Sunday, January 15, 2017

Meditation Resolution

Having failed so spectacular on my New Year's resolutions last year, I did not really set any thing year.

But my husband is pretty ace at meditation, and I have been fascinated by how he succeeds at it. I, on the other hand, generally suck at meditation. Once I managed it, under a kind of punk-rock guided meditation session by Russell Simmons. But otherwise, as much as I know it's good for me, as much as I know I should, I just can't.

So why pick up this book? Well, it seems achievable, for one thing. It's 52 meditations, basically one a week (ok, I got in in January so I'm already a little behind. But bear with me). It works along with a journal, which I like. I can journal. And the themes and ideas ("Are You A People Fixer?" "Trusting Your Creativity") are compelling. It comes at the idea of meditation as basically another way of thinking, rather than some deep, monk-like "practice."

I've only done one week so far. And I may fail at this too. But at least I'm giving it a try. Maybe the best resolutions are the ones I don't actually set.

Wake Up to the Joy of You

(as usual, book provided free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an unbiased review)

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Resolution Recap

Well, in the spectacular dumpster-fire way that 2016 was, I'm happy to report that I pretty much failed at ALL of my 2016 resolutions:

1) Photos. Frame and display a bunch. Put together some photo books. Organize iPhoto. Get rid of frames that are too twee or that I will never use.

NOPE. They are still sitting there.

            2)  Storage. Organize storage spaces around the house so I can find things and be happier with what we have.

            NOPE. Hot mess.

            3)  Client work – improve, not just maintain. Circle around to some past clients and make sure they are still doing well. Make a conscious decision to network and land some new clients. Dedicate some real professional development time. Shuffle off client things that no longer make sense.

            NOPE. But I didn’t crash and burn anyone either.

4)  Exercise. The lack of it is getting stupid.

NOPE. Just nope.

            5)  Get our financial house in order. It’s not totally off the rails, but it could be much better.

            NOPE. Hot mess.

            6)  Have more fun!

            NOPE. Politics.

            7)  Talk less, smile more. Oh wait, that’s not it.

And those others have for me, so they might as well be mine:

8)  Craft more with Beatrix (that’s hers for me).


9)  Double down on date nights (per Patrick).


I've even filed at formatting this post.

Let's hope 2017 is better?

Friday, December 23, 2016

Fairy Doodles

One of my goals for 2016 was to do more creative things. I was just about ready to chalk it up as a total fail when I came upon Doodletopia Fairies and decided to give it a try.

I have to say, I was at first intimidated by it. "SURE it's easy" I groused as I paged through and saw perfect drawing on one side and the instructions on the other. I put it away for a day, thinking there was no way I would even get that far.

But, on second look, it became a lot more manageable. The instructions are not overly demanding, leaving you a little space to experiment on your own. And though my first attends were not perfect, they were not bad either. I'm excited to spend some time over the winter holiday trying this with my 8-year-old daughter.

In summary — just the right amount of hand-holding to keep you feeling engaged, without being too didactic on the final product.

(as usual, book provided free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an unbiased review)

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Holiday Nostalgia

Yesterday was Beatrix's last day of school before winter break, so we decided to do some celebrating.

First we headed over to Rosedale to see a free mini-performance of The Nutcracker by Out on a Limb Dance. I have a lot of respect for their program, which is greta dance and has kids of all sizes and shapes performing, and we love The Nutcracker. It made Beatrix really anxious to dance again. After that we wandered the mall a little, including checking out The Limited, which is closing (I feel like I lost my youth just saying that). The entire mall was actually really dead and sort of run-down; I don't know if we have outgrown malls, or if malls have changed with an online culture. But it was kind of depressing.

We then decided to go to Macy's to see the Santaland on the 8th floor. I have not been in years, but my mom and I used to make a tradition of going every year, and shopping/having dinner downtown afterwards. In my youth, it changed every year, and the always-amazing Jack Barkla and his team would design it — but for the past several years it's always been An Elf's Life. That said, Beatrix loved seeing it, and was truly in wonder at the scenes displayed; I wonder if I was ever that cute about it.

The rest of the store, though, was depressing as hell. Many of the floors were closed — no more furniture department, for example. The rest were dead, and with rather dowdy (and expensive) clothes on display. As we left, Beatrix said "I wonder what it will be next year?" and we had to break it to her that there would likely not be a next year, which brought her to tears.

Riding the nostalgia train hard, we headed to Annie's Parlor for dessert afterwards. There, a raucous youth hockey team took up half the restaurant, and our hot fudge sundaes and malts and fries were as delicious as ever. Dinkytown may have changed dramatically, but Annie's Parlor is exactly the same.


(Tonight we went totally new, to see Rogue One and then to dinner at Pajarito — which just opened int he old Glockenspiel space — to celebrate me landing a new client. Delicious!)

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Guerilla Gardening

Beatrix and I wanted to make something special for teacher and friend gifts, but were not sure what to do besides the usual food gifts/ But then inspiration struck — why not make seed bombs for people?

A quick search on Pinterest gave us some great ideas. (Meanwhile, hero Patrick ran out on the snow to get some more seeds, since we realized that out seed packets were somehow empty and all we had were veggie seeds. Photo credits also to Patrick).

First, we tore colored tissue paper into small pieces, and mixed it with paper from the shredder to make a pulp (though we did have to pull out several parts that had had window envelopes). Beatrix thought tearing the paper was tedious, but stuck with it.

The info we had called for making the paper mulch into shapes using cookie cutters and squeezing out the water. We learned quickly that this was harder than it looked, but paper towels helped. We also realized we could not use cookie cutter shapes that were too intricate.

The information also called for sprinkling the seeds on the top of the paper mulch, but we realized that they would not stay on very well. We then tried to do one layer of paper, and then a layer of seed, then another layer of paper, but that often tended to fall apart as we took it out of the cookie cutter shapes. Finally, we simply mixed the seeds with the paper mulch, which seems to work.

We made 10 in shapes and then just rolled some up to make round bombs, which was certainly easier but not as pretty.

They are still drying, but I am pretty happy with the project. It was fun to do, and definitely provided some Christmas gift-making spirit!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

December Days

"2016 has been so bad it doesn't even deserve a December" I quipped as the calendar page turned.

And then it mocked me even more by throwing even harder stuff at me — death and illness for those I care about, financial struggle, smaller issues like car problems that should be easier to get through but somehow are not. It's bone-chillingly cold, and I am tired and by the time I put Beatrix to bed at night I'm slogging along and can barely face the things I have to get done still that night.

And by now it's "deep December." I always start feeling crummy and overwhelmed exactly on the 12th, and it takes me a day to remember "oh, that's the day your mom was admitted to the hospital for the last time." It's a dull, nagging pain that gets more acute every day until Christmas, and it's worse this year because it's been ten years now, and milestone days are hard. Ten years seems like a lifetime — in many ways it is.

So I'm holding on, but just barely.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Cats and Guns

Ok, I have to admit that I first thought How to Talk To Your Cats About Gun Safety would be more of a coffee table book, like "Why Cats Paint" or something. Though what I thought the pictures would be of I am not sure.

It turns out to be a funny little book that apparently stems out of an original zine of the same name. It's kind of grungy and cute and an amusing enough read.

This is where I have to warn you that if you are really talking to your cats about gun safety and teaching them to use firearms, it's more than a little weird....

(as usual, book provided free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an unbiased review)