perfect time to panic

My husband and I were one of those somewhat unlucky couples who were unable to take a honeymoon immediately after our wedding.  This was fine with us - Brian had a couple days of classes and then a couple exams, and I was unemployed for the entire month of December, so we still had LOTS of time together.

We haven't really taken a vacation together as a couple, though.  Lots of trips, yes, but we've always been staying with family.  And while we love our families....a 'vacation' this does not-so-much make.

Our parents are awesome, though, and have totally hooked us up with some delayed post-nuptial bliss.  My mom gave us a week from her timeshare.  My dad threw in some airline tickets via frequent flier miles.  And Brian's folks offered us some spending money.  After some trying for Ireland, we shifted gears and decided to go to Hawaii instead.  We WILL get to the Emerald Isle of our heritage someday, but we're hoping that maybe it's for a few years rather than a few days.

Anyway.  So we ship out in about 3.5 weeks.  THREE AND A HALF WEEKS.  I'm super excited...  but I'm also a little...dismayed.  With myself.

Brian has been working out fastidiously - trying to nip his (our) post-marital bulge in the bud.  I'm really proud of him.  Pretty soon he's going to out-muscle our Bowflex!  He's been encouraging me to start pushing myself harder, too.  

I really appreciate his encouraging me.  I would like to be more active and get in better shape.  Yoga, biking, weights...all on my horizon.  And then I got freaking sick.  A month ago.  And I'm STILL sick.  We're starting to think about packing and planning, and I'm too weak to bike a mile.  Push it and stay sick isn't really something I want to risk.  Last thing we need is a grumpypants on the flight from Atlanta to Honolulu (that's like what, 11 hours?)  I can keep going as is (ie, lazy bum) and risk staying sick anyway (because let's face it, it hasn't gone away in 4 weeks, why would 3 more weeks make a difference?) AND feel like a major loser next to my super hot husband.

To semi-compensate for my hateful sedentary lifestyle, I've tried to lay off the chocolate somewhat.  It sucks like whoa.  All of it.


for the homemakers and all the other people who want to save a few bucks

Crystal, over at MoneySavingMom - whose blog I read daily and who I've plugged on here a few times - is having a sale over at her site.  Everything on her site is bundled together and priced at 5.97 TODAY, and will go up to 8.97 tomorrow and then 11.97 the day after.  All the pieces sold separately would amount to over $100.

I would highly recommend that you check it out.  There are guides for saving money at the grocery store and simple decorating, menu planning, starting a business, and a few other interesting tidbits like encouragement for homeschooling parents and a guide to hosting a proper tea.  You get it ALL for the sale price (5.97 today, up $3 tomorrow and another $3 the next day).

She writes the CVS coupon strategy that I've recently adopted, and I've scoped a lot of her e-books and guides as well.  Some of them look really helpful - and one thing that keeps me coming back to her site is that it's PRACTICAL as well.  None of the not-so-helpful overworn advice about saving money that we all hear all the time (make your coffee at home, and get your hair cut every 8 weeks instead of 6, anyone?).  I've used her tips, and they help.  Seriously, check it out.

Not ALL of it is going to be of use to everyone, but there will definitely be pieces that alone would be worth the $5.97.



Now that June is over, I feel the need to remember some of the things I missed this June, and every June since 1992. June is my grandparents' month. Specifically, my mom's parents. We called them Grandovie and Papa Jim. Papa Jim died in 1990, Grandovie in 1992. They weren't even old yet - mid 60s. My mom was in her early 30s when she lost both parents; I was in 1st and 4th grade, my brother barely remembers them.

They meant the world to us.  They came through when my parents split up.  They taught us lessons.  Somehow, even after all these years, I still feel their love.  I also feel their absence.

I was truly blessed to be able to wear my Grandovie's wedding gown, pointed satin sleeves and all.  There's an old photo that my mom keeps in a frame, taken of her parents on their wedding day.  Brian and I had the photographer take one of us very similar to that one.

