Lopez Island and the vacation that wasn’t

5 Sep

Author and child photo

Tonight I spoke to a wise social media expert, and began asking her about how to promote my Etsy store better (avenue49.etsy.com), since it seems to be hard for people to search for me on that site. She said that I need a blog. At first I said that I didn’t have one, but then mid-conversation, I realized I did. It had just been languishing.

So I’m taking Mary Rarick‘s advice and writing a new blog post. Lots going on this summer, so much to blog about! But I figure something that touches on both my life and my jewelry is our recent trip to Lopez Island, where I spent most of the week (among other vacationish things) putting together 330 race “medals” for Andrea Moore of Moxie Runners. I may have mentioned it previously, but I was coerced (sort of) into running my first half marathon in August. It may have had something to do with the fact that Andrea is one of the most energetic, kind, motivating people I’ve met, and she wanted to direct her first race ever, and she asked me to make the medals, and she basically told me that I couldn’t wear one unless I ran the thing. So there it was. I’d say running a half marathon was probably always on my bucket list, after training for and accomplishing Hood to Coast in 2005. This seemed like a good way to get back in shape and maybe take off a few pounds, plus show my kids some positive modeling (mommies can make money, and use their bodies for things other than changing your diapers! Yay!). So I agreed, and once I was in, I knew I was in it for good. There was no way I was backing out on Andrea, barring injury.

Anyway, the run is a whole nother (is that a word) post. This one is supposed to be about creating the jewelry while I was supposed to be on vacation. I mostly just wanted to show the photos of Lopez that I took. That place is seriously photogenic. Every time we go, I tell Keith that the numerous artists on the island must stage the place incessantly to get it looking so aesthetically pleasing. Everywhere you look something catches the eye, whether it’s a beautiful burst of wildflowers in a planter box, or a rusted fish sculpture, or the farm stand that we invariably end up at. I can’t help but bring my iphone everywhere, even though the cell service is nil (and they like it that way, those Lopetians or whatever they are called. There’s still a petition going around arguing against cell phone towers on the island due to radiation concerns).

So, knowing that I was running a 13.1 mile race within the next 7 days, and that I would need to deliver both 300+ necklaces for that race and a table display that Keith could sell my necklaces from during the race, we still made the 6 or so hour journey north. We can’t help it. It’s the most relaxing place I’ve ever been, I think. I knew I could do my last training run on the island, and I came armed with bundles of jewelry-making materials. I didn’t have a display for the table, but I had many an idea from Pinterest. I planned to visit the “Mall” on Lopez, which is really the waste transfer station, with a section that’s like a huge free garage sale, to look for the parts I needed.

Cinnamon rolls

Without making this an overly long post, I’ll just tell you some of the things we love to do while we’re on the island. We absolutely love the cinnamon   rolls and almond butterhorns (and, well, everything else) at Holly B’s. I did get a little pissed at Holly B this time because she wouldn’t take my damn   out of state check, and I didn’t have a debit card at the time, and she wouldn’t take my damn credit card either, and I would have spent about double   what I did except for her stupid “I won’t take your stinking Oregon money” rules! Come on Holly. I take frigging credit cards on my iPhone. It’s not cute or nostalgic anymore to reject electronic money. It’s dumb. Anyway, I still love her baked goods, which is why I was so angry in the first place. I also had low blood sugar. Anyone who knows me can tell you that’s not a good thing. So try the cinnamon rolls, the almond butterhorn, and the ham/gruyere croissant. That should be all the butter you need for the day. I indulged once when I had run 11 miles, and once when I hadn’t . Which is probably why I haven’t really lost any of those pounds from all this training. Sigh.

