Good Morning, 2015

We brought 2015 in among great company last night; our “Shenanigans” crew gathered for snacks and games and I got to watch the ball drop with some of the people I love best (now, if we could have figured out how to get Shannon/James/Levi and John into the mix, it would have been perfect!).


We came home around 2 and hung out with Indy for a while before hitting the sack.

This morning, we’re enjoying copious amounts of coffee (and someone’s enjoying a giant beef knuckle courtesy of Grandma and Grandpa) before venturing out into the world to have an adventure (which, honestly, will probably just consist of Petsmart and maybe Target).

I’ve been thinking about my 2015 goals for the past couple of weeks.  I’ve got three larger goals, and then a few smaller ones:

  • Get rid of about 50% of the “stuff” we’ve amassed over the last seven years.  Our house is a wreck and we’ve got one room that we can’t even use right now.  It’s got to go.  We’ll sell whatever we can, then donate what’s left that’s not trash.
  • Cut our debt in half.  While we’re not fiscally irresponsible by any means, we’ve fallen into wasteful spending in several areas.  If we cut those out, we should be able to wipe out a lot of our debt.
  • Reach a healthy weight and fitness level.  I made strides with this last year, losing 32 pounds and walking a 5K in September.  As long as I’m diligent, I should be able to get where I want to go.

Small goals:

  • Stop biting my nails
  • RUN the NC Troopers Foot Chase at the end of March
  • Get paid for writing at least once
  • Read 2 new books each month
  • Learn how to knit colorwork
  • BLOG regularly (more than once a week)

I’m planning for the blog to take the direction of sharing my decluttering/frugality/weight loss journey.  I’m sure it’ll be a little embarrassing here and there, but I’m hoping that seeing someone else’s struggles might help you feel like you can make changes too.  I’m the laziest person I know, and if I can do this, I know you can.

I hope today brings you relaxation and a bit of fun.  Time for more coffee here!



So Much to Think About These Days…

So, now that I’ve finished my Master’s, I’m a little bit at a loss these days as to what to do with my time.  Unfortunately, for the most part, it’s been vegging out on the internet and in front of the tv.  I’m hoping that I’ll snap out of it soon now that I’m starting to get back in the swing of not having to spend every waking moment reading, writing, editing, rewriting, revising, submitting for review, crying, and starting the process over again.

I have started back reading my simple living blogs and prepping blogs and it’s turned my mind back toward trying to live a more analog life.  It’s tough to think about that since I’m just as dependent on technology as most people; I have a smart phone, netbook, laptop, and tv with cable, and I don’t really know what I would do if all of those items were taken away from me, but I do know that I’d like to be able to look at them as luxuries and not necessities anymore and to be able to live without them without feeling stranded or lost.

I was talking to a girl at work last week about the gas shortage that we had in 2008 and how Joey and I ate out of our well-stocked pantry for nearly a month because we couldn’t do much driving at all, so I went back today and read my blog post about it and remembered how much more frugal our lives were then.  As much as I promised myself that I wouldn’t let our lifestyle increase with my increasing salary, we’ve done just that.  Some purchases have been worthwhile (the camper), but the little things (tons of takeout) make me quite angry at myself for letting us get into this routine.  And my health has definitely mirrored the excess of our lifestyle, which has made me more disappointed in myself.  I’m getting back on track, though (3.4 pounds down!).

I also found this old post on Authentic Living vs. Virtual Living and realized that we haven’t had a good dinner by a bonfire in a long time.  Some of that has been because of the ebb and flow of friendships and relationships changing/people moving away, but I miss a good night by the fire “solving the world’s problems.”  It’s a little hot for that right now, but I hope we can reconnect with old friends or build relationships with new friends so that we can do that some more in the fall/winter.

This past year has been incredibly challenging and we got so off-track trying to survive that now, it’s going to be a very slow and deliberate process to start building back (and forward) to the lifestyle we want to have.  And for me, that needs to look like a return to simpler times.

Lots to think about in Weaver-land.


