Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ah, to live in Wonder Valley

I mentioned a diamond-in-the-rough house that I had found that is for sale. I am in love with what this house could be. The house I envision could be in magazines. I hope I stumble on something this lovely again when we are ready to move. Do you see the potentional? Check out other pictures on (only one of my favorite websites for realty stalking). It's mls 1133291.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The pantry showdown

Okay, every entry lately seems to be about food. I swear that isn't my whole life! I read a lot of blogs. In fact, my google reader account stays full of unviewed entries because I follow so many. I've noticed a couple in particular doing a pantry challenge, where the goal is to make all meals from foods that you have on hand and spend as little as possible at the grocery. Well, I now have made that my goal too, especially after our last massive (organic) grocery bill. We have tons on hand, so I don't think that it'll be that hard. I did not throw out all of our regular, processed, non-organic food. I try not to be wasteful, so my plans are to eat all of it as well. Some things are easy to give up, others are not as easy. We're taking baby steps here. We'll see how far I get, but my goal is to spend $50 or less in the next month. Here are some pics of what I'm working with (yes, finally pictures!). As you can see, I have plenty!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Happy heart, a monthly tale: January

Yet another month gone by. Time seemed so much slower when I was a kid. Maybe it's because we took the time to savor every second or was it that we were oblivious to the fact that time even existed. I may not have been able to savor every second this month, but some things, big and small, did bring a smile to my face.

.date nights with mr. O.

.60 degree weather in january.

.lunch and a 3.0 mile walk with my mom in said weather.

.finishing, not one, but two books, and working on a third.

.successful first night shift.

.having a certification class for work postponed (um, i may not have studied).

.organic food in my pantry.

.girl's night out.

.sunday lounge days.

.awesome craig's list finds.

.new recipe discoveries.

.amazing sales (yes, I'm talking to you, old navy).

.google reader.

.agave sweetner.

.discovery of forgotten items in my closet.

.Goodwill trips.

.banana and peanut butter shakes made with love by mr. O.

.catching up with friends over coffee.

.snuggling up next to a warm body on cold winter mornings.

.being able to laugh about the ticket that I got from our now camera-laden light into our neighborhood. beware.

.games on words with friends.

.making goals for a new year.

."blizzards" that are mere dustings of snow.

.discovery of the perfect diamond in the rough house.

.having a level-headed husband who pointed out we're not ready to move.

.spending half of my time with my head in the clouds and the other making lists and organizing.

Monday, January 25, 2010

It's not easy being green

I'm taking steps to be a healthier me. It was a goal for the new year, after all. I'm happy to report that I'm making it happen. Yes, it's time for another list.
  • I just stocked my kitchen full of delicious goodness! See previous post. I'm stoked to cook. Who am I kidding, I'm always stoked to cook, but this is an added bonus!
  • See you later, high fructose corn syrup! I've given up soda again. This time I'm hoping to stick to it. With that being said, I'm not going to say I'm never going to have one again, but not for a good while. I believe it's been around a week. This week also including a trip to the movie theater and I managed to make it through without a cherry coke or mr. pibb in my hand.
  • I'm working on my fitness. Okay, so I worked out once. I'm planning on doing it again and more frequently. The Biggest Loser Boot Camp video is no joke. I thought Bob was the nice one. If I were on the show, I now know that I would be one of the contestants that begs to go home and probably pukes several times. I've never said that I loved working out, but I know I have to work it out, literally. Sigh. I can't deny that I feel better afterwards either.
  • I'm going to start reading In Defense of Food as soon as I finish a couple of books I borrowed. In the meantime, I plan on watching the author on Oprah on Wednesday. I'm really excited to see what he has to say.
  • I have a garden in the works. Well, I at least have Aaron on the same page with me. We will have our own garden. I'm planning on planting tomatoes, bell peppers, and other veggies that are hard to find in the organic section. Also, I have made an agreement with my mom, my help for access to anything in her garden. Her garden is huge, people! I'm talking the size of my back yard. I'll have to post pictures of it this summer when it is in all of it's bountiful glory. She has her own compost bin and everything. I even have her convinced to start buying organic food. I'm so proud of her!
  • I want to have a small farm. I know, who is this person? See previous post. I'm sure this phase will pass. Maybe I just want to own an all natural/organic cafe. That would make me happy too.

