Saturday, February 7, 2015


I did something pretty crazy yesterday.
I wore make-up.
AND I fixed my hair.
Yes, I have been riding the "I really don't give two $hits what I look like" bus for quite some time now.

I mean, I will put on clothes that are not pj's or sweat pants for two occasions:
1. Church.
2. To teach at the studio.
(I only do this at the studio because it's a policy. If it wasn't...forget it.  I'd totally be wearing sweat pants.)
I find that I go through stages.
Every once in awhile, I will actually care about what I look like.
Usually, it will coincide with a job where my self esteem and confidence are aided by my appearance.
For instance, when I was teaching, I cared more about my appearance when working with high school kids than I did when I worked with elementary students.
The little kids chose to like me based on my personality, and whether or not I was nice and/or fun.  They really didn't care if I was hip.
However, the high school kids were not going to even give me a chance if I dressed like a dork.
Sometimes, my desire to look nice was based on how I felt, rather than what I was doing.
I have gone through stages of actually caring what I looked like, and putting forth the effort into doing my hair AND make-up...AND wearing cute clothes everyday...just because I wanted to!
I have absolutely NO idea why in the world I had the desire to do that...but I did.
I'm guessing it was because it made me feel good...and that was what I needed at the time.
Sometimes a girl just needs a little attention. 
I will tell you this:
If you get on a roll (like I currently am) and choose to live in pajama pants and tank tops, and go sans make-up 361 days a WILL get some attention on those four days of the year that you DO wear make-up and put some effort into your appearance.
That is the nice thing about looking like a bum 98% of the time.
People really notice when you put in some effort during that other 2% of the time.  
I really believe this is true, because I had several people come up to me yesterday and say "Hey! You look really good!  I love your hair!"
(Translation: "Holy crap! You aren't wearing those gray sweat pants today! And I can tell that you even brushed your hair after you washed it this time!)
All I could think was "well, yes, this is what happens when I actually blow dry it,  and style it.  And wearing make-up helps hide those huge bags under my eyes....and I guess anything is more attractive than my pj THANKS!"

I will be honest with you.
The reason that I don't wear make-up very often anymore is two-fold.
1. I really like the freedom to rub my eyes if they are itchy or tired.
2. I hate having to wash the stuff off at night.

I can NOT sleep with that crap on my face.  I have never gone to bed with my make-up still on. EVER.
I am proud (maybe proud is the wrong word) to say that no matter the condition I have come home in (and I am not proud of every condition that I have ever come home in) I have never skipped the "wash the make-up off my face" routine.  
I wish I could say that about exercise.
Or bill paying.
Or housecleaning.
Or pretty much everything else in my life. 
My epitaph shall read:
'She was a lazy ass, and procrastinated in every area of her life, but dammit....she ALWAYS washed her make-up off!'

What a legacy I will leave behind.
I am going to go off-topic for a moment to share something with you.
As I sit at my desk and type this, I can hear the sounds of some very aggressive snoring taking place....the source of which I'm not quite sure.
There are two dogs sleeping on the couch, about 10 feet away from me...and one husband sleeping in the bedroom, also 10 feet away, in the other direction.
I am trying to determine which would be more disturbing....if it's coming from the human or the dogs.
I think I will go with the human.
Considering the volume and unattractiveness of this snoring....I would much prefer it come from the canines.  They would at least be cute and funny, though thoroughly obnoxious.

Here is the culprit.
Snoring...and apparently dreaming.
The men in this house.  
It's just constant drama around here.

Speaking of drama...I need to ponder whether or not to get crazy and make myself presentable TWO days in a row.
I do have church and a show today.
Maybe I can get away with just a quick hair style and some lipstick.
If I start raising the bar...people are going to expect me to keep this craziness up.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves here.
I'm still in hibernation mode until at least the beginning of May.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Clutter, Cabinets, and a Big Red Case

I bought some new books.
I am sure you will be shocked by the titles:
clutter free
do less
(Notice how it's all hip to have your title appear in all lower case letters?
Yeah...I would totally do that too.)
Mini Habits
Smaller Habits, Bigger Results
What I find entertaining is the fact that I am totally cluttering up my house with books about getting rid of clutter.
I find that my rationale, as far as this type of book goes, is a lot like my rationale for buying exercise equipment.
Here it is:
If I buy it (and I do actually read it) then it will magically happen.

I'm still waiting to get skinny from that treadmill I have yet to get on in the basement.

