Thursday, December 31, 2009

A letter a month

Whatever you want to call them - resolutions/goals/plans - there are some things I want to do this year. I'm going to do my best to make keep my perfectionist tendencies in check, and be reasonable. (We'll see how that goes...)

One thing I know I want to do is write at least one letter (yes, as in snail mail) each month.

Here's where the idea came from:

I had a client earlier this year who was having all kinds of computer/email problems, and I ended up needing to mail her proofs, etc. Folding up the letter, placing it into an envelope, sticking a stamp on it - I was surprised how much I loved and missed the tactile experience of sending physical mail.

I just finished reading Jane Austen's Persuasion, as well as a memoir by her nephew. And that kind of literature always kind of makes you want to sit in parlors and leave calling cards and wear long dresses just to go walking down the hedgerow (what exactly is a hedgerow anyway?) and hand write newsy letters and maybe go to a ball. Ok, maybe that's just me.

Some of my family just doesn't do email. And I've been meaning to work mailing them letters or cards into the schedule for some time. This is much more doable than the letter-a-week notion I had in my head at one time.

So that's the plan. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Resolve not to do this.

One time a motivational-speaker-type person I knew through work asked me if I had any New Year's resolutions.

I had been been rolling some ideas around in my head that I figured could qualify as resolutions, so I said yes. "How about you?"

She replied, "Oh, no. I don't make resolutions. I make goals."

Um, ok.

I get what she was trying to say - that she had definite objectives rather than just empty intentions - but it sure felt like a setup to me.

I resolved not to talk to her about that kind of thing again.

Monday, December 28, 2009

In summary

{After PerPoTues, it was all just a blur...}

design projects + fighting off a cold + shopping + getting that cold + networking + spending too much time on hold + wrapping + business holiday cards + family cards + laundry + computer issues + backing up everything + wanting to sleep + getting everything set before Christmas + delivering client gifts

{and then}

buying trip food + packing + traveling north + bundling up + taking in snowy views + family + food + more family + gifting + unwrapping + more food + coming home

{but it didn't stop there}

more wrapping + different family + more cards + out-of-town friends and (you guessed it) family + baby shower #1 + getting sick again + calling to say I can't make baby shower #2 + taking a nap

{up next}

recovering + reevaluating + readying myself for the year ahead

{Hope to fill you in more soon!}

Saturday, December 26, 2009


May all your days be merry and bright!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Perfectly Poetical: Couplet

From LSL Buttons

Ok, maybe I've said this before, but...

I so can't believe it's time for another Perfectly Poetical Tuesday already! My, how time flies!


Because it's December, and people's calendars are uberfull, let's keep this ubersimple!

You can write about the holidays or whatever strikes your fancy (after all, Every Life Writes a Poem). Just make sure you link to this post. Then come back, link up, leave a comment and enjoy visiting your fellow poet-bloggers!

Also, for the first 5 PerPoTues participants who comment here, I'll tweet a link to your post. (Include your Twitter username, if you'd like me to mention it.)

How 'bout if I start things off?

December showers

Gray drizzly December days make my heart sing!
They bring me hope for wildflowers in the spring.

[your turn....]

Monday, November 30, 2009

On the menu: we call this soup weather!

I've been making menu plans on the fly the last few weeks, but last night I sat down and wrote one out. (Scanner's acting up, so you get to miss out on my sloppy handwriting! ;) It's kind of soupy, but it's a good time of year for that with high temps under 70 degrees and all those extra Thanksgiving calories we just consumed!

Here's what I came up with:

  • Mon: potato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Tue: pizza at Nithya and Naveen's house (yay!)
  • Wed: our friend Jose from Peru comes over and the Hubs cooks South American food
  • Thr: turkey enchiladas
  • Fri: 3-bean soup (kidney beans, Peruvian beans, split peas)
What I didn't come up with: what to do with a bunch of leftover gravy. I have about 2 cups leftover, and I'm not wild about it, but the Hubs liked it. I guess I could freeze it for later. Any other suggestions?

Thanks to Jenna at Chive Talkin' for the menu plan inspiration!

One more thing: for the next 30 minutes, I'm donating $2 of every t-shirt sold in my shop to Heifer International. Would you like to help out and get some shopping done? (Read more here or start shopping!)

Friday, November 27, 2009


So just a quick update before sleepytime. The first part of this week was packed with trying to tie up work projects, etc. before the long weekend.

We had an absolutely lovely Thanksgiving with my family - plus the parents of the Hubs.

Over in Bold Avenue's shop, I decided that instead of a Black Friday sale, I would donate $1 for each tee sold to Heifer International. You can read all about that over on my other blog. I'll just say that I would love to sell enough t-shirts to buy a family in need a water buffalo!

In the meantime, I hope you had a beautiful day and are finding many, many things in your life to be thankful for.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Change to blog comments

Well, we got a couple icky spammy comments. The kind that probably just get posted to a whole buncha sites and link to something totally irrelevant. So I've changed a couple of things around here:

  • I've removed the comment feed for now. (That was the "Little Stuff we're talking about" section on the right that showed recent comments.)
  • I'm requiring a sign in with OpenID or a Google account.
I've been reluctant to require sign-in, but I'm going to give it a try. I don't want to discourage human beings from leaving feedback and opinions, but I really want to keep the auto-generated trash out.

If you have a Google, LiveJournal, TypePad, WordPress or AIM account, you'll be able to sign in with your existing username. If not, please drop me a line (email address is in my profile) and let me know. (Although it might be a good time to set up a Google account. Google has all kinds of neat stuff like Gmail and Google Docs and Picasa....)

In case you're not familiar with OpenID, there's great information on their site about what it is and how to log in using it.

As always, I do welcome comments and relevant links. Wanna give the new sign in a try and tell me what you think?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thanksgiving in Cinquain

My PerPoTues poem for November...

Family squabbles
Eating until stuffed
Maybe we're the turkeys

Photo by me. (Yes, the turkey has survived several Thanksgivings and is living quite happily on a farm where no one is planning to eat him. I hear he has a girlfriend.)

Perfectly Poetical: Cinquain

From LSL Buttons

Happy Perfectly Poetical Tuesday!

This month's style is one you may not be familiar with, but it should be a piece of cake!

How to write a simple cinquain:

  • Doesn't rhyme
  • Has 5 lines.
  • 1st line is 1 word (which is also the title).
  • 2nd line is 2 words.
  • 3rd line is 3 words.
  • 4th line is 4 words.
  • 5th (last) line is 1 word.
As always, the topic is up to you. Write about the kind of thing you would normally blog about - food, family, random things that happen - or about Thanksgiving or about whatever you'd like. Have fun and remember to link your post to this one! Thanks!

Edited to add: I thought an example would be good, so I took 10 minutes and wrote this Thanksgiving-themed cinquain.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Failure to connect - part 2

The Pre-cellphonial Era

So back to the question: What did we do before cell phones were so commonplace?

Before I had a cell phone, I had a purple pager clipped into the pocket of my overalls. (Which I may have sometimes worn with one strap undone, hanging down the back.) (C'mon! It was the 90's, people!)

Back then - and even before my pager days - you always kept a quarter with you for the pay phone. When you called a friend, you called a land line (although you never thought of it that way - it was just a phone) that went to their family's house. If your friend wasn't home, you might have to leave a message on the family's answering machine or with her little brother, or you might get a busy signal and have to try again later.


I left my cell phone at home went to Spain for my study abroad program in 2003, since I knew it wouldn't work in Europe. Some of my friends made the same choice, and not having a phone at the ready was definitely an adjustment.

Plans were not so fluid. None of this "just call me when you're on the way" stuff. You set a time and place in advance and had to stick to it. We made a bigger effort to be early or on time, since there was no updating a waiting friend on your status, if the bus was running late or something. And if you were the one just waited. There was no contacting the person directly to find out where they were. You just stuck around, wondering where they were, wondering if they'd come, second guessing whether you and the meeting place right or if they could be waiting for you at that other cafe.


T-Mobile's outage at a superinconvenient time on Tuesday made me think some more about the way we use - and rely on - cell phones. I'm not saying we should stop. But maybe it's a good idea to not assume we'll be able to get in contact with someone at any moment. Think about the chaos that follows when a company's email is out of commission. Or how users of Twitter/Facebook/etc. are at a loss when their service of choice goes down.

The other night, I wanted to keep things flexible, because there were a number of unknowns - how long the train ride would take, when others would arrive, how ticketing would work, if I was going to do a contest for my unused tickets, if and when I was going to get something to eat beforehand. But I could've made a decision. I could've said I'll be in this place at this time. And here's the backup plan, if something doesn't work.

It's always good to have a backup plan.

Phontingency plans

Maybe I should be more firm in my commitments as a general rule. Maybe I should make sure that I have other contact information for the people I usually connect with via Twitter. Maybe I should double check that the important emails I sent are received.

Maybe I should do less assuming and more backup planning. Or maybe the cell phone should be the backup and not the plan. Any thoughts?


1) by sean dreilinger
2) by John Fraissinet
3) by Scott Ableman
4) by artolog

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Failure to connect - part 1

Network Error

Making plans to meet up with people at Ignite Phoenix last night was a bit of a challenge since everyone was coming from different directions, and I was taking the light rail and walking. So I told everyone I'd be there around 5:00 and to call me when they got there. I commented to my friend Rebekah, "what did we ever do before cell phones?!!"

Funny thing was that about 5pm my phone randomly stopped being able to make or receive calls and texts, even though the bill had been paid and the signal was good.

So I didn't hear from the person calling to say she'd be late or the person calling to say she'd be early or the person that was there somewhere but I never did find.

And I had let the Hubs know I was on the train, but couldn't tell him that I'd made it to my destination. I also didn't know he'd run into his own problems.

Transportation Glitch

Ignite had been on the calendar for months, but I don't think we thought about that when we signed up to lead a Life 101 discussion group at church.

We dealt with the schedule conflict by deciding I'd go to Ignite, leaving the car for the Hubs at his work, and he'd drive to Life 101. Would've worked just fine - had the Hubs remembered his car keys. I may have been able to help - had my phone been working. He must've sent me the text that began with "Transportation glitch! Forgot my car key. :P" about 6pm, but I didn't get it - or his other texts - until 8:30. (Which was very confusing!) His voicemails didn't come through until much later.

