Sunday, October 24, 2010

Make It Yours

I am just so delighted over a new blog find: Making It Lovely.  I happened upon it after a recent saunter through Apartment Therapy, initiated because Raph has his sights set on a new home and the odds seem in his favor this time around.  (I know, I know, it isn't technically my house, but we all know I love a good project!  Not to mention something to obsess over.)  So, in the spirit of obsession, pictures anyone?

Street view!  Ain't it cute?

For fear of jinxing anything, I won't post anymore.  This is, after all, someone else's home.  It is older and needs a little love in the cosmetic department, but just look at all that green grass!  :::sigh:::

In any case, helping with the house-hunting has had me daydreaming again about decor and design, and all the nifty things people can do with very little money and a limited floor plan.  Making it Lovely follows Nicole and her quest to transform a small 1920s bungalow into a perfectly-designed paradise!  A reminder, my friends, that your home doesn't have to look like a model when you buy it.  Plus, the more beat-up it is, the more excuse you have to make it your own.

Speaking of making it your own, I am in love with this tiny place too!

Ta ta for now...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Coffee and Brownies


Image taken from celinabean.com

Mmm... coffee and brownies for the second morning in a row.  I am so healthy.  Today, I'm sitting on my porch, enjoying the 65-degree morning and the sound of the fountain in my backyard.  Sadly, it is a backyard I share with the many others who live in these condos, but since most are gone for the summer and fall, I  have it to myself much of the time.

Brownies are not my typical choice for the breakfast of a champion (ha!), but I hosted a little game night on Friday, and somehow what was leftover were the brownies.  Fudgey, nutty, chocolaty goodness.  So I've been putting them to good use.  My ham and pickle rolls were mostly demolished, along with the stuffed cherry tomatoes.  Perhaps I should share those recipes... we'll see if I get to it.

On to more important things: my sad, poor, lonely little blog!  How I have missed you!  Somehow I have been busy with a billion other things and just haven't had the time to swing by to see you.  Some of the things I have been busy with:

  • Trip to Las Vegas
  • Recovery from trip to Las Vegas
  • Crazy busy weeks at work
  • Joining Raph on the quest to obtain an unobtainable home, auction and all
  • Making jewelry but experiencing terrible bouts of crafter's block
Also, we took a trip to Miami last weekend to see Raph's aunt who is in the hospital.  As of yesterday, things were looking up, which we are oh so thankful for!  We ask for prayers for her recovery and for her wonderful family.  They are sweet people, and it was great to see them all together last weekend.

We had the pleasure of hearing Del Tackett speak at church last weekend, and Richard Land the weekend before.  When I hear such intelligent people speak, I get to longing for the classroom setting that I despised so very much while I was in it.  Funny how life works.

If you're unfamiliar with Dr. Tackett and Dr. Land, click the links to go to their sites.  They are men of the same faith but quite differing dispositions.  I was just perusing Dr. Land's sight and I noticed he joined Glenn Beck for his rally in September.  I chuckled to myself over this, because while he was speaking at our church, he mentioned reading the documents actually written by people like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.  I nudged Raph and whispered, "it's just like Glenn Beck!"  Beck is constantly urging us to read primary sources, which I think is brilliant regardless of your political stance.  We have less to filter that way, and frankly more room to draw our own conclusions.  I have yet to pick up a copy of Common Sense, although I do have tomorrow off...

What have I picked up a copy of, you ask?  US Banker's October edition, which highlights "The 25 Most Powerful Women in Banking."  Apparently there was some sort of printing error, because I am not featured.  Maybe next year.  What caught my eye was actually the sense of style that most of these women seem to share, which is so pleasing since people typically assume banking and fashion don't quite intermingle.  After I got over scrutinizing every bead on every bracelet and every button on every suit, I began to read the articles which were equally as interesting.  You're wondering where I'm going with this...

Life is full of all sorts of little tidbits.  You gather them up, and most are forgotten or lingering somewhere in the back of your mind.  But every once in a while, some of the tidbits link together.  When that happens, you get opinions, or at the very least, affirmations of opinions.  The topic lately has been America and the political arena, on voting and why it is important.  Richard Land spoke about the likelihood of fatherless children ending up in jail, which is significantly higher than children coming from married-parent households.  Fatherhood.org has some interesting statistics on the subject if you care to read.  I understand that sometimes statistics can be skewed, and I also understand that life happens.  I don't think Dr. Land was blaming anyone, but he was pointing out an interesting fact.  It is nice to have a father figure.  I like mine, at least.

So as I was reading US Banker, I happened upon an article written by Myrah H. Strober entitled, "Work-Life Balance: Men Want It, Too."  My stomach churned a little, wondering what this article would entail.  Need I reference my first-ever post about the Shriver Report?  Strober tells me:

The first phases of the workplace revolution focused on women, and it is still unfinished.  But a new development is that talented men have also become stakeholders in this revolution.

Okay... I'm down with that...

In 1970, less than half of adult women were in the labor force.  Today that figure is almost 60 percent.  For mothers of children under 18, it is even higher, 71 percent.  And for women with a college education, it is 80 percent.

Women's earnings have also increased, even when adjusted for inflation... On the home front, married men and women now divide housework about one-third/two-thirds, and married parents divide caring for and playing with children in about the same ratio... Moreover, the number of hours that fathers and mothers together devote to caring for and playing with their children has increased by 40 percent.

And not all children are raised in two parent homes.  Single parents now head up 30 percent of families with children, up from about 13 percent in 1970.

Hmmm.  The whole point of Strober's article is that companies need to tailor their workplace policies to meet the needs of an evolving American family life.  As though the evolution is inevitable.  As though it is a good thing.  I'm sure that my opinions of women in the workplace may differ from many who are part of the Dr. Land clan, but I do recognize that womens' growing independence has changed the American family.  I like working, and I wouldn't like to give up working.  I like the feeling of being productive and contributing to a team.  Maybe being a housewife could accomplish that for me.  But I doubt it.

My point here is that Strober highlights the growth of single-parent homes almost as a good thing, as evidence of a strength we have perfected in this country.  The strength of going-it-alone.  And she glorifies it by asking for workplace policies to change to encompass it.  Wouldn't that foster it?  Even, encourage it?

Before you send me hate-mail outlining why it is hard to be a single parent and why we should always try to help people who are trying to make it in this crazy, mixed-up world, let me emphasize that I do not have an answer.  I am merely saying that the more we cater to the "evolving way that things just are," the more we accept the evolution.  The more we change our morals without even realizing it.  It's like my Granny says, and like my Mom always reminds me that my Granny says: over time, everything just becomes okay.  Over time, something that would never have been accepted 100 years ago, becomes commonplace today.  Some people view that as an accomplishment.  I view it as something entirely different.  At some point it becomes easier to go with the flow than to fight against.  Easier to spare someones feelings than to tell them they're wrong.

What if instead of adding policies to help single parents, workplaces offered counseling to married couples?  What if we put policies in place that strive to preserve the two-parent family? 

By the way, in the October edition of US Banker, there is also an ad for Jones New York that says this:

"Women as half of all workers changes everything." - "The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation" , Study by Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress.  Jones New York.  Empowering Your Confidence.

There are four women pictured in black suits with amazing jewelry and expensive handbags.  I can just hear their heels hitting the floor...

Maybe now I should go do something empowering, like write the next great American novel or find the cure for cancer (Gator Nation, anyone?). 

Or maybe I will enjoy another cup of coffee and a brownie.

followers.