Category Archives: Life

Life just happens to me. I’m not a planner by nature, so I really don’t mind, but sometimes life runs off with me before I’m ready. These blogs are my life. It’s what happens when you rub the sleepy’s from your eyes and brush your teeth.

The Library: My Office Away from Home

Hello Monday

Since this weekend was a bust, I decided to show you our library, my office away from home.

I mean, I could talk about how FringeMan came down with the stomach bug, but that’s not a good Monday morning topic.  Let’s just say I declared the second floor of our house a contamination zone and I slept on the couch.  The kids and I stayed as far away from home as possible, so of course that meant at least one trip to the library.

Library: my office away from home

This room is my office away from home.  I plant myself here every time I come to the library.  Usually the entire table is covered with my junk, a few books, and a random magazine or two.  I use the power strip on the floor to plug in my laptop and I go to town.

They have a coffee machine too.  What more do you need?

Books – Coffee – WiFi

Antique bookcases in the public libraryThese bookcases are in my office.  They help me feel smart.

vintage book caes - library

Our library is part old house and part 70’s mod addition.  If you walk from room to room too quickly, you end up in a time warp.

I’ll just show you the old part today.

conference room in library

sitting area in libraryIsn’t this a pretty little nook?  It’s the perfect place for a game of chess or lunch with a friend.  At Christmas, they had a pretty tree right in front of those windows.

vintage lighting fixture on old tray ceiling

The ceilings and moldings are the true masterpieces.  They just don’t build modern houses with such artistic details.

antique lighting fixture, mirror, American flag

As the story goes, and I hope I remember all the facts, our library had a great big fire that made their building unusable.  A family in town donated this house to be used as the new library.  Some time after the addition was built.

antinque light fixture in library

The library is right in the center of town and we often walk to it.

reflection of a women in the mirror

You would think I wouldn’t have any late fees, but I do.

I have long history with libraries.  I’ll leave it at that.

libraries conference room antique furniture

vintage Jaddte lampThis lamp looks like Jadite, but I’m not sure.  Maybe I should convince them to let me bring it the antiques roadshow or something.

collection of vintage ceramic dogs

The library also has random collections of old things, like these ugly ceramic dogs.  They change the collections out from time to time so the patrons can enjoy them.

antique bronze statue of a man

And no library tour would be complete without a naked man on the mantel.

Yes, this is in my office.

So that completes my library tour, at least the really old portion of it.  Despite the antiques, the card catalog is computerized and the librarians are absolute dolls.  They teach us the history of the town and area, get us whatever books we want, and know us by name.

I love my library.

What about you?  Do you visit your library very often?

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The Cold War: Man v. Mouse

I’m deep in the throws of a cold war and my enemy is a mouse.  His name is not Micky.

This morning I woke up to a frozen house, only to discover a mouse or possibly mice came in for some warmth.  They have a habit of nestling into the kitchen towel drawer.  I can’t really blame them.  It is the perfect place to settle down for a long winter’s night; however, my sympathy only runs so deep.

The Mice Chronicles - One woman's battle with a mouse

I freaked out, yelling about mice and not even drinking my cup of decaf coffee yet, and then I opened the next drawer.  Mr. Mouse chewed through the plastic top on the my can of cocoa.

I understand the need for a hit of chocolate.

My love for the stuff boarders on addiction, but I don’t share with my mice.  Heck, I even hide chocolate from my kids.  Share and share alike does not apply to anything that comes in dark and milk chocolate varieties.

And so the battle wages on.

I scooped up the pile of soiled dish towels and took them over to the washer.  when I poured in the laundry detergent, it fell out in thick globs.  Yup. It was cold.

When your laundry soap is next-to-near frozen, it’s time to move south and leave the house to the mice.

Now I am alternating between feelings of being completely grossed out and mad.  I mean, we’ve only had a few months of mouse free living.  When will these vermin learn that there’s no room in the inn?

So I march on to battle, but not alone.  I drafted FringeMan into my army and he’s in charge of all tactical moves.  The plan is total annihilation.  When it comes to mice, I don’t have a heart.  Sorry if that offends you.

Wish us luck.

For more mouse-capade reading, check out the following links.

It’s raining cats, dogs, and long-fanged mice.

Attacked by a Nutter-Butter Eating…

My Husband Didn’t Marry an Ax Murderer

Romantic Dinner for Two: Where Reality & Romance Collide

Did you ever try to celebrate Valentine’s Day on a budget?

My budget includes borrowing art supplies from my children and crafting a card that would rival any second grade artist, but I wanted more for this year’s love fest.

I asked myself if I could make a romantic dinner for two at home, after tucking the kids snugly in their beds. Sounds budget-friendly and doable in theory, but allow me to demonstrate a real-life romantic dinner at home.

valentine's day romantic dinner for two at home with the kids: love birds

5:30 pm – Throw several dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets in the oven, rescue favorite stuffed animal from the grasp of the dog’s jaws, inspect and sign homework papers, and throw the clean laundry into the dryer. Take the dog outside because she’s chewing on your slippers. Answer the phone.

6:00 pm – Get OFF the phone and scrape all black residue from the chicken nuggets. Serve your kids dinner.

6:30 pm – Listen to reading homework; make sure the kids shower and brush their teeth; do the dishes; don’t kill the dog; go to the bathroom.

8:00 pm – Assign your daughter the job of setting a ‘fancy’ table. Make her promise not to lick each fork to remove dishwasher spots. Send your husband down to the corner market to get the cashews for the cashew chicken.

8:30 pm – Tuck your kids into bed, and take a much-needed shower. Put the dog in her crate so she doesn’t push the bathroom door open and run off with your clean underwear.

8:40 pm – Tame your hair, paint your face, and dress in the first clean outfit hanging in your closet.

8:55 pm – Snack on the burnt crisps leftover from the kid’s nuggets.

9:00 pm – Start cooking. Again.

9:30 pm – Serve a lovely cashew chicken dinner minus the cashews, because apparently there was a run on cashews this afternoon.

9:40 pm – Light the candles and take out the crying dog.

9:45 pm – Just as your husband leans into the flickering light of the candles to smooch your lips, the dog freaks out because your neighbor decides he’s going to shovel the sidewalk. Save the kiss for later and grab the dog before she wakes up your kids.

9:47 pm – Too late. The kids filter through to use the bathroom and get a drink. It’s an emergency, of course. You can faintly see symptoms of dehydration in their eyes. Let them taste your cashew-less chicken.

9:55 pm – Explain the importance of alone time between parents and threaten their lives with ten years of morning-til-night homework, year-round school, and a chore list that stretches to New Jersey and back.

10:00 pm – Throw out the cold chicken and go straight to dessert. Assure your spouse that yawning and drooping eyelids are the latest signs of true love.

Reality says, when you have children, romantic dinners at home do not work. My heartfelt advice to you is, forget the budget and GO OUT. Beg your parents, friends, coworkers, family, neighbors, and the teenagers next door to watch your kids for a few hours. Even if you have no money, go sit in the car (without the kids) and steam up the windows. Just get out of the house!

On Parenting, Cherry M&M’s, and all the Reasons I Need An Intervention

Source: littlewhitelion.com via Tricia on Pinterest

I’m skipping the whole Hello Monday thing today.  I tried, I really did, but I am suffering from a million calorie hangover brought on by all the ridiculous food I ate last night.  Let’s face it, I only like the Super-Bowl for the food, and the commercials, but I didn’t get to see the commercials because we watched it online.  No cable and all.

I did, however, get to see the half-time show.  Forgive me for laughing out loud at a few of Beyonce’s exaggerated bootie calls.  Ok?

So I tried really hard to stay up until the end and I did, but only because of a Wicked Good Whoopie.  We are just close enough to the far North to get Maine’s famous Isomax Whoopie Pies.

I wasn’t even lying about the million calorie hangover.  It was Fat Sunday, but that’s in the past, because today is Skinny Monday. I shall eat accordingly.

Source: someecards.com via Tricia on Pinterest

This weekend nearly sent me into a stroke.  A report card landed in my mailbox on Saturday afternoon and my child’s (who shall remain nameless) world tilted on their axis.

I paced and I yelled and threatened World War III if things don’t change.  I am not proud of my emotional outburst, but I felt like I was trapped in a cartoon and the line of red was creeping over my face, higher and higher, until smoke began pouring from ears.

My lid popped.

Then I spent the remainder of the weekend emailing with one nameless Math teacher and plotting to make my child’s life a living hell until the next report card comes in the hands of our mailman.

