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Housekeeping?!

No, this isn’t a resolution check-in. We’ll do that next week. I’ve got housekeeping on the brain at the moment. Probably because I just cleaned the toilet for the first time in…well, I’m not going to say. Let’s just leave it at “it’s been too long”.

I’ve admitted my housekeeping shortcomings here quite often, but somehow, it never ceases to amaze me at just how lazy I am about this one thing, and also, that other people manage to keep their house far cleaner than mine on a regular basis and still have a “life”. How does one do that, exactly? Because honestly, I have no idea.

I spent time both this past weekend and the one before trying to get our bathroom cleaned up. Granted, it wasn’t a lot of time – probably a couple of hours each Sunday, but that seems like a lot of time to spend on one room just cleaning. And it’s still not “done”. The floor needs steam-mopping, the ceilings need to be cleaned, the rugs need to be washed and the curtains need to be…well, replaced, honestly. So what did I spend all that time on? The tub mostly, and trying to get soap scum and other grime off both the porcelain and plastic surfaces.

It’s still not done. It looks a lot better, and the hubby re-caulked the surround (it needs to be replaced, but we didn’t have time to go that far this weekend), but there’s still a thin layer of scum everywhere. We need to figure out a different way to deal with the soap, too, because the shower caddy over the shower head is just not working – soap drippings go through the caddy and down the wall, causing serious soap-scrum build-up and eventually mold.

We replaced the rusty shower curtain rod (it’s downstairs – I think we can clean it up and reuse it), and both the curtain liner and the curtain. Once I find a new caddy I like (I’m thinking a corner one on a tension rod, maybe), I’ll get that and some bonefide soap dishes to keep the soap drippings from going everywhere.

One more weekend and I should have it in much better shape…but then I need to figure out how to keep it that way.

And there’s also the matter of my dusty blinds (all over the house), the dining room table/storage area for misc junk, my makeup vanity in the bedroom…the laundry room…needless to say, it’s somewhat overwhelming.

I used to use Flylady’s cleaning method, but the last thing I feel like doing after work is cleaning something. I’m generally doing really well to clean the kitchen before I get ready for bed, and that’s thanks to the Lucy-dog, who needed her meals mixed up with enzymes in advance. Her special needs “trained” me to clean the kitchen last thing at night, and I still do it to this day, even though she’s been gone three and a half years now. Still, it could use a monthly cabinet wipe-down and floor mopping.

I need a plan. A new routine. A list to follow. Something that will work for me, and keep the house cleaner in spite of my best efforts to just let the dust-bunnies proliferate.

Are you a good housekeeper who keeps everything dust-and-dirt free? If so, what’s your secret/routine?

If not…solidarity! I’ll let you know when I figure out a plan/routine/magic spell that doesn’t require me to clean all weekend long.

Why don’t we have self-cleaning bathrooms by now, anyways? I mean…it is nearly 2020…


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Alternate Reality: Preview Mode

Tomorrow, it’s back to work after 5 days and a weekend off. No major catastrophes, no major outlay of “vacation” time for work issues…I think we might be on to something with this whole “taking partial weeks off” thing. Or it could just be the time of year, too. Whatever works, I say.

I was mostly productive, though not as much as I thought I’d be. But that’s to be expected, so I guess that makes it a wash between expectations and reality. I got some extra cleaning done, I learned how to create my own print book templates properly and reformatted the book I’ve been wanting to for months now. I still need to create another template and reformat the cover again for a mass market version to distribute, but that will be much easier now that I’m not fumbling around with the formatting in general, and know how to set and use styles in Open Office. Sometimes all it takes is the proper tools.

I caught four shiny Treeckos for Pokemon Go community day, and evolved one plus a couple “normal” into Sceptiles who are supposedly the best grass-type fighters for raids (we’ll see). At the same time, I didn’t play much Pokemon Go on account of the whole “go” thing, which I didn’t do much of aside from daily dog walks and the normal weekend errands. I am, at heart, a homebody. I’m perfectly content to stay home for days on end without seeing anyone but the dogs and my husband.

I did get back to Batman: Arkham Asylum for a night. One of the battles I had to fight was *intense*, and I was actually a little sore the next morning from tensing up during the five or six (maybe more?) times I had to try before I finally got through it.

I also subscribed to Starz for awhile so we could watch American Gods and Gnomeo and Juliet. The initial episode of the former is trippy, the latter is hilarious. I never did make it through the American Gods novel…gave up – it’s a doorstopper. But the show has me intrigued enough to watch a few more episodes, at least.

