Monday, March 7, 2011

Project Simplify - Week 1

So, this week's Hot Spot for Project Simplify is the closet, or more generally, your entire wardrobe.  Great.  I've been needing to get motivated to sort through mine.  I have a rare combination of hand-me-downs (my sisters have great taste), maternity clothes, post-maternity clothes, nice clothes for the office in which I no longer work (sniff), and things that I've had since I got married almost 17 years ago (absolutely true.)  Tonight's highlight of this process was a short-sleeved silk sweater that I was on the fence about.  I couldn't decide if I liked it and should wear it more, or if I wouldn't miss it.  I held it up for Ryan's helpful inspection.  "Do you have a gut reaction about this sweater?"  "Yes," he said, "It reminds me of my grandma."

Project: Simplify — Simple Mom

Project: Simplify — Simple Mom   

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Wow – has it actually been two months since I blogged? I keep trying to tell Ryan and the kids that dinner EVERY NIGHT is actually a luxury. Obviously one my readers can ill afford. Sorry.

Another well-baby check-up. They just keep coming.

This time I was sure I would pass – EC has been sitting up, unsupported, for a month – so, way ahead in that developmental milestone and I was confident that would be impressive and earn me a “Good job Mom” pat on the back.

I failed. The doctor observed that she hadn't gained as much weight as we might have expected her to since her last appointment. This is an idictment against me, the person in charge of the food supply. “I'm not too worried,” she said. (This is clearly code for 'Nice job, negligent parent.') I don't think I mentioned how I ditched my previous set of pediatric specialists for a nice, mellow, comfortable set of family practice doctors. They don't even take the baby's temperature. They don't need to – they're THAT good. I like their style, however, and their lack of “judging eyes” (copyright, Linda Branton). My “underweight” baby and I will go back in a month to see how she's gaining. I guess that having significant rolls on your thighs can still mean that you're not eating enough. Would that it were true for the rest of us.

This week I'm starting on a 5-week journey that my favorite blog (well, besides this one, obviously) is calling “Project Simplify” where we are aspiring to make order out of the organizational chaos that is our home. This intrigues me on several levels. That I need to improve my organizational skills should not be a shock to anyone who knows me well. I'm an enigma (a mystery wrapped in a riddle, for those of you who don't watch enough Seinfeld) in that I can come across as being extremely organized, but this is a well constructed facade – behind the scenes there are grocery sacks full of unfiled documents in my closet, expired medications and an old retainer in the bathroom, and moldy cheese in my fridge. I'm usually teetering on the brink of being overwhelmed by my surroundings. So, I'm hopeful that this project will be a breakthrough. The other thing that I'm currently deconstructing is the word “simplify.” It's the buzzword of the day – “Simplify Your Life” is the mantra being recited by domestic gods and goddesses everywhere. Case in point – one of the recent books Ryan and I both read – “The Dirty Life.” The premise: NYC night-life loving, martini-drinking, Tory Burch boot-wearing journalist meets zany but handsome organic farmer who once went an entire year (including a Pennsylvania winter) barefoot. They fall in love and nearly overnight, in real “Green Acres” style she chucks her swell city life and learns to milk cows, butcher her own meat, and make sausage out of blood. She learns to absolutely love her country life and “ta da” - she becomes the poster child for Simplifying Your Life. Everywhere I go people are talking about it and I'll grant you that it does sound charming and satisfying. Until you dig deep and find that it is REALLY HARD and not quite simple at all to pull off. Personal example – I'm trying to make my own baby food. There is nothing simple about this, despite what the books try to make you believe (“just mash up whatever you're eating”). Getting bananas to resemble a soup-like consistency, de-husking your oatmeal, getting the stringy bits out of your green beans – none of it easy. So, in order to do all this life simplification, I think I'm going to have to hire some help. I think that employing servants probably defeats the spirit of the idea, though, so I'm going to have give this a lot more thought. I'm curious to see how simple Project Simplify is going to turn out to be. My idea is to ask my sister, Stacy, to take 5 weeks off from her job, fly out here, organize my home, allow me to pose for the “Before and After” pictures, and then bask in the afterglow of the uber-organized home. For at least three hours. I think that my idea of Simplify is “to not make things harder than they have to be.” Currently not as trendy, but believe me, it will catch on.

At this point, if you are still reading, you're clearly impressed with the genius of this blog. Well, why don't you ask 99,999 of your friends to come and read it and then I can become highly successful and rich and make the Forbes list of the Most Influential Women in Media (only 25 places behind Oprah)? Apparently that's what happened to the woman known in the blogosphere as “” Have you read her? Basically she writes about her husband and kids – vomiting, dry cleaning, home repairs, etc – and it's great enough for 100,000 a day to follow her. And a million and a half on Twitter. Amazing. And she only has two kids. Think of it – I have twice the fodder that she does – it should be so easy to surpass her achievements. I think I'll start my empire with the story of how a kind gentleman at the grocery store was helpful enough to point out to me that EC had just spit up down the front of the Moby Wrap. This had gone unnoticed by me, as I was trying to figure out what, in my grocery cart, was leaking. That's a million-dollar story, don't you think?

Incidentally, I'm thinking of starting to “Tweet” - what do you think?

Oldmom: “snowing in Ithaca”

Oldmom: “I think the cat threw up in the basement”

Oldmom: “snowing in Ithaca”

See you next time. If you haven't all abandoned me for Stick with me and you'll be able to say you knew me back when I was just a humble Old Mom, cleaning up after the cat.