Monday, March 22, 2010

Back to Frugality

I am finally back from Europe, my trip was business, but I managed to turn a good bit of the time into personal pleasure. I am very grateful that my work is a pleasure as well :).

Busy - busy - busy - excuses
There is so much going on and so much to do at home that I've simply not had the time to post an update. Next week end I am traveling to Miami for a wedding, the week end after, family from Vancouver are visiting. I simply do not have time to think, much less document my thoughts. Let me rephrase this, I am simply not well organized enough to blog and still continue all my other pursuits as I like to do.

There is Italian class which I must complete and try to get as much out of as possible, not just about getting an A - as much as it is about learning to speak - read- write.

There is my beloved yoga practice which has definitely taken a back seat, with travel, family, and classes pushing it to the back of the stage. This is not good because I consider yoga my sustaining life line. I must reposition this pursuit center satge now that I am back. My life's quality is very much directly proportional to the amount of yoga I practice. Simple fact.

Family, they are of course built in, as I live with them, thankfully :).

Friends and hobbies, I lump these together because some of my hobbies such as painting, I do with friends, so it is both creative time as well as friend connecting time. Remaining connected with my friends is vital for me and for my well being.

My home also continues to need its tender loving care, I have a number of improvements in mind, some needed, some simply creative ideas I want to execute. Along with my home there is my garden, it is wild from a long winter. I think it will take 5 days of working outside ALL day to get it to presentable. Not beautiful, but presentable. This year I also want to resussitate my herb garden. We shall see.

I will stop here, though there is certainly more to list. My remedial ability to properly organize my time and to make best use of my time shows. It shows in my ever growing list of to dos and creative projects on the back burners. The travel does not help with this situation, but I assure you that I use it as much more of an excuse than it really is.

I continue to look for ways to improve every aspect of my life, and at this time it seems that "time management", and organization are clearly at the epicenter of my mission. I do know one thing, to be sure, all of my "tasks" need to be fueled by a well rested and well fueled body. I need to exercise, as that fuels my energies.

Wish me luck as I get myself back into my day to day life, and special project rhythm. My goal is to be able to keep a balance, do a little of everything, includig a bit of nothing, keep some harmony in the pursuit of life.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Frugal Pleasure of Sorts

Well folks, I'm out of town on a business trip, and this is the first time I've had a free moment to write.  I really am not totally enamoured with traveling, people all seem to love traveling.

I do travel a good bit internationally due to the demands of my work. I tend to be a very happy and cheerful person, so I am loving exactly where my feet are planted. Just enjoying the moment.

 I did take the week end to meet up with my best friend who lives in Milan Italy. We had some quality girl time, and that was such a blessing. Such a pleasure. A little chalenging having a best friend who lives on another continent.

Presently I am in Amsterdam, It's a great city, I love the history and the art, culture. But I come here all the time, so it is not new to me, but over and over again, I ADORE  the museums. Looking forward to getting home though.

Some of the perks of business travel are eating out at phenomenal restaurants, and no house work :). I am thoroughly enjoying being away from my "projects", yes I am.

These trips make it quite easy to stay on my newly adopted "unemployment budget"  because I can live extravagantly for FREE. Does not get much more frugal than that does it? So this too is a frugal pleasure.

Well bye-bye for now, till I'm back state side.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Action Plan - Check-in

Once again posting my action plan has proven to be a fairly successful strategy for accomplishing my goals. My cleaning that was scheduled to take 1 hour 15 mins. actually took the better part of the day. I decided that a couple of spots needed love, namely my stove top and grates, my fridge, and my walls, my whole kitchen actually. Then I decided my master bath also needed deep love.

So I spent a good bit of time in the kitchen, but now it sparkles as it really should, and there is not one teensy weency bit of clutter. Have I mentioned that I detest clutter? This includes the ever popular "decorative clutter". More on that later.

Every square inch of my kitchen is as  I want it to be. I even scrubbed my kitchen floor. Every drawer is organized, every cupboard neat, my pantry usable. There are a few minor improvements I want to make in there, but that's for another topic.