Gnomeo and Juliet is just adorably cute, and now that we’ve seen that (and agree we need an army of garden gnomes to make our yard look better), Sherlock Gnomes is up next on our movie “to-watch” list.

It’s interesting how quickly I settled into a routine of sorts this time. Most of my vacations are unorganized because I have so much to do, and I plan my time so tightly that it’s overwhelming. Either that, or I have a vague idea of things I want to do, and then plan nothing, so I do nothing. This time, I had a few concrete goals/priorities, but kept them limited by design, and the rest was just “if I get to it, great, if not, great”. I settled into a nice routine of working in the mornings (on my book stuff and then cleaning when I needed a break from sitting), walking the dogs after lunch, and then errands or more work/cleaning trade-offs in the afternoon. A loose, comfortable routine that I could maintain indefinitely if I had the chance.

Someday (20 yrs down the road, *sigh*), this will be my life. And it will be good.

Alas, tomorrow it’s back to the hustle and bustle of the day job/work-week routine.


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The Excess Vacation Hours Vacation

As of tomorrow, I’m on vacation until next Wednesday to burn the excess vacation hours that I’m not allowed to carry over into the new year. Why Weds to Weds, you might ask? Psychology, my dear Watson.

It seems like every time I take a traditional week off (Monday- Friday), I spend the better part of at least one day troubleshooting something for work via email or phone. When I only take a few days off in one week, I rarely get called on to help fix something (or if I do, it’s quick). So, I’m trying something new, and taking Weds – Fri off this week, and Mon – Tues off next week. That still gives me a full week off, but no full “work” weeks, so we’ll see if I end up troubleshooting or not (there is network maintenance going on this weekend, so the potential is there, but…). Call it an experiment.

What’s the plan for this vacation? Catch-up, mostly. I need to make dog food for the week, since I spent this past Sunday not feeling well (my own fault – too many days in a row last week of poor dietary choices…though I’ll admit, I enjoyed every last “choice” at the time). I need to take the Subaru in for some recall work if I can get it scheduled – wiper motors and airbag replacement. Murphy-dog is due for his rabies shot, which normally I wouldn’t redo in a dog his age (he’s around 9-10 now, best guess), but he’s a pitbull, and people are people, so…better law-abiding in his case (I can’t re-license him unless he gets the shot, even though they’ve been proven to be effective far past 3 yrs). Hopefully he won’t suffer any averse affects (I’ve seen more issues of the tumor-causing kind with vaccines in older dogs, unfortunately).

Aside from those things, I hope to do a lot of writing-related tasks I never seem to get to. Formatting, cover art, editing…and some new words too. My horror alter-ego has a short story in progress to add to the “Death by Veggies” line, and I’d like to get that finished, and I’d really like to make some good headway on a couple of other novels I have going. So, definitely writing, after I get the dogs walked so they’ll sleep and let me be.

The only other thing I really want to do (aside from some gaming, hopefully) is “spring cleaning”. I suck at cleaning. I find it incredibly boring, so I do the absolute minimum. Most adult women and a fair amount of adult men would run the other way at the state I keep my house in. I can’t tell you the last time my blinds have been dusted. Definitely not this year. Probably not last year either. Maybe not even the year before that…

That said, I do occasionally get the desire to “clean all the things”. It passes quickly, but I did buy a dust-mop for the kitchen floor (it’s laminate, and I hate it, and have ruined more of the finish every time I try to clean it), a new scrub brush for the bathroom, and I have plenty of microfiber cloths and rags on hand. The plan is to do one major thing in each room every day of my vacation…like cleaning all wide wooden blinds in the living/dining room. Or washing down all the kitchen cabinets/walls. And wiping down the bathroom walls/ceiling (don’t ask). And then I want to add hard floor cleaning to a monthly maintenance schedule.

Yes, I know people clean their floors more often. I vacuum once a week, even the hard floors. Baby steps. We don’t eat off my floors. Obviously.

So…that’s the plan for my “vacation”. Be all adult-like and do the stuff I keep putting off because I just don’t wanna (or in the case of writing, just want some focused time for). Seems like as good a use for the time as any, especially since they’re vacation hours I didn’t plan on using until later.

Next year, a trip, but for now…spring cleaning. Errands. Maybe a little Pokemon. Good times!


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Mental Loops & Twisted Feet

For those of you dying of curiosity, yes, my new skivvies and bras came in, and the old got thrown out, and life is much better/less painful now. And I have a line item in my budget for such things, so I can…well, not get in the same situation again. Or that’s the idea, anyways.

