Friday, June 28, 2013

I Choose To Wear White Today. And Tomorrow I Will Choose To Spend A Good Amount Of Time On Stain Removal.

When did it become cool to glorify being 'busy'?  It seems lately like the common response you get when you ask someone how they've been is 'busy'.  Usually 'super busy' and typically people seem a little grumbly/harried/stressed about it.  Have you noticed this too? I've been guilty of it myself.  It seems 'busy' is used a lot as an excuse for not getting back to people or not scheduling an appointment or not cleaning the basement.  I know a lot of this blog is devoted to sharing my stories of 'busyness', but what I've worked on in my life lately is to view this busyness from a place of gratitude.  And the result of choice.  I've read a lot about this concept.  Choice is the key.  We are doing things because we choose to do them.  And the opposite is also true, in that if we don't do something, it's usually because we chose not to do it.  Like when we don't call someone back or don't make that appointment or don't clean the basement.

Really, we do things because they provide us with stuff we want - like a comfortable lifestyle, enriched and active children, better health or even a house that doesn't look like a scene from Hoarders: Buried Alive.  The shift in our thinking comes from viewing the things we do as choices we make because we like what we get as a result - rather than as drudgery we resent.  And when we don't do something, accepting that we chose not to - like choosing not to work a certain job or not going to that dinner party or even choosing to skip a workout that day.  It's not wrong to say 'no', but we need to take responsibility for our choice not to and honor the reason why we made that choice.  Just try it.  It kind of shifts your perspective.  We are choosing to live the way we do every single day.

“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” 
 Eleanor Roosevelt

Oh, Eleanor.  You were so wise.

I choose to start my weekend off on the patio with some music, my family (whichever of them happens to be home at the time) and a glass (or two) of wine.  Currently we're enjoying the Black Box Sauvignon Blanc.  Nothing fancy, budget-friendly, and easily accessed.  All good.

I hope you all choose to treat yourselves to something that makes you happy too.

I'm wearing this:

I'm going all white.  I've seen a lot of this on Pinterest and it certainly seems like a 'cooling' look for the scorchingly hot days we've had recently in Colorado.  The wrist full of bracelets is critical to keep the look from taking on an Orkin man or ice cream truck driver feel.

gratitude:  single color bouquets, children's theater performances, paychecks, banana bread (without nuts, of course)

thanks and love.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

In Our House Tables Could Also Be Referred To As 'Shelves With Legs' And The Chair In Our Bedroom Would Be A 'Laundry Holder You Can Sit On'.

Our kitchen table is amazing.  Frankly, I'm not sure what we would do without it, not because we'd have no place to eat dinner - the couch and the patio have proven they're up to the task - but where would the entire family put all their crap/stuff/junk/things?  I'm actually so grateful that years ago we decided to purchase an extra long farmhouse style table.  I mean, a four-seater simply couldn't contain our belongings as well as our table does.  I wonder often if the large expanse of wood simply invites this dumping of belongings - it does look like a big shelf.  Or perhaps it's the table's centralized location - the perfect point at which to release anything and everything you may be holding at the time.

Typically I'll fill a big wicker basket with the table contents, and depending on my mood or energy level, will simply leave it by the stairs or the mudroom for people to fish through when they are looking for something or I'll take it upstairs and leave a pile of things in everyone's doorway.  My hope is that having to step over a stack of your possessions in order to enter your room will cause my family members to be inspired to put things away.  I've learned though not to get my hopes up when the piles are no longer visible from the hallway - upon further investigation I usually find them just inside the door or spread on the floor so the height of the stack is dissipated and less obtrusive.  In the spirit of full disclosure however, I too take advantage of the kitchen table as well, but I tend to relocate my things a little faster than the rest of the crew.  That's not saying much sometimes.

