Monday, June 30, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday - Leftovers (I'm on my own).

Tuesday - Steak sandwiches. PW's version.

Wednesday - Mexican pizza.

Thursday - Out.

Friday - We're going to a family get-together for the holiday. I don't know yet what I'm expected to bring.

See more menus here.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Before and After Update #1


Since I don't want to come to July 24 and be scrambling to get my before and after accomplished, I'm planning on posting updates on what I've accomplished.

So far? Not so much.

Here's what my closet looked like before. And here's my closet now:

Progress, yes?

However, here's what my bookcase & the floor in front of it now look like.

Yeah, that's a big mess. Most of it was pulled out from the closet and needs to find a new home, possibly in the nearest trashcan/recycle bin.

And yes, I did start on the "maybe I'll work on this" project rather than doing anything on the real project I said I'd do. 'cause that makes a lot of sense.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


There has been very few times in my life when I absolutely positively 100% knew that a course of action was God's will for me. The first occurred the summer after I graduated from high school, I was suddenly struck with the knowledge that I needed to go to a different college than the one I'd planned. It was late enough in the summer where it was impossible to go that year, but I immediately set in motion a transfer.

This absolute knowledge was both a good thing and surprisingly, not so good. It was very good in that even in the face of it not making sense for logical reasons, I knew I was supposed to go there. When it looked like finances would be an issue (I was giving up a full academic scholarship at my original school), I still knew that God would provide, since I was following His will. When my three years there were difficult, I still knew I was where I was supposed to be.

What could possibly be not so good then? (I refuse to call it bad; just because I don't understand it or wish it was different doesn't make it bad.) I think the complete clarity and epiphany-like awareness of His will once has made it harder for me to hear His whispers and gentle nudges. I'm still waiting and hoping for absolute confidence that I know what He wants form me again. Once I graduated I've never again been sure if I'm really where He wants me to be, doing what He wants me to do. And yet I know of course He's not going to let me be or do what He doesn't will, still, I long for that surety I once had.

I feel like I've spent a lot of years semi-stumbling from one thing to another without much clear direction, hoping that open doors indicated where I should go. Two graduate programs and a couple of huge moves based in large part on a faint whisper that it was what I should do. It's hard then sometimes to explain to people why I've ended up where I am now - well, you see, I just felt like it was where I should go

My current job is like that - I was flattered to get the offer (who doesn't like being called for a job instead of having to go out and find one and apply) and the concerns I had about the position seemed to be outweighed by the other pieces falling smoothly into place.

Sometimes it seems like I'm paralyzed about decisions - holding still until I feel a nudge (or shove), but I'm not sure if this is the wisest way of trying to discern God's will.

I would love to weigh decisions with Godly friends and mentors, but I've found the few times that I have been absolutely confident of decisions I had the people I'd have gone to for counsel arguing against the decision I know is right; and this without me asking for their advice (why would I when I know what I'm to do?) But maybe I should still weigh decisions when I'm not certain, and just do what I know to when that's the case.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Thankful Tuesday

  • My husband is wonderful and I am so blessed to have him in my life. Last week I had a really really rough day and he was so fantastic.

  • I'm doing much much better after said rough day last week.

  • July is shaping up to be a very nice month - a brief vacation for us and work is going well so yay to that.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday - We're going out to a nearby Mexican place. I am addicted to their hot sauce bar.

Tuesday - Rachel Ray's Inside-out Pizza-dilla Margerita. We've had them before and they are delicious and super easy.

Wednesday - Baked spaghetti. I may use Tammy's Recipe, or I may make up my own version. I know I'll be making it without the ground beef.

Thursday - Burgers on the grill. (This would be why the baked spaghetti is meat-free - I hate to use too much red meat in one week)

Friday - Maybe some homemade pizza if I have the energy. Or else it'll be leftovers or sandwiches.

For more menus, go to Organizing Junkie.

Friday, June 20, 2008


You know, I don't usually feel like that - counting down the days until Friday hits and the weekend arrives. But this week has seemed very very long and I am happy to have the weekend here so I can get caught up on some important things. Like sleep.

See, I haven't been sleeping well this week. I've gotten to bed on time (except for Tuesday night when I started reading a book and the next thing I knew it was an hour past my bedtime). I fall asleep fairly easily; it's just that I then wake up. And wake up. And wake up again and again until finally I'm almost glad when it's time to get up for real because the little snippets of sleep just aren't working for me.