Bonus the menfolk might be appreciate: when you shop for bras online for a time and then open up your Facebook page, your ads are all women modeling bras. You’re welcome.

The jewelry armoire/vanity combo that I really wanted got me stuck in a mental loop. I thought it was the stuff inside the dresser that was the sticking point (and I’m glad I dealt with that), but the thing I just couldn’t let go of was that piece of furniture, and how nice/organized it would be to have. And since it’s out of my budget for the foreseeable future, it caused a loop of sorts in my head where I couldn’t really do much of anything but try to figure out how to obtain that particular piece, or how to circumvent needing one. I get like that sometimes, and it sucks. I can’t really focus on anything until I solve, to my brain’s satisfaction, the lack of whatever it is I’m obsessing over.

Bug, not feature.

So, I spent a lot of brain power on the problem, trying to decide how to solve it without paying $400 for a piece of furniture I really don’t *need*. Finally I dug an old bookshelf out of a closet, took the cardboard drawers out of my little cardboard dresser and put them in the bottom two shelves of the bookcase (for socks), found a lined basket and put that in the top shelf of the bookcase (for skivvies – keeping them in the bathroom messed with my morning routine too much), and basically turned that bookcase into a nicer looking dresser. I want to eventually get all matching lined baskets for the “drawers”, but I like it, and I think it’s a definite improvement on the cardboard dresser that was there.

Then I went through and cleaned out both my big jewelry armoire and a smaller jewelry box, and reorganized my entire jewelry collection so I’d have easier access to the pieces I want to wear more often in the armoire, and the pieces I just keep for sentimental value or occasional wear are stored in the smaller box. I got rid of a lot of stuff I’ll never wear and didn’t want to keep, so that was good too.

After that, my mind finally broke free of that “gotta have it” loop, thank goodness. Zero money spent (though I will eventually buy baskets), several problems solved. Whew!

At some point that same weekend, I stepped on one of the dog bones in the living room in such a way that I twisted my foot, ankle and knee. I didn’t realize how bad it was at the time, but the next day, the top of my foot in the center and the sides of my ankle hurt like crazy. The day after that, my knee hurt too. For almost an entire week I walked around on a sore foot and ankle, until finally I decided I’d better treat it gently for a few days to let it heal. So, I limped a bit when people weren’t looking, keep pressure off it as much as possible, and now it’s down to a manageable level of soreness (still healing). Just a bad twist? Hairline fracture? Hard to say, and I have no intention of getting it checked out as long as it keeps healing.

However, having to baby that foot and then getting sore arms and a stiff back simply by hauling a turkey around on Thanksgiving Day (seriously!) has forced me to acknowledge three things.

1. I’m not young anymore, and it takes longer to heal/recover than it used to.
2. I really, really need to get back to daily yoga and alternate-day weight training, because my body is just as happy to sit and atrophy if I let it. Which is painful in the short term, and really bad news in the long-term.
3. I really should pick up dog bones on a daily basis.

My workouts have fallen off since Halloween, when we were working out pretty well just getting everything put out and then hauling it all back to the basement. But then everything was just piled into the workout room, and due to a couple busy weekends since, I haven’t gotten it all put away again just yet. I don’t even have room to do yoga in there at the moment, and I haven’t been moving fast enough in the mornings to get my yoga time in anyways (I just need 10 minutes, but I’ve been staying up too late, which makes me move slower in the mornings…bad cycle).

But, due to the rearranging in the bedroom (see above mental loop situation), I have room to do yoga there. I tried it out Sunday and Monday nights, and I tell you what – three rounds of sun salutations, and my back was feeling *much* better. And since I’m more awake and organized at night, I’m going to make a point of doing yoga right when I go into the bedroom to change into sweats at night – usually after I walk the dogs. That should get my body back into a more pain-free state.

This weekend I’ll get all that Halloween stuff put back into the storage room, and vacuum the workout room so I can lift two to three times per week, starting next week.

And as of this week, I’m adding “pick up dog bones” to my early morning routine. It will take two minutes, and potentially save me a lot of pain, so…worth spending time I don’t really have on, methinks.

Of course as soon as I got out of the mental loop above, I got stuck in another one, and have since spent more money than I should have on bras and boots. My wardrobe is driving me nuts again all of a sudden, and I need to get that under control before it costs me any more money.

Just before Christmas is an excellent time to clean out the closets and visit thrift stores, right?

