Designer Senses be Damned

Last weekend, I picked up my parents at the airport to move them into their new house. Insert dramatic sigh of relief.

This move has been 10 years in the making. It started in 2005 when I moved down to close on their first house while they wrapped things up in New Jersey. That did not go exactly as I planned, not even a little bit. And since then, nothing has been how I would have planned. Nothing. One would think I would have learned this lesson by now, but I’m #eternaloptimist, #stubborn, #foolish, or #whatever and I’m having to be reminded of it again.

Sitting here, watching them unpack and finally settle into house number three (yes, take a minute and consider if your previous sigh of relief on my behalf was dramatic enough), I find that I’m surprised by what’s coming out of carefully packed boxes and where said items are being carefully placed… And… again, not exactly what I was planning. Middle-school woodshop project, third grade school photos, high school mother’s day gifts, all being prominently displayed like Z Gallerie finds. “Oh this wall will be perfect for your beautiful art.” Art from high school, mom!? “I’m going to need you to have this framed for me.” Mm why? “I love this picture of all of you at your brothers wedding, can you make it larger?” At my dad’s excitement over our Sunday school awards, I almost lost it.

You don’t understand! My designer-senses are silently clawing through an invisible sketch pad. This house is beautiful! It makes all the other unsuccessful moves worth it. I could forget the frustrations of the last ten years by walking into this house – impeccably decorated, of course! With flowing drapes and moving artwork that welcome you into a luxurious haven. But instead I’m being confronted with a gallery of (sometimes awkward) childhood memories. Instead…


I watch my mom, she walks back and forth between the dining table and the kitchen table and the sofa table with treasured presents from my brothers in each arm, trying to decide which would be the perfect center piece for each location… and… she is so happy… And that’s when I realize, I am already forgetting the frustrations of the past ten years. Designer senses be damned, to see this woman this happy.

~that’s life… in no particular order


2013! Thanks for a Great Year in Review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 770 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 13 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Soldier’s “B”log

“Plosh”, the sound of the phone diving into the crystal clear depth of the toilet bowl. Immediate. Panic. “Man down! Man down! Mayday! May–!” Wait. How can I call for help without my phone?

Julieunscripted and I have often talked about “going off the grid”. We’ve wondered what it would be like to get tiny houses and “live off the land”. Although, I’ve never been as convinced as she is that gridless living is a viable option for us. One main reason, communication. The subject of how we would communicate in the case of catastrophic events – such as a zombiepocalypse – is a frequent visitor in our conversations. To the point that I seriously considered getting us two-way radios and evacuation kits for Christmas – that in itself is proof  that 1.) I should not have watched World War Z, and 2.) someone would make lots of money recording us. Needless to say, a world where Julie and I would not be able to immediately contact each other is not a world we are particularly excited about. Hence why we are still very much on the grid.

Now, back to my cell phone’s brief, but fatal, swim in the toilet and my panicked realization that I am totally disconnected from my world. How can I request for backup? I hate driving without a phone – what if I am ambushed by a flat tire or an accident – how will I call in reinforcement?


Initial panic has morphed into confusion. I’m alone in the concrete jungle of Downtown West Palm Beach. How will I find the rest of my troop for breakfast? I don’t have change. How will I pay for parking if I can’t dial in? Julie had intel about great finds at Stone Button Studio. I wanted to go in and do some reconnaissance. How will I navigate my way around the unfamiliar Northwood territory? Frustration is setting in.

The emergency evacuation team has transported the unresponsive phone to a coma of dry rice. All efforts to resuscitate have failed. Reinforcement will be shipped within 24 Business Hours. Weary inconvenience has set in as I, suffering from post dramatic stress disorder, lie in a vegetative state on my couch. Oh, that would be a great picture. No phone. I should put this funny comment on Twitter. No phone. What’s Julie doing? No phone. I need to set my alarm clock. No phone. What was on my calendar for the rest of the day? No phone. What does Google have to say about this recipe? No phone. Sigh… I should blog about this… No phone.

