Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Try Something New Tuesday: Live Deliberately

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately..." WALDEN by Henry David Thoreau

InkPaperPen has a great prompt this week, but my mind wandered off after it saw this phrase. I may not have written to the prompt. However, I did write.




Sometimes my silly is easy, like here.
Sometimes it is
forced to hide my pain.


I think this is what I have been trying to do for the last year, live deliberately. I also think the frustration I sometimes feel overwhelms me because I don't know how to live deliberately and effortlessly. I seem almost manic to keep busy and moving and not tarrying because tarrying leads to thinking, which leads to missing and mourning, which directs my path to crawling under the covers to retreat to my shell.

I want to be one of those people that you sit back and say, "Wow! She's so spontaneous and full of life." I wish my middle name was adventure, mystery or intrigue.

In my research, I found a site that asked 7 questions in order to help you find the joy of living deliberately:

  1. What is important to you?
  2. In a given situation, what are your choices?
  3. What are the consequences of your choices?
  4. Which is better: talking about it or doing it?
  5. Do you see a gap between your choices and what is important to you? (The bigger the gap, the more regret you will feel).
  6. If it all goes wrong, will you still be content that you did it?
  7. Are you tolerant of others' choices?
I learned from reading this article that it is not about planning and plotting every move in life. I also learned that it is not about letting life just happen to you. I need to weigh what is priority to me against the choices I have and the actions I take.

Have you chosen your lifestyle? Or has it chosen you?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Felted Sweater Craftiness--Purses!

Named for my favorite book nerd, the Sosie
 bag can be used as a tote for books, crafts,
or as a Eco-friendly shopping bag.
While looking for patterns of purses that I could crochet and felt, I stumbled upon a neat idea...use 100% wool sweaters from thrift stores. It's called "upcycling" if you're hip like that. I call it genius because the Goodwill and Salvation Army thrift stores have already washed the donations in hot water and dried them on high heat just to kill any cooties. They are all five sizes to small and what toddler would stand to be dressed in scratchy wool? Here are my creations from this weekend! MyMama has claimed the Blue Gayla and my IPad is cozy in the Jeremy. Let me know if you want one of the others! Read the next post to get the how-to!

SPECIAL NOTE: I have a plan to make some felted sweater footie socks and call them Mike...I just ran out of time and wool sweaters!

Probably my favorite new craft, the Gayla purse is fully lined and
has an inner pocket for your cell. The lining is made from patterned shirts

Grey Gayla Purse


Jeremy IPad Envelope
This swanky iPad envelope is an upcycled felted wool sweater.
 I embroidered the argyle pattern to give it texture. It's named
Jeremy for my techno-cool brother of the heart.


I named this one Annie for my soul sista, Mrs. Berryhill.

Felted Sweater Craftiness

Start with a felted sweater
(100% wool washed in hot water
and dried and ironed on high heat).



















Cut the arms and neckline out
to make the handles of the bag.




















Sew the bottom of the sweater
closed to create the floor of the bag.



















Use the excess material to create
a pretty floral design. I also used
one of the sweater's cuff to
make an inside pocket, using
fabric glue to adhere.




















Friday, January 27, 2012

Photo Challenge: Day 5 and 8--Two Birds, One Stone

High angles and bad habits. No, people, I have quit. I fall down every now and again, but I work at it everyday.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Photo Challenge: Day 4--Something Green

Oh yarn is so pretty I just can't resist!

Thursdays are Happiness Reports: 502 Brain Error

I am convinced migraines are just your brain's version of 502 errors. Wanna know my other crazy explanations?

  • Getting lost going somewhere you know how to get to but just flubbed it? 400 Bad File Request--Usually means the syntax used in the URL is incorrect (e.g., uppercase letter should be lowercase letter; wrong punctuation marks).
  • Dialing the wrong telephone number? 401 Unauthorized--server looking for some encryption key from the client and is not getting it. Also, wrong password may have been entered.
  • Forgetting your alarm code or fiddling with every key on your chain and being stuck outside? 403 Forbidden/Access Denied--Similar to 401; special permission needed to access the site -- a password and/or user name if it is a registration issue. Other times you may not have the proper permissions set up on the server or the site's administrator just doesn't want you to be able to access the site.
  • Brain Farts? 408 Request Timed Out--Client stopped the request before the server finished retrieving it. A user will either hit the stop button, close the browser, or click on a link before the page loads.
  • Migraines? 502 Service Temporarily Overloaded--Server congestion; too many connections; high traffic.
  • Knocking on your significant other's door only to have find out they moved without telling you? 503 Service Unavailable--Server busy, site may have moved ,or you lost your dial-up

I wish I could say I overcame my 502 Brain Issue and found some happiness through boosted energy this week. However, the laundry is strewn throughout the upstairs bedrooms, the chores are not being done and I spend every moment not at work under a blanket, seeking dark cool places. You know it's a bad one when you are begging your husband to drill just a tiny hole in your skull to relieve the pressure just a smidge. We will take off with marriage and love happiness next week. Since he won't commit brain surgery, it's not looking good for him.

