Today (or why I am so tired)

What I did today:

  1. Get up and tell youngest son to take a shower (why do I still have to tell him?)
  2. Son reports that shower has no hot water. This is a known problem that I thought was fixed. Wake up my husband. He tells me he unfixed it. Huh? He climbs out of bed and goes to basement to make adjustment. Hot water returns. Shower commences.
  3. I crawl back under the covers and hope that husband offers to take son to school. He doesn’t.
  4. Get up, make breakfast, pack lunch, and throw on some clothes.
  5. Take son to school. Grow impatient with car in front of me in drop-off line whose kid can’t seem to get it together.
  6. See kids with flowers. Damn, I forgot it’s teacher appreciation day and was supposed to send flowers.
  7. Return home. Eat breakfast.
  8. Check and respond to a few emails.
  9. Check Facebook ad results. Try to determine why it reports a $26 conversion, but no sales have occurred. Research to try to understand why Facebook lies.
  10. Turn off ad, make modifications, and relaunch.
  11. Realize 2nd son is still asleep. It’s 10am. Try to wake him up but he is in deep sleep. Turn on his light, open window blinds, but leave him to wake-up naturally.
  12. Waste time on Facebook.
  13. 2nd son finally wakes up. I make him breakfast.
  14. Sign up for Shipstation trial. Test rates for actual shipments. Woah! $1.50-$2.50 more than Pirate Ship. Poke around to see if I’m missing some setting. Nope. Search through discussion boards re: Shipstation. Cancel Shipstation trial.
  15. Write to Boxology to ask when they will integrate with Pirate Ship. They are the reason I was considering Shipstation.
  16. Tell 2nd son to take shower.
  17. Try to convince son to let me take him to Supercuts for long overdue haircut. He says no, but agrees to let me cut it so long as I leave it longer in back.
  18. Cut sons hair. Now he has a mullet. Face palm. Cleanup lots of hair.
  19. Friend calls. While talking I realize there’s an ant infestation in living room. They have found my water bottle. Ugh!
  20. Finish cleaning up up ants and make plans to get together tomorrow.
  21. Take shower and get dressed. Ants make me feel dirty.
  22. Ow, knee is hurting a lot. Contemplate how many years before I will need knee surgery (seems to run in my family).
  23. Order groceries online for late afternoon pickup. I don’t want to walk around grocery store.
  24. Make and eat lunch.
  25. Pack up and herd kid out the door to my office/studio.
  26. Get kid started on Kahn Academy math.
  27. Finally drink my coffee.
  28. Check bank account balances and transfer money to cover rent check.
  29. Try to find subscriptions in PayPal. Takes a long time to find. Need to make sure that Elegant Themes is not going to renew. It says that I already cancelled it. I thought so, so why are they still sending me a renewal notice?
  30. Print shipping labels for today’s orders. Marvel at how much simpler Pirate Ship is than Shipstation.
  31. Print out instructions and inserts for dragon kits and dream catcher kits.
  32. Pack and prep boxes for shipping.
  33. Finish breaking down several dozen boxes.
  34. Water plants.
  35. Take out trash and recycling.
  36. Load some flattened boxes in my car to use for Goodwill stuff at home.
  37. Son is frustrated with fractions and on the brink of tears. Sit down to walk him through several problems.
  38. Look through selection of book report templates and pick out one.
  39. Explain to son how to do his book report.
  40. Look through Outschool classes and find the next writing class for son to start tomorrow.
  41. Write out rent check.
  42. Go pick up 1st son from school.
  43. Go to post office to drop off packages and rent check.
  44. Come home. Relax for a little bit and waste time on Facebook.
  45. Go pickup groceries and return home.
  46. Unpack and put away groceries.
  47. Make and serve dinner.
  48. Empty dishwasher and do dishes.
  49. Empty the dryer and sort laundry without folding.
  50. Darn it … just realized that store forgot to give me my rotisserie chicken! Also didn’t get receipt. Not surprised really. Store employee was frazzled. Probably crazy busy due to everyone panicking about Coronavirus.
  51. Restart load of laundry that I forgot to put in dryer as it smells funky.
  52. Put on pajamas, get a beverage, and sit down to watch The Good Doctor.
  53. Feel odd urge to make list of today’s activities.
  54. Login to blog that I haven’t used in years. A-ha, it’s the website that has been sending me so much spam lately.
  55. Delete spam messages. Apply software updates.
  56. Finally ready to write. What is this weird interface? Oh yeah … Gutenberg. I turned it off on all my other WordPress sites. Wait, how do I turn it off? Hunt around for settings, then remember that it’s a plugin. Install. All better.
  57. Finally … writing.
  58. Kids finally getting ready for bed. Fantasizing about sneaking in while son is asleep tonight and fixing the mullet.

