Friday, November 27, 2009

Some Words of Inspiration

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. - Wayne Dyer

While perusing the myriad Black Friday ads that had been sent to my email box, I came across the above quote in an ad by a company that specializes in scrapbooking supplies. It had been placed in the Community section of the ad. It seemed rather odd to find this quote there since it apparently has no relevance to scrapbooking or sales in general so it grabbed my attention. I am familiar with Dr. Wayne Dyer as a motivational speaker and author of self-help books and am a fan of his philosophy. Seeing his quote on this ad gave me pause to give this vendor a second look. After all, if the vendor subscribes to the principles espoused by Wayne Dyer, maybe it's a good company to do business with.

Hmmm, maybe the quote does have some relevance to sales after all.

Ballo ergo sum,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

A Great Thanksgiving

I sit here in a post-Thanksgiving food coma, my stomach bulging and my mind reliving the great day I had today with my family.

I woke up late in the morning because I had gone to bed early in the morning...6:15 AM to be precise. I was up late writing blog entries and creating a card for my daughter's 17th birthday. The day I gave birth to her happened to be Thanksgiving day and this was the first time her birthday and the holiday fell on the same day in a long time so this Thanksgiving was extra-special.

She had prepared a list of things she wanted for her birthday, most of which concerned food. She wanted a special meal, she wanted her favorite treats, some funky socks and the latest books in the series she is reading. Between my sister and I, we managed to give her everything that was on her list and then some. My son surprised her with a red velvet cake, my mom made her special Jello mold, a family favorite and I ordered the gourmet Italian cookies that she (and I) love. There were desserts galore. My daughter felt very special and said that this birthday ranked among her top birthdays of all time.

The day was special for me, too, in a variety of ways. For one thing, I didn't have to stress over making a tremendous meal for a large number of people. I cooked just for the four of us. Getting the house ready for guests was not a frenzy of cleaning and polishing. Because I had been cleaning a little here and there over a few weeks, it was a matter of a little light dusting, a quick sweeping, a fresh set of towels and temporarily hiding the clutter. The best thing of all was that my husband cooperated without my having to say a word and my son did what was asked of him the first time it was asked. Wow! That rarely happens. After dinner we immediately cleaned up and put the extra food away. By the time my parents and my sister's family arrived, my dishes were in the dishwasher, my kitchen was clean and everything was so neat you'd never know there had been a grand dinner there only half an hour before. And I managed to do this without breaking a sweat or rushing around like a madwoman. The dessert phase was more of the same. Everything ran like clockwork from set up to goodbyes and final cleanup. My kitchen was again spic and span in less than half an hour and all the goodies had been safely packed away.

I don't even know how I managed to do it. I just seemed to flow from one thing to the next without a worry. Wish I could figure out that magic formula and bottle it. I'm hoping for some more of that mojo to carry through the rest of this holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Ballo ergo sum,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Physician, Heal Thyself

It is sometimes said that we teach that which we most need to learn. It would appear that I am a sterling example of that saying. I recently commented to a friend of mine that I was considering offering my services as a housekeeper in an effort to make a little money on the side while accommodating my freelance schedule. One would think that the housekeeper's home would be spic and span. Well, in this house that is not the case.

It's not that I'm a lousy housekeeper. Far from it, but let's face it... housework is drudge work, especially when there are four people living here and only one person doing the really dirty work. True, my children do have chores but they only accomplish the absolute bare minimum necessary to keep me from witholding privileges and generally making their lives miserable. As a result, the little things are left undone. Like the corners on the floors that hold on to all manner of dirt and debris. Like the laundry that gets folded but never distributed so it languishes in the laundry basket for days. Like the dishes that get washed but the dirty sink is never scoured. I could go on and on. Then there are those things that you look at everyday but don't see really see or perhaps you just look right through them as if they aren't there, like the dust that accumulates on the top edges of tall furniture, door frames and ceiling fan blades, yada yada yada. I won't even touch the issues of pet hair, oven cleaning and freezer defrosting. Those things are just downright depressing.

After a while those little things add up to one big load of dust and dirt. And as is the nature of housework, it doesn't stay done. As soon as you clean something it gets used or dirtied again and the cycle begins all over again. It's enough to make me insane so I take an approach that helps me retain some semblance of sanity...I ignore the mess. But that tactic only takes me but so far. The day always comes when, in a fit of misdirected energy, I'll begin to clean something and then something else until, before I realize it, I've opened up a housekeeping hornet's nest. It happened to me today. That's when I took stock and really looked at my house. I looked into the corners, on the ledges, at the windows and mirrors, into those little used areas that seem to welcome dust with open arms, and I'm disgusted. Disgusted and embarrassed at the sad state of my own home. How did I think I could clean someone else's home when my own is in such a shameful state?

Upon careful thought, I realized why cleaning someone else's house appeals to me more than my own. It's because after I have done the work, I can leave while it's still clean and I don't have to be around to see it get dirty again. I can enjoy the illusion that I have accomplished something worthwhile and not have to watch that oh-so-clean house of cards tumble down. Of course I know that the residents of the house are going to use and dirty whatever I have cleaned. I just don't have to watch it.

I've recently been doing quite a bit of cleaning around my home, specifically those things I tend to look through and not directly at. Who knew so much dust could collect on the top of a ceiling fan blade? You'd think the movement of the fan would be enough to keep the dust off but apparently not. My other recent cleaning attacks include the grout between the kitchen floor tiles, the mildew on the bathtub caulking, the dust in between the stair rails and the etageres that hold my plants. This is not even the tip of my housecleaning iceberg. This amounts to a mere snowflake.

I would still like to do some freelance housekeeping but first I've got to take stock of my own mess, at least a small part of it. While I'm doing so, I'm going to pay attention to what I'm doing, how I'm doing it and looking for ways to do it better and faster. That way when I do get that first housekeeping job, I'll come across as a professional instead of a harried housewife looking for some pocket change. If nothing else, my home should look great for the holidays.

Holidays? Oh no, that reminds me...I'm still finding bits of last New Year's Eve confetti. Here we go again.

Ballo ergo sum,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva