Monday, January 30, 2012

We Love Columbia

The Man and I have discovered over the years that we are true northwesterners.  We're both big fans of layering our clothes and wearing the anti-couture polar fleece.  To anyone not from Oregon or Washington (and to remind those who do live here), the first thing you probably ever learned about the great northwest was that it rains here a lot.  Which isn't actually true.  It does rain, but not hard very often, and we're not real big on non-natives learning that (especially Californians).  However, it is grey and cold for three seasons, thus our love of fleece.

And judging by the fact that you'll likely never seen little girls (or boys) from Oregon and Washington on Toddlers and Tiaras, it appears we learn to love our fleece quite young.  ...Or maybe it's that northwesterners just don't give a hootenanny about torturing our offspring with fake tans and hairspray.  Also?  I can't believe I actually watch that show from time to time.

So we love fleece.  And layers.  But not layers of fleece, because that would be all impossible to wear.  Our favorite place to shop for fleece and other warm layers is Columbia Sportswear.  This weekend, we made the trek north to our favorite warm store.  We were the first people in when the doors unlocked on Saturday morning.  We were the first to check out a mere twenty minutes later, bundles of fleece in tow.  I scored two pullovers and one full-zip fleece jacket.  The Man nabbed a very cozy sweater-type pull-over and a lunchbox.

Because apparently Columbia can keep people warm and lunch cold.  Hmm.

After sales and deals and whatnots, we escaped with our treasures for just about $100.  I can honestly say we've been toasty warm ever since.  And snuggly.  New fleece is probably the most snuggly thing ever.

(Maybe I should have named this post "Ode to Fleece.")

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Is it so wrong to love doing taxes?

The Man and I have received all of our tax information back from our employers, our investments, and our loans, so now we get to do our taxes.  We always do them jointly so that everything gets double-checked, and we've submitted them online all by ourselves the last few years.  You have no idea how much we look forward to this process.  It's the business nerd in him and the math geek in me going crazy or something, but we really do like doing our own taxes.

We do not, however, have any desire to do other people's taxes.

Here's to hoping we get money rather than owing money!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What a Very Happy Moment

Our wait is finally over.

The Man and I married in 2009 with the hope that we would both, someday, be full-time employees with health benefits and vacation pay.  During our first year of marriage, we lived on my paycheck alone.  Thankfully my employer's insurance covers both of us at no additional cost to us, so that helped.  In January of last year, The Man got a full-time job at a place he very quickly loathed.  It took him until August to be able to move on to another company as a contracted employee.  We have been unable to search for houses, feel comfortable having children, or really begin our lives until we both have permanent positions.  Our lives have been in limbo for over two years.

On Monday of this week, his current company handed him an offer letter for a full-time position that includes benefits for both of us, paid vacation, and the job title he's been seeking since he got his MBA.

It means he'll be recognized for the work he does.

It means we get to buy a house here instead of sometime, somewhere.

It means we get to feel secure, or as secure as people can possibly feel considering the economic climate of the last few years.

It means we get to stop waiting and start planning.  For a family, of course, but for everything else we want to do with our lives.  For vacations.  For pets.  For tomorrow and tomorrow.

Monday, January 23, 2012

In Which I Dyed My Hair for the Very First Time

Allow me to begin this saga by stating that I have no pictures of my newly-dyed hair.  It's not because I don't want you to see me or it, but that the difference is so slight it's not really picture-worthy.  Unless I'm in direct sunlight, the new hair color is barely noticeable.  Which is good, I guess, as I don't look weird-er.  And we seem to have a bit of a sunlight shortage right now seeing as it is winter in Oregon.

I've never dyed my hair before.  I guess I've had opportunities, but the fancy never really took hold.  I've seen lots of other people around me dye their hair, both men and women.  My sister has had her hair dyed several different colors (sometimes at once), and she's usually had very pleasant results.  Even the scary-red hair looked really cute on her.

