Monday, August 30, 2010


What did I tell you about Maytag? That washing machine is FOUR years old people. FOUR! It was over a thousand dollars! And it's scrap metal. It's going to cost over $400 to repair it and even then, we will still have a heap of crap. I'm SO irritated about it. We're not fixing it. We're going to buy a new machine and although that pleases me to no end to have a new machine, it makes me very distrustful of expensive appliances. These older model Whirlpools that I see here and there (like at my little Sis), are way old but EXCELLENT machines. I'm sure they weren't that expensive to buy brand new but they work great!


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Easy Way Out

This afternoon I completed a most gratifying task. And it was rather painless and it was all due to the poop out of my Maytag Neptune, the biggest pile of crap a human has ever invented. It's the truth.

With more than 6 large loads of clothes ahead of me this weekend (ya right, like I was really going to get them all done), I had a formidable task ahead of me. I promptly decided we should just all go shopping at Gateway instead. But before we went, I attempted to get a load started and that's when the Neptune decided to assert its cantankerous personality...yet again.

So I gave up and went shopping instead. But coming home to that laundry room piled high with dirty clothes, I sort of panicked and decided something must be done. So I did the only thing I could think of and threw it all into my Jeep and drove to the laundromat, spent 2 hours and $20 and came home to an absolutely empty laundry room, entirely full drawers and a clean docket for the rest of the week (where laundry's concerned). Why have I never thought of this solution before? It was WONDERFUL! Plus, I didn't have to take Tink which actually made for a peaceful 2 hours of what else...reading.

I'm not saying I'd do this every week but I can absolutely see the advantages of an occasional trip to the laundromat and freeing myself of that daily stress for a week or so!

I'm not sure if I'm fixing the Neptune, that pile-o-crap. I'm so sick of all of my Maytag appliances (which only excludes my fridge). Thousands (!!) of wasted dollars people. An utter waste. Bosch, here I come.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Month of Great Books

This has been the best month ever for books. I recall mentioning just a couple weeks ago that it's rare I find a book that keeps enthralled to the point where I can't put it down. And then I found Hunger Games and its sequels (of which I am eagerly awaiting the third book to arrive from Amazon right now). The first two books of Hunger Games occupied me for a couple of days because I literally devoured them. So good!

And then I was at the library last week on Friday and picked up A Great And Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. It's a thick book, just my type. It's also a trilogy. All three books are very thick, allowing a reader to thoroughly immerse oneself long-term in the story. You might remember I used to judge a book solely based on how thick it was - the true definition of a book junkie.

I read A Great And Terrible Beauty in 1 day. I got to the library Saturday just in time to pick up the other two books in the trilogy before it closed for the weekend. I read the 2nd book before I went to bed Sunday night. But since the workweek requires me to do more than sit on my butt reading a book, I allowed myself to read for about an hour in the morning, and then a couple hours at night during the week. I finished The Sweet Far Thing, Book III today...and I very nearly cried because I really detest getting to the end of a trilogy. Something akin to my life being over. I allow myself to lose myself in books and I guess part of my personality is yanked away when a book is done.

Anyway, I loved these books....a lot. Loved. They had just enough of all things I like about books, mystery, fantasy, just a smidgen of romance, suspense, and the Victorian era. So if you're looking for somewhere to let your imagination run wild, look no further.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Children and Priorities

I feel lately like my head has been spinning off my neck and upon writing that phrase, realize it's something I've written before. It must be a common occurrence whether I like the feeling or not.
So this summer, with some help of Sandra, my phenomenal sitter, I finally addressed my priorities - #1, my family. I have cut down my work days by 2 hours a piece. Even better, I will be starting my work day later so that there's no way I can extend my day longer even if I wanted to. I used to say I'd be home by 3 but inevitably my days got longer and longer until the norm was 5pm.

