Tears, Sweat, and a lot of PTO

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Bad Blogger

It’s funny {odd} how when life hits, all bets are off. For me, a distraction from the norm is cause for derailment from {most} of my {wanna be} standard activities…..like blogging. I have pages of notes and ideas, of things to proclaim. I have, however, been occupied with serving at the school for a week and am currently at the end of a two-week fall break for the Things. Talk about derailment. Oy vey! It’s all good though. It just means that I’m behind in my photo log of the October Dress Project for anyone that might have been missing that.

I’ve also decided that I’m done with it. At least for this year. The dress project that is. Not the blogging. Last year’s dress shrunk a bit, making it uncomfortably short. This year’s dress is just too long, although it seemed like a great idea in the beginning. Also, have you noticed that when ordering clothes online, it will alert you to the washing instructions but not to the drying? A maxi dress that is to be “[hung] to dry” takes over 24 hours to do so. The dress is also starting to pill horribly under the arms and is all stretched out on top. My guess, from being hung up wet so often. I’m feeling a bit like a failure at the moment, but on the upside it has sparked some additional creativity in my mind. And that’s part of the goals right? Anti-conformity. Anti-consumerism. Pro-simplicity. Pro-creativity. The creative part, however, is just not manifesting itself as I had hoped. I’m still seriously accessory-challenged.

So, here are some remaining outfits from Day 7-20. I made it over halfway.

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Photographic Therapy

I have to be honest. One of the things that I absolutely despise about doing the ODP is taking pictures of myself. I look at the pictures, and I feel like I’m looking at a stranger. Like the mirror doesn’t lie, but the camera does. And I don’t quite understand that disconnect.  Maybe I just need a haircut. ::sigh::

Day 4: Running around all morning required jeans and a t-shirt. Humidity practically choked me when leaving the house. I’m also to the point where layering is a must with the dress. I have issues with regulating my body temperature, so I opted out while I was running around. I did, however, don it when I got home. I had on my dress, a gray t-shirt, a black/white scarf that I’d made out pajama bottoms, and of course, the Hello Kitty slippers. They are warm and shiny and the perfect icing on a busy day.

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Day 5: On Saturday, we had a Scout function at a camp just north of us. It was rainy and 3 out of 4 of us really didn’t want to be there. I should have taken a picture of us as a family because we seriously could have played the one-of-these-things game. One grumpy Mama and her two cubs; one decked out Scout dad. Seriously. Official shorts, Camp T-shirt, even official Scout socks. I don’t know why, but it cracks me up. So, there’s the dress and an over-sized t-shirt over top. Oh, and the knock-off Uggs. The fact that it was drizzly, I knotted the bottom of the dress to keep it from dragging the ground.

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I lucked out this year in some ways. One of which is that I have a friend who decided to clean out her closet and pass on some things to me. I almost have a completely new wardrobe of shirts from her. I figured that the over-sized t-shirts on me would work great under workout wear. The plan is to start walking soon and check into any swim classes. I’ve seen one for arthritic aerobics. Count me in.  They also fit nicely over a dress. 😉

Day 6: Today’s attire also includes a dress shirt from my friend. It’s purple/white/black striped. I paired it with my short-sleeved denim jacket and a new pair of black Dansko shoes. The heavens have opened and poured out the rain on us today, and I need to spend the afternoon making far too many batches of muddy buddies. I believe I’m going to have to opt back into jeans and a tee just to make a grocery run. And I don’t trust myself even in normal clothes working around cups and cups of confectioners’ sugar.  Wouldn’t be a bad day to also wash it.

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What Are {Best} Friends For?

 

Krischelle

Meet my BF, Krischelle {and her husband Scott}. My beloved friend has the most amazing spirit and a huge heart . She has taken me as her friend, massive as my flaws may be. She is my balance and my filter. And sometimes I can make her laugh. God has richly blessed me with her and her generous love, support, and {magnitudes} of grace. As an added bonus, she’s also been known to fuel my addictions, namely to owls and {free and/or reduced} books.

Example: The other day she surprised me with a few gifts. Something small, as she called it.  One was an owl dish towel, which now has a spot guarding the oven door. The other was a box that was filled with owl notes cards and notepads. To be sure, there were squeals of delight.