It's not that odd for me to not sleep well, but about 99% of the time the problem is with the falling asleep part; once I'm out I usually stay that way until morning. I don't know what to do about this but I'd like it to stop so I can get some real rest.

It's not an excess of caffeine; I have a big cup of tea in the morning and then that's it (well, except for some chocolate but that's nothing new). I don't think I'm excessively stressed. I really have no idea what the deal is, but I'm ready for it to stop now.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Birthday Books

What books did I get for my birthday? I'm so glad you asked, because I always like to talk about books.

I think this'll keep me busy for awhile.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Before and After


So BooMama is having a before and after blog event. As in, accomplish a project before-and-after.

This kinda intimidates me. I mean, I've got projects to accomplish, but can I/will I really get them done by July 25? Yeah, I'm not so sure about that.

But, I've been dragging my feet on painting my office for something like 4 years now, apparently thinking that someday the perfect time will arrive when I don't have to move a bookcase and desk and file cabinets etc. etc. I think the fact that that day will never arrive has finally sunk in and I'm going to have to just grow up and deal with the hassles of moving the furniture and books.

So, yeah, one office. Painted. By July 25. This includes a wallpaper border being removed, and I want to be sure and mention that because that is not going to be fun if the guest room border was any indication. Curtains may or may not be hung by then, I'm making no promises about that.

There are even before pictures. Please note the dirty, scuffed walls and the border. And the lack of a window treatment other than boring blinds.

The TV holder is so attractive, isn't it? It came with the house.

The bookcase cleverly disguises the scuffed walls. Plus it holds some of my books.

This wall is in really bad shape, but I'd also like to point out the blue plaid loveseat. I adore it and spend a lot of time curled up in it reading.

In case you couldn't notice the lovely border before. And the nice dent in the wall below it.

Just in case you missed the dent, here it is with my unmanicured finger pointing at it. There are more gouges in the walls, but this one is the worst in large part because it's right next to the door so it's very noticeable any time you leave the room.

If I get really really crazy-motivated, I'll clean out the closet. It's officially a disaster. I've only been wanting to do that for six months or so.

So come back July 25 for the after pictures. And visit BooMama to find others who are participating.

Update! I'm posting weekly updates to keep myself moving along on the project.
Update 1
Update 2
Update 3
Update 4
Update 5

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Thankful Tuesday

  • I got my birthday book order today (I took my time picking them out). That always makes me happy to come home and find a package of books waiting at my front door.

  • It looks like L's brother (the one brother who didn't come out here the first part of the year with the other two) is going to be able to come for a visit in August. This is the brother who he's closest to, so that would be really nice for L if he can.

  • A situation at work has improved somewhat, and I'm grateful for any amount it improves.

  • We were not impacted by the flooding that has so recently hit the Midwest. There were some awful pictures in the paper of damage not too far south of us, so we were very very lucky.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Making My Home a Haven Monday

Crystal is having a refresher on Making Your Home a Haven. Considering how I've gotten out of the habit of being consistent with housework, I can use this.

My morning routine was actually all finished before leaving for work - and that's even with adding an hour of exercise to my morning routine for the very first time. Got it done and still made it to work on time (ok, made it to work for my new, later arrival time).

The last week I've been doing a very good job of making a list every night before going to bed and prioritizing the top 5 or so items - I've almost always gotten them completed and then work on getting more done. So far my plan of making myself rewrite everything that doesn't get crossed off makes me very motivated to finish things!

My top items today were:
Shred paperwork
Fix dinner
Pay bills
Post on blog

So far everything is done except paying the bills, and I'll get to that as soon as I finish this post. Although, in the spirit of full disclosure, there is still more to shred, I'm just splitting it up so I've finished my allotment for today.

My ten minutes today are going to be spent tidying my office which has had another paper explosion. I do want to get the bills paid first, and then I'll spend another 10 - 15 minutes getting as much done as possible.

Bills are paid, I straightened up a bit, and now I'm getting ready for bed - I am completely exhausted tonight! I think the exercise this morning has caught up to me.

Thanks for the challenge Crystal!

Menu Plan Monday

We've got a lot of leftovers from grilling out Sunday, so new meals are a little light this week as we use up everything else.