I really annoy myself.
I need some ritalin or something to help me focus.
Or maybe chocolate. 
That comes without a prescription.
You know how sometimes you read something (like your horoscope, for instance) and you can't help but laugh, because it just feels so accurate for the kind of day you are having?

I just flipped open one of my new books:

This book has daily "meditations" and here is what is under February 6:

Finding our power when we're overwhelmed, confused or depressed requires us to do something even when we don't want to or don't feel we can.  We have all been there, and taking action is the only way out.  We may not be able to clean the entire house today, but we can clean out one kitchen drawer.  We may not be able to find a job, but we can make an appointment with someone who can help us network.

Well, fabulous.  I guess that means I need to get off my butt and do something, huh?
Maybe my little yellow file cabinet thingy will arrive, and I can putter away at that. 
My night is shot, as I have to play for two shows.
By the way...if you are in the La Crosse area, and have not seen West Side Story at the Weber Center really need to.
I realize it says "West Side Story in Concert"
but let me tell YOU....
It is the WHOLE show...fully choreographed, costumed, the whole 
she-bang....and SOOOO good!
(The orchestra isn't half bad either) ;)
shows Fri, Sat, Sun
So, there is my sales pitch for the day.

One more pic...we finally got Lexie a hard case for her cello.
I think she likes it. :)


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Sleeping in the Sun

I need a vacation.
It's not like I have been working myself to the bone or anything.
I have a much more manageable and stress free schedule than most.
However, I am just so tired.
All the time.
I want to sleep all day.....every day.
~ much as I enjoy sleeping, I would prefer feeling like doing something else all day long.
Like.....oh, I don't know, being productive.
Yes.  I would definitely prefer that.

I really do try to wake up with determination.
And sometimes it actually works.
This is why I am thinking a vacation may be in order.

Obviously, some time in a tropical location would be ideal.
I think a week (or six) in Hawaii might be just the thing to pull me out of my winter funk, replenish my vitamin D supply (I am always deficient in that darn vitamin D) and give me some R&R time to refuel enough to face the rest of the winter.
This, of course, is a pipe dream.
The best I could possibly hope for is a few days in a row of no obligations.
I am still trying to figure out how to make that happen.
I may have to wait for spring break.
Or summer.

In other news, I ordered a cute little filing cabinet thing yesterday.
You may recall that I have been looking for one for quite awhile.  
My desk has become quite the catch-all for files and papers and such, so some sort of filing system was needed.
I have been looking around for just the right piece.  Something functional, yet cute and sassy.
I wasn't having much luck, but finally decided to go with one that I had been looking at for a few weeks online.

It was available in my favorite turquoise, as well as "shell," gray, and red.
I, however, chose a rather obnoxious yellow.  Obviously, the least popular color, as it was 40% off (the others were 10% off).
Being a cheap skate, and considering the fact that my desk chair is covered with a cute yellow and aqua polka dot fabric...I decided to go for the least expensive option.  Who might actually look cute.
I will probably wish I got the white one...but eh, story of my life.
Speaking on:
In typical Lakmann-land form, an e-mail comes in today from CB2 with the CUTEST little desk and file cabinet, both on casters...and available in great colors that totally coordinate with my house.
This ALWAYS happens.
Mark wants Valentine's and Birthday ideas....
I think I just found them.
I may have to get this adorable little set....and use it down in my craft room for now....until we are in the dream cottage.
(When will that be, you ask?)
Well, when my dreams come true, of course!!

Here is a pic of the desk (aka: industrial cart!) with three of the filing cabinets under it. (I only want one....) Not my typical style....but I am in LOVE!

Won't this be perfect in my (eventual) "simplified" home?

I am sure he will be THRILLED when I tell him that my list consists of 

Actually, he might be happy.  Last week, my list included one item.

He was not thrilled.

Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Just Dreamin.....

My husband grew up in a small town an hour north of the twin cities.
Both of his parents were teachers, and back in those days, teachers actually got to take a nice chunk of the summer off. 
They took a lot of family road trips to different locations around the country, and  always made the trek up north to grandma and grandpa's cabin on Lake Vermillion.
This was prime lake property.  Lake Vermillion is one of the original Boundary Waters lakes, and is located about an hour south of the Canadian Border.
They had a cute little cabin, a boat house, and (like all true Minnesotans) a sauna right next to the lake.
(This is the current sauna)

The original owner lived in the tiny little sauna while building the cabin.

