Wednesday, December 31, 2008

More FLYlady

People who know me know that I never do anything halfway. After reading the first book of the Harry Potter series when I was 16, I completely immersed myself in the fandom. When I took up knitting I couldn't stop, and quickly began to surpass some of the girls that helped teach me. So, just a couple days after my mother suggested I visit the FLYlady's website , I took off and am FLYing fast!

The program builds on itself, so on day two my instructions are to maintain my clean and shiny sink, and to "get dressed to the shoes."

I figured that putting on your shoes every morning is a great step for full-time homemakers and stay-at-home moms, but I put my shoes on every day. I chose instead to get dressed to the make-up, which fits in nicely with another of my resolutions to dress so that I could be photographed.

I wrenched myself out of bed reluctantly at around 5:30 this morning (I usually hit the snooze until 6:00 or later!) and jumped in the shower. Amazingly, once I was out of the shower, I didn't feel sleepy or groggy.

After I got dressed, make-up and everything, I headed into the kitchen and followed FLYlady's instructions to put away clean dishes from the dishwasher right away. When that was done and I sat down to eat breakfast, I couldn't believe that I had an entire half-hour to relax before I needed to head out the door.

By the time I was in my chair at work, I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I'm in a great mood today after a month or two of a slump. I still am feeling quite cheerful as I'm writing this.

I am super-optimistic about 2009. Woohoo!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Shiny Sink

I decided to get a head-start on my first resolution this evening.

When I told my mother I wanted to work toward keeping my apartment neat and tidy, she pointed me toward the FLYLady's method. The first step, according to FLYLady is to "shine your sink."

When I got home this evening, I got right to work following the sink-shining instructions. I'm sorry, I forgot to take a before photo, but picture a sink full of dishes, coated in grime, and speckled with red candle wax from an incident a couple weeks ago.

This is what my sink looks like now:

The FLYLady was right! My shiny sink literally puts a smile on my face.

It's That Time of Year Again!

That's right, it's time to think long and hard about all the things we hate about ourselves and declare that this year is going to be different! This year I'm really going to loseweightquitsmokingsavemoremoneyworkouteveryday.

So, without further ado, here's my list:

Resolved: I will finally have a home that I'm not ashamed to invite friends into. I am going to learn to maintain a neat and tidy home with the help of the FLYlady. I'm going to do everything in my power (read: lots of nagging) to get Husband to help.

Resolved: I will cushion my savings account with $50 a month, whether I really really want those new shoes or not. Next time my car wigs out on me unexpectedly, I'll be prepared.

Resolved: I will dress well enough to be prepared to be photographed at least four days a week. This means jeans that fit me, nice shoes, a nice top, hair done, and (the horror!) make-up. I want to be an attractive, well-dressed woman that Husband will be proud to show off. Not for his sake, but for mine. I'm tired of just rolling out of bed every morning and running out the door.

I'd also like to start practicing yoga regularly again, eat a natural and primarily locally-produced and seasonal diet; but as the three resolutions I've already listed will mean getting up at least half an hour earlier every day, I'm not holding my breath.

May we all be happy and healthy and surrounded by friends in 2009!

Monday, December 22, 2008

I'm going on vacation--without you!

In the months leading up to my wedding, my mother felt compelled to make sure I wasn't making a decision I would regret. She and my father married young and later divorced, and I frequently get the sense that she wants to keep me from going down the same path.

One of the things she said to me on several occasions was something like this: "What are you going to do when you want to go backpacking through Europe, and Husband isn't interested?" My usual response was, "I'll go without him."

Now, I'm happy to read in this article from that doing that won't harm our relationship. In fact, traveling independently from each other could even strengthen our marriage!

So, Sister, how about that trip to Luxembourg?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

No Facebook?

Whenever I try to access Facebook I get an error message. Is anyone else experiencing this? It's been like this for about 24 hours.

I think I'm dying!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Little Help?

Husband and I raised our voices to each other yesterday.

You see, I was running around the apartment trying to tidy up so that I could make a huge mess later with all the baking I had planned for that afternoon.

