Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Quick Trip / QuikTrip

So, I'm still sick. It seemed to be winding down, but I've been coughing and unable to sleep, so I got some Mucinex last night. After the huge horse pill got stuck in my throat and practically choked me, I waited, but it didn't seem to do anything. Bob was going out of town this morning, we weren't finished doing laundry and packing until after midnight, and I wanted to let him get to sleep before I came to bed. So I sat in my chair downstairs and coughed myself dizzy. The coughing finally seemed to stop, and I slept a couple of hours, but now I guess the Mucinex is doing its work and I'm coughing stuff up and (sorry) it's disgusting.

He left for Florida this morning for five days for some work training. The plane left at 7:00, so we got up at 4:00, which gave me, I think, a total of about three hours of sleep. We stopped at QuikTrip so he could get a cup of coffee. I just had a bottle of water, because I was afraid of another coughing spell.

I got him to the airport and dropped him off at curbside check-in, and drove home, then went back to bed until I was woken up by a coughing spell. This seems to be taking a long time to get rid of, but I almost never get sick, so I suppose that's why it feels so awful.

At least it's warmer, though! I think it's supposed to be in the upper 60s today, then back down to the 30s the rest of the week. We live in a four-plex, an interior one, so that helps with heating and cooling. The little electric forced-air heaters work great, we've got one in the bedroom, one in Bob's office, and one downstairs where I normally work. The plan is go get through until late Spring and then replace the entire heating and cooling system. Not looking forward to that, but it has to be done.

It's 61 out now, I guess I should go out and enjoy it.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Penny Soup

I'm sick, and our furnace isn't working, but I'm not stupid, I know I don't want to get a furnace bid from someone when it's 2 degrees out. Or, you know, maybe I AM stupid, but that's a different story. And whenever I'm sick, I want soup, but not just ANY soup, MY vegetable soup. And I was also cold, so that didn't help.

So I went to Target and bought a couple of little portable space heaters and vegetables to make soup. Every time I make vegetable soup, I'm reminded of the scene in Anne Tyler's "Ladder of Years" (my all time favorite book) where the little boy is missing his mother, and asks for "penny soup." The dad asks him what penny soup is, and the little boy tells him it's vegetable soup.

So the dad dices the vegetables and makes homemade soup, and is quite proud of himself, but the little boy cries. Dad is upset because he doesn't know what he did wrong.

When he asks Delia about it, she tells him that any mother would know what penny soup is. It's when you SLICE the carrots so that they look like pennies. Whether that's true or not, that any mother would know, I don't know, but I always remember it.

So soup is in the crock pot and I'm finally warm.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Moving forward

I started this blog back in 1995, before "blog" was even a word. At the time, it was an "online journal," and I remember thinking how dumb "blog" (then "weblog") sounded. But now it sounds perfectly normal, and pretty much everyone has one. Well, not everyone, certainly, but an exponentially larger group than existed at the time.

When I started it, I wrote every day, and it was a huge struggle to think of something to say. I remember sitting in my chair with the laptop on my lap late at night, searching for something to write, because I knew that people were waiting to read it. In fact, if I didn't write one night, I could expect to wake up to emails asking if I was okay!

It became a burden, and I eventually allowed myself to stop writing every day. I instituted a mailing list so I could let readers know when I had posted a journal entry. That eventually fell by the wayside as well. I was working a full time job (a series of them, actually), and writing in the evenings. That worked for awhile, but then I started doing freelance web design also, and it just got to be too much, so of course, the non-paying gig was the one that suffered.

Now that I'm working from home, one of my goals is to write much more. I'm following several self-help gurus, one of whom is Leonie Dawson. She publishes a set of workbooks that guide you through a series of exercises to help you improve your life and business. One of the exercises is to write down 100 things that you would like to accomplish in the next year. When I started writing them down, 100 seemed like a huge number, but I'm now up to 64! Some of them are fairly small and easy to accomplish (get new glasses, inventory the safe deposit box), but some of them are huge (clean out my parents' house, write another book). A couple of them I've already done (pay off Bob's hospital bill!, get a new wedding ring set!).

Okay, the wedding ring set was a $65 set from Kohl's, but it's beautiful, and will suffice until I can, someday, get my engagement ring diamond reset in a ring that actually fits my finger.

The point is, make some goals--some that may be fairly easy to achieve, and a lot that may be harder. One of my biggest goals, now that I no longer have a full time job, is to figure out ways to generate more income. A couple of my friends have suggested that I set up a system whereby people could help me out by paying small amounts for the content that I provide, such as this blog. I've resisted it because it's so hard to ask for those kinds of things, but one of my goals this year is to be braver.

When I was building my new website this summer, I got up my courage and asked my website clients to give me testimonials, and they did. It was hard for me to ask, but no one minded (I don't think), and they wrote some great stuff.

So I'm being brave, and I've added a "Paypal Me" link at the top right of this blog. If you click on it you can send me some Paypal money! I've also set up a Patreon page. There's nothing there yet, because I have some questions.

