Friday, August 8, 2008

Note to Self: 3rd Edition

1. The philosophy of efficiency with money can be easily replicated in an efficiency with time concept. Thanks, Journeyer for sharing this insight! Be sure to check out both her links. The Maya Angelou quote at the bottom of her introduction is another whole lesson in itself!

2. Balance is of utmost importance. But balance can't always be acheived the same way in every situation. Take motorcycle riding. Sometimes, like when weaving back and forth, you stay seated straight up and down while the bike leans back and forth. Other times, like around a sweeping corner, you lean very slightly with the bike. And other times, like when doing a very tight u-turn, you actually have to counterweigh the bike, leaning the opposite way.

In each situation, as in life, it's important to assess the situation and figure out what position will acheive the optimal result.

3. But no matter how balance is acheived, you always have to keep your chin up and look ahead to where you're going. Otherwise, balance is irrelevant. You might be balanced, but you'll be wobbling all over the place without direction.

4. If you want to change one habit, it may involve changing another habit. I have struggled with this month's Quit Now Challenge of quitting the snooze button. Today I had my biggest victory yet! I only hit the snooze button twice. I realized something else though. I went to bed about 1-2 hours earlier than normal. I usually head to bed at 10 at the earliest. Sometimes if I don't think I'm "tired enough," I'll stay up until 12 or 1 am. As a kid I would sit in bed for hours on end unable to sleep, so I'm extremely vigilant about knowing when I'm "ready" for bed. But last night I headed to bed just after 9 and fell asleep pretty quickly. It makes me realize that I can change my snooze button habit, but it may take changing my bedtime habits as well.

5. Who knew making a bib would be more difficult than a blanket?! Apparently, size DOESN'T matter! It's all those *%)$%(&$%&%* curves!

6. One of the best ways to overcome a fear is to simply do it anyway. Driving to motorcycle training Wednesday morning, my hubby and I discussed our concerns about riding in the rain and were somewhat grateful to be given the opportunity to ride in the rain during the training so that we could learn how to compensate for it. What we learned was that with the right gear, it's not that big of a deal (within reason.) With proper rain gear and a full face helmet, you're pretty much protected from the rain. It's still not the best of conditions, but it's nothing to be afraid of.

drenched, but trying to dry out.

7. With a big enough stash, you can make just about anything! I made a special square out of the materials used to make the baby blanket, then I attached a bunch of ribbons and triangles of material from my stash. They are all different textures and colors for the baby to play with! If it weren't Stash Month, I'd have been tempted to go out and buy new ribbon and more remnants!

8. Saving money can be fun! I'm really enjoying the challenge of finding alternate ways of doing things (other than going out and buying the newest, best big thing)

9. Antiques are fun! My first giveaway wasn't exactly the biggest bestest thing-a-ma-jig, but it was a cool little trivia/mystery piece.

This little guy was used years ago before plastic bags were all the rage! The hooks on either end would wrap around the string used to secure books and packages, the handle would make it easier to carry the package without the string digging into your fingers!

I found this guy at a yard sale earlier in the year. The man selling it was impressed that I knew what it was used for. A few years back my mom and I stumbled upon one at an over-priced antique shop and couldn't figure out what it was. We got the scoop then, and I scooped this little guy up at the yard sale for 50 cents! (instead of the $8 the antique shop wanted for it!) I'm saving one for mom for christmas, saving one for myself, and Bragger here gets the last one! (yeah, she gets the prize AND you can blame her for taking the last perfect man!) So, Bragger, leave me a comment with your address (I promise I won't approve it for public view!) and I'll get your string handle thingy in the mail on Monday! (I know what it's used for, but not what it's officially called!) I guess I could just make up a name for it like the bird in the Little Mermaid.... Naw...

