Monday, October 13, 2014

Show me don't tell me

These four fine young men in this photo are my Great-Great-Grandmother's brothers. They look to be a pack of trouble. I wish I knew more about their adventures. I'm loving their attire and confidence.

Making mistakes is better than faking perfection. I am the queen of mistakes but many do not believe me. Obviously they have not seen my flopped Pannekoeken attempt. I forgot to add eggs while wrangling the kids. I really have no clue what I am doing. I just keep moving, keep trying and see how things pan out.

This photo above is my Grandpa Stanley, Grandma Marvel and her sister Grace and her husband, Bitty. Grace was a firecracker, an amazing seamstress, spoke several languages and a wonderful artist. She passed away not long after I was born.

This is a photo of my Grandma Winnie and my dad. Winnie was always real. She didn't know how to be quiet or how to hold her tongue. She was a riot and I miss her so much. I love this photo of her, looking so cute with her first kid. She ended up having four kids before disposable diapers, microwaves, or the Little Mermaid (on repeat).

This quote, is from a longer statement by Marianne Williamson. I am not a very religious person, but I love this message. We should all shine, like we did as children.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Okay, this kid is not "shining". He is grumpy about something, which happens. But if you have time to complain you have time to make change. Sure be a grump for a bit, but then think up a solution or move along.
Little Tike Cozy Coupe 1970s style. The first model was sold in 1979. I am sure this is one of the original ones. Remember to always stay patient and trust your journey.  At times nothing makes sense but just keep going but somehow everything works out.
My Grandma Marvel and Grandpa Stanley loved to travel and they really enjoyed taking photos of food. They were decades ahead of the Instagram foodies sans fancy filters. 

Do you wonder where this all started from? Click here to read the tale.

Monday, October 6, 2014

show me don't tell me

Ha! 1989 mega bangs. I cannot believe my parents let this happen. Either I was mega headstrong (highly likely), they didn't realize this was wrong or they were totally amused. Judging by this photo, they were highly amused. Look at this, they propped me by "wow, what a deal". I just showed this photo to my kids. They were highly amused as well. 

Drawing was done by my little guy. I love this quote. Everyone you meet knows something you don't. So be kind, you never know what you might learn from someone else. Even the ding-bat playing on his phone when he should be driving... he might have an amazing knowledge nugget.

In Minnesota, we are often labeled "Minnesota Nice" because we are so helpful and kind. Here is the exact definition from wikipedia "Minnesota nice is the stereotypical behavior of people born and raised in Minnesota to be courteous, reserved and mild-mannered. The cultural characteristics of Minnesota nice include a polite friendliness, an aversion to confrontation, a tendency toward understatement, a disinclination to make a fuss or stand out, emotional restraint, and self-deprecation."

I feel it is more about Minnesota "Passive Aggressive". Yeah, you betcha we make nice and awesome tater-tot hot dish but don't ask us to answer a tough question with straight up honesty. BTW, it's Duck Duck Gray Duck.
Oh my brave Grandma Marvel wrangling two wiggly giggly girls in the pool. This photo is a testament of her patience with us. Pretty certain she had to be near 70 years old in this photo. My Grandmother was part of the Asians in Minnesota Oral History Project. Click this link and you can read more about her story and even hear her interview. The story was collected a few weeks after my sister was born in 1979. I love her sweet voice. I still miss her so much.

What does a parent do with a pair of construction paper sandals from a first grader? There would be a bucket of tears if I tossed these shoes out. So for now, I am still trying to convince that this sweet photo collage is enough to hang on to.

This is my Mom, all fancy her in fur (not sure if it's real). She has a talent for saying something profound and then looking down for impact. She makes that exact facial expression, then she waits a bit to look back at you. Silence can be the best negotiation tool and she knows it.

Wonder where this all started? click here

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Discovery What you Love : Mary Kay

I'm loving this new commercial for Mary Kay. Great styling, lighting and energy. Typically I just fast forward through commercials while watching Project Runway. This Mary Kay spot is worth a watch!