Since we came back from a lacrosse game late yesterday and were so tired and hungry (and currently still dealing with Geoff's vertigo) - making dinner, watching Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert, and falling into bed was all we could manage.  Today a full kitchen table greeted me when I slipped down for my morning coffee.  Here is what the table and floor around it holds currently:

A pair of Eliza's soccer cleats - hoping they are goose poop free, but fearing to look.  Ignorance is bliss.
Sandals.  Mine.
Three pairs of flip flops.
A reusable Whole Foods grocery bag.  A new one.
A soccer backpack.
A fleece jacket.
Two lacrosse sticks.
A dusting cloth.
A small soccer bag used for an overnight stay.
A pair of lacrosse gloves.
A bottle of Advil.  I've considered filling an attractive dish with these tablets since the family uses them so much improving both access and appearance.
A yoga strap.
A stuffed bear.  This was given to JD by a girl who later broke up with him.  The boys had been using it as a target in the lacrosse goal, but JD took it down when it started raining the other day.  I like to see some sensitivity about stuffed animals still exists in my children.
A beach towel.  Left last summer by a friend, now officially in our possession.
A baseball cap.
A drill.  Used for attaching heads to lacrosse shafts.
A box of Kleenex.
Two purses.
Medical paperwork from Geoff's stay at St. Anthony's.
A pair of scissors.
Our portable phone that 90% of the time has a dead battery.
A single lacrosse head.
A wallet.
A pair of tennis shoes.
A briefcase.
An overnight bag from the hospital stay.
A receipt for a cheeseburger JD ordered at the golf course yesterday.
And $2 cash.  I'm taking this.

So you see how very valuable our kitchen table is to the family.  I may need to make two trips with the wicker basket tonight based upon this buildup of belongings.  You know, as unattractive (in a decor sense) as this table is to me, looking at it does make me happy (usually).  It says a lot about what we do and our varied activities.  I try to view the mess as less a commentary on our lack of tidiness and more about the happily active pace of our existence.  Sometimes though I feel crabby and make everyone just pick up their s*@#.

I'm wearing this today.

I read somewhere that gingham is considered boho now.  I always thought it had more of a preppy vibe, but I love it either way.  This shirt is a hand-me-down from JD - a weird place to be in life.

gratitude:  the birds and bunnies in our yard, nice parents on our kids' teams, shade, simple dinners

thanks and love.

Monday, June 24, 2013

I Could Actually Fill An Entire Blog Post With A Discussion Of The Noises One Hears In The ER.

What's that quote about 'the best laid plans of mice and men?'  They always go astray?  Something like that.  Well, this weekend sure tested my commitment to playing the cards I've been dealt.  No one was looking more forward to a weekend in the mountains with just the family than I.  No one.  On Friday, however, Geoff wasn't feeling great (cue ominous music).  By Friday afternoon he was dizzy and nauseous.  We decided we'd start our drive to Breckenridge a little later on Friday so Geoff could take some time to feel better.  That didn't appear to be happening, so we decided I was going to drive and Geoff would ride shotgun (barf bags at the ready).  Then we thought maybe we'd just leave on Saturday morning and let this little 'bug' pass.  By Saturday morning, we weren't going at all.  Around 10 a.m., Saturday, we decided to head to the Emergency Room.  At 5:00, after a full day in the ER listening to a woman down the hall attempt to cough up a hairball or something, we were admitted to the hospital.  And now we're home.

There was no high country golf, no fun family dinners, no sharing a hotel room.  The kids basically survived for two days on their own.  I came home to grab things for Geoff and leave a check for them so they could order Chinese, then back again to sleep later that night.  Of course one child slept at a friend's house and the other one would have too if I hadn't whined to him over a text that suggested he and his friend bed down at our place.  Sleeping at home alone would have just pushed me over the edge.  And my sensitive son picked up on my emotional fragility.  He's a good boy.

Geoff had a terrible attack of vertigo.  He never had it before and I hope it never returns.  It sounds awful! I can't imagine constantly feeling like you just came off the craziest amusement park ride ever.  He couldn't even stand up.  I wish someone would have gotten a video of us making it from our master bedroom to the car.  The kids suggested maybe we get a sled out of the garage and drag Dad down the stairs, through the house and to the car in the driveway.  We didn't use a sled, but we managed to get to the hospital thanks to some keen floor scooting skills and a trash can freshly lined with a green apple scented bag.  Geoff was a trooper through the whole crazy experience - and even remarked about the trash bag's lovely fresh scent (perhaps a niche marketing message for the Hefty trash bag company?).