I Survived the Wedding…

If you’ve been following the blog for the past year, you know how much drama the “dress saga” has created for me.  It started last December after my humiliating fitting and has continued on through my failure to lose much weight (due to circumstances both in and out of my control).  Well, it’s finally over, and I survived it, despite feeling uncomfortable both physically and emotionally.  Shannon was a beautiful bride and the wedding was lots of fun, and, as you can see, I used Joey’s tuxedo jacket to cover up during the reception.

It’s actually strange to have this all behind me.  Although I’ve been excited for my friends, personally it’s been this kind of “D-Day” that I’ve been counting down to because of “the dress.”  Now that it’s over, I almost don’t know what to do with myself.

Also, since this is the first wedding where Joey and I have both been attendants…I wouldn’t say that we were unprepared for the cost, but I don’t think that we had mentally prepared beforehand for what the final cost would be.  Needless to say, the last two months of the year are going to have to be a major crackdown for us…no more frivilous expenses.

At any rate, I’m enjoying the newfound sense of calm that’s come over the Weaver household..for now, at least;)

I’m Having a Hard Time Sleeping…

and, as such, I’m out on the couch watching episodes of Dirty Jobs, hoping that maybe I’ll drift off again in a few.  I have this horrible habit of cracking my knuckles in bed when I can’t get to sleep…popping any joint that I can get to pop, actually, and rather than driving Joey nuts (or at least cause him to have some horrible dream), I’d come out to the living room and give him some peace and quiet.  He’s had a hard time getting enough sleep too. 

My friend Angela lost her dog yesterday.  She found out at work and had to leave to go  be with her family.  He was 17 and had been with her through so many significant times in her life.  I cried off and on all day because I was so sad for her and because it threw me back into memories of Puss and then brought to mind the fact that Shelli is four already.  In just a couple more years, she’ll be considered a senior cat.  I almost can’t bear the thought of it.  And, because I’m sick like that, I Googled “memorial poems for pets” and read them and cried and cried.  I’m not sure why I did that…it seems a little twisted in retrospect.

I know that a lot of this is hormones…honestly, guys, my hormones have been so jacked up after the mental apocalypse that was the last six months that I don’t know whether I’m coming or going emotionally.  I’m going back to my PCP in the fall (so I can lose some more weight and he won’t tell me how fat I am) to try to get everything straightened out.  One thing I do appreciate about the first part of the year is that it’s renewed my motivation to take control of my own health and pay attention to myself rather than simply trying to get out of bed in the morning.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve been going back and reading my previous blogs, and I noticed that the past several ones have been pretty superficial…I’m sorry for that.  Honestly, I’ve done a pretty good job of pretending that I was doing okay…half of me didn’t want to be seen as weak and the other half didn’t want to burden others since most of my acquaintances didn’t really care about my situation anyway.  This whole ordeal has given me a new perspective on my friends at work and has made me appreciate so much how they really do care about me.  Even though I’m not thrilled about being in the cubicle world all day, I’m pretty blessed with coworkers who are really my friends and who worry about how I’m doing.

Chris and Daisy, I’ve been clinging to you every day.  It’s been a great help to have your blogs to read first thing in the mornings.

My bridesmaid dress fitting is on Thursday and I’m totally dreading it like it’s a trip to the dentist or a pap smear or something.  I’ve only lost about twenty pounds, and I was aiming for fifty or sixty.  I don’t even know if it’s really going to make a difference in the size of the dress.  I’m going to keep working on it, though, and I’ll probably go back toward the end of September to get fitted again.

I’m back on the thesis horse.  I feel like I can do it now that I’m more mentally stable, so I’m going to get that sucker done and graduate in December.  It’ll be taking an extra semester, but I’m okay with that.

Phil is hanging in there.  He’s got some more chemo and then a scan on the 31st that’ll dictate whether or not he can have the surgery to remove the diseased part of his pancreas.  If so, the surgery will happen on September 14th.  He and his family are so amazing and so strong.

