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Archive for December, 2008

I can’t wait for this to get here.  Got 5 boxes together yesterday; 4 to donate.  The kids’ closet is fully functional for the first time ever.  I finally got a logical, accessible filing system set up.  But oy, the piles left over.  This is the part I really have to focus on now, the miscellaneous crap that never gets a proper place to be put away.

This means I am finished with one closet out of four and one room out of four.  I should be finished with the kids’ room today (not counting the furniture to be removed/inserted hopefully next week.)  This is another hard part of organizing, the having all of one’s supplies together at the same time.  We have a bookcase coming for the kids’ room in addition to the crib and the stuffed animal cage.  We have a bookcase coming for the dining room.  There is the easel and rolling cart to be removed from the kids’ and dining rooms respectively.  Then the piles of boxes from the kids’ room.  This puts the estimated complete-completion date at next weekend maybe?

My closet sort relies on the removal of the ton of baby stuff to donate plus the ton of my old clothes to store and donate.  C is doing his own closet.  I’ll try to figure out the holiday storage closet deal when I take the tree down this weekend.  The kitchen should be quick too; we may get that done next week if I get the rest done early.

Scintillating, this planning, eh?

Mostly I want to get some space cleared so that I can put together my Brand!  New!  Loom!  Woot!  Because just in time for starting college, I’ve taken up three hobbies and a massive organization project.  It’s alright to question my sanity.  I do it all the time.

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Without a doubt 2008 was one of my most eventful years yet.  Between the meningitis, foot surgery, volunteering, learning new stuff, and most importantly, getting into college, I have certainly kept myself busy.  And all this with two children!  I don’t know how I do it!

*eye roll*

It has been a big year, and overall I am really proud of myself for all that I have accomplished.  I am hoping 2009 will be more of the same, minus the health issues of course.  I’m setting pretty lofty goals, including getting back to the Riot, clearing the apartment of the stuff we just don’t use/need/want to keep tripping over, and the Competence Project.  I will also be taking 10 credits’ worth of classes, which will be interesting at least, terrifying at worst.  I’m trying to do less thinking and more doing, to be honest, because the more I think the more I can’t figure out how in heaven’s name I’ll get anything done what with the huddling in the corner muttering about nonsense.

I jest, I jest.  I huddle in therapy muttering nonsense.

The big thing I plan on doing in 2009 though?  Is giving myself a break from time to time.  Seriously.  I have a really bad habit of being hard on myself for not doing as much as I think I should and the result has been that I spend more time berating myself than giving myself time off.  And I need time off or I’m going to crack.  It’s the bitch about being a stay-at-home-mom.  It seems like you have nothing but time off but in actuality, not having the divide between work and home means that even your time off is working time off.  I’m hoping that having classes will allow me to feel like it’s ok to take time for myself.

In the meantime, today is my only day this week to get shit done so I fear a break will have to wait.

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Even though I never do anything to celebrate ’em, the solstices are two of my favorite days of the year.  I suppose schlepping in the ice and snow to Grandma’s house will count for ‘communing with nature’ in an NYC sort of way, although I’d prefer less asphalt and subways in between.

I am woefully unprepared for the holidays, sort of.  Nothing is wrapped, no gift tags have been made, and even my scarf clocks in at 2/3 completed.  This last part will hopefully be rectified this week–I keep wondering if it’s bad form to take my knitting to therapy (with a halfway har har).  Tomorrow is wrapping and papermaking, I freaking swear, and we should make the mozzarella already.  I mean, seriously.  I have all of these pie-in-the-sky ideas and my follow-through sucks because I get all ‘ooh, shiny’ about new projects.  On the other hand, should you come to my house and need a sticker, sheet of construction paper, or otherwise have a pressing need to make a papercraft, I can actually find what you need.  This is a huge deal to me even though it wasn’t even on the radar before Wednesday or Thursday.  It makes me want to make stuff, y’all.  Just not the stuff I’ve been planning to make for the past month.

I do think, however, that my plans to simplify my life through getting rid of stuff we’re not using is going to be a roaring success.  It’s already looking better in here, and I’ve barely begun packing things away not to mention that nothing has been removed from the premises.  I’ve rearranged some stuff in the master bedroom, a little in the kids’ room, a wee bit in the dining/music/art/Halloween room and sorted through the crafty stuff (I have had to implement a strict ‘if we haven’t reused it in 6 months it must be recycled’ policy about which I have mixed feelings.)  When this whole project is completed, we will have additional space in the kitchen closet for less-used items from our overcrowded cabinets, we will have additional counterspace, and best of all, we will have more space for dried food storage.  In the living room, we will have space for the kids to run around.  In the kids’ room, we will have space for a crib and, ideally, for the baby’s toys.  In the dining room we will have more space for those projects I never finish.  And eventually I will either be able to get into my closet to wear non-yoga pants-and-t-shirt outfits *or* I will be able to turn it into something practical, whatever that may be.  A place to escape from the children?  A super-claustrophobic writing nook?  The possibilities are endless!