I started this schedule this week when school started and so far I'm loving it! I never realized what difference 2 hours could make. And so far, I haven't been able to entirely devote those 2 extra hours to Tinkerpot, that's the goal. With so much stress in my life going on right now, those 2 extra hours a day have made the biggest difference to my peace of mind. Lol, that...and Crossfit.
Anyway, Bugs started first grade this week. I stood behind her as she sat at the little round table in her new first grade classroom and she pretended like I wasn't there. She even said something to me to the affect of, "Are you going to leave now?" and I felt a little foolish for clutching onto her apron strings. I got choked up not surprisingly. I felt like I needed to collect her and her backpack and lunchbox full of pb&j, juicebox and pretzels and run from the school screaming that this child can't possibly be ready for such BIGNESS. I'm not ready for such bigness.

Her teacher never formally asked us to leave, just let us parents skulk around until we felt awkward enough to try to inch invisibly toward the door, and then exit feeling you were one too many in a group of friends. I nuzzled Tinkerpot as we walked down the empty hallroom and made her promise me she'd never go to school. She said, "drink" as if that were supposed to appease me.

After the first pangs of separation were over, I have thus far rather enjoyed my freedom - if having a tortured 18 month old in tow is considered freedom, I'm making the most of it! So much more is accomplished when I don't have a chatterbox at my elbow, constantly interrupting me with requests for chicken nuggets, to play games and to help her find lost unicorns and other random problems. I always love her presence but am welcoming the time I have to get re-acquainted with my organizing side. Yay!

I could bore you further with the tedious details of my forays into small business ownership which has been a complete nightmare and a painful, frustrating experience but I'll spare It has absorbed my mind day and night for several weeks now but I am very nearly past this madness and am feeling liberated and strangely at peace. You've no idea what I'm talking about but know this...I am an awesome therapist...I am not an awesome small business owner. I know this. I own this. I love myself anyway.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Girl Stuff

This morning was my last morning of leisure for what feels like the rest of my life. No, not really but at least until next Saturday rolls around.

Gone are the days of sleeping in until 9AM for the sheer pleasure of it. I do that every single day I don't have to work or work out. Ok, that's not really that many days but when those days come, it's like Christmas...only better. Can ya give me an amen?

We've begun rolling back the bedtime starting last night so that Bugs can get ready for the early trumpet horns. I make her get up at about 6am on school days so she has plenty of time to slave for me before she's off to school. And I can't really expect a first grader to get up on her own and get her routine going without her mommy, now can I? When can I, I'd like to know? When will she be old enough that I can go back to being lazy in the morning?

Well, anyway Bugs starts first grade this year. We went through her clothes today and made piles of things I no longer want her to wear due to them being too high either on the ankles or the belly. Lots of shoes put away too. I have a list of stuff that I need to buy - a list that should have been made about a month ago. I need:

  • brown boots
  • church shoes
  • loafers, probably brown
  • 2 pairs of pants, not pink or jeans
  • 4 long sleeved shirts
  • 2 sweaters or cardigans
The list isn't overwhelming. I'm sure I can find those things pretty quick. Bugs and I are headed out first thing in the morning. We'll make a day of it - find all of these clothing and shoe items and then off to lunch. I read on my friend Katie's blog that her daughter's favorite restaurant is the Myan and I realized I've never taken Bugs there before. And it's the exact sort of place that she would find mesmerizing. Their food sort of makes me want to gag but I'll sacrifice for the greater good. Mother/Daughter time...this is what it's all about!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Continuing the Remodel With Wall Art!

Now that the painting is done, it's time for decorating! Here is the vinyl wall art I just purchased from NouArt on Etsy. Isn't it so cute? It was pricey but look how wonderful it is! I'm so excited to get it!

Moment In A Bottle

Shortly after my fantasy last night, Bugs finally finished brushing her teeth and came to snuggle with me. My reverie over, I read a chapter out of "Henry Huggins", particularly enjoying the way these youngish/oldish books have reappeared in my life for the 2nd time. The first time as a girl Ramona Quimby's age, and now as Ramona Quimby's mother. Quite enlightening.