After this weekend, and multiple discussions about the causes of vertigo, I know more about the workings of the inner ear than I ever imagined possible.  I wish I could say the same about my knowledge of hospital floorplans.

I am directionally challenged.  Hiking trails, ski runs and hospital hallways - they all look alike to me.  You throw a little tiredness and stress in and I'm really useless.  I left Geoff about 10:30 on Saturday night.  He was well-drugged and based upon how he'd spent the rest of Saturday - he'd be sleeping very soundly.  The hospital was quiet and unpopulated except for some cleaning crews and night nurses.  I thought I knew which way to go to get to the parking lot.  I did not.

I found myself wandering down strange corridors, passing through mysterious double doors, and cutting through darkened waiting rooms.  After about 15 minutes of this, I realized I was lost and I sheepishly asked the nurse on our floor which way to go to get out.  I completely screwed up following her directions - which in my defense were vague - there are lots of 'doors on the right'.  Okay?  So once again I was stumbling down another hallway filled with light maple doors and a muted rainbow of slate blue carpet tiles only to find myself approaching the very same nurse from behind this time.  I'd just made a big circle.  I was too embarrassed to ask her for directions again so I snuck past her and kept walking.  Finally, I think I entered an area for 'Authorized Personnnel Only' and may have interrupted a staff meeting.  A nurse popped out of the room and very clearly pointed me to an exit.  It took me half an hour to make it from Geoff's room to the car.  As I was leaving the parking lot, the emergency helicopter almost landed on my car.  It probably didn't even come close, but after what I'd been through, it seemed like a near miss.

Now we're home - we missed our trip to Breckenridge, but Geoff also had to cancel a business trip to Chicago, so there is a bit of a silver lining after all I suppose, in that he gets to stay home.  The regular routine and home sweet home feel really good right now.  I'm happy to be here.  Even having to do all the laundry isn't making me want to cry.

I'm wearing this today:

It has a relaxed hippie feel which I like every day, but it's especially welcome after wacky weekends.  Plus, I get to wear flip-flops and the tunic covers up the hole forming at the crotch of these pants.  Winning.

It's Meatless Monday and we'll be having baked potatoes topped with roasted veggies and a little gorgonzola cream sauce left over from last night.  Who says meatless can't be decadent?

gratitude:  the warm sun, flexibility, a night at home together, caring people

thanks and love.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Sometimes You Have A Lot Of Leftover Tilapia. But It Makes A Pretty Good Lunch The Next Day.

It seems like in the last couple weeks my family dinner plans have become a bit of a pipe dream.  I've made meal plans and grocery shopped accordingly.  Tasty grilling recipes have been dog-earred in magazines.  The fridge has been filled with ingredients and culinary hope.  But the wonderful evenings together on the patio enjoying a meal as a family just haven't materialized as often as I'd imagined this summer.

The kids are just having way too much fun.

Raising teens in the summertime is a lot like being at a Zen Buddhist retreat...only you still have to do the laundry.  Every day I attempt to exercise non-attachment to outcomes as yet another afternoon at a practice or the pool turns into a series of sleepovers, movie nights and midnight hikes.  Just because I want a family dinner and I have procured all the necessary elements to make one, doesn't mean it's going to happen.  And what I must remind myself when this occurs is that the change in plans doesn't make my situation any less good/perfect/right.  It's just different than the outcome I'd imagined.

"Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out."  - John Wooden

So I prepare the lovely meal as best I can, but sometimes we eat late, sometimes we eat on the couch, sometimes there are only two of us and sometimes the house is filled with 16 people and the dinner I made won't stretch that far so we order pizza and save the perfectly seasoned tilapia for tomorrow.  Either way, I try to remind myself to be happy.  We're all together (sort-of), people are having fun (I mean it's summer, right?), and we are making our home a place where our kids and their friends feel welcome and comfortable.

And then there's also wine.  That helps too.  And occasional pouting.

So, we're leaving today for a family foursome weekend in Breckenridge.  I love the thought of 48 straight hours together.  I'm really going to appreciate this concentrated time together because I know when we return, the busy-ness will start up again.  And we'll deal with it and work on being grateful for whatever is happening at the time.  Then we'll plan our next escape.

