Saturday, February 26, 2011

Kansas City to Houston to Austin to Houston to...Sleep, I Hope

We've driven to Texas to spend the week visiting friends and family, and so far it's going great except for the part where Zinashi and I both miss sleeping in our own house. Also I miss cooking our meals. But it's been good to get away from the horrible winter weather Kansas City is experiencing right now, and I have struggled to keep from bragging about wearing sleeveless shirts.

We've not done anything super exciting, but we've had some really great time to just hang out with friends, and we've taken two trips to IKEA, and Zinashi got to live the dream of pretending to drive a car while sitting in the driver's seat of actual cars, so I think we can consider this trip a success.



We drive back on Monday. I'll likely have more to say after that. Enjoy your weekend.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Help This Film Along, I Beg of You

I'm about to donate to the completion of this film, and I hope you will, too. This is obviously an issue that is close to my heart; though the nationality of the girls is different from my own girl, many of the issues they deal with will be the same ones with which Zinashi will grapple as she grows up.

Here's the trailer for Somewhere Between.

TRAILER: Somewhere Between - A Feature Documentary from Linda Knowlton on Vimeo.


Donate here.

Thanks to Rebecca for the info and all the links.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Moving on Up...or...Somewhere

I'm starting to feel a little manic about our house. We had a realtor come by today to tell us what we need to do to get it ready to sell, and then he recommended putting it on the market in April and ACK! THE BASEMENT! IS FULL OF CRAP! I have never been so ready to let go of things I was unsure about parting with. Here, take this! And this! And this other thing! If you come over, I might shove something at you and make you take it home. Would you like this nice serving piece that is shaped like fall leaves and comes with a lazy susan? Say yes!

As much as I have complained about it over the years, I will miss this house, and I think that particularly once we have everything all fixed up properly, it will be really hard to let go. That and the fact that we brought our daughter home to this house, and it is where we built our first bit of family life in the US. I've also poured a lot of time and thought and energy into making this house what it is, and it is very much my house now. (As opposed to being a messy bachelor pad that I endured in the beginning--Jarod has pretty much let me It's hard not to mourn something that I've worked so hard on.

The part of all this that I'm not mentioning is why we are selling, which is that we're hoping for a new job for Jarod in another city. He doesn't have one yet, but we would rather know the house is sold and have to figure out what to do in the meantime than to suddenly have a job on the coast and be stuck with a mortgage for a house we don't live in. It's smarter this way, even if it might be trickier. I do hate to uproot Zinashi more times than is necessary, but looking at the bigger picture, in which we are making a better life for her (and creating more room for completing our family), we know this is a good thing to do. We're just going to trust that it will work out as it's meant to, and in the meantime, work our tails off for the entire month of March. I'm pretty sure Jarod is terribly excited about that.

I, personally, am excited about making enough money selling our crap to afford one chair.

I'm sure I can make enough more to pay for the second one, which is already sitting in our garage.

(Yes, I did buy both. What? There were only two left that were in decent shape.)

(And also we got a new desk.)

(Spendthrift!)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Downsizing

When Jarod and I got married, we weren't exactly straight out of college with little to our names. He already owned the house we live in, and even had a full basement to prove it. (This is how you know you own the home: the basement fills up with a LOT of crap because no one is going to come and suggest you might not get your security deposit back if a family of rabid squirrels move in and you don't figure it out because your basement is too full.) I had a full apartment and a basement storage locker with enough stuff to fill half of Jarod's garage. Combining our accumulated junk was no easy task, and if you couple it with my urge to purchase other people's old junk because it's cute, well...it's been an ongoing battle to keep the house from becoming something worthy of being on Hoarders. Throw in turning our second bedroom from an office into our daughter's room, then add in all the gifts she's been given, and it's even more of a challenge. A steady stream of stuff has been leaving our house since the day I moved in, but we still keep having to work out the particulars of what gets kept versus what gets donated versus what gets sold.

I always thought that if I just got rid of things that we didn't use or need, then we would magically have a clean and organized house. It turns out that not only is it hard to recognize all the things we truly don't need (though I am getting better at it), it's also hard to see the forest for the trees if you've got a lot of big furniture stuffed into a small space. The thing that originally tipped me off to this was our purchase of a new couch last year. Just getting something a touch sleeker made our living room look so much bigger. What would happen, I wondered, if I were to remove all the huge pieces of furniture (some of which we use primarily to catch junk mail and Zinashi's random stuff) and replace them with something smaller, sleeker, better? I don't know the answer to that question, or at least the final answer, but I do know that right now it looks like four big bags of books to be sold at Half Price Books and several pieces of furniture to be Craigslisted as soon as I can take the photos. I will sell more to get less, materially speaking, but I will also sell it to get more.

