Top Ten Reasons Why Organizing isn’t as Satisfying as They Say




10. All those towels rolled as tightly as the folds in our brains may look pristine on the shelf but as a colleague of mine once lamented, how can I get the stripes to line up? (I hope she is now seeking help from someone other than Ralph Lauren.)

9.  I worry about our collective obsession with clear plastic containers and bulk-buying. Is there an apocalyptic-style concern about suddenly not being able to access Q-tips?

8. Contradictory messages abound. Flip through any glossy paged cookbook and you will find well-dressed people idly admiring produce at an outside market as a wizened (but also well-dressed) vendor shares a joke. Not many of us can shop like this daily. I myself try to fake it by doing a market run as often as my job allows. The resulting sparkle however is hollow and short-lived; I never carry my baguette in a wicker basket either.

7. My eldest brother who is an Organizer Formidable has an entire drawer in his kitchen calligraphically labelled “Egg” and there resides a snug family of whisks, beaters, timers and coddlers. Although I tease him, I secretly think this is brilliant although I know I am not compulsive enough to have one myself. Continue reading

Top Ten Bits of Random Wisdom



10. Did you know that those egg slicers with the tight little wires across are the perfect thing for slicing strawberries – so quick and efficient and the perfect distraction for someone small or a slightly drunken dinner guest who wants to “help” with dessert … Credit to Frasier for bringing this to my attention!

9. If you are about to discard an expensive tube of hand cream/anchovy paste/anything that comes in a PLASTIC  tube think again! Cutting the end off with scissors – literally takes a second – can give you quite a few more uses.

8. I realized this summer that slices of lime and lemon freeze brilliantly! No more hardened ends in the fridge, just slice them up all at once, toss into a ziplock bag and you have an ice cube AND a zip of citrus for future gin and tonics or …er … sparkling water.

7. There is probably no one alive today who does not know this but just in case, the best way to rid the kitchen of fruit flies is by putting Cider vinegar –  and it must be cider vinegar – in a saucer, stretching plastic wrap across the top and then making a few holes with a fork.  Sad, but I believe they do go happy.

6. If you have a dog/cat you will at some point have to deal with evil, rage-inducing clean-up issues and I am not talking about fur. I therefore suggest bookmarking the instructions listed here from the nice people at Cats of Australia because they actually WORK! Continue reading

Top Ten Reasons to Celebrate NOT Having to do Back-to-School

Retro mom

10. Think of the time you can use for yourself rather than filling out ALL.THOSE.FORMS that come back after the first day! I briefly considered having a rubber stamp made with my signature on.

9.    Think of the cash that you no longer have to root for under couch cushions to include with many of those same forms.

8.     No last minute shopping in crowded malls with other angry parents (strenuously pretending to be interested) all looking for the ideal running shoe or that clutch of fine-point markers that will never be seen again after their purchase.

7.    Remember that dreaded combo of relief and anxiety that the end of summer brings? Having to get back into the routine, re-establish bedtimes and (worse) rising times in the morning? You can have an extra cup of coffee in the morning now, ahhhh …

6.   No more making lunches! No more washing out tiny containers returning home full of unsampled bad yogurt or hummus. No more replacing water bottles that leak many times throughout the year …

5.   No more feverish midnight runs to variety stores and drugstores looking for Royal Blue bristol board for science projects and feeling irrational rage that strangely, this is not a big ticket item for them.

4.  The necessity of dealing with other parents – many of whom are immensely irritating – is removed! I no longer have to listen to tales of parents who smilingly complain that their child is not getting enough sleep because he/she just doesn’t have enough time after cello practice to read as many physics books as he/she would like. Really? Really? Try not to recall Niles’ excited pronouncement that he will play new video game “till his eyes bleed …”

3.  The school related paraphernalia in my hall is no longer present! No matter how many coat hooks were installed or how many Grecian urns provided to “stow everything away” there would inevitably be a pyramid of (large) shoes, football helmets, books and inside-out coats to deal with every day. (Also, dozens of forms – now twisted into various forms of origami – that were never apparently actually returned see no. 10).

2. Carrying around the worry of other people’s schedules! I did not have an app for this – so all of the timetables, extra curricular events, school trips etc. all had to remain in my own wee head and planner. The planner optimistically provided by the school will remain empty and unsullied and be thrown out at the end of the year.

1. There is no longer any urgency in September – now, it’s just September and it’s all yours.

Top Ten Reasons for Not Exercising

Swanson Works Out


1. Every time I have “booked exercise time into my schedule” I am suddenly seduced by other more vital tasks such as liberating the toaster tray of crumbs and giving the side panels a really good going over with Windex.

2.  I persuade myself with incredible ease that buying work out clothes online is exactly the treat I need to really jump start the whole process.

3. Perusing celebrity “secrets” online is particularly deadly – the search results are endless, depressing and ultimately not applicable AT ALL to myself. It’s basically useless to know that Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Anniston both start the day by downing a liter of fresh, filtered water because that is not what makes them beautiful – it’s called DNA. (Buy a case of San Pellegrino though, just in case).

4. Music makes working out so much easier – why not construct the perfect playlist? In fact, why not test drive most of the songs by viewing the original artists performing them on youtube? (Actual time lapse: 1.5 hours oopps, no time to exercise now …)

5. Take several work out books from library to peruse at my leisure on the couch with a tube of Pringles and some Pinot Grigio; this is true research and not to be mocked. Next week really will be different.

6.  Never underestimate the power of a man who smells amazing and presses his chest hair against you just as you are preparing to get up early – in the chill air only available at 6 am. This is the worst temptation of all. Mental note to also switch to a lower, less wonderful thread count …

7.  Just before work out begins, regard self in full length mirror in most flattering light available. Squeeze buttocks till they are raised to their previous glory and feel affirmed enough to avoid exercising. Till tomorrow.

8.  Remind myself that last time I began working out in earnest, I nearly put my back out. (Do not remind myself that chiropractor also said it was important to start really slowly …)

9.  Spend inordinate amounts of time brooding over facebook friends who are posting their running stats, awards and marathon t-shirts. Would a fitbit help me? Make terrible judgements about the state of their inner spiritual lives and intellects whilst enjoying some mature cheddar.

10.  Literally forget that I promised myself to exercise. Suddenly, become so immersed in making crème caramel or cleaning out that really grimy place beneath the stove that I totally avoid the gaze of my new running shoes which are now regarding me dolefully from the door …