Thursday, March 29, 2012

Taking Stock

Fast week here...OT (thank goodness), good food, pokin' along...

Outside: Florida...near-record highs apparently, pretty gorgeous. Makes it harder to hate it here, but I manage...

Inside: biz touring today.

Wearing: my darn Eastland loafers are too large, hoping the new orthotics will help. Maybe some lamb's wool too?

Creating: did 12 rows on the cowl last night and managed to remedy a screw-up (I think), when my broken stitch marker fell off. It's for me, so I'm not overly bent if I didn't catch it exactly at the right spot, but I found I cared enough to try and get it right...about time I had some pride in my knitting for me. This weekend, different batches of muffins and cookies, and a lentil/sweet potato stew.

Reading: goodness, so much! I have 2 Gene Logsden books waiting on me @ the library, Clean Start and Clean Food arrived, and all my latest mags. My weekend is set!

Going: nowhere special...prayers that my MIL has a good visit with her SIL and that things stay OK at home. It's a horrible pressure-cooker there.

Have some OT to knock out Saturday, then we'll hit the dining area, sort and purge time. Hopefully. In between relaxing and cooking and enjoying life n' stuff...we've been eating better this week and it feels great, so I plan to make some meals ahead of time again. SUCH a difference having food and ideas at the ready like that.

Image from here.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Living Simpler

More than a little funny how different my weekend looked from that last post...

Friday at 4-freakin'-PM, the .com offered OT. To borrow a phrase from The Bloggess, douche canoes! It's no longer becoming a case of me not being able to say no, though...the plain truth is that we barely make ends meet with my normal checks, and every little bit helps. There's the move to save for, Les's birthday coming up, I still haven't bought sneakers...there's always room for more dough. So I snatched up 4 hours and elected to go home that night, grab dinner, and then run back to the office to get it over with....thinking that way I'd still have a full weekend.

So naturally Murphy made Saturday fly by...I'm trying to remember what I accomplished, if anything. I jumped into the dining room just long enough to make it unmanageable and then abandoned it; it's still a disaster area that I'll rearrange several times this week to make it manageable and keep paring down. I puttered a bit. I took a seriously nice nap. Don't mind really, because the sun barely made an appearance that day, lots of rain, in fact. Can't complain, we always need it. Tropical state, my arse, it's forest fire season here (dear spring breakers, please stop throwing your lit butts into our national forests, and I won't have to test out my knife-throwing skills on your tires...).

Sunday, got up, puttered. Husby was awake so he made French toast, because I wasn't sure we had enough milk for pancakes. I took advantage of his awake state to discuss the week's meals with him and made the grocery list. Hopped out to do the shopping...which was fun, because I was following the list carefully and indulging in more organic labels and no junk. Yes, I bought milk too, organic even. Quite proud of myself.

Got back home, put everything away, chilled for a bit, then got cooking. Made banana muffins, chicken pot pie, and chocolate chip cookies, all from Eating Well recipes. The muffins and cookies were great; I want to tweak the chicken pot pie some. I've made incarnations of that for years, using store-bought pie crust, Heinz gravy, Veg-All, and's delicious, but there's a lotta "middle aisle" stuff in the mix, if you know what I mean. Since I'm getting us away from so much processed food, I used frozen veggies instead of canned and made the sauce using broth and sour cream. Eventually I intend to make my own broth, sour cream, and pie crusts, but this was a nice start. Husby liked it, said it tasted fresher.

The irony of "living simpler" is that it actually means, "spend a little more money and work your arse off,  but know you're doing better for yourself and the planet as a result." My back still aches today from all the walking and kitchen standing I did, but I feel prepared for the week and really confident that we're starting to eat better. My baking included more whole grains, less sugar. When I measure the convenience of buying garbage in a box against the satisfaction of home cooking, it's no contest, backaches and all. And it blows my mind how few people in our culture get that.

Image from here.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Full of Promise Friday

Random stuff...

