One Fabulous Thing

…because each day has at least one.

A Meta Moment April 27, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — onefabulousthing @ 9:11 pm

As I’m about to hit “Publish” on the 100th Fabulous Thing of 2010, I’m struggling a little bit. I’m not struggling to find a Fabulous Thing to write about each day, in fact sometimes I have more than one good contender. I am finding myself having a difficult time with what I’m not writing.

Maybe it’s understood that the bright points of every one of my days are balanced out by some darker things, but I have been feeling a little caught up in recent weeks with the weight of those darker things, and how strange and incomplete it feels to be writing about flowers and clean houses when there are harder things happening.

Then I go back to the idea that this is exactly the point of having this blog, and of trying to tease out the points of light from among the darkness…

So here is my disclaimer, that will hopefully allow me to continue to transfer the pieces of things that I think about and write every day onto this space without all of the hemming and hawing: I am acknowledging that the posts I make here are only part of the picture, and in no way negate the other very real and true things that also occupy the span of a day. But they do make those things a little easier to confront.

Onward.

 

04.09.2010 Flower Power April 21, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — onefabulousthing @ 9:55 pm

As part of the Apartment Therapy 8 Week Cure, I am tasked with purchasing fresh flowers for my home each week. For the past few weeks I have not bought any flowers myself, since for various reasons my loving husband has bought some for me.

I went grocery shopping tonight after work, and decided that it was time for a new bouquet. I can’t remember the last time I bought flowers for no particular reason, but I found that I really liked the whole process. I selected a bouquet that included some lime green pom-pom looking flowers along with some white lily-type things and some other white flowers that have many blossoms clustered on each stem. (hey, a botanist I am not – I just like what I like). I got to put them in one of those special cones that attach to the side of the cart and enjoy them while I shopped. When I checked out, they were wrapped in paper and carefully laid on top of the rest of my packages.

Before unloading the rest of my groceries from the cart, I rested my bouquet on the baby’s car seat. The humid, rainy night made their scent carry throughout the car as I drove home. During my drive, I noticed that my route was brightened by the brazenly blooming forsythia bushes that were suddenly announcing their presence to the world. In my neighborhood, the dogwoods and azaleas were starting their annual show.

This is such an obvious statement, but flowers are gorgeous. The act of choosing, buying, and arranging flowers for display in my house made me so conscious of the blooms that are happening everywhere. Even through the rain, it made me want to invite everyone I know who lives in different climates to come to my street to see how beautiful it all is right now, bursting into life in full color. Then, I wanted to invite them all to my house to admire the lovely bouquet I have on display.

So, Fabulous Thing #99: The Cure for what ails you.

 

04.08.2010 From Seed to Plant to…? April 17, 2010

Filed under: Garden — onefabulousthing @ 9:16 pm

Today, a few of my seeds started sprouting. It looks like a 5th grade science fair project on my front windowsill, with all of these cups that have seeds and dirt in them in different stages of growth. The cucumbers were first, a variety called (appropriately enough) Early Russian. In addition to the Early Russian cucumbers, I have in the works:

  • Suyo Long Cucumbers
  • Reverend Morrow’s Long Keeper Tomatoes
  • Southern Night Tomatoes
  • Green Grape Tomatoes
  • Roma Rio Grande Tomatoes
  • Yellow of Parma Onions
  • Serrano Tampequino Hot Peppers
  • Quadrato Asti Rosso Peppers
  • Purple Beauty Peppers
  • Pandora Striped Rose Eggplant
  • Thai White Ribbed Eggplant

And those are just the ones that needed to be started indoors this early. Ask me how many times we ate eggplant last year. Probably not even one plant’s worth, I would guess. But if all goes well, we’ll be up to our ears in vegetable matter this summer, which is a prospect that is both thrilling and overwhelming at the same time.

One quality that has rubbed off on me from my husband is the inability to see food go to waste. Before meeting him, there would be times when things like whole packages of chicken and untouched heads of lettuce were tossed out because I hadn’t gotten to them before they went bad. I have slowly adopted new habits (meal-planning, frequent use of the freezer) that have helped address this, and I now try to be more flexible with my 30-days-between-eating-something-and-having-it-again rule. I guess you could say I have become a little more adult in my approach to food.