10. Avoiding confrontation often leads to a worse, unavoidable confrontation down the line. (Cue yesterday's rant.) I'm as much to blame as my hubby for this, but camping with the family is now a huge soap opera drama that could have been handled a LOT better by both of us a month or two ago, but we took the seemingly easy (avoidant) route at the time and are paying dearly for it now. It all comes back to boundaries, assertiveness and personal responsibility. I can't control how Mom and Dad will react, but I do have the responsibility of not initiating or participating in these games.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

the good, the bad and the ugly

Let's just be honest. Growing up I somehow got the impression that it was less noble to feel mad or angry than dissapointed or hurt. I never acknowledged anger or rage, just transformed it to dissapointment and turned myself into a victim (being constantly hurt).

And while we're being honest, let's acknowledge that marriage is hard and work and frustrating and anger-inducing and maddening along with all the good things about it.

I'm mad. And I'm angry. Frustrated. Hurt, yes but mostly angry. Enraged. Adrenaline-pumping, emotion-seething anger.

It's no secret my hubby and I are in couple's counseling. It's no secret I myself am in personal counseling. I SO wish we were at our counselor's this afternoon! Our much-anticipated camping weekend coming up with his family is now a bit less-than-anticipated and instead is closer to being in the "dreaded" category.

I'm enraged because my hubby can't seem to stick up for himself (or his wife) to his folks. Mom, the emotional drain and Dad, the "voice of reason" like the snake in the Garden of Eden. What he suggests makes sense when you're talking to him, but then you walk away and shake your head and say "Hey, wait. What about such-and-such! Oh well, too late now." He's a really good salesperson.

And in the middle of this is the 30-day husband encouragement challenge. While I had (and have) every intent of continuing the challenge, I cannot deny the fact that we are both flawed. I get pretty emotional and expect him to stand up for me and he can't even stand up for himself, much less me, so who has the delusional/unrealistic expectations here?

I think the challenge is a good idea, but we also live in the real world and I doubt that the spirit of the challenge is to pretend there's no real problems until the end of the month! Bringing focus to how you treat and talk about your husband is quite important in my view and one of my pet peeves is women who go on and on about the little things that their husband does wrong . Petty little things that just make the woman look picky and falsely superior.

If I am sounding that way, I give you permission to gently bring my attention to that. Please.

better late than never

I was a teeeeeny bit late getting to work this morning, but you tell me if it was worth it.

I found this on my doorstep. I couldn't resist snapping a few pictures of it!

My First Giveaway: Countdown

23.5 hours left!

can you figure out what this is?

Leave a comment at this link for a chance to win! All comments received before Thursday Midnight will be entered to win.

A very productive day!

Well, life goes on so even though I'm exhausted emotionally and physically from motorcycle training, I HAD to get some baby sewing done. My sister-in-law's baby shower is in just over a week and I have to mail it, so I've got tonight and tomorrow night.

After figuring out what my sewing machine was complaining about, I got down to business and used a vine-like decorative stitch to make a simple baby blanket with one side flanel stripes and the other plain white terry cloth.

Then even though it was after 10 pm, I decided to tackle the fun square!

I went through my stash and found every fabric and ribbon that matched in some way. I was looking for a variety of colors and textures.

I'm really happy with how it turned out!

Tomorrow night: Bibs and burp cloths!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Motorcycle Training:Day 3

I made it!

I got the certificate so I can just go to the Department of Motor Vehicles and get my motocycle operator's endorsement without taking additional tests!

We showed up to class at 8 am just as it started raining. And raining. Harder and Harder. We broke for lunch, and it stopped. We got back to work and it got darker and darker (but wasn't raining). We were just about to set up for the final exercise (aka "The Test") when the thunder and lightening started. We took the opportunity to do the written test and then it was borderline sunny! We got to do the riding test under almost ideal conditions and we all passed!

I did dump my bike once earlier in the day while practicing braking. I locked up the front brakes and skidded. It happened before I knew it! I don't even remember falling, just scramling to get up and wondering why I couldn't move my right foot! It was pinned underneath the bike, but I got it out and I didn't even bruise. The instructor showed me how to get the bike off the ground real quick and I was off and running again in no time. Another bonus of having a small bike is that it's light enough for me to get it off the ground without help if I'm ever in that situation!

