Tuesday, February 28, 2006


I consider myself to be quite frugal. My husband, R, does not yet see it that way. In fact, whenever I do something particularly spendy, he makes me repeat after him the phrase, "I am not frugal". My friend Charlie calls it "Spaving" - spending to save.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Finding my Inner Interior Decorator

Ikea is my happy place. So many rooms with all kinds of neat organizing and decorating ideas and gadgets, good food and soft serve at the end of it all. It is just a fun and exciting place.

So when my sister E was here, I was thrilled to go and wander around. I saw several things that would look great in my home, but I didn't buy them. Why? Because I couldn't decide if that was the best look, or if that was the direction I really wanted to go in that room, etc. Later on, I was reading an article on finding your inner interior decorator and realized that I have "IDA" - Interior Decorating Anxiety.

The article said that if your walls are still white, and more or less bare because you can't decide what color to paint, pictures to buy/put up, etc. - then you are probably suffering from IDA. I was reading all about me. The article suggested starting small and not trying to conquer the whole house at once. Since I have recently decided to start working from home seriously, I am going to start by decorating our home office.

R and I decided to allocate a small amount of money to the project. My plan is to paint, do some sort of window treatment, get some shelves - and put them up on the wall, get a printer (not a decorating thing, just a home office thing), and if there is any money for it, some sort of comfy chair/love seat. I think I basically need 3 zones - a crafty zone, a computer/work zone and a household files/office supplies zone.

First things first - I agreed to get the paper piles and clutter cleaned up/filed/shredded before I would paint. So I guess I better get going on that - yikes, no wonder I have IDA.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Thai Chi

I *love* Thai food, so I thought I would give Tai Chi a try too. Turns out they really don't have much in common.

But, I just found a new thing on our cable - we have free on-demand movies - including (and this is the new-to-me part) free fitness programs. So I thought I would mix things up a bit and try some Tai Chi.

I really liked it and was surprised at how good it felt and also at how difficult it was to do. I think the difficulty came mainly from the fact that it is really fluid, so I had a hard time with hand and foot placement. This was not at all helped by the low-budget nature of the show. The camera would be showing someone's face while the instructor was explaining hand or foot placement.

My uncle David actually does Tai Chi religiously every morning - outside. As a kid, I kind of thought it was weird to see our guest outside early in the morning waving his arms about slowly while moving back and forth on his feet. However, his fluidity made an impression and I tried to find that myself today - rather unsuccessfully.

The instructor talked about how certain exercises and stretches were good for various organs and muscles, so apparently it is a very healthy thing to do. I am going to do some more research on this. In the mean time, it is a nice bit of variety in my exercising.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

My Sweet Hearts

Having a baby has added a new dimension of joy and depth to my life. I now have two sweet hearts!

We are all standing underneath one of my all time favorite prints - Ecstasy by Maxfield Parrish. While it does not make for a great photo, it does remind me of moments of ecstasy in my own life. And many of those moments are found when I am with these two people.

To see this print go to http://www.imagenetion.net/matrix/mparrish/mp21.jpg

Monday, February 13, 2006

Life in fast-forward

Some days seem to go by as slow as molasses and others go by at the speed of light. Today was an interesting time warp all in and of itself. Today, I did the taxes for the investment club that I am in with some girlfriends. That was a huge task that feels like it was monumental to complete. It turned out to be more of a mole-hill than a mountain, but even so, it was looming large for the past month.

Then Ryan got a new job. Yep.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Don't Eat Pete

My sister Elena is engaged! I haven't met the fellow yet, but he seems like a nice enough guy.

The crazy thing is they have only known each other and been dating for a few months. Don't worry though, they aren't rushing things, the wedding isn't until June 30th. Craziness.

I happened to mention that it all seemed to be happening rather fast to her. Her response was, "when you know - you know". I guess that is true. And who am I to doubt that she knows. It just worries me because she has always been a bit of a serial monogamist. She has a serious boyfriend within one week after she is broken up with the previous guy. I just don't want the rose colored glasses to come off too late. Don't get me wrong, I don't think Pete is a bad guy or that there is anything wrong with him at all. In fact, I am quite sure I will like him tremendously. I just don't want Elena to find out a few months or years too late that they aren't really as compatible as she thought. I mean the first few months of every relationship is really just the honeymoon phase.

Having already stated my concerns to her though, I am just going to keep my mouth shut from here on out and hope for the best. Lots of happy couples know right away when they find each other.

We used to play this game as a family called (strangely enough), "Don't Eat Pete". It was a laminated piece of paper with 9 squares on it. Each square had a different face. One member of the family would step out of the room and the rest of the family would decide which face was "Pete". The person who had left the room would return to find a game board with nine m&ms over the nine faces. They would pick up and eat each of the m&ms one at a time, until they started to take the m&m over the designated "Pete". And this was the fun part - we would all yell "Don't Eat Pete!" And their turn would be over, regardless of how many m&ms they got.

It looks like Elena has finished her turn tasting m&ms and has found her "Pete" - literally.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


A little while back, i.e., early January, I found an interesting website - flylady.net (link is located on the sidebar). It is dedicated to helping people gain control of their lives and homes - in small doable increments. Since it is free, I figured I would try it for a little while.

Since joining, my house has been getting cleaner and more organized little by little. The laundry is never piled up, because I do 1 load everyday, our bed is always made and my kitchen is mostly clean. I love it!

I really love some of her philosophies. She says "you can do anything for 15 minutes"; "you are not behind, just jump in where you are"; your home did not get messy in a day, it won't get clean in a day; and my personal favorite, you can't organize clutter, you have to get rid of it.

I think the most powerful thing she teaches is the power of routines. I had read that children crave routines. Order really helps them to thrive. But I never figured that would be the same way for adults, but I have found that trying to stick with a couple of routines has really made my life easier. I have a morning routine, a before bed routine and Audrey's bedtime routine. And I try to follow flylady's days of the week schedule too. I try to plan my menu for the next week on Wednesdays, right after I clean out the fridge to see what we still have and what we need. Then after making my list while I am making a menu, I go grocery shopping on Thursdays. Now I don't find myself needing to make more than one trip a week to the grocery store and we are starting to have really fun food - last night we had beer-battered onion rings and burgers -yum! I guess a little organization and a few good routines, really go a long way towards improving one's quality of life.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Money Matters Book Club

I grew up more or less lower middle-class. And I think, like the majority of people, I grew up with more fear towards money than actual understanding of it.

That however is no excuse for poor money management as an adult. After I graduated, I started to see that I needed some money education. So I started to read lots of personal finance books. I have learned a lot from them, but I think I need to reread some of them and find some new books to read.

So I am starting my own personal "money matters book club". Where at least once a month I am going to read various personal finance and money books. My goal is to continue to change my attitude towards money into a positive and healthy one and in the process glean some wisdom that will help me to better manage what I do have. I am also hoping for a little motivation - I love to read success stories, and I guess I am hoping to become a success story one day.

I am going to start with one of my favorites: The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason.