.  He had to go.) 

Couple of notes: 

I have two duvet covers made out of 100% cotton, with a 300 or more thread count.  (basically, made out of sheeting material, so they're comfy against the skin.)  I got them on sale, and paid roughly what I'd pay for a set of sheets. 

I buy plain white fitted sheets for the bed.  Don't have to worry about them clashing with my duvet covers : ) 

Final caveat - the first few times you try this, it'll be a little time consuming...but once you get the hang of it, two minutes or less.  Guaranteed.   (for me, it was the second or third time I tried it ...and believe me, I'm no mechanical genius.  Though I do have an incredible sense of direction.  I'll save that for another post.) 

Happy Homekeeping !!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Soap Box Alert...Where has all the common sense gone?

I read a news article this morning about a little girl who got horribly sunburned at school.

Turns out the school was one not too far from where I grew up.  But in a nutshell, the school was having a field day.  It was cloudy in the morning, and the mom didn't think to sunscreen up her girls before they went to school.  (though even if she had, by noontime, the sunscreen probably would not have been very effective) 

The sun, as it sometimes does in the Pac NW, came out in the afternoon.  And when it comes out around here, it doesn't mess around. 

Our state has laws in place, designed to "Protect our Children."  (In reality, they are designed to protect our schools and teachers from lawsuits.  Lawsuits, which admittedly, do happen.)  But these laws have rendered common sense completely useless.  You see, our "medication guidelines" restrict teachers from applying sunscreen to students.  The children cannot even bring sunscreen to school, unless they have a note from the DOCTOR. 

"Hi, I'd like to make an appointment to see the doctor.  Please bill my insurance, I'll cover the co-pay, and take up the doctors valuable time having him fill out an official school permission form for SUNSCREEN."

Sure, I get it.  Some medications are dangerous and toxic.  For instance, the medication for ADHD.  It's actually an amphetamine. It's got some street value.  Kids sell it to their friends.  (which , they do outside of school just as much as they do in school.)  But, a child comes home from school with a second degree sunburn - which increases the child's risk of developing skin cancer later in life - because the teacher was barred from putting sunscreen on a student, and the student was barred from having sunscreen at school.  (hmm, that could generate a lawsuit or two down the road, skin cancer caused by ridiculously stringent medication guidelines)

My daughters elementary school has gone so far as to have an "allergy" table in the lunchroom.  Yes, that's right, if you're allergic to peanuts, gluten, you name it, you are segregated from the general lunch population.  And made to eat with the "allergy" kids.  (that's what the other kids call them)

My daughter, by the way, is unable to digest the protein in dairy.  Does the school know this?  Nope.  I don't dare tell them, cause I don't want her to get busted over to the "allergy table."  Instead, I've done was most parents of children with food allergies and intolerances have done for years.  I've taught my child to ask "does this have dairy in it?"  And she asks this about everything.  It's actually kind of funny.  If she's offered juice, "Does it have dairy?"  If she's offered strawberries, "Does it have dairy?"  Her intolerance is not life threatening, just painful, so I'm not really putting her safety at risk with my bold statement.  But...even for those kids who are at risk, well the rest of the world doesn't come equipped with allergy tables... do you see where I'm going with this?

My other big question, I've yet to have satisfactorily answered, is this.  "Why are children more flammable at night?"  Don't tell the pajama police, but I've been making my kids pajamas for years out of 100% pure breathable cotton, without added flame retardant chemicals as required by the Federal Flammability Standards for Children's Sleepwear.  Risking their very lives in the process, I know.  But, I'd rather have them sleeping in comfort than sleeping in a toxic soup of chemicals and sweat on the off chance our home bursts into flames. 

This from the CPSC guidelines for production of  children's sleepwear

 What if sleepwear fails the flammability tests?

Rejected units may not be retested, used, or promoted

for use in children’s sleepwear. Rejected units can be
destroyed, exported (only with CPSC approval) ...

Apparently, the CPSC does think it's okay to set foreign children aflame in their jammies.  (btw, I made the "exported" all big and standy outy.  That's not formatting from the CPSC)

And don't even get me started on how quickly polyester nightgowns pill up and fall apart.  Just as an aside, a little observation if you will.  While polyester doesn't burn, it does in fact melt.  Into a solid lump of black plastic.  Hmm, flaming cotton which could theoretically be removed or molten plastic?  You make the call. 

Oh look at that, there's another CPSC clothing recall - seems someone sold a child's hooded jacket with drawstrings....again...oh the horror.  When will these people ever learn !!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Lots to think about...

It's been a crazy week in the Pac Northwest.  Seattle grabbed world headlines with a day of violence.  One man, mentally ill, clearly, shot five people in a coffee bar then went downtown and shot another woman and stole her car.  Five of those people died.  The gunman then killed himself, later in the day.

First off, I'm not going to get into the gun control debate.  I honestly don't know where I stand on that issue.  I just know, you cannot plan for every contingency.  You do the best you can with what you have to work with.  And invariably, someone will escape detection, fall through the cracks, etc.  I hope I'm not coming across as defeatist by saying that.  I'm quite the opposite.  I have very high regard for my fellow man.  I think the vast vast majority of the people I share this earth with are good people.  People, who would not go out of their way to purposely cause trouble or pain to others.  People like this gunman are the anomaly.  Many many people struggle with mental illness.  Most do not go on shooting rampages.  I don't think the community at large has anything more to fear today than it did on Tuesday - before this happened. 

Obviously, the news focus the day of the shooting was on the shooting itself, and apprehending the suspect, who was on the loose for several hours.  What I'm heartened about, is the media coverage following that. 