 

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Now, me being me and all my brain took a left turn the other day. I’ve started reading Becoming Myself:Embracing God’s Dream of You by Stasi Eldredge. Within the first couple of chapters (I believe I’m on chapter 6 at present), Stasi introduces her insight into a woman’s menstrual cycle. Now, being 42, I’ve known about all of that for some 30 years now. Still, it was this notion of here it is and what it does, and by the third week of your cycle you may fully give yourself permission to have the breakdowns, sleep all of the time, consume certifiable quantities of Midol, and break into the chocolate stash.

By my pure nature, I’m truly not a sweets person. Unless of course we’re discussing cake. I love cake. Or unless we’re talking about PMS week. Then it’s just the dire need for sugar in general: Smarties, Starbursts, M&M’s, chocolate-covered fudge grahams, etc. The problem? I live in a house surrounded by menfolk. And if you’ve never been surrounded by menfolk, let me tell you that boys start consuming food with the velocity of a shop vac beginning around age 10. It increases exponentially with age. My husband would almost rather eat sweets than a meal. He considers sugar to be one of the major food groups, along with butter. So, the problem is that if I want something to have for “that time” I have to hide it. But where? Answer: Adorable owl box given to me by my best friend!!!

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It’s just how I roll.

Now, to today’s photo: ODP13 Day 3. The dress and only the dress. No make-up and hair simply dried and bangs pulled back with a clip.

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Photography credit to my 12-year-old who was required to take said photo because he gripes that I move the couch in order to set up the camera and timer.

Today was a free day at home where I wasn’t expected to be anywhere until 4 p.m. It was also this-house-is-in-desperate-need-of-cleaning day. Not wearing the dress to do things like cleaning toilets and mopping floors. I did, however, don it after all of that and wore it to the chiropractor office, the UPS Store, and McDonald’s drive-thru (I totally rock dinner when the hubs has a Boys’ Night Out.). And because I need to wash it tonight (and let it air dry), I’m home and in my pajamas (again) by 6:30.

Tomorrow starts the beginning of a long weekend and an even longer (but hopefully cooler) week.

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ODP13 Day 2

Busy day of errand running and toilet cleaning. I know….so glam! Still, it’s day 2, and I’m still going strong. Even dressed it up a bit. I made the vest last year, and the jewelry and shoes I’ve had for awhile.

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Day 1, Baby!!

This morning I awoke to the obnoxious sound of the alarm clock, a heavy fog-laden view, and a very chatty Thing 2. Apparently, Thing 2 loves biscuits and gravy and is therefore willing to arise before the sun on a Tuesday just to spend some time with his step-dad and other men at their Kiwanis meeting. At Jim Dandy. Where it would seem biscuits and gravy are on the menu. Thing 1, however,  was not as pleased about waking for school, but I think the Count Chocula cereal finally gave him his edge this morning.

Bills are paid. Emails answered. Saxophone delivered to school. Car partially filled with gas. New shoes ordered. ::squeal::

But the highlight of the day thus far is that it’s Day 1 for the 2013 October Dress Project!! Yes, once again, I will be attempting this feat, which I found out last year is not for the weary of heart.

For those of you who are new or simply desire a refresher, the October Dress Project is this: It’s a call to anti-consumerism, anti-conformity, pro-creativity, and pro-simplicity. The goal: Wear one dress for the whole month (that’s 31 days) of October. No, I don’t have to wear the dress 24/7. Yes, I will wash the dress. Repeatedly. Just at some point during the day, wear the dress.

Last year’s dress posed two challenges: It was red, and it was polka-dotted. Patterns pose a problem to me as I’m accessory-challenged to start. The dress I’ve chosen for this year is a black maxi dress from Macy’s. Black goes with everything. And my wardrobe rejoiced. And because I have issues, I decided to actually graph out some of my outfits to ensure that I could {easily} stretch out 21 days. The result: 37 items of clothing resulted in over 200 combinations. I have a week’s worth of outfits in the dress, a white t-shirt, and 7 different scarves. So I’m not really original.

