Tag Archives: fun

Cleanliness is Next to Godli….er, Impossible

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We’ve all heard it, right? Cleanliness is next to godliness. Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. A place for everything and everything in it’s place. Following these adages I should be riding the highway to hell with nary a possession to call my own. Needless to say, keeping a clean house is an issue I struggle with.

Now don’t get me wrong. I WANT a clean house, I covet a clutter free living room, I’ve even been known to wake from sleep having dreamt of a spotless, shiny kitchen and sparkly windows and floors. I have a few barriers that keep this from becoming a reality.

First, I have pets. Loads of them. 2 dogs and 2 cats call me mom. Shedding comes in phases – the constant but manageable phase and the season changing unbearable phase. Multiply that by 4, do this to the nth power because 1 is a German Shepherd and you get…..well….I’ve never been good at math but the amount of hair equals a lot. Every single day there is a fine coating of assorted hairs on the coffee table and furry tumbleweeds skittering across the tiled floor. Every. Single. Day. During those aforementioned unbearable phases the tan carpet becomes a lovely shade of black (the Shepherd is black), that even daily vacuuming – yes I said DAILY –  doesn’t keep under control. I think that maybe once upon a time I was allergic to pet dander but I have since then ingested such high quantities as to inoculate myself.

I’ve considered the possibilities of how to handle this furry issue. But, I love the animals. I’m not willing to get rid of them or to confine them to a box for the rest of their natural lives. So….we have a pet hair problem.

Secondly, I have children. They no longer play with “toys” but rather have sports paraphernalia, dance gear, and an ENORMOUS amount of papers that lie in their wake. School papers, extracurricular activity papers, letters from colleges, notes from friends, art projects from 3rd grade that no one wants to part with… The paper trail is endless. And it adds up. Literally. It becomes stacks on whatever free surface can be found. Then of course there are the mountains of laundry. They do some of their own laundry but it multiplies so quickly they need backup assistance. And let’s be honest, kids in general aren’t typically stellar at always “putting everything in its place.” Now, add that thin layer of animal hair onto all of this – classy, yep.

Seriously, I’m not blaming a dirty house on having kids. It’s only one element of the issue. Because really, there’s more.

The third and biggest factor – me. I suck at constant cleaning. I am fully aware of this shortcoming. While I recognize it and I attempt to change it, I am also painfully aware that I will most likely never be a superstar cleaner. Here’s the thing: when I hardcore deep clean, it is spotless. I mean spit shined (although not literally because that’s just disgusting and not at all clean). The trouble is that I just don’t want to do that every single day. I ABHOR dusting. It’s my least favorite chore of all time. Seriously. I’ll do windows, I’ll scrub bathrooms….just please for the love of all that’s good, someone else dust. But apparently everyone in my home has the same mentality so the dusting chore….shall we say….suffers. Likewise, I don’t want to vacuum everyday. I’ll do it several times a week. But everyday? It just seems like pointless overkill to me.

And, I clearly need an organization system that is seriously effective but as of yet I do not have said system. So….papers pile up, stacks teeter to the tipping point, then they get moved to an area akin to massive stacks of newspapers from back in the day. Remember when your grandpa hoarded stacks of newspapers….if you went to the very bottom of the very first stack the papers would probably be from aught 3…..yeah it’s just like that. My oldest child is knocking on the door of 20 and I’m pretty sure there are some scribblings from when he was 2 in there. But where am I going to put them? I’m not emotionally ready (and honestly don’t know if I’ll ever be), to get rid of them….he certainly doesn’t want them….so they stay in the stacks. I’ve gotten slightly more organized by putting the stacks in plastic containers, but now the containers are stacking up too.

Here’s the kicker: I have OCD. I’m not just throwing that acronym around willy-nilly…..I’m actually diagnosed….it says so on my medical chart. There aren’t enough hours in a day nor energy reserves in my body to keep things around here as clean as I want them to be. When things don’t get cleaned my OCD tends to push me toward an anxiety/panic attack. Then when that gets sorted I have an emotional breakdown because everything isn’t “in its place.” It’s really a vicious circle – round and round we go.

I try to find comfort in wise words of other folks who suffer in this manner and remember that really my house isn’t nearly as bad as it seems in my own mind. And, that it doesn’t matter if things are spotless when the kids are happy and memories are being made. I really do try to remember all of that. Somewhere deep down I believe it – but oh my goodness there’s so much clutter!

