Friday, April 29, 2011

Coffee Chat - Stormy Weather (Written yesterday)

Good Morning!  I thought I'd slip in this morning, as I wait for the weather alerts to clear. Aside from some fair winds out of the South we didn't really get much weather off this storm system besides a bit of rain (and not much of that).  However, the warnings stay in effect until noon today. 

I have a couple of necessary errands to run this morning: pick up prescriptions and buy fresh produce.  I'd thought I'd work ahead in making Chance's work lunches, or at least have a few components washed, packaged and ready to pop into the basket for each day's meals, but without produce I'm pretty well halted from doing that task.  As the housework is all done and I am waiting to cool down before applying make-up for the day, I thought I'd stop in and invite you for coffee (Kona and is it good!)  and cookies if you'd like, Cinnamon/Chocolate Chip.

I've been rather irritable the past couple of days.  It's a combination of things really.  For one, I've worried over that new budget (and we'll discuss that again in moment) and then I worried over another issue over which I have control and another still over which I have no control and then I got myself in a mood over what I felt was a lack of appreciation.  I decided yesterday to settle every issue once and for all and get it off my mind! 

First I went back over that silly budget page, using a calculator...and then I saw my mistake, a fairly big one and I suppose I must have been feeling terribly optimistic at the time I first reviewed it.  You see, I decided to TRIPLE our usual monthly savings.  One portion goes towards our car payment and one portion goes into savings, but I guess I felt that wasn't enough so I slapped another same sized portion into savings and there went groceries!   I also made a small error that knocked me down a good $100. 

When I sat here yesterday afternoon pondering on the matter, before I'd even looked at the sheet, I suddenly had one of those "hmmm..." moments when the light bulb sort of flickers, like those old flourescent tube bulbs used to do..."Why," I asked, would the budget be so far off now when we've only slightly increased two areas and added in two minor amounts for planning ahead?  I should have lost a small amount of the grocery budget, but not ALL of it!"  That made me pick up my calculator and my budget sheet and go over the figures once more and there I discovered the two mistakes that put me in a tail spin for the first part of this week.  Foolishness!  I know better than to NOT check and double check and yes triple check, my figurings and look at the time I've wasted worrying unnecessarily.  I can easily drop my grocery budget by $40 which is certainly preferable to sitting about wondering how I can manufacture some $360!

Then I thought over another area that has been a sore point.  It's a situation that deals with a relative who has a power of attorney and must handle certain matters, but who chooses instead to continually complain, whine and worry aloud to me over issues and refuses to do anything at all about!  I offered up two valid suggestions which were shot down like a hawk over the chicken yard in nothing flat.  That's when I realized that no suggestions are wanted.  This person wants, quite honestly, to complain, whine, let me know how burdensome these issues are, andto  hug that worry hard and close as though it were a valued possession.  I dealt with the same mindset with an older child who frequently would reply to honest good advice, "Yeah, but..."  Immediately upon realizing this I let it go.  I'm not hard hearted, but then again, I'm no fool.  DO something or do NOTHING.  Both have consequences and only the person who makes the choice can determine what those consequences might be.

The other situation is a home worry, not one I can share about, but it's a matter of waiting now.  We've turned it over to be handled by the highest authority, our G-d, who will answer in time.  In the meantime I shall give over the worry about my loved one and my fear that he will 'forget' he's agreed to turn it over. 

And finally, that feeling of neglect: as much self imposed as it is from outward sources.  You see, it's been a terribly busy week just past.  I spent a good deal more time than usual alone and that was necessary, not done purposely.  I also feel a growing sense of frustration hit me over many tasks I've waited patiently after requesting they be done or at least hired out to be done, and yet no move has been made.  I'm frustrated by my own lack of skills and the authority to simply hire it done.  Maybe I should just pull out that TO DO list this next week and ask nicely for a yea or nay decision on tasks to be done or hired out, and ask for a promised completion date by end of week on those very minor tasks.

As well, I've gotten myself into one of those seasons where I spend a great deal of time and effort trying to please others, foregoing entirely plans I've made for myself.  Simple things too, like bypassing a program I'd like to at least sample in favor of letting someone else watch what they want; not making a meal or dish that I particularly like because someone else doesn't care for it; letting others deteremine where we'll go and what we'll do though I'd really like to do something that is of interest to me now and then...

Now I may well have to wait upon the short TO DO list that grows each week but I most certainly do NOT have to wait on these other things.  That is entirely upon me.  It's not as though I'd hear a great deal of complaints or be harassed if I did any of those things, it's merely that I don't and therefore I've worked myself into a feeling that I have been put upon and neglected and ill used. Not true, not true, not true, at least not by others, but only by myself...  So last night I gave myself a fresh pedicure, and this morning I stopped work long enough to wash away the gray hairs.  I'm scheduled for a haircut this afternoon and I think I shall feel more than ready for my field trip to the city tomorrow.

