BACKGROUND

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I got a Butler

A Butler Bag that is! I don't make splurge purchases very often, but I could not pass this up. It was $95 for a handbag and that is pretty darn steep for me considering that I generally buy my bags at Wal-Mart or Target when I need them.

But the Butler Bag is literally the purse I've been looking for all my life. I was so tired of digging through my purse to find a pen, my keys, my phone, and so forth. It's all one jumbled mess in my regular purse. The Butler Bag solves that problem with compartments inside the purse so that everything can be seen immediately upon opening it.

I've had mine since Thursday and I LOVE IT! It really is worth the money because I'm not losing so much time looking for things. If you can swing it, I definitely recommend one of these bags. They have both the Classic Bag and the Handbag. The Classic is $95, the Handbag is $150. I have the Classic in Toasted Almond.

Oh and if you buy it from this site, you won't have to pay any shipping costs. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Done For!

So what did I get done from my four tasks yesterday? Well, I got 1.5 things done from the list, but you know, I'm actually happy with that. I rearranged the furniture in my office, which took WAY more time than I thought it would. I had to sort through a bunch of stuff and decide what to toss and what to keep. I am getting rid of a lot of things so I'm proud of that.

I also transferred the money from savings to checking to deal with the Bar fees. $333 people!! Yes, I am outraged by this. I will make the actual payment tomorrow morning. I'm putting this one off for as long as I can because of my aforementioned outrage.

I am making the household budget tonight so that will be done and finally, I am starting on my craft project tomorrow. The rearranging of my office is directly tied into the craft project. I am starting a new scrapbook and I decided I wanted to have the room to organize my supplies and have a workspace to actually make the book. So, the newly arranged office will provide that.

And that, my dear readers, is the update and progress on the to do list. I'm feeling pretty good about it knowing that those four tasks will be completed by tomorrow at least. I've got to remember to give myself a break on these tasks and know that it's ok if the three or four things I want to get done spills over into a two-day time line instead of getting it all done in one.

Friday, May 25, 2007

To Do Item #1,094...aw, screw it!


My to-do list is out of control. It's like one of those scientific experiments gone wrong where somehow, it ingests some sort of growth substance and proceeds to take over, crushing the lowly humans in its wake.

Today's task was to turn my to-do list from Godzilla to something more manageable...like those tribal people in movies who capture and cook humans in the big boiling pot. That's not exactly pleasant, but the possibility of escape is still there, which isn't the case with Godzilla. Ok, this metaphor is getting way out of control too. Moving on.

So, today I drove all over the place to wipe out some tasks. I had lunch with friend A, dropped off a gift with friend B and visited with friend B and her adorable daughter, whom I plan to spoil terribly as she grows up. I went to two separate craft stores to collect items for a project I'm starting tomorrow, and then I returned clothes to a store and did some grocery shopping. Yes, my life really is that boring, but nonetheless, I got stuff done and that's what's important.

I've decided that limiting myself to just doing three items a day on the list instead of looking at it as a whole will be tremendously helpful. I get overwhelmed when I see the number of things to do.

Tomorrow, my three tasks will be:

1. Rearrange furniture with Dear Husband.
2. Pay State Bar outrageous amount of money for the privilege of being an attorney in this state.
3. Start work on aforementioned craft project
4. Do household budget.

Ok, that's actually four tasks, but those are doable and are rather important so I need to do them all tomorrow. Next To-Do: Report back on my progress for all those interested.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Drink the Gatorade, not the Kool-Aid


So the abs class turned out really well. It was a hard workout to be sure, but it was great to try something new with my workouts. I've been doing abs work for a long time, but usually I do it out on the gym floor. It was neat to be in a class with other people and some great music going. Really pumped me up.

