Archive for the ‘Creative Outlet’ Category

Dear Reader, I may need an intervention.  I’m serious, I think my addiction is getting out of hand.  I’m constantly yearning for the next time I can use it, the next time I can savor it, the next time I can luxuriate in the sheer wonder of it.

I am, dear reader, an Etsy addict.

What is Etsy? Blasphemy! Please don’t let me ever hear you utter those words again.  I’ll overlook your ignorance this once, but that’s it!

Etsy is, according to its slogan, “your place to buy and sell all things handmade, vintage, and supplies”.  Essentially, it’s an online marketplace for people who run small businesses either out of their homes or in small commercial settings.

Why do you love it though?  I mean, isn’t it just another shop or is it like Craigslist or something? No, it is absolutely not!! Again, this once, I will have patience with you.  Just. this. once.

Most of the items are handmade or “upcycled” (which means that sellers have taken items from mass production and repurposed them or made them their own in some way).  For example, you may have anything to handmade pottery, made by someone with their own kiln in the yard:

Beautiful right?

Or someone who designs their own images and screen-prints them on mass-produced t-shirts:

Ugh! I love it!

Or this one:

I think I know one lucky husband who’ll be receiving this shirt for Valentine’s day.

In addition to all the wonderful handmade/homemade items, there are thousands of vintage items out there:

If I could I would buy this dress and wear it everyday!  However, I am not now nor have I ever been a size 6 (or since this is from the 80s, a size 4).  If you are a size 4, buy it.  Do it right now! Don’t look back, you’ll be so happy you did.

Ok, so maybe vintage dresses aren’t your thing, what about housewares:

No? Ok, so maybe that last one is just me.

But that’s the thing! You can essentially find anything on here, to suit any taste for any purpose.  You’ll pretty much find it and you’ll be supporting someone’s small business (as well as being green-minded) instead of buying something mass-produced from the Gap or Pottery Barn.

Don’t get me wrong, though, I love both those stores, but isn’t there something nice about finding a treasure, that there may be only one of, in the whole world?

If that doesn’t sell you on it, maybe something else will.  For example, I have a HUGE love of Anthropologie.  It’s seriously amazing.  Yes, they too support recycled items and local artists, but they are a little…ahem…overpriced (there I said it!).  So when I fell in love with this beautiful beach cover-up caftan they had, I thought to myself, maybe I can find something like it on Etsy.  Maybe something vintage.  Lo and behold, there are hundreds of caftans on Etsy, each for way less than the Anthro price.

Lastly, we all know that I’m a nerd.  Yes, a NERD.  Not a geek, not a dork.  I am a nerd, and damn proud of it.  (I fully embraced my nerdiness when I entered Library School, as there was just no going back from there.)  Thankfully, Etsy is full of nerds who love all things silly and punny (no, that’s not a typo).

There is an entire section of Etsy called the Geekery. Explore.

You’re welcome for that.

So why do I need an intervention?

Because I simply cannot tear myself away!

I honestly don’t buy stuff every day (I swear, it’s more like once a month), but I do peruse the pages every single day, sometimes multiple times a day.  It’s so fun!  There is everything on there! I…I…just love it SO MUCH!



Ok, I’m backing away now…maybe I’ll go on tomorrow, maybe not.  One day at a time….

I wonder if someone made a t-shirt for that?


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The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 6,800 times in 2010. That’s about 16 full 747s.


In 2010, there were 130 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 193 posts. There were 34 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 2mb. That’s about 3 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was August 9th with 111 views. The most popular post that day was Disaster at the Mall (part 2).

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, nevercookonasaturdaynight.blogspot.com, livinlavidalovas.blogspot.com, fuzzypurplesocks.com, and housethatfunkbuilt.blogspot.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for modern mrs, the modern mrs, ludite, miss rumphius, and the amazing mumford.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Disaster at the Mall (part 2) August 2010
1 comment


Heads together June 2010


Pregnancy hormones, or how your body tricks you into wanting more babies March 2010


About November 2007
1 comment


A La Peanut Butter Sandwiches April 2010

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As a first time mother (yes, I realize my son is nearly two now, but this still counts as the first time), I read a lot of information on the internet about child-rearing and what-not.  These days I typically avoid the group boards or forums as most of them are, in my opinion, a forum for every extreme person to air their extreme opinions.  There are occasionally nuggets of good information buried beneath hysteria and outrage, but you really have to have a fair amount of patience to get to it.  I do not have this type of patience anymore, other types of patience (like the patience to pick up the all the fridge magnets off the floor for the 14th time in one day) I have plenty of.

Occasionally I have an issue that I can’t ask all the reasonable people I know about, due to its obscurity or sometimes my embarrassment, and I am forced to turn to the internet for answers.  Usually I try to scan all the opinions for the pertinent information, reading just enough to find out what I need.  Unfortunately, reading “just enough” also means I actually have to read some pretty stupid stuff.  That’s right, I said stupid, and I meant it.

This leads to my pet peeves:

If you have some extreme opinion and you are vehemently disagreeing with someone on a message board, I would assume you would like to be taken seriously.  SO WHEN YOU WRITE IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, NO ONE IS GOING TO TAKE YOU SERIOUSLY.  You are doing the equivalent of screaming.  I’m going to skip your post.

If you are telling someone to do something, please do not address me as U, as in “its so much better for the lo if u only feed him strained beets with a turkey baster” (also notice the other grammatical error and the use of obscure slang—“lo” means “little one”).  I am definitely going to discount your opinion if YOU can’t take the time to type out a couple extra letters.

If you use extreme hyperbole in your post, some unfortunate person is going to take you seriously, so please don’t do this.  Writing a post explaining that feeding your infant formula is the equivalent of feeding her a combination of heroin and rat poison is going to scare the crap out of someone.  Most intelligent people will choose to ignore you, but someone out there is going to take you seriously, buying into your post of fear, and will instead not feed their child rather than risk giving them rat poison.  Not cool.

Ok, rant over.

For all of my grammar loving, intelligent friends and readers here is a post from Hyperbole and a Half that is genius: The Alot.

If you think this is funny, you’ll totally be excited to find out my lovely and funny little sister gave me a t-shirt for Christmas that says “I love this Alot” and shows a girl hugging her friendly Alot monster.  yay!  Be jealous.  It’s rad.

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Rather than work on my book yesterday, I decided to write a holiday letter.  Here it is, for your enjoyment:

Dear Friends and Family,

We thought this year we would start a tradition of writing an annual holiday letter.  However, if this proves to be a semi-annual or once in a decade tradition, try not to hold it against us.  This was quite an eventful year for us.  We had milestones in our personal, business, and spiritual lives.  We thought we’d share a little bit about the last year with you.

First, our little son, Connor was baptized last February.  We were all delighted, except perhaps Connor, who did not enjoy having a stranger pour cold water over his head.  We managed to escape the church before any real crying began, so we’re going to go ahead count that as a positive event.  His first birthday was also a semi-success.  We celebrated with a large luau, complete with leis and Hawaiian food.  All the adults in attendance had a wonderful time; especially some of our male family members who enjoyed our twin pull tap/kegerator.  Connor barely recognized that it was his birthday other than the fact he grew annoyed by the dozens of people getting in the way of him watching Kung Fu Panda and he was allowed to have as many pancakes as he wanted.

Aside from these milestones, Connor has had a relatively calm year.  Or at least as calm as a toddler can have.  Connor is an extremely active little guy, being roughly the size of a three year old, with the physical agility to match.  This makes for a fun combination since our little “caveman” is mostly communicating via grunt.  He has fully grasped the ancient concept of might makes right.  A friend of ours likened having a toddler to going everywhere with a drunk.  We would go so far as to say going anywhere with Connor is like traveling with an angry foreign dictator, in which all communication is a series of threats, followed by bargaining, finally appeasement.

In other news, Brian has finally rejoined the land of the living, after he spent the last year and a half making the game Call of Duty: Black Ops.  In case you missed the massive media campaign surrounding the game, complete with promo Jeeps and star-studded commercials, it’s one of the biggest games of the year.  We’re happy to have him back with the family and we are taking him slowly through a re-emergence program to help him cope with life outside of the office.  On the plus side, we did enjoy a trip to Amsterdam, courtesy of Activision, in order to promote the game.  And though Brian doesn’t speak one-word of Dutch, we’re certain the hour-long interview he gave to the Dutch media was a success.