We also love to go to the Farmer’s market on Lopez. There is both food and craft stuff, and I was really checking out the jewelry tables, trying to see how people displayed stuff creatively. I was a little bummed for all of the hippy/crafty/artistic people on Lopez that no one created their own. They were really all of the silver or velvet display variety. I had other plans.

kids on the beachWe love to visit Odlin State Park one or more times when we are on the island. The beach is really lovely and sandy, different than the rocky beach by our cabin. The kids can play for hours, either with sand toys, or just running around checking out crab shells or jumping in the water. We also tried out Watmough Bay at the south end of the island again, after a several year hiatus. It’s another beautiful, off-the-beaten-path sort of beach. We heard a weird low buzzing sound when we pulled into the parking lot, and then hiked in a bit. We had brought a picnic lunch from another favorite food spot, Vita’s Wildly Delicious (quick aside: Vita’s makes delicious food that is shown in deli-cases daily, and you can either eat there, or take your food home with you and heat it up – definitely yummy, must try.) I think the bees smelled us from the moment we got the food out of the car. At first there were like 3, then 5, then 17, and then holy moly, it was time to get the hell out of Watmough Bay before they swarmed. My friend Ally refers to these as “meat bees” and they certainly were. I got stung for only the second time in my 36 years. I have to give myself a pat on the back for being really tough in front of my kids. I didn’t want them to go around freaking out about bees all the time, so I was just like “dangit, I got stung” while inside I was crying and writhing in pain. I was surprised at how long  that sucker hurt! So, Watmough Bay is beautiful, but maybe not in August. Or maybe just without food.

crabKeith, and now Knox’s favorite pastime on Lopez is catching crab. The last time we went up, it wasn’t crab season, and this time, I could feel the tension radiating off my husband on the way up there. In his mind, you must get on the appropriate ferry at all costs, so that you get to the island in time to get crab bait, license, pots, and boat ready so that you can drop pots as soon as humanly and legally possible. This was done. Luckily for me, we had rental neighbors next door, and I batted my eyelashes at the “Big Strong Men” and asked them to help my husband carry that heavy boat down to the beach. I did this when the boat needed carrying back up as well. I’m a feminist, but this was no time to show how strong I was. It’s a pain in the ass getting that boat up and down. So, they caught crab. And more crab. And Knox loves it. He loves catching it, helping clean it, and eating it. Last year he liked all but eating it, but this year his tastebuds must have changed, because he was downing that stuff like it was water. Cracking it himself too! Impressive for a 5 year old I think. Ella gave it a valiant effort, but I could see her dry heaving when she took the bite. It was so sad/tough all at once. She really tried to like it. Maybe next year.

farmstand signThis post seems to be all about food. I’m hungry I guess. But we really eat better up there than we do any other time of the year. It’s usually summer, and there are organic farmers on the island, who also raise and butcher meat. I feel very local/sustainable/organic when we eat up there. We frequently visit the Lopez Island Farm Stand, where there is beautiful produce, meat, and flowers available, with a CASH BOX that is on the HONOR SYSTEM, people. Can you believe that? You pick your stuff, weigh it, and put money in the cash box. It just makes you feel like the world isn’t so bad when you see this. I try to make one or two meals that are completely local when we’re there. It’s not hard when there is so much beautiful, colorful, healthy food available at your disposal. I think this time we had these beautiful french fingerling potatoes, some cauliflower, and some beef. potatoes and caulflower

But back to the real reason for this post – the jewelry that I was making for the race. The whole time we were eating this beautiful food and relaxing on the Island, in the back of my mind I was thinking “I have to run 13.1 miles on Sunday, and I have to have all of these necklaces done, and I have to have a display for my necklaces because Andrea is giving me a table to display them at! Holy shit!” I haven’t pushed myself like this for a long long time. Even at my “real” job where I was for 10 years, I didn’t put this much oomph into anything. I guess it really matters when it’s your own name on the line. So we went to the dump, and I asked Keith to leave me there so I could peruse the “Mall” section. It’s so awesome. It’s like Lopez Freecycle. You take the stuff you would normally donate to Goodwill and donate it to your neighbors instead. I knew I could find something to work with for my displays. And I did. Two old, glassless frames and a big old pickle jar. I had some ideas gleaned from Pinterest. A frame or two with mesh or chicken wire on the back, to hang lots of necklaces from, and maybe a jar filled with beach rocks and some beautiful branches that I could also hang necklaces from.
Frame Jewelry Display
Necklace display
I found my frames and a lovely (actually really hideous) muslin-looking dress that I could cut up for the fabric backing behind the chicken wire, I just needed to find mesh and some spray paint, and branches, and rocks….I was mostly worried about spray paint. I made Keith take me to the hardware store. There I found some lovely blue ENGINE PAINT. blue frame

