Receive this blog. Enter email here and Blogger will send you a confirmation email.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Multitasking Mom

My multitasking has reached a new high. Or low (depending on how you look at it).

Two nights ago I washed dishes while I was in the bathtub.
Now, before you get all squeamish and break out the hand sanitizer in a knee-jerk reaction to this image, hear me out.

Our plumbing at home is vintage. The house was built in 1956 and I love many things about it, but even the happiest homeowner would be hard-pressed to love vintage plumbing. We have plumbing drama now and then because over time tree roots grew into the pipes. But this is the first time in our twelve years here that I’ve found myself washing dishes while in the bath.

For a few days I’d noticed that the kitchen sink was draining more slowly than usual. But Hubby was out of town and I had bigger fish to fry, so I filed this fact into the Deal With Later section of my brain. Well, “later” became now when the sink starting backing up. Would. Not. Drain. (Even overnight.)

Naturally, these moments happen after dinner, when there is an abundance of dirty dishes and a lack of energy. What to do? I piled the dishes into a plastic tub and hauled them into the bathroom. I considered kneeling on the floor, reaching into the tub to wash them. But this seemed even more tedious than regular dishwashing (which I find tedious under the best of circumstances). A moment later a bright idea lit up my brain: I’d wash dishes while taking a bath. The dish scrubber would do wonders on the baked-on mess on my body. Just kidding. I wasn’t filthy. There was no baked-on grime. But seriously, this plan was genius, I modestly told myself. I put the big plastic bin into the tub, filled it with hot water, dish soap and the dirty dishes. Then I filled the bathtub with water and sat down in the remaining half of the tub. Washing dishes this way was actually a lot more enjoyable than regular dish washing because my body was relaxed by the hot water around me. Plus, I immediately saw the potential for a funny blog post based on this unexpected situation so it was a wash-wash-win-win. After I washed each dish I put it into the dishrack, which I’d brought into the bathroom and placed onto the lid of the plastic bin (to catch extra water). After I was finished washing dishes and washing myself, I hopped out, dried off and brought the dishes back to the kitchen.

This whole episode led me to wonder why there aren’t more ways to combine chores. We parents are so busy, and finding a way to do two things at once is always appealing. Sure, washing dishes while soaking your body may seem a little odd at first, but many good combinations have been discovered by accident. Think about the potential. Just off the top of my head: we could combine libraries and tattoo parlors. I’ve heard that big, detailed tattoos take a long time to create, and what better way to distract yourself from the pain than to read a long book for several hours while the tattoo artist pokes away? Another idea involves the obvious combination of the DMV and waxing salons. If you have to wait all day at the DMV, you might as well get your legs waxed while you wait. Plus, a little physical pain from the waxing is the perfect distraction from the mental torture of waiting for the DMV people to get around to you (finally). See? Multitasking at its finest!

I suppose washing dishes in a tub that’s inside a bathtub may not be for everyone. For a second I questioned whether I should write this piece. Would people think it tacky, germy or low-rent? A moment later I shrugged and said, “Hey, who cares? If people want to think it’s low-rent, they can. But I think most people will find it funny. Let’s laugh about these crazy real-life episodes.” My favorite writers are ones who are unapologetically honest about their real-life moments. Hey, we’re all human.

The story ends with Super Hubby fixing the naughty sink. Amusing as my bath-n-dishes episode was, I don’t anticipate its becoming a regular feature. But in a pinch, you do what you have to do. And maybe it’ll catch on. If this idea explodes and becomes The Hot New Thing, remember this: you saw it here first!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wacky Wednesday #60—Minions

Many mini minions.

Today I decorated myself with minions. If you’re not familiar, they’re the cheerful little creatures featured in several movies over the last few years. I have seen only parts of these films but still, these guys are my theme this week. The whole thing started when I saved a whole bunch of yellow plastic ovals.

They were from Kinder Bueno chocolate eggs (which have a plastic oval inside, with a toy inside that), sent as a gift from cousin Eva. With their oval shape and bright yellow color, they looked quite minion-like, and I thought they had potential.

My idea gained steam when I found some minion tattoos at home as well as a few minion toys in our backyard. All signs were pointing toward minion mania.

This costume really has no deeper meaning. It’s all about fun and being playful. Which, actually, may be a meaningful message, after all. Taking time to laugh hard and to be silly and to play is good for our souls. Most adults I know have a lot of responsibility on our plates—and we need a good laugh more than we realize.

Bottoms up, everyone.

Baker’s dozen?

Minions are cute little creatures. They have a language that we don’t understand but it’s intriguing to listen to them communicate with each other. They’re expressive. I also like their bright color scheme.

My accessories all fit into the blue and yellow color scheme. I hot glued beads onto some sunglasses I already had. A necklace was an obvious choice so that these little guys would be easily seen.

I took this playful theme as an opportunity to make a minion mohawk, which is one of the few hair styles I haven’t tried over the years. I made it from pipe cleaners. Here’s my cost for this costume:

·         Yellow ovals for minions (repurposed)

·         Paint and beads (from my craft stash)

·         Blue pipe cleaners                                                                           $ 1.00

·         Yellow and blue felt                                                                        $   .80

·         Hot glue, felt and other craft supplies (from stash)


Total spent                                                                                                         $ 1.80

Thanks for spending a few minutes today with these cheerful little critters and me. I’m taking a week or two off but I’ll be back soon with another costume and tales of my adventures in craft land.