Buy Nothing Challenge or not, I don't regret my waterproof pants purchase last night ONE BIT. There were a couple of guys out there without full raingear that were simply miserable. I was warm and mostly dry the whole time. Even my feet! (Not complaining about not being able to wear my sandals either!)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Motorcycle Training, Day 2: Riding!!

Wow. This is so much fun! The instructors are fun and enthusiastic about riding, the sky was overcast all day so it didn't get too hot, and I'm riding a Suzuki GN125. Sounds small, but it's perfect for me! If you're unfamiliar with bike sizes, there are scooters that are 150 cc's and 200 cc's. The "125" in GN125 indicates that it's only got 125 cc's.

But I love it cuz I can touch the ground with my toes. That's all I ask!

The one problem is my physical conditioning. I tend to gt tendonitis and bursitis in just about any joint in my body and sitting on the bike for 6 hours today didn't "sit" well with my left hip and leg. Lesson learned, I'll have to be mindfull of that (and dose myself up on ibuprofen before we go tomorrow!)

I'm exhausted, but exhilerated.

Tomorrow's forcast:

90% chance of rain. Probably showers in the morning and thunderstorms in the afternoon. We ride in any condition except thunder and lightening.

So do I go out and buy raingear?
Or stick to my Buy Nothing New Challenge?
I think an exception is in order. I have zero time to thrift shop, so to Walmart I go.
Then it's beddy-by.

keeping hydrated

Lunch break

Monday, August 4, 2008

Motorcycle safety training, day 1:

So cool! I'm super excited to get on the bike tomorrow. Tonight was all classwork, three hours worth!
I'm the only woman in a class of 11 students. We'll have about five or so hours of range riding tomorrow and then another three hours of classwork. One of the instructors is a woman as well.
We don't actually need jackets, which is good since it's going to be in the 80's and no shade! All we need is a long sleeved shirt. I'm glad for that, since I have to wear constricing boots.
Have I mentioned my dislike of all things enclosed being anywhere near my feet? My feet are like leather because I go barefoot as much as I possibly can in the spring, summer and fall. And in the winter, I still go barefoot when I'm home!
I'm getting a little irritated with my hubby, so it's a very good thing I'm doing the 30-day Husband Encouragement Challenge! Stop and think. Stop and think!

August Challenges

Buy Nothing New Challenge:
First, what I have bought:
Puffs Plus (1.99) *Not sure if this is considered breaking the challenge, but it is for me because I really want to use my hankies instead of buying tissues. Unfortunately, today is one of "those days" where I get this incredibly bad sinus headache and can't stop sneezing. It's been going on for a couple years and noone knows what it is or why it happens. And nothing I have tried taking seems to prevent it!
store brand tylenol (2.99) *I know medicine isn't meant to be restricted, but I have plenty of meds at home but couldn't wait another four hours for relief!

Now, what I haven't bought: (but would have if it wasn't for this challenge)
Removable or retractable clothes line (anywhere from $20 to $150)
Egg Beaters (Egg product in a milk carton type package) ($5.99) *I was intending to buy the egg product for camping, but thought twice when they rang up at such a high price. I can just mix up my own eggs and put them in a resealable container for much less money!!

Husband Encouragement Challenge:
This has been a really neat exercise. It's a daily reminder that I am the primary source of encouragement in my hubby's life. He doesn't get a lot of positive feedback from his folks, work is quite stressfull and they don't show appreciation well, and his friends are not exactly a healthy influence. So when I am grumpy and grouchy and take him for granted, it's compounded because home is supposed to be that safe place, the "castle" so-to-speak. I'm not saying I won't allow myself to be honest about my feelings, but let's face it. There are times I have just been grouchy from work and don't reign it in before I get home, and he pays for it. (Sorry sweetie!)