Oh, almost forgot, I still need a permanent place for my microwave, and on top of a counter is not an option, this is something I detest. I need to figure out where it can be built in. I will lose a drawer or 1/2 a cupboard, but that is ok with me. For now it rests as the endcap of one counter, not bad, looks sort of  "built in".

My master bath received a very deep cleaning, and the closet was finally organized - yippie - that closet has been my nemisis for a long time.

 I did not stick to my timeline, but I got more accomplished than I'd planned, so I'd say the weekend of work was a success.

I also have all my material for my Italian test down to a science, and I even relaxed quite a bit with family celebrating carnaval.

Taxes were not completed due to some missing docs, and healthcare spending account organizing also did not happen.

I did cook, but nothing very special, I'd say this weekend was mostly cleaning and organizing, and I am super happy about that. I also did a good bit of "me time", which I need and crave, and relaxing.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Action Plan for Weekend 3

Coffee (having it now - relaxed planning & writing)
laundry to basement -- start load
  • speed clean my home (use a timer)
  • redistribute "stuff" that's left its home (7- mins)
  • swish all toilets w' cleaner
  • spray all sinks & tubs (2 - mins)
  • make my bed (3 - mins)
  • feather dust bedroom/ LR/ DR (7 - mins)
  • clean baths & shine (15 - mins)
  • vacuum upstairs & stairs (10 - mins)
  • vacuum downstairs & beat rugs (15- mins)
  • spray and shine stove top (7 - mins)
  • wipe down and shine counters (5 - mins)
  • scrub kitchen sink (5 - mins)
  • ------------------------------
  • DONE = 1 hour 16 minutes
lunch - turkey on wheat

 - these 3 items will take 2-3 hours
 - finish assembling glass inserts - kitchen cabinets
 - mount cabinet doors
 - fill cabinets w' stemwear/ vases/ glasses

frozen eggplant parm into oven
yoga class @ 4:30
home 6:30PM
dinner of eggplant parm & salade
1 hour of Italian
8:30 -til - - exhausted - - - - SEWING

  • coffee & relax
  • 1 hour of Italian
  • health care spending account
  • Taxes
  • lunch - left over eggplant parm
  • organize photos for clothing assessment
  • blog work - categorize & organize posts
  • cook for the week (Feijao Assado &Meat Lasagne)
  • dinner - whole wheat nan pizzas
  • 1 hour of Italian
  • build a fire and relax in front of fireplace in good company

- coffee and relax

- 1 hour of Italian

- yoga class

 - spend the day as I wish - could be sewing, taking a walk, time with nephews, a craft project, some movies, reading, blog stuff, trying a new recipe, organizing something, hanging out with my sister

- Bubble Bath

- a final hour of Italian - test Tuesday

Motivation - Action Plans - Goals

Motivation - waiting for it to arrive is not a good strategy
Once again I find myself with little to no motivation. There is so much that needs doing in my home, and I am not motivated. The hope is that by posting my week end action plans, I will get things done, and still have time remaining to just relax. This strategy has worked beautifully for the past few weekends, so I will continue it.

Long Range Goals
My big overall goal is to have my home just as I want it, every nook and crannie by late winter, mid March. At that time weather permitting I will tackle my attic and garage.

Once spring is here, I have much work to do in my gardens to get them to acceptable. They've been given little attention for the past 3 years, so this year there will be a few weekends, and potentially a few vacation days of pure indentured servitude to my garden.

All this work will be worth it, because there is nothing like eating a freshly picked tomato, or picking a bunch of flowers to make a vase for a friend. There is nothing better than preserving my bumper crops for winter.

A need to get away
I'd forgotten it was a holiday on Monday, so I did not plan any special get away, had I remembered, I may have planned to go someplace warmer for 3 days. At this stage of winter I do feel a craving for warmth. I have free rooms at Sheraton & Marroitt and lots of free miles for flying, all due to business travel, so it would have been free. What's better than free for a frugal life?

