Monthly Archives: May 2010

Life is Good!

I have moved! I am now blogging at The Energizer Mommy. Please come join me there!

Have you seen the Life is Good stores? I love them! You can’t help smiling when you see their stuff. Being in their store is just FUN!

So I’m going to write about Life is Good, and definitely not even mention what an idiot I am for knocking Toby’s rake-type brush with a row of hard metal prongs on the floor and then stepping on it so hard it was dangling from my heel and blood was oozing out.

Nope. Not mentioning that. If you hear whimpering while reading this, I have no idea where it’s coming from.

Moving on.

Have I mentioned I love the Life is Good store? Really. It’s awesome. You should go check it out. Just recently my hubby brought me a Life is Good treat pouch while on a trip.

My treat pouch! Except mine is orange, because…that’s what they had :-)

P.S. You can click on any picture to go to the product page.

I love it! And I get compliments when I wear it to work :-)

I’m now looking for a little water bottle I can carry around with me, a smaller one, prolly nalgene-esque, so we stopped at the Life is Good store last weekend. They didn’t have any pattern I loved, so the hubby suggested I go look online.

Biiiiig mistake.

Look at all the cool stuff I found! Let’s start with some t-shirts:

This reminds me of my afternoons/evenings on the dog beach with my favorite student and our dogs :-)

I love this! I want to take as much simple joy from life as dogs do from things like this.

So simple yet so happy.

Love them! I promise not all the shirts are dog-esque…they’re just the ones I tend to like ;-) There are sooooo many other great ones! Here’s a few I might not get first, but I love for other people.

Here’s one for the many people I know who have Haiti close to their hearts. It’s a fund-raiser, too. The shirt says, “Optimism has no borders.”

It’s pink, it has a horsey, and it says “Life is good.” Poifect for my bestest bud Hot Momma.

Here’s one for my brand new sister-in-law, who just married my brother, the classical guitarist.

I just love this shirt, but I hate outside and the bugs that love me, so I’d feel like a hypocrite wearing it :-P

OK, moving past t-shirts, look at this cool stuff!

Socks with hearts and Life is Good, love them!

Super-cute earrings.

Love the summery glasses!

Use reuseable shopping bags? Here’s a cute one that supports kids.

I love the “Do what you like. Like what you do.” tagline on a lot of their stuff!

So there’s just some of their stuff that I love. It makes me happy when I see it. Sometimes, such a simple reminder is just what I need! Plus I could wear a doggie shirt to work…hmmm…work expense…;-)

Hope something on here made you smile!

Note: The Life is Good store has no idea that I exist. At all. I have received nothing for this glowing recommendation. Though if they did notice me, and wanted to give me some freebies, I would be totally down with that. You know, in case you know someone there you could pass that along to. But I promise I’d tell you all in the extremely (un)likely event that that happens.

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The silver lining to the clouds

You know one of my favorite things about gardening in the Seattle area?

When I look at the weather forecast and see rain all week, I don’t get upset just because we had 9 solid months of rain/clouds recently.

I get excited ’cause it’ll be good for my garden!

And I don’t even have to remember to do anything!

:-D

PS Upon getting back from my brother’s (beautiful!) wedding, I raced out back to check on the plants. Lots ‘o’ little strawberries and 3 whole flower buds on the peppers! I love growing things!!!

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My new garden!

You’re jealous. I know you are. Because I have a shiny new garden! Well, it’s not really shiny…but, you know, it is new! The hubby and I built it over the last week.

Here it is coming to life..er..existence.

Four walls

Toby was a good helper!

Such sweet puppy kisses :-)

Sure mom, I'll pose.

OH LOOK, A BIRDY!!!

Back to the garden, here's the bed newly assembled...with Toby for scale.

ASSEMBLED! In place, just waiting to be pounded in. It only took a few hours of pounding by the wonderful hubby...*tugs collar*

All assembled, in ground, and full of (lots of very heavy) dirt!!

And here it is, growing fresh veggies for me and my sweet hubby!