Being a bit science-y, I had to learn all about hair dye before I even started this process.  I learned about permanent color, demi- and semi-permanent color, washes, rinses, highlights and lowlights, temporary color, and poisonous chemicals.  After much reflection and some hesitation, I decided to go with a demi-permanent color just slightly different from my normal hair color.

The store had row after row of permanent hair color but just a small section of other colors.  I was limited to brown, dark brown, mahogany tones, and some purple number that just didn't feel quite natural seeing how I didn't want to look like a troll doll.  The Man was with me, and he steered me toward a redder version of brown.  I selected Clairol Natural Instincts in Cinnaberry, #22.

My trusty hubby accompanied me in the bathroom later last night with gloved hands (sounds like a horror story, sorry).  With a towel wrapped about my neck--secured with clothespins, because, hey, I'm high-class like that--I sectioned out my hair and had The Man gently rub the scariest deep purple dye into my head.  The activator was orange to start with, so the fact that it turned purple as I rubbed it into my hair was a bit of a consolation!  Five minutes later, both of us frantically trying to massage the dye into my hair, the 10-minute wait began.  My tender brown hairs turned darker and darker into a deep jet black.  At eight minutes, I couldn't handle it anymore.  I got scared.  I jumped into the shower and started rinsing.  And rinsing.  And rinsing.  It took a good few minutes to get all of the dye out.  My very black hair faded to the normal dark brown it usually is when it's wet.

I had to wait an hour or more for my hair to dry before I could see the final color.  I imagined all sorts of horrific tragedies that could have befallen my locks: orange hair, green hair, purple strands, streaky red blotches, hanks falling out, the works.  Before I went to bed I got one very good long look at my hair.

It's still brown.

BUT! It has the faintest, warmest bit of red.  And it makes my freckles pop perfectly.  My yellow-hazel eyes are gorgeously illuminated.  This is the color I wanted my hair to be all along, not just flat mousy brown.  It's like "me-plus."

I think I'll definitely dye my hair again using this same color, but I might leave it in just a little bit longer.  No need to jump the gun or hurry through.  I didn't have any allergic reactions--yay!--so that's reassuring.  I am also glad my hair will take dye considering how little it will take any curl.

So I love it.  I love my hair.  I am glad that it's not such a huge change that other people are like, "Whoa!" and I'm glad it's not nothing.  Just hope the dye lasts a while...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Flood of Ideas

We've had some high water in our neighborhood recently, so I have been busy watching the news and checking river levels constantly.  The water was up to car windows just four or five blocks away in one direction, and a very swollen Willamette River churned about a mile away in another direction.  Thankfully The Man and I had no problems getting around to shop and work (but I'm not confirming or denying that any valuables got perched on high).

My mind has also been flooding lately with ideas!  I've been scheming like a mad woman about how to construct my Kindle cover.  Well, first I had to download and read an entire book last night, because why have a cover for a device I am not using.  Call it research... or something.  I hardly slept last night with the plans floating around.  Hard covers, soft covers, cases, skins, sleeves.  Bottom-flip-up or side-flip-open?  Waterproof or no?  I was flip-flopping all over the place with no clear direction.

On Friday, I made a stab at a ripstop nylon cover stiffened by some two-ply chip board (I laminated them together for strength).  That idea was working splendidly until I attached the elastic to hold the Kindle in, but then things got all bunched and wouldn't lay flat anymore, and that little $5 adventure got stuffed into the bin.  Today's attempt with a $2 journal notepad thing I found at Michael's proved slightly better.  I got the entire outside looking fabulous.  The elastic, again, caused issues on the inside.  I haven't found a way to camouflage the ends of the elastics and still have everything look nice.

Being out nearly $10 already if you count bits of thread, Mod Podge, fabric scraps, and supplies purchased for this endeavor, I don't really want to make another attempt until I have a solid plan.  I've also realized that I don't necessarily want a cover on my Kindle.  I like holding it when I read.  Idon't think I'll like the feel with the weight of a cover.  I just need something to put it in when I throw it in my bag.  This is all leading me to creating a Kindle sleeve rather than a fitted cover.  Maybe a sleeve with a pocket so I have a place to put the little light I use with it.

