Category Archives: fretting

Enough and More

image: { gena perdue handmade }

laptop sleeve?

ipad cover?




“I will become something,” said the green circle fabric. “I can be all of these things and more. For today, I will be a panel that separates a studio and a bathroom, and that will be enough.”

Do you ever find yourself out of focus? Overwhelmed by the tidal waves of to do lists? Wish lists and aspirations? Only to later discover an entire day has gone by like a dream?

It can be difficult with job pressures, family needs, and the burden of expectation with a sometimes unidentifiable source, to remember that we are enough.

We don’t have to accomplish everything today. We can instead choose what to accomplish today.

Choosing one thing to accomplish everyday (be kind and make it manageable at first until you get into the swing of things) and be amazed at your list of accomplishments after 7 days and then after 30 days.

Recently after reading this book, I have taken this approach and have been amazed at how much I accomplish in a week. As compared with my state of overwhelm awhile ago, which looked something like this:

1. Have my coffee to get energy for the day, 2. take kids to school, 3. clean up breakfast mess, 4. tidy up rooms, 5. make a long to do list of things, 6. check facebook to see what my friends are up to, 7. check my email and respond to anything necessary (or not), 8. pick up the living room and fluff up the couch pillows . . . you get where this goes. By the time I finish these things and barely begin to look at what’s number 1 on the giant to do list, it’s half hour before I pick up the kids and I haven’t eaten lunch yet and don’t even think about what I look like.

Do you have a list? Will you participate in a daily challenge with me to accomplish just one thing a day? Link back here and let’s continue the conversation and share our [small, but grand and amazing] victories.

Thanks for the visit.


Getting Personal

photo: Deirdre Hanlon Jones

Often I wonder if it might be a good idea to have a blogging schedule, calendar, come what may. When I think about it, it feels somewhat like a dissection. While I do love a good dissection, it starts feeling complicated and I get more self conscious than I am comfortable admitting. { i have a blog – whatever, right? }

Fact: I have a lot to say, don’t know where to begin, become overwhelmed, so I just say nothing.{ It’s the blog cliche, right? You wanna blog, you don’t wanna blog. Make up yer mind already! } Then, last week I met someone. We couldn’t stop talking. About everything. San Diego, Sonoma County, wine, good skin care regimens and who has the best R&D department, UCSD, Biochem, cosmetic chem, the real meaning of SPF, living in Europe, raising families, the high price of petro [no, not really!] ,social work, foster children and the system, and that of course led to neurobiology.

I was wide open and strangely comfortable. But, wait for it .  .  . then I was nine years old again and feeling vulnerable. What have I done? I sat with a complete stranger and in a matter of minutes exchanged lifetimes worth of extremely personal information. What if I see them again? What if I don’t?

At nine years old, something happened to me that changed my life and how I viewed myself forever. Yes, the photo is me, circa 1992. It’s old, but I’m not. 😀 Wait, did that emoticon thing just make me old?

To be continued . . .

Mayday! Mayday! Ostrich Leaving Sand Post

Suddenly firmly embracing a love of high quality material goods again. What the hell happened to me? It’s like I had kids, sent all the good Italian design stuff to Goodwill and did my best to become some effedup version of Mother Teresa. Well, look out . . .wait, doesn’t this happen every summer? Stoopid fire sign.

This and this and this are exciting me write now. Yes, that was intentional, since writing this and writing that are what have eaten holes my brain during the new blog absence. If this thing were a child, it would have definitely withered away by now, having no mother to feed it and no loyal fans to tend it in my negligence.

But seriously, look out.  /Asskickingfirebreathingstorytellingfreakmakinglife ON

Changes are taking place. Sometimes that’s scary and exciting all at once. I think I can handle it.

The Marriage Plot

What are you reading? Are you looking for something new but feeling uninspired by the bookshelves at the local big box? Too overwhelmed by the enormity of our favorite online book retailers?

Well . . . have you ever heard of The Morning News Tournament of Books? I am reading one of the books with my husband.

uncertain where this image originated

(but conveniently found it on my desktop)

Making Space for Work

Or is it, Working to Make Space, or Making Your Space Work?

Either way, the amount of clutter around my desk always seems to coincide with how effectively I work or NOT.

Because I have a variety of activities, it is imperative that my space serves multiple functions. I am currently all of the following:

Mommy, blogger, designer, online retailer, filmmaker liaison, housing coordinator, our household’s budget planner, the housekeeper, the playdate coordinator. Basically, the domestic engineer.

So, while my blogging, retailing, liaising, housing, budget planning, and calendaring needs are minimalist and can all be done here at the keyboard, how is it that I need so much space and that it quickly devolves from esoteric and peaceful to something that looks like it was left behind at a monster truck rally?