Thank you for continuing to support this little bit of crazy each day! Visit my blog each Thursday to see how My Happiness Project is going! Here's the plan by month so far:

  • January--BOOST ENERGY
  • February--REMEMBER LOVE MARRIAGE
  • March--AIM HIGHER WORK
  • April--LIGHTEN UP PARENTHOOD
  • May--BE SERIOUS ABOUT PLAY
  • June--MAKE TIME FOR FRIENDS
  • July--BUY SOME HAPPINESS
  • August--CONTEMPLATE THE HEAVENS
  • September--PURSUE A PASSION
  • October--PAY ATTENTION
  • November--KEEP A CONTENTED HEART
  • December--BOOT CAMP PERFECT HAPPINESS

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Welcome Back Write on Wednesdays! Agent Chin-Wag

InkPaperPen brought us back last week, but something...I don't remember...kept me at bay. Here's this week's prompt (oops! I went over time). Ding!

The Write on Wednesday Spark: Agent Chin- WagPay attention to the conversations around you: at the dinner table, in the supermarket, while DVD Returning, wherever. You are looking for one line, one tiny sentence of dialogue. You may find your words lurking in a D&M or perhaps you will choose a phrase from everyday chatter. Write down your line. Use it to inspire your Write on Wednesday post. Keep your post on the short side: up to 500 words OR a 5 minute stream of consciousness exercise. Link your finished piece to the list and begin popping by the other links. Oh and enjoy.
There are certain phrases that our little family of three has adopted either from favorite TV shows or commercials or just the everyday crazy sass (TWSS). We have "milk-a-what" from a SuperBowl commercial two or three years ago. "I appreciate ya'" is a Papa James original."I love you, Moore" and "ROGUE NUT!" (or fill in NUT with anything escaping across the counter) matriculate from our dear, sweet Aunt Gayla.  This last one is one that always catches me tickled, especially when Darling Daughter dishes it out. Here's how this little ditty came to be.

What would be the odds that I could find the
photo of that day...taken immediately after she
spoke those fateful words..."ROGUE NUT!"

"ROGUE NUT!" Gayla hollered as she maneuvered the serving bar in her fancy shoes to catch the cashew that was hurling itself toward the other side of the bar to dive to its demise on the floor below. In Sister's mind a wasted cashew was sacrilege. She and Darling Daughter, Gayla's niece favorita, giggled and exchanged knowing looks.

DD had heard the stories of fallen hot dogs at the horse races that were still consumed (10 second rule and a little bud light) and last dinner rolls licked on every side by multiple claimants only to be devoured still. Although my germa-phobe self could never stomach such tomfoolery, I think we as the children of our there-are-starving-children-in-China parents subconsciously believed their threat and made sure we didn't waste a bite. I also think that our immune systems are so strong because we never get ooged out by much.

That scene was at a wedding shower a year before we lost Sister. The night she died, Hubby Dearest had bought a cookie for me from a Sleazy Mart on our way home in hopes that I would eat something. Unfortunately, HD fumbled the cookie, and it fell to the asphalt. Without thinking, Chad lunged for the cookie, yelling, "ROGUE COOKIE!" He gasped at his faux pas and immediately worried I might break down finally. I just giggled through my tears, picked up the cookie and popped it in my mouth in memory of my lost sister. I then immediately spat it out because there was something wet on it. Gag!

Despite my one failed attempt on the wild side, the phrase "Rogue ______!" seems to make its way into our lives every day. Yesterday it was rogue french fry (let the dogs have it). The day before it was rogue crochet needle (watch out...they stab). We have had escaping food, fish (live trying to free themselves from the boat), dishes, and one nephew (I caught him before he rolled to the floor thank goodness). Sometimes I "accidentally" drop a cashew so I can say, "Rogue nut!" and grab it up before it gets gross.





Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Camera Challenge: Day 3--Clouds

It looks like?

Photo Challenge: Day 2--What You Wore Today

More like what I wish I could find to wear today...
i want a cute rainboot!
no plain ole yellow will suit
i would dance in the rain
and be able to do it again and again.
my feet would be toasty
and i would be boasty.
for my cute rainboot
would dry keep my foot!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Photo Challenge Day 1: Self Portrait

So I found a neato photography challenge on pinterest last month, and Darling Daughter has hit the ground running with it. I have been telling her for a week that I would join in. Only running a little behind but here it is...my self portrait.