I think of them every day.  I often wonder what it would be like to be able to pick up the phone and ask my grandmother or grandfather something - anything - and see what they say.  I also wonder how different my life would be if they stayed in it longer.  I know one thing - if I were on the flip side, thinking about how it would be without having them around, I would be thinking that I couldn't have made it without them.


dry spells

I'm having a dry spell.  In writing, in housework, in life.  To be dramatic.

I'm pretty sure it's related to all this change going on with me.  Changes at work, changes in my health, changes at home.  Getting sick caused me to stop everything, physically.  I'm restless.  Despite the losses and additions coming in and going out of my life, I am stuck.  And helpless.

And tired.  I can't remember the last time I slept through the night.  Drogas, please!


some real truth

You can't organize clutter.  You just can't.  

The only way to solve your 'organization' problems is to get rid of everything that you don't need, use, or love.


my dream

I like my job, I really do. But there are just some days when I wish I could make a living from knitting, instead.

How to be OK

I spoke with an old friend of mine yesterday morning.  We hadn't talked in quite some time - he'd served a deployment with the US Navy and everything - so it was really nice to catch up.  We've known each other for about ten years now - since our first years of high school.  We've seen each other through the rough patches that you hit between 15 and 25, and we've both come so far since then. It was really cool to share how things are going for each of us.  We're both in really good places right now, but somewhat different.  He owns a house, is settled, and has a cute girlfriend; I own a husband and am renting a cute place.  As much as I yearn for a home that we can own, I think I win :)

The best part of that conversation was that I felt like we both were really ok with how things are, for the first time maybe ever.  We've each spent so much time being not ok - with clouds and layers of drama and confusion and issues being kicked up. 

It was really cool to witness God's faithfulness to both of us.  I need reminding every so often.



As a knitter, and as a blogger, I am bound by some invisible universal law to be enthralled with three of the most popular knitting blogs out there.  And yet, I couldn't be less interested.

I'm bad.  Very bad.  Perhaps a disgrace.

I find Wendy boring.  The Yarn Harlot is sometimes entertaining when she's not on book tour.  And even "Saint Brenda" loses my attention from time to time.

I guess my real issue is that I care more about knowing the people who are knitting the socks and the shawls and the impossibly complicated colorwork sweater, than I care about the actual items themselves.  I like having a window into someone else's life - someone that I might be friends with in real life, or maybe just know about.

That's why I love to read Crazy Aunt Purl and XRK.

Am I unusual?  Or do you too find yourself drawn to the kid in the corner and find the popular folks uninteresting, your area of interest being what it may?

remember, remember

Do you remember that whole sex and babies thing I went through on the blog not too long ago?  Well, TIME Magazine got in on it.  The sex part, at least (or in this week's magazine article's case, the no-sex part).  And so, as a result, did my husband.

You can read his take here.


there goes a lung

I think I have bronchitis.  Here's why.

I have been coughing, non stop, for a week.  I have begun bargaining with the Good Lord to try to get out of my personal hell.

Coughing.  That's it.  Just coughing.  No snot, no phlegm, no chest heaviness, no fever.  Just coughing.  My entire body aches just from the trauma of 30-second violent coughing spells occuring at least 5 times a day.  

Last night was glorious, in that I slept for 4 straight hours.  It's been a week since I've slept that long, uninterrupted.  One of my coworkers noted that 'the dark circles were not as pronounced' today.  

Actually, I've had a realization.  My above description of symptoms reflects how they WERE until about 4 hours ago.  Then my lungs got really heavy and I got a little snotty, and there's been the occasional sighting of 'goop' (clear goop, for you medical nerds and/or nursing students).

This is definitely bronchitis.  Ah, bronchitis, my friend, you're late - I usually see you in January.  Always a tease you are, bronchitis.  Silly bronchitis.

The last time I was recovering from this same disease, I had a fateful phone conversation that eventually landed me a husband.  I wonder what surprise bronchitis has in store for me this time!  I'm rooting for a pay raise.  

reviewing almost french

Recently I finished the travel memoir Almost French, by Sarah Turnbull.  

