Finally Friday #1

Finally Friday #1: It's been a tough week. Here I'm fighting off the "I wannas" and lifestyle creep, look forward to concluding long drawn out negotiations and welcome the weekend!

With a firm nod at Jana’s rechristening of her Friday posts to the Friday Six-Pack, a few thoughts to close the week.

  • My soul is chafing against all the things I need to get done, all that things that must get done but take time. It’s rebelling against the ever growing list of things to do, and it wants to shed all responsibility and run wild down the street in the rain. I don’t blame it. I can’t do it, but I don’t blame it. We all need to cut loose on occasion. Even if, in this case, it can only be in my imagination because no one is spending on frivolity for a few months.
  • No one needs to make and hand sew name tags into their toddler’s clothing on the off chance that a second shirt will go missing at daycare. No one has TIME for that. (But I want to.) Because labels are cute and I have a serious problem with loving labels. 98% of LB’s clothes are hand me downs and will be handed down to the next baby. Name tags only have temporary purpose, and will be useless after ze outgrows this pile of clothes. (But I want to!)
  • All of my Amazon money, now and $300 into the future for perpetuity, is dedicated to household supplies so, no, I still can’t buy those 10 books I really want. (But I want to.)
  • I can, and must, wait for a sale before buying that replacement professional lightweight handbag. It’s nonsensical to pay full price just to have it now when it will go on sale again eventually. (My last one, much beloved though it is, is flaking and looks like it’s got bag leprosy. Not professional at all.)
  • I took a couple days off this month and it was so nice not to think about work at all, I think my brain forgot to come back.
  • The Refinance That Took a Lifetime: still in progress. Naturally. But I will not be defeated!!
  • LB’s teething and fever cycles this week destroyed me. My entire body feels like it’s a sea of molten lava.
  • There are already 50 work emails waiting for me before 9 am and that’s just not right on a Friday.

In good news

We have houseguests this weekend so the timing of this flare-up stinks but I hope with a lot of breaks through the day, and a good night of sleep (cross your fingers for me!), tomorrow will be recovery mode and not sinking ship mode.

:: What’s your good health regimen? How do you beat back feeling like crap right before the weekend? Have you got any fun plans for this weekend?

 

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Just a little (link) love: Good-bye, Prince, edition

LinkLoveCAREER + MONEY THINGS

When you have a second identity for your career, it can raise interesting questions about the integrity involved in living two lives. hattip Jaydot Sloane

I don’t follow celebrities, or watch many movies anymore, so I hadn’t realized how well Melissa McCarthy has done in the movie business lately. It’s not a surprise at all that critics don’t want to fully embrace her, though, I’m confident in saying it has a lot to do with her size and that she’s a woman. If she fit the svelte Hollywood ideal, maybe they’d lay off a bit but I doubt it.

Do what matters now

Beyoncé has always been a business powerhouse but I’m most impressed by how she keeps pushing her art to the next level. She’s breathtaking. “This is Beyoncé’s exploration of what happens when we place our hearts into the hands of men and boys who can’t live up to expectations.”

Holly’s not going to upgrade her engagement ring, and neither am I. The only thing I might consider doing is changing the metal of the band for durability but maybe not. The scuffs and marks are a little record of the life we’ve shared thus far.

Joseph Phillip Illidge’s admonishment to DC Comics.

FUN THINGS

Uplifting family story cracked me up

The world’s most stunning restrooms

As a reformed overpacker, this made me laugh

INTERESTING THINGS

Clean your bags! Heck, this article has me wanting to clean every bag in the house, ever. Though, if there’s a chance there will be food or dirty diapers (!) in my purse (the latter isn’t likely but still), I keep a ziploc bag or two in there and the potential culprits go in there so I don’t have to swab out the inside of my purses.

