Thursday, December 30, 2010


Depending on where you live you may or not be aware that Magnolia Meadow is in the throes of a stink bug invasion this year. We're not alone, as evidenced by the fact that it made national news and there's even a funny Facebook page for the Stinkbug Overlords.

At first it was weird. Then funny. Then annoying, and then just plain ridiculous. These bugs are everywhere. My house is full of them. And by full I mean that if I lie on my bed and just wait, I can usually see at least two crawling around my room somewhere. All the time.

I went along just killing them as I saw them at first. This required some experimentation and innovation since, when you scare or kill them, they emit a nasty odor, so you sort of have to sneak up on them and "dispose" of them without killing them. You cannot vaccuum them up live, because they stink in the vacuum bag, which, as you know gets hot, and only increases the stink factor.

I resorted to a fairly successful (though time and resource consuming) bait and switch method:

Me: Oh! Hello little bug friend, how are you?

Bug: Super, thanks, just enjoying nomming on the tip of your toothbrush here.

Me: Yes, well, that looks like fun, and I'm happy to just boil that toothbrush before I use it next, really, no problem there, but I thought you might want to join me by the pool!

Bug: Pool?

Me: Oh yes, you see, I have a little space all staked out over there by the paddling pool...there's a couple of chaise lounges by the cabana, with snacks and stuff. There's even a sexy little cabana beetle and a bunch of your friends are already there!

Bug: Well, you know I can't swim, but I could use a snack and I sure haven't seen much action around here, so it's tempting.

Me: Yeah, cool, no, I'll just plop you into a chair by the side, no worries about the water.

Bug: Oh, well, okay, maybe I'll wander over there later.

Me: Sure, you could do that, but you know what? I'm headed that way, let me just give you a lift, save you the crawling! Really, it's not trouble.

Bug: What the hell, let's go.

So, up he goes onto my soft little tissue chariot and we head for the pool all nonchalant like.

Bug: Hey, I don't see any of my friends over here, I thought you said....

All of a sudden I stumble, (or trip on a carcass or something) and Mr. Stink bug goes flying riiiiiiight into the pool.

Me: Oh NOooooo! I'm SO SORRY!

Bug (looking around at the other "swimmers" in the pool): Hey, guys! Wait, what the he.....blub blub blub......

And the rest is history. Only, here's the thing. You have to stand there and watch while the pool "drains" because I kid you not, sometimes they resurface! Too much.

I see no end in sight here and I'm just about at my wits end. I clean, I keep windows closed, I clean some more, but they just keep appearing. This morning I was brushing my teeth (I now keep my toothbrush locked away, under cover in a bug-free zone) and I looked down at the plastic handle on my sink (the one you pull up to get the water to come out) and wedged up INSIDE the faucet is a stink bug. Just sitting in there, eyeballing me, all "how YOU doin'?" As if he's just been waiting for me. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAh I'm on the verge of calling an exterminator except that two of the people I live with break out in hideous hives and spontaneous bloody noses if I so much as use Lysol on the counters, so a chemical solution to this problem is right out of the question. At least for now. Am otherwise open to suggestions here. Please.

You Near Resolution?

What is it you resolve to do in the New Year?

It's an interesting word. When you break it down, you are re - solving. No?

Which is fitting, somehow, since most of the resolutions people make are "do overs" anyway.

I'm going to lose weight! I'm going to start exercising! I'm going to quit smoking! (er....again, I mean)

Rather than attempting to re-solve something again and again, I'd really like to figure out how to SOLVE some of the problems in my life once and for good.

Therefore, my resolution is to drop the "re" and just find some true solutions this year.

Topping my list this year of things that need attention is addressing "time sucks." Examples include Facebook, where I spend way too much time, very little of which is actually productive. Primarily I've used it as a way to store photos, see other people's photos and keep tabs on my children, but there are other ways to do that instead. I'm not suggesting pulling the plug altogether on social media....after all, I spend a fair amount of time here too, and I consider this to be healthy and productive, but I'm not sure I can say the same about the Book of the Face. Another example is the shuffling I do in lieu of actually addressing all of the paperwork that surrounds my existence. I rearrange it 5 times before I actually sit down and deal with it. I have a number of practices in my life; running, meditation and writing to name a few, and they and my overall organizational well being would all benefit immensely from my getting into the zone a little more often and a little more directly.

Purging is definitely an attempt and fail cycle for me. I am paralyzed by the gross quantity of stuff I have in my life. This problem requires a two pronged solution, addressing not only the purging of what I already have that I do not need, but learning to curb the subsequent and recurrent amassing as well.

Be more present. A perennial favorite on the list this one is. I need to not only tune in more, but I need to stay there, affixed to the channel of my own existence, not constantly distracted by the lure of a better song on a different station.

All of these things hinge on one underlying solution which is my ability to push myself to do the things that need to be done. I'm great at doing the things I want to do, I ran a marathon for God sake! But I'd sure rather run another one than I would tackle the mountain of paperwork on my desk.

"I wish I had more time" and "I just can't find the time" are both code for me. What I am really saying is "I can't make myself do that" and generally I can't because I don't want to. The reasons why I don't want to are myriad, but mostly fall into the categories of "hard" or "scary." I will need to work on eliminating those expressions from my lexicon and admitting to myself what is truly standing in my way.

Resolving to do something again does not make it easier. In fact, I think it might have the opposite affect. We've already failed at it at least once, and we know how easy that was. Failing again is a piece of cake.

Heretofore, I resolve to approach my challenges differently, to demystify and re clarify why some things seem so hard and scary and further I resolve to re intensify my effort in making them less so.

Home again, home again

Lickety Split! Indeed, we managed to shave four hours off of the outgoing time on our return home last night. Much more reasonable and significantly less eventful.

Things for which I am grateful:

1. See above

2. Family harmony

3. Grace and generosity

4. Humor

5. The dog sitters who negotiated one of my pup's sneaky escape and subsequent incarceration at the SPCA.

6. The kindness of an unknown Samaritan who obviously nabbed my dog and took her to the pound.

7. Catchphrase. A game which actually engages and entertains three generations of my family.

8. Patience. Because teaching one teenager to drive is harrowing enough. Letting both of them take turns behind the wheel on the same vacation is down right terrifying.

9. That I had the foresight and wherewith all to insist that we left our home completely tidy a week ago, because it was a joy to return home to that.

10. That I was able to spend a week of what should have been brutally cold winter in shorts and a t-shirt. There's just no way around it, I AM a tropical girl at heart.

All for now. A slew of catch up posts to follow including the one in which I surrender to the stink bugs and another in which we discuss resolve.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Holiday Travel Rules # 2

Rule Number Eight

8. GPS is cute, and awesome when it works. Always have a map handy, just in case.

For example: You're in the middle of Narnia, trying to find your way back to the Wardrobe, and you discover that "Andy" (your Android GPS narrator) keeps referring to the street you're on as some name that is completely at odds with the street signs, and you and your significant other begin to "discuss" that perhaps Andy is cracked, and one of you (not you, him) should maybe have brought a map, since that's normally how you you roll, and this argument distracts you to the point where you are so frustrated you neglect to look left before turning out into the intersection in front of that mini-van...... (FYI, traffic officers do not find it amusing that you keep insisting that it is Andy who should get the ticket.)

Rule Number Nine

9. Do not feel guilty making your children put on clean clothes and forcing them to accompany you to Christmas Eve Church services.

They owe you. They will always owe you. This is reason enough. If, however, this isn't enough ammunition, remind them that you gave them life and you can damn well take it away. When all else fails, remind them that YOU ARE Santa Claus and you don't have any problem yanking every damn present from under that tree and they can just sit in their rooms on Christmas morning.

Conversation with 14 y.o. son, upon entering church and being handed the program and the candle:

Him: Candles? Are we going to get to light these?

Me: Yes, of course.

Him: Sweet! This service just got a whole lot more interesting.

Glaring, rib nudging, tuning your son out when he keeps muttering "Praise be to Cthulu" threatening, bribing, it's all worth it to look down the aisle and see the babies you gave birth to rolling their eyes on Christmas eve. That's the reason for the season, people.

Merry Almost Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday Travel Rules

Because I know some of you are tracking my holiday on-line, (Cygnus Tracker!) and don't want to miss a moment of the hilarity, I will be attempting to keep a running commentary while on the road.

A few things have occured thus far that prompt me to share the first installment of what I can only assume will turn out to be a strong blog entry series of crucial Holiday Travel Rules.