Stupid loops…


Resolution Check-In
Sleep 6 hrs: Yeah…no. I mean, close, but I’m missing the mark way too often. And that screws up my mornings, so, gotta get it under control.
Goals check-up: Well, I suppose the whole working out thing and sleep thing tie into this year’s goals, but no formal check-in. It’ll definitely happen before the end of the year, though!

Writer’s Notes – none this week.

Maintenance, Literature & Fall Excitement

Taking apart a dryer at 9:30pm on a Sunday night is not my idea of fun. I mean, yes, I did leave the little door/trap open while I cleaned off the screen, and yes, that little booklet to tell how to use the new detergent shouldn’t have been so precariously perched on top of a mountain of mis-matched sock singles, but still.

Our house is older but not super old, built in the 1950’s. It has some issues, like all older houses do. This past Saturday we had the plumbing guys in to snake out the floor drain in the basement, because it was to the point where I was flooding a corner of the basement every time I did laundry. What would have taken us at least a couple hours took him less than an hour, and he said it was nothing we could have prevented – just rusty old pipes. Which kind of made me wonder (but not for too long, because I didn’t want the headache it was bringing on) if the pipes would eventually rust out completely. And if they do, what the heck do we do then? I mean, these are under the basement floor, going out under the foundation and under a two-foot thick patio that the previous owner poured…

Yeah. Not going to think about that this morning either. Our electrical really needs to be redone too, but at least all that is above the foundation. We have a bathroom to fix and remodel, the other bathroom needs some upgrades (yes, needs), the kitchen floor needs to be replaced, and we’d like to put gas fireplaces into the wood burning ones at some point as well. So, lots to do. But it’ll be worth it, eventually.

Last week one of my goals was to make more time for reading. And I did. I’m still working on Tami Hoag’s The Bitter Season – for some reason, the book just isn’t doing it for me, but I’m half-through so might as well finish it. I also read The Cinderella Deal by Jennifer Crusie, which really did resonate strongly with me (love her books anyway). Then I started The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, which is written in a much more literary style – very high-level prose with the occasional word I have to look up the meaning of. I don’t read a lot of “literature”, mainly because it takes more time and concentration to delve into, and while it’s almost always worth the effort, I don’t always have the energy or time to spend on such involved reading. I’ve been wanting to read this one for awhile now though, so I’ll keep working through it a little at a time. Lovely writing, for sure, and an intriguing story right from the first page.

The other notable thing I did last week was buy a bunch of tickets. Friday was payday, and I bought tickets to a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party this coming Saturday at our local Moss Mansion, and then more tickets to their haunted theater show on Oct. 27th just before midnight. Another set of tickets to the Highly Suspect concert on Oct. 7th, and yet more tickets to the Yellowstone Art Museum’s annual Masquerade Party.

So that’s our entertainment sorted for this next month, which is all very exciting. Of course one can’t go to a masquerade without a costume, so hubby and I thought about it, and decided to go as Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. My riding hood costume and jewelry is ordered and he’s got a suit coming and a mask picked out. He’ll be a very dapper wolf indeed, methinks…no full fur suit or makeup, because he has to fly out on a business trip at 6am the next morning and removing makeup/spirit gum/etc would be a nightmare between leaving the party and getting to the airport at 4am.

Many fun things to look forward to in October…exciting!

For now…it’s Monday, so back to the week-day grind…

Kitchen Organization & Irony

If I were to sum up this past weekend in one word, it would be: “whew”. I’m tired. I was almost happy to be back at work today, except my muscles had more time to try to stiffen up as I sat at my desk. I used quite a few this weekend that I haven’t used in quite a long time. A couple trips up the stairs and back down plus morning yoga seemed to keep the stiffness down a bit though.

Saturday I had a good time book shopping with a friend met on Facebook, and then the work began. We loaded up our two couches, took ’em out to the dump, and then it was off to the furniture store to pick up our new sectional. Back to the house, I vacuumed while hubby freed the new furniture from its packaging, and then we hauled everything in, put it together, and man…it’s a very nice sectional. Not too big, looks great, plenty of room for me and both dogs, and room enough for the rare guest too.

Hubby took a shower and headed out for a night with his brother, and I set out to clean off/out the refrigerator for our next project: fixing a leak in the water line that popped up and ruined the kitchen floor a week and a half ago. I cleaned off old appliances and such that had been living on top the fridge – just tossed ’em, since I don’t need them or they didn’t work any longer. Dusted, took off the magnets, cleaned all the old food out, and…decided to go ahead and replace the water inlet valve, which we suspected was the leaking culprit. I was on a roll…didn’t feel like waiting for hubby to help on Sunday.

