Thursday, December 31, 2009
The last day of the year is always a good time to reflect on the things that have happened to you, and especially this year, since we can go back and look at the last 10 years!
So much has happened to me in the past decade. Wow. I was so young......
Let's see. In the past decade:
(1) I've lived in multiple places - Boulder CO, Atlanta, Savannah, Texas, Oklahoma.
(2) Received my graduate degree. :)
(3) Got married and divorced. :(
(4) Got published, online and in print.
(5) Learned German & Russian.
(6) Went through 10 different jobs (not including freelance work), including: eye bank liaison, waitress, fabric store peon, legal assistant, tutor, seminar instructor, graduate teacher.
(7) Got laid off twice.
(8) Successfully spoke at national conferences.
(9) Developed severe phobia of flying and worked hard to overcome it.
Things I've learned from all this reflecting:
(1) I won't be pushed around. By anyone.
(2) I hate sitting behind a desk all day.
(3) I love traveling and learning new things.
(4) Creative people are awesome.
(5) Overly competitive and condescending people suck.
(6) I've done more than I realize I have.
(7) I don't give myself enough credit.
(8) It's easy to lose yourself but very hard to find yourself again.
I have the same ol' resolutions as always: lose weight, save more money, get published more, learn new crafting skills.
This year though, my biggest resolution is to quit spending so much time on ENVY. I have a really bad habit of looking at other people's blogs and sighing and being all melodramatic about how successful they are in comparison to me. So my resolution is to stop looking at so many of those blogs and consciously stop myself when I start to feel so envious of other people's successes. It doesn't get me anywhere except full of self-pity and apathy. I want to be prouder of myself and kinder to myself too. And part of that involves appreciating my own creative voice and not living in the perceived shadows of others.
As far as learning new crafting skills, I'd like to take on a new project each month of this year. There are a lot of skills I'd like to learn: fancy embroidery, Tunisian crochet, various tricks of couture sewing. I'd like to take on a project per month that will give me a chance to teach myself a new skill. Won't that be fun?
It's so easy to make big resolutions (like aforementioned losing of the excess kilos) but so, so hard to follow through. Why is that? I guess everyone wants to improve themselves, and at New Year's you're allowed to speak out loud of your faults that you want to change. It's like a nationwide wishing party, where most people don't really feel all that self-conscious saying negative things about themselves. I don't know how successful I'll be at my resolutions, but I did end up keeping most of my 2009 ones. So we'll see. Maybe all this wishful thinking will be good for something after all!
So HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone!
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Note: I'm currently sitting in the little laundry room at the campground, doing the weekly laundry. So please forgive me if I have to get up from time to time to check on the clothes.
Ok! So we decided a few days ago to go to Austin, since Noel found out he didn't have to go back to work until Monday. We've heard good things about it - great music scene, nice restaurants, and apparently it's really hip with the young kids. I'm pretty sure that last sentence just sealed my fate as an official Old Lady.
We drove down on Sunday to check it out. It's a few hours from where we're staying, not too bad, especially since it was a nice day for a drive and also I could knit.
For those of you who may have failed 6th grade history (heh), Austin is the capital of Texas. The courthouse was quite lovely (from a distance, we didn't go right up to it).
Lots of condos and apartments too! We found the downtown area and walked around there for a while. It's obvious there are lots of young people in Austin, and a handful of colleges and universities, because most of the businesses in that area were either restaurants or bars.
(Delicate readers? You're welcome.)
We were hungry (of course) and decided, as is our tradition, to find an Irish pub. B.D. Riley's Pub fit the bill perfectly. Nice interior (a bit swank, but still very friendly and pleasant!). Not too crowded, and they had reuben sandwiches! They made them with coleslaw instead of sauerkraut, which made them taste...healthier, for lack of a better word. Ironic, since they probably weren't. Mmmmm...mayo. But despite their pseudo-healthiness, they were very good!
After a bit more sightseeing (sorry, but I forgot to take pictures of this music store that had a resident cat and tons of Elvis stuff, including a tree full of Elvis miniature ornaments. Awesome!) we decided to head back toward home.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
not a creature was stirring, not a cat I could see.
The stockings were laid by the tv with care,
in hopes that St. Nicholas would bring food to spare.
The kitties were nestled all snug on the bed,
Weather: frightful! We're gettings now flurries again! Not much, but just north of us they're having lots of snow. Good thing we're not in Oklahoma - they're in a state of emergency with blizzards and white outs!
Thankfully Noel isn't having to work tonight or tomorrow night either, because it's really cold here - wind chills down in the teens by tonight. And I haven't finished knitting his ski mask thingie for him to wear to work. Must go faster!
We're going to have a very simple dinner tomorrow - ham, potatoes, salad, bread, & apple pie. Just the 4 of us (the kitties might be getting a special treat - but they don't know that yet!)
In case we don't get to blog tomorrow:
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Apparently the Texas State Railroad does some big To-Do every year for the holidays, and this year it was the Polar Express. One of Noel's coworkers had his wife & 2 kids come to visit him here in Fairfield, and they're big fans of the movies. They invited me to go.
