Saturday, July 16, 2011

Crazy Legs!

Been having a rough few weeks, so what better way to console myself than with a little insanity on my extremities?

And some new shoes to perk up my mood.

I'm pulling myself out of a funk from the bottom up, so I should be returning to the blogging world soon. I plan to spend the weekend doing some catch up on my favorites, when not sulking about having another cold. Pity party will be over soon. I  promise.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Biting Isn't Nice

The other day, my daughter bit me. She was being the teacher and explaining that biting isn't nice and saying, "You wouldn't like it if someone bit you, would you?"

Then she leaned in for what I thought was a snuggle. Little Girl Nice Guy opened up her little rosebud mouth, showed me her pearly little teeth, and !@*!@*!

She looked very surprised at my outburst and asked, "Why did you yell?"

I said, "Because you bit me and it hurt."

She plaintively said, "I didn't bite you. I was showing you it is not nice to bite. You wouldn't like it if someone bit you." Then she tried to bite me again! This time I was quick and dodged those sharp little teeth.

"Mommy, I was just trying to show you." She shook her head sadly--like she was disappointed. Probably thinking her lesson went unlearned.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Just Do It!


Finally I've been well enough to get off my feet and get back to life! Bronchitis, asthma and stretched rib cartilage do not a fun Mrs. Nice Guy make.

After being virtually bed-bound for a few weeks, I woke up with energy and joined in a few family adventures. Then I spent the rest of the afternoon and all the rest of the weekend a whirling dervish of a domestic diva!

I cleared, cleaned, sorted, and purged--a place for everything and everything in its place.

I also learned something very interesting. Rib pain slows you down, and when you are a disorganized thinker like I am, this is a good thing.

I am a list-maker, over-thinker, heartbreaker--don't you mess around with me. (Sorry, Pat Benetar is one of the other voices in my head who sometimes makes unexpected appearances.) I like to daydream, fantasize, plan, list, and diagram almost everything I do. Mostly, I get stuck in the fantasy stage. But eventually the ideas make it down to paper--every last detail. That is not to say that I follow each of the maps I create, I just like to make them. But after weeks of being an invalid, I was ready to jump into action and I had so many plans in my head about what I wanted to do with my house. Ordinarily, I would laze about with some tea and my Filofax and plan out my day. Then by 3pm, my plans would be laid out in writing, and I might be too tired to actually get the work done. Or there might be other distractions--like my daughter or TV.

But not this weekend, dear readers. This weekend, I hardly gave thought to any plan. I simply saw one corner of the house I wanted to tackle and tackled it. Simple as that. Then I moved on to the next project. And the next.

It was great! Usually, when I have about 4,362 plans in my head, I want to do them all at once. I end up starting lots of little fires and completing almost nothing, leaving the house a complete and utter wreck. But my poor bruised ribs have actually served me well because they've forced me to slow down, take everything one step at a time, and now I have about 7 completed projects, instead of 4,362 half-started ones.

This weekend, Mrs. Nice Guy, Former Invalid: cleaned and organized her closet, reorganized the linen shelves, organized Mr. Nice Guy's closet, tidied Little Girl Nice Guy's toys, did about 5 loads of laundry and even put it all away! (the laundry usually sits for a week or so), tidied up the bookcases, dusted all the rooms, reorganized my vanity/dressing table, and with the help of Mr. Nice Guy, tidied the kitchen, dining room and swept all floors.

I realize that this is probably totally unimpressive to most people who are in general clean, tidy and organized. But this is a major triumph for someone who is by nature lazy, but likes to give the appearance of being tidy and organized. I think I may have cracked the code to keeping house. Don't plan it--just do it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sick Day

I've been sick for over a week (bronchitis? pneumonia? some kind of chest infection, I'm sure.) I suppose I should see my doctor, but I'm always slow to call. (However, the second my daughter's temperature goes above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, I am on the phone harassing the front desk for an appointment RIGHT NOW!)

When not sleeping, I've been obsessed with television shows from the early 2000s, like Coupling (UK version), Gilmore Girls, Charmed (hey, I never claimed this blog was high brow.) I miss the fashions from that era, which means I am old and will soon turn into one of those women who insist on wearing what they looked best in 10/20/30 years ago. Which, of course, means I am doomed to sport pointed boots, one shouldered tops and flat ironed hair for the rest of my life.

I suppose it could be worse--at least I don't miss the fashions from my teens. Mile high bangs and frosted lipstick never did suit me.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Here is my adorable A5 Adelphi in Scarlet or Hot Lipstick Red.