But, it’s Spring. Time for renewal. Time for planting flowers and vegetables, time for singing birds and baby lambs. And…time for cleaning. Cleaning out the fur and the dust and the cobwebs…not just on your floors and windows and tables but the ones in your head and heart as well. While you’re mopping the floor, let go of a past hurt that’s been gnawing at you. When you clean out the overstuffed closet, forgive yourself for that thing that keeps you from moving forward. While you clean your windows, formulate a plan to achieve that next thing you want to accomplish in life. Cleaning isn’t just about physical dust and dirt – we all have emotional cobwebs to knock down too. It’s Spring – time to take care of you. When you do, taking care of everyone you love is even better, and they will notice the change in you. Love yourself so you can love others.  Try being a little OCD about it….even if you aren’t diagnosed.

Happy Spring!

Leslie

https://www.etsy.com/shop/DetroitTemperandYarn?ref=hdr_shop_menu

 

Back to School Education

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This time of year is always exciting. New shoes, new haircuts, new backpacks…..anticipation about seeing friends, who will be sitting next to you in class, if the teacher really has a 3rd eye and horns like you were told….. But this is for the kiddos. Parents see back to school time slightly different. Now that the first week of school is under our belt, I’m taking a moment to reflect upon what I’ve learned this week.

1. Getting up at 5:45am sucks. Totally. I am not a morning person – never have been. I have really enjoyed my summer of being able to sleep in, even on a weekday. I like not getting up until 8 or 9am. I don’t need to sleep until noon…..but I am not a fan of rising with the chickens. If it’s still dark outside – and I mean pitch black dark with no hint of a sunrise anywhere to be seen – then it’s too early to be waking up.

2. One should not wait until the day before the first day of school to purchase notebooks, binders, pencils, etc. The pickins are slim and then a rather cantankerous, moody, diva-ish 5th grader becomes quite foul and dramatic – letting one know how everyone else will have everything they need and she will be the only one who doesn’t have every item on the list of 25 things now needed to successfully complete 5th grade. What I believed to be a financially savvy move, waiting until the last minute thereby snagging some really great deals was in fact the catalyst for foot-stomping, hands on hips, tilted head with eyes rolling so far back I think they may have done a full loop and voiced exasperation of my lack of concern to her embarrassment and imminent failure of 5th grade. Procrastination does not pay.

3. Freshmen boys primp a lot. Stereotypical beliefs lead us to think that it’s the teenage girls that take forever in the bathroom and are the ones who obsess over hair and clothes. But I tell you that this is not so. This is not a female issue alone. 14 year old boys take a very long time to create the exact look of aloofness coupled with proper hygiene that is apparently necessary. I don’t know why I’m so surprised by this – I mean really, everyone knows you don’t wear stripes 2 days in a row.

4. Seniors now have to do a lot more than I did as a Senior. I just had to pick a few colleges that interested me, fill out applications and scholarship forms, mail them out and hope for the best. Now we have to register on 327 different websites, have not only Plan A but contingency plans through T, and know who your date is going to be to the spring formal before Halloween.

5. Filling out the same forms 3 different times is terribly frustrating. We have the technology that allows us to visit Mars, transplant hearts, create fertilized eggs in petrie dishes, build cars using robots…….but somehow we have yet to master a way to connect the emergency contact information that is the same for all kids in a family.

6. Happy homework time is really a pipe dream.

7. When given cash to purchase lunch, kids will oftentimes choose the least nutricious options available.

8. Bedtime can’t come early enough.

9. Wine is good.

I’m sure I’ll learn more things as the school year progresses but I’m feeling pretty good about the knowledge I’ve acquired this week. I hope all of you out there are enjoying and learning new things. Share some of them with me…..

 

Renewing Frustrations

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What is it about spring and summer that bring about feelings of renewal? I’m aware of the fertility cycle and how all of nature seems to be having babies and all of the flowers are blooming and such…. But I wonder what causes us – or at least me – to feel like I need to conduct a thorough inventory on everything from my deepest feelings and hidden emotions to the dishes stacked perilously in the back of the cupboard and the matchless socks tossed haphazardly behind the bedroom chair. My husband says I should blame the pagans.

Mostly I really enjoy this time of year. I love spring cleaning – the fresh smell of clean baseboards and mopped floors, the windows thrown open, sunshine beaming into the house, flowers on the table, dinner on the deck, warm nights sipping wine in a porch chair…… I love having my kids home from school and all of the sounds of neighborhood laughter. I enjoy afternoons in the park, reading on a blanket by the flowing creek water. I really love rearranging our furniture – I’ve found this is the most inexpensive redecoration possible – sometimes I’ll even throw a new pillow on the bed or a new blanket on the sofa to add to the “whole new room” feel. And, I love the Saturday morning ritual of going to the Farmer’s Market and searching through the fresh vegetables and warm breads and taking little treats for my family home to enjoy. And sangria, I really love sangria.

