Saturday, May 30, 2009

External Reality Roadblocks

External realities are roadblocks that interfere with organization, which are not of my own making—or at least, not totally.

These are things that "happpened" to me. I need to face them, accept them, deal with them, resolve them (when possible).

Julie's book has a little quiz on this section. These are the items that apply to me.

  1. Company downsized/merger/growth/etc.—This is several lumped all into one. At the end of 2006, my publishing company went out of business (except in name only). Had to move all the stuff from the warehouse back to my home. Went into a major depression/flu. Spent about 6 months in bed. Still have not dealt with all the ramifications, excess or decided what exactly I'm going to do with this company. Let it go completely? Or revive it somehow?

  2. Starting home business—Since the beginning of 2007, I've tried a number of work-at-home business ventures, including various blogging for money, selling on ebay. editing, typesetting, customized jewely, Twilight-inspired fragrances sold online, Fragrance Designer for Urban Botanic (also now defunct), research assistant, writing my own books, asst. manager of a bookstore, book reviewer, etc. I still do some of them; have quit doing some. I'm having trouble deciding what to do when I grow up. Still looking for one that's a good fit for me and will earn a living.

  3. Family changes—the last child just married and moved out. We're transitioning into the empty nest lifestyle and learning to be parents to adults.

  4. Outside pressures—I often feel a pressure to respond to phone calls and e-mails on the other person's time frame, rather than my own.

  5. Technology—I have a hard time keeping up with upgrades and changes in my computer systems. My PC is outdated and slow. I've set up a virtual PC on my Mac, but it's not working efficiently. I can't find a time management system that I like so my brain is scattered between a paper planner, wall calendar, iPod touch, Palm Pilot, Franklin system, and iCal. Something has to give.

  6. Skill needs—Not in Julie's book, but just as real—one of the new venture ideas that has the most energy for me requires me to learn a whole new skill set—HTML and CSS mark-up; and file conversion of various types. I don't have the software or the resources to learn it right now and I'm too cluttered and disorganized to do it. At the moment.

  7. Interruptions—I have constant interruptions at work. And distractions.

  8. Deadlines—I work in a dead-line driven business—or at least, a good portion of it is. Deadlines for editing, typesetting, blogging, order fulfillment, etc. I really, really hate deadlines. They make me physically ill. I want to be done ahead instead of always playing catch-up.

  9. Paperwork—I have a paper-intensive business. I'm trying to convert much of it to electronic formats but that's not working as well as I'd like it to work. Plus, I "think with ink". Sometimes I don't know what I think or feel until I write it down. Typing on the computer doesn't do the same thing for me. I need to have a physical pen and paper and the kinesthetic motion of writing.

  10. Transition—I'm in the midst of several transitions. Moving to the empty nest, turning 50 in a few months, grandparenting, changing careers, switching the focus of my business.

  11. Boss—I have a highly disorganized boss (me) who constantly interferes with my work day.

  12. Spouse—My DH is a clutter-bug/mild hoarder.

So according to the quiz, I have to deal with the following external realities:
  • an unrealistic workload
  • the speed of life/technology
  • life transition
  • uncooperative partner (he's not really uncooperative, he just works so much that it's tough for him to get organized too)
  • temporarily limited space—I'll have plenty of space once I dejunk
The first two are the biggies. Not completely sure what to do about these realities but I can definitely see that some of Julie's tips and suggestions will help me deal with them.

Just knowing that they exist takes a lot of the guilt out of my situation. And that's a good thing because guilt completely freezes me up and makes me non-functional.

Friday, May 29, 2009

What's Holding ME Back? (Technical Errors)

Using Julie's Morgenstern's book as a guide, these are the technical errors, lack of skills, that I am dealing with—and my commentary about them.

  1. Items have no home. The first time I went through Julie's book (several years ago), I assigned homes for lots of things. This has worked really well for me. Most of those items I am able to keep pretty good track of. They rarely get misplaced or lost (unless my DH or one of my kids use them). But I never finished the job. Plus, I have lots of new items that have no home.

    Action plan: Go through each room. Decide what it's function is. Create homes for the things that need to be in that room.