In the last two days, I've felt like I've lost people I've known...which is a good way to feel in a situation like that, as far as I'm concerned.  No, I never met any of them, nor do I know anyone who knew them.  But the media has done a good job of covering who these people were.  They are not just "six people shot in Seattle."  We've learned that two were musicians in the alternative rock scene.  One was an aspiring actress.  Another was a wife and mom from the suburbs, in town for the day.

We've learned of the goodness of the average man. 

We learned about a homeless man, a convicted felon, who came to the aid of the wife and mother.  He was with her as she lay dying.  He prayed for her.  He told her she was not alone.  What a great reminder that homeless people are first and foremost, people. 

We've learned of other people, ordinary citizens, who came to this woman's side as well.  Came to her, while the gunman was driving away in front of them.  They could have just as easily been shot, but they all said they didn't realize that until later.  They just saw the woman on the ground and knew she needed help.

We've learned about a man in the coffee shop, who threw a bar stool at the gunman, which allowed two or three people to escape the shop unharmed.  We learned about the barista in the coffee shop, who though critically injured himself was able to call 911.  The barista is the only shooting victim to survive.

Nobody is accepting the title "hero." 

We've watched the community come together over this tragedy. 

We've been reminded of another set of victims in this tragedy.  That would be the family of the gunman.  Their grief is so multi layered.  It's more than most of us can comprehend.  I know a little bit about what that's like. 

I spent the first six years of my life in North Tacoma.  Ted Bundy was my parents newspaper boy when they were first married.  One of his close friends, David, lived next door to us.  I'm told I sat on his lap, though I have no memory of this.  It's not unlikely though, I would have been a very little girl, and I sat on a lot of laps when I was a very little girl.   I certainly remember sitting on David's lap.  Bundy's parents were part of the community my family was a part of.  They were ordinary people, who went to the same annual Christmas party we did.  I have no idea if they are still alive.  They would likely be in their 80's if they are.  But they became nearly as notorious as their son, even despised by some.  The media was quick to assign blame to the parents.  What a thing they had to live with. 

Nothing will of course change what happened.  Could it have been prevented?  Probably not.  Will good come from this?  Undoubtedly.  And I think it's totally appropriate to focus on and even celebrate that good. 

May God's grace and love shine through on all of us in these times. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I'm now one of "those" people

It's true.  It's happened.  My dog has taken over my life.  I'm now "dog people."  She goes on rides with me in the car.  I take her to the bus stop morning and afternoon.  She's on my lap RIGHT NOW as I'm typing.  Snoring.  And I'm trying to sit still, so I don't disturb her.  It's true. 

On the other hand, it's a little chilly today, and she is keeping my lap warm.  So, technically, she's earning her keep...right?

Wait...leg is asleep...gently, slowly, just moving it....okay, okay, I'll stop.  Whew that was close.  Almost woke the dog up.  In fact I did, if only for a brief moment wake her up.  She gave me the stink eye.  She's back to sleep now.

But, she's just a puppy.  A baby.  I used to hold my human baby in my lap while she napped in the afternoon.  At seven years old, she barely fits now.

We went to a barbeque over the weekend at a friends house.  Our kids are the same age, husbands work for the same company.  Want to know what we talked about?  Our dogs.  They have three dogs, we only have the one.  Our dog was invited to come, but since one of their dogs is very old, we decided our dog/puppy might be too exuberant for him.  So she stayed behind.  In her crate.  See, I'm not totally dogged out.  I still make my dog stay in her crate at night and while we are gone.  (at least when my husbands around...sometimes, when he's at work, and I'm only going to be gone for an hour...)

Okay, this time, dog be darned...I really have to move my leg.  I'm just going to do it, quick.  Like a bandaid.  She'll be over it in no time.  One, two, and it's done.  I tricked her.  I moved my leg before I got to three.  Ha.  She didn't even know what hit her, and she's readjusted and back to sleep. 

I might have to fire the painters.  We're having our house painted.  It's the first time we've hired out the task, and I gotta tell you, it's fabulous.  No hanging off ladders in the burning sun, or drizzling rain.  But yesterday, the painters assistant asked me what kind of a dog Frankie is.

I told him she's a mix.  Dachshund and Terrier.  Now you've all by now seen pictures of my dog.  She's not the most beautiful, but she is cute and adorable and completely loveable. 

"hmm," says he, pointing at my dog.  "See, that's why people should have their dogs spayed and neutered.  Cause that's what you get."

I smiled.  Cause I'm nice that way.  But inside, "SCUSE ME !!  DON'T BE DISSING MY DOG."  I'm just waiting for the perfect opportunity to slip a little dog doing at the base of his ladder.  I have plenty.  It won't be any trouble.  HA.  Take that, mister DOG DISSER.

btw, does anyone actually say "dissing" any more?  I didn't think so.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Building on a firm foundation

I've been trying to figure out how to write about my joy at the return of pantyhose to fashion.  Trying to write about it in a way that doesn't set womankind back a century, and have feminists the world over hurling flaming rocks and arrows at me. 

I live in a small suburban city, and well, I can't go anywhere without running into someone from the PTSA, or church, or the neighborhood.  Mostly I like that.  But when I get on a soapbox and raise ire, I'd rather I lived in a large metropolitan area.  You should have seen the fallout when I wrote a letter to the editor of our small town newspaper about enforcing the no dogs at the farmers market regulation.  It went on for most of that summer.  (I'm not sorry I did it though - and clearly I'm a dog lover, which you know if you've read any of my posts)

Pantyhose are fabulous.  Before the pantyhose, we had the girdle.  Before the girdle we had the corset.  And hoopskirts.  When seen in that light, pantyhose seem rather tame.  Not the torture device we had come to regard them as. 