Have definitely reconciled myself with not seeding just yet...will probably try herbs later, out of stubbornness, but need to do a major purge/cleaning of the apartment and porch to make it feasible. Have been poring through the Encyclopedia of Country Living, and this morning I started The New Organic Grower (not so new, 1st edition - 1989, but still way informative - I grabbed it at that goldmine we call Chamblin here in Jax). I'm in, soaking up the information like a sponge, and if my attentions continue in this manner, I'll return Outlander to the library and pick up that series another time.

Spring has me wanting to learnlearnlearn, and get my arse outdoors. Even if I can't plant, I need sun on my skin (with a healthy layer of SPFdon'tgivemyIrisharsecancer). Will be reading and knitting out on my porch this weekend, when I'm not cooking. Planning to try a muffin recipe or two, and a meal recipe or two for the week. So tired of life living me, supposed to be the other way around...

No OT this weekend...hate not having the money opp, but love the free time it allows me. I'll get up at a decent hour tomorrow morning and expend a little gas to hit RAM and Native Sun for a little produce stocking-up. Then I'll hop home, change, and hit the Y before the urge to nap hits. Gonna be a good weekend!

Image from here.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Taking Stock

Day late, dollar short...what's new?

One of those weeks where on the surface I'm ornery, because the daily grind makes me feel like life is passing me by.....but I'm actually not that discontented on the inside, because I've purchased some books and done some online research that are going to help me make better decisions and get me closer to better health and the life I want.

I'm cooking up a storm this weekend, found some great recipes that I want to try out, and started a list of dinners we've made in the past that were successful. It was larger than I thought, the list of viable meal options, and as I looked at it, I cringed to think of the money we've wasted on bad food due to laziness. I know everyone does it sometimes, but when you're a 1-income family and trying to move...just ridiculous. And then I wonder why we never get there?

I'm determined to create a meal plan weekly, so that we can get off junk/fast food for good and not be sitting on the phone when I get off work going back and forth with "I don't know, what do YOU want for dinner?" conversations. Over that with a capital O!

I'm postponing the camping trip in May, I think. Gas prices being what they are, it's not feasible, plus camping always shells out just as much dough or more than if we'd grab a hotel (food, charcoal, new tarps or tent, etc...never mind the fact that my sleeping bag has been around since junior high...). OT is drying up at work, and the next 3 months of paychecks fall at times that require belt tightening and careful spending. It's hard, this knowledge, because I want to get up there and show Les that it's feasible, when in reality I don't even know if it is...

However, I'm damn sure taking those days off in May and spending them outside, at parks, at the beach, or maybe we'll take a day trip. Can't believe it's been 5 years...

Outside: Spring in Florida, 80s with a breeze

Inside: thankfully cool enough where I can still get away with wearing my mock turtlenecks to work...

Reading: The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery, The New Organic Grower by Eliot Coleman, and Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.....admittedly, Outlander falling aside in the wake of my latest homesteading urges...

Creating: ideas, meals, more "game planning" for the move...not sure what else...I'd love to do seed starts, but it's just so unfeasible. If I start something in the apartment, the cat will knock it over or eat it, and if I start them out on the porch, the GD ducks and squirrels will knock them over or destroy them within the first day...never mind the lack of pollinators because we live "in the city" and are surrounded by feral wildlife...It makes me sad to have to wait another whole year, but I'd rather wait than waste money. The knitting has fallen to the wayside too, but Cowl de Printemps should get some attention this weekend.

Going: nowhere this weekend, but SC trip probably soon.

We can get some real purging done this weekend. We own so. damn. much. stuff. and there comes a time when you have to look at all that crap and ask yourself, what will you ACTUALLY USE when you have a house?

Image from here.

Monday, March 19, 2012

It Could Happen...

This one's rather apropos. I mean, of course, the underlying theme should be "be happy with yourself" or "give yourself a break"......but this phrase nails something that's been rattling around in my brain, that I didn't quite realize was in there til I read it.