I figured it might work. And in my MIL’s utility shed, I found some beautiful chicken wire! I was really stoked about this, because I had no idea where I might find mesh on the island. Chicken wire is kind of a bitch to cut and position, if you were ever thinking about using it for a project. But I spray painted those frames, and attached the chicken wire in some very jerry-rigged ways. I figured the backs wouldn’t get looked at that much. And then I conned my sweet husband into building some kind of supports for the back of the frames so that they would actually stand on a table. I called it “Design Star Lopez”. I think the neighbors thought we should just drink a beer and relax.

building the frames

And then I worked on the branches display as well. Made the kids collect rocks with me. Spray painted the branches with some other kind of engine paint, I think. I kept thinking about the Young House Love Blog and how Sherry is obsessed with ORB (Oil Rubbed Bronze) paint right now, and my engine paint really had an ORB feeling to it. It gave the branches a consistent color with just a little sheen.
branch necklace display
I didn’t get a great close-up of the branch display. It looks pretty ugly in this photo, but at the table in the end it did look nice. It is not a PORTABLE display in any sense of the word, however. We pretty much threw the branches away at the end of the race. More branches can probably be found in Portland. Maybe.
So we put these together throughout the week, and by the end I think we were both happy with our mostly-free table display! Our friend Sam, who lived another life as an engineer, came over and helped Keith screw in the frame backs the night before the race. We were all cracking up at how crappy these things were, but definitely functional for someone with zero budget!
Here’s the finished product:
frame display finished

table display photo

It was fun to use very little in terms of purchased materials and come up with something so practical that looks pretty decent.

And as for the rest of my time, it was spent bent over the little kitchen table, gluing, coating, and pouring resin on these babies!

finisher medals

The race registrations kept coming in throughout the week before the race, which kept Andrea and I both on our toes! She would let me know that she needed 25 more, and I’d get my little factory going again. It got to the point where I ran out of supplies and had to order some online and hope to God they got to my house before the race. I also enlisted the services of Paper, Scissors on the Rock, a local office supply store. I was really really happy that they had a color printer so that I could print some more of the Run Girl Run logos. I would have been lost without them!

The medals really weren’t completely finished until the Friday before the race. It was a little nervewracking for me, and I’m sure for Andrea as well, as she is quite possibly the most organized person I’ve ever met. But the medals arrived on time, and were handed out to some very happy race finishers. I received so much positive feedback, and it was really fun seeing all that hard work being worn around these athletic ladies’ necks! I was proud of them, and proud of myself.

In the end, I’m glad I won’t be vacationing while trying to accomplish all of those things EVER AGAIN. Timing might not have been the best, but we did have a lovely time despite all of the crafting and jewelry-making, and I felt a huge sense of accomplishment for both my own race, and the new level I took my little business to that fine summer day. Thanks to Andrea Moore for inspiring me to accomplish something I might not have envisioned for myself!

And go to Lopez, people. But not too much. Just enough to get Holly B to take our credit cards.

Some pretty photos of the island:

Old truck at farm stand fish sculpture Driftwood sculpture flowerssky and grass


I will have to admit that this IS an overly long blog post.





Password Fail

28 Mar

You know it’s been too long since you’ve blogged when you forget the password to your WordPress account.

Here’s what’s been going on (lots):

No more OptumHealth

Shahnahnahnah, hey hey hey, goodbye...

I quit my job! I mean, I really gave notice! Twice! The first time, apparently it didn’t take, or I wasn’t clear, or something. They had asked me to come back to work full-time, and my stomach just hurt thinking about that. So I said no, but I must not have made it entirely clear that I wanted to work ZERO time. So they ignored me for a couple of weeks (and hoped that it would all go away), and I asked about the “transition plan” and it was confirmed that they hoped I would just continue on part-time if they ignored it and were quiet. So, I quit again. It’s a good feeling to be wanted, and needed, but I know some of that is also sheer lack of time for all that we/they are trying to accomplish. To lose an employee with any amount of adequacy is tough. To lose one with 10 years of experience at the job is really tough. So, I feel guilty, but everyone tells me not to feel guilty, and I try not to. And in the meantime, until June, when I’ll actually stop putting in any hours (I gave them a long notice so we could continue to pay for Knox to go to preschool, seeing as how we will be able to afford nothing when I quit), I have become the worst employee ever. I CANNOT.CONCENTRATE. My attention span is about 15 seconds for anything work-related. Hopefully I never have to work again, because I’m sure all of my future potential employers are reading this, and will now never hire me.

