A few good gems: Saturday edition


A big hello from Saturday! It's a beautiful Fall-ish day here and football is on the agenda. I had intended to post these links earlier, in the wee hours of Saturday morning. But then I got a wild hair to get some exercise in first  . . . I swear, sometimes from deep in the crevices of middle age, I hardly recognize myself. But now . . . I'm back. So, without further ado . . . here are a few good gems:

Take this personality test. I'm a INTJ, which reportedly is rare for a woman and comprises only 0.8% of the population. If you are also an INTJ, please email me. I think I might need a support group.

How to make the perfect scrambled egg. I have scrambled eggs nearly every morning, and my technique is similar. My husband likes his eggs dry. We've agreed to disagree.

I'm hoping to get these simple shelves up in Jordan's room. Crossing my fingers the husband will help!

I recently re-stumbled onto this excellent article about finding meaning and happiness. It's a good read.

And . . . we all love Billy Collins. The Atlantic recently published an article in which Collins talks about the joy in a memorized poem -- what he calls "the pleasure of companionship."

Check out this incredible linguistic family tree. Anyone know where I can buy a print of this?

Do you know why we carve pumpkins at Halloween? The legend is explained here (note: not exactly a warm, fuzzy bedtime story!).

That's it folks. Have a lovely weekend. Eat some french toast for me!


A few good gems

It's good to be back! I've had a number of pages open on my browser just waiting for 'A Few Good Gems,' so I'm ready and raring to go. Another thing . . . I decorated for Halloween this week. I didn't go all out, but I did pull together a black and white mantel and draped my front door with that crafty mesh stuff (I'm a mesh first-timer) and giant spiders. I sort of forced myself to decorate, figuring that I might "enjoy the moment" more if I worked on celebrating the seasons. You know, doing my "normal" thing. And so far? It makes me happy to see those big, furry spiders every time I pull into the driveway. Try it. You might like it.

The boys are camping tonight, and Becca is going to her high school football game, so that just leaves me and . . . well . . . me. I'm thinking yoga pants, ice cream, and a good book. Or maybe I'll chain watch Criminal Minds on Netflix. Yep, it's all excitement and glamour up in here. Or maybe I'll just mindlessly surf the Internet all the night long. Here are a few good places to start:

I'm still on the fence about the whole craft mesh phase, but if you are interested in trying it out, look here.

While we are on Halloween deco, I also made this wreath. It was sort of fun and sort of torturous. It's like I'm forcing myself to craft against my will.

Have you read "Dear Girls, Life is Too Short for Crappy Friends" ? It's a must read. I love what Thomas writes about friends -- how quality is far more important than quantity. She assures us that people will "spend their last days wishing they spent more time focusing on becoming their best self and giving their gifts to others, rather than worrying if everyone is at Applebee’s laughing hysterically without them." Amen, sista.

The magical kindnesses of J. K. Rowling.

A fascinating article on the first child diagnosed with Autism in the United States. His story is oddly comforting and makes me want to move to small-town Texas and live across the street from the Dairy Queen. (But I'm weird that way.)

What a Middle School Boy Needs Most. Mine seems to need lots of Chickfila.

Caramel Apple Pecan Bars. I NEED these. Stat.

via  callmepmc

I picked up the novel Good Kings Bad Kings this week . . . on a whim at Target. It's about a group of disabled teens living in a residential facility -- pretty interesting so far (but also kind of dark). I'll give a report next week.

That's it folks. Have a beautiful weekend. Sleep in. Eat ice cream. Treat yourself kindly. And we'll be back next week . . .

A few good gems

Image via  Lizzy Gadd

Image via Lizzy Gadd

Sorry for the light posting as of late. As Annie mentioned earlier, things have been hectic in both of our households, and sometimes we need to step away from the computer to deal with real life (and real-life assignments). But fear not! I have gems for you today. They are bright and shiny and full of the hope O' the Internet. You know, that feeling that YOU COULD DO THAT. I feel that from time to time, and then I wander back over to my Netflix queue. But you! You could do it! I just feel it.

