I am starting a new series on my blog called A Day In My Life because things happen to me on a daily basis that just are not normal. I don’t know why but they do and maybe you think you are having a bad day or a bad week or a bad century and if I share with you some of my bizarre moments you will realize that you aren’t alone in this big, sometimes sucky game we call life. So let’s agree to laugh about it together and know that we are all gonna be ok. I pinky promise.
For starters, there are a few things you should know about me. First, I was a Fine Arts major for a few years before switching to Human Services because…I mean…if you can’t draw a caricature of someone at Six Flags the next logical step is social work. Either draw them happy or try to make them happy, right?
Moving on. You also need to know that I have a freakishly good memory. Like Rain Man kind of stuff. I remember faces especially well and while this might sound like a gift, it is most certainly more of a curse at times.
A few weeks ago I was dropping some seriously over due library books off at the outdoor drop box because, obviously, when your books are that late you certainly never drop them off at the counter inside for fear your mugshot is on the Libraries Most Wanted poster. And that is where I saw her. I knew immediately as soon I laid eyes on her exactly who she was and exactly why I knew her and remembered her.
Back to my Fine Art major days…..
Part of mastering the arts is apparently the ability to draw someone in their birthday suit and so I had a whole semester of a nude figure drawing. Whatever basic assumptions you have about the types of folks that volunteer to be nude figure models in a college setting are probably spot on. That particular semester we had 4 regular models and then just to spice it up a bit, we would have “guest” models. I don’t really know why the regulars couldn’t show up that day, but apparently they had somewhere pressing to be that involved clothing.
On this particular day we were having a guest model.
Now, you don’t have to be Renoir to know that there are 3 dimensional objects that are easier to duplicate based on your vantage point. For example, it is typically significantly easier to draw the back of someones head than it is to draw all of their intricate facial features. The same is pretty much true of the whole body, especially the part that falls below the equator. To account for this, it was custom for all the students to enter the studio and be seated in a place they would not leave for the next 2 hours before the model came in and was positioned so that you couldn’t pick the “easy” spot. Sort of like naked body part roulette.
On this particular day, clearly the moon and stars were aligned just for me. Or fell out of the sky, it’s hard to tell. The model came in and I immediately noticed a few things about her before she even took her robe off.
One, she had a very interesting hair do. Imagine a really serious mullet but then rotate it about 40 degrees. Her hair started really short on one side but was really long on the other, sorta like a waterfall in a hurricane. Anyway, I wasn’t really phased by it and thought good for her for having the courage to step out of the box. And then light it on fire.
Next, I could tell even from under her hospital gown type robe that she was covered in tattoos that I recognized immediately to be Wiccan. Again, not my thing but I certainly was not there to talk religion to a naked woman with a crooked mullet.
The whole time she was getting herself up onto the platform and situated I was thinking to myself how much I hoped she sat with her back to me so I didn’t have to try to replicate her hair. So, of course, she got ready to sit down looking right at me.
There was no stool or chair on the platform this day like their usually was but I was so concerned with her hair that I hadn’t even really noticed. And then….. she took off her hospital gown and sat down on the platform right in front of me. And by sit, I mean in an overly open criss cross applesauce style. You guys.
So just to make sure you are with me at this point, I was going to spend then next two hours drawing a naked Wiccan woman with a sideways Kentucky Waterfall sitting Indian style but more in a yoga kind of way. Got it? Good.
I was thinking about how much this could not be my real life and then something else happened to prove that it was definitely just like my real life.
I’m going to try to give you as much detail here as I can while still maintaining a PG rating and not throwing up in my mouth again, but it will be difficult.
There are things that are just a natural part of the female reproductive system and a monthly cycle falls into that category. Look, I didn’t create it cause I am WAY smarter than that, but it’s just part of life. There are also different kinds of products that women can purchase to help out during this unfortunate time depending on the individuals preference. It is not something that you hear about that often, unless you are watching TV with your grandpa and then every tampon commercial ever made plays.