Rule Number One
1. While it may seem that the $30 difference between the "basic" AAA Emergency Roadside Assistance Coverage and the "plus" coverage is significant at the point you are making your annual payment, I promise you that there will never be a garage within the "free" 8 mile towing radius that is included in the basic.

Do the math. The distance between interstate exits often far exceeds 8 miles. Plus what are the chances that within 8 short miles (that's not even a half marathon for those of you who need the perspective...) you would find a repair shop that stocks, juuuuuust for example, your ridiculuously expensive foreign car tire? I'll tell you what the chances are, they are slim to none and slim already left on vacation ahead of you.

Go for the "Plus." You'll thank me later. Which leads us to Rule Number Two.

Rule Number Two
2. You are only ever as good as your spare. When you bought your used car, i'm sure you were wowed by all the shiney things, and the smell of that fine corinthian leather, or maybe it was that suave sales guy or the size of the sales girls boobs. Whatever. I'm betting you never even looked in the trunk. Or, if you did, I bet you didn't peel back the layer and look at the spare now, didja? All cars come with dougnut spares these days. It's a pernicious plot hatched by the industry. The spare cavity, if you will, the well into which the spare is nestled, is only big enough, generally, for that mini tire, therefore, investing in a full size spare is not only costly (wait for it) but also impractical, since it takes up a lot of room in your trunk. When buying a used car, however, check the spare. Let's just say the previous owner of your car used the doughnut at some point. And then, instead of replacing it (since they have about a 30 mile lifespan) they just slapped it back in the well and forgot about it, rendering it about as useful to you in an emergency as, say, a 14 year old boy (wait for this as well). Or, maybe the spare is new, but has about 8 pounds of air pressure in it when you discover that you would like to partake of its services. Either way, you're effed. Which leads us to rule Number Three.

Rule Number Three
3. The only thing worse than blowing a tire on the interstate while passing semis as you're doing about 80 miles an hour, is turning around and immediately blowing the spare.

I'm not sure this needs any commentary, but leads us to...

Rule Number Four
4. When your drivers ed teacher (you know, Coach DeWitt in those bad stretchy coaching shorts and the whistle that he wore both on the field and off) said "It's important that you always keep both hands on the wheel...." he was referring to your strategy for surviving the scenario in Rule Number Three. He was not kidding, and if you've forgotten that advice, it is with the utmost love that I say to you "PUT DOWN YOUR GODDAMN CELL PHONE AND DRIVE WITH BOTH HANDS ON THE WHEEL."

There's a whole lot of stuff that happens after all this which was, I assure you, hilarious in an "oh my god" kind of way, but I'll leave you with the following and you can let your imaginations fill in the blanks.

Rule Number Five
5. Generally, people in the auto repair service industry, while a little grimey and offputting, are pretty nice. If, however, they seem like they are on the fence about being nice (maybe they're having a bad day, they're surrounded by idiot travelers on the road for Christmas, or maybe they just lost a family member in a hideous and tragic gasoline meets campfire incident and they're really just not feeling super festive right now), slipping a little cash their way seems to do the trick.

Rule Number Six
6. Almost anything can be overcome with a deep breath and a sense of humor.

Rule Number Seven
7. At no point during an untoward holiday travel catastrophe, should anyone ever say anything like "Wow, I don't think this could possibly get any worse!" Because trust me, my darlings, it can. Who knew they could have forest fires in Central Florida?

Stayed tuned for my next installment in what I think can now accurately be described as my holiday ADVENTURE, wherein I address some rules concerning family dynamics.

(Teaser: Rule Number One: Everyone can, indeed, all speak at once successfully, but only if everyone is using their outdoor voices while standing in the kitchen.)


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Checking it twice

Gifts procured....check!
Gifts wrapped....check!
Holiday cards mailed.....(half)check! (I ran out of envelopes halfway through the alphabet, sorry M-Z, maybe next year)
Packages shipped.....check! (Shipping costs more the the gifts...wth?)
Presents exchanged with co-workers....check!
Good deed done.....check!
Keeping chair warm on last day of work before the break.....check!

I think I'm in pretty good shape. Only I've got a bit of a bone to pick with the greeting card industry.

Is it really THAT hard to print a few cards that simply say "MERRY CHRISTMAS" in them? I spent twenty minutes in WalMart this morning looking for cards for a few special people. People whose circumstances are, say, less than cheery, but to whom I wanted to wish a Merry Christmas nonetheless and provide a little financial support.