Monday, September 29, 2014

show me don't tell me

I grew up with a Chinese Tiger mom who chanted "do it right or don't do it at all". I take that one step further, "Do it with Passion or not at all". Be all in or get out. Don't wander through life. Go for it. Get out there. 
Check out that couch! I hated that couch, it was so scratchy. I was only sitting on it because I wearing pants and my legs are not exposed to the evil material. The only redeeming quality about that couch was the fact that the ottomans had four wheels (and there were four of them). When our parents were gone we would take those ottomans and cruise around the 1980s linoleum like wild circus children.

Did you see it? Do you see it? I made a fail! Life isn't about being a "Master" it's about trying, each day over and over. Some days are like a big fat Bass and other days are just lake weeds and tiny stupid Sunfish. 

This photo was taken at Lake Sarah in Minnesota. My Mom's parents had a lake house on Lake Sarah. I spent many long weekends and summers in that Lake. My Mom wasn't perfect, most Mom are not. She did a great job teaching us to swim as babies and trying to get us to water ski.

Parents are just people. They make mistakes. They are busy. They need naps too. BTW, I love naps more than chocolate. My kids know all I ever want of Christmas, Mother's Day or my birthday is a nap, chocolate and coffee.
My sister got nice calm normal hair. I smartly hid my crazy curly mess under the super cool quilted orange coat.
This a photo of my Grandma Marvel. She was the most beautiful person not because of her physical beauty but for her beautiful spirit. Of course she has her little side comments about folks. She was human but had more talent than most to hold her tongue in the right moments. She understood the need to make other people feel beautiful, not telling me my 1980s big bangs were a poor choice and slipping me extra money to purchase a prom dress.

Wonder where this all started? click here

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Orange Spice Pumpkin Coconut Pie

I am all in with any recipe that involves coconut, spice and pumpkin. I saw this pie on pinterest and went for it. YUM. The whip cream topping is made from chilled coconut cream with a bit of powdered sugar. Top it with some toasted coconut. Winner.

Awesome recipe is from here

Friday, September 26, 2014

Salted Carmel Chocolate Cakepops

I finally did it! Salted Carmel Chocolate Cakepops. I have been meaning to create these for months. They were great. Super easy. I melted 3/4 cup of carmels (the wrapped ones that you can purchase in the baking aisle) mixed with 3-5 TBS of cream. Once the mixture is smooth, drizzle it over the cakepops. Then sprinkle on some sea salt. Next time, I will be sure to have coarse sea salt on hand.

My youngest loves to add sea salt to his chocolate pudding, so we are running low at our home. Stinker! But he is on to something. Try it, sea salt on chocolate pudding is the bomb. Even the lame Hunt's pudding cups get a bit a jazz with sea salt.

Monday, September 22, 2014

show me don't tell me

Once again, it's "show me don't tell me" time. This time it's a big reveal (in my mind). A photo of me, sans makeup and no wrangling of my insane hair. My son is really getting into his hair. He gets so upset that he can't tame it, sadly that comes from my side. But crazy hair, is better than no hair. We'll take it.
The two images above show my Grandmother, Marvel. Her ethnicity was half Irish and half Chinese. She never learned how to drive a car, comfortable to rely on the care of others. She was quiet, allowing her few moments of bold thoughts to be hard hitting. When she was in her 80's, she was still living downtown Minneapolis in a condo. I was riding the elevator to visit her, two elderly gentlemen were also in the elevator. They saw that I pushed floor 12. That number sparked their thoughts.
Gentleman #1"Oh, say remember that Marvel? She was a looker back in the day"
Gentleman #2 "What do you mean back in the day, she's still a looker!"
 My Chinese ancestors came to the United States back in the 1870s. They settle mainly in Yakima, Washington. This was their laundry.