In other news, the gym has become a family gathering place. My mother-in-law (MIL) decided she wanted to get into working out so now she goes with me. Because I've used the trainers at the gym, I got a letter in the mail with a 90-day "bring someone with you to workout so we can get $ out of them too" coupon. Basically, MIL (or anyone else who wants to go with me) can do so during those 90 days. So I've been going with her twice a week (in addition to my regular five day a week schedule) and tonight, Dear Husband joined us for the first time. Sister-in-Law and her husband have a membership as well. It's becoming like a family cult for us or something.

If we have to be in a cult, this one is better than that whole wear Nikes and drink Kool-Aid thing.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

ABS olutely!

For the first time today, I am going to try a class at my gym called Amp'd Abs. It's a 15-minute class designed to really work your core (ab muscles, torso area). I'm actually looking forward to it.

I've been working out regularly at 24-Hour Fitness since September 2005 and yet, I've never tried the classes. I always felt that I was better going solo, but I really think I'm going to get more into going to the classes. It's a good way to meet fitness-minded people and also to expand my workout regimen from weights/cardio. I'm still going to do weights and cardio, but I'm going to add the Amp'd Abs class and I'm also going to give Pilates a try. I'm excited to be trying something new!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

What's your secret?

There is a a website that collects anonymous postcards from people on which they write their secrets. It's a way for people to let out their innermost secrets, thoughts, and feelings that they can never tell others. Some of them are sad, others uplifting. It's very interesting to read the postcards on the site and realize how much you can relate to what others around the world are feeling.

You can't know whether they are short or tall, formally educated or not, white, black or some other race, or anything else. And that is just the point. No matter how different someone is from us in looks, geography, education or otherwise, we really are all the same. We hurt, we rejoice, we feel the same feelings of fear, longing, celebration.

The postcards show such a range of secrets people are keeping, but what is amazing is how many of us have the same secret and the same thoughts. So many of us are walking around believing we are the only ones with a weird habit, disgusting thought, or sin in our past for which we are deeply ashamed.

It would be such a gift if we could open ourselves up to others without fear of reprisal. I find it interesting that when we do open ourselves up, we are sometimes met with severe judgment. This, despite the fact that everyone has a secret they're keeping and it may be the same one for which they are judging someone else.

Ask yourself - what's your secret? How do you feel about it? Remember that everyone is keeping a secret. Some good, some bad. It's not just you.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Then and Now

Yesterday, I was looking through my photo albums. I needed pictures for a project I am currently working on. As I looked through the albums and re-lived the memories of each time in my life, I started to think that when I have passed on, whomever sees my albums won't know the significance of the people or the events. I try to label the backs of photos with the names of the people and the dates, but that only goes so far in really understanding the moment in time captured in those pictures.

For this reason, I have decided to start a small journal of sorts to file inside my photo albums so that anyone looking at them when I am gone will know who is represented and what they, and the events pictured, meant to me.

This idea got me thinking about the people who have come before us and those who will come after. Right now, in this present time, we are living joys, sorrows, victories, defeat, pain, and happiness. So much goes on in the seasons of our life and sometimes we feel like we are the only one who has ever been through such pain or has ever experienced such joy. It gives me comfort to know that many strong women and men came before me; people who suffered, celebrated, kept on going when it seemed all hope was lost, and came together at births, deaths, christenings, and troubled times.

I am both proud and humbled knowing that the strength of those people is with me several generations later. I have learned from them even though they were gone before I was born. They made it and that means I can too. My ancestors did amazing things. They left homes and even countries sometimes to come to new places, to experience new things, to make a life somewhere completely different than they had ever known. They traveled through difficult landscapes, sometimes losing their family members on the way. Still, they trudged on.

Knowing how strong they were, how much they suffered, how much joy they felt...it touches me to be a part of such a line of people. We are not alone in this life. The people who came before us have so much to teach us if only we think of them as more than strangers in an old sepia-toned picture.

