The William Morris Project 2014 | Ceiling Fixture

I’m jumping in with rusty moves and a crappy picture. Happy Wednesday!

Ceiling fixture

I took this picture early, early Tuesday morning. It’s off-center, poorly angled, and not that great, but it shows that we are finally starting to do things again. And, more importantly, replacing the ceiling fan in our family room has been on our to-do list since the first William Morris Project two years ago. Since time immemorial, really.

My goal, as I wrote it in my “creating an intentional home” list, was to [r]eplace with good quality, family friendly materials the sofa, coffee table, chair(s), window treatments, and lighting.

Hmmm. Well, the ceiling fixture is from IKEA (it’s this one), so I don’t know that I would go so far as to say we replaced the fan with quality materials, but it provides better light and is far less of an eyesore that what we had before.

Looking at my goals, which I should really print out so I can refer to them regularly, we still need to replace the coffee table, window treatments, and remaining lighting. I can’t believe I was thinking there wasn’t much left to do. There’s, like, a million, trillion, kabillion things left to do. I’m getting excited to start in on some projects.

Plants & Pups

Plants and pups

plants and pups

I took an unplanned break from the blog last week for a few reasons, though this one factored heavily in the “unplanned” part. The break was nice, far nicer than I anticipated. I didn’t miss blogging, but I told myself that on Monday I would write again.

I woke up on Monday to an alert on my phone; someone called me an idiot on Instagram. It was a simple misunderstanding. The person jumped to a conclusion and misread something I wrote. It happens, especially when the hollow cavity where one’s brain should be is matched in size only by a gaping maw that spews drivel, bless her heart.

Plants and pups collage

I did a few projects while I was away. I repotted my fiddle leaf fig and philodendron. Both plants were long overdue for a new home and, thanks to a good soak, the philodendron is already perkier than it is in that picture. All I have left to do is trim the brown edges off a few leaves on the fiddle leaf fig and give it a sponge bath. I live in a dry climate, and I’m not as good as I should be at misting the tree to increase humidity.

I bought the dogs a new orthopedic bed on super sale at PetSmart. I also moved their food and water dishes inside, since Buster is not eating. :( He’ll eat if I or the boys feed him by hand, but other than that, he’s boycotting his kibble. He’s lost far too much weight. We hear on Tuesday (today!) if he has lymphoma or if he is fighting a very bad infection. I don’t think he has an infection. His vet said that at this point, he needs nourishment, so we received the go-ahead to feed him whatever he will eat–within reason. Buster wouldn’t touch white rice, normally his favorite, but he did gobble up a whole can of Taste of the Wild canned food. I mean, he gobbled it up. The boys and I were so happy that we gave him a round of applause with the enthusiasm of a mother at a college graduation.

My last little victory was figuring out what to do with all the boys’ craft and school projects I actually want to keep. Those I put on top of our bookcase in that empty space I always assumed I would fill with more shelves. Instead of buying more shelves, I’m going to try purging some more books.

The William Morris Project: 2014 | Tweaking the Medicine Cabinet

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The William Morris Project

I first cleared out the medicine cabinet in our kitchen in January of 2012. It was a huge success and works very well in our family. I cleaned them up the following October. The only problem I had was with the bottom shelf. This shelf belongs to the Mister and is supposed to be where he keeps all his medicine/vitamins/supplements.

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Medicine Cabinet, 2

The problem: He likes things out in the open. Not everything, but the medicine always ended up on the corner of the counter. The empty bottles he leaves out to remind himself to buy more. The other bottles are out because he takes them daily. The first aid items are out because he suffered a bad cut fixing something for my mom. The point is, everything stayed out on the counter.

This frustrated me more than you can imagine. I felt that I put in the time to organize the cabinet and, by God, everyone needs to respect the cabinet! How hard is it to take your medicine and put it back in place? Not hard, is what I reasoned. (fumed, muttered, grumbled, etc.)

As with almost every organization project I take on, it took me a while to figure out how to make things work best for everyone, not just me. In this case, it took me a little over one year.

I organized this cabinet the first time around because the shelves are narrow, deep, and difficult to keep organized. The boxes are great for corralling like items and efficiently using a cavernous little hole. I needed the boxes to keep everything neat, so I think it’s odd that I expected my husband to keep it organized when I couldn’t.

Medicine Cabinet, 4

Medicine Cabinet, 5

Medicine Cabinet, 6

January’s video purge gifted me with an empty box to use on the Mister’s bottom shelf.

And that’s what I did, simple as that. More telling is how immaculate the counter has remained since the addition of the 4th box. Lesson learned: sometimes messes reflect more on the system than the user.

