Friday, November 25, 2011

Tartan Toes & Turkey Cards

So my husband is a pretty wonderful guy. He's not always touchy-feely-mushy, especially in public, but I've never doubted the man loves me and he always finds special ways to show me. Take Wednesday, for example. I was working from my mother-in-law's house in Tacoma, telecommuting, and he asked me if I could take a long lunch as he had a surprise for me. Um, sure I could! Next thing I know, I'm ankle-deep in hot water, being scrubbed and rubbed and pumiced and painted until I'm so relaxed I'm practically snoring in the squishy pedicure chair. Oh yeah, he knows how to make me feel loved! Check out the end result:

Pretty, right? I'm totally getting into all the gray shades of nailpolish that seem to be popular right now. It's funny - I generally either go super-girly (think Barbie) or modern & clean without a hint of pink. Clearly, this is the latter.

So now that relaxation was out of the way, it was time to focus on the main event of the week: Thanksgiving! Monkey Boy was gently coerced into creating name cards for the dinner table. I can't even begin to explain how much whining went into this task, and there were only 7 to make! It boggles my mind to think how painful it would have been had the entire family, or even just a few more branches, come this year. I think the biggest group I've ever witnessed at my in-law's house was around 30. Probably small for most of you, but absolutely gigantic for a girl who grew up with all her relatives in other countries! Here's a pic I managed to get of the finished name cards before we set the table:

...and of course, the Thanksgiving table, all set and ready to go on Thursday morning. We were only planning on 6 at dinner, but Monkey Boy wanted to set a place for Katy the cat, so I added an eighth for the sake of symmetry.

Yup, those are folding chairs & plastic tablecloths - we like to keep it classy! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving with your loved ones. Any fabulous traditions or new experiences you'd like to share?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ugh, Ugh, The Drive Was Ugh

The drive was not cute this morning. It really shouldn't take over 4 hours to drive about 145 miles. Seriously. Not cool. Plus with the icky rain the whole way. Have I mentioned recently I'm totally remembering why so many people are diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder in the Pacific Northwest? Ugh.

Still, I did manage to find three bright points in the drive, the first two of which are original quotes from Monkey Boy:

#1 - [waving a Red Vine over his head] "Mommy, did you know that some people call these licorice? That's because they're made of liquid..." Clearly.

#2 - [after asking me to pause the CD and listen intently (I heard nothing)] "Mommy, do you know why I can't snap loud? It's because I talk too loud. There's not enough sound left to come out my fingers." His scientific theories are certainly arresting, if not plausible.

#3 - Monkey is now officially addicted to the Hallelujah Chorus - yessss!!! And yes, I do listen to classical music while I drive, not because I think it reduces my road rage, because I like to sing along! "Forrrrrrrr the Lord GOD om-NIIIIIII-po-tent reeeeeeeeeigneth!" ;-)

Thank you, Jesus, the drive is over!!! Until Sunday, anyway :-P

Monday, November 21, 2011

What's New & How Are You?

So very soon I will be packing up a bag, cleaning a little clutter out of the car, and getting a good night's sleep so Monkey Boy & I can drive up to SeaTac tomorrow morning to retrieve Daddy at the airport and then back down to Tacoma to crash at my mother-in-law's (aka Where-Daddy-and-Monkey-are-Living-This-Year). While I would love to say that I am very motivated to get myself together for this trip, the reality is that I am not. I woke up feeling pretty good this morning, got some work done while Monkey watched Rio, the movie we rented last night, for a 2nd and 3rd time (might be a new favorite!) and then, right around 2 o'clock - BAM. Stomach cramps, shooting gas pains, and diarrhea. Um, hello? Gut? What the heck is going on? Please believe me when I tell you that NOTHING I ate today, yesterday, or even the day before should warrant this sort of response from my GI system. So what's going on? I'm not sure, but you can bet that I will continue to investigate with my doctor until some sort of reasonable explanation can be found. For now, I will just continue to get as much sleep as possible (how is it possible to sleep 9-10 hours a night and STILL be fatigued, I ask you??) and to take my daytime tasks one at a time. Take that, angry guts :-P

In other news, I got my winter coat! Well, actually - I got TWO winter coats! Just as I'd finished writing all about my crazy, consumerist pipe dreams for the day afte
r Thanksgiving, guess what arrived in my inbox? An ad for 75% off all adult outerwear at Old Navy, 12-5 pm only on Saturday. Hmm...75% this Saturday or 50% off next Friday with Black Friday crowds? Yup, that was pretty much a no-brainer. Since it was a limited-time sale and I'd have Monkey with me, I went ahead and took a gander at the selection online. Look at the cutie wool coat I found there!