  2. Inconvenient storage. I have a rambler—and navigating the stairs is getting harder for me. Often I'll need to use something upstairs, but it's "home" is downstairs—or vice versa. So while I'll go get what I need, sometimes frequently, I don't put it back where it belongs.

    Action plan: Since I can't just torch my house and build a new one all on one level, I'll be creating better homes for things—even if that means I have to have two sets of things, one for upstairs and one for downstairs.

  3. Too much stuff. This is a big house, and we're down to two people living here so I can't say that I don't have enough space. I just have too much stuff. Waaay too much stuff. And now that I'm entering a new phase of life—the empty nest/grandparenting/lots of personal freedom phase—some of the things I've kept because my kids might need them are now completely superfluous.

    Action plan: Simplifying; getting rid of the things I won't need or use in this new phase of my life.

  4. Organizing is boring. Not really. Not for me. I love organizing—or at least, planning to organize. What I don't love is putting the planning into action. It's hard for me to lift and tote and carry things. I don't have a lot of upper body strength (as in none; as in spaghetti muscles) and I don't have a lot of stamina. So while my heart's in the right place, and I'm emotionally committed to doing this, the follow-through is hard.

    Also, my DH works three jobs and there's no way I'm going to make him lift and carry after he gets home from a 15-hour work day.

    Action plan: Hire neighborhood boys to help me. [Update 7/28/98] Good news! My daughters took me to dinner today and gave me an early birthday present. They're going to be my body slaves and help with some of the stuff that I can't do by myself. The boys are in for it too. I have the best kids!

  5. Organizing is expensive. (This is not in Julie's book, but it's definitely one of the things that holds me back.) To get truly organized in a way that works for me, I need containers and shelves and other things. I also need to do a little [uhr, uhm] some [uhm, well] quite a bit of home repair. We've lived here 12 years and things are starting to need replacing.

    Action plan: We have a small budget for repairs. Prioritize the repairs. Sell current stuff I don't need/want to earn money for stuff I really do need/want.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

CrAzY EiGhTs!

Heather (who I'm no longer speaking to because she's making me think too hard) tagged me for this Crazy Eights thing. I did one back in December. But whatever. I'll do it again. But with a twist.

Eight Things I Hope I Never Have to Do Again:
1. Be pregnant.
2. Have surgery.
3. Work a full-time job for someone else (besides myself).
4. Go on a diet.
5. Go out of business.
6. Tell a friend I didn't like their book.
7. Eat something yukky.
8. Move houses. (Unless I'm incredibly wealthy and can hire it done.)

Eight Things I Wish I'd Done With My Kids:
1. Taken them to the Smithsonian Museum(s).
2. Home-schooled.
3. Gone on more adventures.
4. Read with them more, played their games with them.
5. Told them how awesome they were/are more often. (A lot more often.)
6. Gone camping.
7. Gone on bike trips.
8. Gone on a road trip with each one individually, like I did with Megan last year.

Eight Things I'd Do If I Wasn't Such A Yellow-Bellied Chicken-Liver:
1. Sky dive.
2. Pack a gun.
3. Be more politically active.
4. Finish writing one of my 28 novels-in-progress.
5. Wear weird clothes.
6. Wear sandals—even though my big toenails are deformed.
7. Get a tattoo.
8. Sell everything I own and live in a hut on the beach (with Jim, of course).

Eight Things I Refuse to Do:
1. Join an MLM.
2. Eat raw fish, Chinese food or unusual animal parts.
3. Go camping—or stay overnight at any place that doesn't have indoor plumbing.
4. Go on Wife Swap.
5. Watch scary movies.
6. Go in the ocean/lake. (I can't swim, and there are creepy-crawlies in there.)
7. Drive at night.
8. Tag eight people.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Clutter is Not a Character Defect! (Take Two)

I haven't found one case in all my years as a professional organizer where the clutter was caused by sloppiness, laziness or incompetence.
(Organizing from the Inside Out, Julie Morgenstern, 15)

Oh. My. Gosh.!!

The burden has lifted even further.

I love Julie Morgernstern. She's my new BFF.

