A Train Table Gets A Second Life

 

Balcony seat before1

There has been some debate in my family as to who actually built this train table for my twins when they were little, but I’m sticking to my guns in saying it was my brother, R. If it wasn’t him and someone else wants to take the credit then please do and I apologize for forgetting. It has been at least 10 years though and I am quickly approaching 40 so…

I found this in the storage space under the sun room when I was doing the final clean out of the house. For a half second I thought about recycling it with the rest of the stuff I pulled out of all the hidden nooks and crannies, but in the next half of that second I realized it was well built and I could make something out of it. So I brought it to the apartment along with a side railing of a crib once occupied by one of the twins and later by E, and the cushions from  a couch I was trying to give away and went to work. And by work I mean I went to Joanne’s Fabrics to get 2 yards of fabric.

Balcony seat fabric

After cleaning off the wood (it was quite dusty) and taking apart the cushions which I then cut up to fit on the ply wood…

Balcony seat cushions

B and I stretched the fabric over the cushions, turned the whole thing upside down and went to town with our new toy staple gun.

Balcony seat stapling

Thankfully the lines on the cushion remained straight so that the result looked like this:

Balcony seat complete

Add a few toss pillows and VIOLA!

Balcony seat with pillows

Now all I need to do is paint it! (Sigh) That’s for another day!

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Will It NEVER End?!

I thought by now, on the brink of turning 30…haha I mean 40, I wouldn’t have much left to discover about myself only to discover I know nothing!

When I started this blog I was on a mission to unveil the beauty of the ordinary woman because I myself had always felt ordinary, at least until I went through a divorce. It wasn’t until then I realized I had a lot to offer, but I hadn’t been able to see through the dislike I had for myself which was constantly being fueled by the critical nature of my EX. (I don’t put the blame on him for this, his criticalness is his problem, my insecurities were mine. We simply were not a good match.) While I was going through that time of really getting to know myself and discovering things I liked about myself, I thought I had it all figured out. What my strengths were (encouraging, supportive, able to see both sides, diplomatic, administrative),  what role I was supposed to play in my career path (admin/personal assistant) and what limitations I had to deal with (motherhood, indecisiveness, lack of creativity). Just the fact that I have more traits listed under strengths than limitations is a HUGE improvement on my former self perspective. But I wasn’t anywhere close to having it all figured out.

Three years later I look completely different. I still have a lot of the same strengths and admin assistant was a good role for me, the difference is in the realization I am capable of more than I ever imagined. My career has taken a slight turn to Human Resource-ville, which I love (not at all unbelievably since it requires all of the strengths listed above), but I have also become a co-owner of Wrinkled Blanket Media and a videographer! ME! A VIDEOGRAPHER! Who would have thunk it! I have also recently fallen in love with DIY design (see Exhibit A) and recorded my first mini-sode podcast with B! ABOUT A HORROR MOVIE! ME! This is just too much…fun!

EXHIBIT A: A little something I made to hold my jewelry.

Jewelry Bar After

Who am I and what have I done with that oldish mom without creativity?! How can I not have known about my love of design until now? Why did I waste all that money (of which I am still paying) on an education that has nothing to do with my current career nor my future career? Why did I marry someone so wrong for me at such a young age? Why is hind sight so stinking CLEAR?!

None of those questions matter because I can’t change any of that. I can, however, move forward and enjoy the journey. I’m sure there is still a lot to learn and discover about myself. Who knows? One day I may discover I love to write! And you know what? I’m not any more special than anyone else so this experience isn’t limited to me. I just hope when it happens for you it’s early enough to make those student loans worth it!

Interesting fact:
Most of the privileges and responsibilities of adulthood are legally granted by the age of 18 but a growing body of science says that critical parts of the brain involved in decision-making are not fully developed until years later at age 25 or so. 

 

Happy Anniversary To Me!

I logged onto WordPress.com for the first time in several weeks to find out today is my one year anniversary! Yay! Now I really feel terrible for not posting in…months! Ahhh! I guess there’s no time like the present to get back on the horse, or is it back in the saddle? Either way, yee haw!

It’s a curious thing, and one I’ve been contemplating, that when I have the most to write about I don’t write at all. I’ve had some juicy stuff going on, the kind of stuff that starving journals are hungry for, yet my pen is stilled. Instead I remain in an overehelmed state until I finally pick it up again. As the ink runs out of the pen so goes my pent up stress. Until that moment my thoughts are akin to those little balls used in the lottery machine bouncing around and crashing into one another. Ouch!

When I first began this blog I wanted my experiences to help others. Not as in “do as I do because I got everything right”, but as in “maybe something I’ve tried will work for you”. Or at the very least, “maybe you realize you are not alone in this world”! There are others on their own search and journey to becoming a better person and so many approaches to reaching that goal. There’s also the possibility that we never fully accomplish becoming who we are going to be until we take  our last breathe.  I’d like to think that with every passing year I get closer to understanding myself, and while I believe this to be true, I am still discovering who I want to be. I thought I knew but the more time passes the more I realize there are so many possibilities for me personally.

If you’d ask me a couple years ago I was sure I’d met my calling by being an administrative assistant. That career path fulfilled my need to help and be a critical part of making things happen while not being fully responsible for the things happening. I still believe that job to be a good match for me and one I succeed in. But this last year has opened several other, completely different opportunities to me. Videography for instance. Or script writing. WOW! I was pretty sure I’d have a roll in someone else’s creativity, but actually being a creative one? I’m still not convinced, but it’s an exciting idea and just having the chance to try my hand at it…WOW! My heart is still eager to help others reach their fullest potential and working with B allows me to do that. He’s AMAZING and talented beyond anything I could hope to acheive! So assisting is still a career probability for me which suits me just fine.

