Friday, July 26, 2013

Turquoise in the Kitchen!

So for this Transformation Tuesday Saturday....I finally worked up the energy and nerve to transform my bedroom turned trash turned kitchen storage piece.  I don't know much about its history other than it looked like it had battle wounds from several moves and it had to have been born in the 1960s.  My friend Kim saw it sitting alone at the dumpster and knew to call me, stat.  The funny thing is I had just spent all day repurposing four items I found for free advertised on Craigslist.  No sooner did I put the sander down, I get a text that someone saw this treasure as trash.  When it rains it pours I guess.

Step one was to remove the ornate brass handles and paint over the scratched up walnut brown color.  I went with my standard white but I knew I wasn't going to leave it that way.  I wanted this to be in the kitchen and the white dresser looked like it belonged in a baby's room.  I knew I wanted a pop of color but I have major color anxiety.  I let it stay white for 8 months - mostly because I was too busy to take my time with it.  Today it finally made it off the to-do list.

After painting it turquoise I covered it in an antique stain.

After staining it, I sanded the edges so both the white and
walnut colors would show through.
I'm pretty happy with the results.  I still need stylish yet affordable handles and I think I got a little crazy with the stain but I can live with it.  I use it to store kitchen and dining linens, aprons, Christmas dishes and anything else I can't find a place for.  I'm starting to feel brave enough to tackle my kitchen cabinets next!  
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Sunday, March 17, 2013

I need to remember this every time I freak out about whether I'm properly dressed.  I sometimes am made to feel as if I have to apologize because I like to put on heels and jewelry and in the words of a girl named Maria..."feel pretty."  Believe me, I'm about as lazy as they come and I am quite the homebody - BUT, when I do get that invitation to join the world, I actually like to get dressed.  I love to shop and maybe that's why I don't mind dressing up and I never mind if my friends don't want to dress up.  To each his own.

As far as the education is concerned - well, as much as I hate that I'm still paying for my masters degree, I would not hesitate to rack up more for a Ph.D.  So ladies, don't ever apologize for your desire to be educated AND elegant!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Probably?  No definitely.

I should without a doubt be drinking coffee or wine while perfecting the use of the F word as I browse Pinterest, plan themed parties, write sarcastic status updates and shop for shoes, furniture and homes I cannot afford.

That should be my job and why it is not baffles me because I am dedicated and focused when it comes to all of these things.  If anyone sees a job posting with this description.  Will you please forward it to me?

And while I wait for that dream job, I believe another one of my dream jobs is waiting patiently in the wings.  I have a business idea up my sleeve that I am SO excited about.  I'm not ready to put it in print but you my blogging friends will be the first ones I tell!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

40 and Fabulous

So for years I had a message pinned up on the bulletin board above my computer.  It was a blurb about Judy Blume (one of my favorite author's as a kid) and how she didn't write her first book until she was 40.  I pinned it as a reminder that I still had time to "be a writer."  I vowed there was NO WAY it was going to take until I was 40.  I guess I can now stick that in the suitcase filled with all the sentences I spewed that started with "I will never..."  

So here I am on my 40th birthday with an unfinished memoir, an unproduced screenplay, a majorly unfinished novel and a neglected blog.  I beat myself up every day that I'm not yet what I want to be when I grow up.  If I would actually write as much as I beat myself up, then I would reach the goals that Judy Blume set for me.  It probably doesn't help that I don't feel grown up.  When does that happen?

Today little brown haired girl didn't want to watch her dance video and review what she could improve upon from her last performance.  Mr. Crooked Crown told her that "Champions review their performance and make corrections."  I echoed his point with my hands on my hips and that challenging stare which tests her level of commitment but is not so threatening that she thinks I'm disappointed in her.  It's a complicated stare, which I have perfected.  Moms and dads are hypocrites, we have to be sometimes, but I'm thinking I need to take a break on the hypocrisy and act on the advice I helped dispense today.  Champions...

How will I finish that sentence?  How badly do I want to be what I always wanted to be when I grew up?  The only way for me to find out if 40 is really all that fabulous is if I'm doing everything I can to feel even more fabulous and create an even more fabulous life than I already have.  Happy Birthday and Good Luck to me...I need it!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Oh Crispy Tree, Oh Crispy Tree...

To take down the tree, or not take down the tree?  That is the question.  I pose another long do you leave your tree up and is yours fake or is it real and fabulous?

I have yet to hop on the fake fir wagon.  I love the smell of a real, albeit dying, pine in my living room.  I do not live for the pine needles that this non-domestic diva has to continually clean up.  I went the Costco route last year and could not have been more pleased with my real tree.  The $60 price tag was even more reason to love it.  This year was a no-brainer - Costco again, only this time to the tune of $45!  Little did I know that in two weeks we'd have a Crispy Tree rather than a Christmas Tree, propped up and waiting for an open flame.  So now I definitely won't have a tree for New Year's and I'm contemplating taking it down as early as tomorrow.