Even thought I'd just bought the Spring Green Chameleon, I couldn't give the Adelphi up after I held it in my hands. I made up all kinds of excuses: I'll need an archive binder anyway; I'll use this one in winter and the other in spring; Buying this Filofax is good for the economy.

The thing is, I didn't need to make up excuses. The Adelphi is just gorgeous as a personal journal for when I get into a seriously scribbly mood. I've also been fiddling with collage for my photographs and this little book gives me a safe space to experiment.

I am seriously loving how versatile Filofax is. If I get struck with inspiration during the week, I can jot down the idea in my "everyday" Filofax (the Chameleon), then transfer it to my "journal" Filofax. And vice versa--if I put together something that makes me smile and I need a pick-me-up during the week, I can transfer the page to my Chameleon.

So there we are. Two Filofaxes, one tired credit card, an exasperated husband, and a happy, happy me!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Two Are Better Than One

The sensible shopper, when faced with two equally attractive possibilities, weighs the pros and cons of each item, examines true need versus impulse, and eventually arrives at a sensible decision.

But I wouldn't know because when have I ever been a sensible shopper?

That's right--check it, bay-bee. I bought the A5 Chameleon in Spring Green AND the A5 Adelphi in Scarlet!

OK, I did try to compare one to the other and had hoped, rather briefly and not all that sincerely, that one would come out on top. But in the end, I loved them both and feel no guilt and no regrets!

Even better, I found perfect uses for both, so now I will share my systems (and expose my not-so-inner-geekery.)

First up is my Chameleon, lovely, unique, just the right size.

This is my "cover page," a silly photo strip of my daughter that never fails to crack me up when I look at it, and a homemade birthday card (made of supplies from his office) that my husband gave to me.

Then comes another top opening clear envelope in which I keep things I don't want to forget about, a credit card holder page for ID, cards, etc., a personal info page that I just made using the remnants of scrapbooking papers I used to make my tabbed dividers (not pictured.)

Then come the dividers themselves. I didn't label them because I am fickle and change things around too much to be able to commit, but I don't have a lot of sections (and no subsections at all) so remembering what goes where isn't really a problem. Here is my Goals/Projects/Lists section.

Then comes a section for Blog Notes (I know--two blogs and no readers outside of family, but I'm a scribbler and my blog notes get their own section, OK?).

Then--isn't this clever?--my diary pages.

I'm using the week-on-two-pages format that came with it. It felt a little odd using the column format, but I think I could get used to it. At least till the end of the year. But I think I might go to the day-per-page format in 2012 as my week still looks like a hot mess.

Then a section for notes that might go into my personal journal.

Then a section for inspiration--art, fashion, hair-dos I might try.

Finally a section for key information (key--get it???): websites I use, encrypted passwords, contacts, medications, etc.

I love looking at my tabs.

And I love how much room there is to write--my handwriting stays largely intact even with the rings. I find that the binder lays flat quite easily. But it could be because my diary pages are pretty much dead center in the binder so there is equal weight distribution when it is open. It's not as heavy as I thought it would be and fits perfectly in my handbag.

I also have the Post-It insert (it was dismantled by my daughter so I just replaced the Post-Its), a jot pad, the portable hole punch, and an extra pen, but I didn't want to bulk out too much, so I keep those things (which are handy but not used daily) in a small mesh bag.

So, that's my Chameleon. Perfect for everyday/work needs and not too heavy to lug around. Stay tuned...I'll introduce you to my Scarlet Adelphi next.

Filophile: Filofax Part 2

So, I've revealed far more than anyone should ever want to know about my history with Filofax. The above photo is of my gorgeous Personal Piazza, and I should probably seek psychiatric help for my obsession. She's just the right color, has just the right set up, feels great in my hands.

And yet...

...Lately I've been feeling that she just isn't giving me enough space. What! you say? If she didn't live in your handbag, you'd be stalking her!

No, I mean space!

Consider, my typical week looks like this:

I like to have appointments, deadlines, and daily tasks all right there in front of me, but really, all those little scraps of paper are ridiculous! I thought about switching to a day-per-page format so that I could use it as both a planner and a diary in the English sense of the word (keeping record of past events), but even if I switched to a day-per-page format, there would still be the problem of my hand bumping into the rings more often than I like. 

Also, I've been watching this You Tube video obsessively and this one, and I convinced myself that I NEEDED an A5.

In fact, I needed this one.

Poor quality cell phone image--will do this one justice someday soon.

Meet my A5 Chameleon in Spring Green. She's lovely, unique, and just the right size.