So, that’s the heavy part of my life-update.  Here’s what I’m looking forward to now that I’m not an emotional basket case:

  1. knitting again!!  I’ve got two patterns and pretty yarn for some excellent frocks for Miss Daisy the Curly Cat :).
  2. writing, both academically and personally.  Blogging has always been theraputic for me, and I really appreciate that there are a precious few people out there who, for some ungodly reason, are interested in what I have to say.  I love each and every one of you.
  3. frugality.  Since we bought the camper last month, we’re going to have to be much more prudent with our funds to be able to handle paying for it.  I’m looking forward to having frugal challenges again and seeing just how much we can do with our funds.
  4. Fall!  Summer isn’t really fun for me now that I’m not in school and don’t get any time off.  And now that it’s so freaking hot here now.  I don’t remember it being quite so hot when I was younger.  Fall is the time of year when I really thrive and I’m at my best.  There’s something about the crisp air, pumpkins, spices, the changing leaves, fall camping.  It makes me feel alive.

Well, that’s all of the inner monologue that I have tonight, folks.  I’m going to kick back on the couch, start another episode of Dirty Jobs, and hope that I’ll be able to doze off for a while before my alarm goes off at 6:15.

ARGH (Long Title: The Wedding Singer)

Here’s a little secret for you:  although I’ve been singing for nearly twenty years, I still get pretty nervous when I have to sing.  And I get waaaaaay more nervous when I sing at weddings than when I sing at church or elsewhere.  See, at church, if you mess up, God doesn’t really care as long as you’re singing for the right reasons.  But if you screw up at a wedding, you’ve messed up someone’s special day.  And it’ll probably be immortalized on video for them, too.

Unfortunately, this pic is about thirty pounds ago:(.  But I’m working on it…ten down so far.  So anyway, I’ve got three hours to freak out until I have to be there,, yay for me?

So, we had breakfast out at Blessing’s Cafe, which was fantastic, and then we did a little shopping; we’re looking at a fairly sizeable purchase by the end of the summer, so we’re doing our homework and making sure that we set appropriate expectations and get the very best for our money’s worth. 

Last year was the year of the frivilous purchase for us…that’s when we got the Vita-Mix and replaced our television, but it was also the last year of tuition for me, so we’ve freed up a sizeable chunk for that.  This year’s purchase, although I’m not ready to talk about it on the blog, is only partly frivilous, but will also be purposeful and a good investment.

One of the things I regret over the course of the last few years that I’ve been blogging is the grip I’ve lost on frugality.  I always thought that I’d be immune to the trend of most people to increase their lifestyle to match their increase in salary.  And that was the case up until last year.  It’s time to bring back $25 grocery weeks and “no-heat November,” I think.

2011: A New Year!

Today is going to be a good day!  It’s MLK day, so I’ve got the day off, and the morning is being spent like this:


I can never pass up a Shellikins on the lap; it’s a rarity for me, since she usually wants to be on Joey all the time.  So, it dawned on me that, because things were so crappy, I’d neglected to post the resolutions I finally came up with for the year.  Here we go!

  1. Further My Education; (1) Graduate, (2) complete PhD applications
  2. Improve my health, fitness, and weight.  (1) reduce takeout to once a week, and make it last two meals if possible.  (2) Plan meals one week in advance. (3) eat mostly paleo and reduce refined carbs, (4) incorporate exercise every day!
  3. Lead a more peaceful life/reduce stress:  (1) Yoga at least once a week, (2) read Bible and pray every day, (3) have one fun outing with Joey every week, (4) establish morning and evening routines, both for myself and with Shelli, (5) incorporate 15 minutes of cleaning the house per day.
  4. Be a better friend/more thoughtful person
  5. Tighten back up financially, (1) the aforementioned reduction in takeout, (2), meal planning (getting our grocery/toiletries budget back down to $50 per week)

In an effort to improve both #2 and #5, we bought a Wii with the Wii Fit Plus package!  It was a bit of a steep up-front cost, yes, but when we did the math, we’ll save about $300 over the year over our memberships to our gym, which just isn’t convenient to us and doesn’t really fit our schedules.  I prefer to workout in the morning, but to do that, I have to get there at 5 am, right when the gym opens.  As much as I’d like to, I just can’t get myself up at 4:40 to be ready to leave at 4:45.  However, I can get up at 4:55 to do thirty minutes in the morning before I get in the shower!  Or even get up at 5 to do 30 minutes since it won’t really hurt to be five minutes later.