I have bloggers whom I admire, big-time, because they are living their lives the way I'd like to. Jenna, Amanda, and Ashley are definitely my top three. I wish to emulate them all in different ways, and I pore over their blogs and archives almost daily trying to glean the secrets to how they are able to pull it off, the homesteading dreams that I desire. None of these folks are independently wealthy; they all work very hard to achieve their respective dreams. So how come when push comes to shove, I get lazy and don't do what's necessary to move forward in those directions? I mentioned last week how I'm not into self-fulfilling prophecies...what a load of crap!

When I read that Ashley and her boys were going up to Maine to meet Amanda and her brood (and celebrate the beginning of Taproot), I was over the moon. My gods, to be a fly on the wall, while they were chatting, getting to know each other, watching their little ones play! I think they are both amazing ladies, with deliciously intelligent brains, who are living the dream...little homestead, some critters, and a creative life. I'd so love to meet them both someday...I content myself occasionally with the dream that I'll get to know Ashley someday by attending one of her classes, when we move closer to her neck of the woods.

But when I think of those two ladies together, I wonder what I would bring to the conversation. Yea, yea, I know, I'm a catch...but seriously! And I wonder what the hell is still holding me back? From canning and eating smartly and getting more animals and organizing my life andandandandand.....

I wandered through Walmart on Saturday night, and I remember passing the area in kitchen supplies where the canning jars are kept, and thinking, nah, don't need those right now, who are you kidding anyway? Since when do I let that kind of talk slip through my bean?! When I'm so damn concerned about where my food is coming from lately, that I'm having trouble making ANY decisions about meals, I can't find the gumption to buy canning jars and create strawberry jam that will save me $2.50 a week? I'm so frickin' over myself!

So my studies.....took a backseat to starting the Outlander series this weekend. And that's OK, because if the above is any indication, I'm readjusting my ever-changing, neverendinglyfluid priorities. I bounced off the walls literally this weekend, getting up to look around the apartment, feel overwhelmed by the mess, and sit back down to play Mah Jong and avoid it, thus perpetuating my discontent. I was downright ornery at times this weekend, and there's so much I could be doing to remedy that.

Image from here.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Full of Promise Friday

I'm alternating today between strong and sad, but I'll try to keep it upbeat here...

The weather continues to be obnoxiously beautiful in FL. Been brushing my bangs to the side, which is compelling me to wear my hair down more, cuz it looks better that way. We'll see how long that lasts, if this 80s nonsense keeps up.

Payday brings promise, potential...there are bills to pay, sneakers to buy, and plenty to squirrel away hopefully thanks to OT. I'm planning a trip to upstate SC in May that we need to start saving for. There are other things to save for too....the move, potential baby making, I always have an eye trained down the road.

At least the sad is getting me thinking.....about procreating the species, and how if I haven't really given up, then I better get my ass in gear and do what's necessary to get myself in a position to realistically attempt it. See Melanie's Head for more on that.

Chipotle for lunch and OT later and tomorrow morning...we're getting closer to not needing the OT, so gotta enjoy it while it lasts. Have a great weekend, y'all!

Image from here.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Random Thursday

No matter the fact that I tell myself I only have 6½ readers...I do hold myself back on this blog. Which is hilarious, since it has no real purpose other than as a vent for me. I'm not trying to raise money for anything or knit caps for babies in Haiti, or sweaters for penguins. I'm not a stay-at-home mom with tons of adorable child-antic stories. I'm just a semi-fertile 40-something with a semi-couch husband who's my everything, and a cat who waited 9 years before deciding that maybe, she'd deign to enjoy our laps every now and then. But I put this URL in other places, like the Facebook, so there's the occasional concern that someone, a boss or something, at my work, will happen upon this little blog and get more than they bargained for.

