Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Fix It

Throughout the year, around-the-house projects pop into my head.  Most of the time, they are not chores that I wish to delve into over the weekends because those are already packed full with regular weekly chores.  Therefore project type chores are added to a list I keep as a reminder.  That list is looked at more seriously over school breaks.  Although this spring break was mostly dedicated to decompressing, I did tick a few spring cleaning type projects off the list.
One such undertaking was the entryway/coat closet. That closet tends to be a jack-of-all-trades closet.  There are coats, gift wrapping materials, random decorations, the table leaves (or is it leafs), games, and lots and lots of accessories.  I am a bit of an accessories hoarder.  Bags, scarves, bags, hats, gloves, and more bags take up a lot of space in the closet.  When I moved into this house, baskets were put on the top shelf to hold a lot of those accessories.  The problem being, I'm not 8 feet tall, so was not able to see inside those baskets and therefore never knew what I actually had.  After a few years of just throwing things in a basket, that top shelf had become a mountain of accessories that sat unused because I didn't want to deal with it.
A few weeks before spring break, I had an idea after one of the big heavy bags fell of the shelf and onto my head.  It seemed like a plausible idea to attach hooks to the ceiling in order to hang several items making them more accessible and freeing up a lot of the shelf space as well.  So I added that to the list of projects for spring break.  As it turns out, it was a better idea on paper than in my closet.  Since I'm a girl, I have no idea how to correctly hang things from anywhere using tools and hardware.    I didn't even want to mess with nails and nail holes.  I had hoped those 3m removable hooks would do the job.   They probably would have if I had been able to find hooks that were deep enough, but the largest available wouldn't even hold one strap of a bag let alone the whole bag.  So back to the drawing board.
Pinterest is a great place to search for ideas and there are several pre-fab organizational options out there.  I wasn't able to find any of the ones that would work for me locally, and I hated to purchase something online without knowing if it would work - the reviews on many of the products were mixed.  I used those options though to figure out some ways to organize the closet.
Some over-the-door hooks with three prongs gave me spots to hang hats and bags on both doors, which then freed up the shelf a bit.
Over the last year or so, I've seen scarf hangers (pre-fab and DIY) all over the place.  I never thought too much about it until I cleaned out those baskets and found about ten scarves I had forgotten about. With the ones hanging on a mirror in the bedroom and those in the basket, there was a need to find some type of organization system.  The pre-fab ones were on the pricier side and the DIY (using hangers and shower curtain rings) needed to be purchased AND put together.  While at the home store I looked at my options and finally decided that the $6 trouser hangers would do essentially the same thing the $15-$20 scarf hanger would do.  I bought two, added the scarves (somewhat by color), and now they all hang on two hangers in the hall closet.
It's certainly not perfect, but simply making the accessories more accessible makes the closet much more functional than it was.
On a side note, the fact that the closet holds more coats and scarves than we've  actually had cold days in the last two years, isn't entirely lost on me.  But I'm ready if the temperature ever does drop!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Woe Is Me Top 5

The last day of school break is always a little bit depressing, but as I thought about it today, it's not the going back to work that bums me out.  Instead, it's all the things the go into going back to work...
1.  Meal planning - A lot of my sunday is filled with cooking.  I love to cook, but having to figure out what to plan for lunch and prepare my meals to be used as leftovers is a lot of work.  During my first year of teaching, I brought frozen meals to lunch almost every day.  I vowed after that year to never bring a frozen meal to lunch again, and I haven't.  Packing real lunches is time consuming.  Being able to make my meals just before eating them, like I do on vacation, is so very pleasant and not the least bit hard or time consuming.  I'll miss that.
2.  The alarm clock - I despise waking up to an alarm clock.  Even hearing an alarm clock in a television show or movie makes my skin crawl.  The reason I need the alarm is because...
3.  The god-awful hour I need to rise in order to get to work by 7:30 in the morning.  If I think too hard about it, it makes me want to cry.  By the end of vacation, my schedule has done a complete 180 and I'm staying up almost as late as I have to get up in the morning tomorrow.  The Monday morning after a break is painful.  If I ran a school, it wouldn't start until noon!
4.  Wardrobe - Figuring out and preparing an outfit for work the night before each work takes some time.  There is no time in the morning for making decisions and ironing so the time is spent the night before.  It's like meal preparation, deciding what to wear to work takes more planning time than the vacation wardrobe.
5.  Art time (or lack there of) - The best part of break is having time to hole myself up in the office for an entire day/night in order to create.  I've never been someone who can go work on a project for a few minutes here or there.  Chunks of time are needed to be productive.  Once work starts up again, those time blocks are few and far between.
Vacation is over...oh woe is me!  Until I can figure out how to be professionally on vacation, it's time to force myself to sleep.  I'll be threatening to throw that 5am alarm clock across the room before I know it.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Saturday 9

