Saturday, February 14, 2015

Be My Valentine

It is here!
My favorite holiday of the year...

There are lots of reasons I love this holiday.
And most of them have nothing to do with the fact that it's a day that focuses on "LOVE."
Of course, I am all for celebrating love.  Romantic or not.
However, I don't like that people tend to either love or hate this holiday, based on whether or not they are actually in love.
Sure, it's nice to have a sweetheart to come home to, but why do people feel like they need to boycott Valentine's Day if they aren't in a romantic relationship?
When Valentine's Day would come around, and I wasn't seeing anyone...I would look at it as a day to celebrate my relationships with friends and family.
Why not have a girls night out with all the single ladies?

Okay....let's talk about why I love this day.
First of all....when you are a kid, you get to make those awesome Valentine boxes, and decorate them however you want.
Then, you get to have a party during school...and your cool box is filled with love notes from ALL your friends, and there was almost always candy attached.
Seriously...what is better than that?
And while that is going would look at all of the cards from the opposite sex, and really read into them.  Like, if you got one of those nasty, chalky sweetheart candies taped to your little cardboard Valentine, and it said "Hot Stuff" would spend the rest of the day wondering "I wonder if Billy really thinks I am Hot Stuff?  I mean, he taped THAT SPECIFIC heart to my he must mean it, right?!"
Good times!
I also used these opportunities to strategically place the extra romantic card from my Strawberry Shortcake valentine pack in the cute boy's valentine box.
You there was always one or two in there that were a little more suggestive than the others.  Rather than just "Bee My Valentine" with a picture of a beehive, there would be the one that had the cute little cupid couple, that said "Hey Valentine....You're looking fine...Will you be mine?"
Oh THAT meant business!

I also love this holiday because I really like red and pink.
And I really like flowers (which are often associated with this day.)
And I REALLY like chocolate....which, of course, was MADE for this day.
And which will go on SALE tomorrow!

I am also a sucker for these old vintage Valentines.

And one of my FAVORITE pastimes is putting together gift baskets.
(I know, you probably just pictured some cheesy thing from a silent auction at some church, that consisted of a bunch of foofy stuff that no one really wants.)
Not THAT kind of gift basket.
I should find a better word for it.
Fabulous gift arrangement?
When I give a gift, presentation is everything.
Especially when it's for something like Valentine's Day.
I'm all about finding a theme of some sort, a color scheme...and creating a cool looking masterpiece.
Reason number 3485 why it is sooooo nice that I finally got that stupid craft room of mine organized.
And, finally, I love this day, because it begins my birthday week.
I like to think of it as my birthday prelude.
My poor husband gets a double whammy in he has the pressure of Valentine's Day and a birthday within a week of each other.
I think this stressed him out for the first several years of our relationship.
He has it pretty much down to an art now.
For me, this week is a lot like Christmas into New Years....only I think I like it even better....because we are that much closer to spring.
Valentine's Day is NOT a religious holiday, which means I DO NOT HAVE TO WORK.
Pretty much every other holiday during the year means crazy time for me at this is one that I can enjoy, and not have to worry about preparing a big musical presentation for.

I also have to get every moment of bliss out of it as I can...because after my birthday, Lent is here...and that is one stretch of the year that I don't really look forward to.   I think it's the combination of really needing spring to arrive, having a long stretch of dark, dreary and crazy busy, and knowing that until I get through Easter...I'm going to be stressed out.
I'm not even going to think about that right now!
Instead, I will share with you adorable pictures of sweet animals that were made to celebrate Valentine's day!!

I'm guessing Mark isn't going to get me a puppy like I wanted.
Maybe next year. ;)
Until then, I will just keep driving him crazy by showing him adorable puppy pics every chance I get.

By the way, if anyone needs a chocolate can stop by our house.