"Don't Dismiss the Humanities" --  "Our world is enriched when coders and marketers dazzle us with smartphones and tablets, but, by themselves, they are just slabs. It is the music, essay, entertainment and provocations that they access, spawned by the humanities, that animate them and us." Yeah! Power to the humanities!

I'm in awe of this back to school picnic. In days of yore I made a special first-day-of-school dinner, complete with a school bus cake (some years it was a pencil). I'm thinking I'll resurrect this tradition for this year. 

You can buy this nifty headboard at Urban Outfitters. But the DIY geek that lives deep inside me whispers, "You can do this." I'm thinking . . . guest room refresh.


I made this Simple Summertime Basil Chicken Curry with Coconut Ginger-Lime Rice for dinner this week. It was soooo good. Even though the recipe is simple, it definitely required more time than I generally like to spend on weeknight cooking. On the upside? It made tons of leftovers, so it was time well spent.

I'll admit I'm pretty taken with The Property Brothers. The New York Times gives an inside look at their life and their home in Las Vegas.

Have you listened to (and watched the video) for Meghan Trainor's "All About that Bass"? It's catchy and I have to say I'm thrilled with the message: "Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top." (There is some, ahem, language . . . so beware).

Like many of you, I was deeply saddened by the death of Robin Williams. (I've watched Dead Poet's Society twice in the last week.) I've read lots of online tributes, which all seem to focus on the generosity of Robin Williams -- how buoyed up those around him. I thought this series of tweets by Norm MacDonald was a poignant look into William's special type of contribution.

That's it folks. Monday morning? SCHOOL. 


A few good gems

Greeting friends. It's August 1st! The day of the return of Diet Coke. I'm already anticipating that tingly, refreshing goodness. Other than that, I'm hoping for a productive weekend. I finally got all of my drapes up in the living room, but they still need to be hemmed, and I have a tall pile of books to plow through -- a task I'm greatly looking forward to. Just a handful of weekends left before school takes over, so let's seize the day! Also, could someone make my house look like the picture below? Thanks in advance.

The New York Times has an article that addresses anxiety in teens. It focuses primarily on brain development and is fairly scientific (rather than anecdotal), but it's a worthwhile read if you feel your teen is struggling in this area.

A great collection of New Yorker stories. We only have three months to read them! And then a pay wall goes up. (I detest pay walls.)

I'm ruminating on this idea of nothing as actually being something. Hey, it's time to try new things. "Summer holidays and the tao of doing nothing."

Are you guys following the Ebola epidemic in Liberia? It's heartbreaking and scary.

I'm working on (in my mind) a roman shade for a small window at the back of my kitchen. This tutorial looks good for the full monty, but I don't really need it to be operable . . . so I'm thinking about attempting this no-sew version.

Photo clipboards: I like the idea of hanging these and then changing out pictures.

via livelaughrowe.com

via livelaughrowe.com

I'm 43, and still I'm a sucker for a friendship bracelet. These look quick and do-able.

via the  purlbee

via the purlbee

That's it, folks! Happy weekending.

A few good gems

Good morning Friday! This week has passed so quickly -- what with tending my ailing husband and all. We don't really have any weekend plans, which sounds absolutely fabulous to my weary bones. I think some sleeping-in is called for AND some organizing. I'm feeling the pull to get my house in order. Sometimes enough is enough when it comes to clutter and half-finished projects ALL OVER YOUR HOUSE. Also, there will be weed pulling. Blech.

Meanwhile, relax, have a Diet Coke for me (since I can't), and enjoy the bounteous offerings of ye olde Internet.

Read this!!! "A Call to Womanhood: The Outrageously Outraged" by Meg in Progress. Ladies, we need an action plan with this one. I feel like I've been on both sides of this situation -- and neither of them felt good. 

Ann Cannon's "Having a body talk with 'My Teenage Self'" is a much needed call to enjoy our physical bodies in all of their imperfections. (Except she says it better and makes it more interesting.)

I'm seriously considering making some pet pop art. It's sorta cool and our dog really is awesome.