If you are a woman than I can pretty safely assume that you have used this monthly cycle as an excuse to not do something before. Not go to work. Not workout. Not go out with your friends. Not go swimming. Not wear white. You all know what I am talking about here and to be honest, your period is a perfectly good excuse for any and all of those things. You might also add to the list of things not to do while being visited from the menstrual fairy “no nude figure modeling”. Well, apparently she didn’t get that memo.
Because there she was, doing her best yoga butterfly pose with a string hanging out of her nether region. What kind of fresh hell is this, friends? Now not only do I have to figure out how to draw her Camero Cut hair do I gotta figure out if I should draw the string or try to pretend like it wasn’t there.
It was the most nerve wracking 2 hours of my life.I was so taken aback by the scenery that I ended up hardly drawing anything and not getting a good grade or being able to include it in my semester portfolio because I just couldn’t even wrap my mind around the fact that the whole debacle was even happening, let alone whether to use charcoal or graphite. I let one little string throw me completely off. For the love of God, I had spent half of the semester drawing a 78 year old naked guy with more hair growing out of his ears than ANYWHERE else on his body and I let this one thing potentially ruin my whole semester.
I’m not making any of this up. I couldn’t if I even tried. And you are probably thinking why in the H E Double Hockey sticks is she telling me this?
In the biggest stretch….. make that skydive leap out of an airplane without a parachute …. I’ve ever made to connect my everyday life and situations that I find myself in to that of the life of a Jesus follower I just need to tell you that sometimes you are gonna have to draw the string. The proverbial string of course, or at least lets all take a second to pray that is how it works out.
You are. You will have to draw the string. It isn’t fair. It isn’t right. Heck, i don’t even know if it is legal, but you are just gonna have to do it.
You are going to be tempted to look all around you and be jealous that other people get to draw the easy parts and you HAVE TO DRAW THE STRING. You are gonna get so tripped up on not wanting to even acknowledge that tiny stupid string that you loose sight of everything else.
Decide not to let it be a thing. Laugh about it if you need to. Throw up a little bit in your mouth if necessary. Curse. Cry. Be mad. And then get over it and draw it. Don’t even just draw it in pencil, you freaking get your glitter and your scented markers and go for it.
Everyone is going to have their own string moments and I can promise you that God, while he might have been hiding his eyes during my literal string moment, won’t turn his back on your proverbial one.
Draw The String
Love you all. Mean it.
Since I was a little girl, I have been a list maker. There is something about putting pen to paper, writing things down and putting them in order that gives them importance and significance. And nothing is more thrilling than making a well organized, well ordered list and then being able to cross things off.
That all feels pretty freaking Donna Reed now doesn’t it, my friends?
Well, I make another kind of list, too. This one isn’t on paper but it might as well be because I usually let it take just as much importance in my life as the one that I take to Target. It’s the list of people that aren’t my favorite at any particular time. People that have said something or done something recently that has really ticked me off or even worse, really hurt my feelings.
People who over reacted to things that I said and under reacted to the things that I did and people who I felt like totally let me down when it came to the whole friend thing. People who I’m mad at for doing dumb things or for giving up too easily and not chasing their dreams or for not seeing that it’s way past time to throw in the towel. Friends. Family. Acquaintances. People from Days of Our Lives, just kidding. Mostly they are real people but people who have really just really got me all worked up.
Are there perfectly healthy and normal ways to deal with those sorts of emotions and feelings? Of course there are. Do I possess any of those? Of course I don’t, so I just add them to my list and then eventually after a few weeks, maybe a few months depending on the level of their offense, I replace them with another person. It all sounds so very grown up and sophisticated doesn’t it?
It’s also exhausting.
And so, I’m kinda making a choice today to stop letting it be a thing. I know, you wanna nominate me for some sort of patron saint of adulthood. I’m deciding to stop being mad at people who don’t know I’m mad at them for something they might not remember doing or didn’t know they were supposed to do on the off chance that it might hurt my feelings and cause me to spend the next 8 weeks rhyming their names with curse words.