We're growing tomatoes...

Orange, yellow, and red bell peppers...

Complete with baby peppers! Amazing what $4 will buy you at Fred Meyer...

Strawberries (also amazing what $1.50 gets you!)...

And corn!

Mmmm, yummy veggies to come!

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Sudbury Schools

So, after a long chain of looking up something interesting, which led to something else interesting, which led to….which led to…which led to… I came across Sudbury Schools.

I linked to them from unschooling, which is something I’ve had serious doubts about. Something that has made no real sense to me. But something I’ve heard of a few moms using.

When I first started reading about Sudbury schools I was rolling my eyes and thinking how crazy the idea was. But I kept looking. And looking. And reading. Because…I found it interesting.

And then I realized there was a school near me.

So I looked into them. I read their about page. I read this article about two little 5 year olds arguing about sharing. And the staff’s position made a lot of sense to me. I don’t know that I’d have the patience for it, but I’d love to. Then I read this article comparing traditional school to Sudbury Schools. And again, it made so much sense to me. I did well in regular school. But I was bored. A lot. I love math and reading. But I didn’t love school. Then I read this article on boredom. And damn did that ever make sense.

At first all I could think was, with that much freedom, kids would just play.

And then I thought, what’s wrong with that? I could read long before I ever went to school, because it interested me. I actually got in trouble for reading too much. The big people could do it, I wanted to, too. Just like how I learned to walk and talk. The best parts of my math skills I learned, not from school, but from shopping and games with my mom. I can do great mental math from some mental games we played, at my request, and from shopping and calculating percentages off, or from calculating unit costs. I wanted to know how to do all of that. So I learned it. Well.

I think of how, while I knew how to read before I went to school, I hid that fact from my teacher because I wanted her to feel good about being able to teach me, and not to think I was bored. And because I was embarrassed at not fitting in well enough. Really. My mom went to the first parent-teacher conference, and the teacher excitedly told her about how, “She can name almost all of the letters!” At which point my mom stared at her in disbelief and said, “She can read.”

I think of how bored I was in college. I skipped as much class as I could, because I hated it. And I had (some) choice on what my classes were there! Oh, and how when the class was interesting to me (a lit class on books I liked and was discussion based, a history class that functioned almost entirely on debate, a math class where I just loved the subject)…I actually went! And was excited! And did the out-of-class reading! Amazing what some interest will do for you.

I think of how, even now, I spend a lot of time bored…and I just..don’t…have good skills for occupying myself. Because so much of my life was led by others: when I’d study subject to subject, when I ate, when I did anything. I didn’t ever have large amounts of time where I could be self-directed…so I still don’t know what to do with them. And now working makes me stressed and tired..but time off is stressful, too, because I feel like I should be relaxing and I don’t know how!

I think of how there really was no self-direction, or opportunity to learn what I loved spending time doing in high school, since other people set almost my entire curriculum, but then all of a sudden I had to be totally self-directed in picking a major which would determine much of my future possibilities (and I know with many BAs the actual degree doesn’t matter, just having any degree. In the sciences, that’s not true at all). And I ended up studying something I really didn’t enjoy, just because I’d had a good teacher in it and I did enjoy some similar things.

I think of all the parents who buy their kids learning games or video games, to try to encourage them to want to read or do other subjects better. And then think, why does that just have to be a supplement when “normal” methods fail? What if kids could just play Magic: The Gathering together? What a great impetus to learn to read well, or do math faster, or be logical, or plan for the future. They’re going to leave a game and want to improve in all of those skills. When people used to ask me how I learned to type like lightening, I proudly told them from playing an online collaborative game. I’d kind of laugh, ’cause I thought it was crazy, but it was true! I played Starcraft, where you had to collaborate with online teammembers, and the only way to communicate was typing. However, while typing, your buildings/soldiers could be being destroyed, so you had to be fast in order to be efficient! There was a typing “unit” in school once…and all I learned from it was where to place my hands..incorrectly. I finally went and asked my mom where to put my hands, and then taught myself to type, because I wanted that competitive edge.