But in my research, I came across this beauty on Flickr. Holy Hot Red Lipstick, Batman! What a gorgeous color! And did you see what she did with the dividers? I love seeing how Filophiles kit out their own. Well, what's an addict to do? Get both, of course!

Now, my intent was to decide between the two and return one. Yes, well, so easy to do in theory...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Plannerd: Filofax Part 1

When I was in college, my roommate and bestie, who was a far better student than me, carried around a navy blue, pleather-bound agenda to keep track of her classes and whatever extra-curricular activities she participated in. (She kept up her grades, worked a part time job, and joined clubs. I drank beer, watched Melrose Place, and sometimes remembered to go to class.) After studying, she would pull out her agenda every night, ticking things off on its pages, and looking somewhat smug and accomplished as she closed the cover with a little flourish. I was a diary-nerd, constantly buying different hardbound blank journals and pretending I was Anais Nin, so I understood the satisfaction of closing a cover after scribbling, but still. I had no interest in planners and no idea of their potential. (Plus I saw them as a symbol for super-conservative, ultra-boring business people--how wrong I was!) Outwardly, I would laugh at her nerdishness, write "Psych Midterm?" on my Andy Warhol calendar in the general vicinity of when the midterm might be, then go back to watching Melrose Place. But I secretly envied how competent and organized she was.

Fast forward a few years later to when I was an impressionable, twenty-five year-old retail store manager and one of my employees showed up with a Franklin Covey planner. She was young, scatter-brained, and even more disorganized than I was. But IT. IT was large, made of smooth, black leather, zipped all the way around, and had handles that slid out from its exterior pockets. It was beautiful and so business-like. She waxed lyrical about how this bad boy changed her life and opened it up like she was revealing some sacred book to me. OK, her calendar wasn't very exciting ("Work: 5-9"), but the forms! The tabs! The blank note pages! I had no idea what the hell it meant to "sharpen the saw", but the diary-nerd in me was beginning to see the potential.

My gateway planner was Franklin Covey. My first was a burgundy binder with sliding handles and a long strap so that I could carry it like a purse. I looked so organized! So competent! Like someone who made lists! But the planner was bulky and I couldn't actually use it as a purse because it would hold neither lipstick, nor keys, nor tampons. And it still looked really "corporate zombie" to me. So I ditched it for several no-name day planners bought at Target or Borders or the grocery store. Then I began a series of "grown-up" jobs and thought it was time to get serious about my time management again. I went back to Franklin Covey, though I was never satisfied with it and still had no idea what "sharpen the saw" meant. Over the years, I've bounced back and forth between Franklin Covey, DayTimer, Levenger, Palm Pilot, Designers Guild, Moleskine, and, finally, Filofax!

Stay with me, planner-nerds (Plannerds!), now comes the good stuff:

I am a sucker for a beautiful notebook, so that right there made Filofax perfect for me. My first was and still is a sexy beast. It was a personal sized Dorset in the loveliest, warmest shade of orange. Not creamsicle orange, but not so somber as rust. The interior was a creamy light beige (but beige is too boring a word for this color) that contrasted beautifully. I used the week-on-two-pages to schedule in appointments and deadlines (I was a grant-writer for a non-profit then), and I filled the address section with my Christmas card list, but I hadn't found a way to use the other tabs, so they remained blank, blah and empty. This was my go-to planner for years. Here she is today:

Currently, she holds my Christmas card list, and important information like bank accounts, passwords, etc. This is the Filofax I will grab on my way out the door during a house fire.

After several house moves and, oh, a daughter being born, my Dorset was packed away in boxes we hadn't yet got to, and I admit I strayed and used a moleskine for about 18 months. In researching other planning systems,  I came across the most awesome Filofax community ever, and I was once again obsessed with Filofax. So I bought another Filofax to use in absence of my Dorset: a Personal Domino in Electric Blue, which ended up being ordinary purple. It was fine, it was serviceable, but it didn't excite me. I didn't love writing in its pages, I didn't love holding it, I didn't stroke it. Nope, not even once. It was clear I needed my Dorset back. Still, I hated to get rid of the Domino so I continued to use it. Here it is today:

Currently it holds archive pages and blank pages for future use. It makes cute storage.

I finally found my Dorset and she was buried under the heaviest paper cutter in existence. I'd also packed her with a small binder clip still attached to her front cover, so she was, to say the least, a little mangled. Oh, my baby! I was heartbroken.