I'm wearing this for our trip to the high country:

I like the subtle tones in this look with the pop of color up high.  I'm 46 so color near the face has its benefits.  The leopard cardigan will be thrown on if the temps drop or I just feel the need for a little animal print (rawr).

gratitude:  an in-home yoga session with Eliza and some friends (taught by my dear yogini friend, Jackie), Havaiana flip flops, money transfers, family weekends away

thanks and love.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I Refer To An Edgar Degas Painting In This Post, Officially Putting To Good Use My Art History Minor. My Parents Will Be So Relieved.

My name is Mallory and I'm an Angry Birds and Words With Friends addict.  I haven't played a single game of either for over a year now.  I'm recovering.  I'm pretty proud of myself for quitting cold turkey - I didn't even need an intervention.  It just occurred to me that something needed to change after waking up bleary-eyed and preoccupied because I'd spent my third night in a row gaming on my iphone until the wee hours.  I've also found myself planning to arrive early to pick up one of the children just so I had some extra uninterrupted time to play, then focusing so entirely on where best to use the valuable letter 'J' or finding the ideal angle to fling the bird that splits into three smaller birds, that I failed to notice my own child waiting just outside the locked passenger door.  It's not pretty.

I've been very up front with people about how easy it is for me to fall into the traps set by these kinds of games.  It's a weakness of mine.  That's why I find it so incredible that people, friends and members of my own family even, will send me Facebook invitations to join them playing Candy Crush Saga.  Even after they flat out admit that this game is taking over their lives.  Misery loves company, doesn't it?

I feel like these games are the Absinthe of the 21st century.  After a marathon binge of one of them, we all start to look (and feel) a bit like the subject of this Degas painting, don't we?

The look on her face says it all.  At first you're having fun, then you start to hallucinate and suddenly two days pass and you find yourself sitting next to a shady character in a bar in Paris sometime in the early a.m.   It's just not worth it.

So no, I won't give you another life in Candy Crush and I won't be joining you either.  Maybe you need to remove the game from your device and call me the next time you feel like playing.  I could be your sponsor, because I know how hard it is to kick this habit.  But man, you have to because your family wants dinner.  And what about maybe doing the laundry?  Or writing that proposal?  Or showering?

Of course, Dots is kinda fun to play...

I'm wearing this today:

Shorts and a t-shirt allow me to do everything from writing brochure copy to cleaning a guinea pig cage.  The necklace allows me to do it all with a little style.

Happy Wednesday.  Here's a nice quote to chew on.

"Turn your face toward the sun and the shadows will fall behind you."  - Maori proverb

gratitude:  morning meditating, egg salad, wicker, home

thanks and love.

Monday, June 17, 2013

When We Sang 'Hey Jude' I Think I Understood How The Von Trapps Must Have Felt Singing 'Do Re Mi'. We Were That Good.

We had a really lovely weekend.  I won't deny I could have used a little more family foursome time, but overall it was wonderful.  Lots of golf for the boys, some girl bonding over errands (bonus activity: driving practice) and great extended family time.  On Saturday, we had a Father's Day Eve celebration.    We watched some golf, sat on the patio, and many hours and few Beergaritas later, ended our night with three generations of the family singing songs by The Beatles and Van Morrison.  It was cool.  I hope the texts, snapchats, and vines the kids appeared to be sending to friends didn't distract them from realizing how nice it is to be able to have times like that with your whole family.  I also hope the neighbors are fans of 1970's rock and Motown hits.

The Beergarita was a fun addition to our Father's Day celebration and based upon how well they were received, they could become a regular in our patio cocktail offerings.  We were skeptical at first because it seemed like a lot of tequila, but boy oh boy were we wrong.  They are delish.  And so easy to make!  Here's the recipe:

Pour a container of limeade concentrate into a pitcher.  Fill the limeade container with tequila and add that.  Pour in a Corona beer, add some ice and stir.  Run a lime around the edge of your glasses, dip in salt and fill with the Beergarita.  Oh my.

We're back at it this Monday and if I make it out of my yoga pants I'll be wearing this.  The odds, however, of having a 'non-yoga pant day' today are slim at best.

