Cleaning House

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Housebroken: Admissions of an Untidy Life by Laurie Notaro

I’ve read Laurie Notaro’s work before and enjoyed it, so I picked this one up at the library when I saw it. I’m not even 50 pages in and I’ve decided that Laurie and I are soulmates when it comes to cleaning.

Here’s what makes me think this:

You can make an unannounced stopover at any of their [her sisters’ and mom’s] houses and it would be all right. They’d even let you in. They might feed you cake. But you’re not coming into my house if you don’t give me twenty-four hours’ notice and make a reservation first. And you sure as shit aren’t getting cake, because that isn’t enough time for me to clean my kitchen and make it.

Same here. Same here! Our reasoning is the same, too.

I know why I am not tidy. It took reading that compact, perfect little book* to find out. It’s because I HATE it.

There are probably a million other things I would much rather do than wipe down counters or vacuum. Seriously. I’m just glad I’m not the only one.

*I assume this is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, although Notaro doesn’t say it.

 

Pineapple Obsession Confession

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Pineapple-Inspired Shoes. The toes are more like monstera leaves than a pineapple crown.

I have something to tell you. A few weeks ago, it came to my attention that I like pineapples, as in, pineapple motifs. I was browsing a store and came across this shelf:

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Shelf of Pineapple Decor

I mean, these are pretty eye-catching and fabulous. It’s hard to resist. (Although, resist I did. Pineapple decor just isn’t in my budget–yet.)

Then, I was at the grocery store and bought this:

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A Bona Fide Pineapple

If you must know, it was delicious.

As I was contemplating the ga-ga feeling I was getting at the site of this crowned fruit, I remembered the shoes above. I’ve had them for at least 2 years. It’s just that when I purchased them, I didn’t necessarily like them because they looked like pineapples, but because they were a visual trick.

As most things go, once you start looking for something, you’ll find it. Lots of it. Behold! All of the pineapples I’ve seen since I saw that brassy beauty!

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Back-to-School Spiral-Bound Notebook
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Modern meets prep, again in the back-to-school section.

My goodness! That one that is cut in half! I may have to go back for these. A writer always needs notebooks, right?

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Pom-pom Pineapple Towel

I’d be tempted to buy this clearance towel, but I can tell it wouldn’t be a good towel and I don’t have the crafting time to sew it up into something more useful.

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Gasp! Blue! That golden crown!

I love the texture of this one.

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A different type of edible pineapple!

These are stinkin’ adorable. They probably don’t taste great, though, like, worse than Runts. I should keep a tiny glass vial of them on my desk for giggles.

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Not a Pineapple

And then I saw this. Goodness, I love it! I used to have a few real cacti and succulents. But, they’re kinda hard to keep and I don’t want prickles around my young kids. A new obsession may be starting.

40 Before Forty Update: No. 06

6. Complete my Sarah Fielke Block of the Month 2017 quilt top…and then put it all together.

Month 4 took me forever to complete. In fact, I’m about half of a month behind. First, I had to pick out 10 new fabrics. Then, I had to cut out a bazillion little pieces. Of course, when you have a bazillion pieces, you have to stitch them together. My sewing machine lives in a storage tub under my desk. So, I have to have a clear schedule to pull it out.

Finally! That day (or 2 or 3) came. Behold the next installment of my Sarah Fielke Block of the Month 2017 quilt!

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Sarah Fielke Block of the Month 2017, Down the Rabbit Hole, Month 4 Complete

Okay, it was a lot of work, but I’m LOVING it. I’ve been sweating in the fabric store as I pick out new colors. I’ve been trying to use some of the same colors over. For example, the house roofs are made from the same fabrics as the flowers and the wedges of the center circle. The small center circle, flower centers, and windows are all the same yellow fabric. My goal is not only to keep some consistency within the colors, but to use up as much fabric as I can–not that a stash is a bad thing!

As you may have guessed, because I was behind on this, I’m behind on month 5. But, it appears to be less work and uses techniques I’ve already learned with this quilt.

Writing About Yourself

Talking about yourself is tough. Your insecurities can obscure your understanding of your talents–even what you want your talents to be can cloud your self-awareness. In her book The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin says,
One of my Secrets of Adulthood is “You can choose what you do; you can’t choose what you like to do.” I have a lot of notions about what I wish I liked to do, about the subjects and occupations that I wish interested me. But it doesn’t matter what I wish I were like. I am Gretchen.
Isn’t that the truth? Ugh, it makes writing resumes, bios, and brand guidelines so tough!

Late last year, I helped the John Budnik Band write member bios along with a history of the band. Yes! It is my brother’s band and yes! they are located in my home state, Alaska. I conducted quick interviews via email to accommodate the full-time work schedules of the members and the four-hour time difference.

Instead of asking the members only questions about themselves, I asked them to provide their basic info: what instrument they play; how/when they learned to play. I then asked each member questions about the OTHER bandmates. Each member provided personality and talent insights about everyone except themselves. This gave outside perspective, but also a genuine portrait of who these cool cats are.

I did something similar last year when my co-workers and I were told the website we were writing for was shutting down. While we were all looking for new employment, I organized and ran a workshop of sorts to help with resume writing. Together we unearthed and articulated everyone’s talents and skills. “Unearthed” is the key word. We focused on one person at a time and I asked each person to answer the question, “If on the first day of your new job, you walk in and see that so-in-so also works there, you would be excited because…”

The answers were amazing and filled with valuable resume fodder. I think that collectively the soon-to-be-former coworkers provided each other with skills to add to their resume. These skills were always there, but we don’t always know what talents are most valuable to our cohorts. Or, we quickly dismiss our own value because it’s not what we are striving for. This exercise provided a positive outside perspective on each of our talents.

The key to both of these examples is that an outside perspective can be clear and genuine. We often think about who we wish we were and how maybe we’re not quite there and let it cloud our self-perception—much like Gretchen Rubin discusses. When you ask for an outside opinion (and pose positive questions—very important!) you can clearly understand what talents are really important and impactful to your fellow band members, co-workers, clients and business partners.

If you’re stuck on your resume or perhaps you’re trying to define your business/brand/agency, consider getting an outside perspective. Being able to see yourself or your band or your business from a different position is invaluable as you put into words who you are.

Baby Names Inspired by Movies

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DailyMail.com just published an article claiming that the name “Kylo” is fastest growing baby name in the U.S.–because it’s the name of the villain in the latest Star Wars movie.

I came across this article on DailyMail.com this week and it got me thinking that there must be a lot of people out there naming their babies after movie characters–maybe even characters from television series and novels.

So I ask, would you name your baby after a character (good or bad) from a movie or book–popular or not?

The article also mentions the decline of names that have received “bad press” of sorts. Like, ahem, “Caitlyn,” “Hillary,” and “Donald.” Which makes me wonder, would you avoid a name that was recently in the spotlight even if it had special meaning or significance to your family?

I truly believe that baby naming is part process and part matter of the heart. But, this is a tough baby naming issue. You don’t want the most perfect name to get away simply based on “principle”. I say, honor your heart before jumping on the bandwagon or letting it pass by! Because, your heart is never wrong and you’ll always be confident with your name choice.