Wednesday, December 29, 2010

16 and 6

It's been a wonderful holiday season so far. And, true to form, I got so busy that I forgot to blog about it! Here's one of the highlights:

My husband's 16-year-old son came to visit us for the first time. Even though I knew of D's existence, I never thought of myself as a stepmom. I wanted my husband to spend more time with his son, and I wanted our daughter to know her brother, but I hadn't factored myself into the equation. Plus, the drama behind it all had gone on for so long that I thought D would be an adult by the time we finally met.

So when the prospect of blending our family became a reality rather than a theory, I was a nervous wreck. "Just be yourself," Hubby said. "It'll be great!"

I tried to share Hubby's optimism, but I couldn't shake the underlying fear that I'd somehow turn out to be the Wicked Stepmother. Could I ask him to do dishes without appearing to be a power-crazed meanie?

Turns out, I needn't have worried. D is a great kid, and he has the same kind and optimistic demeanor as his dad. Plus, his little sister wrapped him around her baby finger. He was playing Barbies and promising to bake cookies within 10 minutes of his arrival. That girl's got skills, I must admit.

After prying my daughter off of D's leg and putting her to bed, I had a chance to talk with him alone. Hubby went to bed early, exhausted from working late hours. D was eating some baked chicken he found in the fridge. (Note: Teenage boys eat A LOT. Plan on doubling your grocery bill.)

"Do you have any rules I should know about?" he asked.

"Don't drink my club soda," I said. "I can't really think of anything else right now."

D nodded, and he then proceeded to tell me how he had been looking forward to this visit.

"It was really bothering me that I have a sister, and I don't know her," he said. "It's been bothering me for a while." He licked his fingers. "This is good chicken, by the way."

"Thanks," I said. "I'm glad you're here. You're welcome anytime."

And that was it. All the nervousness melted away.

A few days later, I gave Hubby a hug as he was watching the kids put together a puzzle.

"You've got two kids," I said. "How does it feel?"

"Feels good," he said. "You know, you've got two kids too."

I nodded. "Yeah, I guess I do."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Reading and Crocheting

I've taken to listening to audiobooks on my way to and from work. I used to ride in silence; I thought it helped to clear my head. In reality, the silence put me more on edge. I spent the entire time white-knuckling the steering wheel and obsessing over the day's mishaps.

The audiobooks were a welcome distraction during my 30-minute commute. They almost worked too well. For a while, when I got to the thick of a plot and I just had to know what happened next, I ate lunch at my desk.

My latest obsessions, The Friday Night Knitting Club and Knit Two, had me engrossed for two weeks. The books were about a group of women who form an unlikely bond through the craft. It's also about love, forgiveness, and taking a chance.

What struck me most, though, was that these women KNITTED.

I know, weird, right? With all of the drama and plot twists, who cares about knitting?

The knitting was reminding me of something I had forgotten all about. Crocheting. My great-aunt taught me when I was four years old. I sat under her craft table twisting scraps of yarn around a fat green hook until they turned into potholders and scarves. As I got older, I crocheted less and less. I would return to it time to time, usually when someone was having a baby.

The last baby I crocheted for was my own. That was 6 years ago.

I found a half skein of blue yarn in the basement. The green hook from my childhood is long gone. I lost it in an airplane seat while making a blanket for a friend's newborn. The peach replacement doesn't feel quite the same.

But the yarn glides between my fingers as it always does. My hands work as if they have a mind of their own. It doesn't take long before I have a square of blue.

I'm not sure what it's going to be yet, but it was great to reconnect with an old friend.

- Posted using BlogPress for iPhone

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

A Few Words on Wednesday

I love Wordless Wednesday! I'm a writer, so you'd think I'd be against it, but the idea of a thoughtful post that's easy on the schedule is appealing.

I'm breaking the rules, I'm sure, with this intro, but my pic needs explanation. This is the basket of clean laundry I opted not to fold so that I could research publishing companies and literary agents.

I promise to have fewer words next time!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, November 29, 2010

Dreaming Big

Life got in the way again. I haven't blogged in a month!

Being a wife, mother, and career women is a delicate balance. When one thing is out of sync, it sends me into a whirlwind of confusion. The latest whirlwind was thanks to my job, which had me traveling for nearly a month. My frequent flyer accounts were appreciative, but everything else fell apart. Two weeks ago, I walked into the junkiest house I'd ever seen. Turns out, it was mine.

After a week's vacation spent cleaning, sleeping, and spending time with family, I feel like I'm back on track.

But this latest off-course trek has got me thinking. Why do I give so much energy to things I don't want to do?

Don't get me wrong. I want a job. And most days, I like the job I have. There are, however, other things that are important to me, and I should make time for them too. Writing falls squarely into this category.

About two months ago, I wrote a children's story as a gift to celebrate a friend's one-year-old son. He had a heart transplant when he was 9 months old, and he's spent his entire life in a hospital or rehab facility. The story was as much a gift to me as it was to her. I've never written anything, not even my blogs, with such ease.

It's a story I love, and I believe it belongs in bookstores.

Normally, this is when I would talk myself out the idea, but I'm not going to do that this time. I'm just going to go for it. After all, I won't know if I don't try.

Steps 1 & 2: Edit the book and learn how to write a query letter.

I'll keep you posted, and I promise not to stop dreaming big.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Gout or a Sprained Toe?

It feels like I've spent more time on airplanes than on the ground lately. Two weeks ago, I flew to a new city four days out of the week, and each destination took two airplane rides.

And it's not over. I have three trips scheduled within the next two weeks.

Needless to say, I'm tired.

So it wasn't a surprise to me when my shoulder started to ache. Then my jaw locked. And later my foot hurt whenever I put on heels. I went to flats full-time. (Side note: I NEVER travel in heels, and neither should you. Trampling through airports in four-inch stilletos is a recipe for pain.)

Same-day visits to the chiropractor and podiatrist confirmed a sprained neck and toe.

I know it sounds ridiculous, but I'm not kidding. I got two scripts for Naproxen and a Cortisone steroid plus a recommendation for a travel pillow.

While on my latest business trip, I met a Navy vet who was diagnosed with gout. He was my age!

He described excruciating pain that left him unable to stand. Fortunately, with diet and medication, he got back to life.

