Monday, April 30, 2007

on the road

well, i'm off to d.c.!!

(almost. a little packing to do yet.)

so, i will miss you all, and will hopefully be back to post my spt on friday!! it's very freeing, actually! posting late! i'm such a rebel!!

feel free to leave me messages ALL WEEK while i'm away. virtual good mail is almost as good as the real deal.

Friday, April 27, 2007

happy birthday, max

today is my nephew's 2nd birthday!!

happy birthday, wild thing!

spt recap - reduce, reuse recycle

i think the general consensus is: we are all doing something to take better care of our spaceship earth, yet many of us wish we were doing more.

as i've learned from reading your posts this week, there are many, many, MANY ways to make little changes in our households. some key ideas that are sticking with me are:

assigning each family a plastic cup to reuse throughout the day,
refill all plastic bottles with water (from the water mill, the grocery, etc.),
donate our outgrown, gently used clothing,
grow herbs and vegetables (and hens!),
carpool (even when it's not necessary),
focus on the simple, and make time for naps (must conserve our most precious resource!)

even more tips here!

if i had a green trophy to give out this week, i think it would have to go to lisa, janae & anna. these THREE sisters make the THREE r's seem *almost* effortless (and they even make it look glamorous!)

thanks for your responses to the challenge. i hope we'll all add just one more little thing to our daily routine that will help us reduce, reuse, or recycle.

as for me? i'm off to listen to some edie brickell and eat some granola!!

spt challenge - smaller than a...

whew, we are one busy bunch of bloggin' beauties, aren't we?

how about an easy challenge? something that doesn't require too much thought; something that makes us smile? something that we can easily photograph as a self-portrait?

Show & Tell

this week's challenge is to show & tell one of your most treasured items. the catch is (YES, there is a catch)... it must be smaller than a deck of cards!

see? i told you it would be easy! fun, even!!

now, get out there and have a GREAT WEEKEND!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

spt - reduce, reuse, recycle

this is one of the images of my youth that definitely shaped my relationship with mother earth. who can forget the image of the tear running down the chief's face as he surveyed his land littered with trash? my elementary school self vowed that i would help keep the land clean!

it was much easier to be a grade school child, living in a home created by two environmentally-aware parents. all around me were little things we did every day to live a greener life (i don't think "green" as an adjective was used quite that way back then.) we had two huge vegetable gardens, we composted, my dad rode his bicycle to work, we carpooled everywhere, we turned off lights in empty rooms, we camped and lived by the golden rule of camping: leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

how has this "awareness of the earth" carried over into my adult life? i try to be sensitive about my environment, try to do little things that probably have little impact on the global scale, but can make my corner of the world more sustainable.

i do reuse plastic shopping bags as trashbags. (yes, i know they are still getting into the landfill, but at least i am not also contributing plastic trash bags.)

we also use a water cooler company, and we refill plastic bottles obsessively.

i use cloth rags for cleaning, and limit paper towel use to only the really yucky tasks.

i turn off lights everywhere, and we keep our heating/air at very moderate temps.

i wash clothes in cold water (well, okay, except sometimes my whites.)

i think the most important thing i do is to continue to pick up trash. constantly. as i take my daily walk, i am always dismayed to see the amount of junk that has accumlated (and this is in a residential neighborhood. don't get me started on the public roads and highways.) every few weeks, jack and matty and i pick up the fast food wrappers and beer cans that just keep showing up. it's an ongoing task, but it gives me great satisfaction every time we do it.

i can be doing a lot more. i feel my awareness is keen, my follow-through needs to be kick-started. (i know i shouldn't buy products encased in layers and layers of packaging. has that ever prevented me from buying something? no.) my town doesn't have curbside recycling, so i don't recycle. yet, i drive by the free recycling station twice a day!! i know i should buy local produce to cut down on the fuel and packaging it takes to bring california strawberries to my grocery store. we don't have farmer's market, but why don't i check out one of those local farmstands? or the farmer in his pickup on the side of the road selling silver queen corn??

