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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Completely Unentertaining Post!

Oh, how I hate writing things like these. You know when you forget to call your grandma for almost a month? Then you realize you forgot and tell yourself you'll call her tomorrow. A week goes by, but by then it's 11 o'clock at night. You don't want to wake grandma, so you tell yourself once again that you'll call her tomorrow. Rinse. Repeat. The more you put it off, the more you dread actually calling her. Finally you do and get a 15 minute long earful about how you never call. *sigh*

So, I'm sorry I haven't called, Grandma! I am also sorry I haven't cleaned out my storage unit, pre-paid for classes, emailed my professor a summer's worth of research & notes, called my actual grandma, started or completed any of the crafty things I wanted to do......

Procrastination has always been my number one flaw. If this were a Shakespearean play, it would ultimately cause my epic downfall. My procrastination has gotten me into so many messes, and I always want to put of digging myself out of them. It all turns into a vicious cycle that takes a huge toll on my self esteem. It's hard to feel good about myself with a mountain of things that I need to do, or should have done, on my shoulders. The mental weight is crushing!

Over the past 2 years, I have made a lot of progress, but I have quite a ways to go. So below is a general list of things to do. I hope to update you on my progress! Sometimes a little added accountability can help push me through. What helps you break the procrastination cycle?


Crap to do:

1. Compile research and email professor
2. Read stack of books & magazines beside my bed
3. Clear out my storage unit!
4. Rearrange furniture in bedroom (to make everything in my life more functional)
5. Crafty stuff!
6. List old clothes & kid clothes on Craigslist
7. Profit

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Gift Ideas for Single Moms

I composed this list after thinking about what I would like and polling my friends. We all agree that if we see one more bath salt, we're disowning you.

1: Flowers. This is simple, easy, kind like an Xmas gift card. But some people have allergies, would rather have something that lasts more than 3 days, and we all know how little thought they require.

2: Chocolates. These can be a great choice, if done well. First find out what kind of chocolates the mom in question likes. Moms would rather suggest something they would enjoy rather than be "surprised" by those nasty milk chocolate peanut butter bears.

3: Offers to Babysit: Who doesn't love a free night out? It can be hard for a single mom to get a girls night out. Dropping $40 on a babysitter isn't very much fun. You just need to FOLLOW THROUGH. Don't promise what you have no intention of delivering.



4: Electronics: If you have the cash to spend, an e-reader, tablet, ipod, etc all make wonderful Mother's Day presents. Just be mindful that some people my not be able to afford the monthly plans that come with some devices.

5: Gift Cards: Many women love shopping. The economic stress of being the sole family supporter can make fun trips to the mall (or Target!) a rare occurrence. Find out where they like to shop and pick them up a card! Extra points if they like Starbucks and you get them a GC for there.

6: Trip Packages: This goes with the electronics; something to give if you can afford to. Who wouldn't like a little get a way to a local destination. A night's stay at a beach hotel, trip to a spa, etc. Doesn't have to be just for mom. A trip to take with the kids is just as enjoyable for many moms!

7: Bath Stuff: This is with extreme caution. No one likes those bath packages you get at CVS. Seriously. We just throw it in a closet to give to people we don't like so much at Christmas time. Same goes for candles. Unless you know what brand & scent your mom likes, and if they even want bath stuff at all, go for the flowers.

8: Books, Movies, CDs: Always renting the same DVDs? Borrowing the same genre of books? Pick them up something they'll enjoy for the bestsellers list. Along with some popcorn or a nifty bookmark, you'll be in business.

9: Magazine Subscription: A whole year's worth of a magazine they love will be a great gift. Whether it's Real Simple, Marie Claire, etc. I'd stay away from Shape (what are you trying to say?) and Cosmo (that's just awkward!) This might not always work, since subscriptions can take up to 8 weeks to arrive.



10: Mimosas or Wine. Mommy juice at it's best. Of course, make sure you favorite mother drinks. A good middle of the road Chardonnay never made anyone angry. Or, try a Realising or Pinot Noir for something more trendy and bold. If you can, manage to snag one of those Mommy's Time Out or Mommy Juice wines. More bonus points for those wine juice boxes from Target. Best. Mommy. Picnic. Idea. Ever.