Because I am Made Up of All Those I Love...

I truly do hate photos of me so this was a bit of a challenge, which totally explains why I have been dragging my feet getting started. Nevertheless, it hit me last night as I was mentally doing the Sunday-night-can't-sleep-checklist that I would like to make my self portrait out of all the pictures of me together...a multi-photo collage self-portrait. Once again, I googled and you-tubed my way to this creation. I imagine if I hadn't had to high jack low-res photos from my facebook, then this would have been clearer.

Step 1: In photoshop, open all of the photos you want to use.
Step 2: Create a new photoshop picture (I began with an 8 in x 8in 72 dpi transparent canvas)
Step 3: Within each photo that you opened in step 1, crop and reduce the size to 1 in x 1 in and 72 dpi...you can be uniform or freeform on whether you stick to 1x1.
Step 4: Once the desired size is reached in each photo, copy and close the photo without saving. Then paste your copy into Step 2's new empty photoshop document, lining the photos up in rows and columns.
Step 5: Merge all layers and crop out any open space once you have the collage the way you want it.
Step 6: Open the photo you want to overlay the collage onto to be the portrait. Copy and paste the main photo onto a new layer in the collage document and move that layer behind the collage layer.
Step 7: Select the collage layer, which should now be on top, and use the opacity toggle to allow the main photo to shine through. I chose about 20% opacity for mine.
Step 8: Once you have it the way you want, merge the layers and save.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Radiance

Sister, Gayla
Forever in my heart.
The radiance of the sunshine as it set seemed out of place as I stood in the middle of my parents' four acres to get better signal. A cold sweat mingled with the warm tears, and they trickled down my face as my mind raced around the ugly truth that tasted like salt coating my mouth. Had that man really just said my sister was gone? How had I gotten to this place, and why was I on my knees in the muddy, just-watered lawn? The luminescence of her smile lost forever became a glare on my heart and soul that horrible March day last year.

Kay Bailey Hutchison, SHAME SHAME SHAME

Oh soap box, I apologise for over-using you this week. I promise to come off my high horse for a titch next week...it is the season of politics so you can just expect to be put upon a little more this year. You're just lucky Govy-Poo pulled out of the race yesterday...it was about to get UNCOMFORTABLE up in here!

Earlier this week, I called on my friends to write to the powers that be and encourage them to get behind the legislation to ban and punish distracted driving. I received a response from Kay Bailey Hutchison's camp, and it rubbed me all kinds of wrong.

Dear Friend:
     Thank you for contacting me regarding the hazards of cellular phone use while driving. I appreciate hearing from you on this important matter.
     As the former Vice Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, and as  current Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, I consider road safety a high priority.   The input I receive from Texans helps me better represent Texas in the United States Senate, and I am grateful for your suggestions.
     Many aspects of transportation policy are determined at the state and local levels.  Since this issue is not under the jurisdiction of the federal government, I recommend you contact your state senator or representative in Austin.  You can find information about the state government at http://www.texas.gov.
     I appreciate hearing from you, and I hope that you will not hesitate to contact me on any issue that is important to you.

Sincerely,

Kay Bailey Hutchison
United States Senator
284 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC  20510
202-224-5922 (tel)
202-224-0776 (fax)
http://hutchison.senate.gov

Since this made me feel like I slid down a cheese grater into a vat of lemon juice, I had to respond! They really need a marketing coordinator to help them with a public image issue, in my opinion (and you know the saying about opinions and lower orafices).

Dear Senator Hutchison,

I sent you a detailed letter of request as one of your constituents. I am not naive enough to think you actually read it but one of your employees took care of it for you. Therefore, I guess I should address this to him/her.

FYI, especially when a constituent writes about a sensistive issue, including information about the death of their loved one, DO NOT SEND THE NORMAL FORM LETTER and DO NOT ADDRESS THE CONSTITUENT AS "FRIEND"!!!! If in fact we were "friends," then you would eat your shoe before you sent me a form letter of pass the buck to someone else when I told you about the death of my only sister!!!! You assume too much, and since you are from Texas, I am sure you've heard the old phrase about what assuming does.

Your response was shallow and showed me exactly what I mean to this "friendship." NOTHING! You won't be re-elected by my vote or the votes of anyone I share this with.

Sincerely disgruntled,
Jaimee

Registered Voter

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thursdays are Happiness Reports: Week 3 January

Hello, my name is Jaimee, and I am a passive aggressive personality.


Hi, Jaimee!