unfortunately, the financial impact of going greener affects many of my decisions. right now, it is just plain expensive to execute my three R's. personal feelings about al gore aside, i applaud the fact that environmental concerns are FINALLY getting main stream attention. i think it's important for *hollywood* to spend as much money on global warming concerns as they do on darfur. or AIDS in africa. or breast cancer awareness. it's just as important!

did you ever imagine wal-mart would be encouraging us to wear organic pajama bottoms?? it is definitely time for these multi-million dollar companies to step up to the plate.

focusing on earth day this week helped me refocus on every day. i'm going to try to keep this at the forefront for me. i leave you with an easy way for you chocolate lovers to do your part! check out endangered species chocolate.

(what? no self-portrait?? i'm just happy to finally get this posted!)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

i'm here!

i was thinking about spt all day yesterday, but just couldn't find the time to get a post put together. it won't happen today, either, i'm sad to say.

i am REALLY looking forward to posting tomorrow, and "shooting the loop" of all the spt posts!!

i miss you, too!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

spt challenge - earth day

"May there only be peaceful and cheerful Earth Days to come for our beautiful Spaceship Earth as it continues to spin and circle in frigid space with its warm and fragile cargo of animate life."

--United Nations Secretary-General U Thant
March 21, 1971.[1]

some americans will observe earth day on sunday. the news has been filled lately with relevant stories about global warming, ecological footprints, compact fluorescent light bulbs, hybrid cars. i haven't seen much in the way of publicity for earth day itself. it is still a deeply rooted grassroots movement, observed by college students, activists and those who are trying to adopt a more *green* way of life.

i mentioned my feelings on this topic in this post several months ago. i know i have a responsibility to keep this planet healthy for our children. i probably don't take as many steps to do that as i should. but i'm trying not to live like an ostrich with my head in the sand, either.

this week's challenge is reduce, reuse, recycle. where are you on the green spectrum? are you an active recycler? do you reuse ziploc bags? do you carpool? use a travel mug? how do you feel about "gently used" items? do you utilize libraries? thrift stores? (kristi??) are your children setting a better example than you?

take a moment this weekend to do one of these earth day activities with the littles in your life. enjoy your spin on planet earth!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

spt - the recap

back in the day, i used to get up at 5 a.m. to do the "friday after thanksgiving" sales thing. one particular year, as we were queued up outside our local target inhaling coffee and brushing the sleep from our eyes, we found ourselves in the company of a group of women who were obviously serious shoppers.

in my memory, there are 12 or 13 women in this group (although there were probably only 5 or 6). they were in their 20s? 30s? they were a group of friends who had obviously left their spouses and children at home. they had planned for this event with the precision of a military unit. this morning, they were huddled around a map of target (to scale!) tuning their walkie talkies and engaging in a strict calesthenic routine. (i'm kidding! about the calesthenics.)

they were first in line, and as the bright red doors opened to reaveal the great goodness of target on the biggest shopping day of the year, i was temporarily blinded by a 50% off sign! when i came to my senses, the shopping girls had dispersed, each with their "as-advertised" assignment. each girl was off to a separate department. (as you know, most targets are set up in similar fashion, with the departments fanning out amongst a larger aisle that runs around the entire store.

a little bit later, i was browsing the clearance rack in the women's department. in a flutter of limbs and multiple shopping carts, one of the shopping girls flew by, screaming franitically into her walkie talkie: I'M SHOOTING THE LOOP! I'M SHOOTING THE LOOP!

i haven't taken advantage of the "friday after thanksgiving" shopping in a while, but if i were to go, i would want all of YOU right there with me, shooting the loop! here's what we would be looking for, according to this week's spt posts:

first, we would make change for our $100 bills, because it can be tricky to wave those benjamins around!

then we would fuel up with our favorite beverage, and browse the www for our tride and true faves, or to check out some new stuff. we notice that our t-shirt has a bleach stain on it, so we change into a hip graphic tee.

then we're off to the mall (because we have some time before the afternoon carpool). on the hike from our car to shopping mecca, our sandal finally gives up the ghost. as we hobble into the mall, we catch a glimpse of our reflection and note that it really is time for a cut and color, and possibly a wax. (thank goodness we don't have to wear that hat anymore...)

we look so good when we leave the stylist's chair, that we might decide to brighten those pearly whites. so far, our virtual shopping bag is entirely empty of clothing! we're seriously thinking of heading home to our closet full of easy faves, but before we go, what the heck? we've wanted a new scent for sometime now.

back at home, we flip through today's catalogs, but we're simply not inspired.

just for fun, maybe we try on our old 'fat pants'. and then, since we're crafty girls, we decide that maybe it might be fun to make our own clothes made out of our personal wool stash. (seriously, go check out how these new image consultants would spend their money!!)

kudos to those of you who were able to spend "real money" this week! you got some really cute stuff (and your hair looks great, too!) thanks for doing your best to stick to our meager budget (i know many of you out there passed on some super expensive jeans!)

i'll see ya around the clearance racks!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

spt - $100 'virtual tax refund'

i put this challenge out there to challenge me. i know $100 didn't seem like a lot of mad money, but if i had given myself $1000 (or more!) i would have never completed the challenge. so, off i went to my closet with 'benjamin' in my hand...

i know, WHERE to begin?!? the state of my closet simply reflects the way i feel about clothes, i'm sad to say. i have been overweight my entire life, and this has effectively put up a barrier between me and, let's say, clothes in general. except for a few years in my twenties, i have always been uncomfortable about fashion. i can't put on anything without first determining how it will look from behind! i'll tell you, sometimes even black can't camouflage unflattering lines!

i am that classic apple shape. you know, the one that prevents you from wearing shirts tucked in (much less something that might be described as "cinched.") ladies tee shirts (they used to be called 'baby doll?')... they fit lovely through the shoulders, but then i have to deal with the dreaded 'muffin top!' spaghetti strap shirts... they don't make those cute "see-through strap" bras in my size!!

call me clothes shy, but for years, i have resorted to combing the clearance racks at target & cato. (something about shopping clearance racks - i don't feel the need to try anything on! i mean, if it doesn't fit right, at least i only spent $8.00 on it!! am i right??) shopping at stores like these, you don't really have to worry about FASHION. you're simply there to get clothed. (despite what i learned in "the devil wears prada," i will NEVER make a connection between my XL boatneck shell with lycra and last year's breakthrough designer at New York's fashion week!!)

therefore, i am left with a closet full of stuff. my clothes are old, outdated. they are shabby (and not in a "chic" way!) i'm losing weight, and i'm in that awkward in-between stage where i'm not quite ready to replace items. so, what WOULD i spend my $100 on?!?

yup. jeans! i want, just once, to own a pair of jeans that i LOVE. i want to be able to walk into the Gap (the Gap is still open, right?) or Old Navy, pick something off of the rack, and have it fit me in all the right places! i don't want anything low-rise, and i don't think i want anything with a flare leg. i definitely don't want anything with lycra in it! (who the hell decided that putting lycra in denim was a good idea? that's, like, giving perpetual dieters like me a reason to just give in to the battle of the bulge! if they keep putting lycra in denim, i can just keep getting fatter and fatter, and i will ALWAYS be able to fit into a size 16!!)

my jeans would be made for tall women (i am a tall woman! can't stand when my ankles peek out). they would be naturally faded, no acid wash or machine-distressed for me! the waist would reside comfortably just below my belly button (no plumber's crack!) they would flatter my hips and fit properly around my thighs (not too tight! not too loose, either!)

and most importantly, they would ALWAYS fit me perfectly. my own pants that will travel with me through the highs and lows (literally) of my life!