I replaced the valve, turned the water back on, and…turned out there was a pinhole leak in the water line. Dammit. Taped up the leak, pushed the fridge back, and called it good for the night (around 10pm).

A good deal of Sunday was taken up with going out to get the new line, snaking it up with the old line, not having the right connector fittings (so another trip to the store for hubby), and then finally getting it fixed late in the afternoon. After that, I finally got to my normal weekend chores – vacuuming, garbage duty, recycling, laundry, and grocery shopping (which I normally do Saturday afternoons now, but I didn’t want to fill the fridge again until we were done moving it around).

I’ve been thinking a lot about my kitchen lately (I tend to do that when stuff breaks and/or doesn’t work like it should), and wanting to make a few changes with how things are organized. So cleaning out the fridge/freezer this weekend was a good start, and also a good way to really take stock of my counters and how I want to rearrange them to accommodate the appliances I need/use.

Cleaning off the top of the fridge also gave me storage for appliances I use, but only once a week or less – like my yogurt maker. I’ll use it tonight, and then it will sit again for a couple of weeks, so instead of having it in front of my crockpots (in the way), I’ll put it on top the fridge between uses. It’s one of those things I have no problem actually reaching for when I need it. Same with extra pitchers/etc for my Ninja blender (that I mostly use for smoothies). Right now, they tend to “float” on the crockpot trio just because I’m out of cupboard space. Those can live up on the fridge as well.

I’ve ordered a smaller microwave, which may or may not end up being a mistake, but I’m tired of the huge one we have taking up 2/3 of the countertop where it lives. It’s a beast, and we’ve been getting occasional “door not closed” errors on the display, so it’s time to replace it anyway, but the one I ordered is half the size and wattage (only 700watts!), so…we’ll see. The new one is much cuter – a retro look, and it will leave enough room on that counter for my dehydrator, which currently lives by the stove. Then the few cookbooks I refer to on occasion can move to that tiny counter, leaving room on the other side of the stove for the toaster oven I want to get later in the month.

I don’t use the microwave for cooking, only defrosting/reheating. I’m hoping this smaller one will do the job. It does have excellent reviews. And I’m hoping to eventually use the toaster oven more than the microwave or larger oven. At least until I can buy a new convection oven, maybe even one with two separate cooking zones…because I love kitchen gadgets just as much as I love other electronics, and because there are only two of us, so it’s not like I need a whole lot of space to make dinner most nights, and it would be nice not to heat up an entire large oven for just a single pan of veggies (or 3 slices of toast on the weekend).

Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle.

I need a new oven (one burner on my stovetop doesn’t work, and the oven itself doesn’t heat evenly), and I’d like a new fridge, but those are going to have to wait awhile. Crazy how much appliances cost, isn’t it?

I’m always looking for ways to make my little galley kitchen more efficient…and I freely admit I have too much stuff packed into it already. But, I use it daily, and use most of the appliances I have on a very regular basis, so it’s not like I’m just collecting a lot of stuff I don’t use. Aside from baking dishes. Because I rarely bake (calories!), but when I do need them, at least I have them.

I’d also really like to keep a running inventory of the fridge, freezer, pantry, and deep freeze, in hopes of using things up on a more regular basis (instead of buying too much and wasting food). Alas, that’s a project I’ve been trying to get going for years, and still haven’t managed. But maybe this next weekend I’ll be able to finally get a good inventory entered into an app of some sort. I’m taking this coming Friday off work, and the plan is to give the pantry and deep freeze the same “clean it out” treatment I just gave the fridge. Which would be a good time for inventory…if I were so inclined….

Better efficiency and inventory of course doesn’t just mean better food management. It makes it easier to cook and eat healthier. Which makes it easy to manage weight and stay healthier overall.

Ironic thing number one this past week: We switched to whole grain breads in order to be healthier with our carbs. Neither of us have ever particularly cared for the taste, but I did find some that are at least passably palatable.

The irony is, for years I’ve been struggling with how to keep bread from molding without keeping it in the fridge. Apparently, whole grain bread keeps better than white – not one roll or bun molded last week in the breadbox on the counter. So apparently, healthier is actually heartier, in the case of bread at least. Who knew?

Ironic thing number two is that all weekend, my SHealth app was pestering me because I “wasn’t as active” over the weekend as I normally am on weekdays. The truth is, I was far, far more active, but I tend not to put my cell in my pocket when I’m doing things like…moving couches, cleaning out and moving refrigerators, pulling new water lines, vacuuming, laundry, etc. I mean…why would I have my cell in my pocket for all that, when it could get lost or broken or whatever? Duh.

