Life Lesson: Give Up the “Shoulds”

I’ve been in therapy for two years and some change.

I went to therapy because I was sick of giving myself grief — grief over not being successful enough, not blogging enough, not exercising enough. The list went on and on. I am, and always have been a perfectionist, you see.

A favorite bit of wisdom to help one get over not doing something Perfect-You would have done: “I thought I wanted to do that, but I guess I didn’t want to.”

Forgiveness in a phrase. Repeat the phrase and let it go. For instance, I haven’t blogged in months. I’ve known that each and every day — and known that blogging makes me happy and furthers my goals. Yet I have let the fact that I haven’t blogged dissipate into the ether each and every day and with that decision has come priceless peace of mind. Absolutely priceless. Continue Reading

5 Most Embarrassing Moments of 2012

5. Turning a Fun Social Reunion Totally Awkward

It was the Sunday before Christmas. I was out shopping with Julia and doing what I do best: visiting local businesses, saying hello and giving them some money. I love supporting indie businesses!

I particularly wanted to visit a colleague’s shop. I hadn’t seen her new shop yet and I was excited to see her wares. They were expensive, btw.

I walk in. She says enthusiastically, “Hey! Long time no see!”

She remembers me!!  She remembers me! I was excited. I like her a lot. She has done some amazing stuff in her life; it’s inspiring to even know her.

I hurry over, excited to talk. I try to remember: she’s married to a fellow creative genius. A male fellow creative genius. They’ve been married for awhile, and that’s when I see her more clearly! She must be pregnant!! How very exciting!!

“Hi!!” I hurriedly approach her as my mind races with all these exciting thoughts. When is she due? Is it a boy or a girl? How will this affect her ability to run her own business?

My face must have ebullient. I like babies. “Are you pregnant?!?”

4. Turning an Awkward Situation Even More Awkward. If that Were Even Possible.

She looked kind of confused and shocked by my question.

In my mind this meant only one thing: She didn’t hear me clearly.

“Are you pregnant?” I ask again, equally as excited for her new family member as before.

“No…” she said, blushing and looking away.

3. Continuing the Conversation

“Oh!!” At this point I get it. She’s not pregnant.

And I just asked if she was not once. No, not just once. Twice. I was mortified.

“I’m sorry!” I gasped. My face must have been beet red. What could I say? My mind raced…what could I say? How could I fix this?

Time is running out. She’s looking away; she wants me to go away; I’ve ruined whatever friendship might have been. I have to fix this.

“It must be your sweater.”

Genius me. Absolute genius. Now you’ve insulted her sweater.

2. Still Continuing the Conversation.

At this point, what do you do? I’ve inadvertently suggested that I think she looks fat, and that her sweater makes her look fat. It looked like such a nice, cuddly and warm sweater. It was so cold that day. I wear sweaters that make me look fat all the time. Oooh what have I done??

“So…how’s business?”

Yes. At this point I attempt to make small talk. All of my social grace had flown out of the window by now…and it wasn’t coming back.

She was nice about it…answered a few questions before someone — THANKFULLY — needed her help to purchase one of her handmade and adorable goods.

With a huge sigh of relief, our conversation ended.

1. Telling Julia about My Faux Pas. In the Store.

Did I mention that my social grace had flown out the window? Oh, yes, it had. It was up there in the sky dancing with the rainclouds by now. Probably telling them that they looked pregnant too.

I wandered around the store politely inspecting the goods and hoping to find something for someone on my list. I didn’t.

Julia was on the other side of the store. “Oh my god,” I said under my breath. “Oh my god.”

“What??” Her face was expectant. I could tell she could tell it was going to be good.

“I just asked that girl if she was pregnant.” I was talking as quietly as I could muster given my mortified state. I hope she couldn’t hear me. She was on the other side of the store, after all. But, really…what possessed me to bring this up while we were still IN THE STORE?? Couldn’t I want five minutes til we were on the street?

No. I was that embarrassed.

Julia was shocked. “YOU NEVER DO THAT!!!” That might have been audible across the store. I hope it wasn’t.

Julia continued, “Don’t you know that?? Everybody knows that!! Oh my god.”

I hung my face in shame. We exited the gift shop.

Julia sighed, “Well, I guess now you do.”

My Life is Good

So good, I’d hazard to say it’s practically perfect.

I have an amazing home with a boyfriend I love. I have a cat of 12 years who I know as well as I know myself. I have a new kitten (still nameless!) to work in some excitement. And yesterday I exercised for the first time in weeks.

The #1 reason that my life is awesome: it’s 10:33 on a Monday and I’m lying in bed with my coffee and the kitten working on this website,

This site has been a labor of love for many years. Whatever my passion du jour (mosaics, pet portraits, wood carving), I never stop wishing for more time and energy to devote to this site. I wished for so much time to work on this site (and other silly projects) that I threw caution to the wind and quit a full-time job I’d had for years on March 31st, 2009.

