Follow by Email

Monday, December 3, 2012

I AM somebody! and thoughts about socks

     Whenever I feel like I need some alone time, I just mention all the things that need to be done around the house. WHOOSH! They're gone. Without a trace.  Ahhh...hello dishes, ol' buddy, ol' pal! I give a lot of ultimatums but no one really takes me seriously. They know they can usually outwait me (is that a word? It is now.) and I'll deal with it before it drives me to the brink of insanity. For instance, one of my brilliant offspring put the chocolate syrup bottle back in the refrigerator upside down before making sure the cap was securely closed. I discovered this when I tried to pry the mustard out of a thick layer of cold chocolate syrup. So, in my sternest "I'm not taking any crap of anybody" yet gentle, motherly tone, I told my precious babies that I would not buy any more chocolate syrup until SOMEBODY cleaned the chocolate out of the door of the fridge. I believe the 7 year old ( the one with the cute dimples the keep me from wringing her neck) said something to the effect that she knew she just had to wait because she knew I would eventually do it. I was about to get angry when the 15 year old who is, surprisingly, often the voice of reason, reminded me that while rude, the 7 year old wasn't off the mark.
  Let me back up a little further. My mom was from the South and had some interesting ways of describing the world. When someone would come up in the world a little, sometimes someone else would say, "Well, you just think you're someBODY!" It was usually a good natured ribbing and the up and comer was expected to pull the "Aw, shucks. I'm still the same guy." routine. ANYway, as I was scraping chocolate goo out of the refrigerator this afternoon, I realized- I AM some BODY!
  Another pursiut that allows me time to think is sorting socks. Unfortunately, I usually end up thinking about socks. Like-has anyone ever noticed the divorce rate among socks? It's tragic, really. Especially disturbing is when, not only does the old sock move out, a new one moves in. Seriously. I was folding socks the other day and there were random, single socks that I have never seen before. Divorce and (I hope) remarriage is the only plausible explaination I've been able to come up with.
   Socks should be easy math. Four dirty green toed socks+ detergent + fabric softener SHOULD equal four, clean, green toed socks. And some days it does. Like when I put all the socks in little mesh baggies before I wash them. Then, I pull them out, sort them and fold them. I tell my children, "Behold! I have cleansed and dried and matched your socks! We have socks to last  a fortnight!". And we rejoice because there are plentiful socks in the land.
   But, alas, it is not to last. After a few days, the children tell me the clean socks are no more to be found and I notice something rotten in the State of McLain (No...It's not the fridge this time. Somebody already cleaned it). No. As I walk through the house, I notice lone socks lurking in dark corners. The absence of fressh mud and foul odor leads me to believe they're clean. Why it's one of the little green toed guys I folded just the other day. And down the hall is another, static clinging to a little purple toed crew length I've never seen before. What is happening? Do socks have an electric charge that I'm unaware of? And are they all positively charged so that when I fold them, they still repel one another? Or, is it as I mentioned earlier and they've all gone Kramer vs. Kramer on me? DO socks have a perfect mate? A sole mate, if you will? Do they have thoughts, opinions and preferences? Should socks be granted Personhood? And if so, do you think one of them would help me clean the fridge?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thankful for the end of vacation, otherwise known as whining