I had no idea what to expect. I haven't seen the movie or read the book. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, memories drudged up from commercials that it's a cartoon, has Tom Hanks as one of the voices, and involves....a train. That goes to a polar place. Um. That's as much as I knew.
Thankfully I had the kids (4 & 6 years old) there to explain things to me. For example, they told me we'd be getting hot cocoa from the train chef. Which we did!
They explained we'd go to the North Pole, which we did! (No photos of that, sorry! It's too magical for photos, and also I'm so shaky when I take flashless pics they end up looking like Lightning Bugs Gone Wild.)
They explained that we'd get to see Santa, which we did!
(Please note large cowboy hat in the way. Can you tell we're in Texas?)
They said that the conductor would come around and punch our ticket, which he did!
They explained that we'd get a bell (the elf is holding one up), which we did!
When I asked the 4 year old why we needed bells, she looked at me very seriously and said, "I can't explain that, it's too important to the movie." Ahem. Excuse my ignorance.
All in all it was a really enjoyable event. And there were HUNDREDS of people there. In their pajamas, which I also wasn't prepared for. Funny - there were lots of adults in their pjs, not just the kids. Had I but known....
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Today was Present Wrapping Day! You know what wrapping presents involves? Crinkling paper and string. I got so much help from the kitties with the giftwrapping. Ample, clawy help.
Since we don't have tons of space in the RV to wrap presents, I pulled out the sleeper sofa and laid my cardboard fabric cutting board on top, so I'd have a nice working surface.
As I put the item to be wrapped on a piece of paper, Loki (of course it was Loki) would jump up and slide across the paper, digging in with his claws like Wolverine. He actually knocked this present off the couch and onto the floor. Thanks, Loki.
I finally managed to get everything wrapped up for shipping out today. This year was a light blue, turquoise, snowflake theme:
It's fun to have a theme for decorating and wrapping. If they ever made Elvis wrapping paper (that didn't cost a fortune!), I'd be all over that. Last year I fought the urge to use bacon wrapping paper, but it was a little too realistic looking. Kinda gross. In the past I've done white & gold, brown paper with blue ribbon, and silver and purple.
So the presents got sent off today to North Carolina. My family's meeting there for the holiday, but we won't be joining them this year. Noel doesn't get a lot of time off of work, and I don't want to leave him here by himself on Christmas! I'm thankful that they're so understanding. :)
Most of the Christmas knitting is done, but there are a few remaining things. I guess I should get onto that.
p.s. I got another article published today, a home decor How To:
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
We heard a sound last night around midnight - a loud cracking noise, followed by a creaking, then a crash. Noel and I looked at each other and knew exactly what it was....a tree had fallen in the campground.
At first, we weren't sure if it had landed on our little house on wheels or not. So we grabbed the flashlight and ran outside.
I wonder how this little coffee house would hold up against an oak?
Monday, December 14, 2009
Remember that gorgeous $45,000 house in Palestine?
Well, someone bought it. But it wasn't us. *sniff sniff*
There are some other really beautiful homes in Palestine though, and we have daydreams of having a project house to fix up. Today I found a really cool website about a couple who fixed up their old Victorian house into an absolute showpiece. Check it out!
So don't be surprised if we decide to go out on a limb and buy a fixer-upper. :) Ha Ha! Pass the sledgehammer.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
But before we go, I have some pictures to share with you! There's a beautiful bridge that's on the way to Noel's work. It's so pretty - gray concrete with yellow cables:
It's just so Agatha Christie, no?
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
1) More work on Christmas presents (my fingers keep getting stiff, not because of the quantity of knitting, but because I keep eyeballing the calendar and tensing up, because HELLO - Christmas is about 2 weeks away. GULP).
2) More squirting the cats with water. They've not only discovered the Christmas ornaments on the tree, but weirdly enough the vinyl snowflake decals too, which Loki sneakily attacks when he thinks we're not looking. Why would he want these things? Maybe the same reason we have to hide the bread from him. He's an odd cat.
3) More presents, but these are for me! Noel went shopping this morning for presents, and made me swear up and down that I wouldn't sneak a peek. He told me where he hid them though, so I wouldn't accidentally find them.
So here's another thing about living in an RV that you normally wouldn't think about: there just aren't a lot of places where you can hide stuff!
So today wasn't necessarily thrilling, just full of Don't Peek At Your Presents torture. And then I checked my email this evening, and got a great suprise - an article I wrote got accepted to an online health magazine! It's not up yet, but I was very pleased that they liked it. :) As soon as it's up, I'll post the link.
Since there isn't much else exciting going on here, I thought I'd post another of my favorite recipes. I like the taste of omelets, but sometimes the texture just totally grosses me out. Something about it being kinda rubbery on the outside and too liquidly on the inside. UGH. Also a fancy omelet takes a lot of effort and risk. It takes a lot of practice to flip the omelet over without either tossing it on the floor or sticking it to the ceiling. So I cheat, and make:
Kelli's Scrambled Omelet (serves 2)
1/4 onion, chopped
2 slices of sandwich meat of your choice, chopped (ham or chicken are both quite good)
1 1/2 cups of eggbeaters (or your store brand)
3 slices of American cheese (or more if you're a cheese addict)
salt & pepper
Heat your saute pan over medium heat, and spray with non-stick spray. Saute the onions and meat until the onions are tender and translucent. Add eggs, and stir until eggs are fluffy and liquid is cooked off. Tear up cheese and add into eggs, mixing until cheese is melted. Salt and pepper to taste. Devour and enjoy!
You can add anything you want to this - green peppers are great! So is that precooked turkey patty sausage. This is very fast to make and tasty. And if you use lowfat cheese and lean meat, it's pretty healthy too (well, healthier than pancakes and bacon and muffins, but I digress).
More exciting events tomorrow. Hopefully it'll be clearer and I can get some pictures of the neat stuff around this area! Three words: Ford Mustang Planter. Aw yeah.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
So instead, I've decided to try a new tack - something a bit more...rhythmic!
Some of you may know that I wanted to be a ballet dancer in my early youth. I was actually a pretty good dancer, performed with a small dance group for local schools and events (even dancing at the Biltmore Estate once!). However, I was too short to audition for the adult ballet in Asheville. So frustrating, especially when I grew about 5 inches within a year of stopping dancing. Sigh.
Anyway. Not to be depressing about failed dreams. The point is, I love to dance, even if I don't study it formally anymore. I've taken flamenco dancing, salsa classes, and dipped my toes into modern dance (not my favorite, to be honest). But sometimes it's fun to just put on music and dance! So for the last few days I've been doing dancing exercises in our tiny little living room space. I even got a DVD of different Latin dances. If only the cats would stay out of the way! :)
Ok, so now that you've got that rather amusing image in your head, you may be wondering, why am I telling you this? Because it gives me some motivation to know that others now know I'm working on getting back in shape. So thanks for helping me be accountable!
Dancing isn't really the most practical exercise for this living space. But my friend Lisa (Hi Lisa!) brought up a good point once - that people in New York City live in apartments as small as this RV and they pay a ton for the privilege! Then today, I saw an article on Yahoo that drove that point home:
The smallest apartment in NYC, a whopping 175 sq. ft. The interesting thing to me is that they don't cook at all in their space, and use the kitchen as storage. This is odd to me, because they aren't really maximizing their space, are they? It's funny that they have a bed and a desk, a kitchen counter, and a that's about it. In our space that's not much bigger, we have an actual functioning kitchen, a big desk, a couch, 2 chairs, a standing freezer, a bathroom, a bedroom, and enough space left over to samba. It's not a minimalistic as their place, but at least we have room to store our clothes and books!! (And all my yarn and fabric too!)
As for the numb fingers (in the title of this post), I'm knitting like crazy lately, trying to get everything done so it can be sent off in time! I'll post a few pictures in the coming days.
Now it's back to it - 2 hats on the needles that need finishing up!
Monday, December 7, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
At least it's not a long drive - less than 200 miles!
Houston, here we come!
(p.s. Please note that Fate has caused us to miss the big snow in Houston by 2 days. Sigh.)
Friday, December 4, 2009
Not a ton, it never stuck to the ground, but it snowed for about an hour and a half! It was so pretty and we walked around outside for a while in it. Yay!
Apparently Houston got a lot of snow. Jim Cantore was even there. And we all know that when the Weather Channel sends ol' Jim anywhere, there's some serious weather happening.
We felt so festive after our little snowy walk, we came home, put on some Christmas music, and started decorating for Christmas!
No, that's not our place. Heh. We saw that house in town today and just had to snap a picture. How much do you think their electric bill goes up in December? Wow. That's some serious dedication to being festive.
Seeing that we live in a very small space (about 230 sq. ft. or so) we have to be thoughtful about our decorations. We also have 2 destructo-kitties who can NOT leave anything alone. So I got some of those vinyl clings in the shapes of snowflakes to go on our shower stall, mirrors, and windows. I figure the cats won't be able to easily pull them off if they're near the top, and may not even notice them in the first place.
We also put up our fabulous Christmas tree! There was a fair amount of debate as to where to put our little 5 ft. tree. I had originally voted for the desk. Except the ceiling's too low, and also we use that space for cooking. So we figured we'd put it in the passenger seat up front, since we only use that spot for the cat bed (and they like sleeping in the front window better anyway). However, the tree was again too tall. So we ended up putting it in the floor between the passenger chair and the dashboard. It actually fits very well right there! Here's Noel putting up the tree:
Here's Loki being helpful by sniffing the tree box:
And then he decided the box was his new Fortress of Kittytude (this cat physically can NOT stay out of a box):
Our tree is a bit non-traditional. First of all, it's black. Yes, solid black. We have red & green ornaments (all non-breakable, because of aforementioned Tasmanian Kittens of Destruction):