Wordless Wednesday: Back to the Beginning

Alien BabyThis is my first picture of Kyle.

I published the very first post on this blog on September 18, 2004. To mark its tenth birthday, I’m sharing a favorite old post every day, here and/or on social media. It’s kind of fun to click on a random month in my 120-month archive (to the right there, scroll down, it’s right under all those icons for other sites that have published my work) and read my thoughts from that time.

I couldn’t find an old Wordless Wednesday from the beginning, so here’s a different post: “On the Nose” – about Brady’s blooming vocabulary – from June, 2008. It has this in it:

I mean, really with the cuteness.

Oops, I Did It Again – My Secret Too-Busy Closet

Behind every organized person is a messy, messy closet.

toobusyTalk to the hand.

As the summer approached its end I started getting anxious about all the PTA duties that lay before me as the new PTA co-president for my kids’ school. It was mostly The Great Unknown of it – how would this go down? What was I supposed to do, exactly? I was prepared to spend a lot of time at school, talking about school, thinking about school. I even dreamed about it, and woke up not just once in the middle of the night worrying about it.

Because that’s what I do. I worry, and I’m too hard on myself, and then I get all hard on myself for being too hard on myself.

And I know. This is a volunteer position. I asked for it. I’m not complaining. Things are falling into place and every day I get a dose of perspective that reminds me: the school will be fine even if I mess up. My number one job is to be there for my own children. Balance, healthy doses of perspective. That’s been helpful.

However, I didn’t expect the new offers of work that have come along in just the last two weeks. A sponsored post here and there is one thing. But some greater creative challenges, one that actually requires me to leave the house and juggle meetings and parenting, have come along, and I couldn’t say no. The money is sorely needed, and frankly, I enjoy the work. My clients are great and aware of my family setup. It’s a win-win.

A consequence of this new busy-ness is the neglect of my household, the thing that anchors me, the touchstone of home organization and control. If the kitchen is clean, if the bed is made, my mind starts off the day clear and ready. If I know what I’m making (or heating up) for dinner, I feel calm about the evening ahead.

I further appreciate the off-site work I’m doing because I get to do it in an organized, cool, dark room, with all of my focus on the screens in front of me. I can pretend my chaotic home doesn’t bother me. But when I come back to my house, and I sit surrounded by clutter, frantically trying to “make good art” on a deadline, the two sides of my personality collide. I sweep the papers into a pile and shove them in the closet.

I’ve been shoving for several days now. And just now, just a few minutes ago, the closet shoved back.

Something fell in there with a muffled harrumph, and made the door open behind me. I turned around. It was like the mess was calling to me. Mad that I let it get so bad.

messy office closet

I’m airing my dirty laundry here because I just made a mental pact with myself – and the poltergeist closet – to organize this space once and for all before September 24. During my little 5-minute work breaks today I’ve been surfing Pinterest for closet organization ideas and I’m very inspired, if a little intimidated. I won’t have time to deal with it until after all these work projects are done. But at least the closet has made its point, which is “If you organize me, you will feel much better, and you can enjoy being busy much more.”

“Friends” Reunion Skit on Jimmy Kimmel Live

our good old "Friends"

Retro “Friends” cast picture

There is so much here to love.

My favorite is Kimmel’s imitation of David Schwimmer’s Ross. Or maybe the laugh track.

Hey, if Huffington Post and Vanity Fair and every other ginormous website can post this, why can’t I? I LOVED FRIENDS.

Spiral-bound Family Time by Dotmine Day Planners (Review)

morning coffee and plannerEveryone has their own special way of organizing time. As if we humans could do that. It’s the charade of control that we enjoy, isn’t it? Blocking off hours on the calendar labeling them “DO NOT DISTURB,” scribbling commitments in a time slot months in advance, adhering (or not) to a schedule. Writing lists of things to do.

And paper. Glorious smooth sheets of new-smelling paper, blank blocks of days, ripe with possibility.

Somebody stop me before this gets ridiculous. Too late?

I love me a good planner. By “good” in my case I mean simple, straightforward, with exactly what I need and nothing more, plenty of room to write notes and doodle and to house the ever-growing lists. Up until this year I have favored the one-year weekly planner format: a 8.5″ x 11″ two-page spread for the whole month, then the weeks following with larger blocks for the days.

I started to hit a glitch this summer, though, when planning for the school year (not just for my own kids but for the whole community because I am the PTA co-president) I found that I needed pages for 2015. I started looking online for the year format for 2015 back in June. Too early.

2014_ft_free_bird

Enter family_time.mine, the code-looking title for Dotmine‘s academic year weekly planner. It goes from August 2014 to December 2015. “A place for our family’s plans and dreams” it says inside the front cover. Well, more like a place for Mom’s control freak tendencies to have a field day, but okay. That’s a nice thought.

The family_time.mine format has the 2-page monthly grid calendar that I like, plus a page for each week with room to jot down appointments and ideas. The thick margins are perforated so that if you jot down a particularly important list you can easily tear it off and go. What I need, plus what I didn’t know I needed!

monthspread weekspread

There are other nifty features of this planner – thick fold-out cards for each season of the year where you can block out your family’s master schedule, a few pages set aside at the back for addresses and phone numbers, babysitter info, and notes – but not too much of the fluff that fills up other planners. I don’t need international maps or time zones or area codes in my planner at all times. I like that this book focuses on family information but it’s not too cutesy. The design is tasteful and it doesn’t say MOM anywhere on it. The one feature I miss here is the presence of tabs for each month so I can easily flip to the calendar and find a specific day. I remedied this a little bit by adding my own tabs with tiny sticky notes.

Dotmine is also mindful of the modern family’s shift to electronic planning. While I do keep a Google calendar, I still love my paper planner, and Dotmine seems to have combined the two obsessions by offering a downloadable day planner. WHAT. It’s the same format and content as the hard copy but half the price and you print it yourself. Maybe one can prevent overwhelm that way…

Dotmine’s family_time.mine day planner – Free Bird style, $24.99 at Dotmine.com. I received a complimentary planner to facilitate this review but you can bet your overscheduled bottom all opinions are my own.