And sleeves I can do.  I'm a pro at sleeves.  Seriously, even the idea of a zipper doesn't scare me.

Damn elastic.

The flood waters have receded both in town and in my head.  I have other projects to work on, and I am feeling much less bent on making a Kindle cover.  Will keep you updated on that progress later.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Un-Quilting

Want to quilt but have no free time to do so?  Want to quilt but don't have a sewing machine?  Want quilt-like art for your walls but aren't up for a king-sized mural?  Enter Quilt Magic!

I am a quilter, and I do have a little of that precious free time for quilting.  I also have a nice sewing machine.  And, crazy me, I'm working on a king-sized monstrosity.  But I like quick projects as much as the next person, and my apartment walls are pretty bare in some rooms.  The Man and I don't really like paintings much or have the money for expensive artwork.  I've had my eye on some Quilt Magic kits in the past, so I finally sunk $20 into a kit this month.  I got mine 50%-off online at Joann.com.  They shipped it ten days ago, and now it's finally here (no thanks to Fed-Ex Smartpost, which is really Stupidpost: I learned that lesson the hard way).

Not telling which kit I got, sorry.  I'll post pictures when it's all put together, probably next week.

In other news, I have a plan for my Kindle cover firming up, and I managed to get the really nice (and cheap!) LED reading light that I wanted at Fred Meyer.  Yay for that taking AAA batteries and not stupid button batteries that have letter-number combinations that make no sense.  I haven't decided on fabrics yet, but I'm thinking either ripstop nylon outside or canvas.  I also haven't figure out the closure mechanism, whether it is a zipper, a button loop, velcro, a snap, or a magnet.  So many choices!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Kindled

The Man and I finally broke down and bought Kindles.  In a way, I feel like we lost a battle.  On the other hand, yay new technology, fewer books to store, and constantly running out of books to read!

We were very resistant to the idea of an e-reader for a long time.  The Man had heard that if you buy a book and put it on your Kindle (or Nook or whatever device), the publisher can just take it away at any point.  Not the same as a hard copy, is it?  We recently learned that this is untrue now, and once you buy a book, it's yours.  We were also concerned about battery life, portability, and availability of books we like to read and the ability to share them.

Both of us are avid readers like our parents, and our mothers both got Kindles before we did, so we had an idea about their usefulness.  But, being rather plugged in already with our laptops, smart phones, and computers at work, we struggled to figure out which e-reader was right for us.  With all the keypads, touchscreens, and other gimmicks, it was a two-day compare-contrast-athon.  In the end, we just got Kindles.  No keyboards, no touch screens.  If we want to be on the Internet or play games, we have other devices.  Our new Kindles are simply book replacement devices.

So here's the problem with books at Chez Jaggy: we have four bookcases completely full of books.  We're talking big bookcases here, too.  Some books won't even fit anymore, and we don't really have a place for yet another bookcase.  And that's after whittling down the pile and just keeping the books we really like.  We do re-read books, so that's why we're keeping them.  As much as we'd love to get more books, our town doesn't have a bookstore anymore.  (Yes, I know we have the used bookstores and the college bookstore, but they don't carry the books The Man and I like to read.  It's easier for us to order online than through them, too.)

With no bookstore in sight, the local library not having what we like, and the inability to store even one more book, we bought Kindles.  It won't have that musty book smell, and it won't be another notch on the bookshelf--or whatever it is people do with books once they've read them, but it will save us some money in the long run from having to go over an hour to a bookstore or pay shipping costs.