I needed a new Filofax. A beautiful Filofax. One I would use everyday and treasure forever, and not bury under heavy office supplies in a box misleadingly labeled "books". I also decided, it had to be yellow. Sunny yellow. The Filofax website didn't offer anything I was interested in, but I was sure dream-Filo existed somewhere. And then I remembered Ebay. I typed in "Yellow Filofax" and to my surprise and joy, this turned up:

She is a Personal Piazza in Sunflower. She was PERFECT! I used the Buy It Now option and in less than two weeks, she was in my hands, being stroked, cuddled, even talked to. (Yes, I am aware I may have a problem.) I bought a pen in brown ink especially for her cotton cream pages. Not only was she as gorgeous as I'd hoped, but I was suddenly struck by inspiration and began decorating her divider tabs, coming up with different uses for each section. Let's have a few more looks:

Front page shows a picture of the kissiest three-year-old ever and a note from the husband.

Divider pages made from scrapbook paper.


Diary pages on the left because I had extra from 2010, so I use them as note/scrap paper (but turned upside down so I don't confuse them with my actual diary pages.) 2011 diary pages begin after the polka dots.

Fashion inspiration--I love Kate Spade and I love yellow.

I carry my Filofax in my bag every day. I love to write in her every day. I love to hold her in my hands, even when I don't need to use her. I keep my calendar, tasks, key contacts, lists, projects, inspiration photos and random bits and bobs in her. I even use her as my really big wallet. I refer to her as "her". I've stopped just short of giving her a name. My husband thinks that if I wrote a list of who I loved best in my household, my list would look like this: 1.) daughter; 2.) Filofax; 3.) husband; 4.) dog.

I have no response to that.

So after all this, she seems like the end-all, be-all of Filofaxes to me, right? Or is she? 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Stuff

I don't know why it's taken me so long to realize this, but time really is quite relative, particularly if you are a mother of a three-year-old. Because 10 minutes in mom-time is nothing at all like 10 minutes in normal time. Usually, if I find myself running 10 minutes behind on a regular basis, I just prepare 10 minutes earlier than usual, thus compensating for my lateness.

Not so when trying to get ready in the morning with my daughter. I found that we were regularly leaving the house 10 minutes later than I'd planned for, so I set my alarm 10 minutes earlier...and we still left the house 10 minutes late. OK, I thought to myself, I have to allow for time to chase her down for tooth brushing, time to argue about face washing, and time for her to decide if she wants to wear blue shoes or pink shoes, but not brown, because-brown-is-ugly-and-a-boy's-stinky-color-mommy! So I thought, let's set the alarm 20 minutes earlier, because that should give us plenty of time for getting-ready-tug-of-war and still give me time to put on lipstick. Yet, still we leave the house at the same time as if I'd slept in those 20 minutes!

Which leads me to believe that I would probably have to get up a whole hour earlier, in order to leave my house 10 minutes earlier, in order to be on time to get my daughter to pre-school and me to work by 8 o'clock. A sacrifice I am just not willing to make.

So, my solution? Find a Time Lord who would be willing to bend time and space to get me to work at 8 o'clock, while still allowing me and my girl to sleep in until 7:30. And while he's at it, maybe rewrite a little history so that I can take back that evening in 1997, when my husband dragged me to see the most painful movie in the history of the Batman franchise.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Where Mama Can't Find Me

So I've been at the blogging thing for about a little over a month now and I've posted a whopping total of THREE times, so what made me think that I could run two blogs at the same time when I don't even have the discipline to run one? I don't actually have a clever answer to that, but that's okay considering my readership consists of 1.) me; and 2.) my husband (when I can harass him into it.)

My other blog has a few more than that--thank goodness for family. It's got pretty pictures, and entries about spending afternoons in the garden or baking with my daughter, and all seems lovely, and my mama likes to look at it. But the truth is, sometimes I like to complain, or think about random, unrelated, what can I do to live my life with intention...or, what has Phoebe Cates been doing with herself these days... and, oh, my Filofax, how my love for you is bordering on unhealthy/obscene. (More on those things later...) And, sometimes, I like to sprinkle my writings with a liberal dose of the word "fuck". Mama would not approve.

So here is where I can hog up a little corner of cyberspace, and use it as a dumping ground for my head, and say the word "fuck," and avoid my mama's disapproval (yes, I am almost 40 and my own woman, but I hate to disappoint her--it makes me feel like I've just crushed a baby bunny under my platform heel.) And, hey, if I can amuse someone other than myself along the way, then--yay! I've contributed to the universe somehow!

Oh, and about that Filofax? Behold...