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Throughout the holiday season, I have attempted to buy predominantly handmade goods for presents and while I do not have a final tally, I am comfortable saying that I am pleased with how I have done.  Much is handmade, and if not handmade Fair Trade.  I did get some from teh Amazon but that was mostly from smaller sellers therein.  I did not do as much donating this year for the holidays but I did throughout the year so I’m pleased with that as well.  I did, however, end up buying more than I had planned so that is something to work on for next year–remembering that it’s not how much you buy but how much you love.

And so to all of you, I hope each and every one of you is surrounded by people who love and are loved by you, and that your holidays are full of joy.  I am thankful for every comment, every friendship, and every connection I have made here and I hope to see you all in the New Year.  Now that I’ve said that, you’ll be treated to a million posts, of course, but as of right now, my plan is to spend some time in Facebook real life.

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Or something.  I woke up this morning to pitch dark.  At 7am (the baby is up at 12:30 screaming bloody murder every night so I’m stealing extra sleep wherever I can.)  I was very confused.

Yesterday I boxed up a bunch of baby toys that either Bubby doesn’t play with or we have something similar in wood.  I was hoping for more, but at least we should have cleared space for the new stuff coming in.  Today I’ma sneak out a boxful of stuffed animals from Lucy’s room because I swear she’ll never remember all of the little ones she had buried in the big bin or ’em.

I can send the easel, the glider and ottoman, the playpen all out next month and we’re going to get the crib for naps and emergency baby containment.  I’m going to basically turn my big closet into a space to store stuff that is on its way out of the house and give up on the notion of using it until it’s cleared out.  If I was only a wee bit braver, I’d just send everything out that is in it but I fear I may need a dress or some spare linens one of these days 😛

C’mon, what else can I get rid of?  I’m on a roll here!

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I freaked out yesterday and ordered a couple presents each for the kids’ stockings.  I realized that the baby was only getting 2 pairs of wool longies in his, and then there was a game on sale that Lucy wanted, and then she’s been fixated on these fairy dolls that I did not buy her because I got her a pioneer dollhouse family instead so I got her a make-your-own fairy doll kit too, and then I had to pick up another little thing for the baby to make it even and then I collapsed in a pile of exhaustion because I am a freaking BASKETCASE every year around the holidays.  So it’s a good thing Lucy’s birthday is next month because I’m sure I’ll get everything out of the closet and go ‘what the fuck was I thinking?’ like I do every year.  Again, I’m going to be keeping an eye toward the things I’m bringing into the house when I look to clear kids’ stuff out over the next few weeks.

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Last night was the first winter CSA pick-up and I have so.many.veggies.  C made up a big batch of home fries when he got home and tonight I’m going to steam up a mess of broccoli to go with the local sausage I’m thawing and the mostly-local mozzarella I’m going to finally make, and then I guess Friday will be soup day.  I love local food!  I love local meals!  I love having a fridge and freezer full of good food.  Another thrill has been feeding the baby the peaches I froze over the summer.  I’m really proud of myself for doing so much preserving, even though I didn’t get any canning done again this year.

I also have not tried out Gina’s Garam Masala recipe because I am shy of a couple of the spices And I’ve been too lazy to get to the good grocery to pick them up.  This weekend!  I have everything but the black cardamom and black cumin (mmmm, cumin, drool)  seeds already 🙂

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I fear for our electricity usage this month.  And our gasoline as well (car services are in order to travel back and forth with packages.)  I’m glad I’m not tracking until the 1st of January 😛

It’s only slightly cheating.  It’s already been heavier car usage than normal with Thanksgiving and the trip to the Met but those were all 4-5 people in the car trips so it’s not so bad, right?  RIGHT?

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My book about handspinning is on its way and I am really excited!  And I am almost done with my first knitting project!  And Lucy and I have been learning to weave on a peg loom, which may actually be more fun than knitting.  Still no paper though.  I’m running out of time!

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Simplifying

Here’s the thing:  I’m totally freaking out about going back to school.  Like days of anxiety attacks, mood swings, the gamut.  Frankly it really sucks enough that I need to check with my therapist about what I should do in between appointments. It’s sucked enough that yesterday I was thinking about asking about medication.  I don’t think I’m there when I’m not mid-attack though.