It made me realize a sprained toe isn't all that bad!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Good Day

I should be asleep, but instead, I'm up watching bad TV and wacky commercials. Exactly how many seasons did Walker, Texas Ranger stay on the air? It's on four different channels at this time of night.

And who in the heck needs a shoe that washes your foot while you're in the shower? Or a microwave pasta cooker? Or a combo hair brush and curling iron?

Anyway, I digress. Last week was brutal, and I think I'm suffering from work PTSD.

My daughter and I had a good night. After homework and spinach pizza, we made ourselves dizzy by recreating the routines from Dancing With The Stars. We're not perfect, but we are entertaining.

Just before bedtime, E pulled out a piece of paper from her bookbag. "Mommy, this is for you."

The paper was long and thin, like a ruler, and it was neatly colored pink and brown.

"It's brown like your skin on the back and your favorite color,
pink, on the front." (Side note: Pink is her favorite color, not mine, but it was the thought that counts.)

"Open it," she made a sweeping gesture with her arms as she said this.

The words inside were simple: "I LOVE YOU MOMMY"

It made my day.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Self Esteem

When my daughter and I walked into Kmart yesterday, I prayed she wouldn't notice the enormous Barbie display by the front door. But of course she did.

"Can we look at the Barbies? Pleeeeeeeeeease?" E jumped up and down with excitement.

I reminded myself to be patient as we walked to the display. I'm not sure what Kmart is gearing up for, but they don't have this much Barbie stuff at Christmas time.

E peered inside every box and proceeded to give me a list of what she wanted for her birthday. A mermaid. A horse. A new corvette.

I squinted at the display. Something was off about it, but I couldn't put my finger on it. When it finally came to me, I commented before I could catch myself.

"Where are the brown dolls?"

In a full aisle of merchandise, all I saw was blond Barbie.

"Isn't she brown?" E pointed to a mermaid on the top row.

I followed E's finger to the doll. She had dark hair, but her complexion was pale.

"No," I sighed. "She's not. Let's go."

"Mom, I need more white dolls." E declared this as we walked to our car.

"You do?" I asked. E has a diverse group of dolls at home. "Why?"

"The white ones are prettier."

"WHAT? Who told you that?" I didn't catch my anger in time. E was frowning.

"I don't know." She shrugged. "They just are."

"Don't you think brown people are pretty? What about me? You don't think I'm pretty?"

"Yeah, but you're light."

I was confused. "Do you think you're pretty?"

"No." E started to cry.

My heart broke.

There are more things wrong here than I have time to write about. My daughter and I are the exact same complexion, and she is absolutely beautiful. She has big brown eyes with lashes that women pay good money to replicate, a killer smile, and a personality that makes it all the better.

Who in the hell told my baby she wasn't pretty? And who told her that brown wasn't beautiful?

I started thinking about what she watches on TV. Dora the Explorer. Ni Hao Kai-Lan. Hannah Montana. Suite Life of Zach and Cody.

The characters of color are cartoons.

I pledged in that instant to do a better job of showing my daughter real-life beauty in all shapes, sizes, and colors. I'm renewing my subscription to Essence. I'm on the lookout for TV programs that showcase more diversity. Brandy on Dancing with the Stars was all I had that night, but it was a start.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Five minutes of...well, it was more like an hour

It's been a long day.

I woke up at 5:15 to catch a flight to Atlanta. That was a challenge in itself. I then had to be coherent and pleasant as I directed a local video crew to capture footage of my client's franchise.

After 4 hours of "Can we try that just one more time?" I went back to the airport to catch a flight home.

To say I was beat is an understatement. I wanted to pick up my daughter, put her to bed, and then quickly follow suit.

One snafu: She was with my mother, and they were 30 minutes away at Bible study.

"Don't drive all this way," Mom said. "We're almost done. We'll be gone before you get here."

I shouldn't have believed her. One thing I should know by now is that church service of any type never ends when you think it will.

It didn't make sense to go home, so I picked up my car from remote parking and headed to the rendezvous spot, which was about 10 minutes from my house.

I got home two hours later. First, they didn't leave until 45 minutes after we talked. Then, my mom's ride had to take another person home first. (Yes, it would have been nice for me to know that from the get-go). And then, Mom figured it was easier for me to take her home after we met up so that her ride could go home faster.

By the time I got home, I was ready to scream. I was tired, I was crabby, and I smelled like an airplane.

Instead of taking my usual shower, I ran a bath instead. I planned to stay in for just a few minutes, but an hour passed before I knew it. And so did all of the day's stress.

Calming down made it a lot easier to pack bags and lunches for tomorrow, which I did while making tea. Did you know it takes 5 minutes to brew a proper cup of Rooibos tea?

One hour and five minutes were definitely worth the investment in my sanity.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, September 24, 2010


It's late, and I know I should be in bed. But I'm enjoying the quiet that comes when hubby's at work and daughter's in bed. It's so quiet that I can hear every creak and groan of our old house.

I'm beat. I've been teaching classes as a second job for the past nine months. One evening a week for four hours, I left my full-time job and head to class. It's draining. Because my students are adults, I expected them to be self-sufficient. It was quite the opposite; many of them were starting second careers or had never been to college at all. It ended up taking more time that I thought.

I've had some adventures. There was the guy who paced the whole class, the group who routinely showed up late, and the woman who couldn't understand why she didn't get credit for an in-class project we did the day she was absent. She argued me down for those points. She didn't get them.

Tonight was my last class for the rest of the year. My full-time schedule is about to go into overdrive, and there is no way I can keep up both jobs.

I should be jumping for joy.

Instead, I'm surprised by my reaction. I will actually miss teaching. There was something about connecting with people and sharing knowledge that was fulfilling. I learned as much as they did.

But for now, I think I'll just appreciate the break.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's My SITS Day!

Go Diva, it's your SITS Day!

Go Diva, it's your SITS Day!

And yes, I'm doing the cabbage patch as I sing this...

Welcome to my blog! It's my SITS Day, and I couldn't be more excited! For those who don't know, SITS is a support network for women who love to blog. If you haven't checked it out, make sure you do.

Here's me in a nutshell: I'm the wife of an absolute sweetie, mom to a sassy girl, and a career woman. Some days, though, I just feel like a mess. I started this blog to keep track of it all. Plus, I love to write, so this is a good way for me to keep in touch with me, if you know what I mean.