War of the Worlds

The world seemed to be speeding towards total chaos these past two weeks. Every direction I turned left me aghast, either by the sheer cruelty, the utter stupidity, or the maddening insanity of what I observed. From yet another conflict in Africa, to grounding Boeing, to new research being done on the correlation between fast food and acne in teenagers (really), to Michelle Obama’s bangs somehow being news, to the Miss America fiasco, to a callously sensationalized murder-suicide, to fiscal cliffs and debt ceilings – all of it left me in a quizzical state of “what in the world!?” So, what did I do to combat this sense of dumbfounded-ness? Well, when I could no longer yell at the radio, or forbid my roommate to turn on the tv, or ignore my phone because I was not allowed to tweet, I decided to walk away and create world peace by resolving a conflict of global proportions: Android or Apple?

After reading countless reviews, interviewing a number of people, visiting several sites, I made my decision to purchase the Google Nexus 10. And then I waited, and waited, and waited… Because I couldn’t find it anywhere. Unfortunately, neither could I find any assistance from Google in obtaining one. So I went back to my research. I read more reviews. Visited more sites. Interviewed more people. The Nexus 10 had everything I wanted. Surely there was another tablet like it, besides the iPad. According to my research, both devices were, in fact, comparable. But… Could I really live with an iPad? Could I leave the vast world of Android for the sequestered garden of Apple? Technically, I had been teetering between both for years: I own an Android phone and a MacBook. Blasphemy, I know. So to buy one more item would boot me out of the other’s world. It would send me down the path of inevitable decisiveness. And oh! How I would be judged by either side for leaving our joining! But honestly, to not buy an iPad because it’s not an Android is just as snobbish as to buy an iPad because it’s an Apple. Know what I mean? And just as much as I don’t want to be an anti-yuppie snob, I shutter to think of my Android aficionados calling me an “isheep”. Or referring to my new addition as an “icrap”. I-turmoil!!

In the end, I decided to gift myself the iPad – it was available and the customer support is wonderful. There are features about it that I’m really appreciating. Likewise, there are things about my Android that I love and wish the pad could do. But wouldn’t you know it, we are all living peacefully under one roof.

Postcards from the Edge


Dear Sir,

I’m writing to inform you about a special invitation. You see, my mom loves Christmas! When the

holiday comes around, she magically becomes one of Santa’s little helpers; wrapping sweaters, PJs, jewelry and the like. In fact, we jokingly dub the dining room her workshop – the table, overtaken with gift papers, ribbons, boxes, and bags of various colors, shapes, and sizes. You are guaranteed to find a present under the tree for even the random, last-minute guest.


But, as exciting as that sounds, I actually believe my mom enjoys giving cards more. She loves picking out these Christmas cards and writing one for each of her children. And each year, the final adornments on the tree are the cards, carefully placed between the branches. Believe me, we enjoy receiving them.

This year was interesting. It was the first year everyone was a couple – except, of course,  yours truly. And this year, each child and each significant other had a card in the tree. And my mom, to compensate for the lack of another’s intimate significance in my life, did what you are now cringing to read. She wrote a card to my “future boyfriend” and very excitedly presented it to me in the presence of all my younger siblings and their others.

Open floor, bury self.

I have to confess that in the midst of the awkward laughter, I fought back a tear. It was a tear made of a combination of things, really. Embarrassment. Sadness. Awareness that this future person was so important to her. Refusal to let her see my bruised ego. Realization that I would cherish this card as some sort of special pass, only to be given to this future “him” when I knew he was the real deal. A combination of emotions flooded my tear. But I smiled, I hugged and thanked my mom for loving you already, and I saved your invitation card.

Oh! I should also probably inform you, Mr. Future Boyfriend, that there was a present included with your invitation, but like a proper future girlfriend, I needed a pick-me-up in your absence, so I used it to buy myself something shiny. Please be sure to thank my mom.

Ms. Future Girlfriend