Change = Chaos

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from chapter 2 of Julie Morgenstern's book, Organizing from the Inside Out.

  • One of the most fundamental principles of organizing from the inside out: understanding the cause before seeking a remedy. (14)
  • I haven't found one case in all my years as a professional organizer where the clutter was caused by sloppiness, laziness or incompetence. (15) [**!!!**]
  • Self-awareness is your most powerful tool in getting and staying organized. (15)
  • [Julie has a whole list of technical errors, external realities, and psychological obstacles that lead to clutter. This list is worth the price of the book!] (16-33)
  • [on dealing with the speed of life] Apply the brakes from time to time, ...think before you jump and be willing to say "no" occasionally. (20)
  • Every time we go through a major change [in our life], we experience a breakdown in our organizational systems. It's inevitable. (21) [emphasis added] [**!!**]
  • If you have a need for abundance, it is often better to organize what you have than try to force yourself [or others] to throw stuff out. (25)
  • Taking on too much and feeling scattered in a million directions are typical symptoms of having unclear goals and priorities. (26)
  • Disorganization is a convenient way of holding yourself back. (27)
  • Work slowly to overhaul your system. (27)
  • Design your system to be simple, fun, and visually appealing so that it reflects your creative personality and feeds it. (30)
  • Objects can remind us who we are, or who we want to be, but the real truth is inside us and doesn't go away. (32)
  • Free up space by letting go of the old. (32)
  • There are a hundred ways to organize a filing system [or any system]; the one you choose is less important than sticking to it. (33)
  • Don't get so caught up in the process that you never see the result. (33)

*[...] = commentary added by me.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Summer Reading Thing List

I'm really excited about doing this reading challenge. For some reason, having a challenge really helps me focus on a reading goal. It makes me want to turn off the TV and open a book.

And I love to see other people's reading lists and to read their reviews. I've found some real gems that way.

So, here's my list. I may have to swap out some of the titles, depending on their availability at the library. I really am trying to curtail my book buying addiction.
  • All the Stars in Heaven by Michelle Paige Holmes
  • English Trifle by Josi Kilpack*
  • Eyes Like Mine by Julie Wright*
  • Fablehaven 4: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary by Brandon Mull
  • The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum
  • Just One Wish by Janette Rallison
  • Lockdown by Traci Hunter Abramson
  • My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison
  • Slathbog's Gold by M.L. Forman
  • Wings by Aprilynne Pike

* if they're released in time.

Clutter is Not a Character Defect!

Organizing is a skill.
(Organizing from the Inside Out,
Julie Morgenstern, 8)

Can you even imagine the relief I felt when that one sentence sunk into my brain?!!?

All my life, I've felt like there was a very organized person trapped inside me. I crave organization, clean lines, simple designs.

Most people think I'm very organized—and I suppose, compared to many, I am. But the truth is, I make attempts at organizing and decluttering but I never get it quite right.

Also, due to health issues, there are times when I shove things anywhere I can find a space—and then dealing with them later is overwhelming.

At the age of 49 1/2, I look around me at the clutter and disorganization in my life and I feel so guilty. I feel like I'm a bad person because of it. I mean, why in the world would I ever let it get so bad?! I'm embarassed and ashamed.

But when I read Julie's sentence from her book, I internalized something that previously I'd only hoped was true. Organizing is a skill set. There are concrete steps for learning how to do it and there are tools needed for success.

Disorganization and clutter is NOT a character defect. It's not a SIN. I am not a BAD PERSON.

If organizing is a skill, then I simply need to learn it and practice it.

I feel like a huge burden has been lifted from my shoulders!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Serendipitous or What?

Funny thing. Just a few days ago, Anna Maria asked, "Hey, what happened to the seasonal reading challenges? Are they somewhere else?"

I'd been thinking about that and whether or not I should do a Summer Reading challenge. But with the wedding and all (30 days to go), I decided it would be too much for me right now. And I was kind of sad because I haven't done a reading challenge in awhile and Katrina at Callapidder Days doesn't do a summer one.

So anyway, I was surfing around some of my fav sites and found this over on one of the LDS Publisher sites:

Join us for the Summer Reading Thing 2009 reading challenge!

