Tuesday, November 30, 2010
If I hadn't noticed the lack of blogging today...I'd have missed November altogether.
I just re-read my last post...the one with the list of projects I planned to accomplish during my stay-cation. Pretty sure you know where this is headed, but I really didn't accomplish any of them.
Now I'm staring down the barrel of a Christmas Eve dinner for approximately 22 family members on my father's side and I have to find a renewed sense of productivity or my guests will be sitting on each other's laps.
More on that later. If I get into it too much right now, I might have that much-talked-about aneurysm.
Speaking of aneurysms, I've had dreams almost every night for about a week about my ex boyfriend, and where in the world that stuff is coming from is beyond me.
But, I'm honest enough with myself to admit that I miss him. A lot. I've been hearing a lot of music on the radio lately that I used to listen to him perform live, and each time it gives me this little bzzzzing shock in the deep, dark bottom of my heart. Damn him for being so perfect for me in almost every way, except for the one little way that he just refused to be good.
My November was such a screwy mess of days and nights, it's hard to wrap my mind around the idea that it was all one month.
It went kind of like this: hockey, work, vacation days, holiday, hockey, work, Lutherlyn retreat (more on this later), my nephew Ethan (the 27-pound 9 month old), working on my portfolio, finishing my office, clearing the flower garden for winter, dreaming about J, hockey, work, family, friends, phone tag, work, writing, reading, work, hockey, football, scrimping and saving, planning for M's return home next month, planning for xmas eve, contemplating -- though not buying -- xmas gifts, seeking addresses, taking photos, work, writing and hockey.
I should just do a blog a week just like that list, sort of a hodge-podge list of nonsense.
I'm going to do a better blog soon, very soon, of my Lutherlyn retreat and building my portfolio complete with pics.
I'm also going to try to blog my way through preparing for my first Christmas in a home that's mine all mine...*hint* it started with a 50% off sale last night...pics to follow.
Thanks for following this single gal's journey into life as a homeowner,
Sunday, October 24, 2010
I have to work a bit from home tomorrow, that's just the price of not wanting to go crazy last week. Some things just can't be done ahead of time -- this is a newspaper after all. I'm going to try to get the 'work' stuff done very early tomorrow so the rest of the week can truly belong to me, but we'll see.
This is a working vacation anyway. I have, have, have to cross some house projects off of my to-do list or I'll never get finished! Ever!
Finishing the office is priority number one. I'm almost there...almost!!
#2 paint the unpainted hallway, touch up paint throughout the house, and finish the doorways.
#3 clean the basement, build the shelves, organize a storage area.
#4 have carpets and vents cleaned.
This list is probably done more linearly as opposed to in actual order of priority. I guess it's probably more honest to say that my goal is to get the carpets cleaned and the items on the list leading up to that will make #4 easier to achieve.
The work in my office would probably be easier if I weren't so obsessed with shredding documents. Thus-far, I have not fallen victim to identity theft and I'm not sure if it has anything to do with my obsessive shredding, but I can't stop now. The only thing I wish I could change about the shredding is that I wish I were some kind of crafty lady who had something to put all of this shredded paper to some kind of good use. If anyone knows someone who could used shredded paper in some kind of constructive way, please let me know!
I'm no environmentalist, ask my sister and she'll roll her eyes at the idea of me as an environmentalist, but I deeply want to be in that club. At best, I'm an associate member at this point.
I have always been very energy conscious. I don't leave lights on. I bought only energy-saving light bulbs for the house, I just bought a drying rack and am going to try to eliminate using my dryer, my furnace isn't on yet, though I am using an electric blanket on low at night.
A lot of that has to do with how frugal I am...but I do appreciate the environmental benefits.
I used recycled rubber mulch in my garden. When my tub faucet was leaking, I collected the water each day and used it on my plants. I only use cold water in my washing machine and use cold water detergent.
I switched beers to purchase only clear-glass bottles so I can recycle them -- my city doesn't allow colored-glass recycling. I go through a lot of paper in my day job, but I just can't throw it all away. I stopped using post-its and have taken to saving and cutting up old sheets of paper from things I've either had to print out or faxed items to use the paper again for phone messages, shopping lists, etc. I've even manufactured little notebooks out of the used pages and used them to take notes during meetings. Trying to lower the amount of paper I consume is something I'm very, very mindful of.