   I was low on energy today so I drank one of The Hubby's energy drinks. I don't know if I can mention the brand but I will say I'm STILL waithing for a thunderbolt to hit me with the ability to play bass guitar like that guy in that band that's really good.
  Had a David Byrne moment as I tip-toed down the hallway to avoid stepping on Monopoly pieces in my stocking feet, to go shampoo the whoopie pie filling out of my hair and find a shirt that wasn't spattered with cake batter. 
  My kids have been out of school all week and my husband has worked 4 of the 8 nights they've been off. This means I have them for 24 uninterupted hours. Times 4. And then they've had friends over. And today, Lia has beeen an almost constant stream of neccessity.  I have hit the wall. Next year, I am going to keep them so busy, they'll be begging to go back to school.
  I meant to take them swimming yesterday but got side tracked. I remembered around 5 and could have taken them since the pool didn't close until 8:30. But The Hubby was going to work and I didn't want himto feel like I was ditching him. I really regretted the decision around 7. So today, when they asked to go to the playground, even though it was cold and dreary, I said yes. And even though we didn't get ready until almost sunset, we went. They wanted to have a picnic. So they were lugging the picnic basket to the car and oohing and aahing over the sunset and the moon.
  Before the park there was an aborted attempt to bake with the easy bake oven. Missing instructions= weird cake batter soup. We did make pink sugar cookie in the microwave. No that wasn't a typo. One pack of mix makes one grocery store sized cookie. Then we made whoopie pies from a box. (*Cough* I'd rather starve*cough*) Let's just say they weren't my Mama's. Canned vanilla frosting is not good on anything. I don't care how many rainbow sprinkles you put on it.  Oh, yeah. There were the multiple attempts to keep Lia and friend upstairs while Bekah painted the nursery. And a shower. I got a shower today. That doesn't always happen when the kids are home and Hubby works. Unless, I get up before the kids or sneak one in after they go to sleep pass out. I announced my plan to shower and said, "all in favor, say 'Aye'.". The "ayes" were a little too enthusiastic, I thought.
  So to sum it up, I managed to drink an energy drink, make weird, counterfeit baked goods, bathe and take kids to a park while Bekah moved furniture and painted an entire room including the trim. Oh, yeah. I halfway loaded the dishwasher. Sometimes, my lack of productivity starts to bother me. When that happens, I have to go lie down until the feeling passes. (Mom 3 1/2, Bek 1. I win, right?)  
Ian and his fixin's for home made salsa. I have tried about 5 times to get this  picture to load below the next paragraph.  Just gave up. 
     The playground in the semi dark was actually nice if you don't count the part where I let the kids out and went to park the car and before I got the car parked, Ian had tripped on some metal steps on a play structure, scraped his shins in three places and was lying on the ground crying and clutching his legs. He claimed walking was a little difficult so he was relegated to playing the zombie most of the time we were there. We got home just as it started sprinkling. Then the girls carpeted the living room with stuffed animals which I will have to put up Monday after several reminders and threats to send them to Goodwill tonight and tomorrow. And, Ian found a cache of McDonald's picante sauce pouches and is told me he has enough to make home made salsa. Did I mention I'm kinda lacking in the "domestic" department?
  Tea party over, they moved on to a game called Hullaballoo, which is great for helping kids learn to follow directions, or so I shall continue to hope. Lia's friend won several rounds in a row, which is purely by chance. But of course, when one of the kids comments on it, I can't control my sarcasm and interject, "Becasue she's cheating." This didn't have the humorous effect I wanted. It really did more to incite a riot. I don't drink but this is one of those days when I begin to contemplate doing so.
Author's note: The toys actually got put up before Lia's friend went home! Here's to good influences and hoping they rub off on my kids!

