Archive | January, 2012

Finding Time to Get Things Done

31 Jan

Trying to get things done can feel like a race against time.

“Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.”  Remember that line?  For those not familiar, it’s the opening line from the ever popular “Days of our Lives” soap opera.  And it has been in my head all morning.  On repeat.  Most likely it is related to the fact that I feel like there is just not enough time to get things done.  I’ve been sort of obsessing about the idea of being more balanced and making better use of my time without getting too stressed out.

Today is one of those days where I feel like I am sand in a very small hourglass.  As I was preparing breakfast  this morning, I began to run through the list of errands for the day.  Just as I figured out the timing of things, I suddenly realized that today is a shower day.  A shower, ugh.  It’s not that I’m not into hygiene by any means, it’s just that showers have become inconvenient and unenjoyable since I had my daughter.  The horror, right?!  That’s supposed to be a safe place!  A haven!  When I was pregnant, a friend of mine who had just had her first child said “make sure you make time for showers in the morning.  It’s like your coffee and it will help you get through your day.  It will help you feel more like a person.  Trust me.”  When someone says “trust me” I now take it seriously.  But, at the time I was cool and was always going to have time for a shower.  Why wouldn’t I?  But, I digress.

Fast forward to after having a child and I now have “shower days.” But, I was up late last night and extra groggy this morning so I forgot that today is a shower day.  So, when my inner hygienic clock suddenly rang I started to panic because I had to redo my entire formula for the day.  But, this is pretty much how I operate on a regular basis.  It’s like a jigsaw puzzle or a never ending math class and I hate math.

So, today’s basic formula goes like this:

Getting dressed: 5 minutes
Exercise: 1.5 hours
Driving to grocery store: 10 minutes
Groceries: 1 hour
Driving home: 10 minutes
Unpacking groceries: 10 minutes
Shower + hair: 20 minutes
3 hours 45 minutes
+ oh no I need gas!: 20 minutes
4 hours 5 minutes

Time available while daughter is in school = 3 hours

So, I begin the process of subtraction and jigsawing (a fun term I substitute for multi-tasking sometimes).  It basically means figuring out what I can either remove and/or fit in while I’m doing something else.

Just writing this out makes my head spin.  Maybe I should be taking a shower or doing some laundry instead?

And even though that formula is based on being childless for a few hours, there are times where I play the same game with myself while I’m with my daughter except I feel like I am working on “borrowed time.”  Which means I am borrowing time out of my very active toddler’s day to make her do things that don’t always include a giant plastic car to ride around in while mommy does her thing (like at the grocery store).  I do try to work with her schedule and incorporate some fun time beforehand but fun time is never fun when it has to be interrupted for a ridiculous reason like mommy needs to pick up a few things.  And tantrums somehow seem longer and way more dramatic when you are trying to achieve even the tiniest goal for the day.

I could probably be more relaxed in terms of how I think about my day or my week but it still feels like a science.  I would love to hear thoughts and feedback on how other moms balance time.  Do you break up little tasks throughout your week or play catch up on the weekend?  Do you use any organizational tools/planners to help keep you on top of things?

Disclaimer: I’m not completely anti-shower and do occasionally take one on an off shower day.  It’s especially nice when I am surrendering to a burning hot shower with the lights off after a long day of tantrums.  It’s happened and believe me, it’s bliss.  I’m talking pitch black, no candles, no aromatherapy, just me and a gloriously steam filled room.

Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Happy One

29 Jan

I ran across this post randomly, and thought I would repost it for others who might need a good chuckle on a Monday. 🙂

Ordinary Life Translated

The holiday season was especially sparkly for several of my family members and friends this year. At this moment, I know TEN couples who are engaged. This significantly exceeds the highest proposal rate during a 3 month period that I have ever witnessed…even at the height of  the wedding frenzy in my 20’s.