I love fashion and I think it's important to put some effort and thought into what we wear.  But occasionally, yoga pants and a cute t-shirt simply make the most sense.  We just can't make wearing them a habit.  No matter how easy it would be.  We just shouldn't.  

And today I welcome a Meatless Monday since one can only ingest so many brats in one weekend.  Right?  Tonight's offering will be grilled veggies served over a bed of Whole Foods' Super Greens and dressed with a light (but creamy) Dijon vinegarette.  A baguette on the side of course, because Mama needs her carbs.

gratitude:  big rain, baby birds, walks, family time

thanks and love.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Go Ahead And Sniff The Couch Pillows. Febreeze Is A Game Changer. I Still Don't Recommend You Put Your Face On Them Though.

Since I have a new and slightly larger than normal (read: intimidating) writing project coming due soon, I am currently sitting in one of the world's cleanest homes.  It's funny how it becomes very important to me to thoroughly disinfect, polish and deodorize every nook and cranny in my house before I can sit down and start writing.  So while I'm wishing I had written more words, I can't help but feel good about my gleaming floors.  It had been so long since I mopped, I halfway expected to see a Vaudeville soft shoe act being performed in my kitchen when I came down for a cup of coffee each morning.

While it's a fabulous avoidance strategy, I don't really like cleaning my house.  I know you can pay companies to come clean it for you, but I'm always disappointed in my return on investment with them.  I pay nothing to clean my home and I get what I pay for.  Housecleaning just takes so long to do and as soon as I finish something, it seems like someone in the family comes in with goose poop caked cleats or decides they have to eat popcorn on the couch.  I have taken to making threats like this one I posted on the door from the garage.

It was effective, but I was afraid I'd get a call from Social Services once Eliza posted it on Facebook.

So we're off today to pick up JD from a week of lacrosse camp at the Air Force Academy.  I'm proud of myself for not driving the hour or so down there to spy on him.  I'm wearing this:

I'm not sure how I feel about capris anymore.  They just seem to be EVERYWHERE.  And I feel like they aren't a really flattering style for everyone.  I like them a little longer - hitting more high ankle than mid-calf.  These are not that length however, so I'm filling the space with my over-used gladiators.

While you're sitting outside grilling some brats or burgers for Dad this weekend, try some of the Porch Pounder wines that Kim of Bohemian Hippie Mom suggested.  I love her Wednesday posts because they're all about wine (and I loves me some wine).  I especially like that she doesn't just consider the taste of the wines, but also the quality of writing the vineyards use on their bottles and websites.  I don't know what a tannin is really, but I do know the power of a good adverb/adjective combo.

So Happy Father's Day.  Listen to music and find some sun.  Celebrate Dad.

gratitude:  the smell of Eliza's Happy perfume, bagels, JD's return, dogwoods

thanks and love.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I Would Like To Ask Mary, Mary How Her Garden Really Does Grow And If It Involves Cute Shoes And Something Fabulous To Sip.

I am not a natural gardener.  I love the concept, however.  The thought of harvesting things from your own back yard and incorporating them into a meal sounds so earthy and fabulous.  I also love the look of a full garden - kind of romantic, but useful too.  Because this lifestyle has such appeal, we put in some raised beds on the side of our house a couple years ago.  I love them.  Here they are:

I wanted them to look kind of Frenchy, so the aged wood and the little finials on the corners are a nice touch.  I also love the trellis we have in the center of each one - they have some out of control clematis growing on them.  For style points, we're good.  Regarding the actual growing part...we had a bit of a bumpy start.

The bed that holds the herbs is looking great.  This has nothing to do with me or my green thumb and everything to do with the fact that a lot of herbs come back on their own (who knew?).  So thanks to the resiliency of sage, thyme and oregano, we at least have the look of abundance.  I even scattered a handful of our very own herbs over some chicken I roasted last night for dinner.  I felt very Ina Garten.

However, it's this desire to channel my inner Ina that got me into a bit of trouble a couple years ago when I first attempted to grow some things from seed.  We planned to plant radish, carrots and various lettuces in our beds.  Nothing too exotic and all things we would eat normally.  I was ready to live the backyard farmer dream.  Of course, part of that dream involved looking like a bohemian harvest goddess while I farmed.    When it came time to put the seeds in the ground I planned happened to have on an outfit that was appropriately flowy - Prana pants, a peasant top, and a pashmina to fight the early spring chill.  You know what I'm talking about.  I was ready to plant.