But, in the spirit of honesty I will tell  you that the inner reflection part that I go through this time of year pretty much sucks for me. Here’s the way it usually works: I read something that triggers a reminder of “things” I want to do. These things have been known to range from finishing a painting that I’ve started to working on the novel that I know is buried in my psyche just waiting to be put on the page to even beginning some type of daily ritual that will end with me being fitter, healthier, more stylish, more charming, more outgoing……you get the picture.

I think the biggest hurdle for me is learning to accept myself just the way I am. I’m always looking at the things I don’t like – and there are many but I won’t bore you with the details – instead of focusing on the things that I do like. Admittedly I don’t really like much but I think that’s part of the accepting thing I need to learn. I’m trying.

Tell me what you do this time of year. Do you reflect? Do you throw out old clothes or dried up makeup? Do you take an hour everyday and write the novel you really want to get on paper? How do you overcome those feelings of inadequacy…or do you even have them?

I’m waiting on your answers – but until you share them I’ll be changing out the duvet, making sweet tea, washing windows…….darn those pagans.

Like is Like So Irritating

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Is there a word or a phrase that drives you bonkers? One that when you hear it sounds eerily similar to fingernails on a chalkboard? One that makes you have to literally bite your tongue in an effort to not chastise the speaker? No? Me neither…..

Actually yes, yes there is one such word/phrase for me. “LIKE”

The word “like” should be used in a grammatically correct fashion. “Like” is a flexible word and can be used correctly in several different ways.

For example:

Used as a preposition in comparisons: (a) Introducing a simile – She plays like Mozart. (b) Non-simile comparison – Biff has a truck like Bob’s.

Used as a verb: I like cake batter ice cream.  Or Leslie likes Jacob.

Or another correct way is as a subordinating conjunction: They look like they have been having fun.

The way that drives me CRAZY goes something LIKE this…….

Like, did you see that outfit? It was like the ugliest color I’ve ever seen. And her shoes were like ridiculous. Her hair was like all frizzy in the back. And like her makeup made her look like so slutty. Does she not like have any friends to tell her she looks like so stupid?

This irritates and confuses me. Well, it doesn’t really confuse me but I feign confusion if one my kids speaks this way. I’ll respond with, “Was it LIKE the ugliest color or WAS it the ugliest color?” Then of course I am treated to dramatic eye rolling and sighing as if I am undoubtedly the dumbest person on the planet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware that this is how people speak these days. I almost wrote that this is how teenagers speak but that would not be accurate. I have overheard many adults speaking in the same fashion. Has this become the updated version of “UM?” Maybe I’m old-fashioned but I believe I prefer UM to LIKE being used 5 times in every sentence.

So tell me – what is the word or phrase that does your head in? Is it “like” or maybe the excessive use of “dude?” Or maybe it’s the use of “peace” when the speaker is not really promoting peace, or the use of “righteous” when not speaking about anything actually righteous. Or maybe “awesome” when the subject is not one the actually inspires awe but instead is just sort of okay. I think there quite a few worthy possibilities here.

And don’t even get me started on the use of “LOL” in spoken communication……….

 

Freaky Fried Finds

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What’s your favorite fried food indulgence? I began to ponder this question about 2 weeks into my diet. This may have been an effort to conjure up the aroma of foods that I so love in order to pretend that I am tasting them. May have been. Anyway, after careful consideration I have decided upon my favorite. Crunchy, delicious, Southern Fried Chicken. There is something almost therapeutic about biting into a crunchy piece of chicken and getting to the juicy delicious chicken meat. It’s such a simple food, but oh so tasty – and pairs just fantastically with mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, macaroni & cheese, potato salad……well…..you get my point. Oh, and sweet tea – you must have sweet tea.

This decision really took some soul-searching. There are so many things that are fried these days, and so many of those same foods that I truly love but I reached an important conclusion: many fried foods are fads. Everything from Kool-Aid to pizza is being deep-fried but once the novelty of a weird concoction wears off most people aren’t frying up Kool-Aid on their weekly home menus. But, just because I thought some of these strange ideas were so interesting I’ve decided to share some with you. I’m hoping that some of you readers will have tried some of the more odd ones since I’m really curious as to how they REALLY taste. I’m not certain I would be brave enough to taste them all but I’m nosy, and I want the scoop. So…..without further ado…..some deep-fried menu ideas…….