SRT 2009 is a great opportunity to set a reading goal and to share what you're reading with your bloggy friends. This "challenge" is meant to be fun and there are only a few rules.

Wow! I'd say it was an answer to prayer, except I didn't really pray about it.

I did the Summer Book Trek at that site last year. It was great. I may not have the time to host a reading challenge this summer, but I can participate in one.

You need to read fiction books by LDS authors—as many or as few as you want. It's simple. I'm signing up as soon as I have my book list ready.

Quoting Julie, Chapter 1

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from chapter 1 of Julie Morgenstern's book, Organizing from the Inside Out. (You really need to get this book!)
  • Being organized has less to do with the way an environment looks than how effectively it functions. (7)
  • If a person can find what he or she needs when he or she needs it, feels unencumbered in achieving his or her goals, and is happy in his or her space, then that person is well organized. (7)
  • Organizing is the process by which we create environments that enable us to live, work, and relax exactly as we want to. (7)
  • Organizing is a skill. (8) [Not a character defect.]*
  • Getting organized boils down to the same very simple, predictable process. (9) [that means I can learn it and do it.]
  • Organizing is sustainable, if your system is built around the way you think. (9)
  • You can no longer afford not to be organized. (10)
  • Organizing has become a survival skill for the modern age. (10)
  • Organizing from the inside out means creating a system based on your specific personality, needs and goals. It focuses on defining who you are and what is important to you as a person so that your system can be designed to reflect that. (11)
  • Three steps to organizing: Analyze, Strategize, Attack. (13)

*[...] = commentary added by me.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Real Reason for this Blog

I've tried dejunking and reorganizing before. I make in-roads. I just never get it DONE, COMPLETE, FINISHED.

I have a notebook that I use to track stuff—what I want to do in each room, what I need to do it, ideas, possibilities, etc.

Problem is, I keep losing the stupid notebook and having to remake it.

Also, I'll do internet searches for ideas, forget to put the results in my notebook, and lose the bookmark. Or I get paint swatches, etc. and lose them.

So this is my online notebook.

Okay. So. This task of dejunking, organizing, prettying up my home is MONUMEMTAL. I'm using Julie Morgenstern's book, Organizing from the Inside Out, to help me. I read this book several years ago and loved it. It really helped a lot, but it's time for a refresher course. I'm re-reading it and doing the exercises, which I'll be posting here.

She has another book I might get called, Shed Your Stuff, Change Your Life.

I also want to get Peter Walsh's book, It's All Too Much. (Or at least, I think that's the one I wanted. Can't remember because I lost my stupid list of books!)

(See why I need to track things like this on my blog?)

Friday, May 22, 2009

I'm Scheduling My Mid-Life Crisis

I turn 50 in a few months. That's right—the big 5–0! It's long past time for a change.

I have way too much stuff. I don't want to spend what's left of my life taking care of things I don't want or don't need. In preparation for entry into my Golden Years, I'm paring down to the bare bones.

I'm also embarking on a couple of new business ventures and I have to create the space and organization I need to be successful.

Inspired by Clean Sweep (I love Peter Walsh) and Clean House (gotta' love a woman who has the courage to wear flowers in her hair), I'm going to be heartless and ruthless. I'm getting rid of the junk and decreasing the clutter. I'm only keeping things I absolutely need and/or love dearly.

I just need to figure out how to do it. . .

I recognize that it will probably take me quite some time to do it all. We have a nice sized house and lots of stuff. Plus I'm slow and my muscles are sort of like overcooked spaghetti. But I'm a big believer in 'the power of the little bit.'

I'll be posting about it every once in awhile. You can find a room by room index to these posts by clicking on the Home tab.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Now that I'm unemployed. . .

Today is my first day of unemployment.

What do you imagine I'm doing with my time?


Or This?

Perhaps This?

Or maybe even This?


This is me.

And I'll be wearing that stylin' bonnet and apron for the next few weeks, while I muck out before the wedding.

Now playing on my iPod: Takin' Care of Business by Bachman–Turner Overdrive

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Breaking up is hard to do

Okay, so I've only briefly mentioned my tooth problems. . . but don't let the brevity fool you. I've been in varying degrees of discomfort and unable to chew on my left side since March.