More space.

More organization.

More letting go of the things that we really don't need.

More of what we truly like as opposed to what we were making work due to lack of other ideas.

And, frankly, more cute. (I'm hoping to sell enough on Craigslist to acquire a matching pair.)

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

A Few Random Things

First up: no buying new clothes or shoes for 2011. Are you wondering if I made it through even the first month? Um, kind of. I'm going to have to make some exceptions along the way, I think. I am determined that none be fashion-related, but have accepted that there will be some necessities I simply need to purchase. As you may know, we've had a very snowy winter, and our driveway is very steep. Shoveling it wouldn't really help, so we just put on snow boots to go up and down the drive. This would be just fine if the lining of one of my snow boots hadn't disintegrated and collapsed down into the boot, making them neither warm nor waterproof, and uncomfortable to boot. (To boot! See what I did there? With the boots and the "to boot"?) So in the interest of getting myself and a small person up and down the drive safely and without exhausting my supply of knee socks by getting one sock wet every time I went up or down the drive, I went to Target and got some new snow boots on clearance for $9.98. They're ugly, but they work. So there's that. Also, I think I will have to buy another sports bra. Just what you want to hear about, right? I could do an extra load of laundry each week, but sorting out workout clothes from all the rest would take a lot of time and effort that is much better spent in other ways. So to Target I will go to get the cheapest sports bra available.

Which leads me to my next point, which is about my workout. And how much I like it. Well, not like it necessarily--I mean, there are still days I'd much rather take a nap or fritter away my time on a hobby--but it's really doable. I can do it six days a week without feeling completely overwhelmed or exhausted, and thus there is a need for one more sports bra since I only own five. I just...do it. I put on the workout clothes and start the DVD, and finish the DVD, and that's that. Well, except that three days a week I do both DVDs, like a crazy person. I find I can get completely through one DVD and partway through the second one during Zinashi's nap, leaving a bit to finish up while she is awake, but not so much that she gets antsy and angsty because my focus is clearly elsewhere. I usually do the dance one second, as she thinks that is funniest, and also because she doesn't try to lie down on me during the abs section or get upset because I am using the whole mat, and she obviously also needs to use the mat! She is working out! Move over!

And now, finally, the thing I mull over every single day, which is the question of why I am intent on working out so many days a week. The answer is that I am brainwashed by my culture. No, really. I was looking at some old photos I took in Photo Booth, and I found some that I had taken to see how an outfit looked in a photo as opposed to in a mirror (please tell me that someone else does this, too), and I noticed how slim I looked. I remember clearly being dissatisfied with my shape at that time, and really? What? I looked awesome. Dear self of two years ago, you need to cool it with the negative self image. You look fabulous. Love, the you of now who is a bit fluffier.

But it's no wonder that I thought I didn't look good, or good enough, or wasn't perfect enough. Everywhere there are messages telling us that we should want to be thinner and more "fit" and that we should want to trick nature and be the same (thin) size all year round and...UGH. The other day I ran across and article that was talking about how, biologically speaking, our bodies are designed to gain more weight in the colder months. The article went on to espouse how we could circumvent our bodies' natural inclinations in order to remain svelte all year long. That struck me as completely ridiculous. If my body is inclined to have a bit more insulation in the winter, why shouldn't I let it? The only answer to that is so that I can have a body that looks a certain way year round. Not a body that functions well and is healthy, but a body that has a certain appearance. I just can't buy into that. I can buy into eating well so that our bodies are healthy and strong, and I can buy into working out to balance out an unnaturally sedentary lifestyle, but I can't get behind a philosophy that says we must do these things in order to look a certain way. And what I am hoping is that I can somehow break myself of the habit of looking at my body as something of an ornament as opposed to the beautiful, functional thing that it is.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

I'm a Little Bit Slow

For a few weeks now I've been laying out a week's worth of outfits for Zinashi, tucked neatly in her bottom drawer, and if I remember, I pull out the next day's outfit at bedtime. (If not, I stumble in bleary-eyed in the morning after Zinashi comes repeatedly to the bedside yelling, "Clothes! CLOTHES!") And for the most part, she looks fabulous every single day. Because I laid everything out ahead of time, when I had time, when I wasn't rushed or stressed out.

It took me until today to figure out that I could do the same for myself.

But now! Outfits are hung neatly in the closet--not quite a week's worth, since the weather forecast isn't reliable for that long, but enough to get me through to another day when I can lay more out, unhurried and unstressed. I intend to look somewhat fabulous every single day. Starting tomorrow. Because today? Right now? I am still wearing my pajamas.