In the meantime, it all got worked out - with a little help from our friends. Chanelle ran me home, so I could try to locate my husband. Dale gave him a ride to church and back home. He took the light rail to work this morning, and, yep, the car was still there. So it all turned out fine.

But seriously bad timing for a network outage!

This was originally part of a post that was so long I decided to break it up. Part 2 is about the reliance on cell phones that this an example of, and it's coming up Friday!

Photo by tysoncrosbie. And, yep, that's me in the back. You'll recognize the Heart tee. ;)

More photos from Ignite.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

There's a bus for everything

Came home the other day to a flier on my door for this free ultrasound bus. Interesting concept, no?

Also, interesting that they fliered my door for a mobile unit that was parked kinda far from my house.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sweet tricks for beating the treats

I thought these were some good tips for making Halloween a little healthier. They originally came from Shauna Johnson of Wellspring Academies, and I paraphrased a bit (of course)...

  • Wait to buy your candy - Procrastination can be a good thing sometimes. And if you're worried about snacking on all that candy around the house, don't keep it around the house.
  • Plan your own activity - Two words: corn maze. You're still getting some walking done, but you're not collecting piles of sugary badness at the same time. If skipping the candy altogether doesn't fly with your kids, just hit up a few houses and then move on to another activity. Or go to a party or fall festival where there'll be treats, but they won't be the whole focus.
  • Ration the amount of candy eaten afterwards - Just because you collected it all on Halloween night doesn't mean you have to eat it all on Halloween night. Make it last! The trick is to treat yourself to sweets without overeating.
What do you think? Could this work for you? Do you have other ways of combating the sugar or keeping things healthy on Halloween?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Five years

Five years ago today, the love of my life and I were on our honeymoon.

When this entry posts, we should be just back from our anniversary trip back to Sedona. I admit I'm writing this ahead of time, because I can't sleep, I'm feeling reflective, and I know it always takes me awhile to get back to the blog when I've been out of town.

So. Five years. Not a long time, really, in the grand scheme of things. But already we've gone through a few different seasons together. We've lived 2 different places. The Hubs has worked in 5 different positions for 2 different companies. I started a business, worked 2 other places, then took the business full time. We've traveled together to California, Pennsylvania and Indiana, as well as to Peru, Mexico and Bolivia. Within our families and circle of friends there have been births, deaths, marriages, engagements, moves and life transitions. The brother-in-law who joined the Navy when we were dating has served his full commitment with the military. The cousin who started college when we were engaged is halfway through law school. The nephew who was months from being born when we got married will start kindergarten next year.

So five years is something.

Besides the kinds of changes that require updating the address book or adding photos to the album, there have been other, less tangible - but still very real - changes. Things we used to fight about that we look back on and laugh. Things we understand about each other. The way we communicate. The ways we've grown. The way we show love. Maybe we show love better, because we love more. I know that just when I think I love him so much my heart will burst, a new day begins, and I see him next to me and love him even more.

Ok, ok. I got it. I'll quit with the mushy stuff. But, seriously, if there's something worth being mushy about, isn't it this?

Happy five years, sweetheart! I wouldn't trade them for anything!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Overheard while camping

While camping, I overheard a father at a nearby campsite call his daughter over in that you're-in-trouble voice all parents must have. I have to admit, I was curious, since the two kids in that family seemed like the best-behaved in the campground. The girl who was about to get lectured had been quietly poking at the ground (or maybe some ants) with a stick when she got called over.

It wasn't hard to hear the father's exasperated tone as he told her - as if for the thousandth time - "Quit. Playing. In. The. Dirt."

Of course I don't know the whole story here. But it does beg the question: If you can't play in the dirt when you're camping, what's the point?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Climate change: we're asking the wrong question

I've read stuff on why it's clear that the Earth's climate is definitely changing.

And I've read stuff on why it's clear the Earth's climate is definitely not changing.

And I've read stuff on why the Earth's climate may be changing, but it's a natural cycle not caused by human actions and nothing to worry about.

And you know what I think?

I think that we (as in, all of humanity) don't know as much as we think we know. We don't know why gravity works or what's in most of the ocean or why dogs wag their tails when they're happy. And I don't think we've got the climate all figured out, so I'm kind of a climate change agnostic.

Know what else I think?

I think we're asking the wrong question. Don't misunderstand: I'm glad that there are scientists and experts out there studying whether our planet is getting warmer or colder or staying the same and why.

But, regardless of their findings, when it comes to taking good care of this planet we live on, most of us could do better. We (as in, probably you reading this and definitely me) have room to improve in the way we manage our own resources - saving energy or driving less often or reducing the amount of stuff we throw out each week. And doesn't making things better globally almost always start with individual choices?

What if, instead of arguing about climate change, we focused on changing our own habits? What if we stopped wasting time debating minutiae and started finding ways to be less wasteful?

No matter how you answer the question Is climate change man-made? don't let that keep you from asking yourself: What changes am I making?

Photos by me.