Not being able to chew on one side is a little disturbing for someone with a mild OCD that wants things to be balanced inside the mouth.

My dentist, who is a very nice guy, decided that one of the metal fillings I got as a child was starting to degenerate and needed to be replaced. I wanted the white composite fillings because, well, who wouldn't want that?

After the filling was replaced, that tooth became very sensitive. It hurt a lot and I couldn't even get floss near it without it screaming in agony. It felt like an exposed nerve.

So I went back to the dentist and he replaced the filling in that tooth and did one in the tooth next to it—very nicely explaining to me that composite fillings were always causing problems and he didn't like them, blah-blah-blah. (If they're so bad, why does everyone get them?)

Anyway, that didn't work. It just made it worse. I went back again the next day and, oops!, there was some resin stuck on my tooth that made my bite all skeewampus.

Uhmm, shouldn't cleaning up slopped over resin be part of the job?

Anyway, it didn't help. Still sensitive. Still couldn't chew on that side. And the dentist, in the very nicest way possible, told me he didn't know what to do about it because the filling was just fine and maybe I needed to wait to give it time to settle down.


Time for a new dentist. He immediately saw a couple of problems, scraped off more slopped over resin from the side of my tooth, and scheduled me for a re-do on both teeth.

Monday—goured out the fillings and put new ones in. I barely missed needing a root canal.

Tuesday—I could chew on that side.

Wednesday—for the first time in months, I woke up with no headache and having not dreamed about teeth!

Yea! I love this new dentist. He's great.

Now I just need to break up with my old dentist. The problem is, he's so nice. He actually called on Friday to see how I was doing and to say he'd thought of a few things he could try. I wimped out and told him I was really busy and I'd get back to him. I hate confrontation.

Any ideas for how to break up with someone so nice?

Now playing on my iPod: 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover by Paul Simon

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Agent in Old Lace by Tristi Pinkston

I can't remember how I first met Tristi Pinkston, but I liked her immediately. Even though she's much (as in, very much) younger than me, we have many of the same interests and hobbies.

We both like to write—although she actually finishes her books. We both like to dress up in costumes (she as an Easter Bunny, and I love letting my inner witch run loose). We both love to read, do book reviews on our blogs, go to the same writers conferences, and belong to the same group of Babbling Babes.

Oh, and I've turned her into a perfume addict.

I just finished reading Tristi's new book, Agent in Old Lace. (I put a link here to Amazon, but don't go buy it there. Come to my store on Saturday. Unless you live too far away. Then, of course, you can use the link.)

This book is a departure from Tristi's previous historical fiction. It's a romantic suspense (why do all my friends write romantic suspense?), with Shannon Tanner as the damsel in distress. She discovers that her soon-to-be fiance, Mark, has been stealing money from her father, and in that moment of truth, he drops his perfect boyfriend facade and tries to kill her. The FBI (who've been tracking him for years but unable to catch him) send their best agent, Rick Holden, to protect her—disguised as Shannon's Aunt Anita.

Yes, with that set-up, you know how it's going to end—but it's the way they get there that makes the story.

I interviewed Tristi at her lavish, million dollar mansion about her book and her success as a writer.

Me: So Tristi. Your first three novels were historical fiction. What made you drop that genre and move to romantic suspense?

Tristi: I still love historical fiction, but I thought I'd try something new and contemporary, just for a change.

Me: Yes, I can imagine history would get pretty boring after awhile. (Yawn!)

Tristi: No, it's not that at all. I love history. I just wanted to expand my writing—

Me: Sure, whatever. You know, when I was in college, I developed an allergy to the mildew spores found in old dusty research books. I was spending a ton on Benadryl, sneezing and wheezing until my throat hurt. It was embarrassing. Plus there was that one time when I took a little too much Benadryl and got thrown out of the library for dancing on the tables. They revoked my research privileges for six months.

Tristi: (Shifting uncomfortably in her chair.) Oh, really. I didn't know that about you. . .uhm, about my book. My main character is Shannon, a financial advisor who learns that her stockbroker boyfriend has been defrauding his clients, her own father included—

Me: Yes, I told them that already. But why did you pick romantic suspense, with all that (gag!) kissing and stuff?

Tristi: I think of it more as a contemporary mystery, and there really is very little kissing. There's the suspense of what Shannon's ex-boyfriend might do next, the kidnapping of her best friend, and then there's her father's illness.

Me: Okay, I have to admit there was some mystery and suspense there. In fact, the book starts off pretty good with Mark chasing Shannon in the mountains, her having to sleep hiding under a bush, and the extra villians you threw in. That was cool.

And I also really liked the part at the end, when you think it's all over and there's nothing but kissing left, and then, wham!—

Tristi: Yes. I'm glad you liked that but let's not give away too much of the story here.

Me: I also thought it was pretty funny imagining Rick having to deal with skirts and heels and a wig. And then when Shannon about gives him hives...

Tristi: Really, Karlene. Don't give it all away! I want readers to read the book, to experience it for themselves.

Me: Okay, okay. I also thought it was pretty clever the way you sneaked po—

Tristi: Karlene! I must insist that you don't give away any more of the plot here. Seriously!

Me: Fine. Geez. Just trying to do a friend a favor.

Tristi: (under her breath) Julie warned me about you...

Me: What?

Tristi: Oh, nothing! This interview is over. Just tell your friends to come to my Launch Party on Saturday.

Me: I think we just did.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Snakes and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

I have three daughters and one son, so when I blog about my children, it's often one of the girls I'm talking about. It's not that I intend to neglect my son, it's just that girls are much more verbal and give me more details about their lives that I can turn into a blog post. When I ask my son what he's up to, he says, "Nothing much. How 'bout you?"

So on this Mother's Day, I decided to honor my son by posting a piece I wrote a couple of years ago that was inspired by him.

I watch him jump from the top step of the canary yellow school bus and land, both feet flat and dust flying, in the gravel road in front of our house. He stays with his knees bent for a moment, concentrating hard on something in the rocks beside his feet. No doubt a dead bug or snake or something equally unappealing. He picks it up, whatever it is, and still stooping slightly, he examines it, one hand cradling his treasure in his palm, the index finger of the other hand poking and prodding.

He slowly straightens, his head tilting back to peruse the sky, then nodding forward again to the thing in his hand. While he stands there bobbing between earth and sky, I ponder this boy of mine.

Royal blue baseball cap pushed back on caramel brown hair so short you can see bits of pinky white scalp peeking through. He can’t stand the feel of hair on his neck. Although I can’t see them, I know his eyes are warm and chocolate-brown. The olive skin on his round face provides more safety from the sun than the cap on his head.

The bottom hem of the ocean blue and emerald green striped polo shirt that had been neatly tucked when he left for school this morning, now hangs over the waist of his pants—the right side fully escaped, the left side still trapped but sagging. It looks like the right side has been pulled and twisted. I wonder, did someone grab his shirt while they were playing tag? Or did he do it himself, forgetting that shirttails were not designed to be hand towels?

His jeans hang loose and baggy. Worse than hair on his neck, he can’t abide the rubbing of fabric against his legs. It’s only in the last year that he’s been willing to wear jeans at all. Before then, it was shorts or sweats. Nothing else.

His sneakers are untied. Of course they are. Why would I have imagined they might not be? I can’t see it from here, but I know that there are holes in the heels and the toes flap open. It’s not that we can’t afford new shoes. These are only a month old. There isn’t a shoe on earth that can stand up for long when used as a brake for a skateboard.

He hadn’t seen me standing there in the doorway watching him as he watched his treasure. But he looks up now and his cheeks bunch up in a smile. He shoves the whatever-it-was into the front pocket of his jeans, and runs, full speed, across the lawn toward me, backpack bumping and jumping against his shoulders. I brace myself for impact.

He throws his arms around my waist and buries his head in my tummy. I can smell the wet puppy dog sweat of little boys, feel his arms embrace me tighter than you would imagine possible by looking at him. He pulls his face away and smiles up at me—there are smudges of dirt and mud around the edges, but a clean spot right in the middle. I know there will be a corresponding not so clean spot on my shirt, just his height. It will match the not so clean smudges just his height on my walls and light switches and countertops.

