Musings and Misadventures: Thanksgiving '08 Edition

What would a blog be without an After Holiday Wrap-Up post?

DSCN2415 DSC00798

Well, I don't have the traditional events to report: you know, like forgetting to take the rolls out of the oven (or put them in), there was no burned/uncooked turkey and no drunk Uncle so-and-so tipping over the gravy boat. I did however have an event take place involving the UPS guy, Teenager sent to answer the door and the very unfortunate occurrence of the unboxed delivery of his Christmas present! Teenager stood there awkwardly wondering what on earth to do as he looked at the guitar sitting on our front porch knowing it was meant for him. As you can imagine, I am one unhappy customer having ordered this on-line and not knowing it would arrive with no outer box to hide its contents. So, my Christmas shopping is not as complete as I'd thought--back to the drawing board on that one. Poor kid.

Barney's visit proved to be as entertaining as always. There was much yapping, growling and snarling all while he was being excessively coddled by his owners. We heard about how he was "the cleanest dog in the world" and therefore it was no problem to dangle him over the dinner table. We also heard about how he "wouldn't hurt a fly" right before he took a chomp out of the leg of hubby's pajama bottoms. Yeah, he's a charmer. And yes, to look at him one can't help but exclaim: "Awww, he's so cute!" But we know better. He's Satan in a teeny tiny poodle suit. Trust me.

All in all we had a great time with family and enjoyed a nice holiday. Which was vastly different than last year when we had no guests and decided to go out to dinner--until Baby got sick and threw up--on the table. Good times.

Let the Dysfunction Begin

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and with it arrives the family visitors. Among those visiting will be Barney. Yes, that yappy little rodent delightful little poodle we all know and love. I swear if I were just a little more technically inclined I would set up a live web cam for you...a “Barney cam” just so you could see what I’m talking about. Then you could all send me “sympathy twitters”. But hey, a little lively and ridiculous dysfunction is what the holidays are all about, especially Thanksgiving. Speaking of which, I am now second guessing my decision to have bought the hubby a pair of turkey boxers from The Gap. I may have actually underestimated his mischievously inclined nature as he’s now threatened to wear them on Thanksgiving—all day—without pants.

It's a Simple Thing!™ Kid's DVD Clutter

Awhile back we started allowing some TV watching for the little one. Since it primarily consisted of videos we started amassing quite a DVD collection. The TV viewing system we set up allowed him to watch a video while in his highchair during a meal or snack. This system meant having a small TV & DVD that we set on a built in shelf between the dining room and living room. This also allowed very little storage for the videos so this quickly became a clutter and organization challenge.

This is the collection of videos we generally use.


This is what we managed to get it down to.

DSC00749 DSC00750

We used a simple, inexpensive CD organizer from an office supply store which allowed us to store the covers elsewhere and safely house the DVD’s in a little slot compete with their own number and ability to label each if desired. I have used less than half the available space of this box! All the DVDs are separated according to "type" (Veggie Tales, Disney, Sesame Street, etc.) I have however discovered one flaw in my system: the daddy learning curve which basically means until he gets the hang of it he’ll stick the DVD back in any old slot and call it good. Nonetheless, it still saves a ton of space and is a pretty handy little system.


Politically Correct

You know, I’ve always thought I was relatively “PC” in my use of terms. Recently during Baby’s Speech therapy appointment his therapist was trying to get him to sit cross legged on the floor and used the term “criss-cross”. I piped up and said; “Oh, you mean Indian style!” She laughed, being around the same age I am and familiar with the old term. I guess we don’t say that anymore. And if we did refer to it in such a manner it would have to be “Native American style”. So I got to thinking about the various terms that we no longer use. When I was a kid, the term "Oriental food" was perfectly acceptable to use when going out to a Chinese or Japanese restaurant…now it’s “Asian”. Speaking of which, many years ago I recall a time when we were selling our house. Mom was giving a tour to a young couple and voiced her embarrassment over the current state of the bathroom due to the pantyhose and other delicates hung to dry over the shower rod. Without thinking she said: “Oh, please excuse my Chinese laundry!” The couple, naturally, were Asian. I’ve never let her live that one down.

Organizing & Simplifying

Around here the latest thing has been to re-examine our belongings along with our strategies and systems for daily living. As you saw in my prior post, we recently made the big decision to go office-less. This is one of many things we are doing in the process of making our home and life as simple as possible. I've spent years of coming up with these types of strategies for clients and recently I realized my own home and life needed some new strategies.

For those of you familiar with my current Operation Fit [back into my pants] you know that the hubby and I get up each morning at o’dark:30 to power walk the neighborhood complete with Baby in the Baby Jogger stroller. My organizational challenge with this is in easily locating my equipment without requiring a full scale search and rescue mission each morning to find the stuff; mainly my shoes, both parts of my heart rate monitor, pedometer, and yes, my pink fuzzy earmuffs. I have now solved that problem with this:

Hall closet

Now, I stick everything inside this handy see-through over-the-door shoe organizer inside the hall closet where I also put my sweatshirt & Baby’s stroller blanket. The hubby says this significantly cuts down on the early morning swearing.