Monday, April 16, 2007

swept away

it is a blustery day here!!

i've tried to blog something, anything, and for whatever reasons, i haven't managed to make anything stick!! lately, i feel like amuse-bouche has become "all about the spt," with not much in between.

i LOVE spt! i LOVE all of the responses, the thoughts, the friendships that are blooming each week. some have asked, and the answer is... YES! spt is very time consuming. but i truly LOVE spending time on it! i literally get swept away in the process, from the moment i wake up on tuesdays, until i've posted the next challenge several days later.

i also have been swept away by work lately, as we gear up for the tourist season. i am the general manager of a Hampton Inn in a coastal town. can you smell the sunscreen?

jack just wrapped up spring break, 10 days that were filled with many moments in which i was swept away with his casual 6-year-old cuteness. i've been making more of an effort to Play, and giving myself permission to chill out. yesterday was spent in pajamas until 3 pm, when it was time to get dolled up for a murder mystery dinner party (much more on that later.)

forgive me if i've swept past your blog without commenting lately! sometimes i feel like "hurricane lelly," blowing around the blogosphere!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

spt challenge - shopping spree

But in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. Benjamin Franklin

the very nice taxman (who is happy that you filed your taxes!) has given you a $100.00 'virtual' refund. you can 'spend' this money to update one item in your wardrobe.

what item do you choose? is it a favorite pair of every-day jeans that have gotten so faded they need to be replaced? do you need a new skirt because you've lost weight since last spring? how about exercise outfits? new shoes? a funky top for date night?

are you clothes savvy? or clothes shy? do you buy multiple versions of the same shirts in every color? do you buy 'outfits' or do you mix-n-match separates? what's the oldest item of clothing you have that you simply can't part with? will you blow the $100.00 on one fabulous item, or will you be combing the clearance racks??

don't forget, the 'virtual' refund is just for you!! indulge yourself!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

spt - the recap

in your easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it...
o.k., o.k., i get it!! NOBODY wears easter bonnets anymore.

this recap is proving to be quite a challenge for me.

i typically spend tuesday perusing the image consultant blogs, commenting, laughing, learning... i then come back on wednesday morning, check on the folks who post tuesday nights, and by that time, a recap "theme" has emerged. (i know, i know, it seems a bit redundant to have a theme to describe the week's theme. what can i say? i'm a theme girl!)

the front-runner for this week's recap seemed to be (in no particular order):

"i've never had a bonnet, and honestly would never think of wearing one;" or the similar "you won't catch us in matching outfits!" (jill - and you MUST know i say this tongue in cheek!! your photos and self-portrait were adorable!!)

"my best-laid plans for a family photo on easter went awry due to [insert reason here];" (tina, allison, amanda)

"i didn't read this week's challenge until a) this morning, b) one hour ago, c) wait, there's a weekly challenge?!?" (price cream parlor)

"look how cute i was as a child at easter!" (sista # 2, michelle a, amy s, jenny)

fortunately, we also got some great family shots (including MOMS!)(stephanie, dana, tiffanie, sheri, becca, jenny d, andy,michelle m, mandy, andrea - really, she's in the photo. you just have to look closely!)

there were some wonderful easter thoughts shared, and i urge you to check out neighbor jane payne so she can share a great story with you!

and i am so happy to see some "absentees" made it back around to the blogosphere this week! (stacy, we TOTALLY forgive your st. patrick's day banner! sandi gets a major spt prize for retro-posting all the spt challenges she missed while in dial-up mode! and claudia put up a 100 list that should not be missed!!)

chris, katherine, and laurie m hop-hop-hopped on board for this week's challenge. welcome!!

in just a few months, spt has grown from 10 image consultants to 60!! (and i know there are more out there!!) i hope you are enjoying it as much as i am!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

spt - easter 2007

i am officially in love with our easter photo!

