The Simple Life

Apparently, this is National Simplify Your Life week. I’m a little unsure as to what all this is supposed to entail, but it certainly sounds nice.

If only it could happen in a week.

The calendar in my kitchen has beautiful photos of serene settings–each one designed to inspire a life of simplicity. Each month is also complete with some Chinese proverb or inspirational quote from a famous person. 

Indeed, the calendar’s name is Simplicity, Inspirations for a Simpler life, though it would be hard to see this from all the days filled up on most of the date squares every month. Doctor appointments, dentist appointments, meetings, get-togethers, hair cuts, company coming, company going, traveling.

Rarely do my eyes move up from the month of activity-filled days to rest on the scene of flowers intertwined along a picket fence, or a tableful of peaches resting in the middle of a perfectly clean kitchen.

All I can say is, that kitchen hasn’t seen the likes of a child-or a live person-in awhile. Not a sippy cup, dropped Cheerio, or half finished cup of coffee in sight.

With a toddler, a husband, a baby on the way, my house is seemingly in constant need of cleaning, organization, and de-cluttering. When I am able to briefly stand mesmerized in the peacefulness of the calendar’s pictures, I’m snapped back to real life by the beep beep of a toy truck or a little boy grabbing my legs from behind.

But you know, this is just fine. In spite of the fact that moments of real rest and rejuvenation in my day job are rare, this life is one for which I am thankful.

So, here’s to the week, and all it represents.

 

…Do not grasp at the stars, but do life’s plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life -Robert Louis Stevenson, whose quote appears in that kitchen calendar

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 

- I Corinthians 10:31 (NIV)

The Joys of Home Ownership

Building projects are on the go around my house these days. Actually, a little more un-building than building.

We took down (or shall I say, the professionals we hired took down) a wall between our kitchen and formal dining room. I immediately loved the way it looks and how opened up the area. What I didn’t like so much:  how it threw the hideous 70′s–style dining room chandelier in full view. That thing is going to have to be replaced sooner, rather than later.

I also realized it is long past time to get some shades. I can’t believe I’ve lived in this house without any window coverings in the dining area, but since this room was used pretty much only for eating, we just shut the doors after dark.

Now, I’m scared that neighbors who walk by will be able to see across the yard and onto my kitchen. The one with the dirty dishes on the counter, crumbs on the floor, and the girl making coffee in her pajamas. Come to think of it, they might also see that ugly thing hanging from the ceiling.

 The workers also took out an old deck, and are currently replacing it with new material. So far, it looks great. Of course, once that is finished, I’m going to actually want to get an outdoor table/chair set so I can enjoy the view to the fullest.

Interesting how all the money budgeted for these projects has led to my realization that more money may have to be spent. This is probably because, as much as I have a number of fantastic organizational qualities, there are some projects I tend to put off–resulting in things getting done out of order.

I’ll just have to see what bargains are out there on outdoor furniture and window shades.

 

And the chandelier? No worries. Now that it’s in full view, I’m certain if I invite enough people over, family and friends will take up a collection for its replacement.

Calm in the Cabbage Patch Craze

They were new, unique and–for awhile anyway–in good supply. Box after box lined up the shelf of the local Woolworth store. With a  glorious clear cover on the front, the boxes held Cabbage Patch Kids: the greatest thing to come along since the doll was invented.

Each child came with his or her own birth certificate, first and middle names, and special details. Some had curly hair, some straight, some had freckles, others had porcelain-like skin. What made them a new and cool thing were the inclusive true to life human features: some Kids were made with braces and glasses, others came in wheelchairs.

For me, it was the Cabbage Patch Preemie that sealed the deal. Complete with hospital bracelet, extra clothing, and special care instructions, one of those babies I just had to have.

True to my family’s economic culture however, we didn’t have tons of toys, and my parents never purchased items while they were the newest thing. They were savvy enough to wait until the craze was over and prices dropped.

Which is why, at some Christmas in the early eighties, I was disappointed–but not necessarily suprised– when a Preemie did not appear under the tree. When the gift wrap was just about to be cleaned up, and the tinsel thrown out, my dad pointed to a note stuck in the back behind some ornaments. The note instructed me to go look in the workshop for my final gift. Running in there and tearing off the wrapping paper, my screams of joy could probably be heard around the neighborhood.

I still have her.

Good old Dad had managed to find the perfect preemie for his girl. He didn’t need to fight horrible crowds or knock anyone over in order to achieve success. Shrewd planning and a well-timed trip to the store–along with the excellent element of true surprise meant more to me than anything.

This post was written as part of The Parent Bloggers Network, for a contest sponsored by Hasbro’s Hot Summer Toy Event.

Guys and (their fights over) Dolls

The jury trial for the Mattel and MGM folks, who have been sparring in court over the rights to Bratz dolls– created by a Mattel worker while allegedly under the company’s employ–has come to an end. Apparently, this man signed a contract giving Mattel rights to anything he designed while working for them.

Hmmm. I’m dying to see this contract and what it contains. If this guy created a great new recipe for Rotisserie Chicken in his home kitchen, would Mattel have wanted that too? What if he whipped up some new designer jeans over the weekend? I’m curious; just what kind of personal creativity does such a contract cover?

And why the conflict?

Bratz dolls have indeed been popular, and while some of the outfits are kind of cute, many of these little creatures are sexed-up versions of classic dolls that have been around for years.

Must companies to market dolls in suggestive clothing and overdone makeup to young girls?

 So to sum up, it sounds as though this case was about:

1. Corporate control of individuals

2. Men fighting for ownership of scantily-clad young women.

Oh yeah. We’ve come a long way, baby.