Now I just have to make Kindle covers that don't break the bank like the commercially available ones.  Seriously, Amazon wants $60 for a cover that goes on a $75 e-reader.  I'm all for protecting investments, but come on!  Bet I can do the same thing for under $20--for two covers.  LED lights, pretty colors, the whole works.  My gears are turning as I type.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It Snows, I Quilt

I know I resolved to post more this year just last week, and then I took a long weekend off from blogging didn't I?  It was for a good reason, I promise!

The Man and I had a good weekend.  We were able to spend a couple hours with my best friend and his wife on Sunday.  We haven't seen them in ages, so that was really special.  I made good progress on my quilt, took a couple hours to make up a double-batch of flour tortillas, and even sat at the piano for a while.  That doesn't sound like much, but we were pretty busy for all three days.

Plus it snowed!  We got a good inch at home, but our church got almost two inches.  That is probably hilariously little to people who get snow every winter, but western Oregon only gets a couple inches of snow most years.  We just don't have the road clearing equipment, sanding trucks, and the like.  When it snows here, Oregonians pretty much hole up and don't do anything but stare out the windows and drink more coffee or tea or whatever it is that we do when its cold.  I know cities in Alaska are completely buried in snow, but our inch was sort of a big deal to us.  A "yeah, that happens sometimes, not the end of the world, but certainly not a guaranteed thing" sort of thing.  Snow, yay!

I forgot to mention I got new shoes.  As you probably know, I struggle extra lots'n'lots trying to find narrow shoes that are also remotely attractive.  Having discovered Ryka shoes last year, I was looking on Zappos.com and found these beauties!  I was a bit nervous to order them without trying them on, but my size was correct with the last pair of shoes I had in that brand, so I went for it.  Holy crap, they are narrow!  My feet completely fill the shoes with no problems or tightness or binding, and the toe box is just perfect for a tiny bit of wiggle room (claustrophobic toes and all).  I was so surprised at how narrow they are just off the shelf, not a narrow size or anything.  My laces don't pull the right and left sides of the shoes together to meet in the middle or anything.  My only complaint is that the soles don't go up a little higher on the shoes, but as long as I don't go splashing through deep puddles (ha!) there's no problem.  Comfy, warm, and snug, for once!


Craving Chinese food.  And pizza.  And snow cones.  Like, real snow snow cones.  I wonder if using my SodaStream syrups on fresh packed snow would work...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

One Very Pokey Day

Today wasn't exactly a bad day, but it certainly wasn't a great day.  I liked being off work.  I really liked sleeping in.  I enjoyed editing photos, and I ate great food.  However, I had two appointments today that were less than thrilling.

I started off my day at the gynecologist's office for my annual stab 'n' jab.  This being my fifth time going, I was pretty sure I knew what to expect mechanically.  But, as is typical of my life, I got to see yet another new doctor.  Nothing quite as much fun as showing your most intimate bits to a complete stranger, right?  I was pretty nervous about meeting the new doctor, but she was fantastic.  She didn't rush me through or make me feel stupid even once, and though the whole "scraping my brains out from down below" part wasn't fun (is it ever?), it was my most pleasant annual exam ever.

Until she determined I needed to have a tetanus shot.

Yeah, that pretty much kills a day right there.

The "nice" shot lady came in with her little needle full of serum, an alcohol wipe, and the cheapest looking band-aid I've ever seen.  Beautiful.  She hiked my sleeve up to my ear, wipey-wiped my arm from shoulder to elbow, and started chatting me up.  Which is good, I guess, to get to know someone before you fill their arm with antivirals.  She asked if I'd ever had the HPV vaccine, and I had, so she informed me that this shot was way less painful.  You know how when someone tells you "this won't hurt a bit!" and you kind of want to punch them in the nose?  Yeah.  Wanted to.  But thankfully my brain-to-fist filter was working.  She rammed that needle into my arm, smushed all the goo into my muscle, and smeared more of that burny alcohol wipe all over the hole she'd just poked.  It hurt.  My arm hurt.  She was right, though, it wasn't as bad as the Gardasil shot, not even close.  And I'm good for another ten years.