All baby steps, but I'm own my way!

I want to be a farmer

There, I said it. I seriously told Aaron that we need to live on a farm. I want my own organic eggs and a huge garden and possibly a cow. I don't know what is happening to me. No, it is not because I work in Dickson. I would never want to live that far away from my friends and family...or from a Target!

What brought this about, you ask? Well, I watched the movie Food, Inc. I think everyone should watch it. Food as we all know it is sometimes not food at all. I sat dumbfounded through the entire movie. It's really mind-blowing what the food industry has been allowed to get away with and at the expense of our nation's health, not to mention the health and well-being of the poor animals that we eat.

In our household, I have been making smarter decisions about our food consumption for a while now. I'm happy to report after visiting four (yes, I said four) stores we now have shelves and a refrigerator full of organic items. Now, it was not cheap. It came with a $350 price tag. We are blessed to be able to have the income to be able to afford to eat well. I realize that this is a luxury that most Americans do not have. Although, some do have the means, but choose to spend their money else where.

I want all the people I care about to be as healthy as they can possibly be, so with that being said, please watch the movie. I say this not as an animal activist, not as a vegetarian, not as a person who wants to stand on a soap box, but as a person who truly cares about other people's well being. I hope you all will be as outraged as I am and will take steps to have healthier fuel for your bodies.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Life happens in bursts

Let the randomness ensue!

  • I have a cold. I should really stop hanging out with sick people. You don't realize how much you take for granted breathing without difficulty or not having to blow your nose every five seconds, until you are blowing your nose every 5 seconds and not being able to breathe properly.
  • One of the best things for me about not having to work on a giving day is not wearing a bra. There, I said it. Seriously, it is so much more comfortable.
  • I made lamb meatballs for dinner. I think it's the first time I've ever had lamb. It was delicious. I'm surprised because I'm not a big fan of Mediterranean or Greek food. It was very Greek.
  • Aaron and I are going to Atlanta soon for a weekend of glorious food. I'm super excited!
  • Speaking of staying in hotels, I stayed in Dickson last week, due to the snow, and I regretted ever watching Dr. Oz or 48 hours. Thoughts of bed bugs, semen, and grossness danced through my head all night. So much so, that I woke up about 5 times during the night. I should have braved our "blizzard."
  • I still love my job, some of the people, not so much. I guess there are people that are ridiculously lazy and rude, no matter where you go. Sigh.
  • I am currently drinking red wine, not for pleasure, though it's good, but to put myself to sleep. Thank you nursing for totally screwing up my sleep pattern!
  • I am glad that I have a job that I enjoy and that pays me really well, regardless of the last two statements!
  • I am constantly amazed at things I discover, regardless of whether they are good or bad.
  • Aaron and I are having a much needed date night this weekend. I am stoked!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I'm all for adventure, but...

"The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The
joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is
no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have
a new and different sun." - "Alex" McCandless
Chris (Alex, which is a name he gave himself about two years before his untimely death) McCandless is the subject of the book that I am currently reading, Into the Wild. If you are unfamiliar with the book, it is the true story of how McCandless gives away most of his possessions, including $24,000 to charity, to embark on a road trip that led him to the Alaskan wilderness, where he was ill prepared and his outlook of less-is-more-against-the-man-be-one-with-nature, ultimately led to his early death.
I identify with his quote above, so much. I identify with the most of his views. When I say I get bored, I think it's an understatement. I get restless. I just want to do and see so many things, that sometimes, I think I'll explode. That's what I mean, when I say that I have chaotic energy. One of my favorite quotes by Sylvia Plath is about wanting to be a firecracker and burst into a thousand different directions as the same time, instead of being tied down. Hallelujah, Sylvia Plath!
Um, however, you aren't going to find me trekking out on an Alaskan trip with one backpack, 15 pounds of rice, and no waterproof shoes (REALLY!? Really, Mr. McCandless.) or trying to drown myself with rocks in my pockets (Ms. Plath, really?). I am all for convictions and doing what makes you happy, but I'm blessed that I have a left brain that likes to take over my somewhat impulsive right-brained self.
For all the times that I want to run off and join the circus, my left brain kicks in with list after list after list of what I'm going to wear, the fastest/cheapest way to get to said circus, not to mention a spreadsheet of alternate itineraries to do each day on my trip. This makes me lucky, very lucky.
When people talk about being more left-brained than right-brained, I know I have the best of both worlds, I can be artistic and impulsive, but I have a control-freak, number and list loving, fun squasher, that steps in and takes over at the right moments. I thank my lucky stars for that. Otherwise, someone may have already found me with my head in a gas oven or living in a nudist colony. I like my life, just the way it is, with a little adventure sprinkled in here and there and the ability to know when too much fun is TOO much fun.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hello, 2010! You're going to love me!