We can only hope that future generations will see us as more than a picture in an album. Whether they be my nieces, nephews, or the children of dear friends, I want future generations to know what I went through, what I survived, what I took joy in, and what I celebrated. That will ensure that they know they too will survive no matter what and that life is always punctuated by more joy than sadness if you keep looking forward while you are weathering the hard times. That kind of link to the past is always strong and always necessary.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

It's Tuesday...right?

I'm not even sure it's Tuesday, but I'm going to go with it for now. It has been a crazy week already. Yesterday, Dear Husband dropped Peanut off at the vet for her spaying appointment. I was worried about my baby all yesterday and a little bit of today. She had to stay overnight, but DH brought her bedding and toy from home so she wouldn't be so lonely in a strange place. I brought her home today. She's been fairly quiet all day and is sleeping now. I'm just glad to have her home again.

I have to put in a plug here for pet insurance. A month or so ago, Dear Husband and I decided to purchase health insurance for our dogs. Yeah, sounds silly until you realize how much you save. Peanut had vaccinations and an exam done for a total cost of $83 and some change. We only had to pay $23 of that. Her spaying came to $180 and we'll likely only end up paying $20-40 for that. The insurance is a little over $300 a year. So it practically pays for itself with a couple of vet visits.

On to other things: On Sunday, I told myself that this week would be about making a significant dent in my "to do" list. I started the week with a great workout, which was good because I needed to get back on my regular gym schedule and I've accomplished that having gone today as well. Today also saw grocery shopping and get oil changed in my car marked off the list. I also got a small gift for a friend. So, the list is getting shorter...sort of. Every day, I find something to add to it, but I feel good seeing things get marked off anyway.

There is SO much to do at home these days. People seem to think that if you don't have children and you are at home, you sit around watching TV and surfing the internet. I don't know where the people doing that are because I'm on the go constantly: vet appointments; making sure the dogs are fed, watered, and go outside enough so as not to pee on the furniture; working out at the gym; going to the bank; grocery shopping; talking to companies on the phone to get something or other ordered, straightened out, or taken off the bill; sweeping and mopping the kitchen floor thanks to the mud tracked in by the dogs; answering correspondence; buying cards and gifts for weddings, birthdays, and so forth. The list goes on and on.

The argument always is "it's not like you're doing those things every day though." I don't know what world the people making that argument are living in because I do these things every single day except banking and grocery shopping. It's also important to note that I do all those things on top of pounding the pavement for a job.

I'm busy every day this week except Friday. I'm going into hermit mode that day so I can recover from the craziness that is sure to continue for the rest of this week.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Meow

I had two conversations today with two different women in two entirely different settings, yet the conversations had the same theme: women who are evil and catty. One of the ladies I spoke with told me stories of women she had known who swooped in to comfort men who were vulnerable. This wouldn't be a problem except the men were married at the time to someone else and yet the women had no issue with taking them away from their wife and children. This was true even when the same thing had happened to the interloper and she too had children. You'd think those people would have a special kind of empathy, but apparently not.

The second conversation was with a woman who said she did not have many female friends because women tend to be catty and she doesn't care for that kind of drama. I had to think about this and it occurred to me that there is much truth to this. I have good female friends in my life and none of them are catty. That is because I refuse to associate with that sort of person. Why would I want to? People who are catty, competitive, bitchy, or all-around unpleasant in their personality have no place in my life. I prefer to leave space in my life for friends who know what it means to be a friend.

The thing that struck me about both conversations was the experiences people have had with members of their own gender. It's hard being a woman, even with all the strides that have been made in the past 30 years. It would seem that we would band together and be supportive of one another, but quite often, we are not. There are all kinds of debates that rage within the female community: working moms vs. stay-at-home moms; pro-choice vs. pro-life; my child is better than your child because he/she walked, crawled, and learned to spell earlier. I could go on and on with the list of bitter splits among women.

Human nature is such that it invites competition and there's nothing wrong with challenging one another to be better. What is wrong is judging one another and participating in competition for the sake of internal security.