Here are a few of my favorite posts, but feel free to poke around. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Back to Blogging Day 4 - Who Inspires Me?

It's seconds before the close of Day 4 of the SITS Back to Blogging Challenge. I taught class tonight, so I'm just getting home and settled.

Thanks to Standards of Excellence, Westar Kitchen and Bath, and Florida Builder Appliances.

Today, the challenge asked us to write about a woman who inspires us. I can barely keep my eyes open, so I'm going to relink a post I wrote about my mom I wrote while planning my wedding. My mom has been through a lot lately. She's battled a stoke and come back from a condition that most people wouldn't have been able to beat.

My Mother, Myself - The Sequel

Since Mike proposed, I have been in Brideville. Picking colors. Looking at flowers. Hunting for the perfect shoe. (Check 'em out above - Hot, I know!) And my mom has been at my side for the whole ride. Planning a wedding, I see, brings the mother-daughter dynamic right into the forefront. Because when are personalities more at odds than when standing amidst a sea of white tulle?

I wanted a simple dress. The big puffy styles with the six-foot trains are best left to women who are marrying royalty. Mike is a king, but only to Elyse and me. At the dress shop, Momma kept unearthing lacy contraptions with big skirts. I tried them on to please her.

“Oh, this is it!” she cried when she saw me in a lacy sheath with sequins detailing and a substantial train.

“It’s not me.”

“Are you sure?” She peered over her glasses. “Look at it again.”

I was sure. It took another 20 dresses before she begrudgingly admitted that the first dress I tried was more my speed. It was an ivory column with minimal detailing.

The salesperson came in with an armful of veils and tiaras. “I won’t be needing any of those.”

“Just try a few on.” The salesperson put on a veil and a tiara. “It’s not me.”

“You’re no fun!” Momma snatched off the veil and put on a different one. I frowned and slumped my shoulders. “I don’t like this one either.”

After Momma fussed for a month about my no-veil-no-tiara credo, my aunt helped her to see my point of view. “Remember how awful she used to look in Easter hats as a kid?”

Then there was the guest list. “75!” I announced. By the time my mother made her additions, the list count was up to 102. “I don’t see how you thought that you could have a wedding with just 75 people,” she said.

“Because that’s what I wanted.” My shoulders slumped again.

“Well, now you have 102. You will just have to deal with it.” I dealt with it by cutting 20 people from the guest list. My apologies go out to my co-workers. I’ll bring in pictures, I promise.

A few weeks later, Elyse and I were getting ready for church. It was chilly out, and I had a pink jacket for her to wear. She wasn’t interested.

“Come on Pumpkin, it was a gift.” Her braids hit her cheeks as she shook her head from side to side. “It’s Ralph Lauren!” I said this with a flourish, as if it would make a difference to a three-year-old. It didn’t.

I was finally able to bribe her with a bowl of grapes. Elyse took off the jacket as soon as we got into the car.

“You’re no fun!” I told her as I backed down the driveway.

So another mother-daughter relationship unfolds just as the one before it, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I could not imagine planning my wedding without Momma. She would follow me from here to Mozambique to find the perfect shade of purple paper for my wedding invitation. And all the while, she keeps me grounded, from going over the edge and pulling my hair out over party favors. It’s not a job for the faint of heart.

And sometimes, we do agree. She does love the purple shoe.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Back to Blogging Day 3 - Desperation Taco

It's Day 3 of the SITS Back to Blogging Challenge.

This is a post I wrote back in June when it was dinner time and our cupboards were nearly bare. The title, I thought, was pretty catchy.

Desperation Taco

Maybe I should be ashamed, but I'm not. I'm learning, little by little, to accept my strengths and work on my weaknesses when I can. As a mom, I know I should do better, but sometimes things just don't work that way. And I have a feeling that the story I'm about to share happens more often than people care to admit.

I HATE grocery shopping. I rarely have time, I hate lugging all that stuff to the car, and I have a five year old who wants me to buy everything in the store. So it's not uncommon for our cupboards to be bare, especially during the few days leading up to my bi-monthly trek to wherever has the best sale.

Last night, Hubby was kind enough to defrost a package of ground turkey with no plans on what to do with it. There was a half package of taco shells on the kitchen counter. The decision was made.

I looked for a pack of taco seasoning as I fried the meat. No go. I made due with cumin, salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder. I then checked the fridge for salsa and sour cream. All I found was a lime with a day of usable life left. I squeezed it into a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes.

We had some lettuce, thank goodness. But when I opened our cheese drawer (Yes, we have a drawer for cheese. We love it that much.), I found we were out.

Game over. I could live without sour cream just this once, but no shredded cheese?!?!? I was about to call for an emergency run to Save-A-Lot when I saw a pack of Cheddar & Swiss string cheese.

Game on. I pulled it apart and stuffed it into to taco shells.

And what about a side dish? Then other day, I mistakenly opened a can of kidney beans when I was looking for chickpeas. Those made a respectable helping of refried beans.

This was by far not my best culinary showing, but I'm pretty sure it was the most incentive.

I went to the grocery store this morning. Cheese and sour cream were at the top of the list.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Back to Blogging - Day 2

The Ladies of SITS are encouraging their members to get back to the basics of blogging by asking us to remember what got us interested in the first place. Below is a post I wish more people had seen. Too often, moms stress themselves out trying to be perfect, when we should just be proud of the job we're doing.

As an added incentive, Standards of Excellence, Westar Kitchen and Bath, and Florida Builder Appliances, are sponsoring a washer and dryer (affectionately called Thelma and Louise) giveaway. Enjoy!


It's 2 a.m., and I've lost my principles

When I was pregnant, the slew of unsolicited advice that came my way was relentless. People had cure-alls for pregnancy ailments, gassy babies, fussy sleepers, and picky eaters.

"If you have a happy pregnancy, then you will have a happy baby." (That advice, by the way, is crap. If you have a happy pregnancy, then count your lucky stars and get ready for the fireworks. A happy baby is not guaranteed.)

"If your baby is full before she goes to bed, then she will sleep all night." (For me, this too was a load of hooey. E ate to her belly puffed up like a balloon, and she still woke up every two hours.

These are just examples, and I can't remember half of what I was told. Besides, I had my own ideas. There were some things that I was certain that I would do no matter what.

I would change E on the changing table. I didn't like the idea of dirty diapers all over the house.