The William Morris Project: 2014 | Week 5

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Thank you so much for all your kind words about Buster. They were much appreciated. I had a migraine ALL DAY YESTERDAY, so the comments were a bright spot in the day. Hmmm…I wonder why I had a migraine? Anyway, here is an update on my little red head: the vet called yesterday and his results came back negative for bladder cancer. I was euphoric at first until I remembered he still has trouble urinating (and when he does, there’s blood), a growth in his bladder (possibly a clot), enlarged lymph-nodes, and unexplained weight loss. He goes in today for a “senior panel” to rule out other forms of cancer and problems with the kidneys.

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I went on my 35th walk of the year yesterday. It also happened to be my 400th walk! I’m still plugging along, and I can only call it plugging along because my walks have been slow and short. I haven’t walked more than a mile in a month, but I keep reminding myself that I’m still walking daily, which is more than I did 401 days ago.

Yesterday I saw my legs in the mirror and I panicked for second. They kind of looked like old woman legs from the knees up when the light hit them just so. The other day I noticed a definite wrinkle in the middle of my brows and I panicked for a second then, too. Every time I try to join in on a conversation about “hot” actors with my hairdresser or the students, they politely compliment me on my choices, calling each of them “cute for an older dude.” I’m pretty sure the actors are younger than me.

I had to google Ariana Grande today and I have so much gray hair now that I’m going to have to change my color if I want to avoid brassy blonde.

I’m feeling old on the outside for the first time and it’s unsettling.

The Mister and I watched all available seasons of Luther on Netflix a little while ago, and Great Britain–or at least the BBC–sure knows how to make a woman feel normal. I could be wrong about this and exaggerating it all in my head, but I feel that female actors outside the US are allowed to have wrinkles, gray hair, and average bodies.

I want to age with grace, to slip into the second half of my life the way you glide into a calm body of water, instead of acting like a cat about to take a bath.

We don’t have very many women in our culture who are allowed to age gracefully, or at all. Sure, there are women over 40 in entertainment, but they are usually in slideshows about women over 40 who are still smoking hot. Even blogging lacks a “40 and love it” mentality. I happen to love being over 40 more than I ever loved my 30s and {shudder} my 20s, but I need to start acting like it, dammit.

I also need a skincare routine. I put in my life list that I wanted an all natural routine. Maybe it’s time I get on that.

The William Morris Project: 2014 | At the Computer

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The William Morris Project

Over the weekend I sat down and cleared out my email inboxes. It took hours, but I deleted hundreds and hundreds of emails. I felt a stab of guilt when I saw how many missed/neglected emails I had. There were some emails I don’t even remember receiving. I can tell you when my trouble with email began: the day I got my iphone 2 years ago. When you check your email on your phone, it gets marked as read on your desktop. Then more emails come in when you get home. Before you know it, the email you checked while you were out and planned to reply to when you got home is lost in the shuffle. I now no longer read emails while I’m out. I scan the subjects and will look at one that looks important, but for the most part they go untouched until I’m home and able to reply.

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I also sat down and started removing myself from newsletters I subscribed to years ago–and also those I never subscribed to but seem to keep receiving. This is why.

We, and our veterinarian, suspect Buster has bladder cancer. He’s 13 years old, so…yeah. This has been on my mind since Saturday. On Monday the vet called and asked us to come in that day for more tests to confirm the diagnosis, which we’ll have by Thursday. I got really, really sad. I didn’t even feel like going for a walk and instead found myself sitting at my computer with a blank stare. I figured unsubscribing to newsletters would top the list of Mind Numbing Activities to Do When You Think Your Dog is Dying, so I went through hundreds of emails and unsubscribed, unsubscribed, unsubscribed. I don’t use gmail, so I can’t take advantage of that speedy unroll.me everyone is squealing about. Maybe next year?

One lousy discovery I made today regarding newsletters: when you unsubscribe, you only unsubscribe to the newsletter/promo alerts, not all emails from the company. I knew this, and I know you know this, but I realized as I was going through all my emails that some companies are sending daily emails about the same nonsense they later put in a newsletter/promo emails. They found a work around the unsubscribe button. If you can, select the option to cease all communications from a company.

I also learned you shouldn’t unsubscribe from any newsletter from a company you don’t recognize. Instead, you should report it as spam or a fraudulent email. When you unsubscribe from some newsletters, that link is actually some mass-enroll type whatever that sells your email address to more dating sites/online pharmacies/dashers of hope. This explains the dozens of “newsletters” in my inbox. I remember unsubscribing from something spammy a year or so ago, and since then I get daily offers from all sorts of super-hot guys who want to date me. Also, life insurance and home alarms.

Sniffy Buster

So that’s what I did. Then I went on a walk with Buster and let him sniff all the things.

Hi! I’m Jules.

I used to be an attorney, but it made me grumpy. Now I write about life, sweet and savory, as a wife and mother to two small boys. My knowledge of dinosaurs knows no bounds.

You can read more, including the meaning behind the name Pancakes and French Fries here. And, yes, I really am phenomenally indecisive.