Sunday, March 30, 2014

on social media and friendships, quality of life, a reflective

hello friends,

internet has not allowed me to post pics from my Kindle lately even though i have them to share. only 2 more months till we're in real Internet land again. so, sorry but i did not want to stay silent.

i've been having some reflective thoughts lately, a lot of them centered around maintaining real friendships in this new era (to me) of social media. i haven't truly heard from any of my core group of friends in ages, though i must admit that i'm not much better. i did recently send some of them postcards (in the real mail). the funny thing is, they don't seem to be online much, either. so their lives stay dark to me. and that's hard when some of us are scattered in faraway miles. when i was much younger, i wrote frequent letters to my sixth-grade best friend who moved one state over. for a long time until we just naturally drifted apart, we stayed very close this way, even visiting each other from time to time as our parents allowed.

then there are the people who i knew in real life at some point that i've made some positive connections with on facebook, more so than we ever did when we knew each other in real life. i don't want to lose those, in fact i'd like to continue to communicate -- swap recipes, etc. to those people, i'll probably provide with my blog and email as well as snail mail addresses. i'm really not a phone person, in fact i'm considering going down to a pay per use type phone (no texting) and getting a landline at home when we move this summer. facebook ... even since i've gone down to fewer than 50 friends, it still "suggests" pages and posts i like, people post inane quizzes and quotes, etc., and it's basically a time-waster apart from the tiny bits of meaningful connection i've managed to find there.

i also think it might just be time for me to make a few new friends where we are going. this isn't easy for me as a super happy introvert, but i do think it's necessary. for potluck suppers, mama (one day) gatherings, and the like.

in the end, i'm also trying to build my attention span up again to what it was (or as close as possible) when i was younger. i try to spend my days focused on DOING things i enjoy, knitting and reading and cooking and baking. today i read a REAL book, with paper pages, for two hours. that felt so liberating. sad, right? but true. even i, who spend less time online than just about anybody i know, have suffered the negative consequences of too much screen time.

here's what i do on the computer on any given day.

candy crush
checking news articles, mostly a few glances around CNN
blog reading and updating
facebook ... the feed, need i say more? scrollscrollscroll (thank goodness for 48 "friends")
ravelry (knitting website)
look up recipes
manage my ongoing menu plans/shopping lists
and, because i have a strange hobby of checking up on missing people/conspiracy theories, i tend to get sucked into those types of stories and message boards.

in full honesty, that's what i do on the internet. i also suffer from that from one window to another syndrome, something makes me wonder, so i click, the same thing happens again, i click, next thing i know i've navigated through dozens of windows and hours of REAL time have elapsed. i don't want to do all of these activities every day, to be honest i'd like to see my computer turned off more often than not. i'd like to have it on just once a week. i have a kindle that does all the same stuff but really the reason i got it was so it could be easier to cook in the kitchen using a bookmarked recipe or doing knitting using a bookmarked pattern. not to mindlessly surf the net or get sucked into games on a daily basis and don't get me started on how instantaneously people expect you to return emails ...

if you've made it this far, thank you! it's just been something i guess i needed to get off my chest. i keep thinking, "what will you do with your one precious life?" and realizing more and more one answer is, "be offline." and BE ENGAGED. with real people and reality. to sleep knowing i've worked with my REAL HANDS, whether at something that interests me, or challenges me, or both. i want a long attention span again, even if this means subscribing to offline pubs like the new yorker rather than scanning through virtual text. seriously, i can't even read indepth online articles anymore without getting all jumpy and antsy and wanting to skip around or "read more later" while clicking to another window. this is scary stuff, folks. do any of you ever reflect on it?

i guess that's the stuff of this post. for now. stay tuned ....

love and light,

Sunday, March 23, 2014

fits and starts

we are getting spring here, in fits and starts. yesterday was sunny and 70's. but we're forecasted for more snow on tuesday. i'm loving the increased strength (and amount) of sunshine each day. i think most of us are very tired of this long, difficult winter. 

this is the last day of our spring break. we spent it mostly at home, i unfortunately contracted a mild case of food poisoning that had me more down than usual for the first few days. i got to realize how burned i was from work. it was good to focus on some things in my personal life again. i'm knitting a shawl for my MIL for mother's day which is already almost finished. i'm pleased with my commitment to it. 

also, i am currently focusing more on eating well and exercising more. i'm also going to start taking prenatal vitamins ;-) (not yet...just preparing). i'd like to lose 10-15 lbs. through summer. i don't think that's unreasonable. yesterday i swam 1/2 a mile. 

looks like i will be purchasing a new (to me) car this summer. when i hit the deer a few months back my insurance would not cover the damage and i don't think the car will pass inspection without me getting it fixed for a hefty cost. also i've been driving the same car for 13 years now, nearly. it's time. once we are settled i think i'll be able to save some money towards it. i am getting so excited about our move. i found an artisan butcher, pools to swim in, yoga centers, a yarn shop, at least three trader joe's and a whole foods. now all we need is a house to live in ;-)

i can't seem to keep myself from buying some new clothes (consignment/thrift "new") lately. this was not my intention at the new year. must be cabin fever. i am trying to rein it in but also be gentle on myself. i buy high quality clothes that last a long time. also i just sent a huge bag to an online consignment shop and i hope anything i make from that will go right into the savings toward our security deposit and first months' rent. also i really wanted to spend the other day so i played around with clothing in a "cart" for a while then deleted all of it and went over to my student loan website and "spent" the $ ... hee hee. i'm TRYING. it's hard. I'd still like to make my own laundry soap, it's one of the only cleaners (that and dish soap) I still buy. I make my own deodorant and all-purpose spray, and use baking soda and vinegar to clean tubs and toilets. I am guilty of using clorox wipes to clean the outer toilet parts, I don't really want to keep a sponge just for the toilet cleaning purposes kind of grosses me out but maybe I can figure out how to make my own wipes with old t-shirt pieces and then just wash them in hot water to reuse. we'll see. i do love saving money. 