Update on how to give to Gabriella Vega

For those of you who wanted to help the Vega family (who I told you about on Monday), there's been a change in procedure. This post on SortaCrunchy will fill you in on everything - including a link where you can donate via ChipIn through Friday (10/16).

Gabriella is due to be released Friday from Phoenix Children's Hospital, and I hope this group gift can bless her family by taking care of some of their expenses through the next stage of her recovery.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Perfectly Poetical: Poe

It's the second Tuesday of October, do you know what that means? Time for Perfectly Poetical Tuesday: Poe edition!

There are some ideas for getting in touch with your Poe-tic muse on Saturday's post. Poe wrote in several styles. Write a poem in the spirit of one of them, and have fun! And don't forget to link to this post and leave your link and comment here.

As always, the topic of your poem is up to you. You can also decide whether your poem will be scary, funny, touching or - something else entirely. My post will be up later in the day.

Photo by kevindooley.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Giving from the heart

Through Megan at SortaCrunchy, I heard a story that broke my heart.

Gabriella Vega has a rare heart disease called Restrictive Cardiomyopathy and was awaiting a transplant, when she had a stroke. She's now undergoing physical and speech therapy to recover. And she's 4 years old.

Meanwhile, her family is staying at Phoenix Children's Hospital Ronald MacDonald House, and, as you can imagine, expenses - for their stay, as well as for Gabriella's medical treatment - are mounting.

Being the compassionate soul she is, Megan decided to do something to help, and you can join in too!

She organized a raffle to raise money for the Vega family. Purchase a ticket (or two or ten) for a chance to win a fabulous prize (maybe an adorable Frog Organic Kids T-Shirt) and you are helping out this family who is going through a situation I can't even imagine.

The raffle goes today through Thursday evening (10/15). So spread the word and buy your ticket(s) soon! And pray for Gabriella and her family.

UPDATE: I realized I forgot to link directly to the raffle, which (as it turns out) is just as well, because there has been a change of plans. The way the donating was setup is not working out due to some PayPal lameness. So. To give to the Vega family, email sortacrunchy at gmail dot com. Megan will give you information on how you can do that.


Photo 1 by vonKinder. Photo 2 from Bold Avenue shop.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Putting the Poe back in Poetry!

When I mentioned on Twitter that I was trying to choose a PerPoTues style for October, Jen from Bookworm on a Mission suggested "something halloweeny" and heartily approved the idea for a Poe-inspired theme.

In general, I'm not much into scary or Halloweeny stuff. But, for some reason, I can really appreciate Edgar Allen Poe. Even the creepy stuff. Maybe it's because it's not about being scary just for the sake of scary. Maybe you have your own theories. But, since I want to start blogging more frequently, I'm going to (attempt to) stop spending insane amounts of time dwelling on unimportant details.

So. Moving on.

The theme for this month's PerPoTues (which is this coming Tuesday - already!) is Edgar Allen Poe. Kinda like that one time it was Dr. Seuss. Only not.

Some ways to Poe-ize your poem:

  • Get gothic.
  • Talk about your life - with an unexpected twist. (Were you horrified to find the glasses you'd searched the house for were on your head all along?)
  • Parody one of Poe's poems.
  • Use the refrain "nevermore."
Be creative, have fun, and check out the Poe Wiki for inspiration!

And, yes, you did hear that right about me posting more frequently. In fact, please come back Monday - there's something going on besides PerPoTues next week I'd really like to tell you about then.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Playing with dough

It's almost too late for me to tell you is National Play Doh Day!

For a moment, let's forget the impossibility of removing it from the carpet and focus on the good times. Because I don't think it's (ever) too late to celebrate the fun that is little fingers squishing colorful dough, rolling snakes, making "food" and inviting you to eat some, and then smashing it flat and starting over again.

It doesn't have to be the brand-name kind, either. You can make your own. (If you're brave, check out Julie Finn's Play Dough Eight Ways, the first of which is Sawdust Dough!) Or you can get an alternative like Miss Brittany's Organic Preschool Fun Dough.

The main thing is providing an outlet for children to exercise their imaginations, work on their motor skills, enjoy just being kids - and maybe you can play along too!

P.S. You can get 20% off the aforementioned Miss Brittany's with promo code NPD09. And, no, they aren't paying me to say that. They just sent me an email, and I thought I'd pass the info on, in case you were interested.


1) By Diane S Murphy
2) Courtesy Miss Brittany's Organic Preschool Fun Dough
3) By Yogi

Monday, September 14, 2009

Birthday blessings

The Hubs did a fabulous job of helping me celebrate my birthday this weekend! Thanks to everyone who joined in or just sent happy wishes from far away!

I feel very loved and very blessed. And, even though I did make a wish before I blew out the candles, really, what else do I need?

(Photo by Hubs)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Perfectly Poetical: Ode

Can you believe it's already time for September's Perfectly Poetical Tuesday?!! Yep. Let it sink in for a moment.

Ok, here we go!

  • Today's PerPoTues style: Ode
  • Up next: Poe (yes, as in Edgar Allen - more explanation to follow)
  • Next PerPoTues: October 13
  • Want an email reminder? Just let me know!
Write a rhyming tribute and include a link to this post, and then stop back by to link up, comment and visit everyone's odes.