I would love to know if you still go the real route or if you fake it.  Oh and where can I get the best fake tree?  Costco?  Sam's Club?  Ballard Designs?


Saturday, December 22, 2012

I wish I could use the excuse that I thought the world was ending, to explain why I did not get my Christmas Cards out.  Not so.  I had grand plans and would have loved to get a better quality photo done and actually put these puppies (no pun intended) in the mail.  But that's what someone with a perfectly perfect life might do - so why strive for perfection?

So friends and fam, if you did not get our Christmas card this year, 'tis not that we put you on the naughty list, we were just too busy moustaching through the snow that our one horse open sleigh forgot to stop at the post office.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Age of Entitlement

We need gun control!  We need God in the classroom!  

No.  What we need is to stop throwing out solutions before we have correctly identified the problem!

Awhile back, in an effort not to freak myself out over the end of the world in 2012, I started researching other possible meanings to Mayan Calendar.  My next door neighbor at the time was just starting to study spirituality with great depth.  My family had moved in, right at a time when I needed the embrace of spirituality most.  It was the year following my decision to adopt a lot of the attitudes taught in The Secret.  Finding myself situated next to this person who believed in God but also believed that our personal energies had a huge effect on the direction our world was taking, was no accident.  I saw it as a sign that I was on a good path - one that was right for me personally.

I am Catholic.  I believe in God.  I am also tolerant and accepting of those who have not chosen my God as their own.  I am open to new and different ideas and I don't feel that my tolerance and openness causes any kind of weakness in my faith.

What I also am, by nature, is a worrier - no matter how much someone tells me not to worry, I can be fearful and I am overly sensitive.  I listen to my gut but I often confuse gut feelings with emotions borne from the ego.  I can wallow in negativity if I let myself and oh can I let myself!  My religion taught me to believe in God and have faith that he is good.  The Secret taught me to keep a positive attitude and that I would get back in this world what I gave out.  I never saw my road to spirituality as a threat to my religion, rather I saw them as two parts of my belief system working in collaboration to help me on my own personal journey.  While on this path I decided that 2012 was not a physical or literal death of this world, but the death of how we viewed the world.  To me, it would be a spiritual enlightenment, one that was long over due.  It was definitely time to shift our thinking.

The horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook has all of us desperate for answers and eager to blame.  Blame the guns.  Blame the parents.  Blame the kid.  Blame the school.  What we need is to start a new journey on a new path.  One that does not require blame.  It must be one that requires acceptance that sometimes in life things go wrong, there are accidents and there is nothing to blame but life itself.  Life hands us these pitfalls and tragedies in hopes that we will focus on learning from them instead of blaming someone for them.  Is it unfair?  Absolutely.  When did we stop understanding that "life isn't fair?"  and why oh why did we start saying "life HAS to be fair?"  Why did we think we could really change things so that life would always be fair?  And did we really think that was going to work out?

Perhaps this happened on the day someone decided that everyone should get a trophy because everyone tried.  Utter bulls#!t.  Ask the kids and they will tell you.  They HATE the fact that everyone gets a trophy.  They hate losing too.  They hate that feeling that they weren't good enough.  But what they hate even more is that when they do win, their pride and sense of accomplishment is diminished by all the losers who "won" too.  Can we take a moment to stop validating them long enough to listen to them?  Listen to what they need and not always what they want?  Listen to their cries for help.  Listen to our instincts and not as much to the "experts".   They are children, they don't come right out and tell you - you have to listen for the cries!  Sometimes their best is not good enough.  It is okay to tell them that.  What would be so bad about them hearing they need to try harder in order to succeed?

We had no reason to be scared of them.  They weren't going to hate us forever.  They're resilient - we know this because we say it all the time.  They are young - they bounce back.  But we were scared.  We didn't want them to fail.  We didn't want them to hurt.  We didn't want them to hate us.  We didn't want to have to say no.  We were scared of them for no good reason.  Well now we have a reason.  

Oh and while we were busy validating them all over the place - we were becoming more and more tolerant of their bad behaviors and less and less tolerant of each other.  We decided they didn't need to have manners anymore.  We decided they didn't need to be respectful anymore.  We decided that if they didn't need to be truthful anymore.  They fed us white lies and we believed them.  Then they fed us bigger lies and we defended them.  And when we found out the truth we forgave them - but we didn't spank them or punish or even correct them.  No instead, we thanked them.  "Thank you for finally telling me the truth."  And this gratitude alone replaced anger and punishment and this gratitude alone gave them power.  

And over the years our minds shifted.  Our patterns of thought changed and the outcomes to problems changed.  We didn't want to blame ourselves - that maybe we fell hook, line and sinker for some really bad parenting advice or trends that made us look ridiculous.  We have no problem looking back on mullets or dolphin shorts and saying to ourselves "what the F was I thinking?"  Neither of those things were pretty, nor flattering and definitely not hot.  Guess what!  No one is looking back at that picture of you with a mullet in dolphin shorts at Disneyland and believing that finally their prince had come.  We eventually clued in that these trends were leading us to fail in the good taste department and correct me if I'm wrong, but I haven't seen any of these re-emerge and re-sweep the nation.  But our parenting style - boy are we holding on to that.  We are RIGHT dammit!  