But that's all not the point.

The POINT is something that I just don't want to forget about that leggy little 6 year old who somehow has already completely outgrown the shoes I bought her at the beginning of the summer for the beginning of school. She hasn't even worn them yet. Needless to say, summer has brought big changes in that little girl. I guess I've mentioned it before but this is tangible proof.

So the book was done and I always lay with her and talk for a few minutes and tickle her - capturing my 1:1 moments, time I value as priceless. She burrowed into me with her thumb poised to be sucked on and she said in her squeaky little voice, "Mommy? Will you be my pillow tonight?" It was payback for at least a month's of up-all-night's.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

She Has No Idea

Tonight as I waited for Bugs to finish brushing her teeth and join me on her bed for reading time, I snuggled down into her bed and lay there staring at her ceiling. The soft pale yellow walls were soothing and I admired her cute little pink fan, her white four poster bed and the closet of neatly lined up dresses and sweaters.

I let myself retreat into a little fantasy that I was the 6 year old and was laying in my own bed waiting for my mom to come in and read me books then tuck me into bed. That the myriad of responsibilities waiting for me the very next day would be someone else's and not my concern. All that worried me was the list of easy chores on the wall, and would my friend be able to play tomorrow.

I did a snow angel in her cotton sheets and blankets and wondered why I never realized how good I had it when I was 6. I marveled that to my daughter, these bedroom accouterments have just miraculously appeared for her pleasure, and is not aware that they're actually the product of a certain number of hours of labor. Oh, the bliss of ignorance.

No, I guess I don't wish I was 6 - just wish for one day I could live in that complete freedom of myself.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Finally DONE

What has felt like an eternity has ended. My painting job. What a horrendous effort that turned out to be! I have no memory of any painting job ever being that big of a suck fest. It didn't help that the walls were brown and blue - two colors impossible to cover with lighter colors.

So I mentioned that The Marshmallow took pity on me and sprayed the primer. He did that last week on Wednesday or Thursday and it's a good thing he did or else I'd still be rolling it. The problem is he got so completely high that he nearly threw up. He was stoned for like 4 hours and swore he'd never do that again. He didn't spray the closet so I had to go and do that part and it took me the better part of Sunday to finish it.

But I finally finished it today. I thought I picked a white-ish cream but it turned out to be a pale yellow cream but I love it anyway. It's amazing how it brightened that room up. I'm sort of excited to get the other rooms a lighter shade to see how it affects this whole house. But that's for another century.

Tomorrow I'll clean up my mess, move furniture around and decorate a bit. Now is the fun part. Maybe we'll even order the wall vinyl tomorrow.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Lop Off My Head At The Neck Please

Today is The Marshmallow's family reunion. Coincidentally I woke up with such bad neck pain I can't turn my head to the right more than about 20 degrees. Are they related? I guess I don't think so but it's worth a giggle or two. Am I excited about going...hardly.

So we leave in 3 hours and I will spend the next 2 sitting here on the couch with a heating pad on my neck. Why does this happen to me? Like once every months I get such a crick in my neck it takes a month to work it out! Too bad I can't order a complete re-install of all my neck muscles. How about an upgrade to neck muscles 2.0? There must be some improvements on the technology!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

You know, it's sad but thank goodness for Red Bull.


So I started this morning. It was just the first session, sort of helping me figure out where things are, how things go etc. It wasn't bad...yet. I did get a little workout but nothing compared to what I will be getting.

I heard about Crossfit from a girlfriend of mine who started it about 3 years ago. It took her about 6 months before we started noticing how amazing she was looking. She'd always had a nice shape but now it was lean and defined and so tone!

I've been planning to s tart for about 2 years now but the baby interrupted my plans and then I was too heavy for a while to consider it. Now that things are different, I want to maintain my weight and shape it into more lean muscle mass. I figured the time was right and amazingly they have opened a Crossfit right here just about 2 miles from my house! Even better!