(what you can't see is that it is approximately 45 degrees out, and i am frantically digging my toes into the ground and furiously leaning forward so as to avoid tumbling backwards into the pond, but, eh...)

what i loved most about easter 2007 was that i was able to relax. i daresay, i almost played! matty was home for the entire weekend, and managed to stay awake past 8 pm! jack was well behaved (mostly), and i committed to wrapping up chores on saturday so that we could truly have a peaceful sunday.

so, here is my little nuclear family knot, dressed in orange. we laughed, and read books, and decorated eggs with easter wraps (thanks, amanda!) and shared blueberry sour cream coffeecake(thanks, amy!) jack stayed awake on saturday night until the red sea parted (thanks, mr. de mille!)

i will always love this photo, as it will remind me of a peaceful weekend in time, a weekend when i remembered that i love these boys with all that i have.

Monday, April 09, 2007

spt teaser

no matter how my family easter photo turned out, i can PROMISE you, it will be better than this...

c. 1982?

oh, laura ashley, how could you do me so WRONG?!?

don't worry, all of my sisters suffered that year!

can't wait to see you in your spt easter bonnets tomorrow!!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

last week, i wrote this post, and talked about my desire to find an everyday piece of jewelry that would make me feel like this.

monday afternoon, i found this in my mailbox

which definitely makes me feel like this!

thank you, andy!! it is perfect!

documenting good mail has been very challenging for me lately (you know, the whole "not having a camera" thing!!) i cherish every bit of mail that comes my way that doesn't have a bill in it, so if you have sent me good mail recently, my apologies for not sharing it here. please know that it is all appreciated!

my sister popped by work today with a bit of good mail for me, that i MUST share (at work = have access to camera)...

a brand new journal to help me remember to "write what i bite"! and pens! and crystal light candies! (are these new?) thanks, jen, for being on this journey with me!!

the card says:
some spring in your step,
some sky in your blue,
some good in your mood
being wished for you!
here's to a new day and a new you!

i think i need to print this out on some calling cards! i would totally send one to ALL of you!

spt challenge

easter weekend is upon us. for many, this is a time of church services and egg hunts. spring break and first swims of the season. white tights on girls and knee pants on boys.

i will spend easter sunday with some of my family (i wish it could be all!) there will be church in the morning, egg hunts for the kiddies, and ham for dinner. i have already put my husband and son on notice that i envision them wearing their "matchie" shirts. enough said!

this week's challenge: in your easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it

what are your fondest memories of easter as a child? are you chocolate, or jelly beans? did you ever actually have an easter bonnet?!?

as you gather with family and friends (in their matchie clothes), remember to get yourself in that group shot!! when you were finding those perfect outfits, did you remember to find something for you? will you snap casual photos around the family table, or will you troupe out on the lawn for a staged shot?

have FUN with this challenge!! while you're at it, hunt a few eggs or pilfer a chocolate bunny from the basket. as you sit around the easter table, take a few moments to tell someone how much you appreciate being able to spend the day with them.

happy birthday, mental

today is my sister patty's birthday! she is my sister who lives 'out of town,' so i can't throw my arms around her and give her a big birthday hug!!

happy birthday, mental! B.S.S.D.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

spt - the recap

i want a redo!!

i want to rewrite my post, and i want to be able to say all the honest and open things that you have all shared in this week's challenge!!

i've mentioned it before, but i must repeat that the spt challenge gives me so much more than i ever expected. more perspective. more enlightenment. more laughter. and this week, more sniffles....

the challenge... do you PLAY well with others? the response...

let's PLAY a game!
(can you guess the blogger before you click on the link???)

I love playing with others-it takes awhile for me to warm up and get past my insecurities of myself, but eventually you'll see how much I love to be around others and laugh-oh how I love to laugh-and how they bring out the best in me. :)

Do I play well with others???? I guess so. I'm always up for something fun!!

Grown up, I do like to play & be social. I like to host parties here. I like to lunch with a friend & do catch up. I like to be in a fun setting of cool women working on quilts, etc. for humanitarian efforts, I like to go on a strenuous walk with a friend, I like to stroll the boutique shops with a friend. This is all PLAYTIME to me.