I rewarded myself with lunch out because, well, what do you do after having a stranger shove her hand up your hoo-ha and another stranger shove her pokey thing in your arm?  Lunch.

The afternoon was quiet until I had to go see my eye doctor.  I usually like going to the eye doctor.  That's where they give me things that help me see better.  And by better I mean at all.  I sailed through the exam, not needing a different prescription for once!  This is huge news considering the slow decline I've had since I was seven years old.  The doctor requested that I allow him to dilate my eyes, something I am usually okay with, but after a tetanus shot and that other procedure from this morning, plus having friends over tonight, I wasn't exactly willing.  He insisted.  I gave in only because I knew it was a painless procedure.

I sit here, about three hours later, my eyes so huge that only a sliver of gold is visible on the edge of my iris.  My head is pounding, my vision is completely wonky, and I just want to sleep.  The Man will be home soon expecting me to make dinner.  My arm is starting to ache.  And I was hoping to be able to play some video games or quilt or do something--anything--productive tonight.

Thankfully we're having ice cream sundaes tonight.  I think that means the day is on the upswing.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Applesauce To Go

I'm not a fruit person.  I'll be starving, literally, before I ever eat an orange.  However, I do love apples, watermelon, and kiwi fruit, and I generally enjoy bananas, strawberries, and grapes.  That's it.  That's the whole list of fruits I eat.  No citrusy crap, no other melons, definitely no papayas or mangoes.  The thought of peaches  or tomatoes makes me gag.  And after suffering through bottle upon bottle of cherry cough syrup, the idea of eating a cherry is more than I can handle.  I am not a fruit person.

That said, I'm a connoisseur of applesauce.  We're talking Grade A sauce lover with almost thirty years of experience in the applesauce eating arena.  I'm familiar with soupy, runny, gooey apples.  And I'm very, very picky about what I like.  My most-favorite-of-all-time applesauce is homemade from Gravenstein apples.  No sugar added, just plain apples cooked down, run through the old colander, and canned.  It's super creamy smooth, not a fleck of peel in sight, and perfectly golden yellow.  Also?  It's a ton of work!


My second choice for applesauce is the off-brand single-serving packs at the grocery store.  These tend to be a little bit smoother than the kind that goes into the fridge-size jars or cans.  I could go for larger portions than the single-serving packs, but the convenience is nice.  Not a huge fan of all of the additives that go into commercial applesauce.  It should just be apples, but I will allow some sort of acid to prevent browning.  There is no need for water, vitamin C additives, or anything else, especially sugar.  Leave it alone.

On a recent outing to the grocery store, The Man and I found these little squeezable applesauce packets (though in a different brand).  They're single-serving containers of applesauce with just apples and an anti-browning acid, and they're super-infinity-duper creamy.  I hate to say they're almost like baby food, but the applesauce really is that creamy.  It tastes really good!  No added junk, no chunky chunks, a great size for an afternoon snack, and very easy to grab and toss into the lunch box.  They're a little spendy at over $0.50 each, especially considering how much cheaper it is to make it and take a reusable container, but the convenience is so nice.  Did I mention they taste great?  At one full serving of fruit each, I don't exactly feel guilty.  There are lots of flavors, too.  I prefer plain applesauce or with cinnamon, but the strawberry applesauce isn't bad.  I still have to try other flavors.  The caps are resealable if needed, probably for little kids since I don't have a problem gulping mine in ten seconds.  And the containers are recyclable.  It's not quite as good as homemade, but it's definitely easier and faster to pack.

And these won't ruin Mom's new glass cooktop during canning season like last year.

Mom still hasn't quite gotten over that. ;)

Monday, January 09, 2012

The Whale

It was a splurge, the whale.  The Man saw it first, and I was excited enough to throw it in the cart.  When we got to the checkstand, he finally noticed I'd grabbed it and chided me a bit.  A whale?  You have to see this.