So what's Crossfit? It's like 1/2 hour of intense boot camp. Well I'm sure you've seen those Boot Camp gyms's not Boot Camp but the workouts are totally intense boot camp type routines that integrate running/sprinting, pull-ups, push-ups, weight training etc. It's all over the top hard and intense for a short period of time. You're in and out in a short period of time.

My first impressions are these: Instructor dude wears too much Abercrombie cologne. I'm not sure why he's wearing cologne at all at 5:30 in the morning but I guess he feels like he needs it. Thursday is sort of a rest day so there weren't many people there. The two other people that were there besides me were a guy who shaves his legs (WTH), and a girl who obviously got up at 4AM to shower, do her hair, put on her make-up and coordinate her work-out clothes. I'm not sure I get that either. Besides that, it's exactly what I thought it would be like. Sparse sort of industrial-type building full of weights. Perfect.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Chewed Up & Spit Out ...and then some other stuff

That's how I feel today. I'm betting that you can guess why based on my last post. I found time yesterday to go pick up Catching Fire at the library and you know I was dying to read it. I put the kids down at 9 and even though I was soooo tired already, like DOG tired, I opened up that book. Told myself it would only be a few minutes but it ended up 2:30 in the morning when I finally finished it and put it down. It's pretty rare I find a book that I can't put down and now there's been 2 in 2 weeks! I love these books!

But a person's day doesn't just get put on hold because a good book kept them up all night. I did sleep in until 8:30, as far as I could push the kids, and after I got them breakfasted, dressed and gave myself a power breakfast of cereal marshmallows, was off and running to my first set of swim lessons for the day. Swim lessons are a necessary EVIL. The are so important I believe, but their repetitive nature drives me insane. I don't do ANYTHING for 2 weeks straight at the very same time, so this begins to wear on me. I'm just a little too spontaneous for this obnoxious routine. That's just me though.

On a completely different subject, I stopped at Ye Olde Fruit Stand this morning to buy a watermelon. Here it is.
The little sales dude was really enthusiastic about getting me the best melon ever. And he tells me that these little black spots on this one are bee stings. He says, "you always know you're getting a great watermelon when you see these black spots because they're actual bee stings. Bees love watermelons because they're so sweet. That black is the sap running out."

I have a number of thoughts about this. The main one is this. Don't bees die after they sting? Doesn't this seem like a galacticly wasteful use of one's life? I mean, I've heard of someone "dying for this or that" but this is ridiculous!

So, either this guy doesn't know what he's talking about, or he's thinking I don't know the most common thing about bees, or he's being truthful. Who's to know.

Either way, the watermelon is great. And next time you see these little black spots on a watermelon, it's up to you to decide if 3 separate bees gave their life for just a taste of this perfect specimen or if back in July 2010, the 16 year old Fruit Stand Boy was taking Amy for a ride.

About painting. The Marshmallow is having mercy on me and has decided to spray Bugs' room. Why he didn't offer this last week is beyond me. But because of Catching Fire, I got nothing achieved last night whatsoever. So he's coming home early and going to get the job done much faster. *sigh*

Last thing...tomorrow morning at 5:30, I start Crossfit! I'm so excited I'm going to pee my pants right now! But I'm also absolutely petrified. I've heard it's awesome but a huge suck-fest. Check back - I'll be reporting.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sunday Night: Not A Great Day To Start a Remodel

But don't say I said it. Those were The Marshmallow's words to me tonight as we put Bugs in our bed for the 2nd night in what is looking like to be a long string of nights. This paint job is likely going to take me all week!

It's not like I have oodles of time to be painting though, with an 18 month old running around. And it's not like I can just let her into the room I'm painting in! So I have a 2 1/2 hour window each day (on days I don't work) to get stuff done, and then a couple of hours each night. It's just not cutting it. I'm on evening 3 and all I've gotten done is to prime the corners and edges where a roller won't go - indeed that is a big part of the job. Yes, I've masked the whole room, and prepped it all and we know that takes the most amount of time but still I just feel so far behind in the whole thing (why do I have an english accent when I read this back to myself? - too many audiobooks!)