Laurie Penny on context and why Stephen Fry’s outburst against trigger warnings makes sense. I’d agree with her analysis that it makes sense why Fry and his generation would feel strongly about NOT speaking out about abuse, because that’s how they survived. I respect that, but it’s wrong and obviously perpetuates the system that exposes more children to abuse. Just because you could survive the hard way doesn’t mean that we should inflict that on younger generations for untold millennia. It has to stop sometime, somewhere, and it stops by speaking up.

Ugh, this guy’s a serial harasser and posted that “prank” ad asking for a feminism tutor for a fake 22-year-old.

Bobby Chiu, one of my favorite artists, tells us What Great Artists Have in Common

RIP Prince

Cloud, on Prince and genius

“Can you make it rain harder?” (thanks, Tragic Sandwich)

1999

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Are you ready to win a million dollars?: Our weekend fun

Our Saturday night gambling: Can we win anything awesome from this shop & Monopoly game? Free fun: the patented homebody edition

Lest you ever have the mistaken notion that PiC and I are a happenin’ couple…or whatever means “cool” these days, let me regale you with our Saturday night.

Some people get dolled up and go to  Disneyland’s Club 33 for a drink and whatever else you do there.

Us?

Well, our dinner was a little late. While I tried to finish booking travel arrangements before running off to cook,  LB had snuggled up next to me to crunch on these puffed cereal squares PiC had found at Trader Joe’s. They’re good, we all eat them.

Ze waved hir cup at me and tried to help me type so, of course, “No, LB, do not break Mama’s computer with your grubby fingers. Sit down.”

Ze sat.

Ze crunched.

Ze offered me a square.

“No thanks, honey, that’s for you.”

Ze took a bite, then offered it again. This time demonstrating what ze wanted with an open mouth, saying “ahhhh”. Nothing like your kid turning your tricks against you.

“Oh, no, DEFINITELY no thanks, that’s really for you. Here, see? I’ll eat this one.” I popped an unlicked square in my mouth and crunch-crunch-crunched. Ze smiled, satisfied, I thought.

Nope. Fool.

Ze took another square and offered it again. “No, thammmf!” Ze jammed it in my mouth. My hands were protecting the computer and ze knew ze had me. To really make sure of it, ze pushed half hir hand into my mouth so the cereal was not coming back out.

Laughing, I turned to PiC who wasn’t helping even a little bit, and gestured wildly. He took a picture. THANKS.

I turned back and *jam* another cereal square. And another!  Ze grinned madly, this was fun!

But I still have my standards, if there was drool on it, I wasn’t eating it.

After the dozenth very aggressively offered cereal but was uncompromisingly shoved into my mouth, ze sat back on hir heels and started eating again. A clear dismissal, or at least an easing of hostile sharing.

Soup’s on!

Dinner was the usual. Rice and fish spoon-catapulted all down my front. Milk dribbling down hir dimply chin, both parents gingerly treading around and through the rice moat surrounding hir high chair. You know, the usual.

Bath and bedtime are always good. They’re the easiest part of the day and no matter how hard the day was, you’re guaranteed lots of grins and laughs. That makes the wind down of the night so much easier.

Closin’ down the bar

I joggle at PiC’s elbow as he does the dishes, impatiently. Just when it’s my turn to rinse, I disappear, having just remembered it was time for Seamus’s medication. My timing is impeccable. But the magic hour rolls around when we’re both parked at the table and it’s time. FOR MONOPOLY!

Not the board game, though it’ll come as no surprise to anyone who’s read a word of this blog, I loved the board game and finagled a game as often as possible. No, we’re “playing” the supermarket board game where you get game tickets for certain purchases from Safeway. Our regular purchases always earn a few, and we stick the individual pieces to the paper board game piece in the faint hope of filling all four or five parts of a property to win anything from a $5 grocery gift card to a $500K vacation home or $1 MILLION DOLLARS.

PiC reads off the numbers in his loud Bingo voice, and I cheer or boo the pieces, gluing pieces to the sheet when we hit on an empty space. To date, we’ve won 3 instant win vouchers for 2 more game pieces and we’re one or two pieces away from winning big or small on a variety of stops on the board.

It’s all VERY exciting.

