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Saturday, March 23, 2013

simple saturday update

Oh Saturdays...I love Saturdays.

I especially love Saturdays when I don't have homework assignments to complete hanging over my head, which is currently the case. Instead of bursting out with exuberant, Superpower energy to clean the messy house, weed the messy garden, get some good long runs in, and read a big stack of library books, however...

I feel gentle, slow, sleepy, and vague. It is nice to really have down time. I've been reading a little here and there, walking the dogs, making waffles, and sitting around with p'tit minou un, talking about our pets. It's a rare pleasure to spend some time with him alone. I am feeling very antisocial, which Minou assured me is normal when one works full-time and interacts with a lot of people on a daily basis (is this true?)

What else to report? Two garden beds weeded and snap peas, chard, kale, and lettuce planted.
I'm starting basil (for pesto) and Principe Borghese tomato seeds (for drying) in the indoor greenhouse.

Three successful blood draws last week on generous coworkers. If you know anyone trying to master venipuncture skills and you don't pass out at the sight of a needle, it is an incredibly appreciated gesture to allow them to practice on you.

The boys began their spring break, and the pressure of time feels temporarily lifted from our household. Even though I am not technically on vacation with them, since I will still be going to work, I don't have to do any evening coursework (for another week). I can't describe the pleasure I have been getting from going to bed early this last week. Reading to p'tit minou deux and then turning out the lights at 9 p.m.

We still have about 1/4 of the original tank of gas from the beginning of this month. Whoo-hoo! My goal is to leave the car in the driveway and walk or bike until April 1st when the kids go back to school.

And on the financial front...A fantastic error in calculations meant that instead of being $500 short of tuition this month, I was actually 2K in the black! How do I create so much stress for myself?! (answer: by not checking the number of credits I will be registering for in advance). I directed it all to the mortgage. I have been going back in forth in my mind about whether it's better to keep paying down the mortgage principal more quickly or find some other investment opportunity (index funds?). I've decided to stay the course and stick with the safer path for now.

How about you? What have your last weeks been like?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

simple saturday update

Tonight we will be changing our clocks to... Spring Forward!

I hope this doesn't mean cycling to work in the dark...but I am so looking forward to the longer evening hours of light. And they will be just in time for some evening gardening sessions, as I am almost, almost done with this term! And will soon have a two-week break before entering into the time-warp of the Integrated Practicum next term, a lot to tackle while working full time.

That sounded more complainy than I intended. It will be a lot of work, yet manageable, and it's so exciting to be this close to the end of the nursing program tunnel. All the past years of working hard and juggling multiple responsilities have given me the confidence to know that I can accomplish this.

Moving on: it has been an interesting week.

  • One of the best things: I received a package from a very special friend (she knows who she is) that was full of such thoughtful items, the kind that bring a little sparkle and luxury to the day. Among them were a beautiful vegetarian cookbook that I am looking forward to using (Plenty), some very me clothing pieces that I have worn daily since getting the package, some dark chocolate that quickly disappeared...and a lovely note.
             I have to admit, I feel a little shy, knowing now that she has been reading this blog.
  • Sunny days. Blue sky. Warming soil. Birdsong. The scent of daphne. Lunchtime walks by the river (actually, along the same paths I used to walk with my friend many years ago. I walk by our old apartment, as funky as ever and now painted bright marigold yellow).

  • Projects and papers drawing to a close. Thank. Goodness.

  • Housekeeping. I think the last big session was on my last academic break, around the time that we painted in December. It was time.
  • I cut my hair, and didn't know when to stop. It started with a trim, then a little more, then a little more. It is now a 20's style bob (A-line in the back, like Christopher Robin). I don't think it is very flattering. But the good thing is that it will grow.

  • I am not having much success with blood draws. I think the anxiety from not being successful carries into the next try. I just know that I can be really good at this with enough practice. I enjoy skills that require manual dexterity and "feel". I only have a few co-workers who don't mind being guinea pigs, though (a surprising number of nurses are anxious about being on the receiving end of a needle). They're patient, but I'm not sure how often they'll let me poke them before they get tired of it.

  • Another nurse, a friend, has decided to move on at work. I have learned a lot from her, really enjoy working with her, and will miss her calm, wise presence greatly. This also leaves my program extremely understaffed. What should be a four or five nurse team will be down to two. And I'm inexperienced, not yet trained in several areas. Why this mass exodus, you may ask? Well. Let's chalk it up to interesting interpersonal dynamics.

 What about you? How was your week?

Friday, March 1, 2013

march money challenge

This month I find myself facing a financial challenge.

I've been keeping our monthly margin at the razor's edge of the emergency cushion, after accounting for regular expenses and saving, because of paying down that pesky and pestilent mortgage!
(OK, deep calming breath).

In January I set aside a nice chunk of change for my final term of nursing school tuition, and it's been patiently waiting for its turn to transfer as I've been feverishly scouring academic databases and writing papers and performance improvement projects. But due to some additional final-term fees, and one additional credit hour, I'm  $500 short of the total (due the first week of April).

So here's my March money challenge:
Cut spending this month enough to make up the $500 difference!
....and still have something left to contribute to the mortgage principal in April (even if just a few dollars).

I'll let you know how it goes.

Anyone else up for a March money challenge? What'll it be?