They were even cuter in person! And, with the lovely 5-hour sale, less than $20 apiece. The really difficult part was choosing a color - I'd called ahead and asked the nice salesgirl to put a gray coat with red toggles and a red coat with black toggles on hold for me [Um...have I mentioned lately that toggles have been a lifelong obsession of mine?!?!]. When I tried them on, I figured the gray would be more serviceable and appropriate for work and the red toggles were probably enough color for me. Monkey Boy insisted that the red jacket was the way to go, though. He denounced the gray coat as, "Boring, mommy!" So, what could I do? No warm coats at home, two perfectly-lovely, perfectly-fitting coats in front of me (with hoods! and TOGGLES!!!), $19 each - clearly, I bought both. And I am pleased with that decision.

Here is a photo Monkey took of me modeling the new red coat:

In his defense, it is difficult to hold the Blackberry still while snapping a photo. Still, this may be why there are few 6-year-old professional photographers!

Monkey and I also started his Christmas lists together this weekend. That's right, you heard correctly, lists - plural. I figure we can do this whole commercial Christmas thing and still make it meaningful. So, if Monkey wants to make a list of things he'd like to receive, that's fine, but he will also be making a list of things that he is making/giving to others. He did a great start on the latter yesterday and has already planned & helped me execute the gifts for three of his cousins, my sister's kiddos up in Seattle [if you want to know more about them, check out her amazing blog]. I wish that I could share the projects with y'all now, but we want to make sure that Girly Girl, Boy Boy, and Little Moo are surprised when they open those packages! So, for now, I will just say that it was a super-easy project for both of us - Monkey did all of the planning, tracing, picking materials, and all I had to do was pin and sew. Definitely tutorial-worthy in the future!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Secret Confessions of a Declutterer

Sometimes, I still want to shop retail. The thought of hitting a sale and getting a bargain on something that I don't REALLY need but just WANT - okay, yeah, it still gets me all tingly sometimes. What can I say? Old habits are hard to entirely eradicate from your psyche!

So, then, you can understand why I might be examining all of the T
hanksgiving Day/Black Friday sale fliers that are getting slapped up around the internet. Making a little pretend list of things I lust after doesn't hurt...did I mention that I'm currently in Oregon, land of no sales tax? So, in no particular order of lustability:

#1 - Leisure wheeled garment bag, Early Bird Special @ Kohls (Thursday at Midnight - Friday 1:00 pm) Regularly $179.99 On Sale for $49.99

I do have a functional garment bag for my dance costumes, but it is technically my husband's. When he was packing for a business trip this week and mentioning h
ow he wishes he could use his garment bag (oops!) I thought, goodness, maybe I should get a new one since mine died a couple years back! Do I want one with wheels for ease of portability at dance competitions and Highland Games? Um, duh!

#2 - Home Classics Reversible Down Alternative Comforter, Early Bird Special @ Kohls (Thursday at Midnight - Friday 1:00 pm) Regularly $99.99 On Sale for $26.99

It's a lot colder in Oregon than it is in Texas and my husband is a blanket hog. Need I say more?

#2 Revised - Check this out! Kmart has the same item for only $19.99 if I get there between 6:00 am and 11:00 am on Friday! See? it pays to shop around :-)

#3 - GE 7.0 Cubic Foot Chest Freezer, Walmart (Thursday at Midnight - Friday at Midnight) On Sale for $159

I don't have a home to put it in, currently, so this is definitely a Wish List Only item, but, oh my gosh...the freeze ahead cooking I could do with one of these babies!
#4 - Huffy 26" Cranbrooks Cruiser Bike, Walmart (Thursday at 10 pm - Thursday at Midnight), On Sale for $69

So, so cute and Portland-y! Not entirely sure where I could "cruise" on it, given that I'm currently living in the West Hills, but I'm sure I could figure something out ;-)

#5 - Next 16" Boys' Cobra Bike, Walmart (Thursday at 10 pm - Thursday at Midnight), On Sale for $25

We have planned to get Monkey a bike for, what, 2 years now? Might be time to go ahead and deliver on that promise!

#6 - Paper Jamz Guitar, Walmart (Thursday at 10 pm - Thursday at Midnight), On Sale for $7

I would love to get several of these to stock up the office at work. I have a few clients in mind who would totally rock out with them!

#7 - Sewing Machine Travel Case, Walmart (Thursday at 10 pm - Thursday at Midnight), On Sale for $25

I totally don't need this. I can carry my sewing machine by hand when I hav
e (the very rare) sewing dates with my friends. It's not like I'm a sewing professional, for pete's sake. has multiple storage compartments and comes in a variety of prints and it makes me happy that there are cases for sewing machines :-)

#8 - Portable Universal iPhone/iPod Speakers, Walmart (Thursday at Midnight - Friday at Midnight), On Sale for $7

Yes, these are for work. I am a sucker for portable speakers and love trying out different brands/styles to see which ones have the biggest bang (well, bass) for the buck. I also love how these look like they can attach to a bag with the hook on top, so cute! Did I mention that my iPod, as of this morning, is officially full? One more organizing project to add to the To Do list.

#9 - 50% Off All Outerwear, Old Navy (Doors Open Thursday at Midnight)

I need a warm, fuzzy coat. Did I mention it's cold in Oregon? I mean, it's supposed to snow this weekend!

