January 7, 2010

toned down in a big way

my fashion goal is to dress like emma from "glee," but without the color. i can be fab in gray and black, thank you very much. if i were brave, i'd wear brights, but... i'm not really brave when i have to pay for it.

February 25, 2009

glass wholly empty

the other day it hit me that i am a negative thinker. i don't do shades of gray.

i'm defined by what i don't like, don't eat, don't wear. i'm known for amazing willpower -- for what i won't do. there needs to be a negative component to everything. i love my family, but sometimes i don't like them. i enjoy shopping, but i hate shopping for this body. when i drink alcohol, it starts out well and good, but then i degenerate into a teary, mopey drunk.

maybe that should have been my new year's resolution -- to become a positive thinker. to think about myself in brighter, more pleasant terms. to think about what i like and not in terms of what i don't. to not hate my job with such passion, but to focus on what good there is to be found there.

already i'm feeling skeptical.

December 25, 2008


i am completely intimidated by the looming tasks of writing thank-you cards and weeding out of old toys to make room for the new. could i bribe someone to do this stuff for me?

March 12, 2007


this weekend i painted a tree.

i sort of freehanded mine, aided only by tape -- although, looking back at the real simple article, i now see some similarities that make me cringe. it's funny because i hadn't looked at that picture in a few weeks, but it's also kind of sad because it looks like i tried to copy it and failed miserably. that said, it's still pretty, i think... i added a little bird (named "repositionable bird") cut out of scrapbook paper for color, and i think that was a nice touch.

October 13, 2006

destination: basement

i have washed and dried three loads of laundry in four nights, and i'm not sure how i feel about it.

it's great that i don't find myself with a mountain of wash to this weekend, but laundry is kind of time-consuming. i guess i shouldn't complain, though, considering that all that time used to come out of my weekends. but it is kind of weird to be spending weekday time wondering if the dryer is done.

i have realized through this exercise that part of the reason why i save up my laundry to do all at once is (well, aside from the obvious fact that i have ALWAYS done it this way) that the washer and dryer have always been located in a place can be easily avoided.

in my parents' home, the w/d were in the garage. sure, we went into the garage all the time, but being that you actually had to exit the house via the front door to get into the garage, this wasn't exactly something you wanted to do at night in your pajamas. and what if someone inside accidentally (or not-so-accidentally) locked the front door while you were in the garage? eeesh.

then in college, the laundry room was always rather far away. the one in the dorms was far and small -- and college students are so callous -- so if you wanted to do laundry, you had to be prepared to use a nice solid chunk of time to accomplish this because you and your stuff were screwed if you left anything unattended in an off washer or a dryer. i hated to think that hands other than mine were handling my stuff, so i would go there with my books and study. in my apartment building, the washers were in this creepy dark area with metal grates instead of windows, so i'd get up really early in order to be able to do my wash in its entirety in DAYLIGHT hours.

once cam and i were ensconced in shared living quarters, we learned that people in apartments not in college were just as bad as people in apartments in college. when we moved to torrance, we started taking our wash back to our respective parents' houses on wednesday nights. it was nice. cam would drop me off (or he'd come in for dinner) after work, then pick me up around 10-11ish.

now we live in a house with a washer and dryer in the basement. i have no earthly reason to go down to the basement except to do laundry, so i could conceivably leave the basement on sunday night and not see it again until the following saturday. we have a chest freezer down there, but because it's a little hard to access (don't ask) we don't really use it much.

despite attempts to cozy up the basement -- and trust me, it is vastly cozier than it was when we moved in (the floor has been painted purple, the walls are lavender, the wall of heaters and other such dusty stuff are covered with several pretty martha stewart shower curtains) -- it's still a dark little hole. there's too much stuff and not enough light. the stairs are not lit at all and they are ridiculously shallow and steep. the door to the basement is in the fridge room, which can be accessed either from the outside (the exterior door is a heavy wooden thing with a porthole and an old fashioned lock) or from the kitchen (open doorway). we had to put a baby gate in the open doorway from the kitchen because, honestly, a closed basement door when you're in the basement is scary and depressing. cold concrete floor? check. bare bulb in the ceiling? check. where's the torture chair?

i guess i'll keep at this for a few weeks more. if i feel like i'm not really getting ahead, i'll just go back to weekend laundry.

October 10, 2006


lo and behold -- a monday night load of laundry! previously unheard of, now possibly a part of my weekly routine.

October 9, 2006


flylady says to do a load of laundry a day. real simple recommends a load of laundry a day.

after years of the weekend laundry routine, i decided to try a different tactic. maybe not a load a day (we don't make things dirty enough to have a whole load's worth after a day), but i tried spreading it out over the week -- and it was great! i only had two loads to do this past weekend. the main problem i see with doing laundry during the week is that i can't leave anything in either the washer or dryer when i go to work because my mother may want to do her laundry. what i don't finish, she does. although it is nice in a way to come home to washed and folded clothes/sheets/whatnot, it's so guilt-inducing. it's bad enough she does my dishes (i've been doing the dishes myself lately per flylady -- which makes cam feel bad, but apparently not bad enough to get to the sink before i do), but my laundry, too?

sure, i want a maid, but i don't want to call her "mom."

so i'll try this out again this week. if laundry during the week works out as nicely as it did this week, call me a convert.

