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Got Time For A Quick Gaga Story?

I am very lucky to be the caregiver to all four of my grandchildren while their parents work.

Three of the four are in school full time, so I don’t have a lot of time with them. Lexi (or Lulu, to me!) is in pre-school three days a week, so we have two days that Lulu calls “guhl’s days” –  or “girl’s” days.

We do a lot of different things – watch movies, do workbooks and puzzles, practice her ABCs and writing, go to her ballet class, she cooks for me in her little kitchen, we go shopping, and sometimes we just play.

One day last week we’d been playing princess. Lulu put her new “Ariel” crown on me and laughed and laughed.

SO, we finished our playing, had a little bite to eat then headed out to run a few errands.

First on our list was a visit to the credit union.

I walked up to the first available teller (a young lady I’ve known for years, and loves to visit with my grandkids when they come in with me) and she smiled and said, “well, hello there your majesty!” I caught a glimpse of myself in the glass, and I was still wearing the crown!

One of the nice things about being old is that things like that don’t phase you at all. I laughed and acted like I wear it all the time, and Lulu giggled and giggled. I took a selfie of the two us and asked her why she didn’t tell me I was still wearing the crown. She said, “It looks pretty!”

Ha! I think she’s right! Princess Gaga. I like it.

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This Is What Crazy Looks Like

It’s December. Three days in, to be precise. Now is NOT the time to think of 25 projects I want to do, but here I am.

My house looks like a bomb went off in it.

The trees are up (all four of them) but only two are decorated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hit a wall with getting the big tree done when I couldn’t find the decorative lights that compliment the twinkle lights. What the heck? There are only so many places I could have put them, and they aren’t in any of them, so I suspect I thought they were getting old and needed to be replaced, so I tossed them last year. That’s my working theory, anyway. I have no recollection of doing it, but I can’t come up with another explanation.

Well, except that I can’t find the bows for the travel tree, or the grownup kid’s Christmas stockings either, so there might be a missing box. But how is that possible? I always put the Christmas decor away in the same place, and it’s not there. If there even is one. I guess I need to count this year.

I could have just gotten on with decorating the tree and skipped the extra lights, but that’s so not me. By the time I came to the conclusion I was not going to find them and needed to buy new ones, it was too late yesterday, so it went on the list for today. Half the weekend gone. And the towers of boxes glared at me.

This morning I headed out to buy lights and get my toes done, but I got sidetracked after the lights were purchased (I do love them, even though they aren’t exact replicas of the ones that went on a walk-about.)

So as I sit here tonight, I’m not much further along than I was yesterday (and my pedicure is so bad I had to wear closed toe shoes to go to Josh’s basketball game!) But I DID force myself to empty the boxes so I can see what I have to work with.

And I got the Nativity Set up. I’ve never found the perfect one until this year – Lori Mitchell’s skinny legged kids…I’m in love with it!

And yet the desire to make something is burning strong.

We went to a neighborhood social gathering last night, and I met the hostess, who it turns out is a “beader,” like me. She introduced me to Robert Redford’s “Sundance” catalog, with it’s eclectic curation of clothing, home decor and jewelry. She gets many of her ideas from it, and flipping through it, I just wanted to rush home and get my beads out. But no can do.

There are decorations to get up, advent boxes to be finished, A family Christmas letter to get written, cards to address, decluttering in advance of getting my new flooring in (which is its own nightmare!) And, oh, yeah, shopping yet to be done…

I joke that I get my best work done when I’m under incredible pressure. I hope it’s still true, because time is flying and I keep adding things I need to do instead of subtracting them.

Tomorrow I take the littles to school, then I have a few hours at home with no Mr. Tattered, and I’m going to try to be super productive. No excuses. But those toes DO need to get fancied up. No, no, no. I can’t allow for even the possibility. Toes must remain a mess until the decorating is complete. For sure. Ish.

 

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The Trouble With Fudge…

I know, weird post, huh?

My family LOVES fudge. Especially my recipe.

Store bought from those little candy stores you find in tourist areas will do in a pinch, but it’s not optimal.

I’ve been thinking about fudge a lot this year. And not in a good way. I have a love/hate relationship with it. And, as we approach the holidays, I bounce back and forth between the two.