In any case, new couch – check. Working refrigerator – check. Plan for the kitchen this weekend – check.

Energy/motivation to get all this stuff done…well, let’s wait and see what I’ve got by Friday.

Goals Report & Vacation Days

The frustrating thing about goals is not being able to just jump in and get the changes done all at once.

That being said, I’ve taken some pretty big strides in working towards my resolutions in the past couple of weeks, and considering pretty much everything takes more time to organize the first time than it does to keep up, I think I’m doing pretty well.

Of course I’m behind on my normal stuff (*ahemthisblogandthedogblog*), but once I get the initial set-up done and the new routines in place, everything should go a lot more smoothly. I’m pretty confident in saying it will, actually. I’ve thought it through and broken it down so that I know exactly what steps I need to take for success, so the only thing standing in my way would be…me. As usual.

Sometimes this overclocked brain does come in handy. When it’s not driving me nuts, anyways.

In any case, I went nuclear on the Brazen Snake Books site a couple of weeks ago, and I just finished rebuilding all the book pages and getting the newsletter sign-up back online. With any luck, there will be a new blog post up over there later today as well, and I need to make some new graphics next for marketing. It’s not difficult, just time-consuming, and I’m organizing a couple of book launches for authors working with BSB as well, so there’s a lot to be done. But I’m happy to report that my Friday late-night office hours are really paying off, and I think it will be completely sustainable for the long run, which is a relief. There’s a lot of business-y stuff I’m behind on, so it will take awhile to catch up, but those dedicated hours every week are going to be a godsend. And they save me some free time on the weekends too, so I don’t have to stress over what BSB stuff I should be doing when I *need* to clean the house and have some down time. The BSB site will be easy enough to maintain after all this clean-up/reorganization, as long as I keep up with it. Which I’ll be able to with the Friday night scheduled hours. I wish I’d thought of that years ago.

As far as my other goals go, I plugged several new tasks into my weekend routines, and it’s going well. My feet have been pedicured twice now (and are in much, much better shape already), my makeup brushes are clean and soft for the first time in…well, longer than I care to admit, the inch-thick layer of makeup/dust has been removed from my makeup vanity, my kitchen sink is clean on one side, and my tea center is cleaner/more organized as well (and getting better maintenance). I’ve also started doing push-ups, sit-ups and squats just after my nightly cleaning time and before I sit down to write. This is a twofer, really, because I’m building muscle mass, and also waking my brain up just a bit, which makes it easier to write that late at night. Major win there!

I’m taking this week off from work – today is a federal holiday anyways, and tomorrow is my birthday (which I always take off, because why not?). And since I’ve already discovered that unstructured staycations do not work well for me, I’m planning my days out to get the rest of my “prep work” done for my resolutions so I can just move forward with the new routines from then on out. I’m also planning some extra writing sessions to jump-start the drafts I have in progress and get back into the daily writing “zone”. It’s gonna be a good week, and so far, it’s off to a great, relaxing start.

And yes, I have some hobby-stuff I plan to work on this week as well. Like finally finishing the Haunted Dollhouse miniature mystery I started before Christmas and never quite got back to. That will be my main project on Tuesday, and I can’t wait! Then there’s my TBR comic book pile, and the US Postal Service has a new cataloging app for stamps that I intend to download and start putting my US stamp inventory into. About time they came out with an app for that!

I got some new Smurfs for my birthday, so I need to do some organizing in the blue realm as well to find spots for them. We’ll see if I get to that or not.

I’m planning writing sessions in the afternoons as well as my normal late-night sessions in hopes of making great strides on my current fiction draft, which is pretty exciting too, and should also help me get that daily writing habit well established again.

So, lots to do, but all stuff I *want* to do, and rarely have time for. Onward!

Gifts, Knitting/Crocheting & Stored “Stuff”…

To all my US peeps, Happy Independence Day – a day late. I have to say, it was quieter this year than most, which was a really nice change. We watched a couple of loud movies that drowned out most of the smattering of neighborhood fireworks throughout the evening, and I gave Mica some of Murphy’s anti-anxiety spray. Between the two, the dogs came through without too much undo stress.

In any case, I’ve been thinking about Christmas(?!) and gifts lately, probably because I’m working on knitting a pair of fingerless gloves (a kit I got in one of my monthly yarn packages) and I got another package of silk sari ribbon yarn a few days ago that reminded me I want to crochet gift bags out of the ribbon yarn I’ve been amassing.