Yesterday, my therapist and I started exploring a goal for me this year. We decided on setting boundaries. How are the two related, you ask? Answer: I am passive almost all of the time except when I've had enough and feel so violated that I flip a switch and become irate or pouty. Then I put up a wall that lets no one in until I have created a vacant existence of loneliness so I cycle back down into passiveness to please everyone. See the circle? It just keeps going over and over.


You know the definition of insanity? Expecting a different outcome even though you continue to do the same thing over and over again.


How do boundaries help? By its very definition, a boundary is a property line around you, inside and out...it's what makes us unique in our emotions, hopes, dreams, opinions, values, etc. The boundary marks us off as "private property." If you have boundaries clearly defined, then no one can trespass, and if they do, then you can only control how you react...hopefully appropriately.


First issue...I am afraid of saying "NO" to anyone. The notes I am reading from Dr. John Townsend's interview about boundaries nails my issue right on the head. I feel if I say "NO" to anyone, then it would result in the loss of that relationship.


Now you're asking, what does this have to do with boosting energy? My mental state plays a big part in my physical state. If I am feeling fearful about losing a relationship, disappointing someone or being controlled by him/her, then I just crawl into my shell and hide out...literally and figuratively (no, I don't have a giant tortoise shell in my closet, but have considered finding one. For this literal translation, the mound of covers on my bed and the 4 million pillows I stack around me will suffice.). Now that we KNOW what's the problem (GI JOE said that's half the battle), we can work on it. This is where the people pleaser in my says, "So please, please, please, please don't hate me if I tell you 'No' in the near future."

[APPLAUSE FROM THE SUPPORT GROUP]

Boundary: maintain my dignity, honor myself and others, interact respectfully, say "No."
Mantra: "I can stay in the relationship, express who I am, and still be loved."

Thank you for continuing to support this little bit of crazy each day! Visit my blog each Thursday to see how My Happiness Project is going! Here's the plan by month so far:

  • January--BOOST ENERGY
  • February--REMEMBER LOVE MARRIAGE
  • March--AIM HIGHER WORK
  • April--LIGHTEN UP PARENTHOOD
  • May--BE SERIOUS ABOUT PLAY
  • June--MAKE TIME FOR FRIENDS
  • July--BUY SOME HAPPINESS
  • August--CONTEMPLATE THE HEAVENS
  • September--PURSUE A PASSION
  • October--PAY ATTENTION
  • November--KEEP A CONTENTED HEART
  • December--BOOT CAMP PERFECT HAPPINESS

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Calling All Friends (AGAIN)

NOTE: MY 12-HOUR BOYCOTT OF THE INTERNET ENDED AT 7:20 P.M.

Dear Friends, Family, and Fans,

I implore you to write to your state and federal representatives to request that they get involved with passing legislation to outlaw distracted driving and to institute consequences similar to those of driving while under the influence. Below is most of the letter I have sent to my representatives and senators. Feel free to become a C.A.S.E worker and Copy And Steal Everything!


Dear _______________,
I wish I could share a photo with you so you could see the beautiful smile of my sister, Gayla. That smile, dear sir, was the most amazing amount of sunshine within a gorgeous soul the world could ever imagine. I speak in hyperbole because to understand the depth of the chasm of pain our family, friends and I now suffer, you must first understand the immense joy we had in our lives when Gayla was here.

[PARAGRAPH DESCRIBING SISTER'S DEATH; MAKE THIS PART YOUR OWN] 

Distracted driving is the main contributing factor for more than 8,000 automobile accidents EVERY DAY. In 2010, more than 33,000 deaths of the 1 million lives lost in the last 25 years were because of automobile accidents. What else does AAA (triple A) have to say for distracted driving? "Drivers spend more than half their time behind the wheel engaged in distracted behavior. Using a cell phone while driving quadruples your risk of crashing. Eating, smoking, adjusting music or rubbernecking while driving can be just as dangerous as texting, emailing or talking on a cell phone. Passengers are one of the most frequently reported causes of distraction, with young children being four times more distracting than adults and infants being eight times more distracting."
The official US Government website for addressing distracted driving can be found at www.distraction.gov, and it states, "Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety."

I cannot encourage you enough, __________________! Don't let distractions get in the way of you driving safely; but also, it is time for Texas to pass legislation outlawing distracted driving, including consequences similar to those of driving while under the influence in these instances. My sister didn't have to die at the age of 38. Gayla was supposed to live to be really old. She was supposed to get to see her niece and nephews grow up and be a part of their lives. Also, no parent should have to outlive their child. It is the cruelest torment to endure. I implore you to get involved with legislature that would help prevent this type of tragedy for some other family.

Sincerely,

_______________________

I'm Smart But Not Smart Enough

Consider this a 503 Error from the not-so-tech-savvy...shoo! Take an Internet break today. Www.sopastrike.com

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Try Something New Tuesdays: Gelish Week 2

UPDATED: 4/29/2012--Before you opt in, check out March Good Housekeeping..."Four Risks of Gel Manicures."


Week 2

Well, that was short-lived. Gelish is no more on my nails. I can say that up until I had two nails break off violently, the gel nail polish looked as glossy and pristine as the day it was done. However, because the polish is so good at looking good, it's also almost indestructible, which means when your nail is met with an immovable force, the nail must move. OUCHIE!

Week 1

Gel nail polish. Sold to me as, "You wanna try this new gel nail polish? It dries instantly, prevents chipping and breaking, makes your nails stronger, and the polish stays glossy. I have one that will match your OPI color perfectly."

How much more than a normal manicure? $30 vs. $15 Sure! Why not! If it lasts twice as long, then it's paid for itself.

"What is this new wonder product you speak of, Aunt J-Me?" you ask.

The online descriptions are thus:

The consistent quality, unique colors and varying textures of Gelish nail polish is what makes these nail art products one-of-a-kind. Bringing the elements of harmony, performance and style together into one product, Gelish soak off gel polishes are a fabulous solution for nail artists looking for a stylish, easy-to-use polish to use at home or in the salon. bigdaddybeauty.com (1/10/12)

New from Hand & Nail Harmony comes Gelish Color Gels. The gels come in an array of colors, apply like polish, with twist cap and applicator, but are cured in a LED lamp in 30 seconds or in two minutes in traditional UV lamps, just like gels. Gelish stays on nails for three weeks with no chipping or peeling, and soak completely off in only 15 minutes. nailharmony.com (1/10/12) [PRODUCER OF GELISH]

REVIEW: After seven days of grueling wedding preparations, running around like a chicken out of hell (mixed euphemisms?) and such, my nails look like I just left the salon, save the 1/16" of growth at the cuticle. My favorite part was walking out of the salon quickly and not worrying one iota about hairprints, smudging and the like. I'll do an update for the next four weeks to see if the maker's claims are accurate. As to the claim from the nail technician that Gelish Rendezvous is a match for OPI Romeo and Joliet...DING! DING! DING!

How do you find a nail salon that uses Gelish? NO CLUE! I Forest Gumped my way into Nail Elite (500 W Southlake Blvd., Ste. 128, Southlake, Texas) while sitting in traffic on my way to Sosie's rehearsal last week.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Soap Box: Distracted Driving

Me and Gayla in 2010
Sister was my biggest fan, and I am still in search
of how she hung the moon so perfectly.
Do you see that beautiful smile on the right? That, friends, is the most amazing amount of sunshine within a gorgeous soul the world could ever imagine. I speak in hyperbole because to understand the depth of this chasm of pain our family, friends and I now suffer, you must first understand the immense joy we had in our lives when Gayla was here.

It has been almost a year since Sister was killed. I am dreading March 19 as much as I dreaded her birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas this past year because without her, happy times are just too sad to describe in words. Even when I lived in New York in 2000, I never went more than a couple of months without seeing my sister, and now a year has become an eternity without her. Every day it feels like this hole in my heart just gets bigger and bigger. If time heals all wounds, then time needs to get on with the program, Friends.

For those who may not be aware, Gayla was killed by a distracted driver. He told the authorities he looked down to put his tractor trailer back into gear as he down shifted in stalled and sluggish traffic rather than braking. No one was in that 18-wheeler's cab so we will never know if this is true or if there might have been a cellular device involved or even a moment to look down to find a new radio station or balance a toppling coffee cup while dashboard dining. Regardless, that truck driver was doing something that distracted him from his job...driving his rig safely. He plowed into the rear of Sister's little mid-sized sedan sending her barreling into a wire guardrail. The impact broke her neck and killed her instantly and robbed this family of our Gayla.

Distracted driving is the main contributing factor for more than 8,000 automobile accidents EVERY DAY. In 2010, more than 33,000 deaths of the 1 million lives lost in the last 25 years were because of automobile accidents. What else does AAA (triple A) have to say for distracted driving?

  • Drivers spend more than half their time behind the wheel engaged in distracted behavior.
  • Using a cell phone while driving quadruples your risk of crashing.
  • Eating, smoking, adjusting music or rubbernecking while driving can be just as dangerous as texting, emailing or talking on a cell phone.
  • Passengers are one of the most frequently reported causes of distraction, with young children being four times more distracting than adults and infants being eight times more distracting.
The official US Government website for addressing distracted driving can be found at www.distraction.gov, and it states, "Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety."

TAKE THE PLEDGE! I cannot encourage you enough! Don't let distractions get in the way of you driving safely. Even if you are a master multi-tasker, don't risk your life or the lives of others while driving. The fight to end distracted driving starts with you. Make the commitment to drive phone-free today.

Distracted driving kills and injures thousands of people each year. I pledge to:

Friday, January 13, 2012

Crochet: Broomstick Lace Pattern

Darling Daughter is the perfect model!
As a joke or in all seriousness, Hubby Dearest gave me a book, I Taught Myself to Crochet, for my birthday in November. I love the little tools that came with the book and am not fully sure how most of them work. However, the best part of the whole bit was finding a beautiful, wispy, Oh-gosh-that-is-so-pretty-it-must-be-super-complicated stitch...the Broomstick Lace.


Reading the book, Sosie beat herself up for an entire night learning the stitch. I tried for a week to decipher the instructions. BLAH! Who needs that when there's YouTube. I watched two videos, and ten minutes later I was knocking it out. I was so excited with my practice swatch that Hubby Dearest ran to Wallyworld in search of a broomstick that I could take with me anywhere. His genius...the handle of a toilet plunger (new, never used for its intended purpose...gack!).



Supplies: Crochet Hook, Broomstick, Yarn, Three Hands
or two and your knees and armpits.
Here are the directions according to my crazy way of doing things:


1. Chain in multiples of five, four or three...I chained 25 for this lovely Baby Alpaca (not baby seal, Chad) scarf.

2. On your last chain, pull the loop around your broomstick, plunger handle or very, very, very large knitting needle.


3. Then go into all 25 chains, yarn over and pull the loop through, using the plunger handle to hold your loops. If you fancy a blanket instead of a scarf, you may need the broomstick to hold them all. The wrap I am also working on has 255 instead of 25 and it's only a couple of feet wide. Also, you may see that you need three hands to make all this happen. It's not very lady like (sorry Mama) but I hold the plunger handle with my knees (TWSS, Sosie) while pulling the loops through.

Grab 5 loops

4. From my knees to my arm pit...I place the plunger handle under my armpit to hold it in place for the next step. Okay, you should have 25 loops on your plunger. Slide your crochet needle into the first five loops on the handle and gently pull them off all together. Yarn over the end of your crochet needle and pull through all five loops to single crochet. Repeat this five more times. You should have a little arch on top of your twisted pretty pretty.

Work in multiples of 5, 4 or 3...

5. Repeat step 4 for the rest of the line.

6. For the next row you repeat step 3, pulling yarn through the arch row (you can go through only the front or only the back or both the front and back...your preference).

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thursdays are Happiness Reports: Week 2 of January

I have to say that living out of an organized closet has had so many positive effects on my happiness. It's like a stream of consciousness with actions and reactions.

1. I like the few outfits I kept and put together so I feel more confident after getting ready in the morning, which is super fast now.

2. Because I am super fast getting ready, I am eating breakfast at home or at the office and avoiding the drive through.

3. No drive through gives me more money to buy bouji bouji yarn for crocheting, which makes me feel classy.

4. I feel classy, which also leads to me putting more effort into my health and appearance.

5. Because I am feeling better physically, I don't just become a lump on the couch when I get home, and chores are getting done without struggle. I am also making dinner, which keeps us out of the drive through in the evenings, which gives us more money as a family!

6. Keeping the house tidy, cooking dinner and saving money gives me peace of mind so I can rest at night.

7. Resting at night makes me pop out of bed in the morning.

8. Because I get up feeling rested, I am working to keep the organization in my closet.

Steps I worked in this week that I got from Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project: finding a chore that takes about ten minutes and knocking it out right before I go to bed...great peace of mind and sense of accomplishment.

Thank you for continuing to support this little bit of crazy each day! Visit my blog each Thursday to see how My Happiness Project is going! Here's the plan by month so far:

  • January--BOOST ENERGY
  • February--REMEMBER LOVE MARRIAGE
  • March--AIM HIGHER WORK
  • April--LIGHTEN UP PARENTHOOD
  • May--BE SERIOUS ABOUT PLAY
  • June--MAKE TIME FOR FRIENDS
  • July--BUY SOME HAPPINESS
  • August--CONTEMPLATE THE HEAVENS
  • September--PURSUE A PASSION
  • October--PAY ATTENTION
  • November--KEEP A CONTENTED HEART
  • December--BOOT CAMP PERFECT HAPPINESS 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Write on Wednesdays: Ready to Write!

One of my favorite memes, InkPaperPen's Write on Wednesdays is still on vacay, and I miss it terribly. Therefore, I created my own prompt for this week, set my timer for five minutes and voila! Ding!