Monday, October 22, 2012


  Today marks the day that, in 1995,  my dad died. I had just turned 23 a few weeks earlier and was really naive enough to think he was going to get better. I was so confident, I moved 892 miles away a few months before his death. Since I only lived 3 hours away, we stayed overnight at his house before setting out the next morning. As we hugged goodbye, the thought "this is the last time you'll see him" ran through my head. As usual, I second guessed myself and drove off into the wild blue yonder to "start over" in Mobile, AL.
  He had been diagnosed with cancer in 1992, while I was pregnant with my first child and when he said he was going to get better, I believed him. I was a Navy brat and I hadn't grown up around elderly of chronically ill people. I was completely ignorant. My husband, who grew up in a small town with extended family all around him, couldn't fathom that for a long time. I think he just gave up and said, "I get it." so I would stop trying to explain. It didn't occur to me to take time off from my crappy waitressing job in Maryland to help take care of him in Norfolk, Virginia. I didn't know you were supposed to do these things. It didn't help that I was getting divorced at the time and, rather than spend her entire childhood in court, I gave in and let my ex-husband have primary care of our daughter. My world was literally falling apart. I feel guilty to this day that people I had only met a few times drove him to doctor's appointments and checked on him when his girlfriend was at work. I have to remind myself that I was "just a kid" at the time and just didn't know.
  About a month before he died, he told his brother in Oregon that he wanted to go home. So, my aunt bought them some airline tickets and my uncle went to get my dad. The doctors said he couldn't make the trip so my uncle helped him into a wheelchair and told the staff they were going for a walk. It was, from all accounts, a miserable flight for my dad, my uncle and the guy sitting behind them who got mooned every time  my uncle had to get behind the seat and pull dad up when he slid down in his seat. (ok. now I'm laughing thinking about the fact that "crack" seems to be a problem for the men in my family. My dad was always doing something around the house or on a vehicle and his crack was always there to help him and one of my cousins has the same "problem"- any time, anywhere) A few days later, one of the nurses from the hospice called my aunt to see if he had made the trip alright. She and my aunt laughed about the fact that the staff suspected my uncle and dad were making a run for it, but just let them go. He was in a hospice and even then, I believed he was going to get better.
  The day before he died, my aunt helped him call me. We talked for a few minutes and I don't even remember what about. I remember he sounded sleepy. I had written him a letter and my aunt encouraged me to send it and write to him often.  I promised I would and we hung up. I cried because he sounded so weak.
  The next day, my aunt called to tell me he had died. She had gone in to sit with him and she suggested he take a walk on the beach, using guided imagery to aid in the pain management. He grew up on the Oregon coast, which is often covered in thick fog. I like to think he walked into that dense fog and kept going.
   As I get older, the thing that hurts the most is that, in my selfish youthfulness (or is it youthful selfishness?), all I cared about was getting the world to listen to ME and to look at ME and tell ME I was wonderful. I didn't ask questions about where he came from and what his thoughts and opinions were about much of anything. I didn't take the time to really get to know him.
   On top of my lack of curiosity, another reason I didn't ask questions was that our family instituted "Don't ask, Don't tell" long before Clinton exhaled that phrase. My dad had fought in Viet Nam but he didn't talk about it. I'm glad he didn't burden me with the reality of war as a child but as an adult, I would like to know about his experience since it shaped so much of my childhood. He didn't talk about it with my mom, either and I think that was because he just didn't want to relive the loss of shipmates and friends and the gruesome events he lived through. Back then, you came home and went back to your normal life. You just carried on as though you'd been out on an extended business trip. To open that up may have made all those emotions unmanageable.
   But it's not as though we lived in a vacuum, just existing side by side and never connecting. Dad loved the outdoors and there was lots of quality family time camping, boating, hiking in the woods or puttering in a garden. And we talked. A lot. My dad loved to read and was always excited about a new book- usually in the sciences or philosophy. He and my mom instilled a love of reading, and books in general, in me when I was very young.
  Everything I have tried to write from this point on sounds like a syrupy obituary. You know the one where they take half a page trying to convince the world that Charlie was a great guy who loved everyone and everyone loved him right back. So I'm going to wrap this up with a list of things I have come to realize I have learned from my dad.
   1) self reliance- My dad was big on this. He didn't ask for help nor did he accept offers of help. I've come to realize this was a foolish policy. Which leads me to my next lesson-
    2) learn from your mistakes- Dad used to say that the only stupid mistake is one you don't learn from. (I've learned a lot in 40 years)
    3) high standards- he held them for me but also for himself because...
    4) if it's worth doing, it's worth doing right.-and....
    5)  failure is not an option- And you've only failed if you stopped trying. So...
    6)  Keep a positive outlook
    7) "Put yourself in their shoes"- This used to drive me crazy! When I would complain about someone or disparage anything they did, this was his usual response. But it has served me well over the years. I feel like it has helped me to be a better nurse, parent, and friend. An added bonus is that I get to drive my husband and kids nuts with it!
   8)  A good leader doesn't ask his/her people to do anything he/she wouldn't do.Dad was a Senior Chief in the Navy so he tried to teach me about leadership and this is one thing that has stood out for me over the years.
And finally, this is not anything he ever said but definitely something that he lived-
9) stay curious!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Lia's rummage sale extravaganza

