Thursday, March 15, 2018

Aside From Being A Work At Home Dog Mom, Who Am I?

The other day, I received a message from a woman I've known for several decades. She complimented the blog column I published yesterday and expressed how much she enjoys my social media posts and photos. Towards the end of her message, she asked me an intriguing question. It caught me off guard a bit.

"You're a Work at Home Dog Mom, Pet Blogger, DIY Dog Mom Project enthusiast, and dog biscuit baker. Aside from that, who are you?"

My curious mind asked her where this question was coming from. It's a question that no one has ever asked me before.

In a nutshell, my friend had recently attended a seminar for WAHM (work at home) and SAHM (stay at home) Moms. The theme was identifying yourself. How are you unique? What are your hobbies and interests outside of the proverbial WAHM and SAHM box?

Obviously, as Moms, our kids, whether human or furry, become our entire world. Everything we do revolves around the kids. If we're married, that extends to our spouses.

The seminar encouraged WAHM's and SAHM's to push all of that aside and focus on individuality. No kids. No spouses. Away from home. No housework. No cooking. No errands. No triple booked calendars. Nothing. The point was to encourage these Moms to focus on themselves for the weekend.

I took the bait. I accepted her challenge. It took a while to get to that place because I wasn't away from the kids, my spouse, and our home.

But, I did it...

1. I am a writer. I've been writing for most of my life. When I was in the middle and high school, I was in honors English. For one middle school assignment, we had to write a collection of poems. That was a simple assignment for me, but it didn't end well. My English teacher called my mother. She was concerned. My writing was too deep and too advanced for someone my age. I never stopped writing. My goal is to have a couple of books published in the next year.

2. I love to read books. My Grammy worked for a publishing and printing company. When we visited or she and my Grampie visited us, she'd give me a brown paper grocery bag or two full of books. I read all of them. I'd spend weekends and school vacations reading books. I currently have a small collection of my favorite books. I'd like to have more. My dream is to have an entire wall of bookshelves filled with books. No, that does not include a Kindle.

3. I'm slightly obsessed with birds. There was a time when I hated birds. I was terrified of them. I remember a trip to the Cleveland Zoo over a decade ago when I paid extra to visit the bird area. I walked in with 2 mini cups of nectar. Within a minute, I put the cups of nectar on the railing and walked out. It felt as if my heart was going to pound through my chest. I was sweating. Total panic attack. Fast forward to the here and now, we have a buffet of bird feeders in the yard. I love spending time on the front porch taking photos of the birds. Last Summer, a hummingbird fed off one of our Salvias that was less than 6 inches from my face. Amazing moment!

4. Homemade bread. I've been baking for over 30 years. Over the past 5 years, I've challenged myself to tackle a couple of items that I had long given up on. Pie crust. Bread. I've conquered the challenge of pie crust. Bread, well, it's an ongoing process. So far, I make really great white bread and honey wheat bread. It's to the point where we almost never buy store bought bread. I want to experiment more with whole grains and specialty artisan bread. I'm getting there.

5. Cookies and cupcakes. My specialty in baking has always been cookies. But. I've extended my baking hobby in the area of cupcakes. Cupcakes are special. They're like tiny bundles of scrumptious love. They involve a lot of work. It's an art to create a beautiful cupcake that's satisfying, has layers of identifiable flavor, and makes a lasting impression. Last year, I went over the top and whipped up these chocolate strawberry cupcakes. They were out of this world delicious. These cupcakes were not the first in this category. They won't be the last.

6. Experimenting with new food. I love sushi. But, it's not a food I would go to a restaurant to purchase. We don't eat raw fish. The best sushi we've ever had is vegetarian. I had no idea how to make this decadent creation. Last year, my SoulSista taught me. Since then, it's a staple in our home. We crave it. Since then, I've been experimenting with new fillings and homemade dipping sauces. Between my SoulSista and I, we make homemade vegetarian sushi that's better than takeout and costs about 80% less.

7. Creating restaurant inspired foods on a budget. There was a time in my life when I loved nothing more than restaurant dining. Now, decades later, I'm not a fan of restaurants. I would much rather dine at home, with a handful of people, sharing dishes and appetizers. Recipes that are traditional, sentimental, and lean more towards comfort foods. Potluck style. One of my most recent creations is homemade fried ravioli. I've eaten this twice at a restaurant. It made an impression. But, the $13 price tag for 8 fried ravioli didn't sit well. I decided to make it myself. I did. HUGE hit. I fried up 40 ravioli and made a marinara dipping sauce for approximately $6.

8. Repurposing. I am an artist. Sometimes, I question if the amount of time I spend gazing at pieces of wood or old items is insane. Eventually, the light bulb goes off. I have an idea. I mentally plan it out. Then, it makes it to a pencil and paper drawing. Lisa and I go over it with a fine-toothed comb. Can we do this? Yes! This is how our kid's DIY Nappy Nook, DIY Sweet Dreams Dog Bed, and DIY Indoor Dog House came to life. This artistry extends well beyond DIY Dog Mom Projects.

9. I do not fit in. I'm not in the least bit interested in getting manicures and pedicures or indulging in spa days. I hate the mall scene. I don't like eating at restaurants. I prefer online shopping rather than spending an entire day shopping for clothes and shoes. I think diamonds are ugly. I couldn't care less about designer purses, clothes, shoes, and makeup. My favorite pair of shoes is my Cros FlipFlops. The majority of my wardrobe consists of skirts, flipflops, cotton shirts, and lounge pants. I no longer frequent bars and clubs. I don't like crowded venues like concerts and baseball games. I'd much rather be at home, sitting around our backyard pit fire, sipping adult beverages than going out for cocktails.

This is all I can come up with.

For now...

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