Things NOT to get a single mother for Mother's Day
1: Speed dating pass
2: Cosmetic anything (makeup, botox, surgery)
3: Cheap gifts from the drug store
4: Those silly little "coupons" for a back-rub, taking out the trash. It will just remind us how much you DON'T do any of those things.
5: Dinner at some over crowded, crappy, chain restaurant
6: Informational pamphlets.
7: Appliances & Tools
8: Anything else chore related
9: Little bears hugging tiny balloons; or any other stuffed animal/balloon combo
10: Books on how to get, keep, please a man. Dude, really? Who DOES that?!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy, and The Mommy

Right now, the only thing I have left is Santa Claus. In just one month, my daughter has found out about both the Tooth Fairy & the Easter Bunny. Darn, I thought this would all be later!

Some of our best conversations happen in the car on the way home from her preschool. One day, a classmate had lost a tooth and shared her story about the Tooth Fairy. The Girl asked me to explain the Tooth Fairy to her. I was about to when I made a snap judgement and told her the truth about the Tooth Fairy. I couldn't stand to perpetuate the tale of a magical little fairy that flies into children's bedrooms while they sleep, sneak the tooth from beneath their pillow, and give them a dollar. I didn't want to lie and try to make up the Tooth Fairy's motives for wanting to collect teeth (ew?) She took it surprisingly well, asked if the Tooth Fairy was just the mommy, and then asked if she could still get a dollar for each tooth. Mommy: 1. Tooth Fairy: 0.

On Easter, my sister brought over eggs to hide for our kids. Doing what any mom would do, I stashed them in my room until after dinner. At some point, The Girl went snooping and found the eggs. Very seriously she tapped me and said "Mommy, can I talk to you for a second" Once away from the crowd she asks me, "Mother (ooo, it's serious!), are you the Easter Bunny?" I stood there blankly and she followed up, "I found the eggs" (Wow, asking questions to which she already knows the answer. I'm impressed....and a little shocked.) I sigh and tell her, "Yes, the mommy is the Easter Bunny, too."

"Mommy, you lied, can you hide the eggs so I can find them now?"

It's going to be a long December.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Things I Will Never Take For Granted

Sleeping in
Cuddling with my daughter
Use of my right hand
Spring Flowers
Not having allergies
Having a yard
Living in a decent neighborhood
Fresh picked fruits & veggies
Gift of sight
Starbucks
Being able to run, even short distances, without excruciating pain
Trustworthy babysitters
Sidewalks
My smartphone
Not being in Libya
The Outer Banks
Good friends
Wild, sustainably caught fish
The wonder or traveling to a new city
Warm weather
Leaving the house with only my purse
Good watermelon
Snow days
And everything else.....
  

 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Staying Focused.

There are many times during my day when I have difficulty staying focused. Nothing so bad that I would consider is ADD (note my explicit lack of a medical license.) Perhaps I just have ADOLAB; short for Attention Deficit Oh Look A Bunny!


Ahem, anyway, I have to consciously think about staying on track just so I have a hope to stay focused. Here are a couple coping mechanisms I've developed:

1. Cell phone timer. It would look a little more than odd to have an egg timer sitting on my desk; and quite unsettling for others should it go off. So I set the timer app on my phone for 10-20 minute chunks if I'm having trouble with a task. 5 is too short, 30 too long. A quick little "beep" lets me know when I can take a quick mental break.

2. Coffee. This is kinda a no brainer. I do love a good cup o' joe. But Just like pizza and um, anyway, just like pizza, bad coffee is still mostly good coffee. And the institutional brand coffee our office supplies is good enough for me. I sometimes wonder how it would affect productivity if the company were to invest in some Starbucks just for Monday. I think the return on investment would be worth it!

3. Controlled distractions. This one can sometimes be a minefield. When i start to feel my brain slip beyond my control, I make a deal with myself. "Ok, you can read ONE, maybe two, articles on Jezebel or Apartment Therapy, then you're getting back to work!" This usually works, as long as I make sure not to do it more than once per hour. Gawker's impressively crappy & alienating redesign helps make sure I don't spend too much time on their sites anymore.