1. Deep-Fried Soda

Seriously….how is this even possible?

2. Deep-Fried Cheesecake

The cheesecake lover in me died just a little at this photo. It kinda seems like a perfectly delicious slice of cheesecake was ruined – but maybe I’m wrong.

3. Deep-Fried Tofu

Um….Doesn’t this diminish the health value somewhat? I’m no vegetarian, but this just doesn’t make much sense.

4. Deep-Fried Krispy Kreme Cheeseburgers

I’m not certain how to even respond to this one. It’s oddly repulsing yet makes me drool just slightly. So strange.

There are some deep-fried foods that I have tried, the ones of the novelty variety, that I will admit were pretty darned tasty. I don’t foresee me having them anytime in the near future, but as warm weather and county fairs are upon us if you are presented with the opportunity to try any of these next few items, go on and have a bite – you won’t be sorry.

                

Fried pickles………………………………….Fried Oreos………………………Fried Twinkies

Let me know if you’ve tried any outlandish fried foods and which ones are your favorites. And of course, which ones I should never ever try. Go ahead and enjoy – but remember: if you do, please please get that body moving. These foods are not in any way healthy. Trust me, they are not on ANY diet plan out there! Moderation and movement 🙂

 

Lestat in Detroit

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I overheard a conversation the other day that involved a group discussing who their favorite book character was. There was much debate and being as I was on a college campus some of the responses were very intellectual – and probably not their true favorite character – but at any rate it got me to thinking. First, I tried to decide who my actual favorite character would be – and that’s a tough choice. Almost too tough actually. There are so many that I love. But secondly, I began to think about what it would be like if said character came to life for a day – and of course I would be hanging out with them. But what would we do, what would it be like…..

After careful consideration of the hundreds of characters I’ve read about I chose The Vampire Lestat. This is a completely honest choice. I could’ve chosen an intellectual or a classic character….but hey….I kinda have a thing for vampires. The biggest issue I have with this choice is that Lestat has been brought to life on the big screen by a big actor. And, while I think Tom Cruise did an admirable job, the mental image I have of Lestat looks nothing like Cruise – and I prefer my version.

In Anne Rice’s books Lestat is compassionate. He loves him mom and protects her. He walks away from his best friend because he doesn’t want to harm him even though the separation hurts Lestat deeply. He’s charismatic and fights for good. He loves music and performing. He has a bit of an ego which makes him even more “human.” He cracks jokes yet has a very somber side as well. He’s intelligent and loves to read. And of course he’s fiercely handsome. He probably even likes to take long walks on the beach haha. Sounds like someone I would like to hang out with.

So if I spent a day with my version of Lestat what would we do?? He would need to experience the greasy deliciousness of McDonald’s. Maybe have a whiskey at my favorite pub. Take in a baseball game…… I really don’t know. Honestly, what would he consider fun? This is something I’m going to have to think about a bit more I believe. Because in writing this I realize that my ideas are pretty lame. There’s got to be things more exciting to do.

So, while I’m thinking of better ideas……..you tell me who your favorite character is…..and how you would spend a day with them.

National Pet Owners Day

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So today is National Pet Owners Day. I didn’t even know this day of recognition existed. Did you? I think, and I’m not certain, but I think that almost every day of the year is some type of “day” of recognition. I’m undecided if it’s a good thing or not – I guess if nothing else it keeps things interesting.

But anyway, this day got me to thinking about pets….the ones I’ve had over the years, my current pet and of course what I would own if I could have any pet in the world.

My first pet was a bird. Now don’t mistake “bird” with one that you would purchase in a pet store. No no, I didn’t have a parakeet or a finch or cute little lovebirds. Nope, I had a baby robin because you see it had fallen out of its’ nest during a storm and of course the mama was done with it at that point. I discovered it next to the tree in my grandparents’ backyard. My grandpa helped me collect it and we put it in a bingo hopper. And again, don’t confuse this hopper with the ones that are massively large industrial size hoppers that are for fire hall bingo nights. This was a little tiny thing, round….about the size of a large cantaloupe. And I named him Rupert; after the boy on Little House on the Prairie that at the time I suppose I thought was really cute. Anyway, I fed Rupert with a medicine dropper and rather quickly he graduated to needing worms and such. I was never a very squeamish little girl so I handled that okay. But, it wasn’t all that long until Rupert was big enough to fly and my grandpa told me I needed to let him go. Admittedly, for a little girl who loved her bird, that day sucked. But Rupert quickly took off, strong and healthy and I was a wee bit proud too. I felt like I had saved him from certain death.