Tshirt slogan I started a weight loss challenge. After two babies in 4 years, my body just didn’t recover. It just doesn’t take weight off as well anymore. And maybe I eat more now because my kids drive me crazy. Yes, that’s it. I’m going to blame it on my kids. And my c-section. All bad things come from c-sections, didn’t you know? Anyway, I’ll handle this lightly for now – weight is a bigger issue than eating and exercise for me. I eat emotionally, and I’m trying to figure out how to stop that, but I had to take a step in a healthy direction. My friend Jessi dropped out of a team weight loss challenge because she got pregnant (lucky….not), and asked if I’d be interested. I wasn’t, really, just in theory. But I said I would. It’s me, and two other Laurelhurst moms. It’s been much much better than I imagined it would be. We made up a team name “Drop It Like It’s Hot” and I made us some t-shirts complete with flames. We have gone to two workouts a week at a gym on Fremont, and those workouts make me want to die for various reasons, including the fact that we all look like jiggly idiots, and the fact that I want to puke most of the time while we are doing them. But, I’m sure it’s been gone for all of us. I also cut out refined sugar, fast food, and have gone all whole grain on all carbs. Trying to eat more fruits and veggies too. The workouts are nothing compared to the pain of losing vanilla syrup in my latte. I’ve been trying Agave syrup, and it’s OK, but my Dad seems to think it’s just as bad as corn syrup, so I’m confused whether I’m doing the right thing, and to be honest, it’s just not the same as the vanilla, but it’s better than Stevia or other fake-sugar products. So… my motivation is dwindling, trying to figure out other ways to motivate. I lost 3 lbs the first week, the 2nd week I lost nothing, and that sent me into an emotional tailspin in which I cried all day, and the third week I just covered my eyes and ears while the trainer wrote down my number. Not sure if I’ll look next week. I want to lose weight, but holy shit this has been hard, adding in 4 workouts a week, and cutting out some of my favorite foods. I think I might feel healthier…more energetic…not sure because I’m totally procrastinating right now and don’t feel all that great about myself. Ask me tomorrow.

Avenue49 Jewelry I started a jewelry business! I’m making resin and glass tile photo jewelry! This is so not a new concept for etsy, but I’m trying to offer my unique spin. I’ve learned how to pour resin correctly, and where to get the pendants for the best price. Still learning about chains and all that jazz. I hope to launch it this week to the public, because I made like 20 more pendants today (again, with the lack of concentration on my JOB), and they are looking really cute! I have done some of my own photography, but I also found some wonderful artists via Flickr’s Creative Commons who have agreed to collaborate with me. I am in awe of the artistry of these people, and am so honored that they have allowed me to use their work (some of them for free!). I can’t wait to see the results.

My etsy site is: www.etsy.com/shop/avenue49

Illustration of an animalAWESOME and fun illustrator Genie Espinosa: http://trouvezlelapin.blogspot.com

Temple photograph

Amazing and generous photographer Steve Snodgrass: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevensnodgrass/.

I’m sure there will be more- I’ve asked for other permissions and am waiting to hear back. But this is inspiring and exciting. So, yay! Or, as Genie would say, “hihihihihi!”


19 Feb

It’s been a long winter in Portland. Not exactly cold, more like dreary, grey, and monotonous. Sometimes I don’t even realize how long it is until I start seeing things like this, which unexpectedly fill my heart with little pinpoints of joy. The best part is, it’s all still a surprise, since the former house owners planted everything. We get pretty little surprises throughout the spring and summer, and, apparently mid-winter too! You plants are brave, coming up right now. I’m rooting for you!