We have enough chocolate covered strawberries to feed an army (and this was AFTER Lexie took a bunch to her boyfriend's house.)
That giant heart is made from the leftover chocolate....if you REALLY need a fix!
I have a double batch of cut out sugar cookie dough in the fridge right now, 
though I'm not sure I will get around to that quite yet.
I will be spending the day at Logan High School watching show choir....if you are looking for something to do with you Valentine's Day!
Who knows...I might even have some strawberries with me to share! 
Wishing everyone lots of love and bliss today!

Friday, February 13, 2015

In Line...and Online

 I am falling into the habit of waiting until everyone has gone to bed before I start writing my post for the day.
While it is nice to write while it is quiet and peaceful....I will admit that it is a lot harder to feel inspired when it's late at night, and I just really want to go to bed.
In fact, I just spent the past 30 minutes scrolling through goofy stuff on Pinterest, hoping that something would catch my interest, and spark an idea for my post tonight.
Sadly, all it did was make me even more tired.
So, I shall share some random thoughts, and aim for a big jolt of inspiration tomorrow!

  I do quite a bit of shopping online.  Quite frankly, I like the convenience of it.  
AND, I love having packages arrive at my door.  It feels like Christmas....or my birthday.  However, I have had some frustration with it lately.
Don't you hate it when you choose to purchase something online, because the store is offering a special 30% off your purchase, plus free shipping, or something like that, but in the don't get a deal at all?(
Remember that "spoon ring" I bought a few weeks ago? The one with the "b" stamped on it....(the "b" that looks more like an upside down "g".)
Well, the only reason I even purchased it was because they were having a sale, and I could get it at a 30% off discount.
So, I went through the whole ordering process, typed in my special "promotion code" and clicked the "checkout" button.
My purchase confirmation page popped up....and the discount had not been applied.  I immediately sent an e-mail to customer service, along with a copy of my invoice, asking if they would please fix the error.

A month earlier, I had decided to place an order for the 24 Day Challenge through AdvoCare.  (I am already a member, and I use some of their products daily.....and have for quite some time.)
Anyway, whenever I have placed an order in the past, I get a confirmation that the order has gone through, along with a follow up email.
That didn't happen, so I went back and placed the order again.
(I should mention this stuff isn't cheap...we are talking about $160 here.)
After I had gone through the process the 2nd time, I got the confirmation that the order had been placed, along with the email.
And THEN, another email, saying that my PRE-ORDER had gone through.
In other words, I had ordered the damn thing twice.
Once again, I immediately contact customer service....and again, 

I just simply asked them to cancel one of the orders.  And I made this request 5 MINUTES after placing it.
The next week, I got two boxes of stuff...and over $300 charged to my card.
Last week, I ordered some Clinique products I needed, and had waited to do so until this time, because I like to wait until they have the free gift with purchase.
(Why not get a little more bang for your buck, right?)
My order arrived today....sans gift.
I sent Lexie to the mall to see if they would give her one after explaining the situation.  They told her "they ship it will come later."
Yeah.  I'll believe it when I see it.  
The fact that large companies don't bend over backwards when it comes to customer service doesn't really surprise me.  (It's too bad....but I suppose they make enough money that it really doesn't matter if their low end customer falls through the cracks.)

I was surprised, however, with the company I bought the ring from.  They are a smaller, specialty shop.  When they send out their merchandise, it is neatly wrapped in their signature tissue paper and wasabi tape, and placed in a pretty organza bag, along with a tiny jewelry cloth. 
It's quite obvious that they make an effort when it comes to presentation and personalization.  And all of their products are handmade.
The fact that no one from their customer service dept. ever replied to my inquiry surprised me.  
I'm sure a lot of their business comes from word of mouth.
I heard about it through another blog I read.
For me....customer service (be it in person, or via the internet or phone) means everything.