4. Lunch. It breaks up the day, gives me something to look forward to, and a benchmark by which I can measure my success. "I'll get this done by lunch!" actually helps.

5. Facebook. Who the hell am I kidding! If I get on facebook, I might not get back to work! Thank heavens I don't play Farmville!

6. Small projects. Hey, if I'm going to get off track with a larger project, might as well use that time to work on a couple smaller, easier projects. Sometimes it's a paper for school, a grocery list, organizing my desk, cleaning out a drawer.

7. Ooooo.....something shiny.....

8. Music. Turning on the radio, hooking up the ipod, logging onto Pandora. Music is great at providing just the right level of background distraction. It also serves as a time measure. I figure the average song is 4 minutes (I really have no idea is that's right) so I can say "I'll work on X for 2 songs" Or "I'll allow myself to be distracted just for this song"

How do you guys stay focused?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

So...Yeah...Stuff

It's been CRAZY! In addition to kid, there's work, then school, and now, a national competition! This first two weeks it was tough to adjust to the new schedule, but everything's in place now.
Hour long meal preparations have been replaced by chicken & fish and prewashed baby spinach. I know by heart the location of kid friendly restaurants with free wifi. Spring gardening has been replaced with a CSA. Saturday adventures are now punctuated by Saturday class + impromptu play dates w/ other student's kids. After the first time I brought The Girl to class, all the other children seemed to come out of the wood work. Give them a mat and a ton of legos and they're good :-)
Work has been more stressful, however. The pressure's really on and I have more responsibilities. Too bad it didn't come with a raise!
However April turns out, I will be relieved it's over. I'm sure my blood type is french roast at this point; and I, for one, am certainly looking forward to some down time.

BTW, revlotuions are happening in Africa & the Middle East, Japan suffered the worst natural disaster in my lifetime, we're appearently bombing Libya, the Senate & the House have lost their darn minds, and Big Love left way too many loose ends.

Friday, November 5, 2010

How to quit shopping at Target

After doing my pre-holiday/bday season budget, I realized I spend too much of my money at Target. Nothing crazy and NOTHING like that woman on Hoarders (Dear God, that show is scary!) But with a college student's budget and a kid to support, $25-30 a month at Target is more than I want to spend on life's extras.

Sooo...

Step 1. No more Starbucks at Target. That's half the battle right there. It's so nice to head to Target w/ The Girl and grab an apple juice & a latte. We walk around the store, enjoying our drinks and each other's company. My solution? Pack a sippy cup of juice and a thermos of a fake, office kitchen made, latte when going. I'll save about $10 a month!

Step 2. Make a list, and actually stick to it this time! I'm always making lists (Shopping lists, To-Do lists, Weekly Menus.) Sometimes items on my shopping lists can be found at Target! We get there and I pick up the items on my list: new pink Sharpie, extra socks, and new lip gloss. Then I decide I need mittens, Autumnal tights, an aqua Sharpie (for contrast, duh), etc. Next thing I know, my $9 list turns into a $22 purchase! Now I'm going to make a list; and ONLY buy the things on the list. If I see something else I want, I'll write it down. If I still want/need that item in a week or two, I'll put it on my official Target list. This sounds more complicated than it actually is....I promise.

OMG. I could have pink sunglesses, RIGHT NOW.
But seriously, we were just trying stuff on for laughs.
Step 3. Just stay the hell outta Target! I'm not saying go to WalMart instead (Seriously, this is a Bad Idea .) Instead, I'm suggesting I think really hard to see if I actually need whatever I wanted to buy. If it can at all wait, I'll put it on the list & wait until I actually need it. No more "recreational" Target shopping for me!

I don't think I'm at the point where I need 12 steps to quit Target; three will do. So, anyone else been caught is Target's sneaky tentacles of shopping joy?

Look at the puppy! Doesn't he make you want to buy crap from Target?

Although I must note I'm still a little pissed at Target for giving money to a very anti-gay rights candidate. But that's another story....