Maintaining is hard

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Work has been good but exhausting, the babies are good but exhausting. Maintenance is stressing me out. Brush teeth, take bath, comb hair, get dressed, go to the dentist, rinse repeat. So much needs to be done that it takes up the time I want to be doing other stuff. Grocery shopping, making phone calls, paying bills and God knows what else my memory has been so bad lately. I want to listen to Elizabeth Mitchell and spend time in nature. I want to feel a connection to the universe. But my work clogs are ripped and almost unwearable and new ones are $140.00 and the cheap rubber shoes at I got at Walmart hurt my feet and my back and on and on. When will time open up and give me what I want? I won’t mope though. It’s time to seize the day and be kind and patient and make it happen. Off to the park, the weather is beautiful (just as soon as I bathe everyone and brush their teeth and dress them and make lunch and get extra clothes and diapers together)!

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Whole Fish at MoPho

2015/01/img_0441.jpg Whole Gulf Fish with citrus and soy sauce, absolutely fantastically delicious at MoPho. The restaurant was also great for kid-friendliness, bubble tea (without bubbles though, choking hazards) and perfect happy hour wings. Very good service also, attentive and kind.

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Tales of the Chia Gnome

So the other day we bought a gnome shaped chia pet on sale at K Mart. Max is always wanting to grow something and I thought this would an excellent and easy way to satisfy that urge. I had no idea what to expect really, as incredibly, as ubiquitous as these things are, I had never had any face to face experience with one. The first thing that surprised me was that, and this is so obvious it’s painful, chia pet seeds are the same as regular chia seeds, like the healthy kind that come in kombucha from Whole Foods. Who knew, right? You soak the seeds until they’re super jelly-y and rub them on the ribbed outside of the chia pet, on the growing surfaces, in these case the beard of the gnome. (On a side note, Max saw the gnome as Santa Claus and referred to it as such.) This part is kind of gross, it just has an unappealing look to me. Then you fill the thing with water, put it in a plastic tray and cover it with a plastic bag until it sprouts in a few days. This led to Max asking where Santa was all the time and if he’d grown yet. We’d lift up the plastic and determine that no, he had not. After about three days it did sprout a little. And it kept growing day by day, but we didn’t really have enough light so the individual plants got pretty “leggy and overgrown” (wording from the instructions about when to call it quits and start again) before the leaves opened and gave us the charming neat effect as pictured on the box. By this point interest was pretty much lost anyway so all in all the chia experience was pretty anticlimactic. But interesting, and I might try it again when the kids are a little bigger. I want the traditional animal shape next time, the gnome was a little creepy; especially when I accidentally covered his eyes with the icky sticky bug like seeds.

2015/01/img_0433.jpg Chia Santa Gnome

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A long day, a big tip and cabbage blossoms.

2015/01/img_0408.jpg Cabbage Blossoms

I worked a double today, 14 hours straight of waiting tables. It was a good day, though, I made all the money and I got one notable 1000 percent tip! It was a two top that I didn’t know was a VIP/friends of the chef. They sent a few things out from the kitchen but nothing big, just an appetizer and one dessert. They wanted to box their own food and only drank water. It was two women and they were very sweet, too. Pretty much the easiest table ever, even though I was a little busy and running around while they were there. I dropped their check, which was $15.37 while they were still eating dessert. When I picked it up and glanced at it I thought they had left me $50.00 which would have been extremely generous considering. But something looked funny so I glanced at it again and realized that they left me $150.00! I was so happy, my heart was racing a little bit honestly, and I felt emotional because of their kindness and generosity. That’s when I love waiting tables, and this is going to sound like some hippie shit, but most of the time I really like my guests and want them to have an awesome time under my watch. The rest of my workday was also pretty good, nice section all day, and though I wondered if I could, I made it through.

Mardi Gras is coming soon and Carnival ball season is in full effect. Downtown is full of men in tuxedos with purple, green and gold bowties and ladies in evening gowns and garnished with jewels. I wonder what they do at these fancy balls, probably give speeches and make toasts and drink and think ahead to their upcoming parade. I had a Rex rider at one of my tables today also. I learned from him that the owner of our restaurant also rides in Rex, krewe of the privileged white elite business men in New Orleans. That table also gave me a glass of the wine that they brought, a nice bottle from what they said was the oldest winery in the world, I can’t recall the name.