The Immediate
But back to my action plan. I will post an update on my status Monday night.
Here is my overall goal and strategy. I'd like to get all the manual type labor done by this afternoon. This evening I'd like to study about 1 hour of Italian. As a reward for my day of work, in the evening after a nice yoga class, and in the happy glow of my sparkling home, I look forward to spending  some qualiy creative time communing with my new sewing machine.

Tomorrow AM I'd like to do 1 hour of Italian, then do my taxes and my healthcare spending account. Spend another hour Sunday evening on Italian, then relax by the fire in my sparkling clean home, after a simple but delicious meal.

Wish me luck, just writing this increases my motivation.

Friday, February 12, 2010

This is a long weekend, and I have a LONG list of ToDos. Ive already gotten grocery shopping out of the way this evening, so that's a great begining. I do have to study because I have an Italian test on Tuesday, and the material is getting more and more difficult, so I expect to put in a good 4-5 hours into that effort.

Tomorrow morning, early I'd like to get the remainder of the new glass front cabinet doors hung, and fill the cabinets with glasswear. I want to give the kitchen and baths a deep cleaning, and get my fridge and pantry all refreshed. There is laundry, cooking for next week, and decluttering of at least one drawer.

I also want to spend some time completing all of my health care spending account expenses, and I have to do my taxes. I already have everything organized for these 2 administrative tasks. Got all papers organized last week.

I want to do yoga at least two times, and I'd like to get my new sewing machine set up so I can start creating, or at least playing.

I have no social obligations this weekend, but to perhaps hang out with my sister and nephews, but this is impromptu.
So tomorrow AM first thing I will post my specific plan. Posting my plan and then checking in at the end of the week end is doing wonders for my productivity. I love that.

Sometimes I am Cursed

Here's an example. Sewing, simple right, look through pattern books, find something you like, buy the pattern, buy the fabric, and make the item? Oh non, not me. I rather prefer to make patterns, not that I know how, nope.

In my essence I am a mathematician, I do not like to follow directions for anything. I like to create as I go along. Find my own way. This is precicely why I am not a good baker, I change the recipe mid way. This is the kiss of death in baking which requires precision.

How can someone, anyone, simply always follow patterns? This idea gives me the creeps, gives me anxiety. I like directions as a basic road map, but then I unfortunately/ fortunately always deviate as my insticts call me to do.
credit: Portager

I do believe that in the making of clothing, it is best to be an expert pattern follower, then deviate as one may wish. Still this belief does not at all inspire me to become a pattern follower.

Oh why am I this way? It would be so much easier to simply be a happy follower, looking for the right pattern.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


We are so lucky to live in America, but most of us do not realize it. Many of us have never seen or known any other life, so we have little to compare it too.

Today I feel very grateful for all that I have. Indeed I have so much. So many things, so many possibilities, so many opportunities, good people all around me, good health *(that's actually #1), enthusiasm, creativity, a good job that I love, a man who loves me, a healthy happy son who pursues his dreams and appreciates what he has been given in life, family, good friends, a warm home, a thinking mind, a grateful heart.

We need to be grateful every day.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Credit Cards can Bring Servitude

One should think before they charge.

A New Sewing Machine


Some of my earliest momories are of sewing. I used to cut patterns out of newspaper to make dresses for my dolls. I took an existing dress and traced it onto the newspaper , cut it out, then stitched it up. I was around 3 years old. Yes my aunts allowed me to use needles. I was even good at threading.

Over the years I've sewn here and there. For the last 10 years I've been the owner of a badly functioning sewing machine. It sounds like it's a car that only runs in first gear.

Things are changing today. I purchased a new sewing machine. I have so many pieces of clothing that need taking in, they fit, but not quite how they should.  Fitted skirts that hang off my hips because I am not at all hippy or large thighed. These perfectly good skirts look somewhat frumpy on me. I will refashion them to more clsosely follow my own personal curves, and not the curves of the average size 5.

There will surely be much more to come from the world of my sewing machine, but for now, I just wanted to announce how happy and creatively excited I am to have made this purchase.