This weeks challenge has truly CHALLENGED me! As my mind has been spinning over this, I've come to realize I need to pull myself away from the kids play and step into my own!

In high school, everyone thought I was a snob. I don't think I've ever been a snob, I'm just shy, dang it!

Much of the joy from my childhood comes from the fact that I played. I really played.

Playing is any activity where I'm having a good time and am surrounded by people I enjoy.

all PLAYing aside, there were some posts that really brought a lot of emotions to the surface for me this week. tissue in hand, i urge you to check out amy m, carlo, kristi, jenny, hannah, annalisa and stefanie. these women are not afraid to tell you how they really feel! i would go on a PLAYdate with any of you!!

don't forget to check out some new image consultants on my sidebar this week, because people are PLAYing all over the www: michelle m and lucy and tiffanie, i'm so glad you've come out to PLAY.

**if anyone is out there who is doing spt, and would liked to be linked, please let me know. i stumble across spt posts from time to time, but worry that i shouldn't link without your permission.**

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

spt - plays well with others

i had a tough time with this post. the issue is: i don't really PLAY.

don't get me wrong... i really believe that when i play with others, i DO it well. it's just that throughout the weekend (most weekends, actually), i found that i was doing so many things that HAVE TO BE DONE, and not leaving enough time to play.

there are PLAY dates on my calendar: i'm going to a murder mystery dinner party, a mad tea party, we're going to the annual Spring Festival/Chili Cook-off in town this weekend, i'm heading up to D.C. for a conference (that will involve a lot of playing, too.) it seems that if it's not written on the calendar, if it's not a big deal, then sadly, playing falls by the wayside for me.

instead, i'm catching up on the week's housework that just didn't get done, spring cleaning, harping on matty & jack as i follow them around picking up stuff. oof - not a lot of time or energy left over for playing. when i do find a moment, i play with my family, my husband and son who are always ready, willing & able. but, do i ever really just let myself go, not a care in the world?

case in point - picture one

have you ever seen someone trying so hard to look like they're having fun?!? as you can see, i am totally pre-occupied with how the picture will turn out. i literally had to run with the boys outside to take this photo last night while dinner was cooking. "come on, let's stand around jack's bike. look like you're having fun! we're playing..."

um, riiiight...

ok - take two

better! as you can see, i was able to lighten up a bit for this one. but geesh, would it kill me to just LET GO!!

my takeaway from this challenge is that i've got to make more of an effort to just. have. fun. whenever & wherever. there just has to be more PLAYing going on around here!! did anyone else find they struggle with being able to relax and play?

because, really? i want to look like THIS a lot more!

Monday, April 02, 2007

the other day, i met a bear...

so, i registered jack for summer camp today. i am so excited for him!! i am a dyed-in-the-wool camper, from girl scout & boy scout camping (dad was a scoutmaster for 15 years), to the music camp i attended for 6 years, to the parks & rec day camp i ran the summer i graduated from college... there's just something FUN about camp!!

i'm the first to admit that maybe i liked camp *just a little* too much. i loved packing for camp, and the smell of "laundry pens." i was somehow a cooler kid at camp. letters from my camp friends often got me through a long, hard, teenage winter at home! i loved being outside all the time. i loved reveille and taps and everything in between.

i used to keep a large calendar on my wall and mark off the days until camp with big black x's. registering for camp meant school was coming to a close, and the endless summer days were drawing closer.

so, jack's days will be filled with swimming lessons and arts & crafts and outside time. he will come home each evening smelling of sunscreen and bugspray with stories to tell and bags under his eyes. i'm a teeny bit jealous!

did you go to camp?

Sunday, April 01, 2007

all fool's day

Foolish writers and readers are created for each other.
- Horace Walpole (1717 - 1797)

happy april, to all my fellow fools!!