I usually make it at Thanksgiving, and again at Christmas. Once thoughts turn to the Winter Holidays, it always gets mentioned (right along with Advent Calendars) as something to be looked forward to. This year Hannah even requested it for her birthday (instead of a cake!) and I responded with a resounding “NO!”

I sorta hate that I did this to them. But it’s one of those traditional things passed down from generation to generation I can’t seem to let go of. My mom made it every year, and her recipe rocked (although I HAVE tinkered with it just a bit – those of you who know me well know I am incapable of following a recipe to the letter – I HAVE to improvise a bit!)

So what’s the big deal, you ask?

For starters, it has little redeeming value. I mean, I suppose I could argue that chocolate isn’t all that bad, (except that it’s not dark chocolate) and there ARE nuts in it, which are healthy fats AND have some protein, but it would be a reach. For all intents and purposes it’s a bunch of fat and sugar. Irresistible fat and sugar, I might add. We’ve taken to calling it “legal crack,” an obvious reference to it’s powerful addictive quality. It just tastes SOOOOOOOO good.

Sugar is toxic, and although there is no possibility I will EVER exorcise it from my diet completely, I am trying to reduce it significantly, through a combination of less sugary choices, and smaller serving sizes. And as the family child care provider, I am TRYING to limit the intake by the munchkins.

Since reducing the sugar content is not possible in this case, smaller serving size is the responsible choice. But not everyone is able to handle this particular “crack” responsibly. And so I feel guilty, knowing I am serving the people I love, something so bad, so irresistible, in the name of “family tradition.” I cringe at the thought of little hands grabbing multiple pieces throughout the day.

But the grown ups can decide for their own children, and monitor their intake, should they choose to. Who am I to decide for them, right?  I’m so conflicted.

At this writing, I have a plan. I had already decided Christmas only. I’m sticking with that.

AND, I normally make two batches, one for nut lovers, and one for nut haters. This year I’m going to make just one, and divide it in two, 3/4 nuts, 1/4 no nuts (there are more nut lovers, than nut haters.) Hopefully they’ll see this and start making the mental adjustment now.

And the guilt starts kicking in. Guilty about making the decision to reduce supply for them, and guilty for going for full-fledged indulgence. I can’t win for losing. Between a rock and hard place. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t.

But in the absence of fudge, there’s always pies, cookies…

What’s a wife/mom/Gaga to do? Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Welcome to my world, where there is always SOMETHING to fret about!

 

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A Permanent Condition?

My washi obsession may just be a permanent condition. I can’t seem to get it under control. The more I use, the more I need, the more I buy, the more I use…It’s a vicious cycle.

When last we discussed the issue, I was up to 10 boxes, and swearing I was going to try not to buy any more.

Ha! Did you believe me, even for a minute?

I OBVIOUSLY can’t be trusted.

Now I’m up to 14.

In my own defense (yes, we addicts must defend ourselves) not all 14 are full. Only 8 are completely full, 4 have a row or 2 full, and 2 are COMPLETELY empty. Even after adding the last 4 tubes (Which were on sale for $6.00 off regular price and WHO can be expected to pass that up?)

 

 

I’m still freaking that I may need more, and live in dread I won’t be able to find them (total 1st world problem.) I’m not going to promise I won’t indulge in a few more. In fact, as we speak, I’m thinking I should probably get on-line and search them out. Would a total of 20 and THAT’S IT FOREVER, be completely out of line? I have to have an even number (OCD kicking in) so if more than 14, it would need to be 16, 18 or 20, and 16 and 18 seem so random. 20 is a nice round number, but then 24 is an even 2 dozen. Hmmm. What to do, what to do…

I can totally justify this because I’m using so much, and it looks so cool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah, well, I can justify almost anything when it comes to buying art supplies, but I don’t have to think very hard to come up with an excuse on this one! Heeheehee!

Now I’m thinking I need more stamps…BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Justifying THAT is a little more problematic, but I’m working on it.

***Editing to reflect that I DID get on-line and cannot find them ANYWHERE. Queen & Co. has discontinued them, and everyone I knew of that carried them are OUT. Can’t even find them used on eBay. It’s a sad day in Tatterednwornworld.