Source: someecards.com via Tricia on Pinterest

There’s no capability problem.  It’s quite the opposite.  This is an advanced Math class, the kind where your GPA must be kept above a certain number or you get kicked out.  The problem is that one said child would rather draw than do algebra.

I hate math as much as the next person.  I really do, but schools are funny about this subject, they insist on making you take a math class every year until graduation.

In all the madness, I ate one entire bag of cherry m&m’s (not all in one sitting).  I’m like a m&m addict.  I sat in front of the fire taking deep, cleansing breaths and popping in a bright red m&m.  Someone launch an intervention please.

This morning, I woke up to the sound of a plow truck.  I have a headache and my daughter almost missed the school bus.  I would wish you all a happy Monday, but I would totally be faking it.

My wish for today is that m&m’s would come in a low calorie version and my other child would just remember the capital of California, because if I have to say S-A-C-R-A-M-E-N-T-O one more time, I may need another bag of cherry m&m’s.

Now I’ll stop talking, because when the headache wears off, I will regret my rant.

Source: google.com via Tricia on Pinterest

Oh, and happy Monday.  Sort of.

If you really want to have a Happy Monday, go visit Lisa Leonard and say Hello to something nice and sunshiny for me.  Deal?

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Wild & Precious Life

Source: etsy.com via Tricia on Pinterest Originary art found here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/93115625/wild-and-precious-life-11×14

So tell me. What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

The clock is ticking and the pages on the calendar are flipping.  What’s your dream – your goal for 2013?

What is it you will do this year?

Everything we do today counts towards where we want to be tomorrow.  Either it moves you closer to your goal or farther away.

Go forward.

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Risking Hypothermia for You

I haven’t been warm since August and that seems like a really long time ago.  It’s been frigidly cold here on the fringe, so cold cars don’t like to start and people’s pipes burst. Twelve below zero is not for the faint of heart.

And today was our big warm up – thirty-six degrees and rain. Great.  Just great.

But you didn’t come here for a weather report, you came here to see what I’ve been wearing all week.  If I were completely honest, I would have taken a picture in my big, fluffy pink robe, because whether I am dressed for bed or for my day, the bathrobe goes on like a full body mitten.  There’s nothing like wearing head-to-toe fleece in January.  The fashion experts would never recommend it, but I would.

women's leather boots and boot socks

I wear these boots every single day.  I love them to bits, but I wish they were fur lined.  I am seriously considering buying a pair of furry boots for the really cold days.  I run a few degrees cooler than average and my feet are the first to freeze.

Any recommendations on really warm boots?

sweater and jeans winter outfitI think this outfit breaks a lot of fashion rules, and honestly I’m not wild about the sweater; however, it is extremely warm.  The sweater is wool, so I don’t mind if it makes me look bigger than normal.  I should have worn a necklace, but oh, well.

Here’s the big fashion no-no.  I am wearing boots and boot socks with jeans that aren’t skinny.  I know it’s against the rules, but when I find a pair of skinny jeans in husky, I’ll buy them.

I made another pair of boot socks by cutting the arms off an old sweater.  Such an easy and thrifty idea.

Sweater:  ? I forgot.  Shirt: Hand-me-down, Jeans: Kohl’s, Boots: Dr. Martens

colored jeans and chambray shirt

I felt as cold as I look.

Pants: Kohl’s, Shirts (both): Hand-me-Down, Necklace: a gift from my husband (years ago – purchased at a consignment shop)

colored jeans and statement necklace

Pants: Kohl’s, Sweater: Hand-me-Down, Jacket: Thrifted, Necklace: Francesca’s

I was watching ice fall from trees, thus explaining the dumb look on my face.

I like colored pants.  It may seem like you can’t wear them with a lot of things, but you can.  As far as I can figure, they go with everything.

And I had my statement necklace long before they were popular.  Just saying.  I think the fancy girls are copying me.

Ma Nouvelle Mode is hosting a special day all about how to wear colored jeans.  I’m not sure my pants are technically jeans, because they are corduroy, but I figure it’s close enough.

Here are a few ways I wear color on the bottom.  I generally dress very casually, because I live in a place where people wear pajamas to the grocery store.  Just sporting day wear makes you look all fain-cy.

colored denim 4 ways to wear jeans

Have you hopped on the fancy pants bandwagon?

What’s your favorite way to wear your colored jeans??

denim jacket and statemtn necklace2

That’s this week’s What I Wore Wednesday.  Join The Pleated Poppy and Ma Nouvelle Mode for lots of fashion inspiration.  They’ll help you shed the yoga pants and fluffy robes.