Watching these small seeds send tentative shoots out into the world, I can’t imagine ever letting the fruits of their labors go to waste, so I guess I better start collecting eggplant recipes and figuring out creative ways to use purple peppers. In the meantime, I will just try to enjoy the simple magic of a seed, plus a little sunlight and water, becoming something much more complex (and delicious).

So, Fabulous Thing #98: Maybe I don’t have a black thumb after all.

 

04.07.2010 Oooh, Shiny! April 16, 2010

Filed under: Household — onefabulousthing @ 8:31 pm

As a Christmas gift in 2008, my in-laws gave us two housecleaning sessions with the woman they use to clean their own house. I was about a month away from giving birth, so the intent was to help ease the burden of household tasks while we were getting to know our newest family member.

As it turns out, cleaning your house with a newborn around isn’t really that hard. Especially when you have a newborn like ours, who was lulled to sleep by the sound of the Roomba and would have happily hung out in the carrier sling all day long while I put laundry away or washed dishes. The love affair with the Roomba did not wane in later months, by the way:

However, keeping a house clean with a roaming toddler just waiting for your back to be turned so he can swig from bottles of toxic cleaner or smudge his fingers all over the newly-cleaned mirror is a lot more difficult. In addition to that, when the weather on the weekends is as beautiful as it has been, the last thing I want to do is spend the day inside cleaning.

So, I finally called the woman and cashed in the first of the cleanings. I felt a little sheepish admitting that the Roomba provides the only vacuuming our floors see, and that I wasn’t 100% confident that we owned a sponge mop, since we rely on the Swiffer WetJet. I will admit that I spent some time making sure everything was picked up before she came, and that I was a little concerned about what she might report back to my mother-in-law about the things she saw (“You let your grandson live in that house? You wouldn’t believe the dust bunnies under their dresser!”)

When I walked in the door after work, I almost wanted to to take my son out in the backyard and keep him there until college so we never messed up the sparkling perfection that was my house at that very moment. Everything was clean all at once. It was amazing. No streaks on the microwave door, no crumbs on the counter, no dust anywhere. The things on my husband’s dresser were neatly arranged. The floor was gleaming. Unfortunately, it was gleaming to the point where my son could see his reflection in it, which meant that he immediately had to drool all over it and wipe it around a little with his hand.

It didn’t really matter though, because I hadn’t just spent a sunny weekend afternoon cleaning it poorly with the WetJet while not spending time with my son. Instead, a local woman who has kids and is putting herself through school got paid to do it, and did it well. Seems pretty win-win to me.

So, Fabulous Thing #97: Coming home to a clean house.

 

04.06.2010 One Moment in Time April 13, 2010

Filed under: Family — onefabulousthing @ 10:26 pm

I’ve been spending a lot of time at work over the last few months, even when I haven’t physically been at work. Fortunately, my son gets up early and goes to bed early, so we get some good playtime in before work and I have been getting some good work in after bedtime. Today though, with the sun shining and my increasingly steady-on-his-feet and adventurous boy on my mind, I rearranged my schedule a little to make some room at the end of the day.

With that time, I picked my son up early, with the intention of heading to the playground near our house for some pre-dinner outside time. This was not a truly spontaneous outing, since I had hoped that morning that it would be possible and had brought a little bag of animal crackers and my son’s water bottle in preparation for a stop on the way home. We headed home from daycare well ahead of afternoon rush hour, and I hoped that the playground wouldn’t be too overrun with big kids. I regretted not bringing my camera, as I was pretty confident that the mixture of sunshine and swings would make an irresistible photo opportunity.

I pulled into the playground parking lot, noticing that there were plenty of baby swings free, and gathered my cell phone and the refreshments. I switched out my work shoes for the sneakers I had thoughtfully stashed in the car that morning. It felt good to leave my work bag behind in the car, and I promised myself that I wouldn’t worry about getting dirty, even if it meant some extra clothes needed to go to the cleaners this week. I opened the back door of the car with a big smile on my face, ready to make my son’s entire week with the fun we were about to have.

He was sound asleep. Like, mouth hanging open, head slumped over asleep. It was OK though, he always wakes up a minute after the car turns off. I sat on the seat next to him and waited. And waited. “But I brought you snacks,” I whispered. He slept on.