What a cool story this lady has!  But beyond the story, I thought that the picture she paints of French culture, and perhaps unconsciously of her own Australian culture, was fascinating to see.  She helps put Parisians into context.  And of course, understanding can help remove blind hatred.

I used to have blind hatred for Paris.  Ok, well not hatred...but I DID NOT LIKE Paris.  I thought it was stuffy, and dirty, and so revoltingly overrated.  And Parisians, in my mind, were arrogant, obnoxious, and way too concerned with appearances (except when it came to their own streets).  I think I mostly misunderstood Paris and its culture, though.  I can now safely say that I 'get' it (to a greater extent than I used to) and I now dislike it justifiably!

I don't think I'll ever love Paris, but after seeing through a foreigner's eyes, I think I could tolerate it if forced.

Good thing moving to Paris is nowhere on my radar.

Australia, on the other hand....reading the author's comparisons between Paris and Sydney made me almost yearn to be down under.  Who knows, maybe you'll be reading my own travel memoir, 'Almost a Sheila,' in a couple of years!

I didn't like it as much as the Peter Mayle books, but it was a very enjoyable read.  It's one of the few books that has caused me to improve something about myself - namely, my attitude.  And it was fun, to boot!



When there's ever an economic downturn, it seems like the family pets are hit the first and the hardest.  Right now shelters are overrun, and things are only getting more crowded.

Last weekend, Brian and I did another animal transport.  This run was South Hill to Richmond.  The dogs began in South Carolina somewhere, and ended up somewhere in the North East (Delaware, I think?) so it was a two-day event.

I didn't remember to take my camera, so I don't have photos, but I do have a few memories.

We were originally supposed to take 3 dogs, but there was some last-minute shuffling.  Because about 35 dogs (including about 15 puppies!) were involved in this transport, a number of drivers handled each leg.  One of the drivers in our leg had found a wounded dog on the side of the road on the way down, so after meeting up with us, we assured her that we could reshuffle and handle her load, and she headed off to her vet.

There were all sorts of madness and mayhem at our particular pickup, but I won't get into that.  We did have a good bit of fun, at least.  Brian managed to zero in on what was pretty much the cutest little spotted puppy in the world...seriously....adorable.  Shame I don't have photos!!!

After all was said and done, we ended up carting 4 dogs to the meeting place in Richmond.  Dolphin, a chocolate lab mix, spent the trip in the 'way back.'  Deebo, a 10-yr-old mild-mannered border collie sat in the back seat alongside Flame, a german shepherd? mix puppy of about 4months old.  Flame spent the trip in a wire crate because of his floppy puppy-ness and his back - a gaping acid burn that started at the base of his neck and went all the way down his spine to his hips.  The worst of his burn was still pretty raw, but judging from his scars and hair re-growth it had already healed up significantly.  We don't know who did this to him or when, but the good news is that he doesn't seem affected by it.  He was extremely friendly, loved attention, and was very well behaved despite his huge puppy energy.  

Our fourth passenger was Max, a purebred pudgy beagle who must have been an owner surrender... meaning, his family didn't want him anymore so they took him to the animal shelter to die.  Max seemed to miss his family very much and did NOT enjoy being away from humans.  The shelter must have been really scary for him, but once he gets into his real forever home he will be so happy and bouncy.  He was a real sweetie.

I love being able to do this again.  We have a set amount each month that we give to charity, and I'd already sent off checks covering all of this month's giving, so we weren't going to be able to do the transport.  The lady putting it together said that someone would sponsor our gas money, and that was all it took to get us on the road again.

If you're interested in helping animals get out of shelters (which euthanize) and into rescues (which do not euthanize) then get in touch with a transport organization, or get in touch with ME.  You can find groups on Yahoo that work in your area (search for animal transport or animal rescue, and your state or a major interstate that you live near, such as I-95 or I-81).  A couple that come to mind are OTRA (on the road again), Truck'n'paws, and Rural Shelter Help.