   I started doing something called The Compact about 2 years ago. For those of you who haven't heard of it, it started in San Fransico several years ago when a small group of people agreed to buy nothing new for a year in an effort to reduce waste, the impact of manufacturing on the environment and consumerism. Or something like that. Look it up. It's not always easy but it is getting easier and my kids have pretty  much accepted it as normal. I have ADD so disorganization can be a stumbling block because I sometimes forget that one does not simply walk into a thrift store or rummage sale and find exactly what one is looking for the first time. So I do end up having to buy new and paying full price occasionally. This weekend, however was a Compact success.
   The PTA had a rummage sale last weekend and I helped with the setting up and during the sale. We  had four days of donations, two of which I helped with and then the day of the sale. Since JR had to work some of those days, I had to take the kids with me. (get a sitter you say? We don't do that. It wouldn't be a PTA function if there weren't 6 or 7 kids providing crazy background noise and the custodian telling them to get off the stage and quit playing on the piano) This was like a three day trip to the mall for Lia. JR came and helped set up for a while the day before the sale as well. The prices were insanely low and an hour before we shut down, we handed people paper bags and told them they could fill a bag for $2. I was "working" (code for looking for cool stuff) and Lia was off "playing" (code for looking for cool stuff) with another little girl. I laughed when I saw the other little girl holding up a dress and her mother telling her, "That doesn't fit you. That's why we donated it." I told Lia she could get a few things and to put them aside and I would pay for them at the end of the sale. I won't do that again. We ended up spending $48  but we got a ton of neat stuff , including but not limited to:
     an adult Nike Oregon Ducks football jersey. It's a 2X but I have 2 cousins who are big guys (tall) and they can fight over who gets it
   an Omega juicer that  retails for around $200. Don't get grossed out. We knew most of the people who donated stuff. When you go to someone's house to eat, you eat off their dishes, right?
   A dart board
   Matching, dark brown slipcovers for a couch and love seat. I'd been looking for some for my 15 year old Southwest print couch and love seat and these looked brand new.
  2 small Ikea shelves, one of which has a lamp attached. I'll put these in Lia's room because she loves to arrange and rearrange the tchotchkys in her room but doesn't really have a lot of room for them. The lamp also just happens to match Lia's room. :-)
  A Salad Shooter
 A cheetah print Snuggie that Ian immediately claimed.
 A pair of Kenneth Cole sandals that a friend donated after wearing once
A kids sized Nike Ducks football jersey.
A few miscellaneous clothing items for the kids, a TON of books ( because I can never pass up a book table at a rummage sale), A VCR with a coaxial connecting cable for an old school TV that we put in our guest room, A like new, cloth shower curtain to replace the one I've had since 2004 and a matching bath mat (to replace the one I've had since 2004), a few miscellaneous kitchen items: a 12 muffin pan to replace the 2 six muffin pans I've been using (not a necessity, just a personal preference.), a couple steel utensils to replace some of the plastic in my kitchen, some Pampered Chef measuring spoons- you know the adjustable ones that let you measure 1/4 teaspoon up to 1 tsp- so I can dispense with the handful of odd measuring spoons cluttering up my drawer, a wooden, folding dish rack and a magazine holder- they're great for holding kids flimsy paper back books. Somehow, I managed to come home with a queen sized dust ruffle which is weird because I don't have a queen size bed.
     I think my favorite item is the plastic "No Whining" sign. I couldn't decide which room to hang it in but settled on putting some string through the hole at the top and wearing it around my neck. The same friend who donated the shoes also donated her Snuggie collection. Since Lia is always using mine, I grabbed a pink one for her.
This is a close up of the dart board and Ian's first bulls-eye.  
   And remember when I laughed at my friend's daughter for trying to buy her own dress back? Yeah. I was washing the clothes Lia picked out and pulled out a dress that looked familiar. It should have. It belonged to JR's cousin's daughter (who graduates college next year), Bekah and then, last year, when she finally grew into it, Lia. I told you my kids were getting into the Compact, too.
  I know you didn't really start reading this post because you wanted to hear about my juicer and a couple of football jerseys. You came to see what Lia picked out when she was unsupervised and allowed to bag her stuff herself, away from mom's prying, censoring eyes. So, without further ado, I give you Lia's Rummage Sale Extravaganza (ganza, ganza, ganza!): A pictorial essay

A friend of mine wore this one Halloween and  Lia  and her son had played with it at their house so when she saw it , she snatched it up.
Some wall hangings that don't really (at all!) match her room and some stuffed animals- because she didn't already have a box overflowing with stuffed animals in addition to the pile on her bed.

A dress she not only found on one of the donation days, but changed into while we were still there. And a  butt ton of costume jewelry.

