Saturday, March 31, 2012

I turned 40 today

This week we traveled with the ILs to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  Fun little town.  We did some hiking, quite a bit really, and ending up going to Clingman's Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains.  I wasn't aware until we got there that it is the highest point in the Smokies, and it is right on the Appalachian Trail. We walked on it for 500 meters or so, so I guess I can say I hiked the AT before I turned 40!  We actually talked to a couple of hikers who had hiked from Georgia---it was inspiring!  I hope they make it all the way to Maine.

Who knows what the next decade could bring?  I do know that as the boys grow I definitely want to keep doing more things outdoors.  I am already writing more. I hope to travel more, especially to Europe.  Maybe a trip with just me and Ken, even if it's only a weekend in the Hocking  Hills.  Trying to maintain healthy lifestyle habits (though I'll be writing about our week of eating ribs when I post vacation pics.) And I guess doing what I always do, just chug right along.  The best gifts I've received this week have been time spent with awesome people.  I'm glad to have them in my life.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Aren't you glad it's spring?

My street

I'm so glad that spring is here.  I feel like I'm finding a better balance with things.  Over the past couple weeks I've completed a lot of nagging tasks: got my bike wheel fixed, got the oil changed, cleaned out my inbox and computer desktops, real and virtual.   The laundry is caught up and I'm keeping it up rather than having it sit in a heap on the couch for weeks at a time.  I've nearly finished a great book entitled Enough, Already by the guru of home organization Peter Walsh.  I cleaned the gold fish tank.  I dug up two garden beds in the back yard.  I purged the house of five bulk items and two bags of "stuff" for charity.  I did the taxes.  I've added a new iPhone app called "Seize the Day" which is just a to do list, but so much better and more organized than my stacks of steno books and backs of envelopes.  I've taken lots of walks with the family and enjoyed the weather, watched the entire two seasons of "Downton Abbey," and settled to bed well before midnight most nights.  And the bestest news of all: we aren't moving, and husband gets to keep his job.  No demotion, no loss in pay, or benefits.  In all, I'm feeling better.

I've had some nice time to think about things.  Firstly, I'm liking not being on Facebook and Pintest so much.  Yes I love the ideas on Pinterest, but I never actually get around to doing them (though on this hiatus I've done two!  Yay me!)  I'm loving checking email only twice a day, and not feeling like I "have" to check facebook all the time.  I am also liking unitasking.  Like Peter Walsh, I don't think multitasking is a great thing.  It's a necessity at times, but nothing compares to being able to focus a few hours on one project in front of you.  I usually have five books going at once, but I'm really loving reading one at a time. (For a great read on this, check out the minimalists today.) Last week I spent several mild afternoons doing what I jokingly refer to as "lady gardening."  Rather than busting my back, getting filthy and generally trying to do too much, I limited my time to an hour or two a day, breaking my to do list into smaller, more manageable jobs.  This was especially kind to my body, as I am feeling the rapid approach of my 40th birthday more than I thought possible.  I've also suddenly lost interest in 90% of the television shows I was watching, and now am only keeping up with "Madmen" and "Once Upon a Time."  Good entertainment during downtime is a gift.

Another cool thing that happened: I met a writer at a friend's house.  A real writer.  (You can check A.D. Wittman's facebook for the info if you are interested, I know I will be picking up a copy soon!)  I've had the pleasure of chatting on blogs with several published authors but never just run into one at a dinner party.  This ain't exactly New York City here, right?  It all got me to thinking it's time to dig out that manuscript I wrote two years ago and start working it.  I also have ideas for several other stories.  The trick for me is to allow myself the couple of hours every morning to sit and write.

In all, I've rediscovered in just a couple of quiet weeks what I knew all along: I'm a worker.  I like to keep busy.  I function best when I attack one task at a time.  Also, I've once again proven to myself that the best stuff happens when I don't try so damned hard.  And, if I don't pull myself out from inside of my own head for a while I can be my own worst enemy.  So I'll be around periodically, but only when I have something cool to share.

What's new in blogland?  How is everyone?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I've been thinking

 If you've been reading for any length of time you know I'm struggling lately.  I want to continue a creative path in life.  I want to live authentically with my family.  Blogging, over the years, has provided both a wealth of creativity, but at times it has also blocked me greatly.