I wish I was a better knitter – I’d love to make sweaters for everyone one year. But I haven’t been knitting long enough to be very good at it yet, so it’s gonna be awhile before the sweater thing happens. I can crochet them, but the texture of crochet isn’t quite as nice for clothing (in my opinion). I just need to knit more…practice makes perfect, so I’ll keep working at it. In the meantime, I have some crochet gifts planned (that I dare not mention just in case) for this year – I just need to get started on them. And I’d really like to make a few more pairs of socks, just to get better at it. Learning different techniques might help too. You never know when you’ll come across one that just “clicks” and makes everything that much easier.

And those gift bags. I have all this lovely sari silk ribbon “yarn” from Darn Good Yarn – a company that sources all their products from women in India who need work/money (so I’m happy enough to support it) – and it will make perfect gift bags if I just grab a large hook and get to work. They won’t even take that long – I just need to get to it.

Another thing that had me thinking about all of this recently is a project I’ve started to clean out our storage unit. It costs $100 a month to rent (a little over, actually), and a good chunk of the stuff in there is mine from when we got married and moved into this house. Nearly 12 years ago. I was using the storage unit as a “temporary” place to keep things while I packed up my old house and sold it, but somehow I never got around to actually bringing the stuff from storage to the new house. So there it’s sat for all this time, along with a bunch of other stuff from when hubby moved in. Which is pretty ridiculous, when you think about it.

For the foreseeable future, I’m bringing one box home from the storage unit per week. It has to be dealt with before Monday morning – so either I have to make room for the “stuff” at our house (preferably by getting rid of other things), or I have to get rid of the stuff in the box. And when I go get a box, I scope out the remaining stuff so I have an idea of what’s coming up soon, and can plan for how to deal with the next things I need to bring home.

Like a big batch of jigsaw puzzles, or…a huge tote or two of yarn that I inherited from my paternal grandmother when she passed away. I want to keep both – the puzzles I’d like to put together, and also the yarn, which is quite lovely and good quality fiber. And most of it was meant for use with a knitting machine (I inherited that as well, but gave it away), so it’s very thin, which makes it much better for knitting than crocheting. Another good reason to get better at knitting.

Also another good reason to get to work on more Christmas gifts and gift bags. All that yarn needs to go somewhere, and it can’t stay there. Which means it needs to come to the house, so I need to clean out my yarn stash to make room.

I was going to punctuate this post with pictures, but it’s late, I didn’t get around to taking them yesterday (or I’d have posted this then) and I need to head for bed about 15 minutes ago so I can get up for my favorite staff meeting tomorrow. So…pics will have to wait for another time. Stay tuned…

Of Menu Plans & Jury Duty

I spent a way-too-big chunk of my weekend trying to create a menu-plan. Why? To prevent so much food waste, and also to avoid wasting time trying to decide what to make for dinner when I need to actually be making it. Because good TV is back, and not much motivates me to get dinner done quickly like good TV starting at 7pm.

I know, I know. The life of a TV junkie.

In any case, I was not successful at creating a menu plan. I did, however, figure out why I have such a hard time with them, and part of it is, I don’t know specifically what I’m going to buy until I’m at the store, doing my weekly grocery shopping. It isn’t until then that I know whether beef or pork roast is the better buy, or if the fresh mushrooms look like they’re melting back into spores, or if the kale is yellow, but the asparagus actually looks great. No sale price will get me to buy beef that doesn’t have the right marbling (to my eye). You get the idea.

So, creating a menu plan ahead of time is pointless (and impossible), given the way I shop. I need to plan after I shop, which means I needed a different sort of app than what I was trying to use, so I spent a good chunk of Sunday setting that up…

What I’m basically saying is, I spent my whole weekend not doing stuff I needed to get done, in order to not-do something I thought I needed to do. And aside from a glucose curve for Lucy, some vacuuming and clean clothes to wear, this past weekend was a pretty huge disappointment. I hate it when that happens.

Today, of course, since it’s the least convenient time *ever* for me to take time off work, and because I have plans to leave town on Friday, I’ve been summoned to appear for Jury Duty. I normally like jury duty – I’ve served twice now, and both of the cases were interesting and I found the social interplay fascinating to watch, both in the courtroom and the jury room. I’m quite sure this trial would be no different.

However, the news helpfully pointed out tonight that the trial will be approximately 2 weeks long. Two. Weeks. Long. So if I get picked to sit on the jury, I’d have to cancel my Friday trip, and since I’m the only one who does what I do at work right now, I’d still have to keep things going at work while serving on the jury (no, work can’t/won’t ask me to, but I can’t just let everything fall to ruin because there’s no one else to pick up the slack right now – it would make things exponentially more difficult for me along with everyone else). It would basically boil down to some long days and missing out on the trip we’ve been planning for six months. Just a short trip, granted, but still….