[My "Ode to The Way Things Were"]

This is an ode to the good old days
An ode to commemorate the way
Things were back then. Back when things were good,
And there was plenty - back in the day.

Good times sometimes seem so far away
So what I would like to know is how
To get things back the way they were
Before they were the way that things are now

And yet I wonder, in years to come
Will we be wanting to know the way
To change the things that happen then, to
Get them back the way things are - today?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Rain, inspiration and an upcoming ode

You may have guessed by now that I love the rain. Rainy days inspire me. This morning we've had a delightful downpour with the temperature dipping far below the triple digits we've been seeing. Watching the hubs taking care of the plants out on the balcony made me think my Perfectly Poetical Tuesday ode might be to the rain or to gardens or maybe to him.

What inspires you? This Tuesday share a tribute to someone/something - it can be funny or serious, short or long - then stop by and link up! Can't wait to see what you come up with!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

On the menu: the stuff of life

The highs. The lows. And today...the food. Strange roller coaster that we're on here, huh? Or maybe it's just the stuff of life. Isn't all of that - the celebration, the mourning, the ever-looming question of "what's for dinner?" - just the kind of thing our days are made of?

I kind of think so.

And with all the stuff that's been going on in my life of late, my meal planning has been haphazard at best. Then Sunday I found myself scrawling a menu on the back of a grocery list, and I thought of you.

So, in case you've been on the edge of your seat wondering what's for dinner at our house, here you go...

And, here's the translation....

  • S - pizza
  • M - pork chops, mashed potatoes, spinach, corn
  • T - eggs and chorizo with Mexican grey squash (Hubs is on his own for this one - I'm in Flagstaff tonight)
  • W - bean burritos with more squash
  • Th - chicken and rice with peas
  • F - TBD
Wishing you the best through your little (and big) stuff of life this week!

P.S. Even though I'm a day late, do check out the menus posted on the Chive Talkin' Menu Plan Blog Roll.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The pictures.

I said I wasn't going to let photos (or lack thereof) hold me up anymore. But I did. I've got some fun pics of our Flagstaff trip to show you, but just haven't gotten them together yet.

Today I'm not posting pictures, though.

In fact, I think the only ones I've taken this week were with a friend's camera. I was little surprised when he handed it to me there in the hospital room and asked if I would get photos of everyone.

At first, I thought he just wanted to remember all the people who were crammed into the room - his parents, a neighbor, some friends I knew, some I didn't. Of course, he and his wife were in the center of it all. And, of course, the baby wasn't. Her little heart had stopped just two weeks before her due date. Her still body had been delivered the day before. And so the crowded room - with chatting and hugs and tears so close to falling and laughter breaking through - it still felt a little empty.

As I snapped photos, I listened to the conversations swirling around me about life and loss and God's goodness through deep sorrow. And I started to think that maybe there's another reason for the pictures. Maybe they're a reminder, a testimony, an altar of sorts. Maybe they say this is when things were so hard and when God carried us through.

Maybe they're not so much about the people that came to the hospital that night or the little one who left so suddenly, but about the God who was always - is always - with them.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

What a wonderful world

Great news! Just a couple of weeks ago my brother and Christine announced that they're getting married! I am so excited and happy for them! When two amazing people decide to spend their lives together, it's a wonderful thing!

The Hubs and I are up in Flagstaff visiting them now. We're having a great time exploring the town and talking wedding plans. Hope you're having a fabulous weekend too!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Perfectly Poetical: Haiku

Well, hello there! Welcome to August's Perfectly Poetical Tuesday (PerPoTues)!

  • Current poetic style: Haiku - Yesterday's post explains how to play along.
  • Up next: Ode - We're gonna simplify this down. Write a rhyming tribute to someone or something.
  • Next PerPoTues: September 8.
  • Want an email reminder? Just let me know! (I forgot to send the reminder last time - sorry! But next month I have a reminder for the reminder on my calendar.)
Can't wait to see what you do with the haiku! :)

[My haiku, "Sun"]

Blazing summer sun
Saps your strength; shows no mercy
Shadows are no match.


Photo and poem by me.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Know what tomorrow is?

Perfectly Poetical Tuesday!

Yeah, already!

And this month's style is haiku. So, don't stress. Let's be all zen about this, 'cuz you've probably written a haiku before. It's a beautiful and simple form.

As a refresher, a haiku (in English)...

  • has 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second line and 5 in the last line.
  • doesn't have to rhyme.
Tomorrow, post your haiku on your blog (or here in the comments if you don't blog) with a link to my PerPoTues post (which should be up at midnight Pacific Time). Then stop by my post, link up, comment and enjoy everyone's poetry.

Hope to see you then!

Haiku #1 by Photoportunity

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Traveling with children

I realized I've read some good posts about traveling with kids that I hadn't shared with you yet.

First of all, there's Every Last Thing I Know about Traveling with Kids. Since the "I" in the title is down-to-earth domestic diva Shannon of Rocks in my Dryer, "Every Last Thing I Know" is sayin somethin'! (On the other hand, if I were to have written that post, it would've started out "Bring snacks. Don't lose the kids." and then I think it would've been done.) All that to say: very worth the read.