What else did I get done today, asks The Marshmallow, when he gets home to find very little more completed on the room than was done when he left this morning? Well, not much. Two swim lessons at two vastly different times (that meant 2 separate trips to the rec center), the car detailed, 3 healthy meals prepared, 3 hours worth of paperwork submitted for a scheduled paycheck later this week, endless room tidying, 2 loads of laundry, 2 loads of dishwasher dishes, 2 beds made, 3 showers, weeds pulled, tomatoes picked, books read......blah blah blah. You get the idea. Lots of things happen. Just because you can't SEE what's been done doesn't mean nothing got done. men. Don't you hate that insinuation? I'm home...therefore I do nothing.

On another note, Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games, is on hold at the city library for me to pick up tomorrow. I only put it on hold last week; I can't believe it's already my turn! I'm so excited - I literally was up until 3am the night I read The Hunger Games cover to cover in one evening. Where am I going to find another evening I can totally devote to Book 2?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Homemade Chore Chart

(click on pic for a close-up)

Well, I think most chore charts are homemade, and made out of desperation so that you don't have to keep repeating their chores every single morning. I suppose that's why I made this one.

I've been working on this board in my head for about 3 months now and there's so many components that I just couldn't get it all together. So thanks to my little sis, Ellen, who helped me synthesize my thoughts and get them out into real life.

I'm totally ecstatic with how this turned out! Not only does this thing track chores on a weekly basis, but it runs a tally of allowance and extra money that can be earned for doing crappy chores that I hate to earn money (aren't I smart?), and also good/bad behaviors and rewards/consequences for each. You can probably see why it took me so long to figure out how it would look.

The beauty of this board is that everything is removable and can be moved around. I changed my mind about vinyl and went with magnetized laminated words because realistically, I doubt this board will be in affect for more than a couple of years and maybe I can reinvent the board for Tink when she comes of age - the age when she can slave for me (yay!) As chores are completed, Bugs will just take a magnet and put it on the square for that day. I had to make all of those magnets! That was one of the most time consuming parts.

About the Naughty/Nice section, depending on the behavior, Bugs can take a Naughty/Nice dude out of the "or" box and place it in its appropriate box. When either box is full she will get either a reward or the consequence (there's only one: no TV = UTTER DEVASTATION). Do you like the Naughty/Nice dudes? Google eyes and green pom pon noses. So cute.

But here's the most awesome part of this board! I traded a friend of mine for a Cricut a few months ago and have used it a couple of times but always feel frustrated and limited by the expensive cartridges. So Ellen (yay Ellen) told me about "Sure Cuts a Lot" the software that lets you use whatever fonts you want to cut on your Cricut. So I hacked came across the software last night and spent the better part of several hours getting it loaded and figuring out how to use it. This software is amazing! And thanks also to Amanda at Fonts For Peas, I was able to use some extremely cute fonts for FREE. You need to check out her site. Tons of totally cute fonts that you can download for no cost (ok, thanks again to Ellen for telling me about it - I'm starting to wonder who I'd be without her!)

In actuality, this project ended up taking me most of the weekend so if I'm going to paint, it will be this evening, and I just might do it.

If you're interested in this project, I recommend you make a sketch of how you want it to look like. It helped it all come together. Oh - there's a dry erase marker with velcro wrapped around it that goes stuck to that little white patch on the bottom of the chart. Where did the pen go?

Happy Crafting!

p.s. If you like this board and would like the directions & supply information, please just post a comment with your email address and I'll gladly send them to you. The only caviat is that I have been inundated with requests so now I will charge for the directions. Please send $7 for the directions, supply list and word file with the templates for word strips and fonts I used although Sure Cuts A Lot is no longer available for use with the Cricut, to my utter devastation. You may Paypal to Thanks!