A tasty green smoothie


I’ve been experimenting with green smoothies for a while now. But I’ve never been able to get the results I wanted until today. I’m so excited that I wanted to share it with you. I think it was the lemon that did the trick – I’ve found lemon to be a great flavor enhancer. Plus it helps keep the colors bright.


  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup lemonade (use one with real juice and less sugar for a healthier option)
  • 1 tsp Agave syrup
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • frozen apple slices, about 1/2 of a large apple
  • 1/2 large banana
  • 1 cup ice

Blend spinach and blueberries with juice and syrup until pureed. Add in the apples and banana, then re-blend. Add ice until desired thickness.

Note – this smoothie will be fibrous, which I don’t mind. In fact I don’t even peel my apples. I’m just lazy like that. But you might. I learned that Jamba Juice actually juices their greens and vegetables rather than using whole which is why their smoothies have such a smooth/consistent texture. And why I never achieve similar results. For a smoother version of this recipe, strain the spinach and berry pulp, then use the remaining juice with the peeled apples, banana, and ice.

Organize those pets


In our house, stuffed animals are called pets. Unfortunately for my boys, I am severely allergic to all furry animals so we don’t have any of the real ones. Though I honestly think they prefer the pretend variety anyway. It’s fun to observe the games and plots they come up with their eclectic cast of characters. But all too often, the pets are just in the way. I wanted a way to keep the stuffed toys picked up, while keeping them easily accessible for nighttime snuggling or daytime playing.

I hunted around the house for some supplies and inspiration. I found some kids fabric that I’d bought a few years ago that I’d intended to turn into some pillows for their room. Oh well. And I had some removable sticky wall hooks above Nate’s bed that were in an awkward spot now that we had moved his bed to a new position. I started to formulate a plan around hanging the fabric from those hooks. While hunting around in the hardware drawer to see if I had any more sticky backs for the hooks ( I did as well as 2 extra hooks), I found some metal rings. Not sure why we had them, but clearly not being used.

So, here’s what you need:

  • Fabric – at least 1 yard of 45″ fabric. You could go more if you want a bigger hammock or need to stretch it across a wider space.
  • 2 metal rings, about 1.5-2 inch diameter (like a key ring only a bit bigger). You can easily find at craft stores.
  • 2 wall hooks. You can use the screw in type if you don’t mind holes in the walls, or you can use the peel and stick ones like I did.

And here’s how I did it:

  1. Optional – hem the edges of fabric. I’ll probably need to do this at some point to prevent fraying when the fabric gets washed. But have I mentioned that I’m lazy? I just wanted to get his done.
  2. Fold fabric in half the long way. If you’re using 1 yard of fabric, the folded piece will measure 45″ long by 18# high.
  3. Gather one side of the folded fabric and insert into one of the rings. Tie a knot with the fabric around the ring until snug.
  4. Repeat on the other side.
  5. Attach hooks, to wall, head board, bookcase, etc.
  6. Hang the rings on the hooks.
  7. Insert pets.

For one kid, I wanted to attach the hammock to the posts at the base of his bed. But it turned out the fabric I had was not long enough. So I improvised with a few small stretchy cords I found in our junk drawer. They are like mini bungy cords. It doesn’t look as nice, but it’s functional. My kids loved them, so that’s what counts, right?


Lego Artwork


In our house, birthdays and Christmas might as well be called Lego Days – because naturally, that is the toy of choice. Yet despite the fact that my kids don’t keep their kits nice and organized (and in the original box), they don’t like the boxes to get thrown away. And I don’t want to keep them – they just take up space.

So, I decided to cut off the front picture from each box and make a collage to hang in their room. I used a large 24×36 frame and arranged the different pieces on the paper backing, and placing the mat over to see what would get cut off. When I was happy with the arrangement, I used tape to hold each piece in place and put the frame back together.

TIP: Don’t use the artwork from the instruction manuals. I needed to fill a small gap where I didn’t have a box the right size to cover. So, I stuck in a manual that I didn’t think my kids would miss. My 6 year old spotted it immediately and threw a fit. What I failed to notice was that the instruction covers don’t show the age range and number of pieces – the box covers do. Kids are so astute!


The stress of not knowing

My five year old son has a peanut allergy. That is known. And we didn’t find out through a scary near death experience like so many families. Actually, I suspected a milk allergy. With years of acid reflux, night-time coughs/congestion, and occasional asthma like symptoms, I took him to an allergist for skin testing at age 3. I’d had him tested by blood test as a baby during a particularly bad phase where he was vomiting every single night around midnight. It came back negative, and a two week challenge where we removed all dairy showed no change. Still, there’s a family history of dairy allergy (actual immune response, not just lactose intolerance). So not out of the realm of possibility.

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No. No. No!

My neighboring town has already lit the town Christmas tree. It’s November 7th. This has really got to stop! Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas – I decorate more than the average household, switch my iTunes playlists to my favorite holiday albums (John Denver and Peter, Paul, and Mary), and generally enjoy Christmas shopping and baking. But really, there is a time and a place for Christmas and that time is December. And that’s all!