Not terribly long after Rupert went back to the wild I decided I really wanted a kitten. I think I wanted one because I was a girl and all of my other girlfriends wanted or had kittens. Kittens kind of seem to be the girly pet right? Soft and cuddly, cute little faces, low maintenance……. So  my parents (who are NOT cat people) eventually gave in and brought me the cutest little gray kitty with big eyes and a bushy tail. I honestly don’t know if it was a girl or a boy. But I do know this. I was terrified. At first I was so excited….and I found some string because that’s what kittens play with on all the television shows I had seen. So I get this string and I begin to walk around the house. The kitten (who hadn’t even been given a name yet) began chasing the string. Except you see I thought the kitty was chasing ME and I didn’t put it together that it was the string it was after. And well….the kitty coming after me with what I knew were sharp little claws on those sweet little paws gave me a fright. So I walked faster….and the kitty chased faster….and then I ran…..and the kitty ran….and then I jumped onto the sofa screaming that the devil kitty wouldn’t stop chasing me and I was crying and……well…..it didn’t get much better from there. I believe the kitty resided in our home for about 4 hours until we begged my grandma to take it in. She did of course and the kitty turned out to be quite docile and lazy with very little remnant of the devil kitty visible.

Over the next several years I had dogs. I did much better with them even though they are high energy, nippy, barky, high maintenance pets. Go figure. But I’ve had Benji, a Yorkshire Terrier (holy cow those little things can yip for hours!) and I had Ruff, a Llewellyn Setter (he was a bird dog). My dad wanted to use Ruff for grouse hunting in addition to him being a family pet. That was fine with me because honestly my dad didn’t hunt very often so I figured Ruff’s services wouldn’t be needed very much. But, he still had to be trained. And really, even though we were training the dog I think my dad was really using it as a ruse to wear me out so that I would go to bed early and sleep late that summer. You see, in order to teach Ruff to “fetch the birdie” my dad would throw the fabric “bird”, Ruff would point as was his inherent nature to do, but then we had to teach him to go get the bird GENTLY and retrieve it for my dad. Yeah….so I had to run all over the yard with the dog in tow, and teach him to gingerly pick up the bird and take it back. It took days and days. Now, it makes sense to me now that it took so long. Dog training doesn’t happen overnight, but oh my goodness, I was convinced my dad was punishing me for something that I didn’t know he knew about or for something that he thought I may do in the future. But, I did get in top physical condition that summer and I had a fantastic tan.

As an adult I’ve had my share of pets. I outgrew my nonsensical fear of cats and I’ve had quite a few now. Some I paid for and others were strays that my kids brought home. I’ve had Plato, Socrates, Cloud, Barbie, Hank and Oreo. The kids have had hamsters and fish and the occasional turtle. And I’ve had 2 Labrador Retrievers; Storm, a black Lab and Brie, my chocolate. Now we have Stella, our shelter pup. She’s a Shiba Inu/Collie mix and she just turned 4.

I truly love all of the animals I’ve had but I can’t help but dream of owning some exotic pets.  Like a monkey/gorilla/chimp…..gorillas are one of my most favorite animals. They are so smart and human like and they’re just beautiful. Yes, I know they are dangerous and that owning one is not a good idea….I’m just saying….they’re really really cool. And, I’ve always wanted to adopt a manatee. They have those programs where you send money and they send you a photo of a manatee that you are supposedly supporting. I’ve never been able to convince my hubby that it’s a good plan….but manatees are cute. They look like squishy crescent rolls that swim. And recently I saw photos of these baby hippos. Have you seen these guys? Oh my gosh they are adorable. I even think the pot-bellied pigs are kinda cool.

I only have one creature that absolutely can NOT under any circumstances live in my home AND I like to pretend they aren’t even anywhere near my home…..snakes. Can’t do it. I am terrified. The scenario with the kitten when I was 5?……magnify that times a million, add in a panic attack followed by a fatal heart attack and that’s what you would get if you paired me with a snake. TERRIFIED. I don’t even do well looking at pictures of snakes in books. I realize that my fear may be a wee bit irrational – but I don’t care. It is what it is. At least I can admit that there’s something I’m really afraid of.

So tell me….on this National Pet Owners Day, what have been some of your favorite pets? And, what are some odd ones that you would own if you could?