Monday - Macaroni & cheese

Tuesday - Leftovers

Wednesday - Mexican pizza

Thursday - Tex-Mex hash

Friday - Leftovers or sandwiches

For more menus, go to Organizing Junkie

Friday, June 13, 2008

Weekend Plans

I'm very glad that it's Friday and the weekend is here - this week has dragged by for some reason and today at work I was practically counting down the time until I could leave. That is so rare for me - usually I'm so busy that the time goes quickly. And I was busy this week, just not in the same way as usual.

This weekend I'm hoping to get a fair amount of house stuff accomplished. I've got a couple loads of laundry that HAVE to be done before Monday if we're to have anything clean to wear. I need to go to the grocery store. The kitchen and hallway floors are in desperate need of attention with a broom and mop. I've got a couple of bills to pay, and paperwork has exploded on my desk (again; the stuff breeds I'm convinced).

I think I'll try alternating the chores with some more fun stuff; 30 minutes of work balanced by 15 minutes of computer time or reading my latest books. That usually works pretty well for me when I want to get a lot crossed off my list but also don't want to feel like I got no rest time at all.

My real goal is to have it all done Saturday so I can have Sunday as a real day of rest. :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Top Chef!

Spoilers ahead so if you don't want to know who wins, STOP READING!

Watched the recorded finale for Top Chef tonight with L. We're new to the show, only discovering it this season (and after missing the first two episodes for this season). We pretty quickly had Stephanie as our favorite chef so we were THRILLED when she won. I was disappointed that Richard did so poorly - he was our 2nd favorite and his choking in the finale was quite a surprise.

I am still just shocked though that a chef would go into a competition like that without have a couple of rock-solid desserts that they know absolutely cold. Thankfully that didn't come back to bite Stephanie when her dessert course wasn't where it should have been. I thought it looked good though! And I would love to eat her lamb dish with the braised pistachios. Yummm!

Mostly I'm glad that such an (apparently) nice person won - she seemed like she was such a great team player and got along with the other chefs (as opposed to one of her competitors). So bravo Stephanie - and I would love to go to whatever new restaurant she eventually opens.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Does 2 = a Streak?

I think it should, because that means I've started a new blogging streak. Woo-hoo! Two days in a row!

Dinner tonight was a bit of a bust. I originally planned to make stovetop meatloaf (by which I mean, meatloaf cooked on top of the stove, not meatloaf made with stovetop stuffing), but I just was very uninterested in it when it came time to fix it.

Instead I tried a new recipe, for beef and gnocchi pie. While the theory is good, and it certainly was an easy way to have a meat-and-potato dish, it just was a little bland for my taste. L thought it was really good though so I guess it was just me. I'm trying to restrain myself from heading back into the kitchen and making some brownies or apple dumplings or something sweet. I try to limit that sort of baking to the weekend.

My laundry is now calling me to move it along if I want to have clean pants to wear to work tomorrow. And that would probably be a good thing so I'll leave it at that and plan to post again tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Consistency and Self-Discipline: Not My Strongpoints.

So I've learned that in order to blog regularly, I need to blog REGULARLY. Earthshattering, no? Seriously though, it seems like if I'm not making it a goal to post daily (at least on weekdays) it's waaaay too easy to just always say "ah, I'll write something tomorrow...." Lather, rinse, and repeat.

So, yeah, it's June. I've been doing a LOT of reading lately, which is fantastic. I've been doing a lot of baking too, so my husband and coworkers are appreciating that. I've halfway started an exercise program. I say "halfway" because right now it's more important to me to be consistent than it is to do my usual thing of exercising a lot for a day or two and then doing nothing for several months. So I do a little - very little - every day. And I do mean every single day. I've got a streak of about 3 weeks going. After this week I'll add a touch more to it, again with my goal to be consistent rather than lengthy. It can't be any less successful than my previous efforts.

And in my consistency over length attempts in more than just exercise, I'm going to close now and post tomorrow. The only exception is for computer issues/power outages/etc. Because we've lost power a number of times in the last few weeks due to the Midwest storms that are devastating the area. I'm not about to try and figure out a way to work around that if we have another outage.

But other than that? I'm back tomorrow since the entire point of me blogging was to develop a daily habit of writing. Sheesh, it's been a bad stretch for me.