It's a Simple Thing!™ "Office on Wheels"

I’m finally getting around to offering another It’s a Simple Thing!™ With any luck, I will be able to keep these coming for you.

For those who aren’t already aware, my past career was that of a residential organizer and this was born out of my own personal need for organization and not my innate ability to actually be organized. Over the years I learned how to develop natural systems and strategies for everyday actions and work within those systems. But you can’t just start using a system and be done, the system won’t necessarily always work. More often than not, systems need to change and evolve as your life changes as evolves. Take our office for example. We have an actual office right off our living room complete with a large desk that houses a computer, printer, supplies, etc. Back in the day, I needed this space to work as well as use it for personal family business. But along came baby #2 and holing up in a separate room to use the computer, pay a bill, make a phone call, etc. was no longer reasonable and ridiculously inconvenient. We found ourselves using the office less and less and eventually the only computer we used was a laptop. The only way I ever got to check e-mail or do anything on the computer in the year following Baby’s birth was by placing the laptop on a little folding table and going online while I was nursing! I became quite adept at e-mailing and web surfing one handed with a baby attached. Then eventually the laptop was used on the dining room table where I can fairly easily do computer work while the little guy happily plays nearby. But a computer is not the only office item I need to use on a regular basis as various supplies are necessary along with all the other fun “paperwork”. So, in case you’re not sure where I’m going with this the bottom line is that what used to have a place in the office was starting to pile up on the dining room table and suddenly our previous system became a non-system. Not to mention when papers would come in that required filing no one actually wanted to file them, let alone take the trip to the office to get to the filing cabinet. Receipts would pile up and other things that were being worked on simply sat in “piles”. Oh how I hate piles! So it became clear we needed a new system.

Enter this handy little item:


This is a rolling cabinet with a file drawer, two other drawers, racks on both sides, a removable caddy for the top with three small spaces and one large space, an open shelf and a pull out writing shelf. Basically it allows me to store my laptop when not in use, have a place for action items, pending, reference, files, receipts, and other items to be read. I’m currently keeping this in the kitchen/dining room area, but it’s easily tucked out of sight by simply rolling it into another room or even a closet. {Now, because I know I'll be asked I'll provide the info on this thing even though I'm not doing an official review or being compensated by the company. I hope they appreciate the free plug! If you're interested you can find this item here.}

This "office on wheels" cannot completely replace an entire office of course, but it comes close enough that the other items that are still needed (paper, supplies, etc.) can be stored elsewhere in a fairly small amount of space. We still have to go to the office to go pick up a print job, but we can at least print wirelessly through the laptop. I am loving this new system and I’m actually happy to not have an office because frankly, that just screams “work” and I’ve got plenty of that in various forms without an entire room taunting me with more!

You win some, you lose some

What an Election this has been. History has been made. I am quite hopeful that many of the much needed changes for this country will come about. It’s impressive to see this many Americans come together to elect someone who just might have what it takes to run this country and see beyond differences by not letting something like color get in the way. (Because apparently, Barack Obama is black, aka African American-- who knew?) Of course on the other side, as a Californian I am saddened that just enough other Californians were not able to see past “differences” and instead have most unfortunately passed Proposition 8, aka, Proposition Hate. I was afraid that all the outside money and strong armed influence thrown at this thing would bring this result and sure enough it did. It’s shameful and regrettable. Though I have no personal stake in this and my own rights are not affected, I cannot help but think of those Californian’s whose lives are very much affected and by the hands of those who had nothing to lose by simply allowing them to keep their rights and voting against this hateful measure. To those who had a hand in passing this, especially those who allowed themselves to be coerced and “told” how to vote, those who unwisely used their finances to further this measure and especially those who purposely misled the voters with all the lies I have but one thing to say to you: Karma.

No on Proposition 8 - Los Angeles Times

No on Proposition 8 - Los Angeles Times

I wanted to share this article from the LA Times. I found it particularly astute that the writer likened the tactics of the Yes on 8 proponents to that of a magic act and distraction technique. It also contains good (and accurate) information on all the lies and scare tactics that have been used and sets the record straight on what is really true. I hope California voters are not fooled by the magic act. Because frankly, when it all comes down to it, directing our attention to some other perceived "problem" instead of focusing on actual problems that truly require action is a very sneaky thing to do and a waste of time. It's been said before but certainly bears repeating; all the money (and time) that's been thrown at this ridiculous campaign to deny rights to people could have gone so far in helping the real problems we are currently facing. In all honesty folks, when families are losing their homes, their jobs, and struggling with health insurance and grocery costs is the fact that two people of the same gender can get married really something we need to worry about? I don't think it should even be on the list.

Here's a good video clip that just came out.