We look awesome when we scream at our kids' coaches for not letting our precious one play as much as WE want them to play.  

We look totally cool when we hand our kids iPods and iPads and iPhones and let them text and tweet and tumblr to their hearts content, even though they can barely read at grade level and can't spell to save their lives.  

Oh and we look super intelligent when we look a teacher in the eye and say "sorry 40 year old lady with 2 degrees and a credential bestowed upon you for being a subject matter expert, but my 15 year old would NEVER lie to me and so you must be lying and I'm going to tell my kid he doesn't ever have to listen to you."  

Fast forward a couple years of that kid's bad behavior being defended and validated and justified and he will fail and he will still walk at graduate and we will hand him a fake diploma and he will feel so insecure and inadequate inside but we will encourage it so that everyone else can see him "graduate."  It's okay because we wouldn't want him to be left behind....where WE left him, or where he put know the place where he actually belongs and might actually have his needs tended to?

We have seen the results of the bad parenting trend and yet we don't fold up those trends and hide them at the bottom of our closet - or better yet burn them.  We keep trying and trying and trying and while we are rewarding them for false successes, we are the ones who fail.

I'm not saying the shooter is a product of a bad parent.  I would have no way of knowing and I would only be assigning blame.  And you can't blame the bad parenting trend.  You can only blame yourself.  You didn't see the signs, you didn't listen and you didn't admit that you hopped on a bandwagon that was going in the wrong direction.  You didn't get off when you should have.  We didn't look at the results of no accountability, we didn't listen to them beg for a parent, not another best friend, and we didn't learn.  Well why would we?  We don't place much value on learning and education.  

The teachers are bad (don't even get me started on how subjective the word "bad" is).  The teachers are wrong.  The teachers hate my kid.  The teachers hide behind unions so they can put all their energy into not having to do their jobs.  The teachers are mean.  The teachers are greedy.  The teachers' expectations are too high.  The teacher humiliated my kid by telling them they were wrong.

By the way, our kids heard us defending them, even when they should not have been defended.  They heard us loud and clear and just like many a normal kid wood, they took advantage.  They found a way to convince us not to place value on their futures.

Oh and those teachers who hate their jobs and your kids as much as this country tells you....

They, like a policeman, put their lives on the line every day for your kid - the very one you told didn't have to respect them because they were "just a teacher."

Unlike a policeman, they do not go to work every morning with the mindset that they could die in a gun battle that day.  Unlike policeman, they do not wear vests or carry weapons for defense.  Unlike policemen, they are not trained to deal with deadly force.  

A few short weeks ago, we suffered Hurricane Sandy.  A deadly force in itself.  We pondered on whether it was signifying the end.  I hope so.  A hurricane most often symbolizes that you feel caught up in an emotional storm which literally has the power to blow you, your possessions, and maybe your life as you know it away. 

Hurricanes are bigger and stronger than you, caused by events totally beyond your control, and can usually be survivable only if you take action, heed warning signs and wait for it to blow over.

I recently read that "dreaming of intense storms can be telling you that sudden, drastic, life changing things are coming straight at you, giving you time to take appropriate action. But strong wind storms of any kind are also symbols of strong, uplifting sources of energy (often spiritual) which can carry you to new places and in almost any direction, even into totally new ways of living and being, but now cleansed and no longer weighed down by old stuff."  The cyclone that carried Dorothy and Toto from that Kansas farm to the magical Land of Oz is a good example of this kind of symbolism.

Hurricane Sandy....sand...makes me think towards passage of time.  Sand can also symbolize a shift in attitude.  Think about the phrase "the sands of time" which suggests that you are wasting your time or letting it pass you by.  Wet sand always stands for lack of balance.  (can you tell I am an English teacher and have done way too much analyzing of literature?)  We were hit in the face with a force that told us to find balance and find value in something else besides blame and 

Now tragedy - the death of young life - a reminder that we never have as much time as we think - in Sandy Hook.  Something that grabbed our attention and told us that it was time to shift our attitudes, time to find balance.  In doing a little research, I found that the Sandy Hook town symbol is a rooster weathervane.  The rooster which is considered to be "a time-keeper and is a sign of time passing in our lives."   Hearing a Rooster's voice in our dreams may indicate we need a wake-up call, and need to pay attention to some circumstances in our lives.  Sandy Hook was a wake up call.  An ugly one.  Will we pay the right kind of attention?

Could this all be something I'm reading too far into?  Just a coincidence?  I suppose if you believe in something as silly as coincidence.  But, I do not.  

Perhaps the spiritual enlightenment that I so wish for is truly on our horizon.  Perhaps we are on the verge of a different way of thinking and a tonal shift.  What we value and believe will make us good people, is skewed and needs to be re-set.  Only passage of time will tell, but admist all this sadness and tragedy and confusion - my attention has been grabbed and I am ready to listen to learn a new way of treating life.