I would not let my child get addicted to a pacifier. I was once with a friend, who, at midnight, was driving around the city looking for an open drugstore because her son couldn't sleep without his binky. And of course, this was a one-of-a-kind pacifier that was found only at select locations. I did not need that sort of hassle.

I would be Mrs. Clean, wiping mouths and noses faster than they could get dirty. And my kid's clothes would be sparkling. Hair would be neat, etc.

I would never, never, ever, let her sleep in my bed. My two-year-old cousin spent the night with me a couple of years ago, and she kicked me in the back all night.

Based on this list, some would say that I had never seen a child before. Some would say that I was setting the bar too high. And others would say that I was just plain old nuts. I think I was a little of all three.

What I didn't account for when I came up with these ideals is the sleep deprivation factor. At 2 a.m. when you are tired and confused, you will let just about anything slide.

I have changed diapers right in the middle of the bed, and woke up the next morning to see it on the floor. And of course, the baby was still in my arms, wearing a milk-stained T-shirt.

E isn't addicted to a pacifier; she sucks her thumb instead. That,as far as I am concerned, is worse. Her pediatrician says that she will stop on her own, but I'm not convinced. Everyone I know who sucked their thumb did so right up to their driver's license exam.

Oh, and the hair? Well that's a story in itself. I braid it once a week in the hopes that it will stay nice for seven days. E's babysitter generally has pity on me mid-week and recombs it. I still can't figure out how her braids last so much longer.

I realized how far that I had fallen from grace a couple of days ago when I gave E a little bowl of Cheerios. She spilled half of them on the floor, and I watched her pick them up one by one and pop them in her mouth. And when she offered me one, I ate it.

Most days, though, I think I do pretty well. E is a healthy, happy 18-month-old who carries a purse. I've got to be doing something right.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Back to Blogging - My First Post

The Ladies of SITS are encouraging their members to get back to the basics of blogging by asking us to remember what got us interested in the first place. Below is my first legitimate post. There was a short introductory paragraph I posted the same day, but I don't think that counts! If I had to write it again, I think I'd make it shorter, but I still love it!

As an added incentive, Standards of Excellence, Westar Kitchen and Bath, and Florida Builder Appliances, are sponsoring a washer and dryer (affectionately called Thelma and Louise) giveaway. Enjoy!

My Mother, Myself
Originally Published April 7, 2005

When I came home from work today, I put on a pair of hot-pink satin pajama pants and an old Delta T-shirt. Anyone who has heard of my sorority knows that I look a mess - Delta's colors are crimson and cream. I tied an orange scarf on my head and slipped into a pair of worn Daniel Green house shoes; they're a low mule with a thick band across the top. I made a funny face for my four-month-old, E, and she laughed. When I saw myself in the full-length mirror, I had to laugh along with my daughter. I had turned into my mother.

Momma wears equally embarrassing ensembles around her house. Cheetah-print robes and stripped socks. Flowered housecoats over old plaid skirts. Faded green sweatshirts and purple pants, all while wearing her infamous Daniel Greens. When I was a kid, I swore that I would not wear such get-ups. But years later, here I was.

When this transformation occurred, I cannot say. It seems as though just yesterday I was a hip and happening single girl, ready to take on the world. But that must have been a long time ago, because I doubt that anyone uses the term “hip and happening” anymore. A friend of mine once said that she believes we resist our mothers' influence until we are about 27, and then we just give in. Why is that? What do we learn at that point that allows us to accept our fate?

As a little girl, I did everything I could to be like my mother. I even remember that I tore up my toy sewing machine in an attempt to make a fur coat like hers. We wore complimentary, but not matching, outfits on Easters and Mothers Days.

Complimentary, but not matching. Of course that all changed with I hit those defiant teenage years. I juggled being stubborn, high-strung, and moody with trying to define myself through fashion. My clothing choices waffled between the homely and the weird. One day I would be searching the racks at a junior's department, and the next day I would be riffling through Momma's closet. The results were interesting, to say the least. Every now and then, people would say that I had my mother's eyes. I tried not to notice.

I tried everything from track suits to business suits while in college, and I settled on a simple wardrobe once I hit my mid-20s. Tailored pants and shirts in solid colors (no prints), and I started to build a unique collection of shoes and purses. Meanwhile, my mother took jungle prints to a whole new level, matching cheetah-print accessories and separates with basic brown and black separates. In spite of my best efforts, people were starting to say that I looked more like Momma than ever. I claimed not to see it.

When I found out that I was going to have a baby last year, I started thinking a lot about motherhood in general, and I realized that some of Momma's characteristics had long-ago slipped into my personality. We have the same inflections in our voices, the same way of cutting our eyes around, and we both fold our hands across our chests in satisfaction when we know that we have the upper hand in an argument. And my determination and outspokenness are growing by the day. People say that we have the same walk, a confident gait that makes people notice you when you enter the room. I can kind of see that one.

Did I accept who I am out of a sense of defeat? No way. I think that practicality starts to set in when you get a bit older. You can't know someone your whole life and expect that person not to rub off on you. To think so is downright silly. And besides, a part of me is still like that little girl of yesteryear: I think that my mom is pretty cool.

There are still a few differences between us. My mother enjoys an occasional trip to the casino. I prefer an occasional trip to the spa. I love to try new wines. My mother loves to find new ways to mix a stiff strawberry daiquiri. And we still don't agree on the uses of cheetah-print in a wardrobe.

As soon as I finish posting this blog, I'm going online to look for some Daniel Greens. My pair is almost worn out. I think I'll get a pair for my mother, too. Complimentary, but not matching, of course.

Friday, September 03, 2010

It's All Coming Back to Me

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about The Thing. For days, The Thing rested on the tip of my tongue, just far enough away from my brain that I couldn't recognize it.

The Thing kept me up at night, had me losing focus. After about a week and a half, I threw in the towel. There was much too much going on in my world for me to be worried about things I couldn't remember.

And then, just like that, The Thing revealed its identity.

I was at a book club meeting with some friends, discussing the August selection. The main character had the picture-perfect life -- handsome husband, smart children, gorgeous home. But after 15 years, she was farther away from achieving her goals than she had ever been. And to make matters worse, she wasn't even sure what her goals were.

A first-time attendee, who's newly engaged and in her mid 20's (Oh, to be young again!) asked "How do you keep from losing yourself in a marriage?"