Right, I’m not fooling anyone, I know the rest of the world actually engages in real fun but look, this is our kinda fun, alright?

Besides, what if we did win?

We’re close on the $5 grocery card, $15 grocery card, $2,500 Big Joe Grill and groceries (what say I skip the grill and get that all in groceries?), $200 cash, $1,000 grocery card and $1,000 family vacation.

PiC and I have an agreement that if we did win, we tell no one. Except if he gets the $5 gift card, he’s singing it from the mountaintops. I’m not sure if this blog is exempt from the “tell no one” agreement yet, but I think it should be.

:: PiC says the real value is our goofball selves having Family Time, I say the real win is the million dollars. What would you want to win if you had to pick one and it wasn’t the $1M or $500K home (because I seriously doubt anyone will win those)? Do you think anyone’s really going to win anything? Have you ever? We’re going to need a new free and easy pastime when the game is up in May, suggestions?

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Curating this closet for my best life

 Operation: Dress like an adult. Does your professional wardrobe come up to snuff? When's the last time you thought about it? A closet catastrophe in search of style with comfort

I read Katherine’s post on dressing as a new mom with a tinge of guilt. Never a fashion plate, I took some meanhearted comments about baby weight heard when I was still pregnant too much to heart, and went far in the opposite direction of refusing to give a hoot about worrying over dressing well when I had a baby to keep alive, a career to also keep alive, and so on. “Getting dressed” didn’t mean very much more than changing from one set of comfy pajamas to the next, on harder days, and into cargo pants and tees on the easier ones.

There’s a happy medium between not caring about how you look and being obsessed with your appearance to the exclusion of all substantive things. My life fits in the middle, caring when it matters to me, and leaving it the rest of the time, but I’d left that by the wayside.

The casual nature of my job didn’t help. The SF-standard CEO in tee-shirts and flipflops isn’t just a stereotype! To make matters worse, I’m digging through a wardrobe that still has clothes dating back to 1999. Because I might go somewhere warm again, someday! And it still fits! And… no, that doesn’t mean I should still wear them. For someone who came from having very little, discarding things that still “work” is a hard notion to wrap my head around.

Now that I’m out walking more, dressing down and even sloppily is my camouflage, protection against the street harassment. I can’t walk across the street with LB alone without being harassed, and this isn’t one of the worst neighborhoods in town.

I’ll keep dressing in “ugly” camo for those jaunts because life is too busy to waste time wishing fiery deaths upon that worthless scum that catcalls, stalks and harasses women on the street. For the rest of the time, though…

An essential part of being a professional, secondary to high performance, is presenting myself professionally.

It’s time to shape up. It’s never been easy to put together a wardrobe that looks professional but can be worn day to day. Like Cloud, I’ve never had lofty ambitions in the fashion arena. I don’t need to be fashionable, I need to be not frumpy. Finding where that coincides with my need for comfort and low maintenance level, is the challenge.

We’re not in a position to replace my entire wardrobe in one go, now that I’ve paid off Uncle Sam for the year, but I wouldn’t do anything without an action plan either.

First, the purge

I’m starting the process by ruthlessly digging out the sartorial deadweight.

Those old sweaters that I bought back when I was cold all the time and was just desperate for warmth, any warmth. Like a bear facing winter, I was adding layers with cardigans that did the job but nothing for my appearance. Same for the long sleeve shirts that are now too tight in the arms. PSA: Lifting a 25 lb weight between 1-6 hours a day will do something to your biceps. I’m guessing that Hulking out of my sleeves isn’t the current look. But whatever the look is, I like my blood circulating, thank you very much.

Pants are problematic. I’m staring down a pile of pants, they’re all a little bit off. Those jeans are 19 years old and look like it. These jeans are a breath too tight. The newest pair of jeans are too long and loose. The older jeans are tight but the right length. It feels like the best thing to do would be to toss all the oldest and start over but I can’t bring myself to do that. I don’t have a good replacement yet and I’ve learned the hard way not to go purging willy-nilly. As Donna and her commenters pointed out, ever so timely with this post, it’s not a good idea to go overboard. Then again, I have a bit of history with breaking my pants with new jobs. It’d be better to lose an old pair than new when I move on!

