Time Blocking, Systems Not Goals and Rumors of a Kitchen Remodel

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This is sort of a placeholder post while I get over a nasty sinus infection. This one has really taken me down. You never really realize how easy your life is until it’s not. But I don’t need anyone to worry about me being sick. I’m sure I’m on the mend. Antibiotics have been prescribed and I’m getting plenty of sleep and taking care of myself. And of course all my loved ones are taking care of me too so I am very spoiled in that aspect. They say relationships can help you live longer and I am very happy that I’ve got some really important ones that keep me going healthily.

I thought I’d take this moment to talk about a few things on my mind.

I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately and I somehow fell upon the skinny confidential which is probably not a good fit for me since I am a decade-and-a-half older than them and I will never hope to be a famous instagram model or influencer… but it’s been really interesting to listen to thirty-somethings give me advice on business and life. There is a lot to be learned in between bare naked cucumber jokes and skin care commercials.  I really am impressed with their work ethic and not that I hope to become as crazy busy successful as they are but I’m subscribing to a few things here and there.

  1. time blocking
  2. systems not goals

 

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I tried out the time-blocking trick right away and the type A part of my personality loved it.  I created a google calendar so full of blocks I can’t even find my regular appointments and special dates. But it has helped me stay on track and more importantly realize where I’m losing time. Payam commented the other day that I punctuate my day with house-cleaning when I need to think. I do! This is a handy habit for a clean house but when I’m supposed to be focusing on work, I am not. It’s a real challenge to force myself to leave a sink full of dishes and go sit at my desk and think or blog or come up with new craft post ideas, self promote or, gasp, learn a new skill! Ugh. I hate teaching myself new skills. I have Learning Curvitus.

The systems not goals idea was a new one for me and of course I’m applying it to my ongoing war on weight gain aka genetics. I always go on diets and calorie track and then sabotage myself immediately, as if I get some kind of pleasure out of doing the exact opposite of my original goals. It’s like there is a rebel inside me who’s says, “Oh Yeah? You think you want to lose 20 pounds? Hah!  Let’s go eat something in secret. It tastes better when nobody is looking. Bwahahahahaa!”

So maybe if I stop making diet such a big thing and just make it a daily system, I’ll stop letting out this inner rebel. I don’t know. I’m skeptical. But it seems like a good plan. Sometimes you just have to look at things from a different angle. You know?

I’m sure I’ll find more meaningful tips as I go on with these podcasts. I’m on podcast number 20-something of hundreds. (!) And that’s only one feed. There are billions more!!  Podcastsing is an interesting medium. Too bad it’s already saturated. I can see Bug and I coming up with a really fun broadcast. Maybe someday we will. If she doesn’t invent her own medium first. She’s been using google docs to tell animated fan fiction stories set to music. It seems like such a backwards way to do something but it works and it’s creative so I’m standing back and letting her do her thing.

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Basically I’ve been listening to all these podcasts and thinking a lot about my future as a business and an artist. I’ve been looking at the numbers too and realizing that I am more successful at illustrating than I’ll ever be at blogging, content creating or even graphic design. It’s funny, I didn’t expect it to be this way. I’ll never give up blogging or content creating but it’s putting a weird spin on my brand. I’ve always felt so strongly about photography. Does this mean I need to replace all my pretty pictures with illustrated cartoons? Half the time I don’t even like my silly vector creations. So I’m chewing on that. Maybe I need a life coach to help me navigate. Maybe I need to poll my hundred readers (who are also customers and I love you so much for sticking with me all these years!!!)…

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But speaking of pretty pictures…. Don’t you love these dying peonies? In life they are amazeballs but even in death they take my breath away.

We have this old ratty dining room table that is stained a dark espresso brown. It was a nice table when I moved in but I’ve done about a thousand crafts on it and now it is covered with nicks and scratches. Payam wants to refinish it but I don’t want him to. I need a ratty table. I can’t have nice things because I use them to their full potential until they are gasping their last gasps. (You should see my camera. It’s totally covered in paint and flour and barely works.) I need a beat-up table so I can be free to spill paint on it and cut on it and not worry about the fancy finish. So far I’m winning on this table issue but someday I’ll probably have to move my crafting to another room.