So (like any serious farmer) I poured myself a glass of chardonnay, slipped my scarf over my shoulders, grabbed my seed packets and headed to the side of the house to get started.  I noticed two things right away that ended up causing me a bit of trouble later.  It was a tad windy out and many vegetable seeds are very, very small.  It's hard to plant seeds when your scarf is slipping off your shoulders and your wine is nearly tipping off the edge of the garden bed.  I ditched both after a while, but because it was so windy, some a lot of the seeds blew out of my hands when I was attempting to put them into the little holes in the dirt.  I thought nothing of it at the time and forged ahead, eagerly anticipating our first harvest.

Fast forward several weeks and turns out some of the 10,000 seeds that blew away had sprouted.  Everywhere.  We had lettuce, radishes and carrots growing all over the side of our house.  They were no longer limited to the wonderful raised beds we'd made.  We were growing them in rocks, in the cracks between flagstone pavers, by our neighbor's deck, even in the front yard.  It was a running joke that you could find lettuce almost anywhere around our house.  I think our neighbors made three salads with just what popped up by their patio alone.

The next year we were careful in our planting, but got lazy late in the season and let our arugula go to seed.  The wind blew it all over the place and the same thing happened.  We are starting to get a reputation.

This year, I'm planting in shorts and a t-shirt, when it's not at all windy, and I'm saving the wine for later.  We will harvest regularly.  Live and learn.

I'm wearing this today:

Bravely dipping a toe into the pattern on pattern trend.

gratitude:  driving with Eliza, texts from JD at lacrosse camp, a late night walk with Geoff, the color green

thanks and love.

Monday, June 10, 2013

This Post Required Me To Use All My Existing Computer Skills - Copying, Pasting and Linking. I'm Exhausted.

First off, I want to thank those of you who took the time to lift me up after my hater incident.  It made me feel so good to hear your words of encouragement and to know there are so many fabulous people out there who enjoy a little Minutiae from time to time.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.

And speaking of thanks...

A new fabulous friend, Cortne of Coco In Magnolia, nominated me for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award last week.  What a treat!  I'd received another such honor several weeks ago from the lovely Kim of Bohemian Hippie Mom, but because I am clueless when it comes to how blogs actually function, I was unable to properly respond.  I still don't know what I'm doing, but I didn't want this great energy to slip by again without at least attempting to pass it along.

As an aside, I do plan to learn more about how to provide a functioning blog.  Currently, I simply type words and hit 'publish'.   For a while this made me feel as computer savvy as Matthew Broderick's character in War Games ( yay, movies from the 80's!), but it has become very clear to me that I need to step it up.  Any resources you other bloggers have used, would be greatly appreciated.  And don't be surprised if I come knocking asking for some advice and/or guidance.  I may not have many talents, but asking/begging for help is right in my wheelhouse.

So here is the nomination.  It's pretty isn't it?
I can't thank Cortne and Kim enough for this.  I feel honored and happy and inspired.  I hope to live up to the nomination.  Apparently, the rules for the nomination are this:  Display the award logo, link back to the person that gave it to you, state 7 things about yourself, and nominate 15 bloggers for this award with their links.

So here goes.  Seven things about me. 

1.  I can sing the French National Anthem.  Not well enough to perform publicly, but it has served me well when an evening of wine drinking with French people reaches the point of singing together.

2.  I like sunshine.  I don't mind an occasional day of rain (or snow, but only during the months of November and December) however, I prefer sun.  Cloudiness without moisture sets me on edge.  

3.  I do yoga.  I think everyone should do it.  I've practiced now for over 10 years and I love it.  I don't have a studio I currently go to, but I've had a great home practice for years.  Sometimes when I'm in a yoga class I want to 'win' and be the best in the class ( a very non-yoga response).  I think this tendency detracts from my experience, so yoga at home is a nice fit for me.  I use Yogaglo for my classes and it is lovely.

4.  I love to cook, but I can't bake.  Baking is too precise and cooking allows me to measure with my hands, which I love.

