I like to save things. Not in a crazy, hoarder type way, but if I see something I like, I hang onto it. I am constantly ripping articles out of the newspaper and magazines because I thought they were interesting. If I find something online that interests me, I print it out. I have a couple of scrapbooks and a box full of emails, jokes, poems, short stories, fortunes from fortune cookies and anything else that inspires me. I have binders full of recipes that sounded great (I have only tried about 10% of them). The only problem with saving all these things is that there is not much organization to shoving them in boxes and binders. I often forget where I put that great Halloween decorating idea from the year before.

Earlier in the week, my friend, Amy asked me if I was on Pinterest. I had no idea what that was. She explained that it was like a virtual corkboard where you can Pin items from the internet – inspiring quotes, recipes, travel destinations, crafts, home décor, etc. That way, the things are all in one place and can be organized into categories. It sounded like it was right up my alley. You can also connect with friends and see what they are into and Repin what is already out there.

Pinterest is by invitation only, so Amy sent me an invite through Facebook. She warned me that it is a bigger time waster than Facebook and that even after a few days of use she may need an intervention. It is pretty user friendly. You set up a board that you name – Quotes, My Style, Books I’ve Read, etc. and then start finding the things that interest you. I pinned some quotes and recipes and set up a now empty board for books. I spent about an hour or so the first night. Since then I have been on and off between customers during the day.

One of the features I like about Pinterest is that you can save pictures or articles to plan a room remodel. My next project is the family room and I have been looking on and off for pictures of fireplaces. Ours needs a makeover! When that happens, we will need new paint, furniture and window treatments. (Don’t you love how that snowballs!) Before Pinterest, I just printed out pictures I liked and stuck them in a folder.

In my own mind, I have justified hours wasted looking at other peoples’ interests because I am saving paper and ink printing out the things that I like. And, I found a recipe that I am going to try this weekend. See, I bet if you join Pinterest, you will find ways to justify wasting time online, too!


On Friday night, my husband and I went to a wine tasting sponsored by our church. The church has many “small groups” of people that share a common interest to promote fellowship among the members. We went there knowing a handful of people. By knowing, I mean, we had a conversation at church with them for a few minutes. I actually only knew one other person, but I hadn’t talked to her in a few months.

Although it sounds intimidating to enter a room of strangers for a party, we felt very welcomed. Already, we had a common bond – actually two, if you add the church – so starting conversations was pretty easy. As the night moved on, and the wine flowed, we learned a few things about the other members and everyone shared their best stories. We had a lot of laughs and left there talking about how much we enjoyed ourselves.

Two nights later, we spent the evening with friends and neighbors that we have known since we moved here. We walked into that house like Norm on Cheers. We know their stories, their families, and their kids, as they know ours. Our conversations seem to pick up from the last time we were together – How is your mom doing? How was your job interview? How is your daughter doing on the project at school? We have shared countless good times with these friends and can always count on them.

A year and a half ago, I started a new bunco in my neighborhood consisting of friends of mine that didn’t all know each other. These women were all willing to make new friends, listen to new stories and share some of their own. I am proud to say that these woman bonded and have formed friendships outside of bunco. They started with their common bonds – kids go to same school district, friend of mine – and built from there.

I continue to make new friends through my kids activities and my blogging and reconnect with old friends through Facebook. I have people from my life BC (before children) that I am still friends with today. Our common bonds have changed some, but now we share a history. When asked why I seek new friends all the time, I told them it is because people are interesting and have a story to tell.

So I ask, can you really have too many friends?

Yesterday, my youngest two children participated in Fall Activities at their school. (That is Halloween to everyone else.) The last hour and 10 minutes of their day included a parade where they could wear costumes and a classroom “party”. Now, I use that word loosely. The parties for each grade level are decided by a committee of four or five women. They choose the craft that the kids work on and the games that will be played. The food at the party is brought from the child’s house and has to be a healthy snack. Doesn’t this sound fun so far?