At first, I embraced the loss of pantyhose, though I always wore them to the office if I wore a skirt. Of course, without the pantyhose came the return of the pantyline.  Not attractive.  Nobody looks good with a pantyline.  Just check out re-runs of Starsky and Hutch.  Lots of pantylines.  Very unattractive.  The thong panty promised some relief from the pantyline...but came with a surprise.  With actually nothing covering the bum, well the bum as it turns out - I'm just going to say it - the bum flobbles. 

There I said it.  It flobbles.  You know what I'm talking about too.  You know when you are walking down the street and your bum is swaying side to side (bum cheeks, not hips) and bum cheeks are bouncing up and down at the same time.  Here's an ugly truth.  If you can feel it, everyone else can see it. 

Now before you go getting all upset and cancelling your subscription to this blog, bear with me.  I freely admit to the flobble.  I flobble.  Which is why I bought spanx.  Which I find to be more uncomfortable than pantyhose.  And a darn sight more expensive.

Lets be clear.  All women flobble.  Except for maybe the extreme bodybuilder woman who can crack walnuts with her bum cheeks.  Nope, she probably flobbles too. 

The solution is simple though.  And it doesn't have to cost a fortune either.  Leggs Sheer Energy.  That's all it takes.  $6.00 a pair.  Slip 'em on and something wonderful happens.  Yes, tushy is firm.  But so are thighs.  And you know what else?

I thought I was going to grow old gracefully.  That was my plan.  My skin, has other ideas.  It's become rather transparent.  Which means, in addition to my veins showing, my lovely dark leg hair is now visible under the skin.  My perfectly shaved and smooth leg looks like it hasn't seen a razor for several days.  I've tried everything under the sun.  Waxing - caused unsightly ingrown hairs.  Depilatories = chemical burn.  Shaving started to cause ingrown hairs.  Shaving with an electric razor...same thing.  Tweezing the ingrown hairs out caused scarring.  Which caused more ingrown hairs.  TMI I know.

But a nice pair of pantyhose, a nice suntan shade, and all of a sudden my legs are nubile.  Smooth, silky, pretty, and as mentioned above, not flobblish. 

So there you are.  Ladies, embrace the foundation garment.  The wise man builds his house upon the rocks. 

Oh, hope I don't twist an ankle stepping down off this soap box.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Can we see it already?

Yah yah yah....I've been going all great guns with the studio re-do.  It really is almost done.  But I've been a Lee for several years now.  And well, Lees are busy people.  We don't like to waste time.  This is one thing I've noticed about Lees.  This is why we are always late. 

Lee 1 will be ready to go.  Lee 2 needs a few more minutes.  So Lee 1, not wanting to waste minutes, will: 
  • a) start a load of laundry
  • b) change her shoes
  • 3) etc. 
Lee 2 is now ready, but Lee 1 is still loading the washing machine. 

Lee 2 then:
  • answers an e-mail. 
Lee 1 is ready again, but Lee 2 is still typing. 

Lee 1 then:
You get the picture.

The other thing about Lees, is we think we are incredibly efficient and therefore think we can take on many things at the same time.  What ends up happening is handy husband rebuilt the island in the kitchen from the ground up.  It's larger, it has more storage, and it now has an eating bar.  It's beautiful.  Or it will be, once it gets painted.  And the tile gets the final coat of grout.  You see, it's perfectly functional, and has been since December.  So that's the problem.  We get it to perfectly functional, then start to feel the heat from another fire we started, and turn our attention towards that. 

You see, my office / sewing room is now perfectly functional.  It's even mostly decorated as well as organized.  But, it's not done.  The valance still needs to be made.  My two little pine chests from Ikea need to be painted.  There is a large basket full of "don't know where to put these things" things just outside the door.  I'm to the point of having to make lots and lots of little decisions about frankly unimportant stuff. 

In the meantime, I had to pay bills, I had to plan a craft for Daisy Scouts, I had to write an article for my church newsletter, I needed to prep for a meeting I was leading...

I will say this, my office functions SO MUCH better.  Everything I needed to do all of that was within reach.  And I still have room to apply pencil to paper when needed. 

And why didn't I include "blog post" on my large list of other stuff to-do?  Because I had it in my head, that my next post, for continuity's sake, needed to be the conclusion of my studio re-do series.  Since I wasn't done with the re-do, because I haven't worked on it for a week or so, it would be against my "rule" to post about something else. 

This post, however, accomplishes two things.  First, the post is technically about the process of my office re-do, since apparently, stopping work once I get to the point of "Perfectly Functional" is part of my process.  Second, this post is indeed a post, and it makes me happy to write this blog.  So now, I'm back to being happy.  That's pretty fabulous.

Oh, and my other reason for not finishing the office.  (I mean, studio) There are times when you gotta make hay when the sun shines.  And the sun has been shining in the Pacific Northwest for several days now.  In a row.  I've even turned off the furnace.  So I've been outside.  Planting, and planting, and sitting on my behind in my chair outside admiring my planting.  Ooh, an idea for my next post.  My hidey hole in the backyard.  You're going to love it !! 

( I should go take some pictures while the sun is shining !!)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Colorful Character

I am one with color.  There is little to nothing about me that could be described as beige.  I realized several years ago that bright or deep rich colors make me happy.  They also look the best on me, with my cool skin tones.  I've become kind of known for my colors.  My winter wool coat is magenta.  My everyday spring coat is red.  The fleece jacket I'm sporting right now is apple green.  My purse is navy blue purple.  I often tell people, "I'm far to colorful a character to wear bland clothing." 