Resolution, smezolutions. I don't do them. I never really have. It's too much pressure and we all know the statistics. They don't work. I do, however, make a lot of goals for myself. I don't necessarily do them because it's a new year. I do them because I don't want to become too content and let life pass by me. With goals, there is growth. Growth means endless possibilities. I'm once again opening up the possibilities for myself, in part, for 2010, but mostly because I will never be that person that wakes up and does the same routine from sun up until sun down every single day. That's just not who I am or who I ever will be in the future. In no particular order, my goals are below.

Goal #1: Run at least one 5K with my husband. What you should know about me is that I am not a runner, but I really want to be. I have runner's envy. What I really want my goal to be is to do a 1/2 marathon, but I know I'm not ready for all that. I can barely run a mile without having to stop and walk. Hopefully, I'll do more than one race. One is a starting point though. Start small, but shoot for the moon (1/2 Marathon 2011, what, what!).

Goal #2: Read at least 25 books this year. I got away from reading because of all the text book reading that I had to do in school. Reading and I have a very love-hate relationship as of late. We're working on coming back to what we once were. I'm off to a pretty good start too. I've almost finished reading a book I got for Christmas. It's called "A Homemade Life." If you are into a good story and cooking, you would love it. It tells the story behind each recipe that graces it's pages. It's positively delightful.

Goal #3: Be a more healthy me. I've already started switching a lot of our foods to organic. I've been reading food labels for years, but I've started paying even more attention lately. I'm also already deemed "the healthy eater" at my new job, but all of these things are not enough. My goal is to pick healthier choices for me and my family, switch even more to organics (Why are Trader Joes and Whole Foods, so far away?), and to get back into working out. I'm not putting a timeline on this, but I want to keep it in the front of my mind where it is easily accessible. I already have three weapons to help me with this goal, In Defense of Food, which helps me with goal #2 too, Biggest Loser's Boot Camp video, and a goal to run a 5K. I truly believe your body is your temple, so this should be an easy one. I deserve to be the most healthy me.

Goal #4: Expand our recycling. We have been recycling paper products and card board for most of last year, but I've been putting off expanding to other things. Let's face it. There is more work involved with recycling plastic or cans. My goal is to pick up at least one of these two this year.

Goal #5: Keep up with blogging or writing. You may not know that I used to want to be a writer. Now, I didn't really know what that meant, other than I was constantly writing stories, poems and in my journal/notebook and it made me happy. I think this blog makes me more accountable for this goal and that makes me happy.

Goal #6: Take a vacation more than once. Hey, I'm making up for this year! We didn't have a vacation at all. Well, we did go visit Aaron's parents in Florida, but I want a just-me-and-Aaron beach trip and I would love a road trip to somewhere I've never been. This could be almost anywhere because I've really only visited the states surrounding Tennessee.

Goal #7: See my family more. I've already started the Sunday dinner tradition. I want to do even more to see my family more. Time with them really is very important to me.

Goal #8: To not be so hard on myself. This is always on my list of goals. I'm lousy at keeping this goal up. I am very hard on myself. I always have been, so it's hard not to be. I've been better about this one over the last few months, so I'm hopeful that I can continue to do this.

Goal #9: To give more to others. Now, I don't mean, material things necessarily. This could be my time or advice. The possibilities are endless. My goal is to give at least once a month, whether a surprise gift, a phone call to someone I haven't talked to in a while, or paying for some one's ticket behind me in line somewhere. Touching other people will make my soul happy. It's one of the reasons that I like my job so much. I'm a very blessed person, so I'd like to share my good fortune.

This is a start. Possibly, all I can handle for one year or at least for while, but I strive to do all these things and to look for new goals that I can achieve along the way.