So, here is today’s outfit: black dress, white t-shirt, blue/white scarf, black Alegria shoes.

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Crafts Abound

I must admit that one nice side effect of no longer being PTO president is all of the spare time I have seemingly fallen into. Don’t misunderstand. Last year I was busy, but was I really that busy? I would appear so. Now I nonchalantly navigate most days, freeing myself to become a woman of leisure. ::snicker:: Yeah, right! Right after the laundry, the bathrooms, the dishes, and a myriad of other household chores. Still, it’s nice when segments of time are free, and I get that rare opportunity to craft. Lately, creative juices have been flowing out in all areas, and I must {unashamedly} admit that I’m rather loving it.

Over the course of the past two weeks I have produced: 4 infinity scarves, a regular scarf, 4 accent pillows, 8 stockings, 24 gift tag ornaments, 2 tie-flower pins, and 2 decorative “photos”. And I’m still going. And that makes me happy, happy, happy! Give me a glue gun and a couple of hours and anything becomes a possibility.

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Change is Challenging

In my own little world, I am the calmest, most easy-going individual. Nothing phases me. In. My. Mind.

Reality? I’m a control-freak. I have routines and expectations that there will be as little change as possible to those routines. A day like today just sets me spinning round and round in unproductive circles, and all I seek is the comfort of sleep.

I’m finding that sleep is my drug of choice. That I live in this delusion that a good night’s sleep or a well-timed nap will right the wrongs and perchance change my attitude. With chronic fatigue, it’s difficult to determine at times which is the condition or what is just over-stimulation. Today was definitely the latter.

* An earlier than normal start to the morning.

* Discombobulation of time and space in the transitioning of the Things for 2 hours.

* The avoidance of a previously made to-do-list thus resulting in a partially accomplished day.

* Puppies who felt the need to communicate their displeasure at the neighbor’s remodeling project. All. Day. Long. A continually barking dog reminds me of a colicky baby. And my nerves are left just as raw.

* The addition of a “quick” run into the store for last minute dinner additions, but thankful for a crock pot full with beef stew.

* Directing and re-directing the Things plagued with ADD into the realm of Never-Ending Homework. An easy night that resulted in over 2 hours of haggling, negotiating, and tears. I’ve promised the Things that I won’t cry so much the next time.

* An iPad that has taken a mind of its own with the help of Thing 2. Almost two hours of troubleshooting resulted in the conclusion that I’m headed to the Apple Store. But not tomorrow. I have plans.

* Things who holler back “I’m coming” after summoned to bed, only to drag their feet for another ten minutes. “Impatience is mine,” sayeth the Mama who prays and pleads for the quiet after tucking in and night time prayers are uttered.

* Paths of destruction that compile tomorrow’s list.

* Tomorrow’s list mocks me.

And all of the while the commotion is swirling around me, I hear this still, small voice in my head that merely whispers, “Be still.” And I can’t help but feel that I’ve failed today. There are so many days where stillness if forced upon me and fewer days where stillness is a luxury. Yet, I’m reminded in that voice that God’s got this. That I don’t have to be in a state of perpetual motion. I only wish that I’d listen to that voice before the day passes into the night.

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A Year in Time

It has come to my attention over the past year that I have been excruciatingly neglectful of this blog. And I aim to do better.

The past year has been full. And that’s an understatement. When one agrees to become a PTO/PTA president, one should also receive a prescription for Prozac or merely a subscription to the wine-of-the-month club. Standard. No questions asked. No judgements made. Last year was full of more sweat and tears than smiles, but it was my last. Well, my last as president anyway. I’m still involved this year albeit in a more subdued capacity. Our last year of elementary school, and there’s that lasting aftertaste of bitter-sweetness.

Years of chronic pain have {finally} resulted in more doctors, increased levels of testing, and a diagnosis that includes: Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Chronic Fatigue, and Chronic Migraines. The new regimen of medications coupled with almost daily chiropractic visits leave me now with more better days than bad….so long as I don’t overdo it on the really good days. And I’m feeling the need for a massage {or three} as a reward for making it through the first 8 weeks of school without any major complications or meltdowns. Who says incentive doesn’t work?