Zig Ziglar, American author and motivational speaker, has some of the best quotes to encourage and inspire. Some make you think and then laugh at his point. CLICK HERE to find a quote you can write about. Put your quote at the top of your entry, set your timer for five minutes and WRITE!

I would put a linky thingy up for everyone to link to but I am still figuring that out! Feel free to post your link in the comments of this post, and I will visit and read!

“People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing--that's why we recommend it daily.”    ― Zig Ziglar

In the last few years, one might say I have lacked in motivation so much so that Ziggy might say I stank of it. Honestly, I thought that losing my ability to birth chitlins, regardless of the health I gained with that loss, was my undoing. It wasn't until losing myGayla last March did I really know what would be my undoing. It also wasn't till this tragedy turned my life upside down and inside out that I was motivated to really start living every single day. I completely own and admit that there are more days than not where I want to crawl under the blankets and stay there. However, I make myself get up; I make myself get ready; and I make myself get going. From there, I have no choice but to keep moving forward (thank you Liz for that reminder). So that it is not a completely miserable existence (kinda like making up car games on a long road trip), I turn to this blog and my little crazy daily adventures to keep it interesting. Like a daily bath keeps your pits and crevices from reeking, your daily adventure (small or large) keeps your life from stinking. Ding!

Venture out today! Come by and tell me all about it! I am going to find a Zumba class to take and see if I like it.

Monday, January 9, 2012

These are the Friends You Grow Old With...



Way back last spring, as I sat in the dark theater laughing hysterically at the comedic genius of Bridesmaids, one of my dear friends leaned over to whisper, "We are SO doing this for Sosie's wedding!" By "this" he was referring to the speech scene where Kristen Wiig and Rose Byrne's characters are trying to one-up each other's heart-felt bridesmaid speech during the engagement party.

After months of enthusiastically talking about it, it was three days before the big day when Mikey texted me, "You should write all of our speeches!" First draft went out later that day and got not a peep of response. When I saw M and J later that night, I asked if I was really not that funny. J told me that although we would get it, it would lose the rest of the audience and possibly offend most of them. Draft two was sketched together in a brainstorm, and we were set. Three hours later, the maid of honor and minor aged bridesmaid wanted in...REWRITE. I was getting excited writing for everyone and scripting in not only the words but the drama to unfold.

The morning of the wedding, I sat in my make-up, fancy hair and sweat suit, tapping a pen against my teeth trying to picture the scene. This is what I wrote:

Maid of Honor, Sister A delivers real, heart-felt speech.

Aunt J-Me: Some of my favorite memories with Sosie are those created on our many vacations. In 2004, we cruised to Mexico and were all intrigued by all of Sosie's talk of her new man, Flanagan, or as I call him, Flan-the-Man! I learned this for the two of you: Ustedes son una parte de mi, una parte que yo nunca podria vivir sin. Y espero y rezo para que nunca tenga que hacer lo."

Sister A: Thank you, "Consuela." We always felt left our when our family would speak in Spanish too. What J-Me said was, "You are a part of me, a part I could never live without. And I hope and pray that I never have to." Next we have J who wants to say something.

J-Man: Sosie, Flanagan, I didn't learn a second language for you but wanted you to know what is in my heart (long pause)...truly (long pause)...deeply (long pause, intent stare)...so far buried down (long pause, deeper meaningful stare)...deep...in...my...soul...(deep breath) I love you.

Minor Sister A and Sister A struggle with mic and big sister backs down: IT'S MY TURN! <recover, smile sweetly> Sosie, Fangman...I believe we have such a connection that y'all know all I am feeling just with a look...<stare at them intently and awkwardly for as long as you can hold it without laughing>.

Sister A : SCARY! Thank you so much for that <smile sweetly>. Well, let's wrap this up with M-Man, who has written a poem for this occasion.

M-Man: Because I am such a poet...Sosie, Flanagan, this is for you..."I know this pain, why do you lock yourself up in these chains, No one can change your life except for you..."

Sister A : Uh...you know that's a song, M...not a poem that you wrote. DJ? Hit it!

Entire bridal part sings along to Wilson Phillips Hold On and attempts to get the rest of the guests to join us singing and dancing.

We didn't write a part in for the kiddos to distract but they added their own brand of entertainment to it. GREATEST BRIDESMAID SPEECHES EVER!

Video courtesy of Darling Daughter...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Thursdays are Happiness Reports: Week One January

Boosting Energy--hard to do when you are in the throws of depression while balancing life moving forward with or without you. Step one...sleep. I do have to say that I have made a more conscious effort to go to bed by 11 p.m. this week and it has made the mornings so much easier.