This is the current view from the cabin.

Once Mark's grandparents were too old to take care of the lake property anymore, his parents decided to sell their home in town, build a year round cabin, and move to the lake full time.
I thought they were crazy.
(The new "cabin")
Obviously it is beautiful there...but it truly is in the middle of NOWHERE.
It's about a 25-30 minute drive into town (and 'town' is a tiny little town)
It's an hour to the nearest hospital....and TARGET!
And this is WAY northern Minnesota.  
Nine months of winter, three months of "summer."
I always told Mark that we had to be within 10 minutes of Target...or forget it.

Funny how things change.
I'm not saying I want to live way out in the Boonies....but I am saying that I would definitely consider it.
 Especially in the winter.
As I am watching the snow fall...I long for a cozy cottage, and would be blissful to be all snowed in, with no where to go until spring.

Belgium looks rather dreamy, wouldn't you say?

I have always been madly in love with the cottage from the movie "The Holiday."
Especially if Jude Law came with it. ;)

This is darling and sweet.

I would have NO problem spending my days here.

But, I think this is what I would consider PERFECT.
Cozy....ideal for both winter and summer.
If I had one wish, it would be to live here, and be able to make a living writing...and only have to go out if I wanted to.

I need a little reading area too, of course.

And guess what?  I really don't care how far I have to drive to get to Target.
Heck...I live 2 minutes from Target right now, and I just placed an online order for a little table thingy from this morning.
I am pretty sure I would be just fine with getting that whole "gardening" thing down, and stocking up for the winter.  Isn't that why God invented freezers?
So people wouldn't have to run out to the grocery store every few days?
All that is needed now is to figure out how I can become sustainably wealthy while working from home, find the perfect little plot of land, and build my little dream cottage.
Pinterest makes it all look so simple.
I guess I will just keep purging and simplifying, so once I get my plan figured out, I won't have to deal with all this "stuff."
That would be pretty dreamy, wouldn't it?
To downsize to a smaller place, but not have to try to figure out what to do with all of the junk you have in your current, oversized house?
This is kind of becoming my new obsession.
Nothing feels better than walking into a room that is totally organized and clutter free.
Too bad it's such a slow, difficult process.
Good thing it's so worth it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Just Start

This pretty much describes my state of mind yesterday. whole state of being, I guess.
First of all....I couldn't get out of bed.
Well, I could....but I really didn't want to.
I finally forced myself to.
Actually, I just grabbed both dogs, moved them to the couch, and joined them there. was out of bed.
Baby steps, remember.

For me, the biggest battle is always starting.
It always has been.
Once I get started, I'm usually good to go.
Funny how I have never had a hard time getting started when it comes to things like eating chocolate chip cookies.
With things like that, my issue is stopping.
There must be some mind altering therapy out there that could help switch the two around, wouldn't you think?
I wouldn't mind being the one to come up with that therapy.
I could make millions!  
And just think how productive and fit everyone would be!! 
I will get to work on that.
I have figured out how to save money and cut calories however.
1. Let the kids take your car to school so you can't leave the house and go shopping.
2. Make sure you don't have any groceries before you send your car off with the there is nothing naughty and delicious to eat in the house.
(Or much of anything at all, really.)

Maybe I should market this plan.
Now.  Back to figuring out how to charge up my lethargic batteries and figure out how to get my "start" button working again!


Monday, February 2, 2015

A Change for the Better

I have a favorite new word.
It is NO.
The best part about it is that I am actually learning to use it on a pretty regular basis.
Don't get me wrong.  There are some things I have never had a hard time saying no to.
For instance:
"Mom, can I drive your car instead of dad's?"  NO
"Would you like to stay at work for a few extra hours today?"  NO
"Can I get you to step on the scale quick so I can get your weight?"  NO
"Are you finished with that dessert? Should I take your plate?" NO!
"Could you get up at 6am and drive me to school?" NO
"Would you like to go for a 5 mile run today?" Hell NO
And so on.

However, there are many things that I found it difficult to say no to as well.
For most of my adult life, I would take advantage of any opportunity offered to me.
If I got a call asking me to sing or play for something, I would always accept if I had the date available.  Early in my career, I did it to build my reputation, as well as to earn a living.  Eventually, I didn't have to worry anymore about "getting my name out there" but I continued to take these opportunities because I typically enjoyed them, and it was a way for me to make extra income.  I would be foolish to turn down any opportunity to make money, right?
Well, a few years ago, I finally started to figure it all out.