No, I was not grumpy about dance or the fancy trophy. I was bumming at the number of photos that were being taken. I do love this photo though. A nice contrast to fluffy tutus and huge grins.
The fancy sir with his fine canine is my Great Grandfather, Bing Hum. He spoke several languages and ran a hotel in Wilmar, MN in the early 1900s.
My Grandparents married at the Little Brown Church in Iowa. Only two people witnessed the service. When they returned to work after the marriage, their co-workers were very upset to have missed the wedding. So they made their own mock wedding, with newspaper dresses. 
It all started from here

Monday, September 15, 2014

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Back to School Chalk Fun

Poof, Summer is over and we are back to school. This is the last year that all my kids will be in the same school. My two older kids are now about five feet tall. I am guessing I have about 18 months till they both overtake me. tick tock...

My eldest son has feet as big as mine, size 10. You can sorta see the giant blue shoes in the photos above. I had to add a filter to blur the giant shoes out. They were so distracting! Generally, I am okay with my big feet because there are always clearance shoes in size 10. My son's giant feet resulted in me tripping over his shoes by the door and jamming one of my little toes in the worst way. I don't think I spoke for five minutes straight. I now have a black and blue toe for the final days of sandal season.

That black and blue toe also took a ride on a Razor scooter this weekend. My youngest wanted to try his scooter and was having a hard time. So I had to demo a bit. It really is quite fun. But in the end, he decided that he only wanted to try new things like a new macaroni and cheese, not a scooter. This declaration was delivered to me in a loud shrill paired with crocodile tears and clenched fists. I am certain the neighbors caught every bit. I think he was overtired with low blood sugar (see, he was right about trying a new macaroni and cheese). So I carried him home like a koala bear with one arm while using the other hand to guide the scooter next to us.

After arriving home, all coated in shiny sweat I was feeling pretty amped about boots, tights and scarf season to round the corner. The best part will be the first frost that clears the air for my seasonal allergy trio (and hubby too). No worries they are all good buddies with Zyrtec and daily showers to remove pollen. They definitely took showers after the chalk photo and the scooter melt down.

BTW everyone chill out with the pumpkin recipes on Pinterest. It's too soon for the frenzy.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Brain on Fire

This book was an intense read that I didn't want to put down. I just wanted to know what would happen next. In 2009, Susannah (the author) goes through a medical condition that starts with paranoid thoughts,  numbness in her limbs, a bit of manic tendencies, then seizures and all out psychotic breakdown. The doctors run countless tests and cannot figure the cause of her issues until one doctor steps in with a lifesaving diagnosis that nearly saved her life. The total cost of her treatments were over $1 million. Good thing she had insurance at the time. 

From the book...
"By the time I was a patient at NYU, Dr. Dalmau had fine-tuned his approach, designing two tests that could swiftly and accurately diagnose the disease. As soon as he received my samples, he could test the spinal fluid. If he found that I had anti-NMDA-receptor autoimmune encephalitis, it would make me the 217th person worldwide to be diagnosed since 2007. It just begged the question: If it took so long for one of the best hospitals in the world to get to this step, how many other people were going untreated, diagnosed with a mental illness or condemned to a life in a nursing home or a psychiatric ward?"

In May 2014, it was announced that the book is being adapted to a film staring Dakota Fanning as Cahalan with Charlize Theron producing the film. 

This book was a bit of a personal read for me. I was sick back in September of 2001. I had been into urgent care and my regular doctor several times, finding no solution. I had severe pain in my back that was so intense it would take me over forty-five minutes to just get out of my bed. I would be drenched in sweat and tears and shaking by the time I stood up. The pain was so bad, I wanted to die. My final visit to the doctor office ended with me demanding to be sent to the hospital. 

I was in the hospital for over a month. It took nearly two weeks before they knew what was wrong with me. Before the diagnosis, I had multitudes of CATscans, MRI's, X-rays, blood tests and physical therapy sessions. Then from being so still for weeks, the doctors thought they saw a pulmonary embolism in my lung on an X-ray. That is a huge red flag, they rushed me in for an angiogram. I was awake for it all. It was just like the show ER, so intense. 

This was right after 9/11, the only shows available on the hospital TVs were Sesame Street or the news about 9/11. I would lay in the bed looking out the window at the planes flying by wondering when the next one was coming, thinking that I couldn't get up to run from anything. At one point during the whole process I lost it. I was screaming at the doctor, throwing anything I could get my hands on. I was yelling that people with brain tumors go home before me, why can't they figure this out! I am in America not a third world country. That particular doctor dropped me as a patient that day. I got a new doctor the next day.