Have you ever noticed that if you're running around tidying up, and someone else is sitting and doing something more relaxing that it gives you just a little twinge of resentment? Well I was feeling that little twinge for the last week or so, and yesterday it started to grow.

And when I went to do the dishes (the task that I hate above all others) I found the proverbial hair that broke the proverbial camel's back. It was a large dirty bowl filled with dirty water, and a plate sitting inside of the bowl and neatly sealing it off.

"Husband, can you come here a second? I want to show you something," I said in a fake-sweet tone. I walked over to the door of "his room" and beckoned with one finger.

"If you're going to complain about something I do that bothers you can I complain about all the things that you do that bother me?" He said as he reluctantly got up out of his chair.

I pointed out the plate-in-bowl issue and he looked at me like I'd lost my mind. "I just really hate when you do that," I said, "It's hard to get it out."

He then picked up the bowl and tipped it over so that the water came pouring out and the plate went with it. "Was that so hard?"

"Well, I just want a little help around here! You complain that I never do the dishes, so you could at least make it easier for me when I do!"

"No, you just think it's slavery if you have to do the dishes once a week!"

"I've done the dishes four times this week!" (Yes, I had been counting.)

"Then the dishes are getting done twice a day!"

It went on like that for about five minutes. The point is this: how is it possible that I feel like I'm the only one who does any work around the house, and he also feels like he's the only one who does any work around the house? I would really love to have a third party fly-on-the wall observe us and determine who actually does "all the work around the house."

But then again, Husband would probably get angry when that third party points out that I was right and he was wrong. ;)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Crying Over Rotten Asparagus

In one of my earliest posts I mentioned that one of my goals is to develop healthier eating habits. One of the biggest obstacles to reaching that goal is that I can never seem to eat the fresh fruits and vegetables I buy before they go bad.

Last night I got out some asparagus that I bought on Saturday so that I could cook it for dinner and was so aggravated to find that it had already gone bad. After some Internet searching I learned that asparagus only has a shelf-life of 2 to 3 days. I'll keep that in mind next time I go shopping, and plan to cook asparagus the day I buy it.

In my digging I found this article from Real Simple about how to keep produce fresh. This article also explains why the carrots I bought a couple weeks ago went bad: I left the greens on them when I put them in the fridge.

I'm amazed at how much I didn't know about storing food. If you have any tips about how to keep things fresh, please share!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Getting By Without A Car

I've managed just a little over a week without my car, and I've got to say, it's not so bad.

At first it was hard, because the bus schedules are so tight that my chance of catching my last connecting bus home was pretty slim. I learned that the hard way when I found myself stranded at a cold dark bus depot frantically dialing my friends' numbers. (You're a life saver, LA!)

After that ordeal, I found myself scouring the Internet for alternatives. Today, I think I've finally got it all figured out. Here's my new and improved plan:

I take a bus from the mall by my apartment for $.50 all the way to the nearby airport. From there, I can get on a Metro bus for $3. It takes me to the same Metro station that the commuter bus was taking me to for half the price! Then it $2.60 to take the Metro to a station near my office.

In the afternoon, it's a little bit trickier. I take the Metro a little further this time for $3.85. I catch a Commuter bus out of that station which only costs $1.75. It lets off at a shopping center that's a couple miles from my apartment. If the Gods are smiling on me, I can take a $.50 connector, but it's more likely that I'll be walking back to my apartment.

Before, I was paying $10 or so one way making my daily commuting cost $20! With my new plan, I'm only spending $11.7o a day! That is slashing my cost by almost half. Woot.

And, as an added bonus, with all the walking (and when time isn't on my side running) I've been doing, I feel like I'm making up for some missed workouts.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Decking the Halls

Ok, I admit it. I LOVE Christmas! Once Thanksgiving is over every year, you can find me singing carols, thinking about gifts, decorating my house, baking, and doing lots of other Yuletide things. In fact, in the years since I gave up Christianity, I've found that I am automatically converted back to Christianity every December. Glory to God in the Highest! And on Earth peace, goodwill toward men!