I think my penchant for color stems from growing up in rental housing. Off white walled rental housing.  I didn't live in an "owner occupied" home until I was 28 - when I was the owner occupier.  It was then, I picked up my first paint roller, and made my first paint mistake.  Pale pink.  I thought I was getting a pinky beige.  Nope.  It was pink.  Pure and simple.  In the living room.  It's ok, though, it was the early nineties, and the pink did "work" with my teal and white striped sofa set.  Sort of a Miami Beach vibe.  ( I'm just sorry I don't have a picture available to insert right here.)

I've since learned the value of two trips to the paint store.  The first one, to buy the sample quart.  It's imperative this step of the painting the room process not be skipped.  Imperative!

Now, how to marry my deeply rooted love of color, with my newfound crush on Swedish Country design.  Most walls in Sweden are painted white, pale grey, or pale blue.  And I do mean "pale."  Which of course reflects a great deal of light, whereas my bright colors absorb the light. 

I know I'm in love with apple green.  And magenta, and navy blue, and purple, and red, and yellow.  My studio has been painted a lovely buttery yellow for five or six years.  What to do, what to do?  Well, the buttery yellow fits, sort of, with my scheme...but I kinda wanted to mix it up a bit.  An accent wall perchance? 

I started flipping through my design magazines, looking only at the colors.  And this one room hopped out at me.  (literally, cause it's Kermit the Frog green.  I'm not kidding.) 

Now, when I laid out the room, I essentially split it in half diagonally.  One corner and it's corresponding walls house my office junk, the kitty corner corner and corresponding walls house my sewing junk.  Light bulb !  and not one of those CFL's that take forever to get to full brightness,  but a good old fashioned wattage busting incandescant.  Oh yes.  I could paint the office half of the room Kermit, and leave the sewing half butter yellow!!

Or maybe the office half pale sky blue, in keeping with my scheme, or maybe Kermit, or maybe pale blue, but then again Kermit.  And the debate in my head raged on for several days.  I was loathe to give up my scheme.  Swedish Country homes DO NOT have Kermit green walls. 

Then, this image of my back yard in summer came into my head.  My back yard is small, but it does have a patch of green grass and is ringed with trees and shrubs, all planted by my handsome husband and myself.  And it's so calming to look at.  This sea of green.  Natures green. 

Rules be darned !!  Let anarchy reign !  Kermit, here I come !!

You may notice I have not removed the curtain rods.  No fears...I forgot...until I painted up just a teensy bit more...then I remembered.

And now for the reveal.  My almost finished office corner.  Just a few more tweaks and it's open for business.  I can't wait to show you around.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

To contain, or not contain...that is the question

I have probably 5 books on home organization.  I've viewed pretty much every page on home office organization at the Real Simple website.  While I'm no expert, I have learned a thing or two on the topic over the years.  I've also learned a lot about what methods DON'T work for me. 

When a person decides to "get organized" the first instinct is to go out and get containers for organizing the stuff.  And it's an exciting first step for those of us with visions of organization.  Especially if we go out and buy matching containers.  Oohh, I get all tingly just thinking about it.

However, as all the home organization guru's say, it's pointless to buy containers until we know what we are going to be containing.  In other words, we need to get containers that fit our stuff, instead of trying to make our stuff fit the containers that we've gotten.  (This is why my garage is now full of containers that didn't end up working  - because I didn't follow this very important step)

So, this time, before I bought any containers, or any storage units, or re purposed things I already have (which is actually my ideal - since I'm kinda cheap) I went through the painful and messy step of looking at all my junk in one big pile of a place. 

Sure, no one could enter my house for a week or so, because the front entry was blocked, by the massive junk pileup, but looking at one big messy pile was more purge inspirational than looking at a bunch of neat little piles of sorted stuff.

I'm sure we're all familiar with the "three bag method."  One bag for keep, one for donate, and one for toss. (I'm loathe to toss - save the earth and all), but sometimes, you just gotta do it. 

And so, after giving myself permission to admit I may have made a mistake on some of my prior purchases (Rule #1 - Nothing is sacred )  Also being somewhat sickened by the size of the pile, I got to work and almost immediately cut the pile in half.  Now, let me just say, I'm not a super disciplined purger person.  I'm just like you.  So if I can dive into a pile like this and make half go away in an afternoon, I have faith that you can too.  Really.  You can.  Trust me.  The hardest part is sending away things you paid good money for.  It feels wasteful. 

Then I realized, it's not wasteful to send it on for someone else to use.  It's wasteful to have this stuff sitting in my house unused.  It's not like I live in the frozen tundra, and can only sled dog out once a year to buy pens and notebook paper.  There's no legitimate reason for me to have 6 spiral notebooks.  None.  Yet I did.  So now, a local charity has 4 spiral notebooks to give to people in need. 

Next up - containers !!!  Yes, yes, yes !!  I love containers.  But still, my first containment step was not a container store.  My first step was to think about what sort of containers worked for me.  Clutter makes me claustrophobic, but I'm a visual person.  I need to see what I have.  I realized that for me, the containers that worked best, were the clear containers.  This means, all my lovely baskets and boxes, though pretty to look at, were actually part of my organization problem.  Rather than taking the time to lift the lid, and look at what was inside...if I needed something, I just went to the store and got it.  Mainly because I had no idea that I already had it - in a pretty box.

Armed with this new knowledge and insight, and with a list of the optimal container sizes in hand, I hit the shopping trail once again.  It's hard for me to make a bunch of trips to the same place over and over.  It seems so inefficient.  However, this process has taught me, it's more efficient and cost effective to only buy what I know I need at that moment then to try to anticipate what I'll need in the next step and the next step, and buy it all at once.  Mainly because I'm horrible at returning things. 