It all panned out fine. This new doctor ordered a spinal bone biopsy. Think that is scary? Yeah it is. It's terrible. You are awake, laying on your stomach then they run you through the scanner. You come back out, they start drilling into you spine a bit then back into the scanner. This process goes on about forty minutes till they hit the right spot. The area is numbed but you hear the sounds and feel the pressure. 

After all of that the bone biopsy showed nothing. However soon after, I had a blood infection. It was a terrible blood infection with a very high fever. They collected vile after vile of my blood for testing and immediately began running IV antibiotics. It was the weekend, so the tests took longer to come back. Of course, perfect timing as always. 

In the end, I had Spinal Osteomyletis caused by Salmonella in my L5 vertebrae. The bone biopsy has shaken it all lose into my system. It was in the exact spot I had indicated the very first visit at urgent care. The entire staff came in to apologize to me. Many of them had thought the whole thing was in my head, that I had just thrown my back out (at the ripe age of 24). I was placed on a high dose of many painkillers, my blood thinners for the blood clot and a permanent IV was attached to my arm. I was on IV antibiotics for several months. 

The craziest thing about my disease was that I did not have a compromised immune system. I was not very young or old. I did not have a broken bone, diabetes, tuberculosis or sickle cell. I had absolutely none of the risk factors associated with this disease. I didn't even eat meat during this time of my life. So the Salmonella had to of come from dirty vegetables or cross contamination. The particular strain of Salmonella was so strong that it must have just busted through my system and found a home in my spine. 

A year after the whole ordeal, I was pregnant with my first child. Life has a funny way of working out. Luckily, I had insurance just like Susannah. I also had a doctor that went for a crazy idea when no one was listening to me. I am designer, not a writer. I never wrote a compelling story about my month of Ostemyletis. Susannah did, and she did a great job. I am grateful for her passion to bring awareness to a disease that needed to be known. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Minneapolis wanderings

Hello, Hello farmer's market veggies! I love that my work is located near the Minneapolis Farmer's Market. Today I popped over there during lunch time to nab some tomatoes for my daughter. We both agree that tomatoes from the Farmer's Market taste like the earth (in a good way). The tomatoes at the grocery store do not have the same earthy goodness. Soon it will be fall and then winter (boo) when the sun sets at 4pm. Until then we will dash to the farmer's market while we can.

My youngest is a mega fan of the mini donuts you can find at the market on the weekend. He was convinced that the mini donuts were available everyday. "Mom, since the Farmer's Market is so close your work, you could get me hot mini-donuts everyday, RIGHT?" Insert big blinking brown eyes and a wiggly leg hug.

Back to today, my other downtown adventures to included popping tags at the Salvation Army downtown Minneapolis. They sell clothing and home goods by the pound upstairs. Downstairs you can find oodles of Target headquarter sample goodies. Today I found a Nate Berkus platter for only $4. I just saw this same platter at Target stores for $24.99! They frequently have Target dresses for only $4 too. Love it.

Show me, don't tell me


Let's travel back in a time to my college years. The time in my life when teachers chanted "show me, don't tell me". I have carried that theory throughout my design work. Good design hits you in the heart when you see it. There is no need to explain things, your soul already absorbed the goodness. Any additional explanation of the visual only enriches the goodness.

I have three kids that have reached the critical point in life where we are discussing that life is not always fair, that there is a need to be a kind friend and a quality human in this crazy world. I can discuss things at great length but I will often get the semi-blank stare, huff or sneaky eye roll. So I have decided to use my college-days design theory with them. Show me, don't tell me.

I am the keeper of most of my extended families photos, going back to the 1890s. I am going to use a combination of old photos, notes and textures mixed with my current kids art to make visual graphics that convey the advice I want them to hold tight to their souls. Who knows where this will go. I will take it day by day and see the goodness I can craft up.