A new skill

16 Feb

This weekend, my parents were kind enough to take Ella for the weekend. For some reason that I’m not sure I totally understand, I got it in my head that Knox needed to start learning to ski. I think it may have been based on my own late start at skiing. I have sort of mildly horrible/funny memories of a miserable first skiing experience. I was probably 12? My aunt took my cousin and I, and I don’t think I was given much instruction, or if I was, I didn’t listen. Got the boots and skis on, and felt immediately uncomfortable, then couldn’t figure out how to move. My aunt reminded me that during the time I couldn’t move, there was a snow cat coming toward me and I couldn’t move out of the way. She remembers my crying starting then, but I remember it starting when the holes got burned into my gloves while trying to figure out the rope tow. It ended well. I was flying down the hills by the end of the day, but I think I always wished I had learned earlier, before I got so uncoordinated.

So…I read that they would start giving lessons at 4, and launched a campaign to get Knox started. Keith isn’t the sort who gets excited about these outdoor adventures, although he does enjoy them once I get him talked into it. I researched where to take him, decided on Summit mostly because it was cheapest, and we weren’t sure how it would go…didn’t want to waste a crapload of money for 30 minutes of frustration. Got up early on Saturday and got up there with a stop at McDonald’s. (Ick. Road trip McDonald’s is a habit we have to break, especially since Keith is reading me excerpts from The Omnivore’s Dilemna) We were a little frustrated that the Summit website didn’t indicate that group lessons didn’t apply to kids under 5, but they were cool and gave us the group rate for a private lesson. Got the boy in his skis and boots, and then we waited. And waited. And waited. Us pushing him around, snowball fighting, and hot cocoa were all distraction techniques that grew tedious at the end of the waiting. I thought we were going to lose him before he even started. He started getting pissy about the boots and how uncomfortable they were. But finally, our savior, a red-ski-jacketed young man named Graham showed up and saved us from the 4 year old wrath. He was almost assuredly stoned, but I convinced myself that I know a lot of functional stoners, and we let our son go with him, by himself, on a chairlift, to the top of a mountain. And we went in to get our own gear an follow them up. By the time we were suited up, Knox and stoner-Graham were coming down the hill, and our boy was skiing! Like, he was on his own two legs, not being carried or held, and not visibly crying. Can’t tell you how proud both of us were. It was amazing. Knox is the kind of kid who gets extremely frustrated when he doesn’t learn something perfectly the first time he tries it. So we were worried. But he just kept trying. We saw him bite it several times, one time so bad that I was making that mama noise (sort of a high pitched keening) while I watched and Keith had to say “He’s FINE” and pat my knee. But he was fine. He proudly told us that on one run he never fell down at all! And I think (hope) that he gained some confidence in himself.

As for me, all the memories came flooding back, when I once again could not get my (much larger) booty to move anywhere! I haven’t skied for probably 20 years, and the idea of how it would feel that was in my head in no way matched up to the way it actually felt. I felt OLD and CLUMSY and FAT. Did I mention out of shape? Oh my god, my quads hurt so bad, even when I was in the middle of a run! Now I totally understand why people break bones skiing, because there were times when I was so jello-legged that I could barely handle going over a little drift of snow! Keith thought I was the biggest sissy. I thought that this is a personal challenge. I have to get back into good enough shape that skiing is fun again. I’m not going out at 35, people.

So, here’s to Knoxer’s first runs. And here’s to many more for both of us!

When it’s 9:30 am and you’ve worked a full day already

7 Feb

frazzled mom

Me, except for the rollers.

This is a complainer post. Stop reading if you aren’t down with some serious self-pity. These are the kinds of days when I realize why I am quitting my job. There are a couple of caveats here. I realize that even after I quit my job we are going to have days like this. I also realize that unless it’s summer, or vacation, I am going to have to rip my slumbering children out of their warm beds at ungodly hours, even though that’s the last thing I want to do. There’s something in my mom code that says “Do not wake them when they are sleeping”. It also says “Feed them when they are hungry,” and “Make them shut up when they whine.” If these things aren’t fulfilled, then my cortisol levels start to shoot up, and then things get crazy.