At the Winter Party last year (read Christmas, Hanukkah, or any other religious party of the season), I spoke up to the principal about my daughter’s teacher not allowing my daughter to eat the cupcake I sent with her. I was very verbal about it on Facebook and although I had a lot of local support, it got me nowhere with the school. Even though I was the mother, those were the rules. The rules were made to protect the children with food allergies. I could almost believe it, except for the fact that the school sponsors “unhealthy snack day” and that same cupcake would be allowed. The principal could not explain to me why those children with allergies were safe from the cupcake on those days.

So at the Spring Party that same year, I was the “head room mom” for my son’s class. They needed someone to step up for just that party. I volunteered because at least I could set up the planning meetings to meet my schedule. The actual head room mom for the class gave me the names of the other head room moms in second grade in case we wanted to plan things together. An email was sent to me by one of the other head room moms. She asked our opinion on some craft ideas. I, of course, gave my two cents, talked to the other room moms in my class and offered additional ideas. The other two head room moms never replied to all so I have no idea what they thought. The next email from this mom told me every class would be doing the same craft (a sun catcher). I told her that our class was doing the kite. She then told me that all the classes always do that same craft at the school. Having two older children, I knew this wasn’t the case and explained that much to her. After going back and forth, she finally told me to do whatever I wanted. Thank you. Apparently, this pissed her off more than I thought it would.

So the next week, I happened to have bunco. I vented about this story to my friends. (Isn’t that what bunco is for?) Half way through my story, a friend says, “Oh my God! It was you.” Turns out, my friend and this woman were both on the PTA board and she actually complained to the principal about me. Why? Because I wanted our class to be individual? The principal, remembering me from the Winter party, actually agreed with this woman.

And that brings us back to the Fall party this year. I was told by this year’s head room mom that every class did not only the same craft, but the same games as well. Creativity and individuality was no longer needed. I helped out in my son’s class again, in the same grade as Mrs. Everyone is the Same’s child. The games they picked were so lame that the kids were even bored. Tell me if this would be fun for your 3rd grader – ring toss on a witches hat, race the mini pumpkin around the witches hat by pushing it with a broom and pumpkin bowling with water bottle pins. We rotated around the room playing each game for about 15 minutes. Ugh! It was painful.

I picked my 5th grader up from her class when it was over. I asked where her craft was. She said, “We had to donate it to the old people.” Apparently, they made a “Happy Fall” card and a wreath for a local senior home. Nice thought, but maybe you could have prepared the kids. My daughter was disappointed that she couldn’t keep hers.

Needless to say, I was not picked to help in my 5th graders class this year. Coincidence? Really, it is fine with me. I don’t think I want to be a part of something that kills creativity and originality. It goes against what I am teaching my kids and what is actually out there in the real world.

A few months ago, I got a new phone. It is nothing fancy – just a phone with a keyboard. I specifically did not get internet access as I don’t really want to be that connected. It is personal choice. I know TONS of people that have iPhones and Droids and Blackberrys (including my husband), but for me, it wasn’t necessary. There are times that mobile internet access would be helpful, but I have lived without it so far.

One of the deciding factors in not getting a Smartphone was my observation of those that have one. It drives me crazy to watch people that you are sitting with flipping through their email, Facebook or checking sports scores. Is the conversation so boring that you had to do something else? Are you waiting for a message from the President?

I have seen this happen at concerts, parties, and other social gatherings. Live in the moment! You can read about your friend making tacos for dinner later. If you are missing the big game, TiVo it! I have been visiting with out of town guests twice this summer and found out later on Facebook that they were posting comments while they were with me. Is is me or is that rude?

Smartphones have their place. While out with friends for dinner, we decided to go to the movies. Of the five of us, one had internet access and looked up the movie theater for us. It is great to be able to get away from work but still be on top of the emails/phone calls you are missing. Feel free to check your emails/Facebook while waiting in line (unless of course, you are waiting with someone).