Speaking of working with B, we have another wedding we’re shooting this weekend! I am so looking forward to this wedding not only because the location is going to be beautiful, or because we shot this couple’s engagement video (below), but because Lauren is my friend and she and Vaughan are a great couple and who doesn’t like to see their friends get married?! Please enjoy this video from Wrinkled Blanket Media and stay tuned for their wedding highlight video to follow shortly.

Lauren and Vaughan’s Engagement Video from Wrinkled Blanket Media on Vimeo.

Beauty

There are times when I feel overwhelmed with the beauty of life. It’s everywhere when you look for it. And it’s real beauty, not what the media wants you to think is beautiful.

I am fully aware that there is an abundance of negativity out there, how can I not be with the constant bombardment of tragic news stories (because that’s what sells), and the incredibly well thought out comments on social media (and by well thought out, I mean NOT). There have been many times I’ve consider deleting my Facebook account because of the ugliness I see on it (don’t tell B, he’ll know he’s right). The hateful political comments, the judgmental digs on complete strangers…what happened to think before you speak? Or if you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing at all? Or do unto others as you would have them do to you? There is still wisdom in these archaic ideals, people! Just because you have the right to free speech doesn’t mean you should ALWAYS use it! There is still something to be said about being slow to speak.

Before this turns into a “Can’t we all get along” speech, let me get back to my original thought. The beauty that overwhelms me…A child’s giggle when her mom bounces her daughter on her leg. The way a friend knows exactly what to say to make you feel better when you need it most. An ex-brother and sister-in-law that still and will always consider you family “no matter what”. A stranger giving you a complement while waiting in line for coffee. Making new friends you know you will be friends with for a long time no matter your differences. The love of your life looking over at you to just look at you because he loves the way you look. Your teenage son who doesn’t go a day without tell you how much he loves you accompanied with a hug an kiss. The parents who will do everything they can to help you out even though you are not their responsibility and you didn’t ask them.

If you haven’t recognized the pattern yet, let me spell it out. Beauty is in RELATIONSHIPS.

I know that I am not always the best friend. I forget birthdays and anniversaries. I may not call for a few months or return Facebook messages right away. But I do love my family & friends and I think they know I am there for them when it counts most. Friendship a quality I continue to re-assess and work on. It’s a quality I fear most people don’t really consider too much. I am urging you to consider it. I believe you can be the overwhelming beauty in another person’s life!

OMG I Sound Like My Mother!

I remember the first time I heard my mother’s voice come out of my mouth. All at once I understood. I was being initiated into a secret society I didn’t remember pledging to and wasn’t sure I wanted to be a part of. But it was too late!

My twin toddlers undoubtedly did something that I had told them MANY times not to do and inadvertently opened Mommy’s flood gate of “THAT’S IT”.  If you ask me what those exact words were that formed in my brain and leap off my tongue, I would not be able to tell you. It wasn’t the words exactly, but the way in which they were said. They had her tone of voice all over them. Despite all my pronouncements as an adolescent (as most adolescents do) that I would NOT be like my mom when I grew up, I had indeed inherited some of her traits. And to my surprise it wasn’t as upsetting as I thought it’d be. Quite the opposite actually. In that moment of clarity I finally got her! And with it came a deep sense of appreciation.

For most of my childhood my mom was a stay-at-home mom. Not because she wasn’t a strong-willed independent woman (if you know her at all you’ll know I’m not lying), but I believe it’s what she and my father thought was best. I am so grateful that they did. There was a security that came with my mom always being there. She was able to be involved in our school activities. She made sure we had healthy social lives. She baked…not everyday but there wasn’t a Christmas that went by without our kitchen becoming a cookie factory so she could give trays of cookies away to everyone and their neighbor. She encouraged us creatively with messy projects. She was (and still is) a great story teller. And boy could that woman get mad! And quick! What I didn’t realize then, but do now, is the amount of work and brain drain that goes into being active in your childrens’ school activities, social lives, baking, messy projects and even making up stories. It’s exhausting! No wonder her fuse was short.

There is another side to sounding like my mother. My mom is always ready with an encouraging word. If you ever read the comments on this blog you’ll know what I mean. I don’t think there’s one post she hasn’t commented on, each more encouraging than the last. I love hearing her converse with her grandchildren (which I just got to do last week when she was visiting). There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that she thinks they’re the shiznit! It’s a trait I hope people will see in me as well. That and her compassion for others. She’s always been easy to talk to. She was, and still is, usually volunteering for one organization or another.  And I can’t tell you how many times we had people staying with us for a week or two until they got on their feet. My friends knew they had a place to go and my mom would accept them with open arms. She just had 3 rules: 1. No drugs, 2. No sex and 3. Don’t leave the toilet seat up. I’m pleading the 5th on whether or not those rules were upheld.

It’s funny how we as humans can have a hard time appreciating someone without walking in there shoes. Becoming a mom myself has been an eye opening experience and I know I have still barely scratched the surface. Both my moms have survived adolescent children, whereas I am just beginning that phase, and there are still so many stages yet to come: college, weddings, grandchildren.  I am fully prepared to be amazed by these two incredible women at each stage as I learn to appreciate them and what they’ve been through more and more. So sounding like my mom.. ain’t so bad!

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!