This week's song inspiration is Chicago's "Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is?"
1) This song asks, "Does anybody really care about time?" How about you? Do you pride yourself on being punctual? Or don't you really care?  I REALLY care about time and being on time, almost obsessively.  Tardiness, especially chronic tardiness, is a big pet peeve of mine.  If you know you're always late, then leave earlier than usual.  
2) The lyrics refer to a stranger asking the time. When is the last time you conversed with someone you didn't really know? What did you two talk about?  I've never been someone who will strike up a conversation with strangers, tending to keep to myself.  But I will converse with them if they engage me.  I had to speak to strangers just last night when I sold my car.  That was extremely stressful!  But it wasn't the talking that was stressful.
3) According to the Top 40 tracker Tunecaster, this song knocked Tony Orlando and Dawn's "Knock Three Times" out of the #1 spot on the charts in January 1971. Are you familiar with "Knock Three Times?"  I do know both songs.  Growing up as the youngest with cousins all 10 or more years older than I, the 70s pop/rock plays in the the soundtrack of my early years.  In college, I worked at a t-shirt shop that played the classic rock station.  So between the two, it's a genre I'm very familiar with and quite like.  
4) Chicago is not only the name of the group but also of the midwest's largest city. Chicago is the proud hometown of such luminaries as Bill Murray, Michelle Obama and Derrick Rose. Does your town have any favorite sons or daughters?  Los Angeles has many, too many to list.  
5) The group Chicago was originally known as The Chicago Transit Authority, after the city's public transportation system. When is the last time you were on a bus or a train?  It's been awhile.  I think last summer I took the metro into Downtown.  SoCal is not known for its transit system, so here it's very few and far between.  When I travel to cities who have a comprehensive system that's usually all I'll use.  
6) Four of the original seven bandmembers are still with the group … after 48 years! What's the longest you stayed at the same job?  I've never been a job-hopper, so most places of employment have been for quite some time.  My current job is the longest - this is my 15th year of teaching.
7) Lead singer Rob Lamm confessed that, at times, being in a band has been hard for him because he is by nature a loner. How about you? Are you more introverted or extroverted?  Both really.  I like being around people until a certain point.  Then when I've had enough, I like to be on my own.  My mother likes to be around people - 24-7 if she could.  We have a great relationship, but that is always been a point of contention for us - I have a "that's enough" threshold, and she never does.  
8) This summer, Chicago will be touring with Earth, Wind and Fire. Have you seen/will you attend any concerts in 2015?  Yes!  In fact this coming Tuesday I'm going to the Fleetwood Mac concert at the Forum.  Can't wait - see classic rock!!!
9) Random question: What's the last mess you cleaned up?  My office/art room is always a mess.  After working on something and having everything out, there comes a point when it all has to be put away before I can function anymore.  My classroom is also something I need to clean up a lot.  I tend to worry about the curriculum and the kids far more than the esthetics of the room once the year starts.  Sometimes it gets out of hand.  That's when breaks come in handy so I can get in there and clean up without the stress of the kids being back the next day.
Happy Saturday!  Although this one is a bit depressing as Spring Break is quickly coming to an end.  Boo...