My 20’s were a decade represented by 1 bad marriage (my own), 2 beautiful children and about 57 weddings. I have nothing against weddings, but even when the phrase “always a bridesmaid, never a bride” doesn’t apply, you can only be the member of a bridal party about 12 times before you develop aversions (bordering on phobias) to isle runners, taffeta, buttercream frosting and rhinestones.  It becomes increasingly difficult to muster the excitement and exhilaration that each bride deserves from the members of her bridal party. (YES! Definitely go with THIS bakery! Their tiny white rosettes are WAY more delicate than the other 37 pictures of frosted roses you have shown me! They will be…

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Cooking blogs focused on enjoyment of food, Northern California style

23 Jan

Ok, this isn’t exactly about what to wear, but the recent news about Paula Deen (the southern-cooking host who recently fessed up to having diabetes) probably has many of us asking ourselves how our food choices impact our health, if not our appearance.  After the new year, I am feeling my pants fitting a bit tighter after all those holiday sweets. So I went on the search for some inspiration in the kitchen, with health and enjoyment at the top of  my mind. The last thing I want to do is follow a fad diet, count calories or cut out entire categories of food that I love (I can do without deep-fried cheesecake, but not my crusty bread!). Here is a blog by a Bay Area mom focusing on the preparation of wholesome, delicious of food. I love her philosophy:

My food philosophy

Eat really good food. And enjoy every bite. Eat fresh food. Fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, fresh meats and fresh baked breads. Eat local foods, in as many places as you can. Eat shortbread in Scotland, eat croissants and drink coffee in Paris, …. eat artichokes in California, eat steak in Texas. You get the idea :)

Throw out all that low-fat, and “light” stuff you have at home. It tastes awful! Eat less of the real stuff and I promise you’ll be glad you did. Don’t even walk down the canned food aisle in the grocery store. Again, it tastes awful. And please…don’t eat any more fast food. Blech! Nothing good comes from there, no matter what their current advertising tells you.

Think about what you eat in a day…how much fruit did you eat today? How many veggies? Focus on real, fresh food and the calories and fat won’t need to be counted as much.”

Visit her blog at

Here are a few more gems from my sister-in-law, who is a professional chef and has her finger on the pulse of food culture in the Bay Area and beyond. I raided her favorite bookmarks to share with you. Even if I never cook a single thing off these pages, I will visit for inspiration from the photos alone – they make me never want to settle for anything other than eat fresh, wonderful and nourishing food.  Sure, there will still be Kraft Mac and Cheese on our table occasionally, but it’s fun to imagine other possibilities, especially when we in the Bay Area live within so many great sources of local food. Here are her online favorites and comments: :My friend Heidi, author of “Super Natural Cooking” and “Super Natural Everyday;” great photography and a focus on great, seasonal ingredients. :Hunter Angler Gardener Cook: Hank Shaw is amazing. Molly Wizenberg is a pastry chef, but also posts some savory things and travel photography. NYC home cook’s very nice, inspiring blog. I love her blood orange olive oIl cake. :Clotilde Dusoulier, from Paris :Molly Watson, here in San Francisco. “

Thanks, Jennifer! I’ll continue to update this post as I run across more inspiring food blogs, from the practical to the sublime. Please feel free to share your own favorites in the comments section!

2012 – I resolve…

3 Jan

There are a lot of worthwhile aspirations to write about in 2012. I don’t believe in resolutions that sounds like penance – stop being such a slob, finally get my act together, etc etc. Instead, I believe in something inspiring. For me, that means taking my digital photography skills to the next level. There’s always more to learn as a parent. I would also love to make a bigger contribution to a clean and healthy environment. Check out this blogger’s suggestions for things you can do (and are probably already doing) to help the planet. It’s the world around us, the air we breathe, the world that our children will inherit, and their children after them. I am going to try #8 (eating meatless once a week) and #3 (stop buying toxic household cleaners). Bye Bye, Tilex and Clorox Cleanup. My housekeeper may not like it at first, but maybe she’ll thank me later?

Check out the full list:

Ringing in the New Year With One Easy Eco-Resolution.

Whatever you resolve, Happy New Year!

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