I'll tell you, it practically killed me, doing it this way.  In the end though, it's working out a whole lot better. 

Next up - color.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Vive la liberacion !!

Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait just one darn tootin minute !  Now all of a sudden we're in Spain?  Vive la liberacion...make up your mind, are we in Scandinavia or are we in the Mediterranean in terms of decorating philosophy? 

Well...Vive la liberacion is a cry of overthrowing our oppressors.  Swedes don't have oppressors.  Really, never have.  We (the Swedes, of which I am 1/8th) are a peace loving neutral people.  So no such cry in Swedish.  Hence, I resorted to Spanish.  And, I'm not sure I resorted correctly.  I mean I took two years of German in high school, nearly a century ago.

Intrigued now?  The main concept here, is overthrowing the oppressors, which in the case of my studio, is all the junk.  It's oppressive.  And all the "making do" and perching precariously atop piles and furniture cleverly "repurposed" finally broke me. Literally.  I was having back and neck pain from working in an environment that was not remotely ergonomic.  Not even close. 

When last we met, I had decided on a style for the new room.  Swedish Country.  I also knew what size and what sort of work surfaces I needed.  I wanted to pick those first, cause I figured that was the one area I did not want to compromise on.  I was also hoping to avoid the use of particleboard. 

Well, this turned out to be a week long quest.  But finally, finally, I made a slight compromise, and found the perfect units.  And guess where I found them?  This is the best part.  I found them at IKEA.  You know where Ikea's from right?  SWEDEN !!!  How perfect is that?
GALANT Corner desk-left IKEA Tested and approved for office use. Fulfils the highest quality standards for stability and durability.

The legs are even height adjustable.  And Ikea has a tool on their website that allowed me to calculate the perfect ergonomic tabletop height based on my height.  Plus they have lots of options for adding length, and stuff to the tables.  My compromise?  It's not exactly wood.  It's birch veneer - which is wood - over MDF, which is wood dust and glue.  But, still not particleboard, so that's good.  (right?)

One of these days I will regale you with the story of my getting these tables (two of them) from Ikea, by myself in my mid size SUV.  I won't do it now, because that would be too long of a digression for this post, even for me. 

In order to assemble the desks and install them into the studio, I first had to haul pretty much everything out of the room.  Once I had the tables set up...I didn't want to bring anything back in.  It looked so good.  So open, so airy. 

Which means, the liberacion began, in earnest.  It was surprisingly easy. Apparently, the trick is to look at the stuff outside of it's natural habitat.  IE, stacked up in the front hall.  Getting it out of the studio, where I was used to seeing it, made me truly realize just how much stuff I'd had in there.  It also made me realize, the sheer volume of this stuff violated rule #3 - Does it make me happy?  Nope, it did not.  So, the oppressive junk has been overthrown - mostly.  Oh sure, there are still pockets of resistance, hiding in the hills.  I am though confident I will eventually take them the Goodwill.

Next up.  Storage.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Swedish design, hold the lutefisk

I am 1/8 Swedish.  It's the most highly concentrated and certainly most interesting part of my heritage.  So I choose to call myself a Swede. 

Sweden, a land of the midnight sun, is also the land of the midday moon in the wintertime.  What, you may ask does this have to do with design, and more particularly, purging the office/studio?  If you'll allow me a little latitude, I'll get to that.

I love all things French country.  No, really, I do.  I love the textiles, particularly toile, but also the blue and the red and the yellow and the green Provencal fabrics.  I love the colors, I love the wood.  The furniture, the paneling.  Those dark rich woods. The parquet floors.  I can look at French Country design books all day.  I can envision it in my house.  My sub-division even has a French name !

And so began my quest to decorate my home in the French Country style.  In the sun, it looks great, and warm. But, here, in the Pacific Northwest, unlike the South of France, we don't have sun in wintertime.  We have the grey clouds.  And we also have grey clouds.  Sometimes we even have, wait for it, grey clouds.  So, dark and heavy furnishings, well it just looks dark and heavy.  And not happy at all.  I need happy.  I neeeeddd happy.

Back to being Swedish.  One day, while learning more about my Swedishnish, I happened upon a book about Swedish Country Design.

Swedish Country Interiors

Eeh?  That's right.  Swedish Country. 

Seems back in the day, old King Gustav went to visit his King buddy in France.  He liked the furniture.  So he took some back to Sweden with him.  But it was dark and heavy.  So, he painted it.  White or palest grey, or pale blue.  It's pretty much like my beloved French Country, only instead of oak and walnut, everything's made out of oak and pine.  Instead of dark rich stain, its whitewashed.  Or painted.  Painted light colors.  Why?  It's all cleverly designed to fool the mind into thinking there's more light than there actually is.  It's a psychological and totally genius way to decorate. 

Where contemporary Swedish design has very clean lines and is essentially minimalist, Swedish Country allows for a bit more flair in the furnishings, and more tchotchke's.  Like carved furniture.  Like a Dala Horse.  I do like me a Dala Horse. 

So for my studio, where I often spend a great deal of my day, Swedish Country design it is.  It also helps that my former (sniffle) neighbor gave me her whitewashed pine sideboard and hutch when they downsized last summer.  It's kind of a prominent piece and handy too.  It also reminds me of my all time favorite neighbor.  Which means, It follows my rules.  It makes me happy, and it functions the way I need it to function.  This piece is my jumping off point for the studio. 

Next up, the quest to find work surfaces.....

