Kick start me!

I’ve become obsessed with Kickstarter!

Do you know about Kickstarter? It’s where regular people with an idea can pitch it to the rest of us, and ask us for backing money. The creative folks behind the projects offer different reward levels for your contribution which can be as small as a thank you via a tweet, to a free product, or dinner with the creative team or any number of things if you’ve got loads of cash lying around!

I think my favorite category to look at is Product Design. So many great ideas! But there are projects in film, and art, and music, and books, and food, and theater. The list is (almost) endless!

It makes me sad to see projects with only a short time to go before the funding window closes with absolutely no hope of getting their project funded. If they aren’t pledged at least 100% of what they said they needed, they don’t get a dime. Which is a protection for us, the investors too. If they need $1000 to do what they need to do, your $10 isn’t doing much if they only get $500. I don’t know what those folks do. Do they start over?

I am a backer of just one project. I don’t think it’s going to get funded. With 14 days to go they’ve only got $889 pledged out of the $16,000 they said they needed. Maybe I’ll find out what they’ll do as a Plan B.

And I’m sure having fun checking out other projects to see what else I might like to back!

Lightning in a Bottle

Ever have a perfect day? A day when something unexpected happens, and through whatever confluence of events everything just turns out…..perfect?

I think part of the beauty in a day like that is that it won’t be repeated. It’s there to enjoy, and savor, for as long as your memory allows.

I grew up on a street with two other girls my age. Until we were about 10 years old we were (mostly) great friends, although anyone who has spent time around girls knows that three is a terrible number: one person is always left out. With us the person on the outs always seemed to rotate, which I guess was fair. By the time we hit high school age I sort of made myself the permanent “out” person. Although it would be interesting to hear from them now and wonder if they might think they each did the same thing.

Anyway, my point is that by 9th grade we were no longer a trio.

One day we all got on the bus to go to school – this was either 9th or 10th grade I’m guessing. The bus pulled into the school driveway and the school officials wouldn’t let us off. There had apparently been a bomb scare and school was suddenly and unexpectedly cancelled for the day. The bus pulled back out and took us all home. This was in the days before cell phones, before parent notifications.

It was 9:00 in the morning on a Tuesday (?) and a town’s worth of high school kids had nothing to do.

I remember getting off the bus at our usual spot and us all sort of looking at each other. A free day! What to do! So, Debbie, Robin and I (yes, those are their real names!) teamed up. For whatever reason, we decided to walk. We walked all over town that day. We must have walked six, seven, eight miles total. We laughed and talked and connected. At one point we ended up at our town’s “business area” where there was a small coffee shop type of place. We walked in to warm up (it was early spring and a bit cool outside). I can’t imagine we had much (any?) money, but we sat down anyway. Debbie knew one of the waitresses, an older woman who might have been a friend of her mom’s. I remember she fawned over Debbie (the “beauty”) and ignored Robin and me.

After our break we walked some more, eventually making our way home.

It was a good day.

Inviting yourself

Hey, guess what I did this week!

I invited myself over to someone’s house for Thanksgiving!

We usually go away for the holiday, but this year Krystal has her regional cheer competition on Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, making the 7 hour (one way) trip undoable (is that a word? I couldn’t come up with a better one…suggestions?)

It sounds pathetic, but I didn’t know what to do! The thought of Thanksgiving at home, or even out, with just the three of us sounded horribly sad and lonely, not to mention completely anathema to the whole notion of the holiday (at least in my opinion). Plus, the girls kept asking what we were going to do – I had to think of something!

And I did! I sent an email to a mother and daughter I have known most of my life. The mom was a dear friend of my mom’s when their kids were young, and the daughter was my sister’s best friend in high school. They took us in last Christmas, barely 24 hours after my mom passed away, and we all had such a wonderful time. The daughter’s kids are close in age to my kids, and they got along fantastically. We kept saying we would do it again, but as so often happens, we haven’t yet.

My request to be included in their celebration was warmly received, and we are looking very much forward to next week!

Now I need killer dessert and side dish ideas! Got any to share?

When the past comes up to bite your ass

I found this post in my draft folder from October 2008, just over 3 years before my mother passed away. It is unfinished, and I think I will leave it that way.

My mother visited us for the weekend. Oh, boy, hold on to your hats.

The day before she arrived Krystal said, “I don’t really like Mimi”.

What I wanted to say to her was – I don’t either. But what I did say was some version of this:  “It’s OK to feel that way as long as you don’t say it out loud as it would hurt her feelings. And you know, I didn’t much care for one of my grandmothers growing up, but came to appreciate her more as I got older.” Well, Krystal loved hearing that I didn’t like a grandmother too, and was aghast that I would ever think she would hurt someone’s feelings on purpose (hello?? do you not have a sister you are constantly hurting??).

My mother got here and durng dinner that first night Krystal whispered to me, “Sometimes she’s not so bad.” Well, a big “phew!” on that one and since I had to shush her with a promise we would talk later and that hasn’t happened yet, I’m not entirely sure what turned her around.

The good news is the kids seemed to do well with my mother. My mother is not that old chronologically (68), but she is a bit set in her ways and is attitudinally much older than her age. And it’s my belief this is why my kids sometimes have a hard time relating to her – she just doesn’t like small children very much. (Not suprisingly, it was her mother that I didn’t care for as a child, and she was much the same way. I did grow to like her very much later on, but I was in my 30’s at that point and I doubt my kids have that much time with my mother. Anyway!). I even got to do some things that needed doing (mow the lawn), and some things that wanted doing (a wine tasting on Saturday night, and a run on Sunday morning) that would not have been possible otherwise. Those are the good things. Got that?

The not-so-good is that I was left feeling very battered with respect to my parenting skills.

Beauty Thoughts

Krystal, my 11 year old, is an exceptionally beautiful child. Her smile gives her face a glow and you can’t help but want to connect with her.

She’s also exceptionally focused on her appearance.

She has a fashion sense far beyond her years. While she is brand conscious, she also appreciates the value of a dollar and was thrilled recently when we picked up 3 shirts and a pair of shorts at Marshall’s for less than ONE similar style shirt cost at a more upscale store.

She wears make-up. Eye make-up! She gives ME lessons on how to wear it! No, I don’t approve of my pre-teen daughter wearing make-up, but I recognize she likes to experiment with it and do let her do so in the house. And she loves to do things with her hair, which is good because I have no idea what to do with it.

I try to focus on her other qualities. How good a friend she is, what a great athlete she is. The other night I picked her up from her school dance (school dance!!!!) and she said that an 8th grade girl she didn’t know came up to her and told her she was pretty. She was surprised that an 8TH GRADER would acknowledge her in this way.

She is pretty. Gorgeous in fact. But I don’t want this to be how she is defined, by herself or others.

Seasons’ Work

Being a homeowner is awesome!

Being a homeowner is hard!

I’ve pretty much always lived in the Northeast (minus a very short stint in the Southeast, and while I was a homeowner there briefly, I was also very young and thus not as responsible as maybe I should have been/could have been with respect to taking care of a house). And so I wonder, do we have more yard related tasks in this part of the country than say, southern California?

Think about it: we have snow removal in the winter, spring clean up of sticks and leaves from winter storms, lawn treatment (which I don’t do!) and mowing in the summer, fall raking and yard cleanup before the snow flies again, and then we start the whole cycle all over. In — southern CA — there’s just lawn mowing. Right? What am I missing?

Maybe the grass is always greener. Or maybe you southern Californians really do know how good you have it!

Regardless, my grass appears a tad greener today because I finally got around to raking up the leaves. I thought I’d missed the window to get them carted away when Hurricane Sandy made an appearance at the end of October. Not only did she interfere with the final weekend of cleanup, but she created additional mess! (little aside here: we were very fortunate to only experience some wind and rain here and my heart truly goes out to those more deeply affected, some of whom are good friends)

Another homeowner related task done for this season.

Southern California got any openings?



Are you ever funny about words? I am.

By this I mean: there are words I like, and words I don’t like. And this has almost nothing to do with their meaning.

For instance – words I strongly dislike are:

  • moist
  • panties
  • enjoy

Words I really like:

  • quirky
  • whimsy
  • bottled

What about you – any words you particularly like….or not? Share ’em in the comments!

Geeks Unlimited

I am a geek! And proud of it!!

I successfully upgraded my MacBook Pro’s hard drive yesterday. It was way easier than I thought it would be! In fact, I bought some Torx tools which the instructions I’d found online told me I would need, but I didn’t. A simple (though tiny) Philips screwdriver was the only tool I needed (aside from a recent backup of my system and the new drive itself of course)!

I’ve never felt comfortable doing hardware related things on my computer before, but this was a real boost for me. So proud!

Family Dinner

I didn’t realize how much I enjoy eating dinner as a family until it wasn’t something we did every night.

With Krystal’s head first foray into sports these last few months it’s been a scramble to get her where she needs to be several nights a week. Usually she isn’t interested in eating before practice, which means she is scarfing something down in the car on the way home, or even at home later on just before bed. Dinner, for her, has become a way to satisfy her physical needs. Period.

So on the few nights we are all home at dinner time, I revel in being together with my girls. I can cook something, and we can all sit down to eat it. Together. I can hear about their days and what is going on with teachers, friends and more. Intellectually I knew all this was happening at dinner…..but now emotionally I’m realizing it because I don’t always get it. Funny how that works!


Yesterday United States citizens had the opportunity to vote in a presidential election. The sheer act of casting my vote fills me with pride.

I’m not political. And by that I mean, I don’t talk politics often. I don’t express my views directly without prompting and I don’t like to kick up any dust with people who disagree with me politically.

But I am here to tell you this morning that I am full of RELIEF and even a teensy bit of excitement that President Obama has won a second term.

Relief because it was a close one, as we all knew it would be. Relief because Mitt Romney scares the bejesus out of me. In fact, today’s Republicans seem to be so far to the right, so far backwards, that I wonder what someone like Ronald Reagan (a Republican I admire) would think. I said several times during the lead up that if you are a woman, or you love a woman (mother, sister, wife, daughter, friend), you have no business voting for Romney. I can’t believe so many people couldn’t see that.

And the soupcon of excitement is because I really do think presidents have more leeway in their second term. I think we are on the cusp of great things. At least I hope we are, and that’s almost the same thing.