Since then, I’ve been forced to overcome many challenges. My perfectionist instincts, for one. And the realization that my dreams change almost daily, for another. The first dream I followed was a failed attempt at a pet portraiture business, Van Gogh My Pet.

Hangoverville was even less of a success. Lushes in Love caught on, but never proved profitable.

But these attempts were not without their lessons. I learned that “If you build it, they will come” is frankly not true. No, if you build it and promote it AND it’s brilliant, then they will come.

I launched Artsy Geek to capitalize on the web development and marketing skills I’d been building since I built my first website in 1996. Artsy Geek, I thought, would pay the bills and then, finally, I’d have the time and energy to work on this site (and other silly projects).

This year has been particularly trying. Artsy Geek has tripled its business since January.

Tripled! I didn’t see it coming.

That growth has brought with it more challenges than I ever expected. I regularly bemoan our success, saying “If I’d known it would be this hard to grow a business, I never would have launched it.”

I wonder at this moment if I still mean that. With a team in place that I can trust, I can scale back the 60+ hour work weeks. With the confidence to charge higher prices, I don’t have to work as hard for every dollar we earn. With a great reputation, we have enough business coming in that I don’t feel the need to jump at very last dollar. (Knock on wood!!)

And having survived on practically no income for many months, I can truly appreciate every dollar in my wallet.

With this new found breathing room, my sister suggested that I take my mornings to myself. With my mornings to myself, I can be sure to exercise more often and — perhaps most importantly — to pursue my long-term dreams of being a writer, a blogger and a talk show host.

So here I am. My head sings the Randy Newman song, My Life is Good:

Sure, I don’t have a housekeeper to write my songs for me or Bruce Springsteen asking me to be boss for awhile. But I do have a purring kitten, a stack of blog entries I’ve been dying to write and infinite appreciation for what I’ve built.

Ching ching!

The Story of Clocky the Rolling Alarm Clock

I really don’t like getting out of bed.

I never have. Ever since I was a pre-pubescent, I’ve had this problem.

Lately, it’s gotten worse. Here I am, running my own business, with a staff of three to six to keep track of on any given day. And all I want to do is lay around in bed!

I’ve tried everything…it didn’t work to have the alarm clock across the room. I’d just get right back into bed, time and time again, even for as little as five minute snoozes.

An upbeat playlist backfired. It was too easy to shut off and go back to sweet slumber.

I even followed one blogger’s advice and practiced getting out of bed for a solid hour one night. I’d get set the alarm for two minutes later, get into bed, try to get into the sleeping rhythm and then — when the alarm went off — I’d practice jumping out of bed with energy and enthusiasm the way I dream I might. Time and time again I practiced. The next morning I went back to snoozing like nothing had happened.

Adorable Guster tucked into bed.

Can you blame me, when I have such an adorable feline beckoning me back to bed??

I’ve made the mornings incredibly easy for myself. The coffee pot goes off at 7:30 — the first thing I get to do is take a sip of nice, strong coffee. The boyfriend makes me breakfast. All I have to do is get my ass out of bed.

And I can’t do it.

One day I was shopping at and I found the answer: Clocky, the Rolling Alarm Clock.

This alarm clock is designed with people like me in mind. The alarm clock goes off and rolls away, so no matter how much I don’t want to, I have to go chase it.

Or so I thought.

Day 1

At long last, Clocky arrived in the mail. I was stoked. Tomorrow, I told myself, tomorrow will be the beginning of a new day!! I’ll get up early! I’ll exercise before work! I’ll come in so sun-shiney-happy that my team won’t know what hit them!

I set the alarm. I went to bed. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. It was a glorious sleep.

The next morning, the alarm goes off and Clocky takes off from his perch on my nightstand. Onto the floor he goes and boom! He’s stuck next to a stool.

Sleepy me reaches down out of bed, picks him up, presses snooze and back to dreamland. Fail. Though Clocky did succeed in scaring the wits out of poor Gus. But even that hilarity wasn’t enough to keep me from dreamland.

Day 2

Determined to make this work, I moved the offensive stool to give Clocky a clear path to somewhere hard to find. Tomorrow, by God, I will have to hunt and hunt to find this beeping, rolly creature. I will be awake!!

Moving the stool helped. Clocky rolled off and away. And then under the bed. I spent a solid two minutes fishing it out and was, indeed, awake. It was a success! The beginning of the new me!

Day 3

I did my best to ensure that the previous day’s success would reoccur. I cleared all obstacles from Clocky’s way. I went to bed. Oh, did it feel good to be a new person! To be someone with a working method to ensure that I got up early!! Ooooh, yes, the sky was the limit from now on.

But I neglected one thing: my intellect. Over the past two days I’d learned that there was a slight delay between when Clocky goes off and when he rolls off my nightstand. The next morning, he went off.

I acted quickly. I wrestled my hand from the covers, and in one quick gesture, pulled the drawer of my nightstand out. There Clocky was, a rolling and a beeping away in the confines of my nightstand drawer.