I could have kissed that girl. She shined a big ole spotlight on my Thing.

Between working a full-time, teaching part-time, and being a wife and mom all the time, I felt as if I were slipping away. These past few months have been so busy that I've forgotten to take care of myself.

Girls' weekend in Chicago was a great start, and so was going to book club last week. This is a three-day weekend, and I'm determined to have some solo quality time. First thing on the list -- White Ayurvedic Chai (my favorite) and some must-see TV. I think I have a whole season of Burn Notice in my DVR.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Shake Ya Money Maker

This weekend, I met up with some friends in Chicago. It was an all-out girls weekend: good shopping, good food, and pole dancing.

Yes, I said pole dancing. Apparently, this has been gaining popularity ever since Carmen Electra released a series of strip tease workout DVDs. A friend of mine suggested we try it, and most of us figured it would hurt to try it just once.

After brunch at a nearby cafe, we descended on Flirty Girl, a gym that features lap dancing, pole dancing, and kick boxing. I originally thought that kick-boxing was a misfit until I realized all three have one thing in common: You work hard as hell.

Our instructor was Diana, a well-endowed cutie with caramel skin and long blond weave. She first took us through warm up designed to loosen us up, and they worked. By the time I got finished shaking my rear end and rolling all over the floor, I was too sweaty and too tired to be nervous about grinding all over a pole.

In two hours, Diana taught us a full routine, complete with two spins, a headstand, and a backflip. I wish I could say that I was ready for showtime (and by showtime, I mean showing my husband, not going to the local strip joint), but I felt more like Carrie from the King of Queens.

My spins were ill timed, I did more of a roll than a back flip, and I left the headstand to the professionals. What I did gain were sore arms, a set of bruises along my thighs, a lot of laughs, and a newfound respect for ladies who make their living working the pole. I may not agree with their career choice, but boy, do they work hard. They need a raise and a union representative.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Thing

I'm forgetting something. But what?

I wish I knew, and I feel like it's something really, really important.

I've been on a quest to remember The Thing all week. I think about it when I first wake up, on the ride to work, and during meetings when I should be paying attention.

I stay up at night trying to remember, and I end up going to bed much later than I should.

I constantly check e-mails, in the hopes that something will jog my memory. I look for it 0n Facebook, Twitter, and even Words with Friends.

Okay. So I know I won't find it playing Words with Friends, but I can't help it. I'm addicted.

Looking for The Thing has seriously impeded my ability to focus. This blog has taken me longer to write than usual because I keep getting distracted. It seems like I'm supposed to be doing something else.

In my search, however, I've remembered a whole bunch of other things. I contacted an old friend and scheduled lunch for next week. I brought in some Tupperware I've been meaning to give to a coworker, and I finally made good on my promise to design some letterhead.

But The Thing is still out there.

Well, when I find out what it is, I'll let you know. For now, Words with Friends is calling. I have several heated battles going.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Happy Birthday Mommy!

My mom's birthday, for as long as I can remember, has never come and gone without any fanfare. My brother and I thought that this year should be no different, especially because we are so thankful that she is still with us. So about a month ago, we decided it would be nice to have some of her friends over for a small celebration.

It was supposed to be easy. Food, folks, and fun. But when it comes to my mom, things never play out as you expect.

First, we had to deal with the guest list. Trying to keep this soiree to 20 people or less was like trying to keep a mob of teenagers from the Jonas brothers. Every time I called one person, they had a suggestion on who else I should invite. By some miracle, mostly due to the prior commitments of invitees, we had 18 guests. Plus, we didn't tell our dad about the party until two days out, knowing full well he would have invited half the city if he had know about it sooner.

The second major hurdle was keeping Mom in the dark. I'm not a fan of the surprise party, so I was perfectly happy telling her about it upfront, but B wanted her to be surprised. "Somebody's going spill the beans, " I argued. "You know our people can't keep secrets."

Not one person breathed a word! I swear, if I had said this was a surprise, somebody would have called her and told her all about it. Go figure.

We ended up telling her anyway. Mom's a glamour girl, and I couldn't think of an excuse to get her in a jazzy outfit without raising suspicion. Dad suggested telling her we were going to O'Charley's. That just wasn't going to cut it.

We had the party this past Saturday, and Mom loved it. She was decked out with chandelier earrings, two necklaces, two rings, a bracelet, an ankle bracelet, and glittery shoes (I didn't say anything. It was her birthday after all.)

Despite a mixup with our party wings order, we had plenty of food and drink to go around. Mom walked from room to room all night, mingling with her guests. My aunt even took her to the casino afterwards.

I was bone tired the next day, but it was all worth it.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Kindergarten Screening

I went into the office late this morning so I could take my daughter to meet her new teacher.

We started the morning with a bevy of questions as to why we were abandoning the standard routine. "I thought I didn't go to my new school until next week? We're having water day at my old school. I wanted to go!"

I assured her that our visit would be brief, and that she would be back at daycare in time for water day. Once the crisis was avoided, we made it to school with a few minutes to spare.

Mrs. L. explained to me that I had to wait outside while she and my daughter went through the skills assessment. Like any good mom, I sat in the hall and tried to eavesdrop. I heard them discuss block building and shapes, and although the janitor was buffing the floors down the hall, I could tell E was doing well.

"I want you to finish a sentence for me." Mrs. L said.

"Okay." E's voice had a serious tone.

"A boy is a brother, and a girl is a ... "

"Sister!" E giggled.

"A door is made of wood, and a window is made of ..."


"Birds fly, and fish...."


Jump? A few seconds later, I heard their voices move closer to the door. I pretended to check text messages.

"E did really well on the screening." Mrs. L beamed.

"Is that so?" I asked. E held out a zebra sticker and wiggled her hips.

"Oh yes, she'll have no problem picking up the curriculum."

The next student was there for her appointment, so I shook the teacher's hand and headed for the exit.

"Sweetie," I said as we walked to the car. "What did you tell the Mrs. L about fish?"

"You know, they jump in and out the water like this," she said as her arm made a up-and-down wavy motion.

"What about swimming?"

"The like jumping. It's more fun."

I have to appreciate the creativity.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Baby Nostalgia

Where did the summer go? For that matter, where have the past five years gone? It seems like only yesterday I was a new mother navigating my way though sleep depravation. Now I have a bright, energetic five-year-old daughter starting kindergarten next week.

