Practically Perfect in Every Way

Nanny Blocks

Sorry about the break in blogging there. As if trying to pack and move, as well as get product ready to launch my Etsy shop and work on some projects for a mission trip next Month, weren’t making me crazy already, I have a new – albeit temporary – job! Today is my second day as full-time nanny to nine-month-old baby J. Little dude is a charmer and very laid back. Not a difficult job at all… as long as you don’t mind drool, dirty diapers,  conversation that’s unintelligible, and lots of playing with alphabet blocks. Plus, Baby J takes an hour nap in the morning and a 3 hour nap in the afternoon, giving me time to catch up on emails and blogging.

I also made my preliminary move into my new – again, temporary – home last night. You see up until the whole losing my job thing happened, I had been planning to move to an apartment on my own next month. But one can’t afford rent if one doesn’t have a job. So sweet friend M. offered to let me and the kitties live with her (rent free!) until I get myself settled in a new job. As in, she doesn’t care if I’m there for several months. See… I am super blessed with the most amazing friends ever. Anyway, I moved in all the “essentials” yesterday… just in time for the nasty, nasty weather to roll in. I hadn’t been listening to the weather reports so I didn’t think it was too serious. M. and I even went back to my old house for the cats and a few more things but I told her I really didn’t think it was that bad. But just as we were finishing dinner (around 8), the TV went out and we looked outside, and… y’all, it was CREEPTASTIC. It should have been dark at that point but it was a weird greenish orange everywhere outside and way too light for that late in the evening. M. and I match each other’s propensities for freaking out over bad weather so I packed up the kitties in their carriers again and we all settled in M.’s bathroom. We only ended up staying 15-20 minutes as a friend who had TV reception assured me it was passing over the north part of the city. The sky had settled back to a normal shade of late evening when we emerged. There have been so many severe storms this Spring. Way more than usual. If I didn’t know better I’d really believe that the world was ending on October 21 (did you hear? It’s been rescheduled).

Temporary and waiting seem to be a theme of my life right now. And like I mentioned in my introduction, I’m much more of a stability/routine sort of girl. I think, though, I may be finally learning just a bit how to be content with what’s before me right now, for however long it’s there. Sure, a big part of me is so longing to have things settled, to be able to move into my own place finally. Simply just to know what I’m going to do on a more permanent basis. I don’t like waiting and not knowing. But I’m really trying – and I think [hope] – succeeding in appreciating this little interim period. Living with M. is going to be fun; it’s an opportunity for us to get to know one another a lot better. And Baby J certainly has already caught my heart. A few months ago I read a post on a blog I read about waiting. How it is important what you DO with the waiting period and HOW you wait. It’s a time to be redeemed. It’s full of it’s own particular blessings. It really struck me because I think I’ve always viewed waiting as just something to get through. But I am trying to use this time of waiting well. Yeah there are things I’m really looking forward to. But I’m trying to just enjoy what I have right now.


Sneak Peek!

Sneak Peek

I’m working on product for the shop and here’s a sneak peek! Who knew a $1 set of icecube trays from Target would be an excellent organizing tool? Alright, back to… doing what I do… with these little squares of paper.


Meet Charlie and Lu(cy)!

Considering they were the inspiration behind the name, it seems only proper that my little sidekicks get a proper introduction post of their own. First off, meet Charlie, sometimes called Charles, Charleston, Chuchiebug (yeah, I don’t know), or Greygrey:


Charlie was not originally mine. I first moved to Memphis with my college roommate, A. and she adopted Charlie when he was 5 months old, soon after we moved. When A. got married last year, she decided it was best that Charlie stayed with me. He was afraid of her fiancé and they were planning to get a puppy. He was already fairly attached to me and Lucy, especially… it just seemed the best thing for him, although it was hard for her. Charlie is a shy but affectionate Mr. Sensitive. He’s fairly obsessive about having a clean environment (seriously, he scrapes his paws on the edge of the litter box after he gets out) and can get easily stressed by changes. He’s skittish around most people and slow to warm up, but with me he’s extremely affectionate and quite the clown. He goes nuts for light (laser pointer, flashlight, reflection from something shiny, etc.) and when bored has been known to chase shadows or his tail. He loves nothing better than to snuggle with me, and is concerned and protective when I’m sick or upset. He hates it if I shut a door on him and will cry piteously until I open it. He’s the older of the two, at four years.

Then there’s Lucy. Luciana, Lucille, Lu, Lulu, Lubelle, Lulubug.

LucyI adopted Lucy a little over two years ago. A friend’s daughter (now my friend as well) had been given this little stray, whom she named Little Kitty (as she was afraid naming it would make it more difficult to give up). I was barely a month beyond putting to sleep my first kitten, Pip, who suffered from FIP and hadn’t wanted a new cat yet. But when my friend’s daughter needed to give up some cats, I decided to visit them. I was originally interested in Jack – who now has a great home – but Little Kitty stole my heart. Jack ran away from me but Little Kitty played with my hair and jumped after my fingers. And he was just what a wanted – a little boy kitty. Yep, when I went to meet my friend at the vet, after they’d taken “him” to get all checked up before adoption, I got the news. Little Kitty was a her… but she was already purring in my arms and I said I’d take her home for a trial run. I knew soft-hearted me wouldn’t ever let her go. Lucy’s my social girl – she loves parties and new people; she’s not afraid of an adventure. She’s all about enjoying life: naps in the sunshine, gazing out the window, TREATS, getting scratched under the chin or behind her ears, and food. Oh food. She’s about 3 or 4 lbs. heavier than Charlie, with a little white tummy that swings when she runs. She’s very playful (strings and ribbons are her favorite) and is an excellent spider and cockroach hunter (which I appreciate!). She’s a hisser, too, and not afraid to express displeasure when my roommate’s dog comes too near or she’s not in the mood to play fight with her brother.