Lastly Erin and the dogs, Penny and Dodger, are enjoying life in sunny Huntington Beach.  She and the dogs thought it was best to bring the rest of the family along with them, and purchased a home on the edge of the Bolsa Chica wetlands.  Erin is happy to report that Penny is doing very well after her knee-surgery in the spring, for which her neurotic recovery was one of the most stressful and harrowing experiences in all the Andersons’ lives.  Also, Dodger is now receiving allergy shots for his hay fever, but the doctors have informed Erin that there is nothing they can do to help with his willful idiocy.  Erin splits what little free time she has between the Angry Birds iPhone game, reading trashy fantasy novels on her Kindle and sometimes writing on her blog (mrserinanderson.wordpress.com).  She is now in the process of writing a young adult novel of her own.  Since she is primarily writing during naptimes and after bedtime, you can look for this novel to hit shelves sometime in 2028, after Connor goes to college.

All in all, life is good at the Anderson household and we hope it’s the same for you!


Happy Holidays! With joy and affection, Erin, Brian, Connor, Penny, and Dodger

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Dear readers, I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately.  Some of you are still reading this blog every day, despite the fact that I have not written a word on here in about two months. That is very kind of you.

However, please notice the qualifier I just used to describe my writing: on here.

The simple fact is that I have been writing.  I have finally bitten the bullet and committed myself to writing a novel.  As of today I’ve written 18 pages of a young adult fantasy novel.

This is something I’ve been thinking about, talking about, trying to start for years.  Truthfully I have started and stopped several other novel attempts before.  None ever seemed good enough to get beyond the first chapter, or at least, they never seemed good enough to me.  Maybe someday I’ll be able to go back to them and start anew.

For now though, I’m committed to writing this one novel.

It is consuming nearly all of my writing creativity and almost every free moment.  While 18 pages may not seem like much for about six weeks worth of writing, it turns out creative writing is incredibly difficult!  Who’d have thought it?

My goal is to finish by Little C’s 2nd birthday in April.  So that gives me about 3.5 months to finish roughly 110 pages.  That comes out to roughly 30 pages a month or 7-8 pages a week.  Yikes!  I may be setting myself up for failure, but if I don’t have a deadline I won’t feel the push to complete it.

Now before everyone freaks out (or actually before I do) the good news is the husband will be home for 4-6 weeks of compensation time sometime in the next three months.  Yes, you read that correctly.  My husband will actually be here, at home, non-stop, for weeks.

And while that will be wonderful for him to have all that free time, it will also be wonderful for me to have a couple of hours each day to do whatever the heck I want to do, like write.

And if you all are very nice to me I might share a chapter or two with you.  Maybe.

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As reported, my son has been driving me crazy and obviously needs some different kind of stimulation than what I have been providing.

I think the piles of books on the floor clearly make this point for me.

So…in order to maintain my sanity I’ve been doing some brainstorming, followed by research.  For several days I’ve been wracking my brain about what activities my boys likes best.  Frankly, I’ve been obsessing about every toy he’s ever played with for more than 5 minutes, every activity he’s ever willingly engaged in, every tiny hint he might be interested in something that stimulates his little mind.

And here’s what I’ve come up with:

1. The “rollercoaster” table.

good times

C played with a table/activity center similar to this at the bookstore, the doctor’s office, and, most recently, the children’s library.  It was this last incident (and yes, I said incident on purpose) that really hammered home for me how much C loves these darn things.

**Let me recount for you what happened: We went to the library in the hopes of seeing a puppet show, which later scared the crap out of C, but we had some time to kill before that happened.  I thought hanging out in the children’s department might be a good idea.  C could flip through the board books, maybe play with the other kids.  Instead, he saw the rollercoaster activity table and made a bee-line for it.  He spent about half an hour pushing the beads up and down the wires, apparently never tiring of the repetitive motions.  When I had to tear him away for the puppet show, he quite literally freaked out! Screaming at the top of his lungs, C threw himself around in my arms as I tried to leave the children’s department in a dignified manner.

My dignity may have remained in tact had we not returned there after fleeing the evil puppet show.  But brilliantly thinking that the rollercoaster would definitely cheer my son up, I failed to take into consideration how difficult it would be to pry him away from it a second time.  And unfortunately, I wasn’t able to wait until C tired of the table since he delivered a very large stinky diaper that need immediate attention.  I was forced to pull him away from the table and yet again, was subjected to piercing screams and full tantrum mode.  I think my dignity is still there on the floor of the children’s department, right next to the puddle of my hopes that C would spend many happy afternoons there.  Alas…**

Needless to say, it was pretty clear to me that C would love to have a table of his own.  So I got one.

No it’s not his birthday and Christmas is still months away.  Let’s just call it a birthday gift to myself.

2. The play kitchen.

A solution to cabinet emptying? we'll see.