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Office Re-org. Step One - Nothing is sacred

When I finally decided to get serious about this organizing my studio project I figured I'd better come up with some ground rules.  Otherwise, instead of organizing and purging, I'd just end up cleaning and tidying, once again.  Been there, done that, doesn't work.

Here are the rules:
  1. Nothing is sacred or automatically exempt.
  2. Does it serve an actual useful purpose?  (yes = keep/maybe, no = bye bye)
  3. Does it make me happy? 
  4. Does it make me frustrated?  (IE, does it actually work the way I need it to?)

Yep, that's right.  Only four rules.  KISS.  Keep It Simple Stupid.

Next I spent a day or two pondering what I want to be able to do in my studio.  Keeping in mind, it had to be easy and also keeping in mind that I'm a visual person. (out of sight = out of mind)

Here's what I came up with:
  1. Office Work.  (book keeping and the like)
  2. Creative Writing.
  3. Planning and preparing for speaking engagements and conferences.
  4. Sew
Next...what do I need to have in order to accomplish this?  Besides a hot cup of coffee

  1. Office Work
    • Computer
    • Comfortable chair, with arms.
    • Room to spread out (and ergonomic at that)
    • adding machine
    • telephone
    • office supplies (and place to keep them)
    • ease of access to files
  2. Creative Writing
    • Computer
    • Comfortable chair, with arms
    • comfortable and cheerful atmosphere
  3. Planning and Prepping for Speaking Engagements and Conferences
    • Computer
    • Comfortable chair with arms
    • Comfortable and Cheerful atmosphere
    • Room to Spread Out.
    • Ease of access to books and resource materials.
  4. Sewing
    • Table to accommodate sewing machine, serger, and embroidery machine
    • Comfortable chair - no arms
    • Fabric storage
    • Sewing Notion Storage
    • Cutting Table
    • Dress Form
    • Storage for "projects in progress"  (I'm easily bored, and have multiple projects going at any time)
Armed with this knowledge, I then carefully measured my room and drew a template on graph paper. 

Then....I hit the Internet.  Stay tuned......................................

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Where it all began

Some weeks ago, I made this bold proclamation about my office.   About the condition of my office to be more specific.  On January 30, I declared triumphantly that I would have touched every piece of paper in my office, I mean studio, by the end of business January 31.  But then January 31 had plans of its own.  Influenza plans.  On February 8, I tried again to make this proclamation. 

Let me show you what I was up against.

Do Not Be Fooled.  I like to start with my best foot forward.  Sure, this looks all color coordinated, roughly following the ROYGBIV colors of the rainbow.  (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet)  Come with me now to the wider angle shot.

This is my "cutting table."  It's counter height, so I don't have to lean over when applying my rotary cutter to fabric.  It's actually a very nice size, could be bigger, but my room is small.  However, no cutting can happen...unless I clear this off.  So, in reality, no cutting happens.

Let's have another angle.

As you can see by the sheer volume of sewing machines and chairs, I like to sew.  In fact, I love to sew.  Alas, no sewing gets done in here.  Too depressing, and too much work to clear areas in which to cut, sew and press.

And finally....the nerve center.

Note the makeshift desk.  A baker's rack from Target and what is essentially a TV tray as a "writing surface".  Only guess what?  It's piled with papers and junk, so no writing can actually take place on it.  (and by "writing" I mean pencil and paper)  Look, my teeny ironing board, bungeed to the top of a teeny book shelf is serving as an extension of my desk.

This corner, by the way, is where my creative writing juices are supposed to flow.  Have I mentioned that clutter makes me claustrophobic?

Seems like a monumental task, getting this room functional.  Oh I cleaned it up, several times in fact. Once I even managed to sew for a couple of hours. But within a few days it would be right back to this. 


So, let me ask you a question?  Have you ever heard this expression, "How do you eat an elephant?"  The answer of course is, "One bite at a time."

I was reminded of this over and over, over the course of the last few weeks.  My brain decided it might be a good idea to apply this adage to my office, I mean studio, dilemma. 

Over the next several posts, I shall detail each bite I've taken.  Until we finally get this elephant chewed up and digested. 

Stay tuned.....please.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The thing about blogging

One of the very happy side effects of blogging, is that I now have a valid excuse, make that valid reason to read blogs.  It's research baby.  In an effort to hone my craft, why it only makes sense to study other successful blogs.  In fact, my "blogging for dummies" book suggests aspiring bloggers do just that.  Spend time reading blogs.  (tee hee, I just typed "bogs" That would be funny, "bog study"  "Honey, I'm going out to work on my bog") 

Dog germs, dog germs, get the hot water !!  Why must my dog lick me on the lips?  She's so fast with that tongue, I cannot escape.  There is no escape. 

Every now and again I Bing  "Methods of a Mostly Managing Mom."  Still no hits.  But this morning's Bing netted me this blog.  Simple Mom.  It's actually written by several contributors on two topics near and dear to my heart.  Parenting and Productivity.  Or as I like to call it, "Momming" and "Simplification."

And I am nothing if not about simplification.  Yesterday, I managed to go through two of the four file drawers in my file cabinet.  I know what you are thinking...I think this too.  "Why do you have a four drawer file cabinet full of papers, you stay at home mom you?" 

I don't know.  It makes no sense.  And yet I do.  I think it was a mistake to get the four drawer cabinet.  It's kind of like getting a big house.  No matter how big the house is, eventually you will fill it up.  And I did. 

But...guess what I found in one of the files? 

A few years ago, my friend got me to become an "Usborne Books and More" consultant.  I am, by the way, my only customer.  At any rate, if I can recover from my latest digression, which could be why I never get anything done, my penchant for the digression.  Perhaps a symptom or sign of genius? 