Do you know what mansplaining is? I didn't, but it describes a phenomenon I'm all too familiar with. It's actually when a man speaks to a woman with the understanding that he knows more about a particular topic BECASUE of her gender. Like that one time, when I was in an academic discussion, and I gave an impassioned defense of my argument, and a male professor blurted out "My! Isn't she fiesty!" Something like that! Ugh! Read about it here

"Nine Simple Things You Can Do to Be a Happier, Healthier Person" Yes. All of these please.

I do enjoy this Fireworks Wall Stencil as featured on Little Green Notebook. I have wall coverings on the brain.

Books to read when you are stressed. David Sedaris shared this list on Facebook. But then I realized that's because his book is top o' the list. Gotta love David.

I'm off for a few hours of work before the weekend. Wish me luck!!

A few good gems

Happy Fourth of July!! We've got one kiddo flying in today, so we aren't starting our official festivities until the evening. But I'm thinking strawberries and blueberries for breakfast count for something. Right? If you have a spare moment between barbecues and swim parties, here are a few good gems for your perusing pleasure.

I love this short interview with Indra K. Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo. She's pretty sure that women can't have it all, and I tend to agree. She explains, "If you ask our daughters, I'm not sure they will say that I've been a good mom." Read the whole interview because there is a funny story about when her mom frankly told her the straight-up facts of being a woman. (Thanks to my sister Jennifer for this link.)

I'm listening to this podcast by David Sedaris. Of course it's funny.

This article in The Atlantic takes on the subject of missing mothers from classic children's fiction and animated movies. "Bambi's mother, shot. Nemo's mother, eaten by a barracuda. Lilo's mother, killed in a car crash. Koda's mother in Brother Bear, speared. Po's mother in Kung Fu Panda 2, done in by a power-crazed peacock. Ariel's mother in the third Little Mermaid, crushed by a pirate ship. Human baby's mother in Ice Age, chased by a saber-toothed tiger over a waterfall." WHY? Here's a guess -- "Mothers are killed so fathers can take over. And when plucky kids and plucky dads join forces, it looks like fun." Ummmmm. How rude.

Fourteen signs your not allergic to gluten. (I'm like the guy listed under "you and gluten will always be together.")

I made this garlic butter shrimp with quinoa for dinner last night. Super easy and super yummy.


Working on living this sentiment . . . watching my pile of good things grow. So . . . I'm off to my pile of weeds in the back yard, which, with a little luck, will be completely eradicated within the hour. Happy 4th everyone!


A few good gems

Welcome to the weekend, friends! Today starts my kids' three-week winter school holiday and we're gearing up as a family to go spend a few days in a warmer place. I'm hoping for a spot that makes me feel like this painting does (ahhhhhh....):

Kevin Fitzgerald, "Island Dream"

Kevin Fitzgerald, "Island Dream"

I found these lovely words today:

So to you, Friend, I confide my secret:
to be a discoverer you hold close whatever
you find, and after a while you decide
what it is. Then, secure in what you have been,
you turn to the open sea and let go.
- William Stafford

. . .

I'm bookmarking this reading list for the weekend: a collection of long form articles of several childhood heroes, including Fred Rogers, LaVar Burton, Bill Watterson.

Are you fitbitting? I loved David Sedaris's New Yorker article this week on Living the Fitbit Life.

I nominate Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone for coolest couple of the week. I just want to know how to get my favorite charity on their next signs...

A commencement speech spoof for those of us from the Class of Some Time Ago

I think these paper hot air balloons could be a fun project, either as a mobile or as singles in different sizes. (Or what about a LAUNCH party when your child leaves for college?)

hot air balloon mobile.JPG

I think this may be a crepe weekend. I have to admit I've not had the best luck mastering the art of the crepe but I think I'm almost there.  Let's be honest, I just need to find the best nutella delivery vehicle possible.

I loved Jessica's post a while ago about helping her family figure out their love languages. Even though my kids are technically past the children's book target age, I think this kind of discussion could work really well with any age. (I know what we're doing for our next family night.) 

Okay, over and out everyone. Have a wonderful, safe, relaxing, exciting (take your pick) weekend!

(p.s. Sorry for the quirky formatting today. After I put in the poem, the fonts went crazy.)