Here's what I've been up to in the first week of December:

I bought a Christmas tree, set it up, and decorated it all by my self! My Grinch of a husband insisted that Christmas trees are too much trouble, and If I wanted one it was my responsibility and he would have no part of it. (Bah Humbug!) Besides, shouldn't I be saving my money to get my car fixed?

Silly Husband! Didn't you know I could save money by making my own ornaments? I made this one with instructions from the queen of crafts herself, Martha Stewart. They weren't terribly difficult, but you should allow 24 hours to dry the glue.

Also, you knew I was making Christmas stockings. They're finally finished! Trouble is, without a fireplace, I don't know where to put them.

Finally, here's the Creche that I found at a thrift

Friday, December 5, 2008

I learned a new trick!

Last night was date night. I'm still doing without a car, and Husband came to pick me up from the bus station. He was in a sour mood from the moment I opened the car door. When I asked him where he wanted to go for dinner, he insisted that he wasn't hungry. When "Bohemian Rhapsody" came on the radio, he got mad at me for singing along. When I asked what he was wrong he said "nothing." When I asked him what he did today, "nothing."

We eventually decided to go to the Macaroni Grill. After about ten minutes of his one word answers, I was fed up. "What the hell do you have up your ass tonight?"

Eyes wide, he said "That was mean!"

"I'm sorry, but you're being grumpy even for you."

That seemed to shock him back to normal, and his mood improved vastly after that; he was laughing and making jokes. Perhaps I'll have to start using this tough-love approach more often!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

What I want to be when I grow up:

Can I just say that I love my mother? And I promise I'm not just saying that because she'll probably read it. I think a lot about how lucky I am to have such a great family, especially my momma. There are so many daughters out there who have these contentious relationships with their mothers, and I'm happy to say I'm not one of them. I like spending time with Momma, and I sometimes get jealous when she's too busy for me.

Also, my home would be a wreck without her. For some reason, I just didn't inherit her eye for design. Shortly after I moved into my current apartment, she came over and appraised the decor, then asked if she could rearrange a few things. All she did was move some furniture around and add a few throw pillows, and the place suddenly looked like a proper home rather than a dorm room.

When I think about motherhood and parenting, I always come to the conclusion that I should emulate her style. There were all these little things that she did that made me feel loved, and a little spoiled. Here are a few examples:

Blow-drying my hair after a bath, and blowing the warm air onto my cold, bare skin.

Secretly going into my room and tidying it up while I was at school.

Taking me on spontaneous adventures. (A friend and I were recently reminiscing about how we were playing together and Momma said "come on girls, we're going out!" And took us horseback riding)

Providing me with a mug of hot-chocolate to sip while waiting for the school bus on winter mornings.

There are so many other little things like this! In fact, here is an excerpt from an e-mail she sent today:

AND I got the sofa for you (the white one at auction). I would like to
come out this evening and switch so we can try it on. B and I LOVE
it!! So, if you WANT, why don't we play with your house tonight? We can
move the futon back to Husband's office, and see how this sofa looks.

I'm looking forward to it!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Anyone know a mechanic that specializes in exorcisms?

So, my car is possessed by demons. I won't go into the details, but what it comes down to is that it is not safe to drive and is going to cost a fortune to be repaired.

Husband insisted that he would not allow me to "commandeer" his car as I have in the past when mine was out of commission. So, for now, I'm taking public transportation.

Now, I'm a big supporter of public transportation. If I could, I would get rid of the car altogether and use only public transportation and my own two feet to get around. Unfortunately, as this map illustrates, I live really far away from, well, everything!

But, I can manage. Here's what I did this morning: I walked to the mall in my back yard where I was able to catch a bus to a local commuter parking lot. From there, I catch another bus to a Metro Station where I catch a train which stops within a few blocks of my office. That's all fine, until you break down the costs.

Bus #1 -- $.50

Bus #2 -- $7

Metro -- $2.60

That's about $10. Double it, (because at the end of the day I have to go back home) and that's $20 a day!

For now, though, I don't think I have any other options.