Minute by minute

my thoughts on making the most out of all of life's minutes…

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It’s Back to School – – -but I say ….”just one more….”

A few years ago my main focus of my blog and my Facebook page was to offer time management tools and tips to help active families and busy professionals find more time in their days.  And looking back at some of my writings from this same time of year – Back to School – I wrote some pretty good tips.

But if I were to write a blog today about what to do to prepare for Back to School this year – I would title it “Just one more…

Here are some suggestions:

  • Sleep late just one more morning….
  • Go to the beach/lake/pool just one more time…
  • Watch the stars just one more night….
  • Read just one more book….
  • Eat in the garden just one more time…..
  • Wear your PJ’s until 4pm just one more day…..
  • Put your swimsuit on just one more time….
  • Go barefoot in the grass or sand just once more….

You know what – this is the last summer it will ever be like this.  This is last time my sons will turn ten and six.  And while next summer, we will surely have a blast again – it won’t be this summer.  They’ll be a little older, I’ll be a little older, friends will mean more, it will be a different time.

In a couple of weeks, school will be starting, for some school starts in a couple of days.  Our next big break will be Christmas – but it won’t be the same.  Christmas break is busy, dark and rainy (or snowy if you live somewhere else besides Seattle) and exciting in its own right.

Ever since my  trip to Hawaii I’ve tried to change my thinking and I try (although I have to work harder than others) to remember to savor the days and to make the most of them.  We’ve had a great summer this summer and I’m going to make the most out of the last few days.

What about you – what is “just one more…” thing you might do?



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I miss Calvin and Hobbes

Did you used to read the old comic strip – Calvin and Hobbes?

I loved it.

Oh the stuff Calvin would conjure up and Hobbes there, right by his side – his wing man, tag-a-long and many times devil’s advocate making Calvin reconsider things.

Oh – I just loved it.

The other day, I saw the documentary Dear Mr. Watterson.

It is a tribute to the “the best comic strip in the history of the universe”.

And you know  – many people say that is so true.

The documentary talks about the uniqueness of the strip, the originality of the story line, the dad.  It shares stories of young boys who didn’t fit in, weren’t doing well in school – yet found solace in reading Calvin and Hobbes collections. It talks about how Mr. Watterson, the creator of the strip wouldn’t sell his line to create merchandise or give the rights to cartoon makers or advertisers to use Calvin and Hobbes to sell their products.

The film addresses the frustration that the fans felt and still feel around that.  That once Bill Watterson decided to quit the strip, he did just that.  He didn’t sell the rights to anyone – and now he is nowhere to be found, won’t do interviews and Calvin and Hobbes only lives in our memories and in our collection books.

It both infuriates me and gives me deep respect for his choice to handle his success the way he did.  I, like many, want more.  I want to see Calvin and Hobbes on TV.  Wouldn’t it have been great to watch the duo on Saturday mornings – right after Looney Tunes but before Scooby Doo?

But I also have a deep respect for Bill Watterson holding true to his convictions.  He didn’t want to commercialize his comic.  He didn’t want to see Calvin selling Met Life Insurance.  He just wanted to share this little boy’s story.  And when he was done – he was done.

This is the final strip that Mr. Watterson gave us of Calvin and Hobbes – printed on Dec 31, 1995.  Wile I didn’t want the comic strip to end,  I like how he did it.  There is so much he is saying these four blocks.




On Easter night, I got to thinking of this documentary again while I was watching the Charlie Brown Easter special with my boys.  I used to love the Charlie Brown specials.  My boys don’t love them as much – they aren’t very action filled, they don’t have a ton of color – they mostly talk.

I feel a little disappointed with Charles Schultz’s last comic strip for the Charlie Brown series.  Over 50 years and 18.000 strips drawn, Schultz called it quits and on Feb 13, 2000 – the day after Schultz died, Peanuts ran for the final time.

I didn’t love the ending of Peanuts.  I sooo wanted it to be a two panel strip – – Lucy holding that football and Charlie Brown finally – finally – kicking it…and a huge smile finishing the legacy.

Alas – Mr. Schultz didn’t ask for my input and here is his final strip.



It’s frustrating isn’t it.  No one liked how MASH ended.  Did anyone like Seinfeld’s ending?  I have to admit, I thought Three’s Company and Happy Days ended sweetly.  Did the seven cast-a-ways ever get rescued?

I respect the creators of these shows and books and comic strips for putting themselves out there and letting us love them.  It must be hard to stay true to your values when your fans what something else from you.  And is it really that we don’t like the ending they chose or that we just don’t want it to end?

