Thursday, February 25, 2016

Is It Monday Yet?

Or should I just call this #PhilosophyThursday?

Normally I keep my musings for Mondays, but as I was going about the business of morning stuff, thoughts were swirling in my brain, like the #DustHyenas I was sweeping. In case you were wondering what a Dust Hyena is, it's like a Dust Bunny but bigger and nastier.

A photo posted by Nina Suluh (@empressg1973) on

About a year ago, I embarked on the process of decluttering put forth by the titan of tidy, Marie Kondo, in her book "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up". I started well but life got in the way, as it is wont to do. 2016 was looming around the bend and I found a Facebook group called the "KonMari 26 Week Challenge" and I dutifully joined because it met all the criteria for my ADHD brain to be able to get back on track. Namely, a set time-frame, a schedule of what to do and when, and The List. The List is broken down by week and gives what must be worked on during that time. There are also a lot of other people just like me, working on the same step at the same time and we are able to share our triumphs and tribble-ations. I belong to a lot of KM groups on Facebook, but this is the most helpful at the place I am right now.

The over-arching aim of the KonMari Method (KM for short) is that if it #SparksJoy, you keep it. If it doesn't, you thank it for its service and send it on its merry way. I've lost track of just how many non #JoySparkers have left my house, but I can safely say it's A LOT. We are NOT hoarders by any stretch of the imagination, but like most Americans, we have a lot of stuff. Just stuff. Stuff I was saving for this or that reason... Stuff I got on sale because it was a good deal... You know the drill.

But here's the kicker... I HATE stuff. Hate it. Loathe it. Abhor it. Detest it. (and no I didn't need a thesaurus for that, lol) Too much stuff kicks my ADHD into overdrive and I spiral into depression. I hate stuff sitting out. I hate knicknacks that aren't behind glass. And yet, much like Saint Paul wrote
What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. (Romans 7:15 The Message)
I find myself with STUFF. And it is EVERYWHERE. And so I ceep calm and KonMari on. Part of the concept of the KonMari Method is the idea that the house will tell you when it has reached a "click point". It sounds crazy, but it's true! I'm getting to that part, lol, bear with me.

As I get further into the process of refining my Joy Sparkers, I realize that while I love my dining room and appreciate all the meals around the table we've enjoyed, the guilt for not being able to use it for that purpose in a very long time has been crushing me. And it shouldn't. But yet it has been. Partly because people who shall remain nameless [couhg]my spawn[cough] have complained about it. Well-meaning people have commented on how eating dinner every night at the table brings the family together and blahblahblah.

So here's the deal:

I refuse to feel guilty any more and Imma tell you why in bullet points:

1. I work from home as a fiber artist (I make things out of fabric). That work involves needing a large flat space to lay out, measure and cut the fabric.  Visit my website. #ShamelessPlug

2. My children need a place to do homework. More specifically, my at-risk SPD child needs an area free from siblings with enough space to be tutored by her father. The dining room table fits that bill perfectly.

3. My house is small, but it is almost paid for and I don't feel like shouldering the overhead that an outside facility would cost me. Plus, working from home allows me to be with my kids even when I'm working.

4. My work? Pays for all those nifty things my spawn enjoy doing as extracurriculars. So we can either eat at the table or do fun stuff.

5. Being able to work from home is my #JoySparker (see above). The "click point" came for me when I realized that using my dining room table as part of my work space means more to my family than just eating a meal. It means income for my family that we otherwise wouldn't have.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my dining room table. It's a gorgeous piece of furniture. But until and unless I get a dedicated workroom (which I don't see happening any time soon for a variety of reasons), my dining room IS my workroom. And I'm happy with it. If you have an opinion on why I'm wrong or should do something else, you can forward me the approximately $20,000 to build a functioning workspace. You don't have an extra twenty grand laying around? Okay then. Kindly keep your opinions to yourself.

Let me add something else that Sparks Joy for my family: being able to sit together in comfort on the sofa and eat dinner close together while watching our favorite TV shows on Netflix and Hulu. Because dinner time is the only time we're all able to watch TV at all. And being able to share that time means the world to us. We don't have to worry about people's faces being in their phones or tablets because we're too busy watching TV together (it's like MST3K at our house) and stuffing said faces with food made with love by either their dad or myself (but mostly dad because he's a way better cook).