I have worked in retail enough to have experienced the horrors of bad customers (and bad employees)....but also to see the benefits of working in a shop or business where making the customers experience a positive one really does make all the difference in the success of that company.
I always get a good laugh when I encounter people who work in customer service jobs, but obviously have no desire to work with people.
Nor do they have any patience or social skills to deal with the questions or problems that customers will look to them to help solve.
Why on earth do these people even consider going into this line of work?
And then there are the mean customers, who, rather than just being polite, and taking into consideration that the person who is working may not know the answer to every question, nor are they responsible for every policy or promotion that takes place at that establishment, they verbally attack them, and take out their frustrations on them.
I recall being verbally chastised by an older woman one day when I worked at a grocery store. We were out of a couple of the items that she had coupons for.
Obviously, it was MY fault that other people had also purchased those items, and this oh-so-pleasant-woman had not made it to the store in time to take advantage of the savings while the items were still in stock.
Ah, yes...the joys of working with the public.

At any rate...I will continue to attempt to smother the crabby cashiers with kindness, and set a good example for any rude and impatient customers while I am out shopping.
Or maybe, I will just make sure I am in front of them in line....and choose to strike up a nice, friendly, LONG conversation with the person ringing up my purchases.  People need to learn to slow down anyway....:)
Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Countdown to Love

I am ready for spring.
For some reason, this winter has been harder on me than most.
I'm not sure why....we haven't had to endure a ridiculous amount of extreme cold, nor have we had any big storms. (I kind of wish we would have a big least it would be something more exciting than the typical boring winter stuff we are currently having.)
What I do know, is that I have not been overly excited for much of anything since about October.  I barely managed to pull out any sort of seasonal decor, and I've pretty much just let any holiday that occurred pass me by.
My favorite holiday is coming this Saturday, and I have done NOTHING to prepare for it.
Well....I DID make cute little goodie bags for my piano students yesterday.

I have to tell you, having a well organized craft room is the best thing ever.
The fact that I was able to run down there and find not only these cute bags, but also my large heart punch, as well as my tiny little heart shaped hole punch (to put the ribbon through) as well as the ribbon, all within 1-2 minutes....well, it was fabulous.
I even had these tiny little ziplock baggies, so I could separate the candies inside the bags.
One might have believed that Martha Stewart had stopped by for a visit.
Then, one would have taken a look around the house, and realized that no, Martha definitely was no where to be found in this disaster.
SO, time is running out.
I have a pretty busy day today, and I think Mark is going to force me to come to the high school on Friday and practice with his band kids for solo/ensemble.
(Can we just talk about my extreme dislike of playing for solo/ensemble?)
Well...we will talk about that another day.
Lexie and I were discussing "what we should do for our men" for Valentine's day last evening.

Last year, we spent the better part of a day being crafty, and trying lots of ideas we found on pinterest.
I did the thing where I had cute notecards, and I wrote messages on them....then, on the envelope, it would have a description, like:
"Open when you could use a good laugh"
"Open if you need to be reminded how much you are loved"
that type of thing.
I must have written 12 or so of them.
I also did a whole theme basket, filled with candy, wine, liquor, and all the handmade stuff I had worked on that day.
Well....the candy and alcohol were a big hit.
Those envelopes are still sitting in the closet...most still have not been opened.
I am thinking I will not waste time trying to come up with any heart felt gestures this year.
As much as I would love to receive that sort of thing, it apparently does not hold the same sentiment for a man. 
(Why do we even try???)
Maybe I will just go buy him a bottle of Jack Daniels, and a bag of candy bars, and call my shopping DONE!
Actually, Lexie and I have big plans to make heart shaped brownies, cut out cookies, and chocolate covered strawberries.

It is going to be nothing but sugar-filled love in Lakmann-land!
My husband keeps asking me if I have any suggestions for gift ideas for him.
(Aka: What do I want for Valentine's Day?)
Since I will be taking care of filling the house with sugar-laden naughtiness....
I think I will ask for something much more practical.