5.  When I see a pile of warm laundry, I want to lay in it and take a nap.

6.  I love animals.  Oh, how I love them!  I do eat meat, but I try to make sure it's humanely farmed.  I also try not to kill bugs in my house, so I offer them a 'relocation program' - they are not always successful.

7.  My favorite flower is a lilac.  Which I don't think is even a flower, it's a shrub.  Somehow that makes sense.

And now, 15 bloggers/blogs I nominate.

Coco In Magnolia
Bohemian Hippie Mom
Simple Details
Tracy Porter
Kendi Everyday
My Favorite And My Best
Simple Lovely
The Bloggess
Smitten Kitchen
Good Life for Less
The Simply Luxurious Life
The Effortless Chic
The Daily Love
Danielle LaPorte
Tiny Buddha

I only communicate with four of these bloggers, so it's not like the rest of them know me or anything. But I read them everyday and I like what they offer.

I'm wearing this today:

I am working on billing for my last staging job and it requires me to use math skills.  I just feel happier in a color if I have to deal too much with numbers.  Also, I can go barefoot here at home then slip on the wedges for dinner tonight celebrating my niece's birthday.  

And it's Meatless Monday.  We will be dining at PF Chang's to celebrate Ava, so I guess I'll have to find something meatless on the menu.   I just can't get into tofu - even though I think it would be cool to like it - so it's looking like rice and veggies for me tonight.  And a sauvignon blanc.  Loves me some of that with Chinese.

gratitude:  all you wonderful Positively Minutiae readers, confirmation that JD used the sheets I sent with him to make his bed at lacrosse camp and isn't sleeping directly on a foreign mattress, phase one of the patio revamping is underway, the end of the frenzy caused by the last week of school and the first week of summer

thanks and love.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Nature Is Beautiful, But Sometimes Birds Poop On Your Windows. I Think I Just Experienced The Blog Version Of This Phenomenon.

This week, my blog had its first 'hater'.  Well, maybe it was the first one to post publicly.  It was a weird feeling to read a mean comment about my little offering from someone I've never even met.  When my phone notified me that there was action on my blog, I was driving home from a staging job in Nebraska deep Aurora.  I got so excited because I love to know someone is reading and hopefully enjoying Positively Minutiae a bit too.  But when I read the comment, I was stunned.  I can't imagine saying something rude to someone I don't even know.  The hater even finished by telling me to 'get a job'.  The irony of being stuck in traffic on C-470 as I returned from my job was not lost on me.

Of course, my first instinct was to passive/aggressively respond to her with a short, but well-worded quip.  But, thanks to my incredibly bad technological skills, I couldn't manage to get a response sent from my iphone.  I consider this some kind of divine cyber-intervention.  By the time I made it home, I was rushing kids to camps, friends houses and preparing to for a wine and cheese gathering on our patio with a couple other lacrosse moms.  I never was able to take the time to react.

This morning I managed to figure out how the comment feature on my blog really sort of works.  JD and I had a lot of fun coming up with some responses to 'hater girl'.  But I had a proud moment when JD finally suggested we just delete her, instead of playing her little hate game.  I liked the sound of that.  So with the click of a button, she was gone.

I know this blog isn't for everyone, but my wish is that it will make at least some people happy.  I truly appreciate all of you who read it.  Some posts will be better than others, but I hope I don't make you want to 'sip on the Haterade' (JD's line) very often.

I'm wearing this today:

I dig navy and brown.  And a statement pendant.  And a cute bag.

gratitude:  Kava Stress Relief tea, laughter, fresh air, the sound of lawn mowers (in the distance)

thanks and love.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Because I Find A Little Self-Help Keeps Me From Eating My Weight In Potato Chips. And I Want That For Each Of You As Well.

I thought I'd share a helpful little technique with you today.  I've been using this for a while now and I like what it does.  It has to do with our 'to-do' lists.  I loves me a list.  Grocery, To-Do, Invite, you name it.  I think lists keep us on track, organize our thoughts, and give us a nice record of our accomplishments thanks to the "crossing things off" function associated with them.  But sometimes my lists get out of control.