My little girl is no longer a baby. She's a kid. (She's pointed that out to me on several occasions.) I promised myself I won't cry when I drop her off for the first time, but I know better.

Sometimes I miss the baby days. I spent the afternoon with friends yesterday, and one of them had her six-month-old son in tow. He was a cutie, and he giggled when I made funny faces.

Then I discovered he was smiling because he pooped all over his car seat. My warm fuzzy feeling was replaced by the smell of baby poo.

I realized I've got it pretty good. My kid can take herself potty, I get a full night's sleep, and every day, I get the best hugs ever.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Random Thoughts

I wasn't a mixed-up Momma this week, but I was certainly a really busy one. I'm not sure where the week went. There were some things happening this past week that I've wanted to blog about, but clearly I did a bad job of making time for it. So here's a list of really random thoughts.

Green Eggs and Ham. E is learning to read, and she wanted to join the library's summer reading club. For every 12 books she reads, she earns a prize. We got a late start (surprise, surprise), so now we are scrambling to finish the second tier with only a few days left. She picked out Green Eggs and Ham at the library earlier this week. I hadn't read that book since I was a kid, and I don't remember it being 62 pages. What the heck was Dr. Seuss thinking? It took nearly an hour for her to get through that. You know I marked credit for two books.

Daycare Negotiations. Yesterday morning, I watched a mother stand on the parking lot and beg her two-year-old son to go into the school. "What's wrong? Why are you angry with me? You have to talk to Mommy. Get your feelings out."


My mom would have snatched me out of the car and dragged me into the school kicking and screaming. And I know I've left my kid there crying when she's in one of her moods. Everyone has their own style, I guess.

Greasy Fried Chicken. Hubby forgot that I was working late. When I got home, I thought I smelled fried chicken. About 20 minutes later, I heard the telltale click my oven makes when it's been on for a while. He left dinner warming for me. Fried chicken from the worst fried chicken chain on the planet. I was about to put the food away, but I wanted to show my hubby that his kind gesture wasn't for naught. I ate a small piece out of gratitude, and I was rewarded with indigestion for the next 18 hours. Note to self: Go with the first instinct.

Try Harder. To all my sistas who are well endowed, please know that you cannot leave the house without a bra. That option just is not for you. And you certainly shouldn't sit in the front of my class with your shirt open. It will not score you any extra credit points. As my friend's mother used to say, "You have to try harder."

That's all I've got for now. Catch you later!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mixed-up Momma

Some days I just get it all wrong. I acknowledge it happens to the best of us, but it's hard to make a comeback when you have a string of fails Monday through Friday. Here's my week:

1. Business-trip botch-up. I was in Chicago to set up a conference this past weekend. At 1 p.m. on Sunday, a staff member asked me for the attendee name tags. I checked the UPS tracking number, and it turned out they were still in STL because the mail room missed the UPS pick up. After a scramble to have them reprinted at Kinko's, I remembered the IT guy was bringing them in the truck with our computer equipment.

2. Mad dash for class. I started teaching a new class this past Thursday. I left my day job, battled the Cardinals game-day traffic, and made it to the satellite campus in Earth City with minutes to spare. Just as I was congratulating myself for a drive well done, the campus director told me my class was downtown. That's quite convenient, as my nine-to-five was within walking distance.

3. Arkansas round-up. I was glad to see this week go, so I toasted its farewell with a honey wheat beer during a department happy hour. I also took a quick trip to the mall to check out the sale at my favorite store. My mother-in-law called me as I was on my way home.

"What time will E be ready tomorrow?" she asked.

"Ready for what?"

"Arkansas. We leave in the morning."

"Say what? I thought that was next weekend!!!"

I checked the clock. 9:30. I had a stack of mismatched clean clothes and a list of things to purchase for her trip. I called my husband and gave him laundry detail. By some miracle, I busted some cornrows in E's hair and packed 6 outfits by 10:45. Hubby made a midnight run to Wally World to get the rest.

So now, I'm decompressing. It's Saturday (at least I think it is), my daughter is on her way to Arkansas, and I'm getting a much needed hair cut. Next week will be better, I promise!!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, July 08, 2010

The War on Squirrels

Dear Squirrels:

You too have benefited from my good graces. You've gotten fat off the acorns that fall nearly year-round in our front yard. Our back yard looks like Wild Kingdom, making it the perfect playground. And, I haven't seen a tulip boom since 2005 because you've eaten all the bulbs.

Now, like your friends the Slugs, you've gone too far. My two pots of geraniums fell victim to your greed. While digging for a place to bury food, you ripped them from the pots and threw them on the porch.

I didn't want to plant flowers, but my five-year-old daughter has a blossoming interest. She asked her grandfather to buy flowers, and this is what he sent to her. Some of you have families, so you shouldn't be surprised by my reaction.

I hope you like mothballs and cayenne pepper, because I know where your winter stashes are.



Sunday, July 04, 2010

A Note to Garden Slugs

Dear Slugs: I like to think I've been good to you. My poorly kept lawn is full of weeds, wild onions and toadstools for you to feast upon. Our giant tree drops acorns nonstop, which lead to the growth of about 10 saplings a week, even more during the rainy season. Don't act like you don't eat them; I've seen those little holes you leave behind in their broad green leaves.

We use natural fertilizer and weedkillers, which, as you know, really don't do all that much. I've heard of some who use a spray to keep away you and your friends for weeks, but no, I respect the circle of life.

How do you repay me for my kindness? By eating the one thing I paid good money to put out there: the three patches of hot-pink vincas around the tree. Last time, you let them be. They grew so well that our neighbor who routinely shames us with his personal botanical garden applauded us for our improved landscaping.

Oh, they put up a good fight. They tried to grow. I waited weeks for the buds to bloom, and one day, they disappeared. All that's left are a few sickly stalks. Until my husband saw you swarming on them the other day, we blamed the squirrels.

Now that I know you are at fault, this means war. It's an environmentally friendly war, but it's war nonetheless. I will nurse those damn vincas back to health, by hook or by crook. I don't know if you are the praying kind, but if so, you better get to it, because I'm gunning for you.