The dress, all the jewelry and the "high heels" she has pranced around in all weekend.
Myriad tchotchkys, mini train case, a wallet and brand new bath stuff.  I said I liked her wallet and wished I had seen it because I've been using the same wallet for years. She offered to look for one for me at next year's sale, since she's good at picking out wallets. Also, I didn't know she had chosen  the shower gel and body spray but they were new in the package so I let her keep them. The label on the body spray says Berries and Cream. Lia used some yesterday and it smelled like feet. 

The beginning of her Beanie Baby collection. yay
 Her key chain collection. Currently housed in her mini train case. Also a few more pieces of fine jewelry in the upper center of the collection.  
Aaanndd..One more random knicknack that slipped by me. 

Last t but not least, a couple more of Her Ladyship rocking The Hat.  

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Birthday season has officially begun here at Hoose Ay McLain! We kicked it off with cookies for Ian's class and his birthday dinner tonight. He picked shrimp, salad and home made french fries, followed up by cake and ice cream. Bekah helped us start a new tradition of using leftover icing as war paint. Tomorrow is JR's birthday. We'll be meeting some friends at a place called Roscoe's for some pool. Saturday finds us at home for Ian's birthday party. Nothing fancy. We're just cooking out and letting the kids have a water gun war. Should be fun. I'm going to try to do what we call a quick company clean up tonight and get my shopping done tomorrow. Trying to keep it simple, sweetie. Enjoy your weeken! 
The candle was hand made by Ian on a field trip to the Oregon Trail Discovery Center.  
Note the small dollop of frosting under his left eye

A new tradition is born. Icing becomes war paint

Our First Year Part 2 or "Wagons West!"

  It could have been an uneventful trip. If we had taken other people's kids. If we hadn't taken a jittery cat. If we could have sedated our kids for the entire 2600 miles. But we all know none of that happened. =)
  We pulled out of Millry, Alabama (where's that? you ask. My daughter, Bekah, will tell you, "First you get out your map of Nowhere. It's right in the middle.") 4 hours later than we planned. The trailer with all our worldly possessions (not counting the house worth of stuff we left in storage at my in-laws) was smaller than we anticipated so we had to pack a few more things in the back of our SUV than we'd initially planned. Bekah and the cat, Jeff,  were supposed to have the whole third row to themselves. But we put one of the seats down and all our electronics in the "way back" and the space formerly occupied by the seat. That left Bekah in the smaller of the seats and the cat in his carrier on top of the TV in the back. Oh yeah, and our luggage. And a box of pillows and throw blankets. Sounds comfy, huh?
All we needed was a rocking chair on top for Granny...
  We stopped for dinner at a restaurant by the freeway in Meridian,Mississippi. Since the cat had been cooped up for about three hours, I decided he needed fresh air and probably had to pee. We put a harness on him and hooked a leash to it and attempted to "walk" him in a vacant lot by the restaurant.  Did I mention he was jittery? Did I also mention that I'd only put the harness on him once or twice before and then only to make sure it fit properly? Did I mention as well, that we had lived in the country for most of his life and he wasn't accustomed to the sound of eighteen wheelers whizzing by on the freeway? Furthermore, the harness was for small dogs. I remember thinking it was stupid that the pet department of Walmart didn't sell harnesses for cats. How else was I supposed to take him out for a wee? As he jumped around at the end of the leash and somehow worked his way out of the harness and under a conveniently placed brush pile in under thirty seconds, I realized that they don't sell cat harnesses because there's really not much of a market for them.
  The brush was really thick and it being Mississippi in July, I was wary of snakes, so I didn't just reach in and try to pull him out. I don't remember now who took the kids in to eat and who stayed outside to try to coax the cat out of the brush but we traded off at some point. I do remember that JR was so upset, he couldn't eat his dinner and that he took the bag of cat food over to the brush pile so the cat wouldn't starve immediately. Despite the fact that we lived in the country, Jeff didn't venture far from the porch. I never walked out on the porch in the morning to be greeted by dead mangled critters.  Survival was not his strong suit. Before we left, we decided to try once more to find him.  JR and the kids went toward a ditch further away from the road and I went back to the brush pile. I heard a rustling noise and went over to the food bag. I fully expected to find a badger or raccoon but there was Jeff with his head in the bag! Talking softly to him, I eased over and was able to grab him before he could disappear back under the brush pile. I was so thankful, I almost cried.
   Apparently the truckers had failed to communicate to one another that there was a frightened cat at mile marker whatever and to find an alternate route because they were still racing by noisily. And Jeff wasn't over his fear of them. I held him in a death grip as I tried to get JR's and the kid's attention to let them know Jeff was safe. There was much rejoicing and Jeff was more than willing to get back in his carrier once we got to the truck.  Thus went the first three and a half hours of our trip.