Before Thanksgiving last year I had decided that December would be the month that I experimented with ignoring Facebook. I wasn’t crazy popular – hardly, but I had a nice collection of just under 500 friends after I had whittled out the ones that I had never even met. And I really enjoyed seeing what they were up to, getting private messages and emails, and participating in engaging threads. So what’s the problem? I wasn’t being productive. In real life.  I wasn’t running, I wasn’t making art and I wasn’t socializing. I was Facebooking and I was frustrated.

So I took a break. I didn’t delete my account, but I just didn’t log on. For a month. During that month I read more than 2500 pages that included the following: The Help, The Invisible Bridge, The Social Animal, Simplicity Parenting, and My Dear Friends in America, and that’s not counting the many children’s books we are so fortunate to have.

In addition to rekindling my passion for reading, I got more organized, and dramatically more systematized. Just like my old self, when I ran an office here in the early to late 90s. I found new money management tools which I am so tickled by, but that’s for another post.

So, did I log back on? I did. After three months. But I haven’t really been there. It looks like my efforts to make change resulted in a win back of my time. I still like Facebook, but I just devote a lot less time to it.

Another good example of how sometimes saying no to something just means saying yes to yourself.

When Life Gives You Lemons

image: gena perdue@home

You squeeze 4 into a glass, top with a cup of fresh orange juice, and toss it down the hatch. For more energy in your day, do this and the recipe at the bottom. Zip!

A few days ago I was feeling quite sluggish. Was I catching something? Was I dying? I couldn’t pin it, but my body went to sleep at 5 one afternoon and wouldn’t let me reemerge until 6am the next morning. This is odd for me since I always have something to do and thirteen hours of downtime could sink the ship. It’s a luxury to be able to do so, of this I am quite aware. Have you ever had that experience where it just wasn’t a choice? Well, that’s what this was. I must have really needed the rest.

I took the cues from my body and decided change was in order. On my list of things to pick up after school were lemons or limes or both. When I arrived to pick up kids in the afternoon, I discovered we had a homework task to do at a friend’s house. And off we went. While the kids were tasking, serendipitously my fellow Mama picked a ton of meyer lemons and gave them to me. What? How’s that for an answer from the universe?

I have a ton more energy ever since I have replaced my regular coffee habit with the citrus cocktail in the morning and half hour later enjoying the following recipe:

Fill a mug to an inch from the top with boiling water. Put in a heaping teaspoon of Inka, a teaspoon of regular coffee, a splash of milk, and a swirl of agave syrup. Heaven in a mug.

Time Out


Sometimes they sing sweetly, sometimes they lock horns. When they lock horns too often, it means we all need a time out.  There are many ideas around what a time out is. For us, it is literally time out. For all of us. Our last excursion when the sun began to visit was Point Reyes.


Out of the house, out of the loop, out of the craziness that life has become. Off the grid and into nature is what a time out is. Point Reyes provided the perfect backdrop to be literally off the grid and unwind. Out at Drakes Beach there was a payphone: a real live analog ground line. The sign next to it was quite an amusement. I’m torn between which free call option I like best:  Receive God’s Blessings, Help Finding a Job, or that Chase Bank was the option listed first.

These time outs have been the most effective medicine to unpeaceable behaviors. I am also finding that as these time outs routinely find their way into our family rhythm, the locking of horns is a less frequent form of release.

What are your habits at home that help tame the bull?

See you soon!



all images, courtesy of my iPhone.




Walking to school has become a happy activity since the rain has stopped and the sun visits regularly. When it’s a blustery morning, we’ll drive a bit and then walk through the park.

Changes have occurred with this new activity:

  • kindergartener’s teacher remarks on how well she’s doing lately
  • less whining
  • more cooperation
  • more time to share and enjoy each other during the walk to school
  • more tiny requests to stop and take photos like the one above

With the health benefits of walking and the presence of mind that occurs for me, I have been inspired to take a challenge.

What are your favorite outdoor activities when spring begins to bloom?

image credit: gena perdue, santa rosa 2012

Mama’s Desk Before and After


image: gena perdue @home

March is the month where I get the most energy, the most inspiration, the most done, and my least favorite, the most frustrated.

Have you ever read the children’s book, Olivia? If you have then you’ll understand if I say March is the month where I wear myself out.

My husband programs a local film festival and we are in countdown mode. Do we have all the films in? Do the visiting filmmakers need or have lodging? Have all necessary communications gone out to liaisons? Does our hospitality coordinator need anything? And the list goes on . . .but we love it.

This year, I discovered though that I usually get a surge of energy and unfortunately most of it stays in my head and on paper, but crafting often takes a backseat to the film festival. So I thought maybe, just maybe, if I can control one or two areas during this time I will feel a little less like Olivia. Last week it was my bathroom counter, this week it’s my desk. Below is the Before shot for good measure.

image: gena perdue @home, before