We encourage our kids to learn through play when they’re young. We encourage them to do “productive” things, like play house, play with puzzles, play with interactive toys. Why does that kind of activity stop being productive when they hit 5 and go to kindergarten?

I started out thinking this kind of school was a total joke, and a total disservice to children.

Now I’m thinking it makes a helluva lot of sense, and has all the benefits of homeschooling (meets each child’s needs) without what I consider to be a MAJOR downside (lack of social development…and yes, I have yet to meet a home-school-y who does not stick out in a crowd at least somewhat).

What are your thoughts?

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Oh, Dragon Lady

We call the landlady of Companions the Dragon Lady. She’s very loud and annoying and quite frankly if she hadn’t given me a steal on rental space I never would have rented from her because she is CRAZY. The property manager called her that when we went to get the key from him, and it fits oh-so-well.

Anyway, she just called. Guess why?

She’s raising my rent.

*sigh*

I only train in the evenings, a few evenings a week. And if you remember, my space is a dump. Really. It’s a dump. Holes in the walls, everything is grimy and gross, I plan so I don’t have to use the disgusting bathroom, walls a sickly pink color, etc. And the training space is poorly proportioned, which limits me to 3 people in a class, maaaaybe 4 if I stretch. And it’s very poorly lit.

Of course, recently I’ve been trying to make it a little nicer, I bought chairs and a table to make a sitting area, and I have a little “library” from which people borrow books. I have replaced the light bulbs (oh, last week?) and bought additional lighting (to really show off the disgusting grunginess of everywhere). I was getting ready to paint, to cover up the grimy walls in the putrid color.

And I like having my own space. I set it up how I want. I have come up with ways to utilize some of its quirks. I love having my banner up all the time, I get clients from people walking by and picking up my brochures out front. I love having my training tools just out all the time. I just love it being mine. I can do what I want. I can personalize it.

But I don’t know that I can justify rent, especially now that it’s 133% what it was before. Keep in mind that it took several months to clear rent. And several more months to clear rent with just what I was making from using that space (I make more with private clients I meet in their home). And now I’m making money through what I’m making from the space…barely.

So.

What to do.

I could pay rent, definitely. But is it worth it?

I’m probably not going to find a better deal on my own space. I’m just not. No one wants dogs in their shopping complex/office building. And rent isn’t ALL that high here. At least relative to the ridiculously exorbitant rents of the Seattle area.

It just feels high for a space that’s not that useable, that limits me, and is gross.

I could rent from the new doggie daycare downstairs. If I had rented her space, I could have 7 dogs in a class, easily, with more space to move around. Just a much more open space in the same footprint. But she put a bunch of couches, etc in there, because it’s a small dog daycare! So I don’t know how I’d even fit people w/o being able to get to the walls, etc. It’s not set up for training. The time to transition would be tricky, trying to shove the chairs back and pick up all the toys that are EVERYWHERE. No classes starting before 7PM. She’s open to it and that would cost a lot less, I’m sure. But…it’s not my space. And we just have different taste. And I’m limited in when I can teach (right now I have classes starting at 6). I can only teach 2 nights a week, so that’s only 4 classes a week. Possibly some on Saturdays. Which is a real possibility…

I could rent from a new doggie daycare I know is opening around July (when my rent goes up). My groomer is opening it, and I love her. I think she’ll have a lot more space, which is nice, but I haven’t seen her facility. I’m sure it’s nice, just because she is meticulous and great. But I don’t know. I know nothing about her operation. I don’t know when she’d close. I don’t even know if she’d be open to the idea. But, in theory, I’d probably prefer working with her, just because of the space and because we are more similar personalities. I’m thinking I’ll write her…see if that’s even a possibility.

I can look for a new space to rent. A lot of looking. Not a great possibility of finding anything. Rent is expensive. Training just doesn’t make that much month-to-month, because there are only so many hours I can spend training. So it’s hard to make it pay off.

Hmmmm…..

Crap.