Being a consultant of course necessitated several file folders.  Shortly after becoming a consultant, my dear friend got a booth at a Christmas Bazaar.  She asked me to help her.  So I did.  (My friend, by the way, is one of those people who actually makes a living doing this sort of thing)

Contained within the Usborne Books section was a file folder labeled "Candy Cane Lane 2010".  Since it's now 2012, and even I don't buy books from me at the moment, I decided it was safe to rid the cabinet of this file.  But, better check inside first.  Just in case.  And there were several items in there that needed to be shredded.  Namely the receipts with customer information.  Then, there was this envelope in there.  "What the..." 

Well, apparently my friend handed me my share of the receipts for that bazaar in cash.  In an envelope.  Which I then put into the file. 

Purging pays my friends....purging pays!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Done and Done

Just got the confirmation from the IRS that my e-filed tax return has been accepted.  To celebrate, we had pizza delivered !! 

Yes, I know I boldly proclaimed a couple of weeks ago that I had to finish my taxes by March 23, or the poll tax for e-filing was going to go up by 20 dollars.  I somehow thought killing myself and burning the old midnight oil was worth the 20 bucks.

Reality bites.  I didn't make it.  We are though getting a bit of a refund.  So that's nice.  And certainly better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.  (Who comes up with sayings like that anyway - sicko)

But...I did put together a fabulous, and I do mean fabulous fairy costume for a series of skits I was performing at a women's retreat.  The leprechaun to my left was my teammate in the inaugural running of the "Indy 2.5"  The paper plates were our steering wheels for our imaginary and invisible formula one racing cars. 

And I saved at least 20 bucks by coming up with a costume mostly from my daughter's toy box. 

The best part of the weekend...the skits were totally unscripted.  It was all improvised.  Sort of a "who's line is it anyway?" for Christian Women.  Unfamiliar with that show?  Oh please, if you have any sense of humor at all, find it.  It's just got to be on the interweb somewhere. 

My point is, sometimes you gotta get goofy.  Sometimes, you gotta wear pink sparkly Tom's.  Apparently though, my friend and teammate should never wear a leprechaun hat with attached fake gave her a rash. 

Let's hear it then for gettin' the taxes done, gettin' my silly on, and the healin' properties of my friends "generations cold cream."  (available at

I raise a glass of iced tea, laced with "emergen-c" cranberry pomegranate flavor.

Friday, April 6, 2012

I'm Hungry !!

Where or where are my staff when I need them?  Oh that's right, no staff.  I'm a middle class mom.  We don't have staff.  Bummer.

So I had this dream where my 7 year old daughter was playing on a basketball team.  Which is interesting, because she's in the 25th percentile for height.  (She also just broke 40 lbs, which puts her into the 10th percentile for weight - which means thank heavens for capris and clam diggers.  There will be NO PANTS for her cause the ones that aren't high waters won't stay up around her tiny waist.)

Basically, I'm just typing, because I had this really great idea for a post (no really, I did).  But sometime between now and last night when I thought of it, the great idea has run away with the spoon.  Well, it's just hiding.  Every once in awhile, I get this glimpse of it, "Yes, yes, I was going to write aboooout....," then it's gone.  I'm so close to remembering this idea.  You would not believe how close. 

Shoot, the dog needs to go out. 

Where was I?  Oh yes, I remember, I forgot. 

In the meantime, let me amuse you with this shopping anecdote.  Yesterday, Samantha and I went to the mall.  She may be little, but she's growing like crazy right now, and she needed underwear.  I have determined the best children's underwear on the planet can be found at Gymboree.  I've never had to toss a pair of Gymboree undies due to "undie failure."  The elastic never loses it's stretch.  The seams don't come apart. 

One of the rules I live by, is that everyone in the family, for whom I do the laundry, must have at least 14 pairs of working underpants.  I know, I know, this seems excessive.  But 14 pairs = 2 weeks worth.  You can go without socks, you can re-wear a shirt...but you cannot recycle underpants (contrary to what most boy children believe ) And what if I can't get to the laundry?  (It has happened)  I never want to hear, "Mooooom, I don't have any clean underwear !!"

Back to my story.  We're walking through the mall, towards Gymboree, when suddenly, Samantha stops in her tracks, and looks up at me in horror.  "Mom,"  she says, wide eyed.  "The people in the store are going to know what my underpants look like." 

It seems we've entered a new phase of development.  Embarrassment. hmmm.  I'm going to have to think about that one for awhile.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My New Best Friend

"Oh goody," you're thinking, "another post about the dog."  Nope.  Not this time.  Though she is a great companion, and totally housebroken (yes !!)

My new best friend is  It's an organizational blog and website.  Each day is a new tip or task.  Just 15 minutes as a rule.  The thing I liked the most is a disclaimer she has.  "Jump in where you are, you are not behind.  Just take it one baby step at a time." 

Talk about liberation.  Permission to not feel behind.  To not feel like we've missed the bus and have to run really hard and fast to make it to the next stop.  Cause it's that feeling like we'll never catch up that causes us to sit down and give up.  Inertia can be as powerful a force as momentum. 

There's even a section on taking care of yourself.  Most of it is common sense stuff we could figure out for ourselves.  But do we ever take the time to figure it out, or put it into practice?  No.  Why?  Because we are mostly mom's in the trenches.  Living in the moment of putting out the biggest fire first, feeling overwhelmed because once again the toilet is gross.  (Didn't I just clean it last month?)