Here’s our home-screen:


Initial thoughts:

  1. I do not appreciate that the little voice goes “Oooh!” when I step on the balance board/scale.
  2. It hurt to see my BMI and have the little voice tell me I’m obese and to imitiately change my Mii (avatar) into the chubby girl you see above.
  3. It’s TOTALLY awesome that you can enter your pet!  Shelli is just under 8 pounds, by the way, which is very healthy for her, so we’re not trying to change her weight with it.  However, she did NOT appreciate being held so that we could get her weight.  She got pretty pissed.
  4. It’s FUN!  It’s really nice to have something to work toward, and the games are great for a workout.  When I played it at my friend Katie’s house over the weekend, I was really sore the next day from the workout that I got…but it doesn’t usually feel like exercise because it’s a game.  Good stuff!

In other news, my prospectus draft has been submitted and I’ve gotten feedback, so the next step is revision and resubmittal, and then hopefully it’ll be good enough for submission to my committee for the meeting.  I’m feeling positive about it now rather than overwhelmed and my advisor is very involved in my progress, so I don’t feel nearly as lost.  Middle Eastern Lit has been interesting so far; I’ve read The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid, which was thought provoking and made me uncomfortable with my own thoughts/beliefs and assumptions.  That’s the sign of a good book, my friends; confronting uncomfortable realities isn’t a bad thing.  Too many people shy away from it.

That’s all; Maury is about to come on!

Why Chinese Takeout Will Be the Death of Me

I had a mini-food-tantrum when I got home from choir.  It used to be a lot worse…food is the bane of my existence, seriously.  Before I was medicated, I would get really upset when I didn’t feel like there was anything good in the house and have a meltdown.  Crazy, eh?  I still have them every now and then, but they’re much milder.

Anyway, after a GREAT choir rehearsal, I got home and….nothing looked good.  Joey offered to get me something, so I sent him out for Chinese takeout.  I realized about five minutes ago that there’s leftover baked ziti in the freezer which would have been perfect:(.  I could have saved money.  Bleh.  At least our grocery bill for the week was only $36, so I’m not really kicking us out of our budget.

This is turning out to be the longest week. 


In Which Tofu Skyrockets Me Over My Grocery Budget…

Ok, not really.  We went over by 26 cents this week.  It’ll end up being about four bucks total because I forgot to add Jambalaya rice mix and FF Italian dressing to the list, despite the fact that I’m using BOTH of them tomorrow and just made the grocery list today.

I did my once-monthly Trader Joe’s run today…got two blocks of extra firm tofu, chipotle hummus, roasted garlic hummus, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, unsweetened vanilla rice milk, and four spring onion noodle soup bowls (my favorite processed meal).  Just over fourteen bucks.

This week’s menu plan is pretty simple:

  • Monday:  spiralized zuchinni “spaghetti” and homemade marinara sauce
  • Tuesday:  Vegetable jambalaya (we’re having friends over, and what better way to welcome them into our home than to burn their butts off in a flame of firey gas!!)
  • Wednesday:  Scrounge night
  • Thursday:  Chili.  I was dismayed this morning when I went to the freezer for some chili, to find that we didn’t have any.  I hadn’t made any since Christmas Day, but somehow, we always seem to have a neverending stash of chili in the freezer.  This must be remedied post haste.
  • Friday:  dinner with Joey’s parents
  • Saturday:  veggie fajitas
  • Sunday:  TBD

Since Sunday is the big V-day, and we’re having a friend over, I’m still thinking about how to glam the night up for her.  Joey and I are pretty nontraditional when it comes to holidays…we don’t do the big V-day thing…I just think it’s stupid to wait for two hours to get a seat at a restaurant when we could just go out the next weekend and not have to deal with the masses.  Joey concurs, so we’re having our friend Katie over for some (TBD) good food and fun!

I actually folded laundry tonight.  After a most excellent workout, spiralizing zuchinni, making marinara sauce, and showering.  Totally productive evening!