Also, on that not-losing-the-kid point, Kay Green of My Precious Kid wrote an article on Vacation Safety that would also apply to a trip to the zoo, waterpark, etc. in your own town. She focuses on how to prepare ahead of time in case you and your child get separated, and what to do if that should happen.

More specific to babies and toddlers, Olga Nguyen writes about things to keep in mind when it comes to Babywearing and Traveling and how, oftentimes, a baby carrier is easier to travel with than a stroller.

Finally, in case you missed them the first time around, here are a couple previous posts about traveling and kids:


Photo by woodleywonderworks

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hubby birthday

A week ago Saturday we celebrated the birthday of the Hubs.

After changing the plan (because of the Hubs going out of town) and changing it again (because it's been so hot and monsoony), we just went with a laidback afternoon. In fact, it started with a post-work nap.

Once he was revived, we had coffee and a lemon tart at Liberty Market, and hung out there for awhile.

Then we walked across the street to Joe's Barbecue for a seriously good dinner. (Yes, in that order. Dessert first!)

Nothin' huge - relaxing, quiet - but he has at least one more birthday celebration in the works. Maybe more. Maybe we'll just keep partying until my birthday...and then start again. Sounds good to me!


Photos by me. Thanks to Aunty for help on getting them from phone to blog!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hi, remember me?

No, I didn't die. I'm still here. I just (accidentally) took a week off blogging. Didn't mean to worry anyone.

Here's what happened. I had a post mostly written up, but when I thought about posting it, I thought "I should add those photos off my phone first." Then I would think "where'd I put the connector thing for that?" Then I would think "well, I'll look for that in a little bit. First I need to call this client/finish up that design/respond to this email/etc. And then another day would pass.

The thing about blogging is it's a rhythm: read, write, reply, repeat. You get in the habit of working it during certain times of the day. Once you break the cycle (to go on vacation or because work is taking more time), it takes a little time to get your rhythm back. (Especially if you didn't have a lot to begin with. I'm pretty sure that the stereotype about white people not having any rhythm was started by someone sitting behind me in church watching me try to clap with the music. But I digress.)

I think we have a good thing going here with this Little Stuff of Life community (which, yes, you are a part of if you're reading this). I want to keep this going, but I can't keep up with my previous post-a-day pace.

Quickly, here are my thoughts on how this will probably look in the coming weeks:

  • 2-3 posts a week
  • Not always photos (I know! I love them too! But they're a huge time drain - even know that I know how to get them off the phone)
  • When things are crazy, at least a quick post on what I'm up to
That's all I can say now - I've gotta get going. But feel free to let me know what you think!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Quick Takes: Better late than never?

One Friday I forgot to blog, the next Friday I just had some things I needed to finish up - a logo proof, a brochure quote, good stuff like that. Today I'm sneaking this in real quick while I wait for approval on an ad. So some of these items are a little overdue, but, still, here are my quick takes on this week the last few weeks:

Thanks to everyone who stopped by my blogiversary party! You made me smile and smile! I definitely felt the love! I hope you enjoyed "meeting" each other, too.

Also thanks to those of you who wrote a poem or chimed in for our Quatrain edition of Perfectly Poetical Tuesday!

The next PerPoTues is three weeks from Tuesday. Since the style is haiku, you could write one line each week and totally be done in time.

Work is still staying busy. I'm grateful. And tired.

The Hubs was pretty disappointed he didn't get to execute his meal plan last week. So he told me he'd take care of dinner this week. Have I mentioned lately that he's awesome?

We had a nice, relaxed Independence Day celebration with part of the Hubs side of the family. We didn't go see fireworks, but we did - at the insistence of his cousin's four-year-old - put candles on a cake and sing happy birthday to America. The kids blew out the candles on the country's behalf.

I'm pretty far behind on dealing with photos - getting them off the camera, posting them, etc. There's also a few things I've felt like I should post about, but haven't for one reason or another. I'm thinking of instituting Things I've Been Meaning To Tell You Thursdays. What do you think?

What are your 7 Quick Takes? Dish it at Conversion Diary!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

REPLAY: Perplexing prefolds

I'm replaying a series of posts from the first year of this blog, in celebration of Little Stuff of Life's blogiversary. This one is from September 8, 2007.

Getting back to the diaper discussion, I finally understand why "prefolds" are called that.

For those of you who, like me, are new to all this, prefolds are a type of cloth diaper (specifically, the kind in the photos). They lay flat - unlike disposable diapers and many cloth ones - but you can't call them "flat diapers," because that's a different type. This baffled me until I got a history lesson.

In my grandma's day, diapering a baby first meant "building" the diaper by stacking several pieces of cloth. You would fold the ones in the center to add extra layers where they were needed most.

The diapers my mom used for my brother and I had already been folded, stacked, and sewn together. Ergo, the term "prefold" is appropriate, even though, to the naked eye, they don't appear to be folded.

Everyone together now, "Ohhhhh!"

Photos by ZelenyOko. (Creative Commons license)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

So. Much. Work.

A good problem to have, I'm not complaining,
But friends don't always get what I'm explaining.
If I don't call often, I don't mean to be a jerk
It's just that I am up to my eyeballs in work.