As I was updating calendars last night, I realized that we’re on the eve of October. And yes, I do plan on participating in the October Dress Project again this year {#ODP13}. I already have my dress picked and purchased. Admittedly, I’ve already worn it a couple of times. Last year’s ambitions of a red dress with white polka dots was indeed lofty with a wardrobe the color of a closet Goth. It would seem only natural that I’m giddy over my black dress.

However, in honor of last year and in anticipation of this year, I have pieced together photos of last year’s pairings. May this year be bigger and better in many different ways.

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ODP Days 13 & 14

Let’s just get this over with. There are no pictures. Saturday I tossed the dress in the washer on the delicate cycle. Hung to dry. This morning it was still wet. Cue improvisation.

If it’s any consolation, the gray leggings and the gray t-shirt that I wore under the dress on Friday, I also slept in that night and, incidentally, wore all day yesterday. Needless to say, Saturday was an “inside day”. The Hubs had taken Things 1 & 2 on a Cub Scout camping trip, leaving me to my own devices for the weekend. I brushed my teeth, put on a bra, and ran a comb through my hair. That was the extent of my grooming yesterday. Some days as a mom you just need to slack off a bit. I cleaned the kitchen, did some laundry, and watched episode after episode of “Brothers & Sisters” on Netflix. You know you want my glamorous life.

So, cue Sunday. Up early. Dogs out. Showered. Even used the curling iron on a bit of hair. Go to put on the dress. IT’S. STILL. WET!! Good thing I was throwing it on over a previous element: capri jeans and black tank top. I hung the dress in the window and positioned a fan on it. It should go without saying that I entered church today just still a bit on the damp side.

Still, it was an amazing day! We were donating items to Outreach, Inc. in Indianapolis, who spend their resources and efforts helping homeless teenagers. My heart was already full with that and the fact that some of my friends who don’t even go to my church said that they wanted to help. We completely loaded down my SUV with donations. The grand total of items leaving our house (or are in the process of leaving the house): 502. And we’re still going. There will be much more I’m certain. I’ll probably take a breather from purging this week.

Our church is a fairly new church plant. We launched officially in February of 2011. We started attending there during their preview services in January 2011. Still, even having been in the church for that amount of time, I just feel like I don’t really know anyone. It’s a younger crowd, and while I should be okay with that, it’s the first time that I still feel like I’m on the outside looking in. My pastor and I have talked on numerous occasions about what my “mission” is, which is serving at the school, and I’m happiest when I’m there, and I’m finding myself in a very odd and uncomfortable season of life. But that’s when we get moving isn’t it, when we’re uncomfortable? Today was a huge step for me because I went to church by myself. I smiled at a few people. I talked to a couple of others. I was living outside of the comfort zone. And then Tanya introduced herself.

Actually, it was more like this ball of energy came at me with “You’re the one with the blog with the dress”. It’s amazing how fast a conversation can happen in your head in a mere second or two. I had no idea that anyone in my church would be interested in what I was doing….or me for that matter. It finally clicked that the pastor had sent a link out to one my posts. And can I just say that her energy is contagious! I had to smile, too, because I am her in my school. I’m hyper. I laugh a lot. I’m the roly-poly jolly PTO president. She was, in that moment, exactly what I selfishly needed. I desperately needed someone to notice me, not for what I’m doing or have done, but just see me. And without knowing what she was doing, she fully crossed that bridge to join me in that moment rather than just passing by or hoping that I’d meet her halfway. I wish I had such fearlessness when I’m outside of my comfort zone.

Matthew 25: 35 (NIV) reads:

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.

How many of us just take the time?

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ODP Day 12

Almost to halfway. Almost. Today’s dress brought to you as a shirt. It’s over a white dress shirt and black capri pants. Another favorite. I did, however, get a kick out of some of my teachers wondering if I’d just had enough and hacked the dress. Nope. Safety pins. Some suggestions were made, so I might just have to experiment with them this weekend. The family is camping with the Scouts, so I have the house all to myself. Really all that means is that it’s quiet, I get to snuggle with puppies, and I get to watch what I want on the television. As an added bonus, I don’t have to cook. 🙂

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