Happy Summer!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Wacky Wednesday #59: Ms. Robot

I. Am. A. Robot. (For today.)

Here's my initial sketch


This idea started germinating when I came across several silver accessories/materials within a short time and my brain interpreted this as robot ingredients.

The supplies (as usual) came to me in various ways:

·         Silver plastic icicles for skirt (from Goodwill)                         $2

·         Silver pleather (left over from another project)

·         Black pleather (left over from another project)

·         Assorted gizmos and gadgets (found)

·         Gray fabric (from stash)

·         Silver paint and hot glue (from craft stash)                                                          


Total cost                                                                                                    $2


Robots are intriguing to me for this reason: they are a compelling mix of machine and human. I am guessing that the people who design robots want them to be efficient like machines but somewhat human--but no so human that they make mistakes. Robots don’t tire out, like humans do. Robots do not require food, water, rest, sick days or have any of the myriad needs humans do. But as usual, we want it all. We want robots to be efficient machines who are somewhat human—but not too human! We’d like them to have the best parts of human nature (to be caring, loyal and funny) but not the worst parts. Talk about high expectations. Could a robot hug you when you’re crying? Probably. But would it understand why you’re crying? No. And for me, that’s not enough! You can program a robot to react, but not to feel. And a key part of being human is the ability to feel emotion.

And don’t get me started on the robot who answers when I call my insurance company. Sure, the robot understands if you say you’re calling about a claim, but inevitably there’s some misunderstanding and after you’ve repeated yourself three times she says “I’m sorry. I still didn’t get that.” I understand that it makes sense for machines to do some types of work. But there are limits, I’d say.

This whole theme started with a few silver accessories and now I’m pondering machines vs humans. But it seems this topic has a lot of appeal to people. Think about how many movies feature humans fighting machines for control of the universe. Or a robot befriending a person who needs a buddy. This robot thing has endless potential…

Today’s costume included an element of social experimentation in that I spoke in my robot voice for most of the day. I’d say 50% of those I spoke to loved it and spoke back to me in robot, but the other 50% were either confused or too shy to speak robot, even when I encouraged them to. But hey, that’s okay. Once upon a time I was very shy, so I sympathize with shy people. Still, it was very satisfying for me when people did speak back in robot. It’s fun to talk that way. (Go ahead. Try it right now. No one’s watching.) It got people laughing. And that’s good.
Anyway, thanks for reading this week’s stream of consciousness, Robots: the good, the bad, and the rusty. Here's a short video of me in robot mode. See. You. Next. Week.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Wacky Wednesday #58: Bees

What’s yellow and black with stripes, and is super fast? A racecar, yes! Now if only I could explain how this relates to the hive on my head. It all made so much sense at the time…
Well, since I have no knowledge about racecars, instead let’s talk about bees. Many people are scared of them but seriously, they deserve a lot of thanks.

Sure, I’ve had my share of bee stings, but you can’t blame these tiny creatures for acting in self-defense when scared. If I were a bee and faced with a giant a zillion times my size I’m sure I’d use my stinger. But bees are beneficial and I’m honoring those hard-working little critters today.

I’m wearing a hat that looks like a hive, decorated with one real bee and a handful of bees that I made. My hive is made of chicken wire, an old towel, hot glue, brown fabric, yellow paint, bubble wrap, and felt. Everything was from my sewing/craft stash except for hot glue sticks ($1.50).

I tried a few different ways of making my bees. Fabric. Paper. Pipe cleaners. The pipe cleaners worked the best, in my opinion. Their wings are from thin sheets of Styrofoam I saved from packaging. I like that the Styrofoam gives the wings some structure but it’s also a little bit translucent.

As you may know, bees once were believed to be sacred. In the Mycenaean culture, tombs were designed with a dome—the same shape as the beehive. Bees represent creativity, wisdom, and productivity, among other qualities.

Fun fact about bees: Did you know that there are approximately forty species of honey bees around the world? The most common type is the Western honey bee. Queen bees live for a number of years but worker bees live between one and ten months.

Years ago I blogged about bees when a swarm landed in my garden bed at the local community garden. There were hundreds of them gathered around a wooden trellis at my plot and I studied them up close. As I’ve learned more about gardening I’ve come to appreciate bees greatly. They pollinate so much in their short lives, and we really benefit from what they do. (Thanks, bees!)

Well, it’s time for me to say bye for this week. I’m feeling guilty, sitting here at the computer while bees fly miles every day and barely sleep a wink and never get a “me” day. They’re so hard-working. It’s inspiring. I feel an urge to be like a bee, and to go do hundreds of chores before bed, with such speed that my feet don’t even touch the ground.

Oh, please. Who am I kidding? These workaholic bees are making the rest of us look like slackers, but we don’t have to cave to the pressure! Chores, shmores. Instead I think I’ll just go pick out tomorrow’s clothes. I’m thinking yellow and black. Maybe some stripes.