Fitting It All In…

This has really been an excellent weekend, albeit there’s been a lot on my plate.  I mistakenly scheduled two of my big presentations for classes on the same week, and I had to spend most of the weekend working on the paper that was due Friday and then the presentation for today (and now I’m furiously reading a novel for the other class so that I can do my other roll for the week).

However, I also made sure to take time for myself and for fun; there’s been much knitting!  I finished my mom’s scarf, so I got to give that to her for Valentine’s Day.

I’m working on this pattern for my Olympics project…isn’t it cool??  I’m partway up the first sleeve, so I’m hoping to finish my novel early enough today that I’ll have plenty of knitting time (since I haven’t perfected turning pages with my toes yet;)).  We’re mailing James’s present tomorrow, so I’ll be able to post my most recent knitted project soon!

We got five inches of snow Friday night!!

It was SO beautiful!  The drive home from the in-laws’ house was pretty harrowing Friday night because none of the roads were treated, but it was the perfect kind of snow…soft, powdery, beautiful, and mostly melted by later Saturday afternoon.  The kids got to play and build snowmen, but the roads were totally fine by Sunday morning!  We piled up and stayed in and watched MST3K and the Olympics while I knitted and did school stuff!

Joey and I really aren’t that big on Valentine’s Day…I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with it, but it’s like Christmas with the commercialism.  We’ve done gifts in the past (one year, Joey bought me an organic cotton shirt from the Mutts Comic website with Mooch and Earl on it that said “Saving the world, one kitty at a time”), but usually we just wait until the weekend after V-Day and go to a new restaurant as a special night.  We’ll have to pick someplace this week:).

Last night, we had two of my girlfriends over, Shannon and Katie, and we did an Italian FEAST for them, with salad, buttered whole-grain bread, baked ziti, and tiramisu.  We just hung out and knitted and watched the Olympics; it was great!!

On the dockett for today:  Hobby Lobby for some yarn, grocery shopping, and then reading, reading, reading, and more reading!  Also, I’m looking for a new devotional book…anyone have any suggestions?

Here’s a send-off pic of my little baby Valentine:)


Surviving Christmas-Mania…

I’d been dreading the past two weeks for most of the latter part of the year because of how much I would have to do…last week, it was the five final assignments for the semester plus ITC09.  This week, it was the myriad of holiday events that I had scheduled.  On my calendar, I had:  Tuesday night:  Work ornament exchange party, Wednesday night:  ITC09 wrap party, Thursday:  Office gift exchange, Friday night:  Office Christmas party.  Two of these things were going to require that I buy something and one would require me to cook something.  Here’s what I did to pare down:

  • I bowed out of the Ornament Exchange Tuesday night; that made THREE work events that week, and while I love my coworkers, I don’t really relish spending two nights out with the same people with whom I spend the bulk of my waking life.  Bowing out of that cut out both one event and one gift to buy!
  • Rather than making a homemade dish for Thursday, I bought a tub of hummus and some fancy chips on sale at the Teeter.  Time spent slaving in the kitchen cut from the calendar.
  • I got a gift on clearance for the exchange Thursday while we were killing time before the wrap party on Wednesday night….getting something done during dead time, another calendar clearer!

So, just a few small moves reduced my schedule to something more bearable and helped a ton with my stress level. Finding yourself stressed to the max this holiday season?  Take a hard look at your calendar.  Write down your commitments and also write down the “costs” of those commitments (cooking something, buying something, driving two hours to get there, etc).  After that, first look for events that you may be able to cut out entirely.  Three work events in one week?  A little excessive.  Bow out of one.  Then, look for ways that you can streamline the events that you choose to keep.  Let the desire to make things from scratch go a little this year.  You’ll be thankful and much less frazzled.

Thursday was our Office gift Exchange; check out the spread!

It was great food and a great time; our gift exchange even went smoothly without anyone getting violent;).

Last night was our nice Christmas party…our boss had it at his house and it was catered in.  I wish I could have taken pictures because everything was so beautiful.  After a great dinner and a few rounds of Rock Band, we were all thoroughly worn out and left around 10:15.

This morning, we met Mom and Dad for breakfast before the dress rehearsal for their musical.  Joey is sick, so he’s piled up in the recliner under a blanket:

The strange tumor on his torso is Shelli.

ITC09: Fin, on Cat Ownership and Stress

I have the most awesome cat in the whole world.  Yes, she pees on things every now and then.  Yes, she’s totally and completely neurotic and paranoid, but she’s my little basket case and she makes my life so full:).  There’s not much better than a Kins curling up in your lap when you’re cold under the vellux blanket, or being ambushed from behind the love seat as you’re walking to bed…or hearing the pitiful little meow coming from the guest bedroom that you know is just a ploy to draw you in there to play.

I’m so very glad to be done with school for the semester; I really did enjoy it, but I definitely need a few weeks off, and now that the musical is over (I went home rather than do the last performance…wasn’t feeling great, so I figured it’d probably be better just to rest…I think it was the stress of the five projects to get done on top of this musical), I’m looking forward to having some time to myself to knit and read without feeling guilty.