I could not, for the life of me, find the appropriate card.

Nothing says "I'm glad you're not in prison this Christmas, and I really hope you can stay clean while you're on probation, I love you and here's a little something for you (please spend it on something healthy) and p.s. I still don't want you to call me" like a singing Snoopy card. Right?

Or how about a card for "I'm sorry your house just burned to the ground, you're living in a shelter and social services is contemplating splitting up your family?" Glittery gifts under a flocked tree just, somehow, feels a little inappropriate for this situation.

It isn't all cheery and sweet for people. Sometimes it's torturous and grim. And since there doesn't seem to be a card section for "Sorry your life really sucks but I empathize and wish you all the best"......... I just did the best I could. No thanks to the industry.

Of all the things on the list, the good deeds felt the best. But then they always do.

photo courtesy of

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ho ho ho and all that

Am feeling very cheery about the holidays! Gifts are wrapped, items are shipped, plans to leave town are coming along and Mother Nature appears to be cooperating (we'll see about the getting back, of course, too early to know, but the getting out appears to be in decent shape).

I've done ZERO baking this year which is very uncharacteristic, but, in reflecting on this fact perhaps it is THAT element which stresses me out each year, and in not doing, I have discovered the secret to a hysteria free holiday.

I don't have a cooking friendly kitchen. It isn't a galley, necessarily (my first home had that and it was hideous...worse than boats I've lived on, truly), but it is sort of a "nook" kitchen, with limited turnaround and counter space. Two people in there is definitely one too many and can probably be identified as the location of the beginning of a number of marital "discussions." Ahem.

I am grateful, of course, to have a home, to have a nice home, to have a kitchen and to have food to cook in it, but I do get a bit of kitchen envy when I visit the homes of a few friends....especially the one who has a brand new house, a Huh-YOU-ge kitchen with marble counter tops, two dishwashers, an island with a sink, etc. I would cook more if it weren't such a pain in the ass to do so chez moi. (Oh, and if I had more time of course)

I had an interesting conversation last week with a former colleague. She's a complete socialist (but she's my favorite socialist), and we were debating the concept of universal health care and what should be included on the list underneath the headings "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." We were talking about the incessant American need for MORE, and how contagious and pernicious it is. When exposed to things like million dollar kitchens, luxury cars, expensive leather bags, fully stocked wine cellars, vacation homes at the beach, etc. it is truly tempting to convince oneself that we want and really need to have that too. It makes us instantly ungrateful for what we have and desirous to consume. What is that? Is it the unavoidable underpinnings of a capitalistic society? Is it what drives us to innovate and improve as a society? Or is what lands a lot of Americans on anti-depressants?

My friend, who works in global health and travels to the third world a lot, pointed out that what's missing is perspective, and I would concur. When your perspective is the million dollar home, rather than the complete lack of home altogether, it misalignes one's perception about what one already has. Spending a week in a shantytown somewhere makes you not only grateful for but also guilty that you have so much in comparison.

A family of eight was displaced by a house fire here over the weekend. Apparently they'd been turning the breaker for their heat on/off to try to save energy and somehow this sparked an electrical fire that completely gutted their home and took everything, which wasn't much, that they had. They had no insurance, and clearly not much in the way of resources. When interviewed, the mother said her main and immediate goal was keeping the family together somehow.

Suddenly my little kitchen is enormous and I wish I could spend the day in it cooking for that family.

I wish you all peace, love and perspective as we go forth to celebrate our holidays.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Dear Crazy Asian Lady in the big fat Mercedes in front of me in traffic,

Just in case you are ever wondering how stereotypes got started....please look in the mirror. (Only not while you are driving, because, clearly, that already isn't working out so well for you.)



P.S. Please stay off the road

Monday, December 13, 2010


Dear Santa,

For Christmas, I would like some me. Yes, that's right. Just me. A whole serving of just little 'ol me, with a little bit of moi seule on the side and maybe a slice of solomente yo for dessert. And if that doesn't fill me quite up, I'll have a steaming hot cup of Я самостоятельно with a little touch of whipped me da solo topping.

Are you picking up what I'm putting down? Super.