Most legs aren't more than 70 miles and can be completed in an hour each way.  The South Hill to Richmond was a long one, at 81 miles, and even at that, we only paid about $35 in gas.  It's so rewarding to know that you were directly involved in saving an animal's life.

And people.  If you are considering adding a pet to your family, DON'T go to a pet shop.  There are thousands of cats and dogs that die every day.  Visit an animal shelter, an animal rescue, or Petfinder to find your pet.  There are rescues for every kind of animal, for every breed of cat and dog.  There are rescues for rabbits, horses, guinea pigs, chickens, everything.  One of the perks of adopting from a shelter or rescue (besides saving an animal's life) is that it's significantly cheaper - shelters have a low adoption fee (generally under 3 digits) and most rescues come in at half of what you'd pay from a pet shop.  Seriously.  Check it out.

Oh.  And a breeder who breeds more than one or two kinds of dogs is not a good breeder and does not deserve your $700.


goooooooooooood morning

a few days ago I wrote about making my own space to be quiet and restore, which would then fuel the satisfied creative life.  I also mentioned off-hand that I'm starting to get up earlier in the morning to be productive.  This is something you hear about from super-moms and born-organized people and those who get up to work out.  I am none of these things, and yet I'm using their strategy.

I'm curious about who else does this.  I'm usually the girl who snoozes as long as possible and then rushes through the morning before trudging off to work, so this whole new situation involving having enough time is revolutionary, and very refreshing.  It may just make me into a morning person yet!!

What about you?  What do your mornings look like?


5 defining moments

There's some meme going around the blogosphere right now that challenges folks to write about 5 defining moments in their lives.  I decided not to wait to be tagged.

1. Confirmation

I was confirmed in the Lutheran church around the age of 15.  I've always had a strong faith and felt comfortable discussing 'issues' that plague theologians without ever getting into doctrine.  Confirmation classes were my first exposure to 'we believe this' and 'we believe that' and I didn't have a very good reaction to it.  I had trouble with the idea of standing up in front of the church and confirming that I agreed with everything in the doctrine, so I made my speech more about confirming my FAITH rather than my BELIEF.  I operated out of that mode ever since; and that is what began my journey away from denominations as well as my own personal examination of my beliefs - my 'religion' - rather than relying on simple faith.

2. Day before classes began, freshman year, UNC

This was huge for me.  I was scared of college, but I was there.  The day before classes began, I decided to pull out my map and find my classrooms so that I wasn't 'that girl' wandering around with no clue.  This was my first real opportunity to walk around campus alone and take everything in, on my own, at my pace, without a tour guide or a parent or a place to be in 2 minutes.  I had appreciated Carolina's beauty before, but I'd never really absorbed it.  On this day, during this walk, I got absorbed in the details.  And then, as I was passing between Carroll and Hanes, something happened.  It felt as though my Papa Jim were with me, walking beside me.  I could feel his presence - it was calming and reassuring, as if he were telling me to cherish all these moments because they would lead to something great.  It was so cool.  The greater significance of the time and place when I felt him was that he went to UNC (as did his daughter, my mom, a few decades later) in the late 40s and early 50s.  He was a good man and loved the University, so much so that he was a construction volunteer helping them build Hanes Hall.  There aren't many pieces of my heritage that I've been able to salvage, but this is one of them.  I'll always have that memory and I'll always love my University - our University.

(also...seems volunteer construction runs in the family!)