So for the first time in my life, I’m hoping not to get picked to serve on a jury. And I feel bad about that, because it’s a civic duty I really usually have no problem fulfilling, even if it is a little inconvenient. Right now it’s just…a lot inconvenient, and it will be a nightmare two weeks (longer than that, actually, considering I’ll be that far behind with my projects) if I end up having to serve.

Menu planning and jury duty. Scintillating Monday discussion, eh? I do wish the caffeinated mints I just reordered were here. Sadistic people in the courts won’t let me bring my tea into the courtroom, and jury selection starts at 8:30am. Dang it.


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On Housekeeping, Dishes, & the Power of Three…

I dusted and mopped this weekend.

I know, I know – you’re all thinking, “Seriously? That’s all you’ve got? It’s like saying the sky is blue or grass is green (or brown, or white depending on where you are)!”

And you’d be right, except for the fact that those things “you” listed are true all of the time, and I can’t even tell you the last time I mopped the hard floors or dusted. I only dusted part of the TV stand, but I tell you what – there was probably a thick enough layer to measure with a ruler.

I may have mopped the floors twice since we moved in. Ten years ago.

Now that you all know I’m a total slob and never want to visit, here’s the thing. Last weekend, I felt like crap, and hubby had the flu, and the whole house was just…not well. I had no motivation to do anything, much less housework. So nothing got done – not even the weekly vacuuming, which is basically what keeps us both breathing through our respective allergies during the week. Today (yesterday, Sunday, whatever), I actually felt good for the first time in two weeks, and I finally managed to get the housecleaning done, including mopping and a little dusting. It’s a red-letter day, people. Cause for celebration!! << See that? Two exclamation points, even…

Know what else is cause for celebration? There’s a new dishwasher on the way, and it should be in town by Tuesday. Thank God (and my husband), because I’m really sick of doing dishes by hand. It even has a dedicated silverware rack at the top! Seriously cool – I can’t wait to get it!

3BagsOn a completely different subject, I got recently is a new “laptop” bag. Finding the right bag to carry my Alphasmart (and/or a smaller laptop, when I upgrade) has been an ongoing battle since last December. I decided back then that I didn’t want to have to carry two bags to work anymore – I wanted to consolidate my drinks/breakfast/snacks into a bag big enough to carry my Alphasmart for writing on breaks or whenever going somewhere it’s common to have to wait. And I also wanted it to be large enough to carry a smaller laptop, because I’m thinking of “upgrading” my big, heavy one to something smaller and more portable later this year.

This is where the Power of Three comes in. I don’t know why…maybe it was my art professor drilling the whole “odd is good, threes are artistic” thing into my head, but I’ve noticed my subconscious is a bit obsessed with sets of threes. I tried three cases for my Note/cell before settling on one I like, the draft I’m currently editing is full of threes (3 minutes, 30 minutes, 3 hours, 3 days, 3 months), and it took me three tries to find the perfect new bag that is *just* the right size and shape to hold everything I need it to.

The Big Green Bag was first, but it’s not balanced right, it’s just a tad bit too tall, and the straps are too short. Not long after I got it, I tweaked my shoulder pretty badly with it (don’t ask) – an injury that took around 6 weeks to fully recover from. It would be nice for traveling, but that’s about it.

The Red Book Bag was next, and it’s a little smaller, and has a nice long cross-body strap, but the outsides are hard (like, um, a hardcover book), and I’m not really a cross-body strap girl, so carrying it was unwieldy and uncomfortable. Good novelty bag for certain situations, but there are no outer pockets either, which was a huge turn-off.

Finally, the Peacock Bag – which is perfect. There are three compartments and another padded compartment inside the center one meant for a laptop. It’s not too big, but just big enough to fit what I need it to, and functionally, it’s comfortable enough to carry as a large purse when I’m not using it for work. It has a nice long shoulder strap that’s very adjustable, two shorter handles and plenty of outside and inside pockets for…stuff. Found it on ebay for a total steal – still more than I wanted to pay, but it’s full hand-painted leather, and I plan to use it for many years to come.

Goldilocks and her Three Bears have nothin’ on me…

Actually, now that I think about it, the new dishwasher will be my third in this house. Here’s hoping it’s perfect and will run for many, many years. Or more than three, at least…


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