I believe it is a dangerous slope to wish one's time away, or to wish one's life different somehow, and I try very hard to be cognizant of how fortunate I am to be surrounded ALL THE TIME by people who love and need me. I signed up for that, and I have it, and someday I won't, at which point I suspect I will miss it desperately. That being said, however, I really miss myself too! While it is tempting to pull a teenage move and scurry upstairs, close my door, turn on the music and ignore whatever else is happening in the house for, like, 12 hours, I just don't seem to be able to get away with that.

(Clearly what I really need is a heaping helping of meditation and or yoga to counter my incredible lack of grounding that's making me feel like i've just completely misplaced myself these days. What I'm doing instead is moving Mach 5 through my days and only winding down with the help of my pals Cabernet and Sauvignon. Awwww, love them. Shout out! Seriously, I've discovered 3Wishes at Whole (lot of incredibly overpriced) Foods. $3.95 a BOTTLE Peoples. HOLY LORD, at that price they're basically paying me to drink it. Well, not really, but for some reason, buying a half a case at a time (X two trips a week) seems like i'm totally getting away with something. Here's a fun little bloggy about grape juice that has similiary noted the merits of cheap wine:

Maybe that's the real reason I got in the car to drive to work this morning in my fuzzy slippers.


Friday, December 10, 2010


Close your eyes, and be still for just a moment and listen. Do you hear it? It's a faint buzzing sound. Hear it? Yes! It could be a few things. It could be the collective masses huddled together trying to stay warm in the face of what clearly can only be construed as the dawning of a re-ice age. Or, it could be the general holiday hustle & bustle as people attempt to re purpose those prunes into sugar plums. It could also be the electrical surge emanating from the over extension of people's credit spending.

I think, however, in this case, it is yours truly emitting that noise as a result of an incredible sugar overload: egg nog latte (darn you handsome barrista), Greek (honey) yogurt, and homemade pecan rolls (darn you handsome chef). HOLY SUCROSE!

Speaking of Ice Ages, I just discovered that one of the attorneys in my office keeps not only a complete change of clothing, but also a sleeping bag and overnight accouterments in her office in case the wintry weather forces her to sleep over. That is my kind of girl! I'm certain that it was the Girl Scouts who originally taught the Boy Scouts the importance of being prepared. And, befitting most historical events of relevance, it was the boys who ended up with the credit. But I digress (see aforementioned dietary related reasons).

Anyhoo. In spite of being over sugared and over caffeinated I'm trying very hard to just relax and enjoy all of the shopping, and list making, and baking, and wrapping, and crafting and travel planning and and and and...... because I know that come 1/1/11 (is anyone else spooked by that?) that all we'll be left with is a barren, windswept, icy tundra with no hope of warmth anywhere in sight. No fa la la-ing, no nogging, no nada but woolly underwear and perhaps a woolly mammoth. I H*** WINTER.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Be strong you will

This makes everything that's wrong with the world suddenly right.

The Geek in me salutes the Geek in you.

Fun Things

I heard somewhere, recently, that the majority of NPR listeners actually lean to the right. And by that I don't mean their left legs are longer or anything, they just happen to err on the side of being slightly more conservative than the average bear. Not sure if this is true, or what it means, or why it would matter but for some reason I find it interesting. I like NPR for the human interest stories, and the exposure to all kinds of things, from art to music and literature.

I heard a fun piece this week on birds, and how to take care of the ones that inhabit your backyard (should you be lucky enough to have one). I loved all the tweeting and crunching in the background of Melissa Block's story. I have a little girl crush on Melissa Block because her voice is just so "isn't this cool and don't you just love this" infectious all the time.

I am getting a digital voice recorder for Christmas, which I am superdeduper excited about. One, it is going to really help me with a major writing project I'm (why do I want to insert the word "suffering" here???) working on. Also, I like doing interviews. I really do. I like the prep work, I like the actual face-to-face and then I love all the listening back, the editing, the piecing together and unraveling of something intelligible (hopefully) from the strands.

Anyhoo. In catching up on previous Melissa Block stories, I came across an interview she did with Maira Kalman, who is a blog writer for the New York Times, and who has just published a book based on her blogs about American history called "The Pursuit of Happiness."

Everything about Maira Kalman's work, from the word choice to the illustrations speaks to me really really loudly.

I am going to ask the Buddha to buy this book for me for Christmakuhakwansmas.