What do you think?  What is your favorite  – worst ending?


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The New Footloose – My Thoughts

My husband has been out-of-town on business travel for almost a couple of weeks now.  Last Friday night I was so tired, but yet it was too early to go to bed, so I decided to see what movie I could watch that would be interesting enough, light enough and still entertaining.

There is a long list of movies I still need to see; Nebraska, The Wolves of Wall Street, American Hustle, Catching Fire, that’s just to name a few.  But these are all so heavy.  Plus, my husband wants to see them too, so I’ll have to wait until he comes home so we can watch them together.

I settled on the new Footloose.


It’s been in my Amazon Prime watch list for a long time, and I decided to make Friday the day I would cross it off the list.

Here are my thoughts:

  • I wonder if I had seen the new movie first, would I have liked it as much as I liked the original?
  • I wonder if I was 12 when I watched the new movie, like I was with the original, would I have liked it as much as the original?
  • I wonder if I had seen the original when I was 42, as I am now, would I have liked as much as I did when I first saw it?
  • I wonder if they had actually put some dancing in the new version would it had made it any better?
  • I wonder if anyone could ever replace Kevin Bacon?
  • I wonder why they chose Dennis Quaid to play the Rev. Shaw?
  • I wonder why Andie McDowell didn’t have a bigger role?  I wonder if it took her less than half an hour to memorize the three sentences she said in the entire movie?
  • I wonder why do they want to remake movies that should never be remade?

Overall, the new version wasn’t the worst movie I have ever seen.  But at the same time, it won’t be going into my list of favorites, either.  Likewise, when the original plays on Lifetime or A&E and I will watch that one any day of the week. Even if the total number of times I’ve seen it approaches 200.

But I’ll pass on the new one.  Once was enough for me.

Did you see the new Footloose?  What were your thoughts?


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I saw Gretchen Rubin – in person!

We all know how much I love Gretchen Rubin!  I have both her books and now I have two copies of her latest book – Happier at Home.

When she came to Seattle about a year and a half ago, promoting Happier at Home, I missed the opportunity to see her.

When I heard she was coming to Portland to promote the paperback version of Happier at Home – I didn’t want to miss her a second time.

So I packed some snacks, checked out the audio book Wicked from the library.  It is a little over three hours to drive to Portland.  So this past Tuesday I drove six and a half hours for an hour to listen to Gretchen and an hour to stand in line waiting to get her signature on my book.

But it was worth it!  And why not!  I didn’t have anything pressing at work or at home.  My husband took care of dinner and swim lessons for the night.  And Wicked – well, it’s wickedly long and a tiny bit boring so far – but I’m only five CD’s into the 20 CD collection.  (Maybe I should skip it and just go see the play next time it is in town).

Here’s what I got out of my experience.

I love Gretchen Rubin!

We knew that, but I still do.  She is so genuine and real.  I get that from her writing and her blog and the videos that she publishes.  But in person – she seems the same.  I love that.

She’s also classy.  This part I really loved about her  – when a question was asked from the audience, she repeated it so the rest of the audience could know what she was answering.  I loved that!!!  Don’t you hate it when the speaker doesn’t repeat the question?

One more thing – she’s a tiny little thing.  And so is this picture, but she the one in the aqua sweater – facing forward.

GR Speaking in Portland

Overall her speech wasn’t anything new.  I mean – I’ve read her books and like I said I follow her blog and her Facebook page – so really, there wasn’t much I hadn’t heard.  But that’s what I love about her books and her mission – it is worth repeating.  Things that she says might resonate with me differently at different times.  Her books are probably ones that I’ll revisit from time to time and try different things at different points in my life.

Here’s some of my takeaways from her talk:

  • You can’t make anyone else happy.  You can only change yourself and your perceptions and your reactions.  Trying to change your family or  your co-workers isn’t going to work but hopefully, they will react positively to your changes.
  • If you want to change one thing, but not sure where to start  – ask yourself – “what are you lying about?”  Take that one thing and either own or change it.  I used to feel very guilty that I took a power nap every afternoon, never admitting it to anyone other than my family.  Then one day I decided – “who cares? I can do what I need to do to feel better without being ashamed.”   And now I owe it!  I take a power nap almost everyday!
  • Some people view “being happy” and acknowledging it as being selfish.  Side note – why do we do this to ourselves?  Why do we live in a world where it is acceptable to be miserable and shameful to be happy?  Anyway – Gretchen explains that studies show that happy people are actually more apt to volunteer and help people more than unhappy people.  Probably because unhappy people are too caught up in thinking about how unhappy they are to think about anyone else.  So in a sense “being happy is actually unselfish” . (that got a chuckle out of the audience)
  • Just because you are happy doesn’t mean you won’t have unhappy moments.  In fact, projects like her Happiness Project might teach you how to deal with challenging and stressful situations.  She gave the example of how maybe you are dealing with an ailing parent.  No doubt that is a stressful situation.  But there is nothing wrong with taking care of yourself like going to see a movie or going for a walk to take a break and refresh yourself during that challenging time.