Stash Month Challenge:
I haven't bought any new craft items yet! Actually, I had this great idea for a wedding present for a good friend of mine. She's getting married at the end of the month (Aug 30th) and her invitation states at the bottom: The gift of your presence is present enough. So cute, but oi. I'm sooo happy for her! She's almost 50, never been married, dated a lot of okay guys, and about 10 months ago found this really great guy! I just can't stop grinning when I think of them! And we all want to just whoop with joy over how perfect they are for each other and how wonderfull it is that they found each other! And I want to celebrate by doing something special. I have never liked "cookie-cutter" gifts like a place setting or a silverware set. I really enjoy finding or making something I know they'll just LOVE and never would have thought of themselves.
So, I thought - why don't I make a cross stitch of their invitation and frame it really nicely? It won't be so elaborate I won't be able to finish it in time, but it will be incredibly personal and totally unique. (Also one of my prerequisites for cross stitch projects.) So I went through my newly-organized embroidery floss and irish linen stash and what do you know...I found exactly the right colors!! I already have everything I need for the project except for the frame. And I bet you I can find that in my storage area too!

Org Junkie's Monthly Organizing Round Up: (Mudroom/Entryway)
Well, I've taken before pictures of the mudroom and the spaces that I anticipate putting all the coats, boots, shoes, etc. in. As I shared before, the timing of this challenge is perfect because in September, we're taking off the mudroom addition to the house and we aren't replacing it, so we have to find room "elsewhere." As for actual progress, that hasn't been made. But one step at a time, right?

Quit Now Challenge: Snooze Button
Mmmm. The snooze button. I'm getting the feeling this is going to be the hardest challenge of all. I used to hit the snooze button for an hour. August 1st: 40 minutes. August 2nd: 30 minutes. August 3rd: 30 minutes. August 4th: an hour. *sigh*

Menu Plan Mondays:
I was actually so excited about this, I went home and planned my menu last thursday! Here's what's up for the week.
Monday: Leftovers
Tuesday: Slow-cooker Chicken and Pineapple Rice with peas
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Spaghetti and meatsauce with ground turkey and salad
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: All Day Mac N Cheese
Sunday: Homemade Pizzas with leftover meatsauce

Lazy Sunday, crazy-busy week!

I was supposed to go back to work Sunday afternoon, right? Didn't happen. I zonked out on the couch after church and unintentionally took a 6 hour "nap." Somehow I don't thing 6 hours of sleep constitutes as a nap!
First of all, my boss has been out for two weeks, so I've been slowly been slipping behind with covering for him. Then, last week I'd forgotten that this week my hubby and I are taking two days off to do our motorcycle safety training course, so I really needed to catch up and get a teeny bit ahead at work, but it wasn't happening, so alas, I'll fall a bit more behind. But you know? It's not the end of the world!
We're also going camping next weekend, so I need to prep for that, but I got the food preped last night at least, now it's just a matter of gathering the gear and packing bags. Fortunately, my hubby packs his own bag! I swore to myself I'd never "mother" him and 8 years later, I'm sticking to it! He's a big boy, he can pack his own stuff!
I did get to do a crock pot meal last friday but it wasn't exactly photogenic, so I didn't take any pics. I tried Jenn's All Day Mac N Cheese recipe from Frugal Upstate. It tasted great, but looked a little over-done. I'm going to make it again this weekend while camping for our Saturday night pot luck. We're camping with a bunch of my hubby's family and every year on Saturday night, we just gorge ourselves on awesome, awesome food! I think the crock pot ran for about 8 hours friday, so I don't think I'll start it until late morning next time so it's just perfect in time for dinner!

To fiction or not to fiction

I am a writer. I have been writing little snippets for as far back as I can remember. I write poetry, I write essays, I try to write fiction. I finish poetry, I finish essays, I can't finish a piece of fiction to save my life.
I dreamed for years to write a novel. To teach lessons in a roundabout way. To pretend to be a fictional person, to share the lessons I've learned in life through the creation of another.
Here are some of my past writings.
Last night I had a lightbulb moment. Perhaps I shouldn't be wasting my energy on something I haven't shown any talent in if I have shown talent in another area instead. I mean, come on already! Focus on non-fiction, essays, poetry. Another example of trying to spread myself too thin? Trying to conquer the entire world? Not content with the talents God has given me in one area, I want more, more, more?
Something I need to contemplate more, I suppose, but I think I might be on to something.
On the other hand, is it just that fiction is harder, and I'm giving up too easily?
*sigh* Who knows?