I also spent New Years morning cleaning out my closet and organizing my outfit choices into sets for each day (I did stop just short of labeling them with the day and color-coding the hangers with multi-colored dots matched up with undergarments and such--give an OCD-er some credit! That doesn't mean that I didn't contemplate it). This little feat of organization has granted me an extra 20 minutes each morning of not having to decide what to wear...so I use that 20 minutes to blow dry my hair and slap a little make up on (FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT, BABY!). I also use the time to fix myself breakfast at home instead of driving through or skipping all together.

On the organizing front, I used the PILES Method: Put Away, Throw Away, Give Away, Mama-You're-Gonna-Love-This! Once it was all separated. I organized the Put Away as stated above, put all my shoes in clear plastic containers on shelves, and used the Pinterest idea to hang hand bags on those crappy store hangers. Throw away was easy...one garbage bag in the dumpster. Give away took a little more effort on my part, I lugged three bags of donations down to my car, which inspired Hubby Dearest to grab several more from the attic and throw them in the mix saying, "Since you are going..." My Mama pile is ready for her visit this weekend. Ding!

Coming up next week--to-dos-done (including "engineering easy success"), act the way I want to feel (fake-it-till-u-make-it), and organizing another room or two in the house (I am kinda itching to attack Darling Daughter's "office"). I learned a new word on that front--Sisyphean, a task such that it can never be completed.

Thank you for continuing to support this little bit of crazy each day! Visit my blog each Thursday to see how My Happiness Project is going! Here's the plan by month so far:
  • January--BOOST ENERGY
  • February--REMEMBER LOVE MARRIAGE
  • March--AIM HIGHER WORK
  • April--LIGHTEN UP PARENTHOOD
  • May--BE SERIOUS ABOUT PLAY
  • June--MAKE TIME FOR FRIENDS
  • July--BUY SOME HAPPINESS
  • August--CONTEMPLATE THE HEAVENS
  • September--PURSUE A PASSION
  • October--PAY ATTENTION
  • November--KEEP A CONTENTED HEART
  • December--BOOT CAMP PERFECT HAPPINESS

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tough Cookies--A Letter to the CEO of GSUSA

Dear Kathy Cloninger, CEO, Girl Scouts of the United States of America:

In your book, Tough Cookies: Leadership Lessons from 100 Years of the Girl Scouts, you wrote, "If we in the United States want our girls to be confident in themselves and make the most of their inborn potential, we need to wake up to roadblocks we're putting in their way as they try to grow up into their real selves." What if some of those roadblocks are being put in place by GSUSA? What if the voices of girls raised in the Girl Scout Way are being ignored by the very organization that's supposed to be their proponent? What if, in requests to the council CEO and board, the response to our requests is, "Tough Cookies?"

For more than a year, my sister-in-law, Packer, a leader in Girl Scouting, a lifetime Girl Scout, and lifetime member of GSUSA, has been pleading with the Diamond Council in Arkansas to hear her concerns for the girl scouts, the leaders and the properties that formerly made up the Conifer Council. The needs of these young women and their leaders are not being met by the newly formed Diamond Council with regard to programming at the council level. Nor has the usual training for their leaders been as thorough as it was with the Conifer Council (only three training sessions offered in Texarkana from September to December 2011). Now, as if to add injury to insult, it has been decided by a "Board," without inquiry to their constituents, that the Camp High Point Property in Mena, Arkansas, will not be offering summer resident programming for the first time since it opened in 1946. To me, this is unacceptable at any juncture but especially on the 100th anniversary of the GSUSA. 

Denise Stewart, CEO of Girl Scouts--Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas stated in an e-mail to Packer, "There was not a lot of discussion about this issue [not offering resident programming at Camp High Point]." Packer and I both admit that we have not been privy to the "facts and figures" that lead the board to make their decisions (in fact, the Annual Report that is supposed to be on the council's web site, is missing). Nevertheless, when such monumental decisions are made, shouldn't the voice of our girls and their leaders be taken seriously? Shouldn't we honor their opinions and give them an opportunity to find solutions? Shouldn't discussion be more than "not a lot?"

Packer has weathered the last three years during the merger and reorganization of GSUSA and continued to lead our troop of girls the way Juliette Lowe would have dreamed. I foresee her always being a girl scout because it is part of who she is. However, I am speaking up for her and our girls because no one should devote as much time to something they love as Packer loves Girl Scouting and feel like it breaks her heart and tears at her soul in return for her devotion. I have no suggestions for how to help Packer and the Girl Scouts of the New Boston, Hooks, and Texarkana area. I just wanted you to know that there are girls and women invested in Girl Scouting who are not having their needs met or their voices heard.

Sincerely,
Jaimee
Girl Scout and Mother and Sister to Girl Scouts