That said, I find myself a bit jealous of the Bloggess. This is a lady who obviously ain't taking enough meds, but that's OK, because she probably wouldn't be nearly as funny if she were. She's a's as though you took my personality, my friend R's personality, put them in 1 person, and removed any and all filters from our conversations. Jen's "conversations with Victor", her husband are hysterical, and remind me of myself, when I'll go off on a rambling tangent that causes Les to kind of sigh and mumble to himself about how special I am...

But she's a mostly SAHM and newspaper columnist, so to the outsider, it appears that she doesn't have to go work in an office everyday and put on appearances. And that's where my jealousy kicks in, because she's found a way to work from home and find success. I work in a corporate atmosphere and don't always hold my tongue, largely in part due to my lithium deficiency, which I'm still not medicating while we attempt a few more years at getting into the baby game. And I'm starting to see how, at least in this company, it's going to hold me back, that inability to think before I speak.

Thing is, I don't dislike that about myself. It's honest, albeit at times brutally honest; but after a childhood and adulthood of keeping certain things from my dad in order to keep the peace, I have no real desire to become too much of a person who's careful when they speak. So I'll never make it in politics, oh well. And my family's still speaking to me, so....

But it may hold me back from management positions. For now, I'm completely OK with that, but down the road, who knows? It'll depend on the job, I guess; and with my dreams, my "career" is pretty destined to be "12 roads diverged in a wood, and I..." so for now, I'm not worried. And if I want success, I just need to explore more of those paths...I do worry about how the frick I'm going to find work to keep us in mac & cheese when we move to Spartanburg, especially since I want to get Husby back in school (now that he's finding some focus). But I'll punch up my writing and start submitting it, outside of here, and researchresearchresearch. We've made it this far. As for whether or not I unclench a little more on here...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Taking Stock

Having a really decent week. Kind of weird to feel this way when my circumstances haven't changed. Nifty what a little focus and positive thinking can produce. Looking forward to an OT check and more OT on the way helps too.

Outside: other words, gorgeous. It's March in Florida out there.

Inside: little noisy, little boring

Wearing: hair's getting delightfully unruly. May as well enjoy it...once it gets stupid-hot, I'll wear it back or up more.

Creating: Cowl de Printemps in KnitPicks Stroll in Pumpkin, and a curriculum of study.

Reading: The Creators, Heart of Darkness, College Algebra, and Human Antiquity.

Going: nowhere for now, but SC trip coming up soon.

Don't really need this category this week. To say I'm hoping to stick with my studies or eat better or exercise, implies I'm expecting failure...and I'm all about eliminating self-fulfilling prophecies.

Last night I unwound with my usual Kindle solitaire and mah jong...but then I cracked the College Algebra, determined I need a calculator to maintain sanity while studying that, set it aside and cracked the Anthro text, reviewed the first chapter and read the second, and put myself to sleep knocking out the 2nd chapter of Boorstin. It feels fantastic to be feeding the brain this way.

Don't grownups use calculators? The Texas Instruments website was educational...I guess since most adults only need basic math functions, they just use computers (and computer calculators) now, for bills and such. The TI store is geared to the needs of high school age and under. Makes sense, I guess, since engineering and business students and the like just do everything by computer now...but it was an eye-opener about how I need to shift my thinking. I graduated college in 1993 without ever using a computer. The simple act of learning is entirely different now, different resources to work from, different ways of using technology to assist in the process.

Great example: Encyclopedia Britannica just announced that they're going out of print, that the 2012 edition of their printed encyclopedias will be their last. This made me sad and nostalgic at first. My folks had Colliers in the house, but the schools I grew up in relied on Britannica and World Book as a key reference/resource. So I asked my Lil Sis, semi-recent MA, what she'd used for an encyclopedia in college, Britannica, Encarta? Her answer: nada...she worked in primary research, first-hand interviewing with compare/contrast against other resources (online articles, periodicals, journals, etc.). And I was reminded of how very different my schooling was from hers, how we weren't allowed to question anything or accept viewpoints outside of our textbooks. The first time I skimmed Howard Zinn's History of the US, it blew my mind, because it was so far afield from what I'd been told in public school. How sad that I had to get the hell out of school to become more of a free thinker, but that's exactly what happened. But the old ways of thinking are still set in my head, so that when I dip my toes back into the academic world, in however small a way, I'm greeted with a wall to scale first. I'm really looking forward to the climb.