Another quick gesture later, he was silenced and I was back to sleep, happily dreaming of a time when I might actually learn to get up early.

Day 4

I had spent a whopping $30 or something on Clocky, and I wasn’t going to give up yet. Perhaps…perhaps, if I combine Clocky with the alarm-clock-across-the-room-method, perhaps then I would have the magic recipe to my new life!

Luckily for me, my boyfriend’s dresser was all way across the room and it had plenty of room for Clocky to live. That is until he woke up, and rolled away and I would finally get out of bed on time!

With a sense of dread, I placed him up there. Why dread, you ask? Well, I had an inkling that this method just might work, and, the truth of the matter was, I didn’t want to get out of bed on time. I wanted to lay around and cuddle until the last possible moment.

Well, I placed Clocky up there, and set the alarm. I went to bed, knowing that my slumber would be dramatically disturbed come 7:30 am. And come 7:30 am, it was. Clocky did his job, and did it well. It took me a solid five minutes to dig him out from under the chair he wound up under.

Reluctantly, I stayed awake.

The next few days continued to see Clocky doing his job and doing it well. But lucky for me, I had sabotaged the whole thing. You see, Clocky takes AAA batteries. And when he came, I couldn’t find my fresh AAA batteries. So I put in whatever ones I did find, and they just didn’t have much juice.

Day 16

Clocky is set atop the boyfriend’s dresser, waiting to do his job. But the sabotage finally worked its magic. By 7:30 am, Clocky was out of juice and unable to run around. I slept in unknowingly, yet happily. And I have yet to put new ones in.

What can I say? This damn rolly alarm clock just does too good a job. And I just plain don’t want to get out of bed.

Committed to getting out of bed? Get yourself a Clocky the Rolling Alarm Clock today!

Wisdom from the Trenches

I did some volunteer consulting for Women’s Initiative the other week. What fun it is to reach out to fellow woman entrepreneurs! People who understand what it’s like; whose lives are similarly a roller coaster ride that never ends.

One of my clients shared the following lyric as one that helps her be okay with not knowing how things are going to play out…even when it comes down to how you’re going to pay your staff or afford that necessary expense this week.

A mind, that wants to wander,
round a corner,
Is an un-wise mind

– George Harrison, Be Here Now

It turns out the song’s pretty weird though. But don’t let that ruin this wisdom!  Since I acquired it, I’ve applied it everywhere…from planning travel expenses, to dealing with tumultuous relationships.  Fretting about the future takes pleasure from the present.  And who knows, we might not be here in another ten minutes.

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Life Lesson: Artichokes are not the best take-your-lunch-to-work food

They make your fingers all sticky and they’re really hard to eat at your desk when you’re busy working your way through your lunch break.*

Also, if you’re going to cut them in half before cooking, clear out all those little hairs. Otherwise they get all over all the leaves and in your mouth and it’s a lot like licking a cat.**

Lastly, I’ve had artichokes with melted butter, I’ve had them with mayo. But my favorite dipping sauce remains mayo mixed with a bit of curry. What’s yours? Continue Reading

Confession: I am an awful roommate too

We’ve been sharing awful roommate stories here on as I recover from my last living situation in which Will and I inadvertantly offered a bedroom in our apartment to who was to become known as our Roommate From Hell.

The truth is that he and I were each other’s Roommates From Hell.

You see, I like a clean house. I like clean dishes. I like people who clean up after themselves, and who replace the toilet paper roll when it runs out.

I would have thought that that sort of behavior would be generally expected, but it was foreign to my Roommate From Hell.

After he had neglected to replace the toilet paper multiple times, I texted him thusly…

“Please change the toilet paper for gods sake! From now on my charge is $25 to pick up your slack. Understand?”

Yep, I’m not proud of it, and it was pretty much downhill from there. Continue Reading

One Reader’s Crazy Roommates

Thanks to friend of the blog Charlee for sending in some crazy roommate stories.  Today’s lesson, as she so eloquently stated, “Humans are a bunch of WEIRDOS!”

Fight #1

“I told a bossy college roommate that I could find the common room on my own for a meeting (she wanted me to miss the last 2 minutes of Sex & the City?! just to have her way.) and then she stopped all communication with me. This resulted in two months of absolute silence.”

Fight #2

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Life Lesson: It is an extremely bad idea to put coffee into a cup already containing a tea bag

Even if you’re running out the door to the vet because your cat is acting really really strange and doesn’t want breakfast for the first time EVER and it’s the cup that you used yesterday so it’s pretty clean and you just really have to get out the door.

No. The coffee on top of a teabag makes the coffee taste like tea and then it’s neither coffee or tea. Getting to that appointment on time was not worth this suffering!!

Photo of what I wish I were drinking: a caffe latte from Subrosa.

Oh and Gus is okay but got into a little spat with some extremely misguided other cat. Grrr. Continue Reading