Here's the link to her awesome blog:

Here is another blogger's post about her book (which is where I lifted the image above, thank you blogger):

Good stuff.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


My baby turned fourteen at 2:13 a.m. this morning. While rapidly approaching manhood, he still has one foot solidly planted on terra childhood. He came in to say goodnight last night, and when I told him not to stay up too late he replied "oh no, i'm going to bed right now so that it can hurry up and be my birthday." He even added a "wake me up early" to that, in spite of the fact that he's skipping school today (oh yes, I am totally that kind of mommy). He didn't want to miss a second of potential birthday enjoyment, which is totally fabulous!!! He will spend the day eating cupcakes and ruining his retinas playing a new video game. Good stuff.

I, on the other hand, trudged off to work in the sub-20 degree windchill, and I just can't help but feel like there's something wrong with this picture.

I think it's the MOMMY who should be getting the day off on a kid's birthday. After all, wasn't it MY accomplishment, originally, that created this whole situation?

I could really use a day off. I have an impressive, and as yet, unstarted, list of Christmas crafts that need, not only to be commenced and completed, but also put in the mail. Cards to address, gifts to wrap, boxes to procure, items to be swaddled in bubble wrap. You get the picture. Having dedicated the previous weekend to helping my offspring complete THEIR shopping, I did not actually manage to get to any of mine.

Yes. A day off would be just the ticket. In honor of birthdays, cupcakes, motherhood and all that is holy. Maybe I'll just leave work a liiiiiiiiitle bit early. Like, say, 12:45.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Christmas List

“So, what’s on your kid’s lists for Christmas?” Is the oft asked question this time of year, and, like previous years, it always makes me cringe.

Clearly, whipping up a shopping list complete with weblinks (which my children certainly could do, since they’re far computer savvier than I) is the total antithesis of the reason for the season. My kids are also getting to that age where they only want three things; electronics, clothes and cash and honestly, if you cancel out the first two things and multiply the third then they’re just as happy to save you the trouble of shopping and wrapping all together. The only problem is that this just feels very very wrong. Isn’t the whole point to share the love, recognize the Christliness in all that we do and let the gift part just be a symbolic token? And my kids get this, they do. I never encouraged them to create a list, because it rubs me the wrong way, and yet, when the grandparents ask, it’s better to reel off a few specifics so that the kids don’t end up with socks and underwear. (Though I’ll betcha Mary would have happily foregone the Frankincense and Myrrh in favor of a few naps and diapeys).

But thanks to where we are, culturally, there’s no denying that Christmas is all about gifting, and that fact cannot be gotten away from. So, I struggle each year to find the balance between remembering what this particular holiday means to us and demonstrating it in a meaningful way.

I’ve tried different approaches over the years. We’ve volunteered our time at the holidays to collect supplies for a food bank. We collected our spare change for a whole year, another time, and purchased livestock through the Heifer Project. We’ve picked names off of a local charity’s “Angel Tree” and we’ve selected a senior citizen in need and bestowed supplies. Somehow giving to someone I don’t know makes me feel a little better about giving to those that I do. I’m sure there’s some sort of suspect psychology to it all, but it works.

Because I have a large family (lots of nieces and nephews) we’ve gone the route of just buying for the kids, and then just having one kid buy for another kid, but in the end it just feels as if we’re all standing in a long line and handing dollar bills to the person behind us. In other years we’ve foregone presents altogether and instead gone somewhere together, like to see the Nutcracker or we’ve gone bowling. Bowling definitely beat the ballet in the guys’ eyes, plus you can drink your way through the latter which is a plus.

This year one of my sister-in-laws suggested we get together and have a homemade gift exchange. The rules are, you have to have made (or significantly altered) it on your own and you can’t have spent more than $20. All presents go on the table, and then we each pick something, to be followed by a Yankee swap wherein the gift is allowed to change hands several more times. It’s sort of like musical chairs with gifts. I love all things crafty, so I thought this was a fabulous idea, and with delusions of artistic grandeur I spent two straight days on Etsy looking for ideas, only to have my enthusiasm squelched when I unveiled the plan to my husband. “Oh, that’s just great” he muttered, “so not only will I get something I don’t want, but I’ll get to enjoy having it stolen from me several times only to end up with something else I don’t want. Can I just stay home?”

Bah humbug!