This morning, we all had to get up earlier than we would have liked. Thank god we made sleeping-type children. At 7:15 or so, we start the process with Knox. He is instantly grumpy when you wake him up. “I don’t waaaant to wake uuuuup.” “OK, buddy, you can have a few more minutes.” And then I go do something in the bathroom for a long time so that Keith has to do the rest of the wake up calls. This process reminds me of living in a sorority in college, where we slept on a sleeping porch with like 20 other women, in bunk beds no less (ask my again why I dropped my pin?), and one person was always assigned the god-awful duty of waking everyone up. “Sarah, this is your first call. Sarah, this is your second call.” Brings back nightmares thinking about it. Sleep is sacred, at least to me. Anyway, Knox is up, and he’s crying already, heading down the stairs, and it breaks my heart. See, cortisol has already started to spike! I hug him and help him get dressed, and he’s up at the table eating breakfast and everything is fine. Then I go get Ella up, and bring her down to get dressed. Decide to be a nice mommy and let him play Mario Kart while he waits for Ella to get dressed and eat. This works ok, until I tell him to turn it off because it’s time to go. That’s when all hell breaks loose! Every day you learn something as a parent, and today I think I finally got it through my thick skull that my kid can’t have screen time before school. It just messes with his wiring. So, it’s really time to get them out the door, and Ella wants (excuse me) fucking NOODLES for breakfast. And now we are tripping another one of my basic rules of motherhood – “THE CHILD MUST BE FED”. So, I start the motherf-ing noodles, and I’m starting to get pissed. It’s all my fault – I allow these things, and I know I shouldn’t be allowing these things, and I also know that we’re going to be late for preschool, which is truly a walk of shame. Another college memory. Anyway, now Knox is trying to get his coat and shoes on. I have to bribe him with a sticker to get the shoes on, and then when the coat goes on….”It doesn’t FEEEEEEEL goood!” OK, take it off and let me adjust the arms (because I know how it feels when your clothes don’t feel good – still having empathy). Puts the coat back on, “It STILLLL DOESN’T FEEEEEL GOOOD”. And the cortisol levels start to shoot up again. I throw another coat at him. “This one doesn’t FEEEEEL GOOOD EITHERRRR”. Now I begin getting angry and tell him to go upstairs and put on a different shirt. And you know when you know you are late, and it compounds the stress? Ella still doesn’t have socks on. I go get the socks, and get the stupid noodles off the stove and into a tupperware, and Knox has a new shirt on, so we try the coat again, and yay, we’re ready! Except we’re not. Because both of them now want yogurt for the road. And my anger/stress/cortisol builds – as I grab the stupid yogurt, because you can’t starve your children, right? But all three of my mom buttons are being pushed today. And I finally give in and start yelling “GET OVER AT THE DOOR NOW!” So of course, they head to the wrong door. And I tell them the back door, and they head to the back door, but what I really meant was the side door. Holy crap, could we have more fricking doors in this house? And finally they are walking out the door, but getting them into the car is another 10 minute process I swear to god, and by this time, not only are we late for preschool, I am also just about to be late to a 9 am conference call with my boss and another VP. Cortisol spike, again! Woo hoo!

I get Knox to preschool, and this is one time where being late works in my advantage because there is no time to do a lingering goodbye. Thank God he doesn’t throw a tantrum, and I’m out the door, shoving Ella back into her car seat, and she starts whining/crying that “I don’t WANT to go to Megan’s! I want to stay at HOME!” Great. Sigh. I just keep repeating a sad, tired mantra to her. “I hear you. I know you don’t want to go to Megan’s, but you will have fun. Your friends are there. You always have fun.” And we get to Megan’s and she starts screaming at me again. I ignore it, pick up her kicking body, and take her inside, where she proceeds to cling to me like a lemur for another 10 minutes while Megan and I try everything we know (movies, playdough, Ellie, Abe, Valentine’s crafts) to get her to *like* being there. Internally, I finally give up on her being happy when I leave, and I peel off the lemur and stick it onto Megan and make a hasty exit while I hear “Mama! Mama!”. As always, I’m sure she was fine 5 seconds later.