Perfect, don't you think?!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Alone Among Many

Yesterday, I was questioning my parenting a little.
Was I a "bad mom" for missing my daughter's concert?
After picking up my son from his rehearsal last night, I knew I had made the right decision to stay home and be there for him.
He is a freshman this year, and has definitely moved into that moody, broody stage.
This was the boy who was glued to my side since the day he was born.
We were best buds all the way up until 7th grade or so, when he started to feel like it might not be so cool to be that attached to your mom.
It was heartbreaking for me.
This little boy was my whole world.
I adored my daughter as well...but she was definitely daddy's little girl.
It was kind of nice how each child was not only loved by both parents, but that they had a special connection with the parent of the opposite sex.
I think that played a big role in a couple things.
Lexie has always been very self confident....and surprisingly mature when it came to boys.  (And she did NOT get that from me!!)
She would always comment on how ridiculous it was when kids would start "going out" without even getting to know each other first.
She once said "There is NO way I'd even consider dating someone unless I knew them really well, and really liked them as a friend first."
(Thank you God for wherever that logic came from!)
I am pretty sure it had a lot to do with the fact that her dad was ALWAYS around, and she never questioned whether or not she was loved or supported by him.  She never felt the need to look for a boyfriend to fill the void of having a male figure in her life.
As for Sam, even as a toddler, he was sweet and affectionate.
He is a gentle soul.  I'm guessing the fact that he was a total mama's boy probably encouraged that.  When we were in Italy a few years ago, we took a ridiculously long walk to see some Catacombs.  On the way back, we had to walk along this stretch of land that was very narrow, and right next to a very busy highway.
If you have ever been to Europe, you know that people there are CRAZY drivers.
And the streets are VERY narrow, with no shoulder.
So, if you were to step off the curb, you would become part of Italy's the form of an addition to the cobblestone street.
Anyway, when we got to that section of land, Sam came up beside me (he stood on the outside, near the traffic) grabbed my hand, and moved any tree branch or weed out of my way as we walked.
The entire time, all I could think was "my little boy is protecting me.....could there be anything sweeter than this?"
Once we were back on a sidewalk, he just smiled at me, let go of my hand, and walked on as if nothing had happened.
I, on the other hand, tried not to start bawling in front of everyone.
Last night when I picked him up from show choir, we actually had a good conversation.
Lately, I've just been getting a lot of grunts and other typical teen boy one syllable responses to my questions.  
This time, he actually used WORDS! Lots of them!
It was a MIRACLE!
Mark sent me a text, and asked if I wanted to come to the mall and have lunch with him.  His high school band had played at the middle school for the kids there, and he took them to the food court afterward for lunch.
 I arrived 20 minutes after they did, and asked how things were going.
He replied "Pretty good, but there is one boy who didn't bring any money, and he is refusing to let me buy him lunch."
(The boy was currently just hanging out alone by the restrooms.)
I decided to take the bull by the horns, and just bought him a meal from Rocky's.
I am sure it was totally awkward and embarrassing for him, because he had never met me before....and I then found out he didn't even like Rocky's pizza...but he did like the breadsticks.