I didn’t grow up with pets of the fuzzy, interactive variety, due to parental and sibling allergies, and never finding that elusive point between “you’re too young for the responsibility,” and “but we’ll have to take care of it when you go off to college.” I have a sneaking suspicion that a point where neither statement is true doesn’t actually exist. Now, though, I couldn’t manage life without them. There’s something therapeutic about having these little creatures to nurture and cafe for. And in my opinion they give back far more than I put in. They’ve put up with hugs too tight and too long when I’m lonely and plenty of tears have been cried into their fur. They’ve sat next to me or put their little paws on my arms when I’m upset. Usually at least one is snuggling with me when I fall asleep and wake up. Although I don’t believe in the “pet heaven” view of dogs and cats, I agree with the friend who said that pets are “soul-ish creatures.” There’s something special about them.

There you go… you’ve met my two best non-human companions! I try my best not to be the pet owner version of the mom or dad who thinks their kid is the only interesting topic of conversation, but you can be assured C+L stories will be a recurring theme here.


The Princess Project

Almost every single little girl wants to be a princess at some point in her life. For some, it’s a brief stage. For others (read: me), it’s a dream that lasts quite a while. To be completely honest, that dream flickered a bit as I watched The Royal Wedding last month. When I consider the practical reality of what it means to be a princess in today’s world, it’s an entirely unappealing position. And yet still somehow the lacy dress, sparkling tiara, horse drawn carriage, and grand retinue appear and I’m six again, watching Beauty and the Beast, and day-dreaming that somehow a youngest daughter with an ancestral heritage which would rival a mutt’s would somehow end up being the long-lost heir to the throne of some country.

I’ll spare you the details of the bouncing train of thought that led to this idea and cut to the chase. A few days ago I got the [scathingly brilliant] idea to create a series of outfits using my current wardrobe, but inspired by the Disney Princesses. Now, mind you, I don’t intend to look like a Disney theme park employee who’s lost her way. I’d like to blend in with the general public. The plan is to look relatively normal under princess inspiration.

In pretty much ever circle of girlfriends I’ve had, we’ve picked “our” princess. You know, the one who’s most like you. And without fail, I’m always Snow White (good thing she’s one of my favorites anyway). So who better to inspire my first outfit? I need to recreate the look this week and get better photos, but here’s an Instagram (um, just got the app last week and – hello! – where have I been? Love it!) of my first attempt:

Snow White

Get it? Yellow [plaid] skit, blue tank top with the white peeking out like her collar. You can’t see but I’ve got a red ribbon in my hair. And the earrings are wooden, carved leaves – they remind me of the carving which decorates the Dwarves’ cabin. Oh, and please disregard the ugly, messy background; I’m in the process of moving in with a friend until I can afford rent on my own apartment.



*gulp* Here goes… my first post on my first public blog. What is one supposed to say on such an occasion? There’s not even an audience for this introduction, at this point. I’ll most likely turn into Nervous Writer Alanna; the inner Grammar Nerd will tear the keyboard away from me, and I will end up sounding a bit stilted or like a misplaced citizen of the 19th century. I am proud of myself, though; I managed not to go back and change “I’ll” to “I will.” I recently restarted Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. In the forward, he mentions how much he dislikes writing that mimics speech. A writer, he states, should use words properly and he specifically outlaws the use of contractions. I have felt guilty ever since. I’ve. I’ve, I’ve, I’ve. So there Mr. Lewis.

Sorry. I digress. Please be forewarned: In writing, as well as in speech, I follow many rabbit trails. I also over use ellipses.

No person takes action without some motivation (yeah, Austrian Economics) so I suppose the best place to start is WHY. Specifically, why I’m taking this leap into the blogosphere. A month ago I was working a boring job for which I was overqualified. Going to work made me miserable but I was banging my head against a wall stubbornly clinging to an unrealistic hope that if I just persevered things would get better. The past two years have been overwhelmingly difficult for me and although I’m definitely climbing out of the rubble, I was still just drifting with life. Forgetting to follow my dreams and work for the full and beautiful life I wanted.

Then God intervened. Because drifting is never what He has planned for His children. I was fired. And it’s the best thing that’s happened to me all year.

Don’t get me wrong. I thrive on stability, routine, and safety. I’m the “you can’t open the microwave door until the timer stops so you’d better plan right” type of girl. The one who sat in the front row with her notebook and pencil at right angles. I dread change and avoid it at all costs. I’m no Eat, Pray, Love wannabe. Having my life turned upside down is NOT my idea of awesome. And, yet, I repeat: being fired is the best thing that’s happened to me in quite a while.

After the first few days, when it stopped feeling like the world was ending and the sting of humiliation wore off, I felt free. And excited. I remembered that I don’t have to wait for an opportunity to come along; I can go find them myself. Enjoying my job isn’t a goal for the distant future; it can happen now. Obviously, I need a job, a salary, and benefits. And I’m working on that. I actually have an interview in a couple weeks for an awesome job. But even before that fell into place, I’ve been feeling great. I’ve remembered that I can dream and do something about those dreams. And one of my dreams has been to open an Etsy shop and have a public blog. What better time to start than when my schedule is uncluttered by the restraints of a job?

And that, my friends, is how Charlie + Lu was born. The name is simple – it’s the names of my cats, Charlie and Lucy. The Etsy shop is in progress. And now the scary step of my first post is over.