Friday, February 10, 2012

I Heart Mom

     Today would have been my mom's 63rd birthday. On April 8, 2011 she died of a blood clot following quintuple bypass and heart valve repair surgery. I was going to write a well researched piece about the fact that heart disease is the NUMBER ONE KILLER of women in the U.S. and go into all the signs and symptoms, like unexplained fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, cold sweats, indigestion/ nausea/upper abdominal pain, and pain in the throat, jaw or arm (especially the left), but my kids needed me tonight. My six year old, Lia, fell on a play structure this afternoon and her shin was hurting so I had to put a warm towel on it. My son's hamster died yesterday and as Ian went to bed tonight, I tried to discreetly remove the cage from his room so he wouldn't see the empty cage and get upset all over again. Turns out removing the cage was what upset him and led to a (very short) crying spell. So, I sat in the room with him, hugged him, told him it was normal to want to keep your loved one's things just as they were and not change anything and we talked about grieving. Bekah sat around and talked about her day, derby practice, something funny someone posted on Tumblr, and other things for a few minutes before hugging us and going to bed.
   I was going to list all the normal values for total cholesterol (less than 200), and the various components of total cholesterol such as LDL, the "bad" cholesterol (less than 130)  and HDL, the 'good" cholesterol (38-94) and triglycerides (35-135). And then I was going to explain them (look it up). I was going to cite lots of research but when I typed "Women and Heart Disease" in my search engine, I was overwhelmed with all the information. So I'm urging you to educate yourself. Learn what high blood pressure is (anything greater than 120/80) and the connection between high blood pressure and heart disease. While you're at it learn about normal blood sugar levels (70-110) and how abnormal levels can affect your heart. There's also a menopause connection. Researchers have noticed that women are more susceptible to something called Microvascular disease or MVD that affects the small blood vessels of the heart and is not detected by the usual studies that focus on larger arteries. So your heart goes for a long time without receiving the oxygen and blood it needs before you ever realize you have a problem and you've already sustained damage to the heart muscle. This seems to be triggered by the drop in estrogen after menopause
   But, I'm not going as in depth into these matters because I was busy with my kids. I was getting irritated because they just didn't understand that I was missing my mom. Then it occurred to me that I was being selfish and that they needed their mama, too. I started thinking about my mom and the good, the bad and the ugly. My mom wasn't perfect and she made some mistakes along the way but most of her parenting was motivated by her love for me and a desire for me to turn out to be a decent human being. She always loved me and believed in me and as I'm writing this, I'm tearing up thinking about the times in high school, when anxiety would get the better of me and she would stay up until early in the morning listening to me and encouraging me and, above all, to never, ever give up. For my mom, life was to be explored and lived as an adventure. She liked to talk about people grabbing life "by the horns". I didn't realize how much I still depended on her until, suddenly, I couldn't call her to ask her opinion on something or tell her about something funny or great the kids had done. And I realized I want to be a mom like my mom was. I want to be a mom that my adult kids WANT to have around. And I want to be the mom that they really miss when I'm gone because I made their lives so great.
     So, I guess I would summarize these somewhat disconnected thoughts with this advice: if your mom is still around, love her and appreciate her. If she wasn't such a great mom or your relationship hasn't been so great, love her anyway. Try to focus on just one good, happy, positive thing you share. Or just call her and tell her you love her and you appreciate her efforts. You'll both be glad you did.  And then, if you have kids, be the best parent you can. Even if your kids are grown and you have a weird relationship, just tell them you love them. You don't have to see eye to eye on everything. Put in the effort and FIND something you can agree on and go from there. If your kids are young, start making memories now. Your kids will appreciate the attention. And lastly, do what you can to be there with them for a long, long time.
       And, so I don't get in trouble, here are a few websites you might want to check out:

