Friday, April 16, 2010

The State of the Refrigerator and other bulletpoints of the week

I'm in a list mood, so here's a list of what's been afoot this week...whew did it fly by! Just miscellany...

1. Cleared out all old library books so I won't amass mystery fines if one goes into hiding...hard to keep track after so many. Of course, I ended up taking a couple stacks more home, heh :)

2. Did do some writing and felt more productive in that area on some days. I'm still not writing 2,000 words a day so I might amend that goal to what seems to be a better average. I do more thinking and scribbling before anything ever officially gets written on the laptop. The laptop is my "writing instrument." By the term Writing I don't count anything blogged ...I'm doing freewriting excercises when I can't focus well on a given day. So far it seems the practice has been divided among three main themes, none related. I'm really enjoying it a lot.

3. I've had a couple of "sinking spells" other way to describe them. I lost a day of work this week (not good) because I was feeling odd as in having trouble breathing and feeling a heaviness in my chest that made me feel spacey and out of breath and like I had to lie down NOW. Kind of worried me, actually. I cut back to water and lemon, a bit of smoothie, and rest and felt better. Made the mistake of sipping some caffeine a couple days later and the feeling was right there again. No caffeine for me for a while till I see what this is. Might just be asthma from spring having sprung so pollen-a-rifically around here.

4. It's absolutely GORGEOUS outside. BEAUTIFUL balmy nights, days with sun a touch hot but plenty of breezes and shade. I sure wish we could keep our windows open at night here. PERFECT lovely nights :)

5. We are cutting cutting cutting...again. Jack's got an Excel program going to actually SEE every penny and where it's going. Well, it's a wake up call, even after we've been so careful in so many areas. It's a nice education, too. We're cutting back to NO eating out...with the possible exception of once a week under $10. Now I know how spoiled I am. Thankfully I actually like the food I make here better than fast food, with few exceptions.

6. Not feeling deprived. We're not deprived, this is our choice and we're empowered. Changing habits is not easy, but it helps us look at the "whys" of what we do just as much as the expense. It's actually fun to me if Jack and I go on dates and linger over glasses of tea at a restaurant now and then, talk and relax somewhere in a different setting, blah blah blah. It's fun because from day one, he's always sat on the same side of the booth with me, and if a table, we sit on adjacent sides instead of across from each other. It's really cozy and sort of "us." Anyway, I told him I'd like us to substitute some simple sandwich picnics at the beach if we're cutting out the eating out. We get great location and our own food and it's free and nearby. Also, if he'd do the dishes now and then it would be part of what I enjoy when we go out...not having the kitchen to tend to as much. It's just a little thing. He's always great about helping clean off the table, but a now and then pots-n-pans break would be a nice switch. He said that sounds fine to him, woo :)

7. Along similar lines, we're looking very very hard at the REAL cost of my job. I have an hour commute, don't make much pay, there is some risk involved in the job, and the gas expense eats us alive...and working the nights and then switching over to days here the other part of the week makes my body always feel jet lagged. I HATE sleeping the daylight hours away, frankly. Anyway, I'm reluctant to change jobs simply since they are scarce just now and I'm a creature of habit when it comes to having a reliable paycheck. But we're down to the one vehicle now and that figures in. Jack's looking at the numbers and we'll keep things the way they are right now, I think, but the last look we took was a wakeup's costing nearly what I make, all things considered, for me just to HAVE the job. If that's truly the case (we're doublechecking), that makes no sense and I need to stay home and push the mower around a bit, plant us some tomatoes and explore the wonderful world of beans and whatever else I can do hands-on HERE rather than spend money to GO TO work elsewhere. UGH. I'd MUCH rather be here. Unless I can find something closer that will pay our way out of debt quicker...with an obvious profit margin. This working-to-work is for the birds.

8. We had an interesting discussion about the concept of "hatred" the other day when driving in to work together. My family always had a polite aversion to even using the word hate("strongly dislike" was the preferred euphemism). Jack equates the term "hate" with rage and people being out of control, or embittered, or vicious emotion. I've been thinking on that recently in light of the fact that these days all I really hear much about is relativism, political correctness, and frankly tiptoeing around the idea of right and wrong. When did we embrace the World of Grays? I've lived in that place a lonnnngggggg time because I didn't much care for folks who're not open-minded or who won't back up and reason something out for themselves. I tend to be a moderate in almost all areas of my life.