My last table was a four top that spent over $500.00. They own a restaurant in the Florida Keys that they invited me to come work at and bought a very expensive ($145) bottle of Brunello on the recommendation of a wine friend who they texted for advice. Brunellos go over very well and are turning into my go to pricey bottle to recommend. They were very nice too and we had a good conversation over their four courses. They really knew how to eat out, from before dinner drinks to Amaro after they really nailed it. I wish more tables could be like them and they tipped over 20%. Nice.

Thank you good customers, I had a fantastic day thanks to you all and I appreciate it.

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Still Life 2

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Winter in the Southland

It was finally cold today, in the 20s this morning if you can believe that. My kids are in love with all the 1960s stop motion holiday shows and in particular, The Year Without a Santa Claus which features the Miser Brothers. So of course we decided that Heat Miser had finally allowed Snow Miser to let some cold weather into the Southland. We went for a chilly walk after we bundled up and found that standing water was actually frozen! And we saw some tiny, charming icicles at the park that the kids enjoyed snapping off benches and plants.

2015/01/img_0397.jpg Icicles in the park.

We went to the little grocery store and got apples and pears, bread and natural gummy bears, which the kids fought over the whole way home. Also, as a side not, we got a very modest portion of the bears out of the bulk container and they cost almost seven dollars! Jeez Louise. All for a fight. After Max freaked about the gummy bears and got really mad because he didn’t want to share with his sister I had a serious conversation with him and we made snacks for Sister and his grandmother. He said that he was the restaurant cooker and the server. Cute. We made Nutella, peanut butter, strawberry and banana toast, which was super kick ass.

2015/01/img_0396.jpg Icy chess table in the enchanted winter park

I had to work at four o’clock today and it was very quiet when I went in. I felt very busy throughout the day and even slightly weeded at times but I really don’t know why, I only did around 30 covers which was about the lowest of everyone on. I just couldn’t focus in and get my rhythm I suppose. All of my tables were pretty nice though and I made good easy money, which is just about what it’s all about. We appear to be in a lull between holidays right now but that will change soon. There is always something going on in downtown New Orleans. I’ve had a lot of tables ordering expensive wine lately, maybe it’s because winter just makes you want something substantial like a serious Barolo.
A guest at one of the big tables tonight accused their server of being racist, something which she is assuredly not, and he got right in her face and yelled at her and she couldn’t help but cry afterwords. I wish people could see how their actions affect others more often and look outside themselves. One should not be so quick to judge and accuse others though I am certainly guilty of those things often enough.
Another long, chaotic, peaceful and eventful day. We even made a craft which I’ll show y’all later, good night.

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A (glowing) review of Smiling Tree Toys

When I was looking for blocks for my two year daughter for Christmas this year I spent hours on Amazon looking at various options but none of them really impressed me. The quality didn’t look great or the reviews were poor. I don’t know how I got the idea to look at Etsy but I am glad that I did because I came across Smiling Tree Toys. I found their store after clicking on the most gorgeous set of natural wood blocks, and after reading about the people behind them I wanted them even more. Former Peace Corps volunteers with two small children of their own, Justin and Kathleen are based out of Lamberton, Minnesota. They are dedicated to producing heirloom quality wooden toys out of sustainably harvested American hardwood with an organic camelina oil and beeswax finish. Anyway, back to the blocks. I ended up ordering the 30 piece personalized block set. Here’s a link to the 20 piece as that is what seems to be available right now. The personalization was optional and you could add your child’s name to one of the blocks which is very charming and adds to the heirloom aspect of these toys. I also got the seven piece personalized block set for my son with the letters of his name spelled out so he wouldn’t feel left out.
The larger block set was $64.00 and the small was $18.20, and well worth it. When you consider the personal attention that goes into each block and the level of dedication to quality that this toy company shows in every aspect of their products.
The blocks shipped quickly for a custom product and I had them in hand before I knew it. Each set came neatly packed in a USA made canvas bag. The blocks themselves were everything I was hoping for, smooth and substantial to hold and each one a great size for building and holding in little hands. The natural variant wood colors are gorgeous and they stack wonderfully.

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The quaint Smiling Tree Toys logo is on several of the square blocks
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A view of some of the 30 piece set in action.

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These also have the letters on the back in lowercase.

My kids were very excited to open them on Christmas and have been enjoying building towers and castles since. They also use the arch block as a phone which is super cute. The edges are perfectly smooth and very easy to play with. My three year old who is starting to learn about reading is really enjoying his name blocks, too.
The overall feel and look of these blocks is one of fine quality and craftsmanship. Keep up the good work, Smiling Tree Toys.

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