3. Chartered bus, UNC Pep Bands, Syracuse, NY.  March 2005.

Remember how Papa Jim told me that my time at Carolina would be great?  I always believed that.  And that's why I suffered through hours and hours of marching band wool-uniformed hell...because I knew something great was coming, and I knew it had to do with basketball.  My payoff for the aforementioned wool-enshrouded agony was basketball.  Namely, I was in the travel band that went with the mens basketball team for the NCAA tournament in 2005.  And need I remind you, we won the tournament.  The entire time I was at UNC, I knew I would be traveling with the team and I knew we were going all the way.  I would have been hard pressed to convince anyone of this during my freshman year (we went 8 and 20 that year) that we'd be on top just a little ways down the road.  But when we were in Syracuse, on the bus, in the dark, heading to the hotel after winning the regional championship in the Concrete barn, I knew I had been right all along.  Our (awesome) bus driver had called his buddy at the radio station and got him to play 'We will rock you/We are the champions' for us to listen to.  And we (the pep band) sang along, all 31 of us, at the top of our lungs.  We knew that we were going to St. Louis, that we would watch our team from 10 feet away, that we would be on TV an have parties and all the other fantastic stuff that comes along with the Final Four, and we knew that the following weekend, WE WOULD WIN.  We were on top of the world.  It was a fantastic moment.  Another one I'll never forget.

4. The big break-up

I dated a guy on and off (mostly on) for about 4 years, spanning my last 3 years in college and the one following graduation.  My family didn't like him, his family (for the most part) didn't like me.  We had a really hard relationship, mostly due to a lot of outside pressures.  We were even engaged at one point, until he called off the wedding.  That was a very bad time for me...I couldn't handle being alone, I didn't want to without him, so when he came to me a couple months later and asked for a second chance, I gave him one gladly.  Months later some things came to a head and I realized I was way better off without him.  It ended immediately.  I grieved for about 2 months, and then I was over it.  The moment I realized that I was better off, that I deserved better, and I would find better and be truly happy, was possibly the best moment of my life.  Once again I had the luxury of knowing that things would end well, and having that to fall back on was what got me through something that otherwise might have led to very dark times.

5. Chapel Hill, February 3, 2007

Let's review:  I had no boyfriend.  My place of employment was relocating in a couple of months.  My lease was ending at the same time.  Six weeks earlier I'd learned that my church would be dissolving at the end of February.  I was the freest I'd ever been - no strings attached to anything, no reason to stay where I was and EVERY reason to go somewhere else and do something different.  I narrowed my potential new homes of choice to four places: Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Richmond, Atlanta.  I had friends in each of these cities, and they all sounded exciting.  Plus, Indy and Phila came with GREAT built-in excuses to knit all kinds of cute winter clothes and accessories.  I decided to try to get a visit to all these places to decide where to move.  Richmond came first, because I owed my friend there a visit anyway.  With my intense desire to be at church as much as possible, I planned to make it a Thursday-Saturday visit, leaving me with basically nothing to do on Friday while my friend worked.  And then I remembered that I knew someone else in Richmond, so I hopped on facebook on a Monday and sent him a message saying 'hey, I'm thinking about moving to Richmond and I'm coming up in a couple of weeks.  I have nothing to do on the Friday during normal business hours - would you want to get coffee or something and we can talk about life in the city, catch up and get reacquainted and all that?'  He jumped on the opportunity.  We exchanged phone numbers; he called me that night.  We've been best friends since then.  

After 5 consecutive nights of staying up talking until the wee hours of the morning, he couldn't bear to wait another 2 weeks, borrowed a car, and literally drove all night to see me.  We've been in love ever since.

And once again, I just knew.  He was my happy ending.

(sidenote, for those of you doing the math: we started 'dating' in late january or early february, depending on who you ask; we were engaged in august; we were married dec. 1.  we'd been married 2 months by the time we'd been a couple for a year.)


so THIS is how stable feels

I had a slow, draggy couple of days at work today and yesterday.  A few projects that are bumping up against what I hope will be a glass ceiling...a few fun creative things that I have to put on the backburner...a 'shake-up' announcement that I sense may be in the near future, which will directly impact me, and I'm not sure how to feel about it...

I'll keep you all posted.