It’s some deep Deepak Chopra kinda **ish.
And so sorta like Eminem did when he cleaned out his closet and yet completely different, I’m choosing to just stop.
There are always gonna be people who say stupid things. Hello? I am usually going to be one of them.
There are always going to be times when we feel like we were way better friends to people than we got back in return.
People are gonna disappoint us by the things that they do and say and don’t do and don’t say over and over and over again………..
But then again, if you are lucky, and I think we all are, in the end we figure out that for all the times that people mess up and fail, they surprise us and amaze us and rock our faces off even more.
And when you are busy tending to a list of wrongs, you run out of time to write the rights.
I am beyond thrilled to share with you the invitation and RSVP link for the 2014 Christmas Pinterest Party Open House. We will be gathering together on the weekend of November 22nd and November 23 to create 3 lovely projects.
In order to accommodate as many people as I can that weekend, we will once again be doing the party “open house” style. You are free to come any time during the afternoon to complete your projects.
I would plan on the three projects taking you about 2 hours. I will be providing some Christmas desserts and drinks, so no need to bring a dish this time since we are doing more of a drop in format.
Now for the important part…..the projects! I am so excited about this year’s projects. I tried to chose things that were different from what we have done in the past. For those of you who came to the Fall Pinterest Party, thanks for voting on your favorite projects. I love having your input.
Joy Wall Hanging
I think this is my most favorite thing that I have EVER made! I am SO in love with it. I originally saw the Pin for this wreath:
How cute, right?
There just was no space to fit this in as a large wreath for the Fall Pinterest Party but I was playing around with it on a 8 inch wreath form that I had laying around and thought how fun it would be to use it as an “O” and so I created this project! The “J” and the “Y” are 9.5 inches tall, so it makes a really good size piece when combined.
You can use yours to sit on a shelf of mantle or attach a string to it to hang it on the wall. I will have brown and white paper bags, so you can pick what color you want your “O” and then you can paint your wooden “J” and “Y” any way your little heart desires. I will also have lots of Christmas picks, berries, greenery and ribbon. I used a few sprigs from a Christmas Pick and a small bow and I could not be more excited about how it turned out.
(Each person will complete 3 ornaments)
Aren’t these SO cute? And I have a secret to tell you if you promise not to tell anyone else….they aren’t really written with chalk! We all know that chalk smears and wipes off and is not going to look fabulous after it’s been hanging on your tree for a few days, let alone in the years to come. These are done with permanent chalk markers. You can free hand your design or wording but I will also have lots of stencils and outlines for you to pick from. I will have a mix of log slice sizes as well as some various porcelain ornaments. I will already have them painted black so you can get right to lettering and not have to wait for paint to dry.
Christmas Gift Tags
I wanted to add something into the project list that you could use while giving gifts this Christmas season and I thought these would be PERFECT! Plus, they are super fun and easy to do!
The people who receive them will think you spent FOREVER on them and feel extra special that you added this handmade touch. Each person will be making 10 tags and you can use the ones above as examples or totally create your own! I will have tons of blank tags, patterned paper, shape cutouts, buttons, ribbons, stickers, stamps, markers, punches, jewels and more to get your creativity goin.
Open House Details:
Saturday, November 22nd
Sunday, November 23rd
12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Supply Fee : $20.00 for all three projects
But wait…..there is one more thing and it’s a BIG thing:
I am also excited to announce that I am joining with Food Finder’s Food Bank and their Drive Away Hunger campaign. I will be collecting food during the Pinterest Party Open House. In our own area, over 86,000 residents struggle with hunger. Nearly 30,000 children in our community are food insecure and I can’t sleep well at night knowing that there IS something that we can do to help. Food Finders is most in need of Peanut Butter, cereal and meals in a can/box. Please consider bringing a few items with you to the party to donate and together, let’s make a difference in this community that we live in and love.
Ladies. Gentleman. My people. Ya’ll need to stop it.