Monday, January 23, 2012

feng shui and hoarding

    I'm having a get together this weekend and am frantically trying to get my two households (my mom's and mine) worth of clutter junk stuff under control. The basement in my house is finished off and divided into three rooms, what we call "the big room" that's at the bottom of the stairs and affords no privacy and two other rooms with doors.  One is my older daughter's room and the other is a library/spare room. Since we've moved in, the big room has just been a big storage room but the library/spare room has been set up and used by company twice. The other night, my daughter and I moved the boxes into the spare room (one with a door) and the futon and chairs out into the big room. The big room looks so nice as a family room- which it will be some day. It was so nice to be able to close the door on the stuff I haven't been able to go through yet. I thought of all the other stuff that I'm still trying to find a permanent home for and for a brief moment, I entertained the idea of using that room for a junk room.  Then I realized I would have to give up my quiet library and any overnight company would not have any privacy. Plus, I don't want to be a person who has a junk room- that room you just toss everything into and don't ever deal with again.
     That got me thinking about the claim that clutter creates negative energy and how some people feel  Feng Shui creates positive energy flow.  Most people who de-clutter their space will testify to feeling so much better mentally and emotionally.  When I was purging our stuff to get ready for our move from Alabama to Oregon, I had a great time getting rid of stuff. Our local thrift store put up a "No Vacancy" sign and I gave my friend's daughter two pick-up truck loads of stuff for a yard sale and I still have a room full of stuff at my mother-in-law's house I need to get rid of when we go back to visit.  I brought you through all that to bring you to this point- my clutter-energy connection theory.  I'm just wondering if it's not that the stuff creates negative energy but that being the person who holds on to things past their usefulness drains your positive energy.  Is it possible that being concerned with the management of your belongings brings unnecessary stress into your life and closes up your world just a little bit?  Maybe letting go of your junk frees up your time and energy for you to go places or pursue other endeavors that will move you further toward being WHO you want to be instead of being WHAT you own.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dinner's ready

  I hate to be busy. I know a lot of people who seem to manage 3 or 4 activities in one day but I'm not one of them. Lately, my life has gone into overdrive. Or, as some people would put it- out of neutral. 4 nights a week, we have something going on in the evening which wouldn't be a big deal except my husband works nights and has to leave the house by 6:30.  I'm not terribly domestic to start with. When we were dating, J.R. took pictures of me cooking so he'd have proof that it did happen. Nobody would have believed him otherwise. I really thought that if God had intended for me to cook, He wouldn't have put so many take out places between my job and home. But, I digress.  
    Being busy in the afternoon/ early evening made dinner hectic to say the least. Not that the kids minded Ramen for supper. They thought they were on vacation- for the first couple of days. J.R. could only pretend it was Pho for so long.  So, today, while the kids played in our snow storm  squall flurry near miss, fought, drank cocoa, caught up on homework, fought,  went to derby practice, fought wrestled fought and watched The Flintstone's, I cooked. I made a double batch of pancakes this morning and froze the leftovers then got started on dinner. I made double batches of 3 dishes everybody likes and put them in the fridge and freezer.(I have no idea what I'm going to do next week because that was my whole repertoire of "stuff all 3 kids like") So now, we can either heat up the whole pan and all have the same thing or everyone can just pick what they want and eat buffet style.  Whatever they wanna do. Just so I'm not tearing my hair out at 5 o'clock.
  Of course, Sneaky Mom paid a very brief visit. She added flax seed meal to the pancakes for some extra omega-3s and encouraged me to try to find a way to incorporate more fiber and protein without making them dense and unpalatable. (If this makes me sound the least bit schizophrenic, don't worry, my kids think I am, too)  Then we ground up some carrots and kidney beans and mixed them with the ground turkey that I put in the Taco Mac- which I made with homemade cheese sauce.  She was going to puree some cauliflower into the mashed potatoes for the shepherd's pie but J.R. made them and she forgot to mention it until he was putting the cheese on top. I also made this chicken and noodle stuff that tastes a little like chicken and dumplings. We call it Chicken and Noodles (pretty clever, huh?). The original recipe calls for Velveeta (it's a Southern thang. Don't judge) and, sometimes, sour cream. But tonight, we used leftover, homemade cheese sauce and Greek yogurt. It was less processed, anyway, and that's one of Sneaky Mom's big goals. Now that that's done, I'm off to make matching clothes for the kids from some old drapes.