I started to realize that I wasn't enjoying all of the "extra" things I was doing anymore.  Rather than looking forward to going to these rehearsals or gigs or whatever it was, I was starting to dread it.  I was longing for those blank calendar boxes, rather than having everyday packed with activity.
I was tired of being tired.  I was sick of coming home to a disaster of a house, having no clue what to make for dinner, and feeling completely overwhelmed.
I needed to start taking care of my family, my home and me!
I still remember the day when I made the decision that anything I agreed to had to fit one of two criteria:
It either had to be very lucrative, or very fun.
If it didn't fit into one of those categories...I wasn't going to do it.

I was going to start putting my needs first for a change.  
There was nothing worse than that feeling of agreeing to something, and then regretting every minute of it.
I had been in that boat too many times.
I wasn't a person who would pull out of a commitment, so if I had agreed to do something....I was going to see it through.
When that "something" was a project I had reluctantly agreed to do....I would spend the next several weeks kicking myself for saying yes until the darn thing was OVER.
I never wanted to feel that way again.
I only wanted to be involved in things that I was ready to commit to 100%.

I am sure that I have become more "selfish" since I've made these changes...and you know what?  I really am just fine with that.
What good am I to anyone if I constantly spread myself so thin, that I am miserable in every facet of my life?
I have also come to realize that my time is worth more than money.
It's so easy to say "yes" to each little accompanying job that comes my way....because that is how it sounds.
When someone calls and says "can you play for one song?" it sounds quick and simple.  However, the reality of it is never quick and simple.
It always involves setting up a rehearsal time...driving to wherever to do that.  Then, driving to the performance, audition, whatever....waiting around for it to start. (God forbid, it's a recital...then I get to sit through an hour or more, waiting to play for ONE song) and after I have put at least 2-3 hours of my time into playing for this ONE song....I may or may not walk away with a check equivalent to what I make sitting in my home teaching piano lessons for an hour (assuming they haven't forgotten, and "will get it to me later") and drive home wondering why the hell I do this to myself.

Here is the deal.
I have been working on my "tidying up" after reading that book I had mentioned a few weeks ago.
It's funny, because in it, she talks about how during the tidying process, often times people figure out what their true calling is.
I think I have found mine (and I'm only two rooms into the project!)
I want to be a HERMIT!
I seriously could just stay at home all day everyday and be blissful.
My bliss levels go up as the tidiness increases.
It's my happy place.  I guess this is how I say yes to happiness, and block out the things and people that stress me out?!

It's strange, because I used to thrive on that socialization aspect of life that I loved so much.
Now...I could totally live without it.  I am perfectly content being alone with my dogs.  
I mean, I can still act like a normal person in public, so there is no need to call in a specialist for a psych evaluation or anything.....yet. ;)
I do think this shift has been a challenge for some of my friends that I used to spend a lot of time with during my very social phase.  
I guess, in some respects, it is almost like I dropped of the face of the earth, and just retreated into my home, never to really resurface.
Once again, I can't apologize for following my heart, and taking the time to really figure out what I needed to do, and where I needed to be.
For SO long, I felt like I was searching for WHAT I needed to be.
I really believed that my worth was defined by what I did for a living....where my career path took me.
If I wasn't doing something important, or meaningful, or something that stood out and got me noticed, I must just be wasting my life then.
I really felt like I was failing, because I didn't have a clear path, or idea as to what I wanted to do.
Once I got out of teaching, I was sort of just floating.
I'm not sure if it was my parents, or my husband, or society...or maybe just myself that convinced me that this is how I should feel.
At any rate...I am really glad that I was able to change my thinking on it.
I don't feel that way at all anymore.
Now, I wonder why on earth I would ever want to pursue something I didn't necessarily love, just because I felt like I needed to do something for the 'greater good'.
I spent 15 years of my life working my butt off as a teacher.  Now, I look at the hit Wisconsin educators are taking because of our current leadership, and it is just disgusting and disheartening.  I have never worked harder at any job in my life, nor have I ever been more stressed out and exhausted in any job as I did when I was teaching.  (And remember, I'm a farm girl who grew up working on a dairy farm and spent my summers planting tobacco and bailing hay.  I'm not some lightweight who doesn't know what "real work" is!)
In my opinion, life is too short to spend it doing something that doesn't make you happy or feed your soul.  When Sunday night would come around, and I wanted to cry because I knew what Monday morning would bring...I knew a change needed to be made.
I no longer feel like I need some big, powerful, impressive job to make my life meaningful.
Seriously....have you ever seen a tombstone that read "She was a great lawyer" or "excellent brain surgeon?"   
Right now, I am just really happy doing my music thing, and being a mom.  
It is hitting me really hard that my daughter is going to be a senior next year.  I thought I was going to be totally fine with that, but I now realize I am NOT.
I am already trying to stop the clock, and hold on to her.  She is way too special to let go, and I am already conjuring up way too many things to worry about.
I need to quit watching 48 Hours.  Good Lord.  I wish I could lock her in her room, and home school her through college!  (That should go over well.)
So, rather than worry about solving the world's problems, or making a big name for myself....I am going to just take these next few years and make the time I have left with my kids at home as meaningful as I can.
I feel like I missed a lot when they were younger, because I was always working 7 days a week.  And for what?  I would rather live frugally and enjoy time with my family.  In the end, they are all that really matters anyway.  The material stuff is just stuff.  
When it comes to the people I love, I will always say YES.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Super Sunday!!