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spinning and spinning

My six year old rarely sits still. It’s typical for him to be rocking in his seat, jumping on furniture, or just fidgeting. I didn’t believe in ADHD before he came along. I always believed it was just a label that society slapped on people who didn’t conform – people who learned and behaved differently. I thought of it more as a personality type than a disorder. I’m ADD too (without the H) according to a shrink I saw 15 years ago. She put me on meds for a time, but I didn’t notice any difference. I went off them and continued on with my life.

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The trouble with Meetup

I’m trying to remember when I first joined I think it was around 2009, but not certain. For those of you who aren’t familiar, is a website where people with mutual interests join groups. But unlike other social networks, the intent is to arrange in person gatherings, rather than just chat or interact online. I do remember one of the first Meetups I attended was the Santa Cruz WordPress Meetup. I was so intimidated by the other participants who seemed to be so knowledgeable – I felt like a dork who didn’t belong, and would duck out at the end of the meeting, hoping nobody would talk to me.

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The 3 F’s

I just got back from a two day conference in San Francisco. As a freelancer, I don’t get to go to many conferences since my company (me) won’t pay for them. A typical tech conference runs $2k plus airfare, hotel, transportation, and meals – it could easily add up to $5k. No thanks. If I had that kind of extra money, I’d rather buy new living room furniture that doesn’t have milk stains and smell like dirty socks.

This one had a low price tag though, and was close enough to home that I could skip the airfare. And it would give me a good excuse to get away from the kids for a few days (though not sure why I feel that I need an excuse – every profession should get an occasional break, even parenting).

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books that make you cry

I’d always been told that becoming a mom would change my life in unpredictable and dramatic ways. But I expected things like lack of sleep, being boring to those who do not have children, and getting fat(ter). I did not expect a new phase in my reading choices, although in hindsight each of my major life transitions has resulted in a new favorite book genre.

As a child, I was a fan of Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mysteries … so much that I was forbidden by my 4th grade teacher to use any of them for book reports. As I neared my tween years, my reading choices gave way to coming of age novels like those by Judy Blume, Norma Fox Mazer, and Cynthia Voight.  My teen years were filled with horror books by Steven King and Dean Koontz, and simply twisted books like the Flowers in the Attic Series. No, I wasn’t really a happy teen, and this was reflected in my reading choices.

As an adult, I’ve been a fan of the suspense/thriller genre, esp. legal thrillers by John Grisham, Nancy Taylor Rosenberg, and Scott Turow. My early thirties saw a brief period where I devoured chick-lit. Probably due to my own relationship struggles and coming to terms with being thirty (remember when that seemed SO old?).

In recent years, I’ve turned to primarily non-fiction with a focus on the social sciences, popular science, and women’s studies. Favorites including books by Mary Roach (Stiff) and Malcolm Gladwell (Blink, Tipping Point). Much of this has coincided with my renewed interest in education and my specific area of study which involves better understanding humans in order to design better user interfaces for them.

These days, I find myself engrossed in some seriously sad books involving themes like loss of a child. I don’t get it. As a mom who can not fathom the thought of losing a child, why would I read books that dwell on this subject? It’s almost like when I was a teenager and would intentionally listen to music that I know would depress me (ie “Depressed” Mode).

Anyhow, the latest book to make me cry is Jodi Picoult’s, My Sister’s Keeper. As a recent convert to Picoult novels, I was aware of this one before the movie came out, and have held off seeing it until I read the book. Talk about a moral dilemma. For those of you who may not know the premise of this story, a child is diagnosed with Leukemia at age 2, and given a low prognosis for survival. Unable to find a suitable donor, the parents conceive a “designer” baby who will be a perfect genetic match, and plan to use this baby’s cord blood for their sick daughter. Due to the cord blood, the sick child goes into remission, but over the years needs additional platelets and eventually a kidney which it is assumed that the younger sibling will provide. The younger sibling, now 13, begins to question her role and the expectation that she will continue to provide for her older sister, and in turn files for medical emancipation. The story raises many powerful questions such as whether minors should have the right to refuse medical treatments and how much should one do for one child at the expense of another child.

Books like these, though depressing, help put perspective to the chaos that is sometimes my life. I am blessed with two happy, healthy children. We live in a comfortable home and are not wanting for anything. Our life is pretty good. I can’t imagine the emotional trauma that plagues families with a chronically ill child or who experience an equally devastating event. I guess it’s taken being a mom to appreciate stories like this because it reminds me of just how fortunate I am. And now that I am a mom, I can put myself in the shoes of the mom in My Sister’s Keeper and not outright dismiss her actions as wrong, whereas I think I would have before this life changing experience.

Still, some happy books might be in order. Any recommendations?