I bring it up because this ratty old table is the perfect backdrop to these fading petals. I love the contrast. I don’t even see the scratches and if I did I’d probably like them. There is so much charm and patina to this old table that has seen a thousand crafts and a thousand more family dinners. I love this table. It’s almost like the more worn it is the more loved it is.

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I was so in love with these peony photos that I took on our old ratty table that I day-dreamed for a week or two about getting one of them turned into a canvas. The problem is turning a print into a 42×70-something inch canvas is a whole lotta EXPENSIVE! Like super expensive. I even mocked it up I was so in love with the idea:

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(Ignore all the clutter on the buffet table. I would of course clear all that off if I had a big print there and replace it with more subtle clutter.) I hemmed and hawed and Payam even thought about buying it for me for a birthday present BUT then Payam mentioned that we might be ready for a KITCHEN REMODEL! Wha-wha-what?!! Did you hear that right?

Yes, you did. So maybe there won’t be a wall where I want that print to be. In that case I’ll just shelf the whole silly giant print idea because a kitchen remodel trumps everything. Of course this won’t happen for a really long time and I’ll be cooking on a hot plate in the garage and up to my ears in dust but I am really excited to be part of it. Pinterest boards have commenced.

Before I go I thought I’d share my latest desktop. Download HERE.

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And HERE it is without words! :)

xoxo!

Tiny Green Pusheen Cakes in Cans!

It’s Bug’s twelfth birthday today and she is far far away at an Outdoor Ed camp put on by her school. She was so nervous to go on this trip that she woke me up four times the night before. Mostly it was just nerves. She was really excited for this four-day sleep-away camp in the mountains but she was also super nervous about getting an ear ache on the bus ride up. She’s a worrier like that.

We took her to urgent care and thankfully she didn’t have any fever at all.  She gets ear aches now and then and we think (but are not sure) that it has something to do with allergies.  We got her some Flonase and a doctor’s note to say she could use it if she suffered from any pain. I’m pretty sure she was fine and didn’t need it but I have no idea because she’s away at camp and they have no internet access and are not allowed to use phones! It’s like they are back in time! Gasp!

I’m sure I’m freaking out about it more than they are. Actually, I’m not. The teachers who are with them are kind enough to post pictures on a privacy-protected site and I’ve been hitting refresh every hour or so to see what they are all up to. It’s kind of like watching April the giraffe. So far not much has happened. They are wearing coats and holding snakes. Sounds like fun! Heh.

In the meantime, I am planning her party for this weekend and spending a small fortune on ridiculous party favors. Pusheen is a very expensive theme if you choose to buy products instead of make them. I have not been so busy as I usually am making things. What can I say? I’m getting old or something. Or I just have less time on my hands.

I am making little cakes though. So far it’s been an experiment of great entertainment value. I decided I wanted to make little cakes in tin cans. I emptied out four bean cans, making chili of course, washed them in the dishwasher and then made a lime cake from scratch and filled the cans almost all the way to the top with cake batter. That was a mistake because the cake in the cans rose and exploded over the sides of their little cans. Good thing I’ve been around this block before and I had the forethought to put the cans on top of a cookie sheet.  Funnily, the cake inside the cans was baked perfectly AND the cake outside the can was too! Who knew! The girls ate the cake outside the can (it was delicious) on Monday when I first did this experiment and declared it a smashing success. I made lime cream cheese frosting and we dolloped a spoon on top of their experimental cakes before they were cool and it turned into a melty delicious mess.

Then I froze the rest of the cakes and today hopefully I’ll ice them successfully. I’m not too sure on the frozen part though so I’m defrosting them in the fridge as I type this. Anyway, this is all just the test run so I’ll have to do it all over again on Saturday. I might just opt for cupcakes by then because I bought these really cute cupcake boxes that look like square Pusheens and I’m not sure how my cakes are going to fit in them AND I also tossed my cans out because they were a mess of baked cake batter running down their sides and I didn’t feel like washing them. So either I’ll buy more cans (ugh, the thought of more chili farts makes me not like this idea) and do it all over again OR I’ll just make cupcakes and no one will be the wiser.

Isn’t it fun being in my brain?

And that’s just one of the twenty-seven things I thought about writing about.