A quatrain by me for PerPoTues.

Perfectly Poetical: Quatrain

Thanks for stopping by July's Perfectly Poetical Tuesday (PerPoTues)!

This month's style: Quatrain - For our purposes, 4 lines that rhyme. Every other line can rhyme (ABAB), the first two can rhyme with each other and the last two can rhyme with each other (AABB) or each line can have the same rhyming ending (AAAA). It's up to you, just have fun with it!

  1. Write your poem.
  2. Post it on your blog with a link back here.
  3. Stop back by, click on Mr. Linky to link up, and then post a comment. (If you don't blog, you can post your whole poem in the comments.)
Next month's style: Haiku This will be English Haiku, of course, unless you happen to speak Japanese. Focus on simplicity, and write a poem with 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second line and 5 in the last line. This one doesn't have to rhyme!

Mark your calendar! The next Perfectly Poetical Tuesday will be August 11. If you want an email reminder (and you didn't receive one this time around), just let me know!

So, please tell us, what does your life's poem say?

(P.S. My quatrain will be up later on today.)

Monday, July 13, 2009

A quick update

Remember how things were up in the air with the Hubs last week? Well, before we knew it, the Hubs was literally up in the air - flying to Philadelphia to be with his extended family and attend his Uncle Karl's funeral. He was gone most of the week, and, I have to admit, it was hard for me. We've been married almost 5 years without being apart for that long before. Needless to say, I was superglad to have him back!

So. This week. I'm not posting a menu plan, because we really haven't gotten back into our routine or figured out things like what we're going to be eating yet. All I know is that I'll be working late (at home) on a client project, and that the Hubs is picking up dinner on his way home. (Yay!)

Also, yes, PerPoTues will be tomorrow! So write up 4 lines that rhyme and get ready to join in the Perfectly Poetical fun!


Photo by suffrboy. Haven't even seen hubby's pictures yet, much less gotten them off the camera!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

REPLAY: Babies in Bolivia

Continuing to replay a series of photos from the first year of this blog, in celebration of Little Stuff of Life's blogiversary. This one originally aired August 31, 2007.


I'm not going to talk too much about our Bolivia trip overall here, since you can read all about it here. But there are a couple baby/kid related thoughts and stories I had to share.

  • DIY baby carriers. One other thing Naomi (official trip photog) really wanted a photo of was a woman carrying a baby in a bundle on her back. We saw lots of people carrying various things - including babies - in blankets they tied to their backs, but never could quite get that Kodak moment.
  • Reusable disposables? Naomi is pretty sure she saw disposable diapers hanging out on a clothesline. We kept an eye out for them after that (would've loved to have a photo of that!) but never saw anything like it again. That would put a whole new twist on the diaper debate, wouldn't it? (Speaking of new twists, a certain new-father-to-be I know recommends skipping diapers altogether and just hosing the little one off as necessary. )
  • No klutzy kids here! The kids at the orphanage we worked at were amazing. They knew how to do all kinds of cool stuff without hurting themselves. The ground was really hilly there, and you'd see a little girl standing right on the edge of a drop off, but she wouldn't fall. The Hubs saw kids under 10 cleaning up the grounds with machetes (they seem to prefer those over weed-whippers in Bolivia) and no one was missing fingers. Later, some boys talked the Hubs into helping them build a fort. When they showed him what they had done so far, they were placing large sticks into - not mud - concrete. (We're still not sure where they got that from.) The suburban kids I know tend to do things like cut themselves when opening a pocketknife or fall off the curb. What does it take to have kids that don't constantly injure themselves? Do you need to move to the jungle?
Ok, that's enough for now. I'll try to post a few more photos later.

Monday, July 6, 2009

On the Menu: Up in the air

Business is booming on Bold Avenue - lots of custom design and writing projects have been coming in. Which, of course, is fabulous! But busyness comes with its own challenges.

As I was looking at this week and feeling overwhelmed, one thing lead to another, and I ended up asking the Hubs, "how would you like to deal with the food next week?" And he was up for it! (He likes to cook.) I am so grateful! He already made a plan for Monday through Thursday and went shopping.

His plan (written on the back of one of my new menu plan pages):

Which means:

  • potatoes and eggs (omelette) with carrot soup
  • tuna casserole (which I didn't make again last week)
  • chakchouka
  • chicken and rice
Ok. So I wrote the above last night. But there was something neither one of us took into consideration.

Friday, my hubby's Uncle Karl passed away. (That's the uncle we stayed with when we went to Pennsylvania.) At first, the Hubs wasn't going to fly out for the funeral. Now he might. So a lot of things are up in the air.

So what's on your menu this week?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Blog FAIL!

Just realized I forgot to blog today. I had a list of quick take ideas I just needed to write up, and I got busy with my day, and it completely slipped my mind. Guess I'll have to save 'em for another time.

Happy 4th of July everyone!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

REPLAY: Why diapers are like cars

In celebration of Little Stuff of Life's blogiversary, I'm replaying a series of "classic" posts. This one originally aired July 27, 2007 - before I got religious about including photos with each post.

On a side note, I'm glad now that we didn't buy that Pontiac.