I used to throw all sorts of things onto a list of action items for each day - my thinking was that if I really loaded it up, I'd get even more done.  But it turns out that there was always something that I ended up not getting to in a day and instead of feeling a sense of completion by looking back at all I did accomplish, I'd feel a nagging energy that I hadn't repainted the kids' rooms, written a monthly newsletter or organized a family bar-b-que.  That same day.  My list was more of a "Wouldn't It Be Great If I Could Do" list as opposed to a list of things I really needed to do.  But no more.

I've been reading that we can usually plan to complete about five things in a day.  Realistically.  Sometimes it's just two, but five tends to be the max.  This, of course, does not include things that happen on a regular basis like showering, working out or regular meetings/appointments (all of which I would often include on my list just to give myself the thrill of drawing a line through them).  We need to really pare our list down to no more than five items.  These are things that, if they didn't get done we'd feel like a toad.  But it takes a realistic perspective.  And an understanding of work/life balance.

We'd all like to be super-accomplishers, but that doesn't set us up for success.  Often, if our list is too long, its size is so daunting that we may linger a bit longer on something that could have been wrapped up quickly just because we're dreading the next 300 tasks we have ahead.  So try thinking each morning about what the five (or fewer, if they're big) things are that will truly make you feel satisfied to accomplish in that day.  Then do them.  One at a time.  If you get done with all of them, go ahead and throw in a bonus task, or take a walk, or pour yourself a glass of wine an sit down with a good book.  Tomorrow you can get five more things done.  Remember, 'a mountain is climbed one step at a time'.  So think about your next five steps and you'll reach the summit happier and healthier (and faster perhaps) then you would otherwise.

I'm wearing this today:

The cooler temps are a nice change of pace.  So white jeans and a flowy top feel just right.

gratitude:  peonies, music, patios, rain

thanks and love.

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Little Bit On Lacrosse, Port-a-Potties and Slimy Food.

What a weekend!  It was our third weekend in a row of lacrosse tournaments and by far this was the best one yet.  Our boys played up a division and were seeded 11th out of 12 teams.  They lost their first game, but went on to play in the Championship.  On their way, they beat the team they lost to originally, as well as the number one seed in the bracket.  They played five games yesterday including the Final and lost in it (just barely) to the second seed.  I've never seen a group of 13-year-old boys work together so hard for so long.  It was incredible.  And totally wonderful.  And I imagine I'm not the only parent in the group starting today with odd tan lines and sore feet.

I learned a few things this weekend.

Do not, under any circumstance, wear a gladiator sandal if you intend to stand in the sun for 12 straight hours.  There are no words to describe what your feet look like the next day.  I may be wearing socks for awhile to prevent those around me from becoming concerned that I have a 'condition'.  It's not pretty.

If you are attempting to relieve yourself in a port-a-potty, do not wear sunglasses while you are completing the task.  It gets very hot in the little green booth, and if you are managing an altered version of "The Hover" (a classic maneuver used by women in public restrooms), your glasses will begin to slide off your face toward the shiny patch on the floor under the men's urinal.  The physical dexterity it takes to catch them before they hit the ground while maintaining a safe distance from the toilet seat will leave your heart racing and could very possibly result in a strained hamstring.

No matter how hungry you are, do not eat the last remaining chip in an order of smothered potato chips.  The dish is quite tasty at the start, but after sitting in the sun for half an hour and being picked at by your tablemates, the texture of the chip and the coagulated sliminess of the smothering sauce will leave you on the verge of a gag for the next hour.  The only cure is a glass of wine.  Then an Altoid.

I'm wearing this today:

Today is a behind the scenes kind of day so shorts and a t-shirt are perfect.  I'd throw on one of my favorite long necklaces if I weren't planning to do 300 loads of laundry, but they tend catch on clothes while I shove them into the machine and I'm not willing to risk their destruction.  So a nice wrist loaded with wrap bracelets makes me feel like I've completed my look and can still manage all my glamorous tasks.  Laundry, grocery shopping and bill paying await.  We have no food in the house.  I offered JD a handful of stale corn chips or half a chocolate chip cookie for breakfast.  He chose the cookie.

gratitude:  the start of summer, time to reorganize, email, fresh towels

thanks and love.