I'm going to Camp Lutherlyn next month, where I went as a child and worked as a teen/young adult. They have these fantastic getaway weekends for folks who have projects who they haven't had time to finish. Most of the women are working on quilting or other crafty items. Two years ago I went and spent my time putting all of my photos into photo albums. It took nearly all four days to organize the pictures into categories and then to slip them into various albums. I had intended to put my newspaper clippings into a portfolio/scrapbook during that weekend and to write at least a chapter or two of the book I'm writing. I wrote one chapter and made zero progress on the scrapbook/portfolio. Two years later, I'm have two additional years worth of articles and not a one in any organized fashion or in the portfolio. Now I'm at 10 years of writing that needs to be dealt with -- so I'm heading back to Lutherlyn.
I'll get to use a bunch of my saved computer printouts, press releases and faxes to assemble my portfolio. I have a nice stash saved up and won't have to use any additional trees for my project!
Part of organizing my office will be to put everything that I'll need for that project into a box to take with me to camp. Maybe this year I'll finally get it together! We'll see. Wouldn't that be something to get that finally crossed off of my list?? I can't imagine what that would be like.
I'm thinking about hitting the sack early tonight to get a head start tomorrow morning, it's probably a good idea.
Thanks for checking in on the adventures of a long-time single gal and newcomer to the world of home-ownership. It's a journey I'm enjoying immensely;)
Sunday, October 17, 2010
I know that, at least in part, the flying passage of time has a lot to do with working two jobs -- two jobs that seem to get busier and busier as the year moves along. I did virtually nothing yesterday, except for a few naps, and slept in hardcore both weekend mornings. It was like being in recovery from such an insane week.
I have unpacked my office, and it's about 80 percent organized. I'm working on the final 20 percent today. I need to get started on my basement, it's my final frontier. I'm considering doing some holiday entertaining this year, and the basement is crucial. It's partially finished, and I'd definitely need that space to be presentable to have a significant number of people over for a few hours.
I will be on "vacation" next week. I'm hoping to get a good portion of the remaining to-do list items crossed off during that time. Maybe I'll even work in a massage and the time to read a good book. Who knows?
I made dinner for my cousin Ashley last Sunday and it went really well. Lime-tortilla crusted chicken, lemon pasta, blackberry cobbler and sangria. I impressed myself a little bit for being able to pull it off. She gave me the cutest pumpkin decoration and it inspired me to pick up a few other things and 'decorate' for fall.
I'm really looking forward to the week off. It's not going to be easy to get everything done in time to leave Friday, but I am looking forward to having a few days to do nothing and a few days to get things done without having to worry about going back to work the next morning. I need the time off desperately.
More soon, I promise, ~kll
Sunday, September 19, 2010
In the last month and a half, I think that's how long it's been, things have been pretty busy.
I started dating someone who is a wonderful man and we had a good time. It didn't work out, that's life sometimes, but we got out before our friendship was damaged. I'm relieved that we still care about each other so much and still want to be in each other's lives. It was by far the most mature, most genuinely mutual break-up I've ever experienced. I'm sad it didn't work, but we're doing the right thing.
I had my first overnight guests a couple weeks ago. My best friend Chris, his wife Anna and daughter Cassidy, came for a night over Labor Day weekend. It was great! I felt so domestic.
I've had a couple of friends over for dinner, as well. I'm getting closer to having a party-ready house. I need to get an organized to-do list together, divide it up and start making the progress on what a contractor would call a 'punch list.' Whenever I cover a big renovation or big construction project, when things are nearing the end of the project, they always talk about a punch list. It's usually really small things, like 'touch up paint on the second floor window frame, install lightbulbs on the third floor, fix the chipped floor tile in the basement, etc.'
My punch list goes something like this: paint the stairwell, finish the painting that still needs to be done, touch up paint in bedroom and kitchen, have all carpets shampooed, clean basement, purchase basement shelving and organize things for storage, finish unpacking the office, hang up pictures, clean back porch, get rid of packing boxes, and probably about a million other things I can't think of at the moment!
I got my own office at work. It feels better than I ever imagined it would when I used to fantasize about having an office with a door I could close and space to spread out. That little space needs to be cleaned and organized as well, but it's so fantastic even in its messy state. It feels amazing.
My nephew is six months old and weighs somewhere around 25 pounds! He's gigantic.
My neice Arabella celebrates her first birthday this week, her party was yesterday and I had such a fantastic time!
Working at Consol Energy Center has been a little crazy. It's been very, very busy and it hasn't gotten started yet! Hockey starts (pre-season) Wednesday night and then things kick into high gear.