Well, maybe.

3 Things For A 13th Birthday

JC at Five Guys

Today my son is thirteen.  When I held him in my arms for the first time, I couldn’t really see ahead to this day, not even in my imagination.  Goodness, I couldn’t see ahead to solid foods.  I was afraid to give him his first bath and I didn’t know how to burp him correctly.

I loved him fiercely and I cried my eyes out over him.  All I really wanted him to do was to go to sleep, just for one night.  I always thought babies slept a lot.

JC in swing 001

I drank coffee until my nerves were frazzled and listened to others say that I just wasn’t acting like myself.  No sleep and wacked out hormones have a way of messing with me.  I was still the same person deep inside, but the outside was disguised by straggly hair and extra weight.  I wore the same denim skirt to church for one solid year.  Nothing else fit.

child on first day of preschool Scooby Doo backpack

Now, thirteen years layer, I’m back to me, the real me who sleeps through night and snoozes her alarm clock. My son?  He still doesn’t sleep through the night, but I stopped worrying about it long ago.  I quit reading books on how to get my baby to sleep and just waited for him to grow up.  Eventually they all do you know.

jc-speckles

Now, today, he is a teenager.  I am the mother of a teenager.

That sobers me.

boy with a blue mustache

He grew up in his first six months of life.  He wasn’t a normal toddler; he was more like an old man in Bob The Builder sandals. I talked to him like a little person and he out-witted me at every turn. He really is the only person in my life who can wear me down to the point of giving up.  He is tenacious.

When he gets an idea, he follows through no matter what.  I cannot wait to see where that determination gets him, because he will do great things.  I know it.

My thirteen year-old loves in a way that cuddles and hugs and wants to be near.  He hates not being in the middle of all of us.  He just wants to sit by me.  I am smart enough to cherish these moments, because they won’t last, they can’t.  The days are fleeting.  By the next presidential election, he will be a driver, almost a voter.

The time it takes to grow from sleeplessness to voting is short.  I never really knew that until now.

Every morning I am greeted with a hug and his hugs don’t stop.  If I had to squish him into a box and choose a love language for him, it would time and affection.

My thirteen year old is a creator.  He has to be doing something, making something.  His mind is always working.  Sure he wants to build unrealistic things like robots that serve us drinks and follow him around, but I believe he could do it.  I believe he could do anything he sets his little mind to do.

The Help movie quote

He is a worrier, always thinking and wondering “what if”.  This is both good and bad.  It’s smart to be cautious, but there’s a time to throw caution to the wind and do greater things than he ever thought possible.  The world is much too big to need our worry.

It’s silly for me to think that thirteen won’t change things.  It has to.  It is a beginning and and an end, a step into a world unknown, sometimes so exciting every day seems to move mountains, and other days it is scary enough to want to curl back up into your two year-old self.

That’s the way it’s suppose to be; growing pains hurt.

If I could look my thirteen year-old boy in the eyes and tell him anything, it would be this.

birthday advice for a teenager

Be thankful because your life is a gift given to you by the creator of this universe.  You were loved long before you were named.  Each day you live is a blessing, for you and for those around you.  You make a difference by being in this world.  There is a plan and a purpose for your life that is so big, one day you’ll look back on it in awe and thanksgiving.  Be thankful for the good and the bad, because all those little things are what refine you, making you into the man God can work in and through.  Every moment is a time for thanksgiving.

Be prayerful, because every day you wake up, choices abound.  You won’t always make the right choice.  That’s part of life, of living and growing.  It will allow you to know sweet forgiveness and grace abounding.  Be in a state of prayer that is not just for you, but remember those around you.  They need your prayers as much as they need you.  Prayer isn’t empty or ritualistic; prayer is your lifeline, communication with your creator and savior. Prayer really does change things.

Be free son.  Jesus came to give you life and give it to you abundantly.  Don’t be tangled up in other people’s thoughts or desires for you.  Live each day free – free to follow God and chase your dreams – free to learn and make mistakes – free to love and to be loved.  Guard your freedom, because without it, life is small and shallow.

I don’t feel quite ready to be the mom of a thirteen year-old, but I couldn’t be happier or more thankful than I am to be called mom.

boy in Hawaiian shirt

Happy Birthday Fringeboy.