See? End of the list...not that bad, I kept it in single digits! I have to say it's a little bit disturbing that Walmart is offering guns on special for Black Friday. Especially the pistol for $20. Wow! Super-cheap way to off someone, huh? Not sure how much ammunition is, but it should still be economical.

So I'll keep you posted on my internal struggles of buying retail this next week. It may be a little more challenging if I do decide to purchase anything since we will be up in Tacoma with my honey's family for Thanksgiving. In some ways easier, though, since box stores are within city limits, unlike here in Portland. It's smart, though - put the big retail stores out in the suburbs and people are more likely to buy from local merchants, in my humble opinion.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

An Organizing Teaser & Tiny "New" Pants

I'm afraid I'm going to be a bit of a tease today. It's my first day back at work and feeling reasonably human in...oh goodness, maybe two weeks? Anyhow, wanted to drop a quick note and share the pictures I took in the office yesterday of our current instrument storage system. Or, should I say, the instrument hodgepodge that really needs a storage system in place to quell the madness? I'll let you be the judge...

The other three walls of the office are reasonably organized but, oh my goodness - the instrument wall just makes me want to crawl under my desk and hide! Luckily, I'm not the only one who feels that way. One of my coworkers volunteered to help me overhaul the area and we got the go-ahead from our boss to purchase bins & boxes as needed. Stay tuned for pictorial updates as we weed through the madness!

Remember those t-shirt skirts I upcycled? The scraps have been sitting on my sewing pile for a little while now - they weren't huge, but I felt bad throwing them away if they could become useful. Inspiration finally struck this weekend - baby pants! One of the things I've discovered about turning 30 is that a vast majority of my age-mates are getting pregnant. While we are not planning on any more buns in this oven (one 11 lb. newborn is enough, thank you!), the plethora of offspring in my social group is a great excuse for sewing. Right, since I needed an excuse, right? ;-)

I looked around at a few patterns for baby pants in the 6-12 months size range, but ended up just piecing the scraps and winging it. What do you think?

I think the next pair is going to have a slightly higher rise, although it is longer than it looks in the photo (I wanted to leave plenty of diaper room). Plus the colors look oddly washed out here...hmm...normally my Blackberry is so reliable! Oh well. I came up with the "brand name" I want to put on my clothing, too: "Gabe" With the quotes, definitely. It's an inside joke that one day I will know, when I'm a rich and famous blogger! ;-)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Taking Care of Me

I'm home sick today. I know, I know - I'll give you a moment to pick up your chin from the ground. Anyhow, after last week's lovely stomach virus, I spent a couple days arguing with my sinuses, trying to convince them that it was not acceptable for them to get infected. They finally agreed with me, but unfortunately decided not to share the memo with my throat and lungs. I sound sexy today, let me tell you. When the husband and I spoke on the phone last night, he responded to my query of, "How are you?" with, "Not as deep as you!" Maximum impact of humor here is dependent on you having heard my husband's voice - suffice it to say, our choirmates in college compared his speaking voice to Barry White. 'Nuff said.

I had one of those funny, "oh yeah, not everyone in the world is a H
ighland dancer" moments when I checked in with my boss over the phone this morning. It was literally five minutes after I woke up and my voice was impressively baritone & froggy. Here's the pertinent snippet of convo:

Boss: "How is your body feeling?"

Me: "Other than my lungs and my throat, my body feels great."

Boss: "Your lungs and your throat ARE your body!"

Me: "Oh, righ

You know you're a Highland dancer when you focus on the body parts the judge can see on stage. You know you're a music therapist when you're most concerned about important body parts like, oh yeah, the respiratory system!

My plan for the day is to take it easy on myself. I figure, if I've been sick for over a week now, my body is trying to tell me something. Okay, body, I'm listening! The most stressful part of the day will be knocking down my To Do list from work, most of which can be done via the computer, with a few phone calls thrown in. Other than that, housework is out - no laundry, not unpacking boxes, etc. Goofing off after work is in - knitting, watching episodes of Ugly Betty or Sex & the City, and writing emails/letters to friends. Today, I am determined not to feel guilty about taking some time for myself without worrying about producing anything or helping anyone else out. Let the healing begin :-)
Love from my baby boy is the best medicine

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I'm in a State of UGH

Deep thought for this morning: I don't like my blog right now. I don't like what I've posted, how it's organized, or what I want to post. Off morning? Maybe. I think it may be more of a reflection of my life in general right now. I don't feel balanced, I don't feel organized, I don't feel like I'm in charge of my own destiny...or even my own day-to-day schedule, honestly. Most evenings I get home from work and I'm so tired that I can barely work up the energy to check my personal email, skype/phone call my husband & son, and go to bed. I'm just tired all the time and I feel like the things that need to get done (like finishing unpacking, for pete's sake - I've been here since July!) never get done because either there's something more urgent to be done or I'm just tired & lazy.

Do you ever feel like this? How do you work through it? Help :-(