I purchased a digital SLR camera this summer and I just love it. My paper looks better, my facebook pics look better, I'm really enjoying it.
Check out my garden, it's really filled out, hasn't it?
The recycled rubber mulch has worked like a charm. I love it! Maybe next year I'll try a real garden, but we'll see.
All in all, it's been a pretty great summer. I'm settling in to my house, and I love every thing about it. It's just fantastic. Homeownership can be difficult, I've had a couple plumbing issues and some other things that have popped up, but having my own place is just as amazing as I always thought.
I didn't get to go camping this summer, which makes me sad, but I'm serious about getting out there next year. I need to plan a couple of vacations soon. I have three weeks to use and have only used one day so far!
Maybe I'll eventually get into the habit of writing more often here. I need some discipline.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Every time I point out a difference in my life today from my life a year ago, it's like checking off an imaginary to-do list of things I wanted to eliminate and things I wanted to add.
It's been a little more than two weeks since my last blog, and it might seem incredibly trite, but what a difference two weeks makes!
In that time, I've been spending time with someone who I've known for a long time, but who is also someone I could stand to know a lot better. I'm marveling at the differences in both of us since we first met and opening up doors I have intentionally kept closed for a very long time.
Could I be more vague? Probably.
A few posts ago I mentioned there were only three things that I wanted to change in my life as opposed to the thousands of things I wanted to change a year ago.
I'm down to one thing on that list.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Every time I post, I think that's the week I'll get into the swing of posting at least once a week ... and then the very next post starts out a little something like 'I can't believe it's been so long since I've written!'
Since my last post, I've made a little more progress on the house. I built my desk -- I also made a sort of big mistake on the desk, but it's something only I would ever know about. Instead of a cabinet on the side of the hutch, there is just a shelf. I accidentally mixed up two of the pieces and didn't discover it until it was much too late and the door to the cabinet wouldn't fit anymore.
Luckily, I've somehow managed to become a little more 'go with the flow' in the months since buying this house.
I've never, ever, been a go with the flow person. I've desperately tried to be a go with the flow kind of gal, I've even given a reasonably good acting performance of a go with the flow person from time to time. But, it's never been real.
It's amazing how buying a house, and doing a LOT of work on that house, can teach you about 'letting go.' I have some perfectionistic, control-freak tendencies. Mostly with my work. While painting my living room in March, I spent a good bit of time alone working to meet a deadline on getting that room done.
It was during that stretch that I learned how to let go a little bit. I had to make decisions every day of this redecoration process about what I was able to live with and what I was able to do without. If the paint wasn't entirely straight, if the tape pulled off some of the paint, if the paint dripped...I had to make snap decisions about what needed to be redone and what I could live with.
It was a great lesson. I've had to figure out some things about 'letting go.' I had to learn how to accept what I was capable of doing rather than expecting more than I could do.
It helped me at work, too. I learned how to set reasonable expectations for myself and to say 'this is how much work I can do in one week' and to stop trying to cram more and more work into each week in this effort to produce a perfect newspaper every week.
It's amazing how much my stress level came down. It's not gone, I'm still in a deadline-based business and am still writing, editing, photographing, and paginating a paper nearly entirely by myself each week.
But, instead of trying to bust out 900 editorial inches of material each week, I'm accepting that it's a lot more reasonable for me to produce about 650 to 700 inches. Sometimes I have guilt about it, but most of the time I accept that it's what I'm able to do.
It's a struggle.
I've been struggling with ideas about the house, too. I have postponed a house-warming party because I have this concept in my mind that everything has to be finished and perfect before I 'unveil' my home to everyone I care about.
I'm trying to apply my new 'letting go' lessons to this, but it's hard. I'm getting a lot closer, though. Once the office is unpacked, which will be easier now that the desk is finished, I can get the carpets cleaned and the air vents cleaned, and I think that is the goal I'm going to stick with for the unveiling.
Finishing the basement into a guest bedroom can probably wait until after my aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmother, and best friends have been over for a quick party.
Does anyone have any personal tips or advice for someone who is trying to learn to 'let go?'
Friday, July 2, 2010
Above and below: After moving the dirt around (and finding pieces of glass, aluminum foil, pop tabs and a huge chunk of what appears to be quartz) and planting the flowers. Mostly begonias and marigolds...not much else likes as much sun as my flower bed will get each day.
For the final touch, I added rubber mulch, which is allegedly good for the environment and doesn't need to be replaced as often.
Keep our fingers crossed that the flowers take root and thrive!