And then I try to rearrange my brain to start thinking about the conference call that I am now 30 minutes late to. I try to check with my boss to see if they are even still on the phone. They aren’t. I’ve missed it. And I drive to my home office, and slump into my chair, feeling like I’ve already worked a full day. And it’s 9:30 am. I do hope that this will get easier. I know the work part will – at least that part of my stress won’t be waiting for me after I get through the school drop offs. We’ll have a summer of no morning deadlines (unless we do camps), and then maybe, just maybe, Knox will actually like Kindergarten and want to go? It’s an idea, anyway.

How people in catalogs live

6 Feb

My cousin and I were trying to kill time the other day while waiting for the dishwasher repair dude to show up, so we were researching what kinds of stair/step storage baskets were out there. We seem to have a high preponderance of toys and other detritus that litter the floor at the end of each day, as much as I try to keep their crap upstairs, it’s weird. It’s like they want to play with it or something. So I think it’s time to start training them to fill their basket up each day and take it back up to their caves with them. As a side note, my mom always used to leave piles of my stuff on the stairs. I feel her pain now, but God how I hated that practice at the time! I would step over it until the pile was unwieldy and people were falling every time they tried to go up or down, and she was beyond exasperated. No wonder I got Knox. 🙂

Anyway, we found some decent stair/step baskets online, but you wouldn’t believe the price! People are trying to sell these things for like $70 bucks a pop. Why? Because they are shaped different than your average rattan basket? “This one has a little jutting part, and you know, not that many people have stairs in the world, so we can totally jack up the price, because you know, only rich people have stairs and will actually buy these.” Maybe that’s true. Maybe this is a first world problem. (Speaking of first world problems, the other day our house cleaner put an ant trap in the hanging bathtub toy bag and my children proceeded to pour water through it, which was then bathed in. The good news is, our children’s EYES and HAIR are ant free!).

So this is the basket I’m drawn to.

Stair step basket

You need booze upstairs

But the thing that caught me was that these are meant to be used for things that need to go upstairs. The ad says “Designed to rest at the bottom of your stairs, so you can fill it with things that really belong upstairs.” So….apparently Ballard Designs believes that we really need to put our beer in our basket so we can take it upstairs with us. Because…most people bring a couple pints to bed?

In and of itself, it’s not that funny – the picture just struck me as a little odd. I guess maybe they just wanted to show how to use those two compartments. But it made me think back to a pretty funny web site I’d seen in the past. It’s called Catalog Living and Molly Erdman, who writes it, must be pretty awesome. She pretends to know the people who live within home furniture catalogs’ (Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, etc..) carefully constructed “scenes”. She names them, and makes fun of each absurdity within the carefully staged ad.

Catalog Photo

Gary and Elaine live here

Example “Worried that their lives were getting too orderly, Gary rebelliously installed intentionally-crooked shelves and pulled the butterfly chair out a naughty 5 inches from the table.”

It’s so worth taking 10 minutes to chuckle at. Back to basket shopping. Or maybe I’ll just carry my booze upstairs.

The scariest blog post, maybe ever

4 Feb

My Google reader has a section called “Recommended Items” where occasionally I find a gem of a post or blog.

This time I found something different. I’d like to call this woman my “anti-mentor” on how to be an effective homemaker in 2011.

Here’s the most horrifying paragraph in her entire post (which was a detailed, hour-by-hour breakdown of each day with her children):

4:00- Clean-up/Make dinner. This hour is my “prepare for hubby hour”! I like to have all the toys picked up, house spotless and dinner ready on the table before Scott comes home. My mom always did this for my dad so I was just used to that idea and my husband really appreciates it. I start by preparing and cooking dinner. The kids LOVE helping me cook! 🙂 While the food is cooking, we do a quick run through the house and pick up everything! I straighten all pillows and throws, turn the lights on, and try to look good. Yes…I fix my make-up and sometimes change my clothes. I love wearing yoga pants all day but my hubby likes me in jeans so sometimes I will change. This can be a hectic hour but totally worth it.

I don’t even know where to start. It’s probably all sorts of bad blog karma to rip on someone else’s blog in week 1, but I would like to try and find some way of justifying my behavior. Let’s call this a public service announcement. The announcement being: If you feel that this woman is doing it right, please get in your Delorian and go back to 1952 where you belong.