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Thursday, July 01, 2010

Five Minutes of Motivation

I'm suffering from a serious lack of motivation. Maybe it's summer fever. Maybe I need more sleep. Maybe it's both. All I know is I have to force myself to focus these days. I catch myself thinking about what I should be working on rather than actually working on it. I can't think of a situation in which this is a good thing.

Yesterday, a woman in my department shared highlights from a design conference she attended. The event was all
about fostering creativity. Based on my current lackadaisical state, a boost in creativity sounded right on time.

There was one point in particular that gave me hope I could turn thing around:

Schedule breaks in the workday. It's healthy to take a few minutes to walk outside, or talk with a co-worker. The time away from your project can freshen your perspective. I gave this a go today by taking a quick walk outside. I ended up at Macy's, and I bought a new lipstick. (Fresh Watermelon - How perfect!) I'm not sure if this is what she meant, but I certainly felt renewed.

I also took a few minutes to take some pictures. I majored in photography in college, but I don't remember the last time I've done anything more than snap a few pics of my daughter. I only used the camera on my phone, but keeping an eye out for interesting shots somehow made me feel more in tune with things. Here are some of my favorites so far:

I hope to tell you about the newly focused me soon!

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Desperation Taco

Maybe I should be ashamed, but I'm not. I'm learning, little by little, to accept my strengths and work on my weaknesses when I can. As a mom, I know I should do better, but sometimes things just don't work that way. And I have a feeling that the story I'm about to share happens more often than people care to admit.

I HATE grocery shopping. I rarely have time, I hate lugging all that stuff to the car, and I have a five year old who wants me to buy everything in the store. So it's not uncommon for our cupboards to be bare, especially during the few days leading up to my bi-monthly trek to wherever has the best sale.

Last night, Hubby was kind enough to defrost a package of ground turkey with no plans on what to do with it. There was a half package of taco shells on the kitchen counter. The decision was made.

I looked for a pack of taco seasoning as I fried the meat. No go. I made due with cumin, salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder. I then checked the fridge for salsa and sour cream. All I found was a lime with a day of usable life left. I squeezed it into a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes.

We had some lettuce, thank goodness. But when I opened our cheese drawer (Yes, we have a drawer for cheese. We love it that much.), I found we were out.

Game over. I could live without sour cream just this once, but no shredded cheese?!?!? I was about to call for an emergency run to Save-A-Lot when I saw a pack of Cheddar & Swiss string cheese.

Game on. I pulled it apart and stuffed it into to taco shells.

And what about a side dish? Then other day, I mistakenly opened a can of kidney beans when I was looking for chickpeas. Those made a respectable helping of refried beans.

This was by far not my best culinary showing, but I'm pretty sure it was the most incentive.

I went to the grocery store this morning. Cheese and sour cream were at the top of the list.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Like Grandmother, Like Granddaughter

There are things that skip generations, I suppose. As much as I think I'm becoming more like my mom everyday, it is my daughter who is truly her mirror image.

Take Sunday for example. We were headed to our church's 100th anniversary banquet. Elyse was wearing a black dress with a hot pink sash. After I zipped it up, she did a quick twirl and sped out of the room. She came back loaded down with multicolored Mardi Gras beads and a fuzzy pink purse with silver ribbon wrapped around the strap.

"Sweetie," I said. "I think you have on a little too much jewelry."

"Ohhhh..." She frowned and stretched out her arm, revealing six plastic bangles and two Princess Tiana rings. "I want to look like a foxy mama!"

I choked back laughter and explained that sometimes less is more. We agreed on two hot pink strands of beads and a a purse with fewer ribbons. Just then the phone rang; it was my mom's friend Aunt P.

"There's something I need to tell you."

I was instantly concerned. "Is everything o.k.?"

"Your mother has been going through her costume jewelry all week. I'm afraid she's going to come out of the house looking like... well, I don't know what, but I need you to get over there and make sure her outfit is together."

Since the stroke, Mom has been a teeny bit challenged with coordination. I try to make it to her house before any important occasion. "I'm almost ready, then I'm heading over. I told her I'd be there by 3."

"Please. I'm counting on you. I have a feeling she's going to be covered in rhinestones."

Mom had on mismatched sparkly earrings when I got to the house. "Which ones look better?"

"The big ones," I reply.

She smiles and nods her approval. "See, I knew it. Help me with my dress." Her dress was black with a large rhinestone brooch at the cleavage. I zipped it up, and she did a twirl I had seen about 30 minutes before.

"What about a necklace?" She asked. I looked at her hands; she had on two diamond rings and a tennis bracelet.

I repeated my less is more speech. Mom sighed. "You are really stifling my creativity."

I laughed. "That's the second time I've heard that today."

Everyone at the banquet told Mom how great she looked. I heard her tell a few people she would have looked better if I'd let her wear a necklace.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Saying No

For some reason, I stayed up late last night to watch 27 Dresses. It was a typical romantic comedy. Cute quirky girl meets cute guy in a meet-cute situation. Then some not-so-cute things occur that lead to self-realization and a cute ending.

It was supposed to be downtime for me, but I found myself being self reflective. The main character was virtually incapable of saying no, and it reminded me that I'm sometimes guilty of the very same thing.

So today, I looked for a situation in which I could say no. My father called today to see if he could pick my daughter up and take her to dinner. "Yes!" I cried. Turning down a couple of hours of free babysitting is foolhardy, not an expression of empowerment.

When dinner was over, Dad asked if I was picking her up from his house. I was in the middle of grading papers. "Didn't you say you would bring her home?"

"Yeah, but if you're out..."

"Nope, I'm at home."

"Okay, we'll be leaving soon."

Was it a small victory? Sure, but every journey begins with a single step. By the time Lil' Ma came home, I was done with grading. It was a good feeling.

I will have to give this no thing a shot more often.

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Friday, June 04, 2010

Letting Go

I've written about this before. There are times when I feel as if my world is a breath away from disintegration. Like Atlas, I'm balancing it all on my shoulders.

I wonder if that's really true. What would happen if I said no once in a while? Or even better, if I asked for help?

I'm about to find out. I'm going to honor my instincts and my sanity. If something doesn't feel right or if I don't have time, I'm going to say so. Here's the tricky part - I'm not going to feel guillty. I'm letting all that go.

Stay tuned!

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Monday, May 31, 2010

Is Parenting Stressful?

That's a question that a friend posed to me this afternoon. Her reasons for asking are her story to tell, so I'll just tell you about my answer. I'd love to hear your perspective.