There was much more that she spoke about, and I would suggest reading her books or even just joining her Facebook page and maybe signing up to get her blog.  She is also working on her next project – habits.  I can’t wait!

The only drawback to the evening was when I turned into a boob when I finally got to her table.  I froze!  My mind went totally blank and I couldn’t think of one thing to say to her when I was waiting for her to sign my book. UGH!

Happier at home - signature

But – in her true classiness – she asked me a question!  I still fumbled it – – but I did  manage to ask to get a picture with her.

Amy and GR

Hope ya’ll have a great weekend!


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Beading helps with bonding too….Not Me Monday – meet Melissa!

My friend Melissa shares her story of how she is raising two little entrepreneurs in her house.  I love watching her kids and seeing their creations.  They seem so proud of themselves with all they can accomplish.  I also love that Melissa has found something surprising from this experience about herself.  You’ll have to read on to learn just what that is.

Everyone – Meet Melissa and her two super cute kids!

Amy:  From where did the idea of Blue Dolphin Beads come?  

Hayden and NilesMelissa: Blue Dolphin Beads was my idea.  My daughter wanted to swim with dolphins when we visited Hawaii in February 2012, and it was a lot of money (close to $300) on top of the already expensive trip.  She, then 7, and I had just started beading the summer of 2011 and a couple friends saw our work and asked if we would make them necklaces to buy.  I realized this would be a fun way for her to earn money towards a dolphin swim and she agreed; Blue Dolphin Beads was born!





A: How did you suggest the idea to your kids?

BryceM: See above.  After a couple months, our then 4-year-old son wanted to get in on the action.  So he started making jewelry and saving towards a dolphin swim for himself.  I was pretty amazed at their fine motor skills and patience; beading has increased both even more.

A: Are they excited to create the pieces?  

M: Yes!  Money is a powerful motivator.  I know they feel proud when they create something and are complimented on it, also.






pricingA: What do you have them do for the business besides making each item – e.g. – -handle money, staff the tables, advertising, etc.?  

M: We do handle money, and I let them count the change (great for math skills!).  When there is a craft fair or the farmers market, we all take turns manning the table, though my daughter did more of that at first simply because a 4-year-old can only sit out in the cold and be charming for so long!  My daughter is a really good salesperson, saying hi to people as they go by and asking people if they have questions.  That is part her personality, and part because she is older, I am sure.  We have a Facebook page and when the kids were actively trying to earn money for their dolphin swims, my daughter posted her creations about once a week to try and generate more business, and I would post photos of my son’s work.  It helped!  We have never done any paid advertising; most sales come from word of mouth and a few have come from Facebook.  We have also had the opportunity to donate to several charity auctions, which I hope has made an impact on the kids, and we’ve donated some of our profits to our beloved marine science center.  I want them to know it isn’t just about making money, and I think they appreciate that to some degree.    Hayden at Poulsbo Farmer's Market



A: Have you experienced any unexpected outcomes from doing this?  

M: I found I am good at making jewelry, also!  The kids do all the patterning and stringing and I do the clasps or earring loops, so I got a lot of practice helping them.  As time went on, I started making more jewelry for myself and as gifts and have even sold a few pieces.  Another unexpected outcome is that making jewelry has been a bonding experience.  There was many a night when all three of us were spread out on the floor, stringing beads.  And my husband built us a display tree and helped us set up/take down at the farmers market, so it has been a whole-family experience.  Even the cat used to keep us company when we’d work (See the photo above; Niles the cat!) ; I have some really cute photos of that.  I guess you could say that beading brought us together!  I hope it is something we will continue to do for years to come and that the kids will look back fondly when they are grown up.  Maybe they will teach their own kids how to bead.

Thanks Melissa!  

Have you ever started your kids on a business venture?  What was your experience?  I’d love to know about it!

Happy Monday!