 

 

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Lindsay’s Fall Fling

I was in desperate need of a “creative day,” and Lindsay stepped up to the plate with the offer of a Lettering Class/play day at her house!

Who is Lindsay, you ask? She is Lindsay Ostrom, an extraordinary lettering artist. I met her many years ago at CHA when I was buying for the scrapbook section of my store, and she had a line of products she sold to the industry. Fast forward about 15 years and we re-connected through Facebook. Since then I’ve been a pretty good customer for her art, and we’ve become “actual” friends in real life.

It had been on my calendar for WEEKS and I was so excited I could hardly stand it.

It didn’t even really matter WHAT we were doing (heeheehee! I never even asked!) I just knew that whatever Lindsay would plan would be tons of fun, and I HAD to go!

The hour-long drive was a little daunting in the rain. In the back of my mind I was afraid the rain would turn to snow, but even that couldn’t dampen my enthusiasm. There was an awful accident going the opposite direction on I80, but I sucked it up. I COULDN’T let a little weather cheat me out of the fun.

I arrived just a little late, and everything looked so cute!

The table was decorated in fall motif (well, of course, it was “Fall Fling” after all!) complete with party favors!

And the work table was even cuter, each place set with a special folder full of fun instructions, decorated with our names in yummy Lindsay fashion.

Our first project was a monogram surrounded by Lindsay flowers. Before working on the actual project, we practiced a bit. (Yes, even me, in spite of the fact that I HATE to practice!) I was slow as molasses in January, constantly second-guessing myself, but I at least got it to the point where you could see what I was doing before it was time to move on to the next project. That means HOMEWORK. What are the chances? I suspect Linz isn’t going to let me slide by without finishing it!

 

Next up was lunch. Linz made sliders, mac and cheese and fruit, so we retired to the kitchen to wolf it down before getting back to work!

The afternoon project was a wooden sign for Fall. I opted to make mine a tree-topper for my Thanksgiving tree, and actually completed it. Lindsay offered a few suggestions along the way, and it turned out pretty darn cute if I do say so myself!

 

All too soon it was 3pm and time to head back down the hill. Never has a day gone by so quickly.

I haven’t worked on my homework yet (I will, I promise!) but I have gotten my journal page for the day almost done!

And my special sign is adorning the tree!

 

And I have about a dozen ideas for other projects that the class inspired. Oh, GREAT! Just what I need, more ideas!

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Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

By this point, we were beat. But we didn’t give up. This was supposed to be the largest concentration of elephants we’d see, and we couldn’t wait to get out there.

And then there were these super cool trees we’d been hearing about, the Baobab tress.

So, off we went! Or at least, I went, the 1st day. Mr. Tattered wasn’t feeling well, so he opted to stay in camp. He joined me the 2nd day.

We didn’t see any new animals in this park, but they weren’t kidding about the number of elephants. We saw lots and lots. And since we weren’t chasing all over trying to see specific animals, I took a little more time to stop for photos, and spend more time just watching.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The giraffes were equally amazing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dwarf mongoose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baobab trees…

 

Until the very last day, we were not really bothered by insects. But in Tarangire, there were the most annoying flies. I got bit over and over and over, to the point where I went a little cray-cray. I was swinging a towel wildly trying to kill them, and FINALLY got one. We laughed and laughed.

My favorite photo of this area was at the watering whole. I couldn’t believe how many animals there were hanging around.

 

And so we wind up our trip to Africa. It was the best trip we never want to take again!

From there we flew to Amsterdam where we spent 5 days “recuperating” before heading home. Amsterdam is my new favorite city in the world (for now.)

Manyara Lake

Thanks for checking in on yet another area of Tanzania, Africa.

Manyara Lake.

This place was bird heaven. We saw monkeys, and elephants, and wildebeests and other assorted mammals, but by far, the birds were the stars of this show. I would be willing to bet we saw MILLIONS. And the variety? It was just incredible.

Enjoy just a few…

This was our first inkling we were about to see something amazing…

And then we got to the lake…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s challenging to get good photos of birds because they won’t hold still (silly things!) so we truly saw SOOOOOOOOO much more than what I’m showing you. Trust me on this, it was incredible!

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