Image from here.

Monday, March 12, 2012

No more excuses?

I completely adore this laptop skin, and it's not even "me".

They announced the new manager of my work team. Emotions are mixed.

Actually, emotions are full-on annoyed...mostly with myself. I made the mistake of watching the 2nd half of the Brooke Ellison story (curse you, Lifetime channel, when there's nothing else on!)...and am feeling very held-back. You can't watch movies like that when you're already feeling like you're not accomplishing enough in your life. It must've been a theme for the day, because before that, they had played the Liz Murray story, which I've watched more than once, both for the excellent acting and the hopeful story. Liz Murray managed to finish high school at Bronx Science while homeless and was later accepted to Harvard. Brooke Ellison became a quadraplegic at age 11 and with the help of unyielding family support, graduated summa from Harvard and is currently working on her Ph.D.

I can't begrudge my current career. Its "safety/stability" were necessary for the particular time in our lives. But how much am I giving up if I continue playing it safe? And what the hell do I really want to do with my life? And am I letting the things that are holding me back become excuses not to push harder to achieve those dreams?

So this week will be spent looking at the move, our lives, what kind of schooling Les might be interested in (in relation to where I want us to move), what kind of schooling I'm interested in, and how we can make all that happen. It really pisses me off how shut out we are from opportunities, just because we've learned to pay cash for stuff. Our credit hasn't suffered the last couple of years; it's flatlined...and building it back up is a royal bitch. But it's going to have to happen, because I'm realizing I absolutely want back into school too, that the dreams I have in mind require it.

I removed myself from the Independence Days Challenge for now. It's just not happening.

Yesterday was a rather delicious puttering-around day. As I woke up in the morning, got coffee, woke up my brain with the Kindle and the Sunday L&Os, I realized I had zero desire to go outside...that I needed to stay in my PJs and get small things done around the house. So I did, and I'm better for it today.

Image from here.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Taking Stock

And the wheel turns...and very little that last post...and since there's nothing I can do about it, I give it to the gods and move on.

Having a pretty nice week. I need to get back to the Y, still avoiding that, but otherwise, little things getting accomplished, not too tired, some thinking going on up in the ole attic.....we celebrated 13 years of marriage yesterday. So blessed.

Outside: overcast, but pleasant temps...

Inside: meh.

Wearing: new Eastlands...such a damn relief to have comfortable shoes...ridiculously eye-opening...

Creating: a cowl here, a wrap there...ignoring socks...

Reading: Twelve Wild Swans ... getting back to my religious roots.

Going: hopefully nowhere...

Hoping... sigh...see Dark Meadow...

Image from here.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012


I'm safe venting here, I think...the only family member on that side that might read this, empathizes/feels similarly.....

When you have people addicted to prescription medication in your family, you have 3 choices: enable them, force rehab, or set them free and pray. There really isn't a middle ground, and in some states, the 2nd isn't even an option once the parties in question (PIQs) are over 18. Took me forever to understand why we didn't just Baker Act the PIQs....turns out it was because SC doesn't have anything like that. (Florida does...and if you ask me, it oughta be nationwide.) They don't even do 24-hour holds. When one crisis occurred involving the person being a danger to him/herself, they were released from the hospital in less than 12 hours. Blew. My. Mind. Yes, it could've been a side effect of Lyrica. So not the point.