It's been an interesting week, though.  Wednessday I had my first performance review EVER, and I think it went pretty well.  YouthBuild is coming along, although we need some actual YOUTH to sign up or else I will spend some long hours staring at ceilings next week.  I'm building some new friendships through work, and words cannot express how happy I am about these, after being here for a year and not making any friends.  And like I said, I'm sensing some changes on the horizon.  Changes add an extra charge in the air.

On a more personal level, it's been a pretty good week.  I've felt nice and stable - something I'm not used to.  The housework doesn't seem so borish, and it's actually getting done.  Eli's been super cute.  I made cookies, and folks at work celebrated.  I had a SUCCESSFUL exciting trip to CVS (to the extent that CVS can be exciting) wherein I spent $38, saved $50, and got $30 in 'CVS dollars.'  I'm not sure how, but we had enough money to cover the bills without siphoning off too much from savings....I'm pretty sure God had something to do with this.  Brian seems to be in brighter spirits, too.  The biggest let-down (other than not sleeping through the night at all ever in the past few weeks) was this week's So You Think You Can Dance.  I just didn't enjoy it as much.  Richmond Public Library let me extend my rental another week, which was great because I thought I was at my extension limit and I'm not quite done with the current Anne Lamott selection.  PLUS, my bike is in the shop and will be back next week, all fixed up and ready to go!  That'll be awesome - even LESS driving.  Me likey.

I haven't had such a 'normal' or 'balanced' or 'stable' week in a long while.  It feels good.  Too good to comprehend, actually.  I could get used to this.

There is some fun to be had tonight.  


what will the recession do for music?

Saw this. Reflected. Wanted to share.

"Do economic downturns inspire great music? A case can be made that hard times help produce heartfelt anthems that cut through the anesthetic musical drone of the day. This has been true of everyone from Woody Guthrie to Bruce Springsteen to the Clash and even Kurt Cobain.

Given the current state of popular music and its obsession with an affluence that is quickly disappearing, the climate would seem right for the emergence of new artists who can rekindle passion and urgency in American music."

I think it would be wonderful to hear a new influx of simplicity-driven music. With all the worrying that we're doing about the economy, the general noise and distraction in our culture have risen to a fevered pitch. It would do us some good to withdraw, reflect, and calm ourselves.

Things like biking more, seeking local or at-home activities rather than mass-marketed entertainment and food, and 'staycations' full of books, waterfights, and parks, will help us breathe, focus, and then rebuild. So might trading out all the synthetic pulp filling the airwaves, in favor of something more distilled, more focused, even more meaningful.

Your thoughts?

that special place

In a lot of the books and blogs I read about how to downsize your life or declutter, find your bliss, discover your true path, enhance your spirituality, simplify, and/or live creatively, there's an emphasis on setting up your own private space.  This is where you keep the things that help you 'center' - your old typewriter and your fountain pen and your wonderfully scented candle and only your favorite colors and your special journal (in which you are writing every day, of course).  

This is something I've wanted to do for myself for years, but haven't.  I feel stymied - I don't know where to start!  I have a few pieces - the candle for one, and a journal.  I would love an old-fashioned typewriter.  I have the hand-made cedar chest to house my most treasured possessions.  I have the antique desk for if/when I launch a writing career.  (And by the way, is it just me or are half the people on the earth planning to launch a writing career someday?)

I could start reading my Simple Abundance book again - in this, Julia Cameron teaches you how to re-set your mind and operate out of that.  And this would fit nicely with my now-forming habit of getting up a lot earlier in the morning to try to be productive at home before I go be productive at work, since I come home too tired to be significantly productive.

Have you ever been able to establish a place in your home that is solely yours, that feeds your soul and energizes you and rests you at the same time?  How did you get there?  What are some things you've placed there that are significant for you?


mo' money, mo' happy

Setting ourselves up and establishing our household has proven especially difficult, given the double-whammies of both of us being on one income, and the somewhat 'challening' economic times. Getting ahead has been a struggle, and one that I think we're starting to lose, given a few well-placed multiple-hundred-dollar expenses and a couple more looming on the horizon.

