I’m not sure whether to blame the nitty gritty aspects of being a parent (like figuring out the odd substance streaked across my mirror was two day old banana courtesy of an angry Jane), or the ever burgeoning crank-fest of my age (last night I simultaneously watched Dateline, sprayed Icy Hot on my knee and yelled at Jane “Stop singing It’s a Hard Knock Life and go to sleep!”), but my love of decorating may be broken.

Don’t get me wrong. Late at night when I lie in bed, peacefully practicing deep breathing as the scent of topical rubefacient heat rub wafts into my nostrils, I dream of that house. You know the one. We all have it. Our happy place.

But I used to be a little voracious about the whole house/decorating thing. My entire blog was almost completely devoted to it for several years. I spent every weekend painting or going to flea markets. I could look at decorated homes, no matter how weird, suspend reality, and think, “Well that’s not for me, but it’s super creative.”

But lately I find so many other things occupy my mind. Perhaps it’s because I downsized into a tiny apartment and gave away most of my things. I won’t lie, that was seriously freeing. Zero regrets. Or perhaps it’s because I’m so busy being a mom and working I just don’t have time.

But lately when I peruse Pinterest and look at beautiful rooms, I think, “Nope. That whole thing. Nope. Nopers. Nope.”

I’ve accumulated some examples.


This. I mean. How cute is this. I’m a huge plant lover. And cactus plants rock because, frankly, you can’t kill them by forgetting to water them for five hundred years. There was once a day when I would have so wanted everything about this picture.

But here’s how this is going to go. Your toddler is going to run over to this area and yell “PRETTY” and fist one of those barbed beauties with all the intensity of Mr. Peepers. And then you’re ER bound. And you’ll say to the doctor, “But I had no idea they would do that! My cactus table is out of the way, and it also houses all my liquor bottles perfectly.”

So basically this picture, a picture I would have found inspiring in the past, now just screams at me: TODDLER WITH A FIST FULL OF NEEDLES, DOCTOR CALLS CHILD SERVICES, BETTY FORD CLINIC.


Oh, vintage chairs. They can be so lovely. I’m a fan. And in this Pottery Barn world we live in, it’s so nice to see rooms filled with unique and one of a kind items.

But I gotta tell you, my friend’s grandmother had a pleather chair like this. It sat right under a hanging light fixture made from glass grapes. And when I pressed my nose against it my lungs filled with stale cigarette smoke and musk. It was the kind of musk that reminded me of White Rain hairspray and reruns of Chips.



A renovated church. I’ll be the first to jump up and down at the prospect of renovating an old church or school house. Especially with those gorgeous doorways and floors and vintage furniture. But that bike? I see what they were going for. I really do. Whimsy. Recalling the days of biking to the park on a Sunday afternoon with a top hat and a chaste kiss for your date.

But. My kid is going to try to ride that thing. Or my kid’s friends are all going to try and ride that thing at the same time, like a bike riding rat king. And it’s going to end badly. Perhaps worse than cactus-needle-hands because this has the potential to bring concussions and shattered flat screen televisions. Then you’re headed back to that ER. With the same doctor. Who will judge you so much.

And I hear you. But Liz, I don’ t have kids.

Right, but you have friends. Friends that may come over and have some cocktails and suddenly Saturday night seems like the perfect night for some indoor bike maneuvering and spins around your casa.

Indoor bike = tears.


This room is nicely done. Not my style, but nicely done. I like the rug a lot.

But they lost me at the Olan Mills Portrait Chair over there in the corner.

I just can’t even with that chair.

I’m no fun anymore.


Sometimes I long for the old days. The days when I thought “oooh that’s cool” instead of “you should really put some plug covers over those electrical outlets.” The days when I drove around neighborhoods looking for free furniture on curbs without worrying about bed bugs.

Perhaps one day I’ll find my old spray-painting-give-me-all-the-weird-room-pictures self again.

But I won’t lie.

At this stage in my life I just want clean toilets and a room clear of any objects with which a four year old could impale herself.

No Olan Mills chairs.

No bikes inside.

No cactus-needle-hands.

11 thoughts on “Cactus-Needle-Hands

  1. Hahahahaha!! I love this post so much!! I also give most “styled” rooms a serious side eye because I just can’t even. Yesterday I came across a sponsored post on “how to style your coffee maker.” It literally told readers to keep fresh cut fruit and tiny little decorative cups in bright colors next to their coffee. AIN’T NOBODY GOT COUNTER SPACE FOR THAT! Also, fruit flies.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yep. I was at Lowes yesterday. I looked at some cacti but settled instead for some boring, but very safe pothos. We are old. We might fall over and impale ourselves on cacti needles. LOL Pothos=Safe for old people. LOL


  3. Great post. I see your point on all the items pictured. But I can’t lie, I really enjoyed seeing how you decorated your house. I always asked myself why I couldn’t be that crafty.


  4. This is absolutely laugh out loud funny!! I remember that season of my life well! It reminds me of when my sister had her first baby, she had been a voracious reader and loved all and any books. I was describing to her and several other women a wonderful complicated book I was reading, all the women were interested, thought they would enjoy it, suddenly she turns to me, the room goes silent and she says,that just sounds like the worst thing I have ever heard, I may never read again!!! Luckily seasons pass and everything we love comes back around eventually when we are ready. I love your writing and the way you put yourself out there😃


  5. I couldn’t agree more with your post… so much of our life is a season – now that my boy is almost 13 I am finally getting back to doing the things I like, such as decorating… but there is a season to it all and I didn’t want to miss any of it.

    We also downsized and simplified our life greatly and it has been liberating!


  6. My daughter’s mother in law has huge potted cactus that she needs help with every spring and summer to pack them outside and then back inside in the winter. If something requires that much work it’s not for me. You’re life changes again around your 60’s when you just want your home to be comfortable and you don’t care what’s in style. That’s where I’m at now. I would never have a recliner in my home and now I have two love seat recliners that we fall asleep in each night before bed. Ha! Everyone needs a nap before bed at this age!


  7. Haha! It’s all so true… multiplied times 5 kids. :-/

    We drove through Astoria the other day and I thought of you so many times and how much you loved it. I love it too. It made me realize how long I’ve been reading your blog. Through all the decorating days, and Jane, and short hair. I kinda liked the thought of it all. Glad you’re still here. And, your tat is cool. Yes on the pleather chair – down with Olan Mills.


  8. Ahh….Is this? Could it be? The topic of your next book? I’m with you. I used to spend hours scouting out materials for my next project from Goodwill, garage sales, etc. But, then, you have kiddos, and they become the project. And it suddenly is much more important to just BE. I do miss your decorating pieces, but am also thankful that it helps me focus more on what is right in front of me and to quit all that striving all of the time. Be gone cactus! Adios, frames-that-might-work-in-a-gallery-wall-someday. And, the pleather chair, well, RIP.


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