So the family in question chose option 1 for years. Maybe I'll understand it better when I have my own kids, but I come from more of a tough-love family dynamic, so maybe not. All I know is the situation has been toxic for far too long, and now that Dad's gone, it's going to implode. And I pray that things resolve themselves without my "help," because I'm really done being nice about the whole situation. There's a child in the middle of all of it, and that makes the behavior of the PIQs reprehensible. Yes, I get that I feel it more succinctly because I don't have children of my own. Yes, I fully expect to have that thrown in my face if I stick my nose in. But I'll be able to laugh that off pretty easily, I think, because neither of them are model parents with a leg to stand on.

In Utopia, where I have legal standing to do anything regarding the situation, I'd be putting our entire dining room in storage, moving our niece down with us, and getting her set up in therapy immediately to try and undo some of the emotional damage that her parents have wrought on her. I'd set her up in public school (until we moved to SC at least), and I'd trim my hours by 5, so I could spend more time @ home and still keep health benefits for now. I'd make the necessary sacrifices without thought, because I understand what it means to be a parent. Neither of her actual parents have a fucking clue.

But I know that will never be. And so I keep silent, and ache, and pray for things to become different without any intervention needed on our parts. Mom wants Les up there again for support. I wish they could send me instead, because I'm enough of an outside influence to give them all the perspective they so desperately need for the situation. And if that didn't work, we could abscond the niece and run for the border....just kidding....

Prayers for a resolution.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Just an update...nothing witty ;)

As I reconcile myself with getting turned down for the promotion, one thing keeps sneaking up on me...

The lithium deficiency is a viable excuse. It helps me recognize certain limitations. But while it justifies a scaling-back of certain areas of my life, it also forces me to examine my life more fully, to figure out the areas where scaling-back isn't an acceptable alternative. I have dreams that aren't going to get accomplished without some serious sucking-up, head-down, nose-to-grindstone work. I'm no stranger to hard work; keeping my little family afloat all these years is proof of that. But I need to take it a step further, or we're never getting out of Florida/I'm never getting published.

Husby will do his share; I know this. Folks who know us may look on that statement with skepticism, but a person's share has so many more facets than just money. He's slowly becoming healthier, physically and emotionally, and that's more important than any job he could hold right now. He came out of his Reiki class this past weekend more at peace than I've seen him in ages. And his support and faith in me speaks volumes, keeps me chugging along toward our goals.

This weekend was...good. Worked OT at o-dark-thirty on Saturday morning, had a follow-up eye appointment, and then went home for napping and puttering. Sunday I moved stuff around in the bedroom just enough to make myself think I'd reorganized and purged a little. Then I read, played, and knitted, frogged 2 old projects, and gave myself a mani-pedi, all while the windows were open and the breeze and sun streamed through our little apartment. I felt contentment. Such a damned precious thing.

Image from here.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Independence Days

So what do you do when you can't realistically grow things outside without it being an exercise in futility? You find another way, because to not grow stuff just won't do...

Not that I've found that way yet...just that I ain't giving up.

So I didn't get the promotion. Interestingly, I wasn't relieved or disappointed with the outcome. Can't decide if that means I really oughta try harder to improve myself, to further myself career-wise, because by not being disappointed, I'm only enabling my mediocrity. See, thing is though, I'm not a person who's overly concerned with "having a career." When it comes time to move, I'll be looking in my field, certainly, because that's where the bulk of my experience lies, but I also won't be disappointed if I have to try something completely new. So am I selling myself short by not being disappointed? Or do I just think too much?

So, still a HUGE work in progress on the Indy challenge...not a whole lot of actual effort occurring yet : (

Plant something: this weekend.

Harvest something: the menu plan concept this weekend

Preserve something: my sanity?

Waste not: recycling

Want not: finally stopped spending money willy-nilly

Eat the food: epic fail, lot of eating out this week

Build community systems: nada, but I've been a little more sociable (though my knitting pals would disagree), in light of the potential for bossdom earlier this week.

Skill up: this weekend....maybe I should start reporting this on Mondays, since those darn weekends are always so full of promise....

Image from here.