The good news is, we have enough. The better news is, most days we are content with enough. There are times, though, when it's all I can do not to go on a 'spending spree' - which constitutes purchasing anything more than about 4 bucks.

I read recently (in an uncited article from MSN Health) that there IS a threshold at which point having more money actually does make a difference in your level of happiness. The article put the threshold right around $40k a year. With me working for a nonprofit and my husband in grad school with part-time internships, we land under, but close to, the line.

Sometimes I am convinced that we really would be better off if we had a little more money. We could get out and SEE this wonderful city where we live; right now, ANY charge at the door is prohibitive.

That means no awesome museum tours, no Third Thursdays, no Fidos after Five, no Maymont, no canal cruises. No sweet concerts at the National or Innsbrook. No hitting the great shops in the fan and Carytown. There is so much cool stuff going on, and we can't see it

It also means we can't sink our teeth in any of the great local cuisine, because we just plain can't afford to dine out. And that right there is a cryin' shame. Because Richmond's got a lot of good eats.  I don't even want to think about this one, because it makes me sad.  We'll leave it at this:  in the year that I've lived here, we've eaten at these local restaurants:  Sticky Rice, Kuba-Kuba, Mama Cucina's, Hill Cafe, La Casita, Coppola's, Dot's Back Inn, and Robin's Inn.  We've also had ice cream at Bev's and pizza at Zorba's (on Northside) and Mary Angela's.  A number of these ventures were complimentary, a couple others at lunch.  I have a feeling that a lot of you folks visit more places in the course of 3 weeks.  

Sometimes I get profoundly sad about all the things we're missing.  And I really do think that if we could eek our income just a little higher, it would make a real difference.

Richmonders - we're new in town.  What am I missing, that wouldn't cost?  Is there a place to find restaurant deals?  Dog-friendly is also a perk.


razor burn

I confess...I am not one of those chicks who shaves her legs fastidiously every morning. This is good for me, because it means my razors last longer, I spend less time in the shower, and I don't get bored by the same old same old routine. Because lord knows I don't like being bored by routines.

I didn't really think my husband noticed, or cared, until recently. He knows I'm not a 'girly girl' and I know that he kinda digs the whole 'camp counselor' thing. But we've traded flannel PJs for shorter, cooler sleepwear, and this is our first summer being married (and thus sharing a bed). He made a sidebar comment that included the words 'don't like' and 'scratchy' a few weeks ago when we were cuddling, which led me to go from shaving every 3 or 4 days to every 2 or 3 days.

And STILL he complains. Ok so not really, he's only said something twice EVER (the second one was last night, and included 'don't like' and 'pricklies') so I don't think it's time to jump down his throat (yet). But this leaves me to consider something.

I love my husband very much. I sense that it might be valuable to him, and thus for our relationship, if I risked the razor burn a little more often. Like, almost every day. That's seriously a big deal for me, so I'm especially happy that CVS is sporting some awesome specials on a few different razors for ladies (comment me for details!).

Either way, I'm going back to my faithful standby and cheating aide, Jergens Shave Minimizing Lotion. They say marriage is about compromise, after all.

What's the nerdiest thing YOU ever did to make your SO happy?

ETA: SO means significant other. 


living coupon to coupon

I just got about $115 worth of stuff at CVS for $70.  I'm trying to decide if I should be glad about this.

About 6 weeks ago I stumbled across the MoneySavingMom blog.  I'm not a mom, but I'm sure into money-saving, so I stuck around.  A lot of her posts revolve around coupon strategies.  Apparently she's one of those super-moms who can run a kid-filled household and a home-based business all on about $20 a week.  

That may be a bit of an exaggeration.  But still, I was intrigued.  I figured that since I work at a nonprofit and my husband is in grad school, I'd need to figure out something.  The pinch is about to get even pinchy-er.

So I got a subscription to the Sunday paper (figured I could definitely recoup the $7 a month) and I JUST clipped coupons for about a month.  This weekend I decided it was time to get started.