I can set up the page either as a monthly subscription or "pay as you go" where you would donate a certain amount each time I post something. That's the one I'm leaning toward, but what do you think?

Also, Patreon asks you to set up rewards for various levels like crowdsourcing sites do, i.e., if someone donates $5, I'll send you a thank you email, if you donate $50, I'll mention you on the blog, if you donate $500 I'll name my first-born child after you. You know, like that. What would make sense? What would you like? Could you either leave a comment here telling me what you think, or send me an email? I would appreciate it so much!

Feeding Myself with Love

​One morning last week I was hungry, and was going to go scrounge something in the kitchen, probably a Pop Tart. I almost never cook for myself, I just don't see the point. And working from home, I don't even think about eating until I'm starving. It's different from going out to work, when I always either put together a lunch to take with me, or planned to go out, or planned to eat something that I had at work. When all you have to do is walk to the kitchen, the planning kind of goes out the window.

So, the plan, such as it was, was a Pop Tart or a frozen waffle or, I don't know, peanut butter on a piece of bread. Then I thought, you know, you might try treating yourself like you would treat someone you loved. So I scrambled a couple of eggs with onions and mushrooms, made toast and poured orange juice and ate it on a real plate. It was lovely, and I felt as if I had treated myself well.

I feel like I'm always quoting Anne Lamott, but there's a story she tells about radical self-care. She asks (paraphrasing here), if you invited the minister to lunch, would you meet her at the door and say, "Reverend, here's your very own can of Ptingles," and eat them standing up in the kitchen over the sink? Of course you wouldn't. You would cook something wonderful, one of your best dishes, and serve it on your best china with real silverware and a tablecloth and a glass of iced tea.

Certainly you won't do that every day, just like you wouldn't invite the minister over every day, but it's definitely something to think about.

I'm not a huge fan of cooking, but I always try to have something for Bob when he comes home from work. It's not always elaborate, but it's usually something hot, and I make an effort to present it in a pleasing way. I arrange the plate on a tray with a napkin and silverware. I may add a small dish of olives, or if it's a sandwich, there is also a pickle. It sounds silly, and I guess it makes me sound like a 1950's housewife, but I try to do everything with love, and he's always appreciative, and that makes me happy.

I try to remember that it'd also important to treat myself well. I may not always do that, either, but it's worth making an effort.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

New Year, New Planner

A couple of weeks ago I saw in an Instagram post that Costco had a Happy Planner starter kit available at a good price. It may have been $24.95, I don't remember now, but the planner itself would normally cost about that much, and the kit included stickers, washi tape, and a bunch of other stuff, and weekly inserts for two years, not just one.

I had resisted starting a Happy Planner because of all the stuff that was available for it -- the aforementioned stickers, and washi tape, etc. Every photo that I saw looked so complicated (and, yes, beautiful) that it seemed to be more of a scrapbooking process than a planner.

But different planners are needed at different times. When Bob was in the hospital, the Daytimer I had at the time was absolutely essential. I wrote down everything that was said, and was able to discuss it with other doctors, or just read it myself and, later, answer Bob's questions. The problem with it, though, was that it was so big. Too big, really, to carry every day. It was fine when I was going back and forth to the hospital, but once he came home and I got back to work, I didn't want to carry it everywhere.

I used a Levenger Circa agenda for awhile, then when I started working from home I completely downsized to a Moleskine weekly diary that I could carry in my purse. I intended to do that this year, too, with the backup of a cheap agenda that I could keep on my desk for notes. Than I saw the Instagram Costco post, aka, the gateway drug.

Once I saw how much fun the Happy Planner was, I went looking for more. I discovered that they had just come out with a mini version, and that turned out to be perfect for me. It's compact enough to carry around with me -- too large, really, for a purse, but I can slip it in a tote bag or carry it in my hand, and it's fine. One of my clients gave me a Michael's gift certificate for Christmas, so I got a pretty vinyl cover for it and lots of filler paper and stickers. I was sitting in bed one night recently and Bob asked me what I was doing (I believe he said, "Are you looking at cat videos?"). I said I was looking for stickers, and he said he could honestly say that it had never occurred to him to look for stickers . . .

There's a whole sisterhood of planner addicts out there. You can buy custom covers, dividers, decorated paper, and more stickers than you can imagine. You can also download free sheets of images to print yourself on sticker paper and cut out (yes, I bought some sticker paper, but haven't used it yet).

As I've followed these planner groups on various social media avenues, I've found that a lot of them have not just one planner, but many. One for fitness, one for social media planning, one for bible study, etc. Some have as many as seven going simultaneously. I can see the appeal, because it is a lot of fun, but that would never work for me. I need to have everything in one place (as a friend said on Facebook, "There can be only one."), and I don't need to be spending that much time playing around, anyway. To be fair, though, I think that most of them are actually doing it as a job -- making YouTube videos and things like that.

For now, I'm just having fun with it, figuring out how I want it to look and to work for me. And it is a lot of fun and I guess, secondarily, functional.