I put my hand on his shoulder and we walk to the kitchen as he babbles on about the events of his day. It turns out it was a dead snail, after all. He pulls it out of his pocket and shows it to me. He offers to polish it up and give it to me as a gift. I accept that offer.

Later, after he’s tucked away in dreams of snakes and snails and puppy dog tails, I tuck my polished snail shell into a box on my dresser. Little boy treasures, like memories, are precious. I hold onto them as long as I can.

Content ©2007 Karlene Browning.

Now playing on my iPod: Beautiful Boy sung by Celine Dion

I love you Christopher and I'm so proud of the man you've become.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

What should I do when I grow up?

I want to give you, my bloggy friends, first notice about my store.

Provident Book/Humdinger Toys is closing on May 16th.

It's a long story and I knew going in that it might only last six months. Of course, we (all the owners and employees) hoped it would be a raging success and that it would stay open for years. But the sad fact is that with the economy, the construction on the road in front of us, and a few other boring business-related factors, it is not to be.

We're running a few specials to help clearance things out:
  • Toys will stay through the closing and are all 15% off (these are going fast, so if you wanted something specific, come in soon)
  • Deseret Book and Covenant titles are 25% off
  • Various vendors are marking their items down for us, so we've got lots of items that are 50 to 90% off. (Look for the hot pink stickers.)
I've put all the Rosehaven items on sale:
  • Book Bling jeweled bookmarks and cell phone tassels are 50% off
  • Summer Enrichment/Home School workbooks are all $4.95 (originally $7.97 to $17.95)
  • Titles by Jewel Adams, Karl Beckstrand, Julie Coulter Bellon, C.S. Bezas, Claire Bowen, Kurt Beckstrand, Josi Kilpack, Lisa Peck, Tristi Pinkston and Candace Salima are all marked down, some at more than 50% off.

Our last big event is Tristi Pinkston's book launch for Agent in Old Lace. It will be Saturday, May 16th, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. And it's going to be a blast. We'll have lots of door prizes and give-aways, refreshments, and lots of fun.

On a personal note, once again I'm facing a new career choice. Any suggestions?

Now playing on my iPod: I Want to Be a Bestseller by LDStorymakers (love that song)

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Help! I need a little black dress...

For the wedding (48 days and counting), Megan has chosen to have moms and sisters wear black dresses (any style) and matching cardigans.

This is the Moms' cardigan:

The Sisters' cardigan is yellow. (I think it's this one but I'm not sure because the "fashion mom" is in charge of them.)

Now I just need to pick a little black dress to go under the cardigan. I've narrowed it down to four—none of them are exactly right. For example, all of them have short or no sleeves and I'd always have to wear it with a cardigan or jacket because I have flabby upper arms.

(To see bigger images, click on the pictures.)

I love the cowl neck but I'm concerned it won't look right with the cardigan. Also, I much prefer a longer dress because I hate wearing pantyhose. This one would definitely need pantyhose. Also, I probably wouldn't wear it much after the wedding, but at the great price, that's not really an issue.

I love, love, love this dress because 1) no pantyhose, and 2) great neckline and shape, but I'm thinking it might be too casual for a wedding. Also, it begs for sandals and I can't wear sandals because I have this deformed toenail that got much worse over the winter. (Don't ask.) I just think this might look silly with pumps. What do you think?

Love the length of this one and it would be fine with pumps. I'd have to find a coordinating under shirt or cami to wear with it because I'm not a plunging neckline kind of person. Other downside, do I want to wear a full length dress when I'm sure all the other moms and sisters will be wearing shorter length dresses? I'm a little self-conscious that way.

This really isn't a dress—although you can wear it as one (but I never would). I'd wear it as a skirt. I like the length, but it looks sort of unflattering on the model so I'm wondering what it would look like on me. Also, it's really hard to match black to black, so I'd have to go with a white top and then I'd be odd man out at the wedding with all the other black dresses.

What's your opinion? Which one should I get for the wedding?