we plan to join a CSA where we are next. 

i'm TRYING. you know, it's all a process ... an evolution. fits and starts, those happen for sure. 

next weekend i plan on another decluttering session. there might be things i can donate/sell on craigslist. like, my banjo. i realize i do love the banjo and i love bluegrass music but i'm not sure actually playing an instrument was something i actually meant to do. has that ever happened to you? i really would like to learn how to sew though, so the machine will stay. i'm sure i can find some classes where we're going. 

this morning i made breakfast sandwiches for the week. i plan on getting to work an hour before school starts each day and staying after for an hour most days. this will be my new schedule in june (7:30-4:30) so I figure it'd be good to get used to it now even though I'll be working more hours than what my salary (currently) allows. I feel frazzled without the professional development time that my new job is going to give me, so perhaps this will help. It has been a BUSY year. Montessori is not for the faint of heart though it's a VERY rewarding calling. Oh yeah, food. We will have orzo pasta salad for lunches this week. Menu plans have been simpler lately as I've been trying to save some money at the grocery store. 

Are you interested in our weekly menu plans? Here is this week's. 

Sunday (tonight) -- conchiglie pasta (from Jerusalem)

Monday -- leftovers/snacky dinner

Tuesday -- tacos (with veg meat)

Wednesday -- bacon-wrapped roasted chicken, broccoli, quinoa

Thursday -- cobb salads

Friday -- cheese pizza (homemade) with sliced red bell pepper on the side

Saturday -- grassfed burgers and broccoli/carrot slaw with toasted sunflower seeds

Sunday -- tunisian chickpea soup 

i have been trying to eliminate screen time an hour before bed each night. i find that when i spend the last hour of my day reading a book before turning out my light, i sleep much better. i've also been trying to take ginny sheller's advice and knit for at least an hour each day. i need to take REAL lunch breaks at work (i get an hour for this at my new job, eek!!), currently i work through them but if i adjust my schedule for the hour before and after school i think it would be good to take knitting along and actually sit to eat and breathe, and maybe leave work once a week to grab a coffee and some fresh air. i know i would feel happier and more balanced. you know, balance is so important to me!! 

if you've made it this far, thanks for tuning in. i'm sorry my blogging has been so spotty. a lot of it is that it's hard to upload pictures because of our unreliable internet. we will miss the quiet here but we are so ready to feel we are among the living once again. just two more months, hard to believe!! 

happy spring to you wherever you are ... let's hope this next bout of cold, snowy weather is the last of it!!

love and light,
k. ~ xo

Saturday, March 1, 2014

still here ... with some big news!

Ok, no picture yet but ... it's been 3 weeks since I last posted. Yikes. I just haven't been too picture-happy lately is all.

Things here are good, and there's MAJOR news I am happy to announce :: I have found a NEW JOB! That's right, in just over three months from now we'll be moving out of the sticks and into the Washington, D.C. area (!!). I'll be working at a year-round Montessori school and DH has a good chance of getting a job there, too. This will be my first experience with year-round Montessori so I have mixed feelings but we are very, very happy to be getting off the Shore which has been a mixed bag (loved my job but hated a lot about this area, honestly) the last two years. This also means my job will start in June with not much time off in between but the school is very professional and well set-up with a lot of support. It's a beautiful school really. Of course there won't be a lag in pay between jobs which is really really great. We plan, if all goes well, to be in this area for quite a long time. I'm a bit nervous about green space, but I love being virtually ON the Amtrak path which can shoot me to New England and other greener points fairly quickly, there are also some major state parks to the west in VA and WVA about three hours or less away.

So that's the first major bit of news for us, post-marriage! We are so excited to have many personal, professional, and cultural opportunities to pursue. It will be a great area to raise a family in I think.

On the homefront, I'm just trying to take March to relax. February was quite a whirlwind of activity with traveling for job interviews, for the annual Montessori conference in Texas, not many weekends home for balance and I was more than a little out of sorts about that. Spent today doing some deep cleaning and I feel my home mojo is back :-) I made homemade deodorant, froze bananas for smoothies, and prepped breakfast sandwiches for the week ahead. We're also on solid menu plans again.

I would like to get my meals even simpler. I know this happens naturally moving toward spring and summer, when we live off smoothies and cold salads mostly it seems, and grilled stuff (thank you Staub grill pan wedding gift!). But the grocery spending ... oh my. I'm excited about possibly joining a CSA for the first time ever since we are finally settling in an area for a long while. Have I mentioned how excited i am to finally start settling somewhere? Yeah. We're ready for it.

I have some long-neglected knitting and knitting podcasts to get to, so ... I won't stay here too much longer today. Promise to post photos as I have them. I've realized that I can't be like the mama bloggers out there. I don't stay home (yet .... fingers crossed for someday....), and I can't cook every single night. I just can't. So those nights there might be pizza or Subway. I mean, I work FULL time. And the house can't always look perfect like some blogs out there make theirs out to be. I can do what I can do as far as homemaking stuff and working out and have to let the rest go. This is hard for me to accept because I'm "all about the self-improvement" as my DH puts it. If I can't let go sometimes, my personal hobbies suffer, my relationships suffer, my body suffers, and life just needs to feel fun and spontaneous sometimes. Yes, I'm working on it.

Have a lovely week!