But in thinking about how there are real enemies in this world, I began wondering where that soft-pedaling of Wrong stops and we admit "I am against (such-n-such)." I've had a hard time saying that, mainly because I was with a doctrine of loving our enemies. And yes, I know the whole progression down the practice of "loving the sinner but hating the sin." We had a lively conversation about this recently, Jack and I did, and I pointed out several places in scripture where it pretty much says "hate your enemy," but don't take my word for it, each particular one I'm thinking of reads a bit differently in their own different contexts. But I was just posing the question to Jack, and myself, of when it's ok to finally get majorly ticked at those who are just rotten and love making the world a hell for others to live in (if you haven't met anyone like that, they are out there). Yes, I know God's good and is available to all mankind, I'm not unfamiliar with the concept of grace since it's in the Bible from page one and never subsides. I just wonder if hatred is a position of refusal to condone injustice, or allow it, or turn our eyes away from its being perpetrated. I think we have to hate things that are wrong enough that we're willing to stand firm when others want to "everything's relative" a thing to death, and I think it puts us in the midst of struggle and opposition at times if we refuse to move from the position of standing for justice.

Well, I'll be chewing on that a while...just rambling.

9. I heard our president mock and laugh at the people meeting together in the tea parties, and something in me doinged. Whatever you want to call it and whatever anyone wants to think about it, it's fairly representative of a very mixed milieu of crosssection Americans who want to be heard outside of party power politics. And these are the people who were courted and given promises prior to the last election. Such disrespect from the person who should be our model public servant just dissed the public he's supposed to be serving. And so...I am done. I'm not going to engage in hearing anything else he says. He reviles those he represents, or else he doesn't represent the American public at large but only those he chooses to represent. So I don't have to listen to him. Boy, am I a stubborn old thing...I wonder at what age this began setting in for me, ha :) Our resolve is just to do the best within our limitations and not relinquish the things we still hold as freedoms (while we still do) and "take care o' business" here at our own home.

10. I CLEANED MY REFRIGERATOR! There are pictures to prove it. (Not that my computer is letting my POST any pictures yet, argh) Yes, the woman takes pictures of her clean fridge for her jollies. This may mean nothing to anyone else, but it had reached crisis proportions. I had procrastinated my procrastination. I guess I may have missed a chance to sell some new life forms to the CDC just for the heck of research or something, that's how much it grossed me out, but it's CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN now, sparkling. Clean refrigerator, the new Prozac, ha :)

11. Jack fixed the slow sink. No, I never had to resort to washing the dishes in a plastic bin in the shower.

11 1/2. Oh geezelouise, I can't believe I didn't mention we PAID OFF ANOTHER CREDIT CARD. WOOO!!! Giving God thanks, and my very persistent husband.

12. I'm jazzed to find out that BERMUDA grass, the bane of my garden-able space on our vacant lot next door, has traditional medicinal uses. It's even being tested, to good result, for its anti-diabetic properties. I can't seem to find specific amounts and preparations for some of its other uses, but I'm delighted to find it's highly valued in many eastern societies for a broad range of healing and helping qualities. More Googling here at the keyboard shall commence! (we have a bountiful supply of the bermuda, for sure)

13. We harvested a big bag of volunteer lettuces, and a second half-bag of fresh clover. The lettuces will be for fresh raw greens, salads, etc. and the clover goes right into our smoothies. We love it!

14. We'll be trying to identify some of the so-called weeds in our yard and lot nextdoor. There is an amazing diversity growing now in comparison to other years, and though it won't impress anyone as a lawn, it's giving me the inspiration to begin FINALLY learning the names and uses of these most hardy survivors. Edible herbs and so-called weeds are rich in minerals and nutrients. It's time for me to learn their uses and begin to utilize them.

15. Plantain-o-rama!! We have huge lush clumps of plantain herb growing wild, and I'm all excited about that, too. One of our first easy-to-identify medicinals. We'll use some leaves as additions to our smoothies, some to dry for teas, some to use for oil infusions and maybe we'll even get jazzed enough to make the oil into a lovely healing beeswax salve.