Some of my fondest memories growing up were eating homemade nachos for dinner and watching "CHiPs" or "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" with my parents. I don't remember many of the meals we ate at the table (and that was the rule for meals), but I remember those times we broke the rules by sitting in the TV room with mom and dad watching TV and eating. And that's probably why I don't feel one shred of guilt about having my kids watch TV while we eat. Because it's not about where you're sitting, it's about who you're with. We're building a shared experience. And that is everything to me.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

lois lane and superman

...or how a fellow Geek Girl and an undergarment most people take for granted changed my life.

First of all, the disclosure: I am not a paid reviewer of any product. If I'm reviewing it, it's because I parted with my hard-earned money to acquire it.

It all started with an Epbot post. Go. Click the link. Read. And then come back here. I'll wait.

Back? Ok. So I read that post when it originally aired back in 2013. I paid it no heed. Learn from my mistakes. Go back and read through all the embeded links. I'll still be here.

Now that you've read the entire post and all the links including the Reddit one on to the good stuff.

I hate shopping for clothes. I've got my reasons, but the clothing I hate shopping for the most are the "unmentionables". I hate it because they never fit right. I always feel worse after a trip to the "fitting room" - a total misnomer by the way since most off-the-rack clothes don't actually fit and there's no one there to fit them to you, but I digress...

I hate bras. With the fire of 10,000 burning suns. I've gone through phases of shopping at Victoria's Secret and being "fitted" there (hahahahahah) and just grabbing whatever utilitarian thing of the rack at Target in an attempt to cover the hoobies. For years, I've gone without and just worn a thick tank top underneath whatever shirt I'm wearing. But some things require a bra and there we are.

I sew clothes for myself and have for quite a while and I was always confused as to why my clothes never fit correctly in the top and I always had to grab 4-6 inches from the back to make everything fit properly. When I finally read through ALL the links in the Epbot post and actually measured myself for a bra, I had an epiphany. The secret is that my underbust is 35" and my actual bust measurement is 44". That is a 9" difference, yo. I should have been making a "full bust adjustment" to my clothes to account for my larger (yet smallish) chest.

So I obeyed my geeky overlord and duly ordered a bra from Brastop.com using my actual measurements converted to UK sizing (I'm a 36F, BTdubs). The first bra I ordered was too small. I went with a 34" band because I'm between sizes. Yeah, nope. FULL of nope. Had to send it back and Brastop and pay return shipping but that's the price you pay for living in the USA and ordering from the UK. The return process was super easy and since the replacement bra was actually less expensive, I got a refund via paypal. Sweet!

I eventually ended up with the Fantasie Lois Side-Support Bra in nude. You can get it here.
from Fantasie's website
That's not me in the picture. I'm not quite that good looking in person but pretty darn close.

Style: It's a bra. I don't know what I expected it to be based on the picture, but when I received it, it looked just a little sad being all flat and stuff (no padding whatsoever in the bra). But who cares what it looks like? It FITS!!!

Fit: This thing fits like a glove. A very supportive glove. The band is 36" and fastening it in the first set of hooks is a perfect fit. Snug without being squeezy. Generally speaking band size affects strap placement. The straps are set very wide on this bra. Which is perfectly fine for me because I have broad shoulders for someone so small (I'm 5'2"). It also means that all the side boobage gets confined in the cups.

Bonus: The center part where the little bow is comes up very high in the center. This is good because it holds my posture erect. I don't know about you, but I tend to slouch a bit and this is like a teeny ruler down the front of my shirt saying "Don't do it, missy!" It also causes me to hold my shoulders down and rolled slightly back - another posture improver.

Overall, I'm thoroughly pleased with this bra. It fits my hard-to-fit boobs. And that was worth the price of admission AND the wait for international shipping.

Friday, January 08, 2016

How To Survive In Jakarta

was not something to which I gave much thought when I boarded my first flight to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. In fact, "survival" is not something I ever think of when I'm travelling internationally.