Our whale sits under the faucet in the bathroom.  It fits snugly around the round part right where the water comes out, no glue or adhesive necessary.  It doesn't impede normal use of the faucet, and it doesn't really get in the way of brushing our teeth or anything else.  But when we pull the little whale's belly up to the body, the water shoots out the whale's blow hole and makes the faucet into a fountain!  No more wasteful cups in the bathroom.  No more cupped and drippy hands trying to get a mouthful of water.  Just a little swoop of the finger and the insta-fountain is born.

I know this is totally cheesy and completely juvenile for us to have in our bathroom, but we both really like it.  The whale may get old after a while.  I can see it being very useful with kids, though, so I might keep it just in case.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Photo Shoot with the Randomaestro


My sister came over this weekend for a photo shoot.  I took her out to Avery Park and took some pictures in the cold.  We had to work fast so that our noses didn't turn red!  She was very happy to pose for me, and I was thankful to have a subject willing to be patient as I swapped filters, adjusted my camera between every shot, and tinkered to get the photo just how I wanted it.

The second picture of her was taken back at home.  I don't have a studio by any means, so we had to be clever with household lamps for lighting and The Man's blue snuggly fleece blanket as our neutral navy blue background.  Total cost was zero, though, and everything could be returned to its proper place to be used elsewhere in my tiny apartment.  I was very pleased with the outcome.  Being able to experiment like this really helps me grow as a photographer, and she gets free photos that look pretty good.


I don't know if I really have a "style" as a photographer yet.  My usual attempts are less artsy and more natural, especially when it comes to people.  I don't feel I have a right to improve upon what God has created (aside from very small corrections and touch-ups).  I don't use Photoshop.  What the camera sees is pretty much what you get with my photography.

I guess that means my sister is absolutely gorgeous! :)

If anyone else in the Corvallis area wants to be patient with me, I can always use more practice.


Friday, January 06, 2012

Uselessly Useful

So there we were, driving somewhere in silence, The Man behind the wheel, and me, physically in the passenger seat but mentally on another planet.  We hadn't been able to agree on a music selection--as usual--and had given up on conversation for the time being.  I looked over at the sweet man I married with the full realization that what I was about to ask him a) came out of left field, and b) probably wouldn't be answered correctly.  The poor, poor guy.

"Hey babe?  Do you know what direction the wind comes from where we live?"

He looked back at me with a confused expression as if to say, "You are so weird!" and "What the hell do I care?" all in one look.  I wasn't phased.  I get that look a lot.

"You've lived here all your life and don't know?"  I gave away that I was testing him rather than actually asking for an answer.  He's a smart guy, but I didn't figure he'd paid any attention to the wind.  And this wind stuff was important to me as we skirted the river, though I'm not exactly sure why.

He guessed, "The south?"

"Sometimes.  But during the fall and spring it can also come from the west, and from the east during the summer, and when it comes from the north its very cold, and sometimes the rules just don't apply and we get wind from everywhere."

My verbal diarrhea of mental stew apparently found the large gap in my brain-to-mouth filter.  The Man glanced my direction, careful to keep his eyes on the road, but still managing to let me know that I'd let fly a string of trivia he'd not considered useful in the slightest.  Incredulously he asked, "Why do you remember these things?"

"Because they're stuck in my head.  They're just in there.  I don't have any control over what I remember.  I just remember everything I think might be useful later."  After all, information is only useless if you never find a use for it.

Apparently my brain needs to be featured on an episode of Hoarders.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Resolululutions

I am not a New Year Resolution kind of person.  It always seems silly to me to start something just because it is a new year.  Why not start losing weight right when you think about it rather than on January first?  "Oh this year I will look great in a bikini!"  Um, probably not.  "This year I will stop smoking!"  I really do wish you the best of luck.  How about you stop in November or July or the rest of the year and for the rest of your life, too? "This year I will fix my marriage."  Sweetheart, if your marriage needs fixing, just fix it already.  Don't do it because it's a new year, do it because it needs doing.