Thursday, April 9, 2015

No No, It Wasn't a Dream

So I woke up this morning to the alarm almost forgetting.  As I crawled out of bed and headed into the bathroom to wash my face, I questioned...DID I REALLY BUY A NEW CAR LAST NIGHT?!?!?!  After my hazy brain cleared, I remembered, yes, yes I did.  A quick trip down to the garage confirmed my suspicion that I am in fact the owner of a new car.
 Car buying is such a frustrating endeavor.  There are ups and downs and ups and more downs.  You feel like you should have a cigarette after the multiple ways you know you've been screwed.
On Tuesday evening, I went searching.  I had a few models I wanted to look at further and test drive. This one was by far my favorite, but it had a plethora of bells and whistles that I really didn't need and bumped the cost up quite a bit above what I was able to pay.  The salesman told me that their network of dealers was large, and he'd be able to find me pretty much whatever I wanted so finding one that came without all the packages wouldn't be hard.  I went home seriously considering if I was ready for this new purchase and did some further research online.  In my research I found the exact model/color/interior/standard features I wanted at a dealership across town.  After contacting the salesman to see if he could bring it here or if I should just go there, they got in touch almost immediately.  You see, the color is sought out but there aren't that many.  The other dealer would not let it come here (they wouldn't want to lose out on the sale) and my salesman didn't want to lose my business.  Within minutes of contacting him, he offered me the upgraded one at below the cost of the standard one.  What!?!?!  There were a few glitches with charges and rebates and what not that made the deal seem less sweet.  However, after all is said and done, I am pleased with the deal I got, and at 10:30 last night, I drove what I think is the prettiest car in the whole wide world safely home into the garage.
A lot has changed on cars since 2003, so I'm now learning how to drive in a tech-heavy car!  It's amazing what it can do!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

A Visitor

Murphy, my dog nephew, has moved in for the next week while his family are in Washington DC.  Rigby can hardly stand it when this little ball of fur comes to visit.  Every muscle in her body shakes because she can not wait to PLAY! The problem being Murphy is a timid fellow and isn't too keen on being pounced on before he can even get inside the door.  So his first afternoon has been spent inside his crate while he got familiar with his new home.  And Rigby doesn't like it one. single. bit.
This was just before she bopped him on the head with that paw.
My own version of Lennie and George.  They are a good laugh.

Monday, March 30, 2015

A Battle of Will (Power)

Candy is not really my thing, and I can usually have it in the house without it ever being a bother.  There is currently a bowl of Hershey Kisses that someone brought over during the Christmas holiday sitting in my kitchen that I am not the least bit interested in.  I've spent the last couple of months trying to get rid of it by putting the bowl out for guests.  My point being, I'm not a Chocoholic or candy addict by any means.
Then early February arrives, and all the stores begin selling Easter candy - a whole two months or more before Easter mind you.  And the display case starts taunting me whenever I go in for groceries.  It's not the Marshmallow Peeps, hollow chocolate bunnies, Cadbury Cream Eggs, Robin's Eggs, Malt Balls, Jelly Beans, or any other such nonsense that call my name.  It's the Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs that test my will power for the first few months of the new year.
I know exactly how buying a bag of "The Best Candy In the World" will go down.
1. While unpacking the groceries I will be reminded that I bought some PB Eggs.
2.  The bag will be opened in order to have "just one" while putting the groceries away.
3.  The bag will then be put in the fridge because cold PB Eggs are better than room temperature PB Eggs.
4.  While making the next meal that comes after grocery shopping, the fridge will be opened which will remind me that I bought the PB Eggs.
5.  So I'll have one.
6.  This time, since it's a cold PB Egg, I'll have another one.
7.  And then another one.
You can see where this is going.  Before I know it, half the bag is gone.  The mound of torn-in-half yellow candy wrappers and empty white cardboard egg holders sitting on the kitchen counter are what shock me back to my senses.  That is until the next day when the above is repeated.  This time until the whole bag is gone.
It's a bad scene people.  So, for the last two months I have successfully walked by that darn candy display chanting, "You'll be sorry.  Don't do it." while a bag of Reese's tried to jump inside my cart.
Today though, I wasn't on my game.  I have vacation brain and a bag of PB Eggs followed me home from the store...
 Luckily, there are only 6 days until Easter passes and that dumb candy display is gone.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

And....Done!

The longest week of the school year (aka the week before spring break) is finally over.  Well, not just yet, but parent/teacher conferences finished up tonight.  All that's left is one half day with kids, and then spring break is here! That makes me feel like this...
Happy Friday!