I leave you with a precious-Kins-shot:

Apologetic Update Stuff

It’s been quite a dramatic week, and I haven’t felt like posting when I get home from work.  I’ve also been putting a lot of thought into what I want to do with my writing this year.  I quit writing for the Examiner website because I really don’t have time to do what they’ve asked for as their new requirements.  I’m making a TINY bit of money from views on my food blog, so I’m just trying to figure out where I want to go from here.

So, in totally random order:

Frugality:  We’ve spent about $25 in takeout already this month.  Poor planning this past week brought on by not being able to go out last weekend contributed greatly to that, as did work stress.  We were at $55 for groceries, because we had to buy coffee, so I anticipate that we’ll be under this week:).

Fitness:  Hit the gym once this week.  I’m a little bummed about that, but again with the stress thing…when we’ve had free time, we’ve wanted to spend it catching up on sleep.  Next week, we intend to hit the gym Monday, Thursday, and Friday at least.

Knitting:  Just finished an AWESOME gift for our friend in Iraq.  I’ll show a picture once he gets it…he reads the blog, so I don’t want to spoil it:).  I ripped the bell-sleeved shrug.  I just didn’t like the way it was turning out.  I have a hat pattern in queue that I’m going to start on next, I think.  And I made great headway on Mom’s skinny scarf this week while our friend Amy was over:).

Grad School:  Had to read two novels this past week (which was a major source of stress).  No novels this week, just some supplementary information that I don’t think will take very long.

Shelli:  adorable, wonderful, fabulous, and perfect in every way, as usual.

Apparently Joey got a hold of the camera while we were sleeping…

Our Taxes are done (hooray!).  I’m getting a Vita-Mix with some of the refund money!!!! Watching MST3K.  Will be knitting soon…

Things I Think I’ve Forgotten to Mention This Week…

Frugality:  Grocery costs totalled $40 this week…ten bucks under budget.  This month’s takeout is a little over….about $65.  I went out with my friend Sarah for Mexican on Tuesday…unplanned, but very worthwhile expense.  I’m all for budgeting, but I don’t want to forsake hanging out with a friend who needs some time out of the house. 

Knitting:  I worked on my mom’s skinny scarf at choir last night.  I need to work on my bell-sleeved shrug, too.  From reading other knitters’ comments about this pattern, it appears that I’m not the only one who noticed that it was waaaaaaaaay too short.  Someone gave the measurements for how long they knitted the sleeves and back, so I’m back in the game.  And, on a slightly unrelated note, I got a solo on a pretty awesome song for our conference in March.  Yay!

Grad School:  Discussion posts done for World Lit.  Will commence discussion posts for Asian-American Lit soon.  Good reading, good movies.  Lots of work.

Eating:  Not great…I weighed myself this morning.  We’ll leave it at that.

Work:  This week, I’ve discovered yet another new way that I’m just like my father (which I definitely don’t mind, fyi).  Meetings are worthless.  Just leave me alone and let me do my job.  I’ll be much happier that way.  So will my clients.

Weather:  Today:  Sunny and 60.  Tomorrow: Cold and Rainy.  Tomorrow night/Saturday am:  1-4 inches of snow.  The grocery stores are packed.  People must have bread and milk.  I swear, in the South, I think that even VEGANS buy milk when they hear that snow is coming.  Perhaps it’s a conspiracy between the grocery industry and the dairy board…hmmm…

Shelli:  We haven’t had a pee incident in a month.  She is now allowed in the bedroom without supervision and we’re not shutting the bathroom door anymore.  The toy of the day has been the mouse on wheels that Gma-Gpa got her for Christmas.  She drug it out of her basket last night.  It rolls really fast if you pull it backward and then push it forward.

TV:  Fell asleep during our taped-watching of NCIS.  The State of the Union Address meant no Criminal Minds.  No McGee and No Dr. Reid….a sad week…

Fitness:  Killer workouts on Monday and today.  Will probably go back tomorrow.  Joey worked out with his friend (and drill-instructor) Wesley.  He keeps crying every time he coughs.

I wish Shelli didn’t always look pissed when I take a pic.  I also don’t get many “in motion” photos in the winter.  The house is on 60*.  She ain’t moving.

So many toys, so little time…