For today, Part Two of the "Food" segment from 
Anna Johnson's

Yesterday, I shared Anna's take on how to entertain with food.
 Since Sunday is often the day we plan our menu's for the week, and do our shopping, I though this would be a good time to share her tips for saving money and incorporating more whole foods into our diets.
Or, as she puts it:
"Miserly Meal Planning"

"The healthiest way to shop for food in a supermarket is to stick to the perimeter.  Analyze the outside aisles of most supermarkets and you will see this is where fresh produce, essential condiments, and animal protein are displayed.  Most of the other foods (in the center aisles) are sugary/salty/fatty filler.  Cookies. Chips. Salsa. Sugary cereals. Popcorn. Culinary landfill!  When out shopping get all your whole foods first, then see what you have left over for "treats."  I buy a lot of frozen fruit to have handy for smoothies and use what we don't drink to make popsicles.  I freeze yogurt and tell my son it's ice cream and buy pizza bases rather than whole pizzas so I can get better use of the veggies in the crisper and the last of a small block of cheddar.
Cutting out snacks from weekly shopping and replacing them
with raw nuts or the fixings of your own muesli bars or homemade dips
saves you calories and dollars.  The same goes for soda and candy.
Half the time we scarf down snacks when we're just thirsty, so gulp a full glass of water before you chomp.  Or, alternatively, plan ahead for your hunger and designate a section of your fridge for healthy snacks like yogurt, individual muesli topped parfaits, or pre chopped celery and cucumber slices with almond butter.

*Learn to make salads from less perishable materials such as slaw cabbage, apples, nuts, boiled eggs, and oranges.  Iceberg lettuce keeps best but spicy dark greens pack more antioxidants.  Buy a fancy lettuce on the day you know you'll use it.  Or, if you waste a lettuce a week, stop buying it all together and use baby spinach leaves as a salad base instead--they keep longer and taste excellent with sesame and Asian-style salad dressings.

*Soak carrots that have gone droopy in a bowl of cold water in the fridge overnight.  They'll be firm and fresh in the morning.

* Use frozen peas and corn to fill out pasta sauces and savory pies, which make a great backup resource for the end of the week when fresh produce runs out.

*Always have an unsweetened pie crust in the freezer for a veggie pie, a quiche, or a sweet fruit pie.  It just looks special but is so simple to defrost one bought from a health food store or quality market.

*Do a bi-weekly scan of your pantry and make use of the canned and jarred foods (beans/soups/ curries) and grains for at least two meals in your week.

*Clip coupons, watch weekly specials, and when you go shopping do take a calculator and a firm list.  If you are tough on the total, you can reward yourself with more costly items that build your pantry or break a taste rut.

*Hand small kids healthy snacks (to win their silence!) when they shop with you so they don't pressure you into buying cereal decorated with super-heros or impulse purchases like candy at the cash register.

Okay.  So I am going to assume that the doritos I had for lunch, and chocolate chip cookies I had for dinner yesterday did NOT meet the requirements for this "eat more whole foods" thing.
Good thing a new week is starting.  
I seem to rely on that a lot don't I?  The "reset" button that Monday brings.
Until then....let's enjoy Sunday!
(Because the Super Bowl is today, and we all know that no one is thinking about "eating whole foods" but rather "eating FUN foods!")

Have a great day!