There are about a dozen geeky tees that I refuse to let go of. These have a place in my life but we need to do better. This has sparked the thought that I need to design a business casual line of geek-inspired clothing to replace the geeky tees that aren’t interview or boardroom ready. Would I be my only customer? I could live with that.

Next… I need help!

If I were tall and willowy and Gina Torres: everything she wore in the first few seasons of Suits, get in my closet! Kerry Washington’s styling in Scandal is also impeccable. If I were way cooler than I am, I’d be cool with the wardrobe for Maggie Q from Nikita. But not their shoes. I can’t do any of their heels.

Then again, none of their clothes are kid-friendly. I wore a nice blouse and slacks to a parent volunteer thing and came home with three kinds of fluids on me from kids who used my shoulder as a landing pad for their drippy faces. There’s always one kid who thinks I’m their person.

Naturally, I’m none of the above. I’m short, slim to the point of being skinny. My knees (and every other joint from the hips on down) are a no-heels-zone. They need support and cushion, it’s not optional. The ideal uniform is easy to put together, baby friendly, me-the-klutz friendly, and travel friendly.

If we still lived in the southern half of the state, this Polka Dot Silk Wrap Dress and this silk chain link print shift would be in my shopping cart just waiting for a great sale. But if 60 degrees doesn’t feel like freezing anymore, it’s still not warm, I don’t care what you say. I know you’re laughing at me, Canadians – I’m at peace with that.

In truly temperate weather, I’m in a cotton shirt, jeans or stretchy slacks, a draping light cardigan or sweater. I love my Bobeau fleece and Caslon drape neck zip cardigans. They don’t sell the zip cardigans anymore so I’m glad I gave into the temptation to buy it in both colors. In cold weather, I have one great winter coat but my ability to go from light to heavy layering is limited.

Shoes are typically flats or flipflops or sneakers. I’d love more classic styles but loafers and other similar shoes often look like clown shoes on me. Alternate suggestions?

In real life, I adore Jean’s and Kelly’s styles. Also Wendy’s. They’re even close to my body type. But as you can see, they’re far more polished, and oftentimes fancier, than I.

On second thought…

It turns out the act of writing this out is clarifying. When I started writing, it was mostly a mess. But I’m starting to see that my ideal style looks put-together and feels great to lounge and work in. That’s not impossible! Right?

My idea of matching colors is appalling, let’s get that out in the open right now. I think the general rule of thumb here is to remove all pieces that aren’t in a complementary color palette and restrict any new clothes to a simple color palette. Does anyone know how you do that?

I gravitate toward dark greens, blues, black. They’re easy, combined with white, though white is not awesome for me with an over-active child to chase and feed. Is tan and beige a good alternative? I really like the look of a crisp white blouse but probably that life isn’t for me.

Every so often, a bright color grabs my attention and I can’t resist. That’s one root of my current crisis. For example, I went wild and bought dark red slacks a while back. I like them but they seem to go with exactly one blouse. Like pantry cooking, people will helpfully suggest several combinations, but I currently own none of those other pieces!

That means I need a list of acceptable colors that would go with the basics that I already own. Ideally, I should be able to mix and match all tops and bottoms.

Now that I have a semblance of a game plan, I’m eager to start making this work.

Sidebar: Though we don’t dress each other, PiC and I share a similarly relaxed approach to style but it’s so much easier for him to look effortlessly business casual. Why is men’s clothing so much simpler?

:: What’s your style, how long did it take to refine? How did you figure out the color and the matching pieces thing? Who do you rely on for advice about this stuff?

:: The comment was “She still has ‘baby weight’. It’s been two years! I’d kill myself if I still had baby weight two years later.” I’m used to hearing horrible comments about women and their weight but that got my goat.

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