Stupid Dragon Lady.

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Friday – the fat edition

Well HELLO lovelies! Let us take a trip down meme lane…

Dear new manager,

Thank you for hiring me! I am loving this job! I was actually kind of bummed because I didn’t get to go in yesterday. And Wednesday, when my shift was up, I didn’t want to leave, so you let me stay an extra hour. So cool! Can’t wait to see y’all again tonight!

your newest employee

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Dear self,

Yo! You are trying to lose weight, here! And you were doing so good! I mean, kinda, but you were forming healthier habits and you actually lost. wtcrap happened? And why oh why did you stop and buy those cheetos? Well, now your shopping for the week is done, and no more, I mean it! There will only be healthy food in this house…once you’ve finished the cheetos and cookies…and coke totally counts as healthy…

Signed, try harder

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Dear garden bed,

Please complete yourself. My hubby has a hard week ahead, and then we’re out of town the next two weekends. I’d like to get plants in the ground BEFORE June, so if you could just throw those last few screws together I’d be forever grateful. Or if you make us work on you, please, just slide together effortlessly. Your choice. I’m flexible.

your excited soon-to-be-user

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Nothing like some letters to pretend things will change! I’m just going to sneak this next one in the middle here and hope you don’t notice it…

Real quick now:

Last week: 139.0
This week: 140.0
Difference: + 1.0

*sigh* Must…keep…good…habits. I hate exercising. Hate it. But now at work I throw around 30 pound bags of dog food and stand all day. That’s going to help, right? I mean, if I can stop eating crap all other times?

I will do better next week. Promise to try.

Now come on, you’ve seen my post of shame, go to either host and link up and try it out yourself! What’s the worst that happens? I’ve already done it! Alrighty, then!

Alright, a new meme…’cause I just can’t get enough!

1. Take your pick…date night, girls night out, or night out alone?

Hmmm, this one’s a bit weird for me…’cause normally I’d pick a night alone, what with nights alone being the most relaxing thing on the planet. But it says night out. Which means it’s gonna be a wee bit stressful no matter what. I’m thinking girls night out, only because my grrrrrls don’t live by me anymore :'( If I could get either to move their lazy butts over here, I would spend a night out with them in a heartbeat!!

2. Can you touch your nose with your tongue?

Why yes I can, thank you for asking. This is a talent so oft under-appreciated.

3. What is your favorite flower and why?

I don’t know! I really like flowers with two colors in the petals, like one near the center and then one farther out…and no dinky tiny flowers, I like the big ones. But I don’t really have a specific one…or if I do I can’t think of it. Hubby could probably name it, he’s better at remembering such things :-)

4. If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?

Do what you love, not what gives you the status you feel you need. You have always loved animals. Always. The only thing that has changed is which animal is the focal of the obsession (it started as cats). So please, just because people go “ooooh!” when you say you’re an engineering student, and you had a great HS physics teacher and super crappy bio teacher…don’t stay in a program you hate..for the entirety of college! Here’s a hint: if you hate the school for it, you’re probably not going to love the job for it…

5. If you won the lottery, what is the very first thing you would do?

Ooooh, this one is hard! But probably open a SD training school. I’d love to do that! And with not having to worry about income, I could! And send my hubby down to umpire camp so he can try that out as a career. And buy a new house with a soaker tub. Mmmmm, soaker tub. Mmmm….. And maids! Hire maids!

Oh, and, um, give to charity. Of course. *cough*

And naturally, this is all after I finish screaming. :-D

OK, well that’s it for today, got to get myself together and run off to a private training session. Take care, y’all!!

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Happy

Do you know what I realized today driving to class?

I am happy.

And then I thought about it. And I have been happy all week.

The week before I was content. And that was awesome. Amazing.

But now, I’m happy.

I have never, ever been happy for more than maybe a few hours continuously. (OK, excluding my honeymoon, which is so far from real life it totally doesn’t count.)

This blows my mind. I didn’t know life could feel like this. And

It.

Is.

Awesome.

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