Anyhow, one of the things I really have to do is ‘simplify my life’ as my MIL put it.  And she’s absolutely right that the best way to do so is to box up and remove a bunch of the stuff we’re not using.  And I’m sort of excited about doing this; in the last days of my pregnancy, it was a great way to pass time and not focus on the what-if’s that could go wrong.  I’m already making lists in my head of what can go–the glilder and ottoman?  outta here.  The stack of cushions that Pickle used to sleep on?  See ya.  The masses of crystal and fancyness in the pantry that haven’t been out of their boxes in years?  Store ’em until we get a china cabinet.  Books, cd cases, old video games (don’t tell my husband) can be stored or donated.  And I’m going to be honest:  I have a closet full of clothes that I don’t wear.  Actually, I don’t wear anything in my closet because either I can’t get to it or I have no need for dressy clothes or they were gifts that I’m holding onto for just in case.  Does any of this sound familiar?  Yeah, it’s amazing how easy it is to talk yourself into keeping masses of stuff just in case when in actuality if you have to qualify it that way, you’re probably never gonna use it.

Anyway, this is my plan for the next month.  Boxing up, sending out, only storing stuff that is imminently useful (big kid toys, books) or too precious to part with (good serving pieces.)  I’m hoping this curbs the freakouts a little bit because seriously?  I’m way sick of that downward spiral.  I’m also way sick of piles of toys all over the house, coincidentally, so there’s that too.

Maybe I’ll even post pictures again.  I’ll tell ya, after the first time through, I still have functioning drawers and clear off my surfaces weekly.

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No paper has been made as yet.  Chico’s stocking came home yesterday.  Gift shopping is complete.  And Santa?  In a startling about-face, Lucy is now completely ignoring the fact that she told me she knew we were Santa.  WTF?  Children.

Anyhow, that brings us to this morning.  I have a crisper full of veggies begging to be eaten before they go bad.  This is actually a good thing, since the CSA break has rendered the rest of the fridge pretty barren.  The freezer and pantry are still stocked, thank goodness, but you could land a plane in there with barely any rearranging.  And so a soup is on its way tomorrow.

After some considerable laziness on my part, I finally got the toilet cloth set up again.  Double-washed, everything superfluous pulled out of the basket, the whole nine yards.  Seriously, I’m already doing the cloth dipes and baby wipes.  I have no excuse.

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My resolution for the New Year is to start up the Riot again in earnest.  I think we’ve held steady at our last numbers which were pretty darn close except for consumer goods.  We still don’t take taxis, it’s been two years since we’ve been on a plane, and even our long-distance train travel has been curtailed with the arrival of el Chico Problematico.  Electricity has been holding steady at 9 kwH a day (100 % green power) although it will be higher with the Xmas lights since I didn’t switch to LED this year as I had planned.  The part I’m most pleased with is our food, which has been around 35% local at worst.  And it’s catching–our Thanksgiving at my mother-in-law’s was damn near 100% local and my mom has found a place not prohibitively far away where she can get local produce, meat and eggs when she’s not too bogged down with a lunatic job.  I did a big trip to the bulk store on Wednesday and we are now fully stocked on beans, rice, popcorn, and sesame sticks for Lucy in addition to the nuts and dried fruits we already had.  All we need is a place to find bulk pasta and I will be one happy hippie.

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The Buy Handmade Challenge is over for me as, well, everything has been bought.  Handmade gifts for Lucy, Chico, C, several cousins, my FIL’s partner.  Donations for MIL and step-FIL.  Social justice gear for FIL.  It’s been really nice again to support artisans and fair trade organizations.  I think this will be a nice habit to keep.

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There is still one class  that they haven’t announced the lecture time yet.  I have received my textbooks already.  I find this infinitely frustrating.

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It’s Alive!

I am in an insufferably good mood this morning, which is odd considering the bebe nursed every hour throughout the night.  I’ll be passed out by two o’clock, no doubt, but in the meantime, here is the holiday planning dump.

Lucy and I are making paper today.  For gift cards.  And then we’re going to do some spinning and dyeing for yarn what to tie the cards on with.  It looks as though we may be able to do the entire holiday with leftover and/or reuse wrapping.

Then I am going to drag myself out to pick up a stocking for el Chico since the one we used last year is too small for big clunky baby toys.  It’s the cats’ stocking anyway, and we’re making them each a catnip toy this year so we’ll be needing it.

Lucy has figured out that Santa is really Mom and Dad so we’re far more relaxed this year.  She’ll be able to help with wrapping things for the Bub and the like, and we don’t have to fear the middle-of-the-night peeking.  I think also it’s less of a letdown this young.  She’s so emotional that I really feared a breakdown when she found out.  This way, she’s quite philosophical about it–‘I don’t mind, Mommy, because I always like the presents you and Daddy get for me.’

What else…we are three gifts shy of being completely finished with Xmas shopping.  I am damn well triumphant about this.

And with that I must get up out of this here chair and get cracking.  But first, I have to go bury my nose in the Dragons Blood soap I got from Creative Wanderings because it literally smells better than anything I have ever smelled before.  I want to get a bar for every room in the apartment.  It’s amazing!

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