It's nice to have this stuff spoon fed to us.  I like to be spoon fed.  Especially if it's pudding.  Pudding with raspberry sauce on it.  Maybe a little dollop of whipped cream, you know, if I'm feeling decadent.  (or if for some really weird reason, I actually happen to have whipped cream at the same time I have pudding or raspberry sauce.  Note to self...make some pudding and raspberry sauce)

So for today, I will put on my shoes, and I will make my bed, and I will take time to have fun with my children and my dog. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Writer's Block

I had this notebook where I was jotting down all my ideas for blog posts.  You see I intended (and still do) to post every day 'cept Sunday. 

But I lost the notebook.  And I still haven't cleaned up my office.  I mean "Studio."  So I think the notebook might be in there.  I remember I had some really great ideas.  I had even mapped out a pattern of the type of posts.

"Thoughtful Thursday" "Shortcut Saturday", I forget the rest. 

So now I'm ramping up for a trip to Romania this summer.  To plant a MOPS group.  And to facilitate a women's retreat with a focus on connections.  I think thinking about this is taking up all my available brain space. 

And what's with waking up at 3:30 am and not being able to go back to sleep?  It's 6:00 am now, and I've already been out of bed for an hour and I'm on my second cup of coffee.  I know...lots and lots of people get up at this hour.  But typically...not me.  I usually wake up around 7:00 or 7:30.  After a blissful 7-8 hours of sleep.  Well, blissful might be too strong a word, since I often have very weird dreams.  Very.  Weird.

Then, just when I thought it was safe to get back into the's Spring Break.  Could have sworn we just had mid-winter break, and Christmas Break.  It's no wonder Johnny can't read.  He's never in school.  In our school district, Wednesday is early release.  Thursday is late start.  Then there's a bunch of days off in between.  Only once this entire school year have the kids gone to school for three straight weeks without an extra day off.  Really! Oh boy, will it be a whole new world when they graduate, and will have to work FIVE DAYS IN A ROW, EVERY SINGLE WEEK, EXCEPT FOR THEIR ONE WEEK OF VACATION A YEAR. (and 6-7 holidays)

And "Spring" break again might be too strong a word.  Cause It's Raining and Cold in the Pacific Northwest.  Oh yes it is.  And I'm whiny and crabby.  And the kids are going to be home all day for FIVE DAYS IN A ROW. 

hmm...time for an attitude intervention.  It's going to be a great week !!  It's going to be a great week !!  Kids will be sleeping in.  The word "focus" will probably not cross my lips.  (As in "focus on your breakfast" or "focus on getting dressed")  No mad dash to the bus stop.  No HOMEWORK.  (Cause first graders don't do homework by themselves.)  No pieces of paper coming home in backpacks.  That in and of itself makes it worthwhile.  No rushing home to get there before the school bus in the afternoon.  No green "head injury" bracelets this week.  That'll be nice.  Extra snuggle time in the morning.  Good, since she's barely fitting on my lap anymore (picture the little tear running down my cheek, sniffle) and I have to get in as much snuggles as I can before they start to cause serious injury to my person. 

OK, I can do this.  It's going to be a great week.  When are they going to get up?  It's 6:30 already !!

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Queen is Cool

While that line could totally refer to me.  Especially since my little daughter is also known as "The Beautiful Princess Samantha," which would of course, by default make me The Queen. 

The Queen in Question here, is my gal, Queen Elizabeth II.  QE I I'm not such a fan of.  She was kinda a stick in the mud, but QE II...well.

So first off, during WWII she was a mechanic.  Yup, that's right.  A mechanic, as in with tools and grease.  And she was a bonafide princess at the time.  Hanging out with the likes of Winston Churchill.  But she was a mechanic.  A princess mechanic.  Talk about taking one for the team. 

I watched this documentary about her several years ago.  This was back before Eugenie and Beatrice wore tacky attention grabbing fascinators (hats) to weddings.  They were little girls.  And their grandmother, the queen, was taking them and their cousins William and Harry for a pony ride at Balmoral Castle.  (you know, just like a regular grandma.  Pony rides at the Castle)  Nevertheless, she's explaining to the littlest one why she can't ride a pony yet.  She's doing this while she's walking alongside the children on their ponies, and while she's holding the hand of the little one, who's still too small to ride.  Then you hear the Her Royal Majesty the Queen of England say, "ouch, that's my foot you're standing on." 

Now there are all sorts of rules and pomp and circumstance about how one is to address Her Majesty, and how one is to behave in her presence.  Yet, once, many many years ago when she visited the United States, she went to the home of a single mom in a housing project. And the very excited and exuberant woman she visited was overcome and she full on HUGGED the Queen.  This is not done.  NO NO NO NO.  You do NOT HUG the Queen.  (It's actually for safety and health reasons these days.  I looked it up.  If you give a Queen a cold, she might not be able to go to her scheduled appearances, which would of course disappoint a whole bunch of people.)

But my favorite Queen of all time accepted the hug with a smile on her face.  She is classy that one.  Which I believe is an excellent quality to have in a Monarch. Ahem, Charles.

And today, when I went to check the news on line...cause that's what you do when you wake up at 5:00 AM - are you kidding me - and can't get back to sleep...there was another story about my Queen.  She's touring the Kingdom these days, celebrating her 60th year as the Queen.  A couple in Manchester heard the Queen was coming to town on their wedding day. So they sent an invite to their wedding over to the Queen.  And guess what?  She came.  She and Prince Phillip, her hubby, went to the wedding.  Her Majesty in a lovely pink queen frock and hat. 

So you can have your Dianas and Kates.  As for me, I'll take Elizabeth.  ( and the Queen Mum too, she was a spunky little spitfire, that one)