My thoughts on this are that C really (I means REALLY) seems to enjoy emptying shelves and cabinets, so maybe he would like to do this in his own pretend kitchen (rather than in Mommy’s real one).

I’m thinking of getting this as C’s early Christmas present.  If this year is anything like last year, he’ll enjoy the paper and boxes more than the gifts.  Truthfully, he probably won’t even know it’s a special day other than the fact that there are a lot of boxes wrapped in paper he’s allowed to rip and shred to his heart’s delight.  So if he gets his play kitchen a little early, no one will know but us.  And I can trust you with this, right?

3. The workbench.

To focus the banging on to hammers and nails

C seems to have a lot of frustration and aggression due to his inability to communicate and control his own environment (or at least that’s what the books say).  Unfortunately this means C has been throwing things and banging his little hands on whatever he’s near.  My thinking here is that maybe he can take some of his frustration out with the little toy hammer and the little toy “nails”.  If not, the whole thing only cost me about $10 and he has plenty of cousins who, I’m pretty sure, would be glad to take it off his hands.

We’ll see if these news toys help to take the edge off C’s terribleness (some time at the park and at the baby gym should help too).

The rollercoaster table arrived today and I don’t know who was more excited, me or C.  But I know this for certain, my boy happily played with it for about 20 minutes without a hint of frustration and I saw some of my happy baby boy peeking out from behind his “terrible” toddler faces.

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After tasty treats failed to break my son out of his funk, I knew that the rest of my errands were doomed, because what kid doesn’t like cupcakes?  I knew there was something wrong, but what?

C had been tooting away all day, even laughing about it sometimes.  Every time I checked his little diaper though, he was clean.  So I figured maybe his tummy hurt.

He seemed ok when we were moving, so I took a chance and headed into the mall.  Risky, I know.

I needed to make a quick stop at the MAC counter, as I was crushing the remnants of my powder with the end of my brush for use.  My hopes for a quick transaction were thwarted, as the girls at the counter were busy with what turned out to be friends and then took their sweet time getting my order and ringing me up.  During this time, C is maniacally clutching at his balloon and screeching.

Other customers are giving me dirty looks with every high pitch shriek.  They seemed confused as to whether my son is angry or overly excited about his balloon.  I honestly couldn’t tell the difference at that point.  So I returned their disapproving stares with snarky half-smiles. That’s right, I can be rude if I want to be.  It can happen!

I knew was that I needed to get C moving again.  As long as we were moving, we were fine.  I shot the sales girl a few dirty looks until she finally handed over my product.  One more unnecessary question from her and I would have joined in my son’s shrieking.

As soon as we got away from the makeup section and into the main part of the mall, little C seemed fine again.  Sure he was squirming, but he’d been squirmy all day.  Besides if I stopped the stroller he might explode.  It was like I was in a really slow version of Speed, except with a stroller instead of a bus full of strangers.  Unfortunately no Keanu Reeves showed up to rescue me.

I just wanted to make one more stop.  Just one! I never get to the mall so I was desperate to make it to all the stores I needed to get to.

And I really need some new jeans.  Since losing the baby-plus weight my jeans have had that saggy butt thing going on, so I needed to size down (yay!) for nicer occasions than hanging out with my son at the park. If I could just get to the Gap, which as having a buy one get one for $20 sale, my day would be complete!

Oh…if only….

As we entered the store I began shopping as quickly as possible, throwing jeans and sale items over my shoulder with reckless abandon.  I was just going to buy them and deal with fitting later but an oh-so-helpful sales person suggested I try on the jeans before I buy them.  Fine!! I’ll try them on!

I followed her to the dressing room and start stripping.  As soon as my saggy bottom jeans were off C started wailing.  Tears streamed down his face.  He was fighting the stroller safety belt with all his might!

I let him loose, thinking maybe that would help.  I hand him my cellphone so he can use the toddler friendly apps I bought for him.  Nothing staunched the flow of tears.  In fact, things got worse.

C was now screaming.  I managed to get back into my clothes and pick him up.  His entire bottom was sagging with the fullest diaper we’ve had in a long time.  In fact, some has seeped into his pants.  Well, at least I now knew what all the fuss was about!!

I silently cursed C’s inability to communicate and speed walked from the mall with C in my arms, the stroller trailing along behind me.

On the way to the car I’m thinking how I foolishly left the diaper bag in the car, assuming that whatever happened I would be able to get back to the car and change him there as quickly as I could in the mall.  I obviously failed to account for blowouts.