I wish I could have given her a yes or no answer, but like most things in life, it's complicated. There are days when I am ready to pull out my hair because my daughter, my husband, my mother, and my job need me all at once. And then there are the days when being in just one of those roles is enough to send me in an all-out tizzy. Life has stressful moments whether you have children or not.

Most days, I'm good. I do the best I can and have faith that the rest will work itself out. I try to have some fun along the way. When I see my little girl smile or crack herself up telling a knock-knock joke only she can understand, I know it's all worth it.

Being a parent is hard work. It's a blessing, and honor, and a huge responsibility. It's also the most amazing journey you could ever take.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I forgot about my blog!

Hey, it happens to the best of us; we forget something. Instead of beating myself up about it, I'm going to let it go. It could be worse. I could have forgotten it was my turn to pick up my daughter from school or that it was my husband's birthday, both of which I've done before. So all in all, I'm not doing so bad.

What have I been up to lately? Mom is somewhat back on her feet, so things are very different and very much the same all at once. I now make sure she leaves the house in matching clothes, and she still calls me every morning at work to make sure I made it in safely. On Sunday, we were supposed to go to one store, and we ended up at four or five. Some things never change.

My little girl is growing up fast, and soon we'll be at that point where there is no need for a bedtime story or a kiss goodnight. I'm going to relish the time I have left in this innocent phase. Today we had a fashion show and read Frozen Noses.

I've also developed a deeper appreciation for tea and a slight addiction to Word with Friends. But more on that some other time.

Sorry I've been away so long. I'll try not to be so forgetful!

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Monday, March 15, 2010

The Weekend

I didn't blog over the weekend, but I don't want you to think I've given up already! I had plenty to get done this weekend, and sorry to say, none of it could be done in five minutes.

Haircare Saturday. My daughter has a long, thick mane of hair that I attempt to tame by keeping in braids. Those who know me understand this is a particularly difficult challenge because I can't do my own hair to save my life. Taking down the old braids, shampooing, blowdrying, and styling into new braids is, at minimum, 2 hours. It used to take 3, so I am improving. Thank God I only do that once a week.

After finishing Elyse's hair, I was off to have my own wig smoked. It was crowded at the salon, and nearly every one of Lisa's customers needed a relaxer, and one brought in a bag of weave. Needless to say, Saturday was shot.

Praising the Lord on Sunday. After getting all confused with Daylight Savings Time, we made it to church just in time to hear the preacher give the message. Then it was a trip to the airport to turn in my busted suitcase, which is another story altogether. It should have taken less than five minute to look up my info and offer an apology, but the computers were down. The clerk was nice to me, but I could tell her attitude was up about the system not working. She was growling at the computer and muttering about how her coworkers in the back room never did any work. Total time - 35 minutes.

A trip to Target, where Elyse and I also had lunch, two baskets of laundry, and the ironing of this week's school and work clothes rounded out the day.

So, the weekend turned out to be a five-minute bust. Oh - I did learn that I can unload and reload the dishwasher in 5 min., 15 sec. I'll take that small victory.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Five-Minute Friday

Starting the day. I realized that I've successfully crammed parts of my morning routine into a five-minute time span. There was a time when I could walk out of the house with a bare face and look respectable. Thos days are pretty much gone. Makeup is a requirement. I avoided it for years because I used to watch my mom take 30 minutes to apply her face, and I just don't have that much time.

I can do it in less than five. I figured out what products are necessary for me to feel like a human being, and I stick with those. All-in-one foundation, undereye concealer, blush, and gloss. With haircombing, that takes 2.5 minutes. Today, I felt jazzy and added liner and mascara. Total time, 3:13. Check it out - I may not be ready for the Oscars, but I think I look pretty good.

Night-time cleanup. My five-year-old daughter is a creative soul, and the products of her imagination pepper our family room with paper folded into unknown contraptions, Barbie shoes, and colored pencils. I make her put things away at bedtime, but the room still looks messy. While she was using the potty, I put away TV trays, tossed broken crayons and old papers, and threw a few dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Total time - 4:47. That means I may get time to do my nails before bed. If I can figure out a five-minute manicure, I'll let you know.

Oh, this blog did take more than five minutes; I wrote part of it this morning while my husband drove me to work. I'm going to work on being more timely with the writing.

A Clean Microwave

My microwave looked like one you might see at your job. You know, the one everybody uses but no one cleans. The insides were covered with grease and food particles. I keep a set of plate covers on top of the microwave, but apparently none of us use them.

I heated a bowl of water and baking soda in the microwave for four minutes. While the chamber was still hot from the steam, I sprayed in my favorite cleaner (Awesome!). It looks respectable again.

I forgot to time this, so I'm not sure how I did on time, but a minute or two extra was worth it.

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Changing my world, five minutes at a time

Life is becoming more complicated by the minute. More often than not, life gets in the way of living life, if that makes sense at all. I have a full-time job, a part-time job, a family, and a long-ago abandoned list of hobbies. Sometimes I feel as if I'm running in circles. There are mornings that I'm lucky to leave the house with my hair combed.

I've got a list of things that I want to do, but I can't get to them for one reason or another. Cleaning my oven, reorganizing my closet, finishing my daughter's baby book. So I've decided to tackle these things, one project at a time, five minutes at a time.

Five minutes? I know, it might sound crazy, but sometimes five minutes is all I've got. Plus, I'm a little like a crocodile (or is it an alligator?). I have short bursts of focused energy, and if I put them to good use, I think I could get a lot done.

To keep me honest, I'm going to try to revive my blog and document my progress. I hope you'll follow along.

Oh - I almost forgot - I gave myself a few rules.

1. Five minutes only. For the first few weeks, I'm going to time myself when I start a task, just to see how much I get done in the alloted time. I don't want to write about how I cleaned my refrigerator in no time when it was really an hour and a half.

2. Multiple fives are allowed. I might try to do a couple of things a day, but I'll limit each task to five minutes.

3. Five-minute blog. The writing should take five minutes too. The purpose of this is for me to get organized and feel like I have some time back - I can't spend the whole night writing a blog. To help with that, I did invest $2.99 in BlogPress for my iPhone. I won't be able to spend more than five minutes typing on that little keyboard.

So, wish me luck, and I'll stay in touch.