16. We're at the point where we're tool-deficient but also are all investment-purchased-out. We can't afford a tiller, powerful mower, tractor, and etc even though they could be really useful. We have rampant bermuda, and I do mean don't even think about getting rid of's like the Rasputin of invasives. SO, as we think down the progression of months and labor it would take to hack out some viable garden space (IF we put in a garden...we said we wouldn't...oh the siren song)we have hit upon what MAY be a solution to our minimal purchase reality. (Don't know the official term for the tool)we call it the "flame-thrower." Jack was detailing its virtues as a way to effectively flame unwanted grasses and weeds from pathways, etc, but he could not disguise the euphoric gleam in his eye at the possibilities of using such a thing. Read "TOY" and there you have it...something flammable that can vanquish the offensive weed hordes. (this could keep him happy a longgg time...) ;-)

17. Wherefore art thou Kombucha? I tried restarting some this winter but we kept our heater off in the house and I never could get it warm enough consistently to nurture the kombucha. It actually got mold on it, and if I ever wondered what mold on kombucha looks like, now it leaves no doubt...just think fuzzy. So we hope to get another batch going soon.

18. Homemade dogfood. Cleaning out the still-good food that's a day or two past its prime has resulted in Kaleb getting some pretty great dog fare. Maybe too good. Now whenever I call him, he licks his chops, ha :)

19. Last week I tried making homemade dinner rolls from a recipe (picture of recipe, actually)from Susy's site at Chiot's Run website. I froze them and reheated, and so far they are the ones Jack's most commented on liking, so the recipe is a keeper. It's really easy, though I had to guesstimate a couple minor things. I might try making flour tortillas this week if I get ambitious.

20. Jack and I are doing pretty well on the fruit and veg train...those daily spinach/blueberry etc smoothies do wonders for our health. Now we're trying to watch our portion size and not eat in between meals. We're enjoying some fruity herb teas a friend gave me recently for my far I'm loving the raspberry.

How was your week?

oh yeah and

21. Jack transplanted a bunch of papaya seedlings from seeds he sowed himself, and they are now happily on the shadier and more protected side of our house, which I like. We really want those little fellas to finally give us some fruit this year. We've never quite gotten the timing and everything right in past years and always lose ours in the freezes without reaping any fruit.

Phew, that's all I can write just now....

It'll be shabbat in a few hours, yay! No worries and no work and a great time to get out and commune with creation in this beautiful weather. I hope your weekend is restful and replete with good things :)

For now...

Shabbat shalom! :)


MamaHen said...

When I heard he mocked those people I too said, 'nope, that's it. Screw you buddy'. NO president of the people would make fun of ANY citizen for their concerns.

Wendy said...

Very interesting points. I just wanted to comment on the one about your job, to offer a bit of support ... and possibly a solution?

First, I stopped working outside of my home in 1997, and I haven't looked back. Initially, we learned to live on just my husband's income. The first few years were tough, as we lost a quarter of our income at the same time that we were buying a house and settling into a new community and had a new baby to take care of, but for us, that was the motivation - the baby. We didn't want to spend half "my" income just to pay for daycare. So, I quit working and stayed home, but I didn't just "sit" home. I started working from home providing secretarial services to small businesses and individuals. A yellow pages listing cost me $25 per year.

I think if you've discovered that the cost of having a job is even close to what you earn, then working really doesn't make sense, because by being home full-time, you could concentrate on those things (like food preparation and production) that you're paying someone else to do right now (even if you're not eating out, if you're buying food at the grocery, then, you're still paying for food production ;).

You could also spend time mending things instead of buying new or finding ways to do without things that you need right now because you're working. In his most recent post, John Michael Greer discusses the (mistaken) belief that we need two income families. His post is very interesting.

As for finding a way to generate that little bit of income that is above what you're spending for your job, can I suggest doing some odd jobs from home? If you're interested in writing, you could do some freelancing. There are a lot of online writing jobs. None pay really well, but it's something. I've actually worked for this company and they actually pay. It's legitimate and often interesting work ... and who knows, it might lead to something bigger for you ;).

Sorry for the crazy-long comment. Working from home is one of those subjects about which I'm pretty passionate and about which I have done a lot of research in the past.