I had some dreams ... they were klowns in my koffee.

(With apologies to Carly Simon)

This is my journey through job transition from a toxic environment to a better life. Join me for a few thoughts and a few laughs along the way.
What are "klowns in my koffee"? They are the factors large and small that make you less than you are. A "klown" can be a grossly incompetent boss,
a short-sighted policy or a moronic coworker. They won't kill you, at least not immediately, but they abrade the soul
as you scrape past them to get through the day. Sometimes it's best to dump them out of the cup.


Day 322 - Shades of Green

Daily Kup (My Life in the Community)
The 'old me' liked to sleep in on Saturdays and would gladly sleep until 2 PM. In all honesty, the 'new me' would like to do that, too, if there were some way to restrain Attila the Son and Princess Potatohead from sectarian violence and a TV orgy of iCarly and SpongeBob Squarepants. Since monitoring their mornings to ensure that they wear clothing and eat actual food will be required for the next eight or so years, we can just kiss that sleeping really late thing good-bye unless I can feign an illness bad enough to elicit pity and not so bad that a doctor's visit is needed. Cough, cough.

The upside to this downside is that there are plenty of things worth getting up and doing. We have a busy weekend of community activities planned.

This weekend's challenge: Fill Saturday and Sunday with free and fun community activities to try as many new things as possible.

Life Transition Insight: (Posted before, but a frequent whack-to-the-head epiphany) Almost every community is bristling with low-cost or free activities for those willing to try something new.

Activity #1a: Volunteer at Girl Scout Recruiting Event. With Princess Potatohead in tow, we arranged to help out at a local community center hosting activity booths for potential new Girl Scouts. I can now check 'running the bean bag toss' off my Bucket List. In addition, the Princess got to make some crafts, practice as a tiny spokesperson for her Daisy troop, and run around like a lunatic with a gang of other screaming little girls. The coordinator gave me a very nice Girl Scout lanyard with a built-in flash drive in appreciation for my time and efforts.

Activity #1b: While some of us were singing camp songs, Mr. T took Attila the Son to the local junior high school for a free kids' baseball clinic run by one of the community Little League groups. Not only did our budding sports superstar work off some of his hyperactivity, he also demonstrated enough targeted skills to complete the requirements for his Cub Scout baseball pin. We'll plan on attending the second free clinic on February 26.

Activity #2: The family regathered at home for a quick lunch and then on to an Irish dance party and lesson at our children's dance emporium of choice, Deanne's Dance Studio, for what was billed as a Sweetheart Céilí. (Céilí is a Gaelic word for a traditional social gathering usually featuring music and dancing.)

Life Transition Insight: Once you let go of the fear of making a fool of yourself, life gets to be more fun.

I defy anyone to remain cranky while listening to traditional Irish dance music. I've been told that right/left confusion is a sign of great intelligence; if so, my family must be on the verge of implementing cold fusion. Still, keeping insight #2 in mind, we had a lot of fun and we weren't the only ones going in the wrong direction.

One by one, we got confused or tired. When we all had retreated to sitting on the folding chairs to watch people to whom 'grapevine' was not merely a horticultural item, we knew it was time to go.

Activity #3: Invigorated by the dancing and uplifted by the melting snow, we piled into the yellow bus and headed for a vigorous city neighborhood near Minneapolis' beautiful string of urban lakes. KiMK's good friend and fellow blogger, Baroness Color, was displaying her unique hand-dyed apparel and household items at Handmade Arts from the Heart, a benefit for Barton Open School. Reveling in so many vendors with unique handmade items, Mr. T and I were able to pick out a shared Valentine's Day gift for our home that is unusual and will be treasured (until the kids break it).

Art glass, wall hanging or pickle tray? This intriguing item has a new home on our end table. The artist, Red Wine Design, has a line of striking ansd colorful fused glass jewelry. She says that her choice of materials has caused an odd kind of reverse vandalism in her neighborhood; someone is coming to her porch when she's out and leaving piles of empty wine bottles.

One day down and we seem to be winning the challenge for the cheap, fun and new experience. Can we keep up the pace tomorrow? We drag our dancing feet home.

A Green Tip - "The Bathtub Capacitor"

Since we accepted the challenge to reduce our energy usage by 20% or more, we've exhausted the low hanging fruit and are now exploring the easy but exotic. Long, hot showers -- one of the greatest pleasures known to humanity -- were one of our conservation downfalls. Our hot showers were heating the plumbing all the way to the street while our rooms are winter dry and quite cold due to the lowered thermostat.

One way to offset this loss is plug the drain and let the water stay in the tub and radiate heat until it achieves room temperature after an hour or two. The warm water heats the body of the tub and functions as energy storage and gradual dissipation into the atmosphere. If this were an electrical circuit, the tub would be capacitor holding charge but eventually allowing it to bleed off.

As an added benefit, the ardent shower aficionado will be reminded to cut it a little shorter by the very tangible evidence of how much water is being used. The water in the tub heats the room and increases humidity instead of taking its heat down the pipe. When the water is at room temp, simply open the drain.

For safety reasons, households with small children or pets should not try this.

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