 Lately I haven't even been bothering with great photography, turning instead to the hurried snap of a few instagrams. (Read: lazy pics.)  Also, the whole authentic thing sort of slips when you're trying to get your kids to basically pose for a pretty picture of some activity that you've planned more for the blog than the kids.  That's why I have not been posting much in the way of their activities: they need to enjoy things, and they need their privacy.

 I've tried the whole frugal blogger road, and although I am passionate about that stuff, there are a lot of bloggers out there who are doing it way better than I am. (I will update my blogroll with favorite bloggers today or tomorrow for your reading pleasure!)  It's been fun to do the weekly features, but it's also kind of turned into another "to-do" item, which makes it no fun.  And  you can see from looking around I've never made money from this blog.  In fact, I never really set my sites on "monetizing."  I wanted to express myself and maybe meet a few friends along the way.  Which I have, and I am grateful.

 Today after school Nathan wanted to take a very circuitous way home, so we did.  We did our old routine of "noticing" things, and I snapped a few photos.  We gathered a large quantity of sticks from peoples' yards.  Nathan thought we could "make something" of them.  I like that thought: to just mosey along, gathering, without purpose, confident that you will know the moment when  you are ready to "make something."

And so I leave you for a hiatus of an unknown length.  I need to gather.  I need to rest and regroup.  I'm turning 40 in a few weeks, and although it is just a number, I am embarking on a new phase of life in the upcoming year.  I do hope you'll call again, as I'm sure at some point I'll be ready to make something again, and I just know I'll want to share it.

God bless.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

If I don't set goals, I get nothing done

I have these favorite simple living/minimalist bloggers I love, but the one thing that I can't seem to get into is the whole idea of not having goals.  The past few months I've been living without goals, and guess what?  Nothing's getting done!  Not only have I not done any big projects, but I am also falling further behind with day to day things.  I  tried to blame it on my lack of energy, but at some point the lethargy becomes a self-feeding entity. I kind of think I need something to jump start my spring. So I'm sharing a few goals/plans for March:

1. Get outdoors. Nothing terribly specific, but I want to get outside a little each day, either to work in the garden, walk the kids to school, ride bikes, play ball or soccer with the kids, and generally acclimate to the season.
2. Get my bike fixed. Um, I accidentally ran over my bike in the garage, bending one of the rims.
3. Do the taxes. We might have a bit of a refund and we need that! (Like, to get my bike fixed, ugh.)
4. Wedding clothing and stuff. My brother is getting married in May, so I need to try on and possibly get alterations done on my bridesmaid dress, buy the shoes, and get Nate fitted for his tux (he is the ring bearer!) I will also need to outfit the other boy and husband for the event.  Also I had a bit of a panic this morning when I looked at the calendar, since I've not heard from the other bridesmaids about the shower, pre-wedding events and shoe issues. Time's a flying!

5. Clean the fish tank.  At least I can skip the full water change this time.
6. Read 3 books.  I'm going to try something new and go for one fiction book of my choice, my book club read, and one "useful" book a month, and leave it at that.  My book back-log is getting a little crazy: I check out too much and read none of it.

7. Make a large giveaway bag.  That's what we call our donation bag.  I want to do some big decluttering this spring, since I've managed to at least get a lot of thorough cleaning done over the past month. I'm hoping to sweep in 10 items a day during my daily round through the homestead.

8. Spend good, fun time with Nathan every afternoon. Kindergarten is almost through.  We are in the home stretch of afternoons with just Nate and Mommy, and I'm feeling I haven't been making the most of this special time.  Need to fix that.

9. Improve daily routines. I might do a blog about this, but I really need to keep up on simple daily things that will improve my life.  Like managing the paper flow around here.  Today I spent over an hour just digging through 2-3 weeks' worth of school papers, junk mail, bills and other miscellany that was heaped on my desk.  It's very frustrating.

10. Help husband plan something for my 40th.  I threw him a surprise party, but made it clear that with his current closing up of the old job (end of April) and searching for a new one that I had no intention of expecting the same hoopla for mine.  (I sort of saw his 40th as "our hoopla.")  Plus MIL's 70th is in the same week, and we have plans to spend several days on that.  I do have a couple of low-key ideas of how to spend my day, which involve precious little effort on our part. :-)

Any plans or goals for March?