September 30, 2006


i had a challenge all set up for this week, but it has been such an awful week... i just never got to it. my assistant has been out all week and i've been a worn-out wreck trying to keep my shit together. i'll start over on sunday. i'm disappointed in myself.

September 23, 2006

second, part six

put together my portable office folder. right now i have a pen, stamps, address labels (both the family kind and the ones i use for bills, etc.), blank thank-you cards, blank note cards and a checkbook in a plastic envelope. i don't have any unpaid bills waiting in there, though, but i do have one sitting on my desk -- while i was on my reorganizing-the-desk kick, i also cleaned up my file cabinet and a little file/inbox-type thing on my desk. also transferred some stuff to my pda while i was at it.

i'll do my write-up of the other article later this week. i'm feeling a little shortcut'd out at the moment.

September 22, 2006

second, part five

i typed up a combo grocery/to-do list. cam has approved it, so now i just need to make copies and cut them to size. i wish i could have them made into a notepad, but the prices are a little crazy online. (don't know if i want to go the kinko's route.) we have a duplicating service at work that could do this for me -- i've used them to make custom routing slips and the like -- but somehow the idea of having this professional work-service make my personal grocery list pad just seems rather... inappropriate.

second, part four

i chopped up garlic and put them to soak in a cruet of olive oil. i can't wait to cook something with it.

September 21, 2006

second, part three

last night i bought swiffer (auto!) dusters for cam.

September 20, 2006

second, part two

june 2005: "what is your most useful shortcut?" (the "your words" feature)

the winner: sahm fits exercise into her day by playing with her children
this is really cute. i love this. if i were a sahm, i'd be all over this. but as it is, when i get home from work, i'm lucky if i can even stand for more than a few minutes at a time, much less play. yeah, i suck. i don't really know how to play.

the rest:
a month's worth of cooking in a day
we have talked this over so many times. i'd be happy with a week's worth -- but it ain't happenin' anytime soon. maybe one day, when the kitchen is done, when the backyard is done, when we've cleared out the basement so i can have easy access to the chest freezer...

garlic and oil in a bottle in the fridge (to replace chopping/peeling for recipes requiring both)
i like this. i want to try it. my dad used to keep vinegar and chopped garlic in a little bottle in our fridge. it smelled rather strong, but he used it regularly so it didn't go rancid or anything. not that i have any idea what he actually used it on, but it made him happy and that's all that counts.

double cookie recipe, bake half, freeze other half
considering we buy prepackaged allergen-free cookie mix, i'm not sure how we'd accomplish this short of mixing together two boxes. i'm just not brave enough to try my hand of making my own cookies.

buying meat in bulk, many different marinades
we do buy meat in bulk -- a big bag of chicken breasts from costco. i'll cook meat occasionally, but i'll be damned if i'll have raw meat in marinades in my refrigerator. gross. the vegetarian here gets to object every once in a while.

buying prewashed, precut veggies
the vegetarian here also gets sheepish because she's such a poor eater. we must start doing this. the other day paul looked up at my mom and asked, "do you have any vegetables?" the shame!

setting up the crock pot the night before
i've done this before and liked it. don't know why i stopped. oh wait, i know, because we go to the grocery approximately once a month!

combined preprinted grocery/to-do list
good idea -- we always buy the same items, always run the same errands

index card in purse with useful replacement info (air filter dimensions, vacuum bag size, etc.)
interesting. not sure about the index card, but i could put that stuff in my pda (and old handspring visor i am wanting to use again)

fridge bottom shelf designated as kids' snack central
paul has his own fridge for milk (the little refrigerator at the bottom of the water cooler). perhaps i should put little paul-snacks down there, too. intriguing idea.

weekly clothing organizer for kids
paul might be a little too young for this right now, but i dig it.

make/freeze baby food
that time is long gone. well, maybe if we have another kid.

self-sufficiency for children
i need to start working on this.

washable duvet cover instead of top sheet
already done. love it.

clean a room or two/do a load of laundry in order to free up weekend
not a bad idea, but i think i'd rather just not clean at all.

disinfecting wipes in bathroom, glass and furniture-polish wipes for other rooms
already done.

hiring a cleaning service
cam, are you listening? we did this in two apartments and it was fab. we tried one housecleaning service and it sucked, but we were supposed to find a new one...

wash shower while taking one
already done -- but not often enough (the washing of the shower, not the taking of showers).

maintaining separate file for tax deductions with duplicate checks
i don't even want to think about this.

copy important info from emails and paste into pda
planning on doing this once i get my pda-legs back under me. it's been a long time. i used mine all the time until they did something at work IT-wise and i was told i couldn't hotsync up anymore. feh on them.

cell phone as personal phone book
i think i'll keep info in my pda instead. i'm not really crazy about my cell.

pack lunches, set up morning needs (including timer on coffeepot) the night before
great idea, but really, our morning needs can't really be set up the night before. the only thing we can really do is set out the straws for the nutritional drinks and make sure our travel mugs are clean.

swiffer dusters, windex wipes in car for quick free-moment cleaning
cam doesn't keep swiffer dusters in the car, but he does have wipes and this big brush thing that i guess works like a swiffer for the outside of the car. maybe i should get him some dusters for the inside.

using carpooling time more efficiently to get errands, phone calls done
the morning commute is for sleep. the afternoon commute is for conversation.

portable firepit as neighborhood ice-breaker
hell no. why would antisocial people want neighborly love? they should be glad we haven't put barbed wire around the house. we have a neighbor who is only too happy to stick his head over the fence and scare the living beejeezus out of me while i'm working back there. not that he has any special feeling for me, though -- i think he might for cam, actually.

kitchen shears for everything
maybe i'm just weird, but i can't imagine cutting food with scissors.

avoid procrastination

carry plastic document holder with address book, stamps, checkbook, current bills, notecards, special dates to make more efficient use of waiting time
i am going to have to do this. a traveling office, sort of. since i'm now in charge of the mail, this has a special timeliness that i like.

looking over this list, i think i would like to try to integrate the preprinted lists and portable office into my life this week. there are a few others that i would also like to do, but they revolve around grocery shopping, which i can never guarantee will be done by any given time. the pda-related ones might take me a bit more time to implement because i'm like a baby again with that thing.

i've got the other "real simple" article to review -- wonder if i'll have any other tips to add to my list? in a sick way, i love this. it's like having homework.

September 18, 2006


june 2005: shortcuts

this particular issue seems to be the anti-martha-stewart-issue -- the very first article featured on the cover is "take a shortcut: 21 ways to streamline your schedule." this isn't quite the sort of challenge i planned on for myself, but the organizational feature this month is on moving, and i am sure as hell not buying another house for the sake of fulfilling a one-week challenge! so... this week i will look at these 21 ways, plus the reader responses to the month's question: what is your most useful shortcut? this should be interesting. i'm always looking for ways to accomplish as much as possible in the smallest amount of time.

September 17, 2006

first, postscript

as a finishing touch, i labeled the drawers with my p-touch. yay!


february 2001: "organizing a hall closet"

last night i completed my first real simple challenge. the top shelf is still kind of empty, but i am actually not sure what should go there. to get to this point, i:

moved some of cam's not-regularly used shoes from the living room shoe rack to the hall closet shoe rack
removed a mid-size travel bag from the second shelf
put said mid-size travel bag inside suitcase sitting on the floor
put suitcase on second shelf
picked up electric jack, car emergency kit and first aid kit from floor and put them on the second shelf
rearranged jackets and coats by length (they were already divided by owner -- cam and i are the only ones with coats in there -- plus they already had matching wood hangers)
put two little used jackets on back hooks of closet behind hanging rod (if they are still unused after say, six months, out they go)
bought a plastic set of drawers
removed various hats and scarves from hooks stuck to inside of closet door
arranged hats and now-folded scarves into drawers
removed one hook (suddenly have an excess of hooks) from the door and used goof-off to remove the adhesive residue
took hats from paul's room and hung them on the closet door hooks

it looks nice in there. i feel like it's not quite done, but it's more done than it has ever been and i'm pleased. as a final touch, cam tugged on everything on the second shelf to make sure they wouldn't come barreling down when the closet door is opened. he seemed satisfied, too.

September 15, 2006

not all that simple

i am letting my long-running subscription to "real simple" lapse. as fond as i am of that magazine, it makes me feel inferior ("martha stewart living" has the same effect, but jesu cristo, it's martha. we are ALL inferior.). flipping through the pages of "real simple," i see stuff about organizing one's home, one's life, one's family, one's work -- and i can't tell if you're supposed to do these all simultanously. i just end up feeling tired after reading that magazine, and those damned things are thick! i'd still be reading the february issue in june.

but just because i'm cutting my subscription doesn't mean that i'll give up on my plans to one day be "THAT organized mom." to that end, i developed a new goal for myself.

me: what is that look?
cam: nothing.
me: oh, like i don't have enough to do?
cam: [smirk]

every sunday, i will take a back issue and select one organizational challenge. if it's a long-term type thing that requires purchases (that won't get here within a week), then i can place whatever orders and then pick something else that will be accomplishable within my one-week timeframe.

i pulled out an issue last night to see what i was getting myself into. it was from 2001 and i swear, it was about a quarter of the size of the current issues. there seemed to be only one applicable article -- about organizing the hallway closet. (other articles included organizing your gym bag (ha! what gym?) and learning life lessons from panda bears (uh-huh, sure).) i took a look at our hallway closet and cringed. perfect. it's a really small spot, there's too much crammed in there, and i've been meaning to get to it for ages. because it didn't really look like a full week's worth of project, i started last night. paul was most amused. i put a scarf on him. "do i look like a woman?" he took the scarf off and put on a fisherman hat. "do i look like a mailman?"

i think this could be fun in ways that no one at home could ever understand.



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