All the while, C held on to with a bit of terror as I exited the mall at a dangerous pace.  As I approached the doors to exit the mall, I realized I’m at the one mall in America that doesn’t have automatic doors.  Instead, the fancy Manhattan Beach shopping village (or whatever the heck they call it),  has huge, heavy glass doors.  I attempted to back out the door, using my ass as leverage while trying to avoid smashing C into the glass behind me.  I violently swing the stroller through the open door and give a sigh a relief.  No sooner had the air left my lips than the dang door swung back into place with such force that it caught my sandal on one of its straps, pulling it from my foot.

I gave a tiny jump, hoping no one sees me almost eat it with a baby in my arms.  I wanted to curse and stamp and start throwing things at the glass! I think I managed a very loud “SSSSSHHHHOOT!” before grabbing my sandal and shoving what I could back on my foot.

I hobbled to the car as quickly as possible.  By the time I reached our aisle, the left half of my foot, where the sandal tore across, feels like it’s on fire.  I snatched the sandal from my foot and decided to risk bare-footing it the rest of the way.

Upon reaching the car I left the stroller, which has what I hope is cookie remnants and not poopy on the seat, behind the car and throw open the doors.

I began pulling things out of the diaper bag with reckless abandon.  Things are literally flying in the backseat of my car.  (On a side note, I couldn’t change him in the nice spacious trunk because it is full of boxes I needed out of the way for staging.) I throw the changing pad down on the seat, which really isn’t all that much space since the car seat is in the middle of the back seat.

Slowly, armed with wipes, I peeled C’s pants off of him and start wiping.  Where to put the dirty pants? The parking lot asphalt looks like a good place to keep it.

While I’m trying to find a place to keep the dirty pants, C has stood up on the seat and is now talking to the head-rest.  He started pulling things out of the diaper bag beside him, littering the area around his feet.  I didn’t want to keep him in this stinky diaper any longer, so I just ignored the mess and got back to changing him.

I pulled the diaper off of him and it was truly horrendous.  I wipe and I wipe and I wipe.  I felt like I was getting no where.  So I wipe and I wipe and I wipe.  I get poopy hand.  Awesome.

As I freak out over the poop on my hand, the diaper I’d been keeping over my son’s front slips out of my fingers.  My little man took this opportunity to pee all over the seat.  He even moved it about, making sure to thoroughly coat the whole area, including all the hats and socks he’d pulled out of the diaper bag earlier.  Then, looking down at the mess he’d made, C pulled the binkie out of his mouth and dropped it directly on top of the soaking pile.

I slapped the diaper on him so fast I would have made a pit crew proud.  I started cleaning the seat.  Wiping and wiping and wiping.  My hysteria level was rising.

I threw some extra shorts on him, tossed C in the car seat, and addressed the atomic fallout that is my back seat.

Unfortunately, I had no disposable diaper bags with me, so frantically, thinking outside the box, I grabbed my bag from an earlier purchase, dumping everything into a mixing bowl I happened to have in my back seat.  Just as my beautiful, new, really-good-deal sweater hits the bowl I remembered.  I remembered that I had used that bowl as a water bowl for Dodger just the day before.  Well DAMN-IT!

It was too late then, so I just went ahead, dropping the dirty clothes, the loaded diaper and wipes, the pee-pee coated clothing all into the bag.

Having rectified the situation as much as I could, I hobble to the stroller, thankful that no one stole my purse while I was  preoccupied.  I tossed the stroller into the car, take a few deep breaths, and hit the road.

C enjoyed the ride home, babbling to me about who knows what, but entertaining himself with his stories, while I slowly simmered in my frustration.

Searching for my own entertainment, I turned on some music and was greeted by some random Incubus song that was 5 minutes of crickets.

Maybe it was a good thing, who knows.  It did force me to focus on the freaking crickets rather than on my hands that still smelled of poopy or the fact that my new sweater was being covered in dog slobber.

I’d like to tell you that by the time we got home I was relaxed and could laugh at the whole thing.  But that would be a lie.

Instead I called my husband at work and yelled at him about my disaster at the mall, ending with a dramatic “DAYS LIKE TODAY ARE THE REASON WE ARE MOVING, SO I NEVER HAVE TO HAVE A DAY ALONE LIKE THIS AGAIN!!!!”

I was very dramatic.

C may not remember that day since he is only 16 months od, but I will remember it forever.   And maybe, now, you will too.

You’re welcome.

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