Gracious!  After all that sorting out of self and such, I do believe I could now tackle a few minor items like national debt to round out the week!

I keep a list of purchases to be made in my purse and yesterday I happily picked up four of the items on that running list.  Two new curtain panels for the master bath to drape over the mirrors as scarves just to visually and audibly soften the room which is full of hard surfaces.  That was just $10.  I also found a mattress pad and a set of white sheets for the guest bed to replace the black sheets Kay left behind and which I've used since.  I was at a discount store that has very, very good prices on quality goods of this sort and so I paid far less than I'd have paid at Walmart.  I don't think it's a branch store, but simply a locally owned discontinued warehouse for home goods.  Very good buys there.  The sheets were 300 count heavy cotton for just $15 and about the same for a pillow top mattress pad.  It's always a bit of a search for things that suit tastes but worthwhile to visit now and then.

The fourth item I'd meant to buy was a bale of plant potatoes that sprouted hard under the kitchen cupboard.  Mama happened to have a bag of leaves that had been raked up from her yard and this too is suitable material in which to bury my potatoes, so I asked if I might have the bag and she sent it home with me.  I'll be out later today to plant those potatoes in an old garbage can that has drainage holes in the bottom.  The plan is to follow the continual mounding process so the potatoes are encouraged to produce innumerable potatoes.

Since the big trash can is a reclaim from the trash pile (our own trash pile, due to losing the lid years ago in a windstorm), it led me to plan a small garden in an old dog kennel that we don't use.  The six foot tall fence and gate will keep out deer.  The area is just large enough to put a raised bed around edges of the fence and narrow containers of plants around wall of the shed and a good pathway for walking about.  It won't by any means be a large garden, but we should be able to keep some foods in production nearly all the year long with care and anything we can grown will be a help.  I'm new enough to gardening again (haven't really done it in years upon years) that this should be a manageable plot for me to handle on my own once the raised beds are built, and a good use for an otherwise wasted bit of space.  It gets lots of sun during the day and is sheltered from damaging winds by the sheds (not to mention a nice bit of runoff water from dew and rain to help water the plants).

So I've more projects planned, lol.  I surely did not need another project when I've so very many already planned or underway but then I'm not one to want to waste all of my time doing nothing, just a portion of it...

One of my 'projects' this week is that previously mentioned field trip to the city.  I plan to go spend a full day at the mall in the city.  I am going equipped to work, with camera notebook and enough cash to buy lunch and a speciality coffee as a treat.  I will people watch, look in store windows and at displays in the department stores, note how outfits are put together on a mannequin, check out clearance racks, even look at furniture displays (accessories, colors, etc) and tablescapes.  I might allow myself to browse a bit in the bookstore.  I intend to take my time, go slow, rest a bit here and there and just really look hard for inspiration and ideas.  I also intend to run by a fabric store to pick up the needed thread to start that project for my bedroom, and perhaps I'll go buy the farmer's market as well?  That part is up in the air.  It really depends upon the traffic and my energy for such.

Oh dear...Mama called and asked for my help with a project so I shall have to go.  It's something that must be taken care of immediately, can't be postponed and if I do put her off, it means giving up my day tomorrow which I've really been looking forward to doing.  So I'm off to help her and then back home again to tend to one or two more things and then I'll begin weekend work ahead of time.

a bit later....
An internet group to which I belong has been intrigued with the article I mentioned detailing how to stretch a wardrobe of basic pieces to make multiple outfits.  The article is online here:

This is not a concept that gets pushed a whole lot anymore, but now and then in hard financial seasons a magazine or two will pull out the idea and polish it up using either one piece in multiple ways (like the ubiquitous little black dress) or a handful of pieces in multiple mix and match outfits.  You can go many ways with this concept.  In the 1950's this idea was a perennial, appearing seasonally in many magazines.  Woman's Day once did a series of 12 articles in which 1 piece was purchased monthly, along with one or two accessory pieces (all budgeted for mind you in the annual budget).  Some of the older articles also used handmade items, sewn and crocheted or knitted, to extend a basic wardrobe.

For many years, when we had considerably less money to spare, I based my wardrobe on two basic color pants (black and brown or black and navy) and built from there.  These days I still lean heavily upon that basic black and one other neutral but have blouses and sweaters and tops that will go with multiple items.  I still do a good bit of mix and match to create several outfits from a few basic pieces.  If I fail anywhere it's the lack of shoes in my wardrobe and I know it.  I'm just not very good about taking real time and money to seek out good comfortable but attractive shoes.  I shall certainly have to remedy this fact as I've been caught out more than once with a nice dressy looking outfit and no shoes suitable to make it work, or a casual outfit and only a dressy pair of shoes which jarred the effect entirely.

I hope you all enjoy the article and see the possibilities in your own closets.

Guess I'd better wind up here.  There's plenty that needs to be done yet...and isn't there always?

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