We invited him to sit with us, and reluctantly, he did.
The first 10 minutes were awful.
He told me he was "perfectly fine with being hungry."
I told him that I was NOT fine with that.
We tried to make light conversation...and he was upset and obviously hungry, but too proud to start eating.
(He did eventually eat all the breadsticks.)
Then, he started to cry.
(And so did I, of course.)
This sweet, sweet boy.
What could I do to take all of his hurt away?
I asked if I could get him something....he replied "I'm not crying because of the food."
I knew that.  
I am sure he was crying because here he was, a 17 year old kid....and he wasn't sitting at a table surrounded by friends.
He was sitting with his teacher and the teacher's wife.
When he rode the bus back to school....he would be sitting alone.
My guess is that most days when he went to the lunch room, he sat alone.
There is nothing that makes my heart hurt like seeing a kid alienated, and having to sit alone.
I wish no one would EVER have to experience that....would never have to know how it felt to feel like all eyes were on you, yet no one cared enough to join you.
How it feels to have to watch all of the people around you having fun, talking, being together....while you sit and wonder what is wrong with you....why no one wants to include you in anything.
Fortunately, we were eventually able to break through, and get him to smile.
I talked about Mark, and his ridiculous ice house and bike riding get-up. 
(complete with pictures)
Then we talked about band camp...because that is ALWAYS good for a laugh!
We were throwing out ideas for next year's show....and then Mark said "I have always wanted to do a Civil War reenactment with live ammo.  We could use lots of ketchup...and we could shoot cannons out of the tubas!!!  
(This boy is a tuba player)
It would end with everyone pretending to be dead on the field...with a lone trumpeter playing Taps....and then we all break into the fight song....because we have to play that."
(The kid was REALLY smiling after that.)
I look at my kids, and see how easy it seems to be for them to fit in.
Neither of them are in a specific "group" which I am happy about....they just seem to get along with everyone, and have friends in the activities they are involved in.
You forget how blessed you are when things are easy for your children.
I can't imagine how hard it would be to have a child that didn't fit in.
A child that didn't have any friends.
That would break my heart.
That DOES break my heart....every time I see a child in that situation.
Often times, these kids come from homes that may not be your "typical" set-up.
It can be something as simple as being raised by parents who are just socially out of the norm.  Kids learn by example.
Too often, these kids come from homes that are unstable, broken, in financial distress, abusive....or they don't even have a home.
And sometimes....there is no reason for it at all.
No matter what the is not the fault of the child.
For them to be singled out, ignored, teased, or just forgotten because of something completely out of their control is heartbreaking.
If I could have one super-power, it would be that all kids would have the same advantages.  Loving homes, good food, quality education, exposure to the arts, sports, faith, strong support systems, everything it takes to give a child the tools he/she needs to succeed, while always feeling loved and cared for.
Wouldn't it be interesting to see how the world would change if EVERY child was given these opportunities?
I know I would want to live in that world.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Try, Try Again