That’s how I’m feeling right now;)…that’s a pic of Shelli after her first Christmas…she got more toys than we did, and she played so hard that after our parents left, she totally passed out because she was so tired.  It was SO adorable.  She’s definitely a LOVED GrandKins.

Tomorrow, we hit the gym again…we’re shooting for tomorrow, Tuesday, and Thursday.  🙂

M.A. Program, Semester 2: DONE!!!!!

Oh, thank goodness!!  I just turned in my last assignment moments ago.  All I have left now is to keep checking back and commenting on the discussion posts over the weekend and then, come Monday, grades are posted and the whole shebang is over.  This semester has been both good and bad for me:

  • I finally got “in the groove of the program.”
  • I discovered that I actually love to read critical articles about the literature I’m studying.
  • I’ve improved my academic writing and my attention to MLA style.
  • 😦  I’ve noticed that I’m still TERRIBLE at procrastinating
  • 😦  I got ambivalent here and there because I wanted to be writing and blogging instead.

So, I think that my working on the procrastination thing will probably improve the ambivalence problem next semester.  I love school.  Really.  :).

Last night was Wingate University’s faculty banquet…it was a heavy appetizer thing rather than a meal.  It would have been great except that the only options were meat, meat, meat, seafood, a roll, sweets, and fruit.  Not great for the vegetarian, eh?  I had a tiny sweet potato tart, a whole grain roll, and two tiny fried plantain pieces.  But it was awesome to be at a faculty function…I love Wingate so much and it’s so neat to me that my husband is working there now:).

This weekend is our Christmas musical…our first performance was Thursday night…I missed the one last night and then we have two today and two tomorrow.  I love singing, but I’ll be glad to get them done and have a little relaxation before the holiday.

And, your Cheezburger for the day!!

A Minimalist Christmas…or an Attempt, at Least

A vintage Kins-shot to start the post; I found lots of old pics on our external hard drive, so I saved some to include in posts for you.  This one was particularly cute, I think…Shelli was very interested in the camera.  you can also see her little shaved belly; they spayed her at six weeks; sometimes they do that to help them be more adoptable.  It helped us a lot because we couldn’t have afforded the spay fee.

I don’t feel like talking about food today.  Suffice it to say that I had too much of it yesterday and the day before and that I’m pissed about that and plan to eat extremely cleanly for the next week at least.  Also suffice it to say that I’ve learned a very important lesson about being a vegetarian at omnivore family gatherings:  I will need to bring a very good veggie dish to every one I go to.  Green beans?  Cooked in beef stock.  Turnip greens?  Same thing.  My options?  Potatoes, potatoes, potatoes.  I’m sick of them.  Anyway, on to other things.

One of the most fundamental aspects of voluntary simplicity is the idea of “minimalism,” or reducing one’s possessions down to what is absolutely necessary and/or important.  Possessions should reflect one’s values, and those values should not include amassing as much “stuff” as possible.  One of the first steps, I daresay, into a more simple life is taking inventory of one’s possessions and paring them down to the important stuff.

We’ve done this a few times; we’ve had two or three yard sales and have made decent money, but we’re still really bad about keeping stuff because “we might need it later.”  I’m over that.  We have an office that we can’t even get into, and the dresser in the bedroom is so covered with junk that I have to stand on tiptoes to put my hair in a ponytail in the morning.  Our mission for the next few weeks is going to be to get those rooms cleared out.

A truly minimalist Christmas is impossible for me; I’m stuck in the corporate world, and we have THREE, yes, you heard me right, THREE holiday “events” that we have to participate in.  And, as much as I like the people I work with, the amount of time/energy/money that we have to spend on those events is incredibly draining.  Then, our church puts on a musical every year, with six performances (and a dress rehersal) that ends up taking up an entire week of our lives, and then we need to fit in a Sunday School fellowship…etc, and the list goes on.  For me, this year, our commitments will not allow for minimalism (although watch out, because that very well may change next year), but at least I can take some steps now to help reduce the clutter and stress of the holiday season.  Here’s what I’m doing:

  1. cleaning off the dresser
  2. getting rid of articles/paperwork that I don’t need anymore
  3. putting away/organizing my shoes
  4. getting the bedroom closet so that we can store clothes in there again.
  5. starting on the office

Now, anyone can “clean.”  The point of the minimalist-driven clutter project is to take a very hard look at EVERY item and asking oneself whether or not it’s really that important.  Have you used it in the last three months?  four months?  If not, then you probably want to sell it, donate it, or chuck it if you can’t do anything else.  Don’t be overly sentimental; just let it go.

If you need help mustering up the courage to start, check out Far Beyond the Stars.  This guy is extremely serious about the minimalist lifestyle, to the extreme.  While the lengths to which he goes may not be for everyone, his philosphy is something that can really be taken to heart, and his tips are worthwhile, regardless of what level you’re comfortable taking them to.

Enjoy your Saturday!