A few minutes later I returned to the driver’s seat and took us the few blocks home. When we got there, he stayed asleep in his seat. I opened the car windows and sat on our steps, enjoying the last of the afternoon sunshine and the quiet of our neighborhood. It was lovely, actually. When at last he stirred, we went inside to let the dog out and have some playtime before dinner.

My son was delighted to let the dog out, like he is every day. He was gleefully mischievous about pulling things out of the snack drawer before dinner. It made his week to corner the Roomba and scamper away shrieking when it turned back and came at him. He didn’t miss the playground one bit.

This experience made me think about a training I had attended, and the companion book I purchased and read long before my son was a twinkle in my eye: The Biggest Job We’ll Ever Have. The whole book is great, and I am happy to have been reminded of it so I can go back and read it now that it is more personally relevant to my life.

The piece that stuck with me was a story that the author recounted about this idea she had for a roadside picnic on the drive home from a family vacation. She packed a lunch, with visions of pulling over by an idyllic, flower-strewn meadow to enjoy their meal. As the drive went on and it became apparent that such a setting would be hard to come by on their trip, her husband offered alternate suggestions. Unswayed from her vision, the author and her family ultimately ended up picnicking on some grassy median in front of an office park or some such place, the whole bunch miserable and probably wishing desperately for a McDonald’s.

Years later, that story came rushing back to me. I could have stuck with my vision and woken up my son. But would he have enjoyed the playground then? Would it have been the carefree, idealized experience I hoped for? Probably not. More likely, he would have sat listlessly on a swing with the late afternoon sun in his eyes, wondering why I had awoken him from a nice warm snooze in the car to dangle him from some chains and take crappy cell phone pictures. It might have been nice for me, if I’d been able to look past that, to feel good about doing this fun special thing with my kid. But I’d really be missing the point, I think.

So, Fabulous Thing #96: Letting a sleeping kid lie, and letting go of my expectations for the afternoon.

 

04.05.2010 First!

Filed under: Work — onefabulousthing @ 9:08 pm

I have been dragging my feet about posting this, because it feels a little…petty? Small-minded? I have been trying to come up with some other way to say this, some different spin I could put on it, to no avail. So here it is, in all of its lowly glory: Today, I got to the office before my boss on her first day back from a 4 -month maternity leave.

This is so trivial for many reasons, not the least of which is that she is the last person to keep mental tallies of the comings and goings of her senior management team. There are objective measures by which she can easily see that the program that I have been directing in her absence has been stable and profitable. I’ve hired some quality staff, and hopefully helped retain some others.I’ve worked hard to maintain our good relationships in the community and to uphold the high standard of work that we do.

Maybe I was a little concerned about where I would stand when my boss came back and things got a little reshuffled, maybe I didn’t want her to think that I’d been slacking off in her absence.

But there’s just something about sitting at your desk, as though you could have potentially been there for hours already, when your boss walks in. Judge away.

So, Fabulous Thing #95: Making a good first impression, all over again.

 

04.04.2010 Things Aren’t Always What They Seem April 11, 2010

Filed under: Garden — onefabulousthing @ 9:43 pm

Today was Easter, the important Christian holiday of small toys, chocolate, lots of eggs. fertile bunnies, pastel colors, and fancy hats. And Jesus. There’s something about Jesus in there, right? Just kidding – I went to Catholic school, I know the deal.

Today was also significant for the blow that I struck against my formerly-held ideas about myself. I think everyone has those persistent thoughts that come from the offhand comments of others, or perceptions about what is good and bad that are formed in a million different ways. In no particular order, here are some of mine:

  • I’m a picky eater
  • I have a black thumb
  • I’m shy
  • I’m not athletic

It’s funny how sitting here, right at this moment, I would agree that all of the above statements are true about me. This is despite some evidence to the contrary:

  • I love to cook all different types of food, and I have dined at some amazing restaurants and eaten their tasting menus without any special requests.
  • I taught undergraduate psychology classes for a few years, and one of the things that excites me the most about my current job is doing trainings. My profession at its core requires me to make connections with people.
  • I have run a marathon.

And as of today, this last one is true:

  • I have started a vegetable garden.

I’m not exactly sure why I hold on to these things about myself that aren’t accurate or helpful. I am happy to knock another one off my list. Wish me luck.

So, Fabulous Thing #94: Growing.