Monday was a bust.
Shocking, I know.
I really need one of these:

That, and a magic headache remover.
I had planned to be all over the "get the house cleaned and start exercising" thing.
This was to be my morning...and I would have looked EXACTLY like that!

Instead...this became my reality: 5 o'clock shadow wasn't quite that bad...but you get the idea.
To top it off, I spent the day in "discussion" with my husband via emotionally draining texts.  
Remember that cycle I wrote about a while ago?  The one where we go through several weeks of bliss, to a couple weeks of indifference, to a week of annoyance, then a few days of bickering...on and on.
Yeah.  Unfortunately, today was the bickering day.
Not helpful.
While I sat on the couch with my two best friends, I started pondering several things:
*Why am I incapable of functioning like a normal human during daylight hours?
*How am I able to lose an entire day, and accomplish nothing, so successfully?
*Why are my two best friends canines?
*Has the pharmacist been giving me a placebo, rather than my happy pills?
*Should I move to a warmer climate, and see I can function better there?
*Wait a minute, I melt in that would be a bad idea.
*Well...if it's Hawaii....I could probably adjust....

There really is only one solution.

My daughter spent the past two days at Luther College in Iowa, participating in the Dorian Orchestra Festival.
They had their concert last night.  Mark went, but I decided to stay home.  My headache was still lingering, and a long car ride didn't sound like fun to me.  I also needed to get my son to and from show choir practice.
Do you ever feel like the "bad" parent?
I told Mark that Lexie had a ride home afterwards, if he wasn't up to driving all the way there for the concert.  He replied "I feel like I need to be there.  Who knows if she will ever do this again, and there aren't going to be many opportunities left to watch her play in a group like this.  She is only in high school once."
Immediately....I felt like I should just slither on my belly over to the door, and throw myself out.  Obviously, I had just been shown who was the good parent, and who was the bad one.
I know that wasn't his intention, but it felt like it from my end.
From my end of things, I didn't want Sam being here alone all night, and he didn't have any other way to get to his rehearsal.  In my mind, we were each taking care of one of our kids.
But still....his comments stung.  I already feel like I miss so much as it is.
I work on the weekends, so I can't travel to wherever they are performing to watch them like other parents do.
When they are in musicals or sing at concerts, I am usually at the piano, so even though I'm there, I'm not really able to watch them.
I am sure it's obvious how proud I am of them, since I am constantly posting pictures of them, or videos, or just gushing about them in general.
I think that is what makes it even more hurtful when you feel like you are not "pulling your weight" as a parent.....or when your spouse inadvertently makes a comment that leaves you feeling that way.

So, I am going to cut myself some slack.
If I really did suck as a parent, I am pretty sure it would reflect in my kids and their behavior.
Having taught for 15 years, it was NOT hard to pick out the kids who had good parents, and the ones who had the run of the house.  
Apple....tree.  That old saying IS SO TRUE.
I obviously don't know how my kids act when I'm not there to watch them, but if it were something I should be concerned about, I would have probably heard about it by now.
The biggest reassurance I got was when my mom lived with us.
If anything would throw a teenager for a loop, it would be having their Alzheimer's laden grandma move in with them.
And not only just move in with them, but also attend EVERY activity they were involved in.  And we never knew how she would act....or if she might do something to embarrass them.  
(I suppose they have lived with me their whole lives, so they were used to being embarrassed.) ;)
In the six months that she was here, I never once heard a complaint.
Even when she decided that Lexie was evil (because she was SURE Lexie was going to steal her "stuff") and she wouldn't be very nice to her, Lexie would just take it with a grain of salt, and laugh it off.
I was shocked at how well they handled it all....and how helpful they were with her.  I don't think I would have been that attentive and easy going when I was a teenager.
Anyway.  I still feel bad about missing Lexie's concert tonight.
But I feel good knowing that Sam is taken care of, and getting to where he needs to go safely.  Because that is my job too. :)

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Step In the Right Direction

I was perusing Facebook and my e-mail while pondering what to write about today, when I came across a post one of my friends had added to her wall.
I am in a group that consists of a handful of women who are
trying to "get healthy," and we serve as each other's support system.
To be honest, I haven't served as much of anything yet...except perhaps for a comment or two I've made about having to hurdle over my treadmill because it's blocking my way to the kitchen, or something extremely helpful like that.
Anyway, this whole "it's time to get my butt in gear" thing has been weighing heavily on my mind these past few weeks, and I had to chuckle when I read through this post.
It's title is:

I quickly discovered that my idea of a balanced diet was not going to help me achieve my goals.

This, of course, caught my attention, because my belly size is right around 6-7 months. (I like to just compare it to pregnancy belly size.  It gives a much more accurate visual.)
So, if there are things I can do to reduce it in an INSTANT, by all means, 
Obviously, you can click on the link and read it for yourselves, but I will give you the overview.

1. Food Allergies.  
Don't ignore them if you have them.
Hmmm....I very well could have them.  I'm pretty sure that pasta and sugar bring on my migraines.  Perhaps I have a gluten sensitivity as well.
All worth checking out.

2. Packaged Food.
Bad news.  Especially because of the sodium content.
I seem to have an internal sodium indicator, because things that I used to enjoy eating now taste WAY too salty for my liking.
However, my favorite tortilla chips seem to have cut the salt all together.
I actually dumped some salt right in the bag, just to give them some flavor.
I guess I can put a check next to this category.

3. Eating Too Fast.
I am not a fast eater.  However, now that I think about it, I have been eating pretty fast lately.  When I do eat, it's usually a quick bite before I rush off somewhere.  I honestly can't remember the last leisurely meal I've had.
Put a check next to this one too.