I've gotten rid of women in my life who have a need to be competitive, judgmental, or any shade of psychotic. It is not worth your time to participate in the drama that accompanies such relationships. Despite the Great Bard's pronouncement, all the world is not a stage to play out ridiculous drama. And if it is, I'd like to exit stage left.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Little Miss Sunshine

So I watched a movie Sunday night that was SO great, I have to blog about it. It was Little Miss Sunshine. The movie follows the road trip of the Hoover family from New Mexico to California when their youngest child, Olive, gets a surprise shot at winning the Little Miss Sunshine pageant.

The family members consist of:

Richard, the dad, who is trying desperately to make a success out of "The Nine Steps," his motivational program for going from loser to winner. The irony is that he can't make a success out of it.

Sheryl, the mom, who is trying to hold the family together under the strain of Richard's nearly bankrupt business, and her brother Frank, who is staying with the family after his recent suicide attempt.

Dwayne, the oldest child, who cannot stand his family at all and has taken a vow of silence until he is able to get into the Air Force Academy.

Grandpa, the foul-mouthed codger, who is staying with the family after he was thrown out of his retirement community and finally:

Olive, the youngest daughter, who seems to be the only family member who knows what it means to be happy.

This motley crew climbs into their old VW Bus and heads to California to support Olive in her shot at being named Little Miss Sunshine. Along the way, they experience some close moments and some close calls.

Anyone who has ever dealt with a dysfunctional family (and who hasn't?) will LOVE this movie. I literally laughed out loud several times and it takes a lot for me to do that with a movie. If you haven't already seen this, it's on DVD. Get it today. It will make you feel better about your life and finding your destiny in this crazy world.

Monday, May 7, 2007

You're Getting Sleepy...all the time

Anyone else ever feel like you're sleepwalking through life? I've felt that way for SO long now, I don't even know what normal is anymore. Sometimes I think I'm a functioning zombie, except I do tend to look better than the undead on any given day.

I can remember being tired after school as early as first grade. I can't remember if I was tired during school, but I probably was. I was never a morning person so I'm guessing I was tired at the start of the day. I do remember being exhausted in junior high and high school though. I hated film day in science class because when the lights went down, I wanted to lay my head on the desk and sleep so badly.

Things got a bit better in college because I lived in the dorms and was able to take a nap after class or in-between classes. Plus, being able to pick my own schedule was a huge help. I could sign up for later classes and get more sleep in the morning. Still, it didn't entirely help as I remember being somewhat tired even back then.

The trend continued through my working life, law school, and into the present. Even though I am not currently working, I still find myself tired, but unable to get all the rest I need. It's a real burden because I would love to know what it feels like to be entirely awake and alert. I can't remember a time when I did feel like that. Well, I guess that's not entirely accurate. I took a nap once a couple of years ago and when I awoke, I felt awake and energized. I thought "This must be what it's like to feel normal."

SO...I've decided to ask my doctor to refer me for a sleep study. I need to know what is going on that is making it hard for me to get the rest I need. Since this has been a lifelong thing, I can rule out any sort of stress or situational issue.

Stay alert for the update:)

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Addicted

Hi, my name is Shelley and I'm a scrapbook addict. The shame of it...I scour scrapbook stores alone at night, I can't sleep because I'm thinking about different layouts I can try. I see cute ribbon or paper and I have nothing to use it for, but I'm sure I will so I buy it. I need help!

Thankfully, my best friend Britt shares this addiction. Hmmm, that may not be a good thing because we only encourage one another in our scrapbook delinquency.

Seriously though, it's so much fun to share this with someone. No one else understands how cool it is to find the perfect embellishment or the perfect paper for a particular project. Oh, and albums! It's so cool to scour the store for the perfect album. Not just any album will do. It has to be just the right one for the project.

I am so excited about this new hobby. It's so much fun to see all that is out there and all you can do with it. My next project is an album for my puppy, Peanut. She's so cute and I have some great pictures from her five months on this planet. She's adorable and I think the book will be too.