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Sunday, January 29, 2012

B-Day x 2

Today is a pretty big day around here, what with not one but TWO family birthdays. 15 years ago today, G1 arrived just in time to share a birthday cake with Minou (in his arms, that is), having kept his excited & expectant first-time parents waiting a little more than 2 weeks past his predicted due date.

We are fairly low-key with birthdays around here, but try to do something to make the celebrated one feel special. Usually they choose a dinner and a cake. This year, they are thankfully going to combine cakes (Minou and I are trying to eat healthier). Dinner will be a Tofurkey for Minou and pad thai for G1.

There were flowers on the breakfast table for Minou, because when you are celebrating 40-some years on our planet, a little fanciness and bright colors are called for. For G1, there was a lot of ribbing about drivers permits, something that strikes terror into Mama Minou's heart.

The plans for the day include a trip to our wonderful public library, shoe shopping for Minou, and maybe a good game of Scrabble (I recently discovered Words with Friends and want to try the original again). Minou was supposed to have the day off the dishes, but I just heard the water least, he had the morning off chicken duty! I got up early and cleaned the Ladies' coop so that he could lounge in bed a little longer.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Oh Rats!

Billions of blue blistering barnacles, there's a pirate in my oven!

Have we turned into cannibals?...No, no....

Oh, wait, it's not a pirate, it's a pie rat.

See it?

Baked and concepted by G1. It was delicious.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


We are waiting for snow over here...had a light dusting this morning that has since melted off. G2 is sitting hopefully in the middle of the living room in his PJs and bathrobe, on his homemade cardboard sled (because that will glide over the 2 mm of remaining snow, vs. the real sled which would scrape).

Since I seem to be short on both time and writing inspiration lately, not to mention having trouble gaining access to family photos thanks to deficits in my patience and computer know-how and Minou's somewhat arcane photo saving and storage system, I thought I would share a blog I recently found that I found inspiring. How's that for a run-on sentence?

The idea of "financial independence" and early retirement is fairly new to me. Let's just say that I was a late bloomer with regard to both personal finance/budgeting and retirement savings. Sigh. Isn't that the way it goes? If I only knew then what I know now....

But! I have made up for this late start with my (previously mentioned) all-or-nothing nature and some solid frugal living skills, which my family may or may not appreciate (for example, when you are almost 15 it is humiliating when your mother collects and returns all the hard-partying neighbors' beer bottles from their curbside recycling bins).

Anyway, the blog I just discovered is called "Mr. Money Mustache: Financial Freedom through Badassity". It is funny, the author promotes bike commuting, and it is inspiring to save as much as possible now so that one can have financial flexibility later. I enjoyed his flippant analogy of taking out his wallet for a purchase to giving birth--a nine-month process that involves uncomfortable stretching. I will leave you to ponder the meaning of the title--you are probably quicker with the word plays than I am.

Friday, January 13, 2012

heros: 1

Who are your heros?
Here is one of mine.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

baby steps

Oh how I love this concept, yet need to relearn/remember it again and again, over and over.
By nature I'm somewhat impatient and all-or-nothing.
As soon as I start jogging, my mind drifts toward that long-dreamed-of marathon.
No, ultramarathon!
As soon as I begin decluttering, I despair that my home will never (and of this I am sure) resemble the serene empty loft of Miss Minimalist.
As soon as I begin to pick up the pile of library books from the floor, I wish the cobwebs on the ceiling and grime behind the fridge were gone forever...
And why can't I remember every anatomy & physiology fact I have memorized,
And fully fund my 403 (b) AND Roth IRA yearly, and.....
Anyway, you get the picture.
What I have learned (and relearned) over the years is that this type of thinking makes me unhappy.
Very unhappy.
Because then life is all about a future point I'm not at yet, a goal that feels unattainable....and not the process.
Life is now, as we live it, this moment.
So....I will choose to point my intentions in the direction I want to go, and take baby steps.
Being satisfied with each movement.
I can't remember where this mantra first came from, but over the years I have reminded myself "Take positive steps toward the good."

It's 2012!
We spent a few days around New Years at the coast with my mom in a luxurious apartment that felt like a boat, looking down over the stormy Pacific Ocean, watching clouds and waves rolling in and out. It was wonderful. Lots of good food & chocolate, family pool time, movies and reading Little Town on the Prairie with G2, exercising in the gym, and TV for my poor deprived boys (no TV reception at home, by choice, though they have recently discovered Hulu). G1 and I connected with House Hunters and were addicted. It's like pornography for people who like looking at homes, especially for those who live in small spaces.

While there, I really, really didn't want to come back home....holidays over, back to work, crowded feeling home, school, and routines.

And yet, when we got back home--it all surprised me by how good it felt. Home is smallish and crowded, but also cozy, warm, and comfortable (and small means easier to clean, not that I do too much of that). Work was refreshingly busy and quick, and I remembered how very much I like my coworkers and feel lucky to do meaningful work I enjoy. The boys settled back into school routines smoothly. G2 is glad to get back to ballet. Minou got some very good professional news. I love my family and am lucky to share my days with them. I feel cheerful. Life is good.

And while I realize that moods ebb and flow like the waves, I want to try to see the the bright side, to choose optimism, and keep my eyes off the anxiously distant goal and focused in front of me on positive steps toward the good. Baby steps!