For real, stop it already with your Cleaning Schedules. The Basic, Weekly, Monthly, Busy Mom’s, Stay At Home Mom’s, Working Mom’s, Seasonal, Weekend, Deep Cleaning, Special Occasion, 10 Minute A Day, 30 Minute A Week, Printable, Pinterest-able, Have A House Like Martha But Love Jesus Like Mary, Proverbs 31 Women Cleaning Schedule.
Look, it doesn’t take much for many of us to look around and feel like we are failing big time by the world’s standards. Pinterest, while I love it on so many levels, can also make us feel like the things our friends pin to their boards are the truest versions of themselves.
Like when we gave our kids cereal and a frozen pizza for dinner and then see that your friend down the street just pinned a gourmet spread under “Dinner Tonight” that involves ingredients not found at Wal Mart and requires kitchen equipment you have never heard of before.
You go from feeling like offering cereal and pizza was a parental win by adequately covering the dairy, grains, fruits and veggies and proteins food groups to feeling like maybe you aren’t fit to actually raise children. Or laboratory mice.
So Let’s Just Keep It Real. Remember when we talked about that last year?
Remember when we all made a pinky promise to stop believing that to be good moms we had to be perfect moms and instead we decided to encourage each other to just be authentic and when we all did that, we would decide that Roseanne always had way more fun than Carol Brady.
So, in keeping with that theme, I would like to present to the you the Team Patterson Cleaning Calendar For A Remotely Clean Home That Might Not Sparkle But Probably Won’t Give You Tetanus. Maybe.
Catchy, huh? You are probably gonna wanna pin that one.
Let’s start in the kitchen:
This is the heart of our home and also the place most prone to looking like the remnants of a party that you would see in the movie Revenge of the Nerds.
At some point this century, we decided that stainless steel would be a great choice for our kitchens so we made EVERYTHING stainless steel which means there are fingerprints on EVERYTHING! Leave them. For real, you will drive yourself crazy trying to keep up with keeping them gone. Plus, on the bright side, you can always threaten to use them as evidence.
As for the counter tops, you could use a cereal box to make an origami paper holder and then decoupage it with vintage wall paper and label each part.
Or you could use an old wooden pallet to make a family command center where each person has their own slot for keys and papers and mail and such. But you are really only going to use it for about a week. Or a day.
So just accept that your counter will be the go to place everything. “Mom, I can’t find my iPad charger.” Check the kitchen. “Babe, I brought home a post it note 7 weeks ago with only three numbers written on it and now it is the most important thing in the world that I find it!” Check the kitchen counter. Keys, school papers, car titles, Wendy’s coupons, birthday candles, lunch boxes, receipts, buttons, cash and occasionally a shoe. They all end up on the kitchen counter. Let go and let God, my friends.
As for the things in the kitchen to actually focus on, they are simple:
- When you can smell the trash, take it out.
- When you have run out of cereal bowls, do the dishes. We used to go with “when the sink is full, do the dishes” but let’s be honest, that is not always the case. Big things like roasting pans and crock pots and cookie sheets can fill the sink and there is no need for immediate panic because in all likelihood, those things will not be needed again for some time.
- When you can no longer walk on the tile without shoes on because things stick to your feet, mop it.
Easy, peasy! Let’s keep this momentum going.
Next up, the bathrooms:
I live in a house with 3 boys, well technically one man and two boys, but there really isn’t much difference. The bathroom can be a place where you could spend hours and hours and hours cleaning, but let’s be honest, you are completely wasting your time.
There are a few things about bathrooms that I have come to know to be true. One, there will always be toothpaste somewhere it was not intended to be such as the light switch, the mirror, the floor or the shower curtain. Just leave it. Anyway, it’s much easier to clean off once it is good and dry.