4. Soda Addiction.
I don't drink a lot of soda...and I would NEVER allow more than one a day.  In reality, it's more like maybe 3 a week.  And that is only if I actually buy the stuff.
However, I have a glass of the calorie laden, belly bloater sitting right here in front of me as I type.
Yet another check.

5. Eating Too Close To Bedtime.
My biggest issue. 
I literally go all day, and maybe have a yogurt, and an english muffin or a piece of fruit.  Then, 8pm rolls around, and I just start munching.  I can eat a normal dinner...but I still want to just go on with the mindless bingeing until I go to bed.
Gee...I wonder why my clothes are tight.
Extra big check by this one.
I think what frustrates me the most is the fact that I AM NOT STUPID.
I know exactly what I need to do to change my eating habits.
I know exactly what I need to do, as far as incorporating exercise into my daily routine.
Heck...I could probably be a very successful life coach, and guide others in ALL of the areas that I struggle in.
Because I KNOW what to do.
I just don't do it.

And so, I will approach this new week with fresh eyes, and a fresh attitude.
I am also really trying to find balance in my life.
I have been feeling like things are a little out of whack.
I have either been focusing so much on one specific area, or else I try to take on everything at once, and get overwhelmed.
I think this is great advice:

I think this is what I have been wanting to do...but haven't done, because I didn't have a clear plan.
I know I don't want my work to feel like WORK.  (Don't we all want that?!!)
However, I have been allowing my work to also be my creative outlet...and because of that, I have been feeling a void.
The one thing I have been completely lacking is something that gets me up and moving.
I look at my husband, and his decision to ride his bike to work everyday....and see how much that has improved his overall outlook on life.
He is happier, less stressed, more fun to be around, healthier, and he just seems to feel good!
I, on the other hand, am cranky, achey, out of shape, flabby, and have no desire to do anything.
So....who would you rather hang out with?
Don't answer that question.
That is why things are going to start changing.


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Files and Fumes

My cute little yellow file cabinet thingy finally arrived.
Only it isn't a cute yellow at all.
It is definitely a mustard yellow.
I would have looked great in my last house.

I had much more of a "country chic" thing going on there.  And for several years, my walls were mustard, with a red accent wall.

Oh well.
I will just set it next to my gold/yellow chair, and pretend these two pieces have any business being in my house.

By the way....this old chair used to have a seat made out of the most fabulous fabric, which had a lot of aqua in it (which is why I bought it...because it DID work in my house!)  However, Bennett the wonder dog ate a big chuck of it, as well as the cute throw pillow that matched.
I searched for similar fabric, but to no avail.
Finally, I just cut up several layers of memory foam, made a seat cushion, and covered it in yellow and gray.
Not as fabulous, but it is REALLY comfy!!
At any rate, the file cabinet thing DID inspire me to tackle my mess of a desk.  Now, I have work space, rather than a huge pile of stuff on my left, and a messy  dish strainer full of files to my right!
Yes, I did say dish strainer.  The old vintage ones are PERFECT for files.  I have several.

(We will see how long this lasts!)
While I will admit, the rate in which I have been accomplishing things around here is MUCH slower than I would like (aka: the days keep getting away from me.) I have made a little progress.
I will blame all of the non-progress on an on-set of nasty headaches, and the fact that all of my favorite shows have started back up after a long winter break.
This makes for a very non-productive combination.
I started out with a bang last died quickly...but it was a great start.
I even have proof!
Here is the master disaster (bath) before!

And after (three garbage bags, and an entire day of scrubbing, throwing, rearranging, and hallucinating from cleaner fumes.)

Now that I think about wonder I had a headache for days.
Between bathroom cleaners on Monday, and then all of the dust I kicked up, and laundry detergent/dryer sheets I exposed myself to cleaning out the closet the following day....I set myself up for migraine land.
That does it.
I obviously should NOT be cleaning.
Ever again.
I hope you all enjoy your day.
I am off to tell my husband the wonderful news.