I sorted my clips and worked out a sorting system of envelopes, and then I paged through the monthly and weekly CVS inserts (I picked CVS because it's within biking distance of my house).  I made my shopping list.  And it was a big list.  And like I said, I picked up about $115 worth of items for about $70, PLUS I got another $16.49 in 'extra care bucks' - to be put toward my next purchase.  I picked up, among a few other things, 2 different kinds of razors (evening out to about $2 a piece) 3 deodorants, and 2 things of this new shower gel I've been wanting to try.

I'm now feeling a little overwhelmed, and I'm not sure I'm doing it right.  I could be falling in a trap.  And I can't afford traps right now.

It's time to re-think.  MSM has a much bigger family that probably consumes a lot.  And yeah, when I lived in a house with 5 and 6 people in it, it made sense to store things up.  6 deodorants and 4 things of shampoo and several tubs of lotion would disappear pretty fast.  The 'buy in bulk' mindset has been long-instilled in me, but I'm not convinced that bulking up is right for us.  It's possible that it's not a bad idea, because I have a feeling things are going to get really tough this winter (visions of me working a weekend job are ALREADY dancing in my head).

My next step in the rethinking process is figuring out how to use the CVS thing in moderation.  Take stock of what I do have and look for any gaps.  For example, we're almost out of hand soap, but it'll be quite some time before we need shower gel.  

It IS nice to be able to get some nicer (read: not walmart brand) skincare frills that I've been looking for, at a greatly reduced price.  But I will need to adopt the mindset of "it's not a bargain if you still don't need it and still can't afford it."  So we'll see what happens.  And because I'm a woman, this is very hard to do....



my father-in-law pointed out the other day that we seem to be 'neutralizing' this holiday and stripping it of its meaning, much like we do to other holidays.

well, that's my cynic's take on what he said.  BUT, duly noted.  i realized that he's right, that most people refer to today as '4th of july' instead of 'independence day.'  it's become synonymous with fireworks and barbecues, and not necessarily celebrating the meaning behind the holiday.  i'm glad he pointed this out to me, because it was a great reminder of exactly WHY i got to sleep in this morning.

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -- That whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.  Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments log established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.  But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. -- Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.

(and then here's a looooong list of grievances against the king)

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States ay of right do. -- And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.


sewing fix

After about a year in my new city, I've finally started making friends. Fortunately, this coincides with a recent bout of 'inspiration' to try all kinds of things that I've thought about for a while, but for whatever reason I haven't done.

One of these things is sewing. I received a great machine as a gift when I graduated from college, three years ago. And I never could figure it out!! I tried and tried, I asked for help, and eventually I gave up. I had a vague notion of the error of my ways, but no idea how to fix it. I could only blame myself, and not my poor machine, which had so unforunately landed in such incapable hands.

I'd settled on a nearby quilt shop that offered what sounded like a great class.  It was just a matter of the time and the finances aligning.  And after I'd mentioned this to a new friend in the area, she told me to ditch the class plans and come hang out with her for a couple hours instead.  And I did!  And it was fantastic!

She knew what she was doing, and she was a great teacher.  So great, in fact, that I'm going crazy not having the sewing room with all the great stuff she has.  This is a creative outlet that's been frustratedly dormant for about three years now, seriously!  

So because there's no cash to drop, I'll have to figure out a few things from my 'stash' to work up.  And last night's foray into 'cleaning the guest room' worked to my advantage.  Guess what turned up!!  

A bag of pants, and a bag of neckties.  Namely, a bag of pants that need to be hemmed (and I could use the wardrobe influx) and a bag of neckties that I purchased shortly after receiving the sewing machine, under the impression that I would make a skirt out of said neckties.

I plan to spend this long weekend poking around with hemming techniques and digging around for patterns.

Any pointers?


quick poll

I'm sleepy.  Who's with me on that?

I'm excited for a long 4th of July weekend.  Who's with me on that?