Two, you can have all of the towel bars, hooks, clips, shelves and hangers in the world and the towels are still gonna end up on the floor. You could get really upset about it or your could let your inner genius shine and decide that since they were on the ground already and probably still damp, you might as well use them “mop” the floor and by “mop’ I mean step on them where they are laying, use your leg to make broad sweeping motions across the floor and then place them in the hamper, full of dirt, dust, hair and water from the last person’s shower.
As for the toilet, it’s really a lost cause. The only rule we have for that once it begins to smell like a truck stop bathroom urinal cake, it’s time to clean it.
Oh, and just one word of advice here on the whole toilet in a house full of boys thing. They are never going to hit it all of the time.
So do yourself a favor and go ahead and eliminate all of the things that are in your bathroom that are bound to become in the line of “fire” at some point.
Fancy little rug that goes around the toilet that matches your shower curtain.
It will basically act like a sham wow for you know what. Nobody wants to deal with that.
Cute little trash can next to the toilet. Move it. Trust me on this one. What doesn’t splatter on the outside of it will land on the inside of it and that just isn’t something you want to collect.
Adorable tissue box cover on the back of the toilet? Yes. It has to go, too. I don’t know how but they do manage to even get it up there, but I can promise you they will. And often.
Save yourself the heartache and adopt the “sterile” theme for your bathroom with only the basics. Trust me on this. I know what I am talking about.
Let’s move this party to the bedroom, shall we?:
These can be tricky places to keep picked up, especially if you still have children living at home. There are toys and clothes and shoes and books and Lego’s and video games and string cheese wrappers and Capri Sun pouches, and that it just the first few steps into the room. Here is how we handle it here at the Patterson Homestead.
Shut the door. Quickly.
If there are not things crawling out from under the door, outta sight outta mind, friends.
At least until you can smell things from under the door, and then it is clear that the only option you have here is to hide all of the iPad chargers until they clean up after themselves and get their st*#f in order.
The last stop on this tour of insanity is the laundry room:
You could do a load a day or have a laundry party on the weekend or wash whites on one Wednesday or all of one child’s laundry at a time and then fold and put it back in their rooms the same day.
Or you could do it our way which basically means you worry about it when no one has clean underwear left. The rule used to be that I worried when there were no clean underwear or socks, but let’s be honest, socks are kind of over rated.
You could search Pinterest and print out a chart about the appropriate temperatures and wash settings and how to treat every stain from wine to Cheetos and if jeans should be turned in side out or right side out or upside down for washing……or you could just throw it all in at once, accepting the fact that as dirty as the top of the inside of your washing machine is and with all of the stuff crusted around the bleach cup and the fabric softener dispenser, it’s really just an act of God that things actually come out cleaner rather than dirtier than when they went in. Bless them.
The only big exception to the laundry rule is on bed sheet day. Every Friday we take all the bed sheets and blankets off the beds to be laundered. And sometimes it is every other Friday. Or every 7th Friday, but what is important is that they get cleaned and the beds promptly remade that same day.
Of course, occasionally you will remember that you took ALL the sheets off of ALL the beds when it is approximately 27 minutes past bed time and these kids have got to go to bed now. Right this second. While they can still move on their own.
In this case, it’s perfectly acceptable to grab some throw blankets and a beach towel and make the best of the situation until you can get to them on Saturday morning. Or Wednesday afternoon. Just….whatever.
That is it, friends. And while you may not have seen this scheduled pinned to Pinterest a gazillion times, I am guessing that it is quite similar to the model that you have adopted for your own homes although you have made the necessary changes needed to fit your unique family conditions.
Use it if you want, don’t use it if you don’t want to, feel free to decline if we invite you over for dinner, but just promise me this….. relax. Take a deep breath.
You are doing a great job.
Let me say that again and with emphasis for those of us who are a little slower on the uptake.
YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB.
So let’s just decide to be on the same team and let’s encourage each other to be real instead of being perfect. Let’s win this one for Team Not Perfect But Perfectly Capable of Doing A Pretty Darn Good Job.
Now, on the count of three let’s bring it in for a Go Team. Ready? One, Two, Three…..Go Team!