So: stupid Hallmark holiday

Woman holding heart, close upIn the Mortroski Midcentury, we’re not big fans of today’s Hallmark holiday. As I mentioned yesterday, it’s cards only between us.

That doesn’t mean we don’t share the love with a whole lot of other people.

For me, it’s not a party without cupcakes. And if you check out my LinkedIn profile, my coworkers expect me to show up with them. So holidays mean cupcake baking the night before the “party” (and when I say party, realize that it’s a bunch of art directors and writers with beers and snacks, nothing fancy).

So, I got to work:


I spent part of last evening with Duncan and some friends…


(my secret to fluffy white cupcakes is high speed mixing for exactly 2 minutes)


(my other secret weapon: a cupcake portioner so I get the 24 cupcakes out of the batter that I need)


getting baked

Bruce was also busy last night. Because of our other projects around the house, we didn’t get the wine bag we needed to get done started or finished last weekend. So Bruce decided to take on that task and it wasn’t very easy (Bravo, Bruce!):


Bruce had lots of supervision: Godiva (brown), George (yellow), Guinness (black)


Cursing at Morty and the fabric


the final product — a bag of wine from the 3G Network for their pal Tracy (isn’t it pretty?)

Meanwhile, I got the cupcakes out of the oven so they could cool off.


24 plain old white cupcakes. boring!

And iced them up, knowing they would disappear in mere moments.


festive sprinkling and finished product. fun!

Today’s creative department Anti V-D Gathering was a smashing success. However, unlike some parties we have had or attended, no cupcakes were thrown or actually smashed. Most were in fact eaten as everyone complained about the stupid Hallmark holiday and all the chocolate around the office that was causing them to break their New Year’s resolutions and/or Lenten sacrifices.

After all of that frivolity, what’s on the schedule for tonight? An elegant dinner of leftover chili with a side of festive home projects! The ordered online curtain rod arrived today so perhaps we will have a Valentine’s Day curtain rod hanging! Or maybe a Valentine’s Day fireplace caulking! Yeeeeeeehaaaaawwwww!

In the Mortroski Midcentury, we do Hallmark holidays right!


So: make your own luck

Yesterday I received a new year’s card from a paper company. In big bold characters, it said “LUCKY 13”.

Lucky 13 2013 Happy New Year card

Lucky 13
2013 Happy New Year card

Immediately, I grabbed my trusty roll of blue painters’ tape (can’t make a mark on the new office doors in the office) and stuck it on my door so I could easily see it—and others could too.

I like the idea of a year being lucky. Full of promise. Full of possibility. Of course, every year should be thought of that way. At the beginning of a year, the possibilities are literally endless. 365 new beginnings. 365 times you can try something new. 365 do overs.  If you’re brave, that is. If you’re willing to put yourself out there. If you’re willing to stretch a bit.

But one thing I’ve already noticed is amount of stretching some people are doing—more than I remember hearing about last year. Perhaps it’s the amount of holiday time they had to slow down and really think about themselves for a change. Yesterday at the office, I heard about straw bale gardening. New workout classes. A blog about to be hatched. Sewing projects being planned. Vows to cook more at home. Assessments of relationships. Volunteer work about to be started. Technology to be mastered. Business opportunities to be created.

One thing that all of these “resolutions” have in common is that no one  is sitting back and waiting for something to happen. While some are still plotting their next move, many have already begun. A far cry from 2012’s standing back, holding breaths, waiting for the other shoe to drop. The optimism and hopefulness is in the air. And all over my friends’, coworkers’, and acquaintances’ faces.

They’re making their own luck. How about you?

So: in praise of routine

After this extended break, it’s never been so obvious to me why people say they need routine when they retire. Or when they freelance.

I was off from December 21 until today and while my to-do list shrank substantially, my puttering around the house and urban farm was anything but routine. If the 3G Network hadn’t insisted upon their morning ramble around the neighborhood, I probably would have been pajama clad for the entire day. Eating during the day consisted of grazing upon leftover party food whenever I felt like it. Coffee consumption was at an all-time high for my post-college life. I have no magazines left to read until the February issues and downloads are available.

Now back at the office and despite my goal of improved punctuality, I puttered around here for the first hour of my day. Chatting with co-workers, distributing a few wayward holiday cards, watering plants (they aren’t even mine, but for some reason, my office is where everyone’s unwanted plants find a new home), dropping off already read magazines, etc.

And I need to figure out my 2013 routine. When to write this blog (and other non-work-related writing). When to schedule my workouts so they don’t fall by the wayside like they did this fall. When to schedule my various extra-curicular activities. And when not to over-schedule and just rest. I’d even like to explore taking some technology time-outs.

Some people set their resolutions and goals on New Year’s Day, but I generally use the week to assess and ease into a new year. One thing I always do: I jumpstart the health goals on January 2 by returning to healthy eating, drinking more water, reducing caffeine. This year, I’ll return to the gym this weekend, not today. I plan to get my vision board for 2013 done by Friday end of day.

A new year means a fresh start. A new routine. But what I like about 2013 so far is what a paper supplier’s card called it: LUCKY 13. It seems as if there’s something magical about to happen and I like it.