That said, I took stock of the things in my life I felt could be addressed in a calendar year.  These aren't things that need to be done forever or will significantly impact my well-being.  These aren't life-changers, well not like having kids or buying houses or getting married.  These are smaller things that I just haven't been doing that I hope to work on in 2012.  For the first year in any that I can remember, I made some resolutions:

1.  I will not feel guilty for spending time on me.  I will take time to exercise and not feel guilty that it cuts into the time I am "supposed" to be cooking or cleaning.  I will take time to sew and read and play games, and if the housework isn't 100%, I will be okay with that.  I will enjoy life before I enjoy chores a bit more often than in the past.  "Supposed to" is so 2011.

2.  I will make a point to feel pretty more often.  It's actually difficult to tell people that I don't think I'm pretty.  I don't.  I'm not ugly or scary or anything, I just don't wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and feel like I'm... pretty.  I don't wear make-up every day (once a week, maybe).  I don't dress up hardly ever.  I don't make much of an effort to feel pretty.  But I love it when I do feel good about how I look--and it's not a self-esteem problem or anything.  I know I'm amazing.  I just don't feel like I look amazing.  In 2012, I will look in the mirror and be pleased with what I see a lot more often than in the past.

3.  I will take the time to actually learn all the weird settings on my camera by using it at least twice per month.  After all of the time and money I've spent learning photography, I figure I ought to take the time to get to know the camera I'll probably be using on future children before those kids arrive.  I will take more trips to new and old locations to hone these skills.  Perhaps I will share pictures on this here bloggy.

4.  I will finish my parents' quilt by July 1.  It has been resolved.

5.  I will blog at least five times per week.  I slacked quite a bit last year on blogging, both quality and quantity. I felt like I'd run out of interesting things to say or new ways of saying the same old things.  What I've come to realize, though, is that blogging keeps me focused.  I enjoy sharing the oddities and ranty thoughts in my life--don't really enjoy the events that make me rant though--and hope others enjoy reading what I have to write.

Here's hoping I can stick with these resolutions.  I think they're do-able.  Time will tell.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Five Day Staycation

I haven't had a week off from blogging... ever!  Sorry it has taken me a while to sit down and post again, but I was super busy this last week being on vacation and all.  You heard me, I took some time off.  Like, really off.  I didn't even travel.  A stay-cation it was, and it was perfect.

Between a furlough day, a special day of leave, and the New Year holiday, I had a five-day weekend.  Though we did go to my parents' for New Year's Eve, we didn't really get out of the house much for the rest of the time.  I had Thursday home alone, several blissful hours of quiet.  The Man had Friday and Monday off with me, so we were together for four days.  It all amounted to a lot of time.

You know how you get really busy and never feel like you get any of that oh-so-precious free time?  You work, clean, cook, take care of kids, pets, and the garden, struggle just to get lunches packed, and have about ten seconds to yourself before falling asleep?  I can't handle it for more than a few days.  I just can't.  I need time to myself, to do the things my mind and heart want to do.  I went without that down time for several weekends during the fall, and having these five days off really helped me catch up on time.

So what did I do with all my time?  I quilted!  I got nearly halfway through piecing a king-sized quilt for my parents.  All of the dark purple pieces are pieced.  I still have the light purple pieces and the white bits, so probably another three weeks or so on that before I can assemble the blocks.

I also broke out my new Cricut cartridges that I got at Christmas and played with them a bit.  I tried out some new products that are super fun as well, Perfect Pearls and distress ink.  Lots of learning still to do, but I am getting better at using both of them.

I didn't bake much, didn't even cook all that much, and I don't think we really cleaned anything aside from little messes as we made them.  It was really five days of vacation.

That I really needed.

And now I'm back, nose to the grindstone, but trying just a little harder to keep that balance between fun and not-so-fun.  So far I'm winning.

And the quilt looks really good, too!