My thoughts revolve around seeing amazing things, meeting new friends and generally immersing myself in wherever I happen to be and enjoying the experience to the fullest.


So when this video popped up in my Facebook feed, I was... confused... a little put off... and I'm still trying to quantify what it is that bothers me... Maybe it's because Jakarta is my "home away from home" and I have family there that I love.

When I'm in Jakarta it's because I want to be there, not because I "have to". There have been sad times & happy times, but I never found myself worried about my safety (which as an American I was warned about!) or out of place.

I've travelled around the world and the one place I feel most at home is Jakarta. It's a city of contradictions with slums near shopping centres but also a blossom that is slowly opening to show it's inner beauty. You just need to be able to see it.

I remember Jakarta in 2002 when the canals were so filled with styrofoam trash that rats the size of cats were cavorting on them. I remember the flood that meant we had to leave our home on bamboo rafts. I remember the presidential election of 2014 and the nail-biting vote count that was televised for the entire nation to see.

What I remember most about Jakarta is spending time with my family, shopping on side streets (she has a point about sidewalks!), eating amazing food you can't get anywhere else and just sheer happiness.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Yo! 2016...

BRING IT.


After 2015, I'm ready for you.

Dear 2015...

This one is for you.


I won't miss you, 2015. You were the hardest year I've ever lived.

We lived through:

  • job loss
  • bullying at school
  • hospitalization in a behavioural health facility (TWICE)
  • insurance issues
  • medication issues
  • elderly family-member being hospitalized twice
  • and more...
I don't ever want to go through it again.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

It's Not About The Money

But it sure is nice for my better half to be re-employed!

When I went to post on my other blog about my Halloween makeup test-run (Hello, Ursula!) I saw that I hadn't updated this one in months.

So here's the update...

Roughly 3 weeks after being let go from his former employer, he was re-employed, still in the high-tech field, still writing software, but doing something completely different from what he had been doing before (metrology). He took a tiny (really small) paycut, but it's ALL good.

He has a smile on his face coming home from work and is excited about what he does now. And that's something I haven't seen in YEARS.


Friday, May 15, 2015

We're Paying With Love Tonight


Two days ago, my better half's company decided to completely eliminate his entire department. It wasn't completely unexpected, but was still pretty shocking to get the news. 



There's a ton of emotions involved when something like this happens... But the overwhelming emotion right now is RELIEF. In the last 17 years, my better half has weathered no less than 6 rounds of layoffs. They had to close an entire department to get rid of him. ;)

When we started looking back...

It was his first job out of college.
Now, he has 17 years of experience in a very specialized field that means he is very bankable.

It was how he got sponsored to work in the US. 
Now, he is a naturalized US citizen and can work anywhere and for anyone without worrying about employment-based visas and green card issues.

It was how we qualified to buy a house.
Now, we have the freedom for him to find the *perfect* fulfilling job and we aren't strapped financially thanks to their appreciation of his almost 2 decades of service.

Five years ago (give or take a few), I really didn't have many friends outside his work friends.
Now, I have a circle of friends who I know I can call on if I need support.

When I posted the news on social media, the outpouring of love and support was overwhelming and it helped me through a pretty nasty panic attack. That and my better half being the rock that he has always been. Truthfully, he took it WAY better than I did.

The funny thing is, I'm not one to ask for help. I prefer to GIVE it. But just knowing that if I need it, I can call for help means the world to me. To all my friends, you are loved and appreciated more than you know. I thank God every day for all of you!


And now we move on to another chapter in our lives. Where it will be? That chapter has yet to be written. I just know that wherever we go, whatever happens, it will only be up from here.

We had been stuck in a serious rut for a while. We'd bandied about the idea of moving jobs, moving cities, yada yada, but we never really did anything about it. We'd prayed for a sign...

Apparently we're really dense and haven't seen previous signs, or it needed to be a REALLY BIG ONE to have us realize it as actually being a sign. Either way, we saw it.

I know this is sort of rambly, but it's real. I'll leave you with this thought: Life isn't about the money, money, money. It's about your support system and love.


PS: The KonMari Method really is magical. His job wasn't really sparking joy and it KM'd itself right out of our lives.