When my Hubs and I were looking for a car, we learned that a Pontiac Vibe is basically the same as a Toyota Matrix. Everything on it except the stereo is made by Toyota. But since it's called "Pontiac," the Vibe will cost less at the outset than the Matrix and have a lower resale value. It might also take longer to sell.

Yesterday, I learned there's a similar phenomenon in the world of cloth diapers. A lot of people buy used cloth diapers since they're quite a bit cheaper than new ones. (As the Hubs put it, "Diapers start depreciating the second you drive them off the lot.") If you purchase used cloth diapers from top-selling brands, you can sometimes resell them for your purchase price - or close to it (assuming they're still in good condition). However, diapers from brands that aren't well known may save you money initially, but they'll be harder to resell once your kids grow out of them. You may have trouble selling them at all.

Just like with a Pontiac, people are concerned about reliability, how much mileage they'll be able to get out of them, and whether they'll leak.

P.S. Thanks to Heather of Sleek Mama for enlightening me on this subject. I was interviewing her about her baby carriers, and we got a little off topic.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Little Stuff of Life is 2!

That's right! It's been 2 years since my very first post here at LSL!

And ya know what I was thinking? This isn't just about this blog or me being long-winded enough to keep yakking for two years. It's about you. No, really. Why would LSL have existed this long if it weren't for you stopping by, reading, commenting, contributing.

So I wanna make today about you!

I would lovelovelove it if every single person stopping by this week - even if it's your first time here - would also comment on this post. Kind of like we're all at a big party, and you're mixing and mingling.

Some options:

  • Tell us your favorite LSL post(s), if you have any.
  • Say who you are (I know, but does everyone know?)
  • If you're shy/busy/whatever, you can totally just say "hi" and leave it at that.
The point is at least to make an appearance - and have fun seeing who else has been hanging around.

So grab a party hat and introduce yourself!


Photo by cdw0107.

Monday, June 29, 2009

On the menu: change

This week it's back to menu planning. And, as usual, back to plans changing before we even get started.

Tuesday my parents are going out of town, and my brother is moving to Flagstaff (three hours north of here), so it was decided that Monday we're all going out to eat. Probably to Serrano's, which is quite possibly our family's favorite Arizona Mexican food.

So here was plan A:

Here is the revised plan:

  • Monday - (eat out w/ fam)
  • Tuesday - 7-bean soup (with a little bit o' chicken sausage)
  • Wednesday - tuna casserole and spinach salad
  • Thursday - chicken sausage, potatoes and onions with applesauce
  • Friday - spaghetti with red sauce
  • Saturday - (Independence Day partying)

I don't think I told you that when I finally got around to making that "Hearty Tuna Casserole" (the one with the zucchini and no peas), it was really good. So I'm making it again. It'll help use up all these green onions. We'll pretty much be having green onions on everything except our cereal this week, since I already had extra and will inherit more when the parents leave town. Got any other good green onion recipes?

Let me know. And post your plan at Chive Talkin'!

Friday, June 26, 2009

The one where I get all old skool

I wasn't supposed to have Barbies as a kid. Instead, I had the Sunshines - a very sweet, wholesome, approximately Barbie-sized (but much more realistically-proportioned) family of dolls.

It was my Granddaddy, Mom's own father, who (probably unknowingly) went against her wishes and bought me for-real Barbies for my birthday. What could Mom do but grin, and let me welcome them into the Sunshine family?

I'm pretty sure my parents were similarly un-thrilled when Granddaddy decided that Michael Jackson doll clothes would be the perfect Christmas gift for me. But what could they do but help me write a thank-you note and sigh as I struggled to pull a single sparkly white glove (more of a mitten actually) over Crystal Barbie's built-in ring?

I was excited about the clothes, though. My older cousins had introduced me to Michael Jackson, and I thought he was pretty cool. So I happily dressed those formerly-contraband Barbies in red and black (fake) leather pants and jackets with all these extra zippers that didn't actually open, even though everything was just slightly too big for them.

In recent years, I haven't been a fan of Michael Jackson. Or Barbie for that matter. But scanning the radio stations in the car yesterday made me smile. When you look back at history, things aren't always so black or white. Remember the time before all the controversy? Before Michael Jackson - or the world in general - seemed so dangerous? Watching the Thriller video with my cousins. Trying to moonwalk on the playground. Thinking we were "bad," because we knew that bad meant good.

Those songs brought back happy memories from when I was growing up. At the same time, it made me sad to think that Michael himself didn't have a happy childhood. And neither did a lot of other kids. It made me want to do something. To protect the children, to make a brighter day, to heal the if I'm the one who can do all/any of that. But, really? What can you do?

All I can think of is this: If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, and then make a change.


PS Oh yes, you did catch some MJ references in the last half of the post! From the "In recent years" paragraph to the end, there's about a dozen Michael Jackson song references, mostly titles. Find them all and you'll get....well...not a prize exactly...but definitely some survived-the-80s cred! Need a hint?

PPS Not sure where my old toys are, but I found them on Flickr - yay! I'm pretty sure those are the two MJ outfits I had. (Not the dolls, though.)

Photos by:
Sakurako Kitsa