Monday, August 25, 2014

New (School) Year's Resolutions

I always think of back-to-school time as a time of great joy change. Another school year starting off, all fresh and shiny. A time to do things a little better, more efficiently, etc. etc.  So, here's what I am planning -

No piles, anywhere. I vow to either pay it, file it or bin it instead of putting it next to the bread bin or other such places.

No more excuses.

Ditto with e-mails. I will act on them immediately. And while I'm on about e-mails, I will also reorganize my management system. Having a file named after each child as well as one named "school" simply means that I will never quite know where I have filed school e-mails. And enough with the flagging of everything!

I will also get dressed every day. OK, that sounds like I sit in my PJs all day, which is not quite how it is. Since the Little Guy is now old enough to walk the three blocks to school, in theory, there is no need for me to get dressed at such an ungodly hour. However, I vow to throw on my workout clothes as soon as I get up, and get my bum on that treadmill.

Since the Little Guy is also the last child I'll be having, there is no point in keeping triplicate copies of Spanish/Science/English text books. He might need one extra for the inevitable times he leaves a much-needed book at school, but he doesn't need to inherit the entirety of his brother and sister's collection. Besides, they do change the syllabus from time to time.

Similarly, clothes that no longer fit him are to be removed from his closet, bagged and taken to the school garage/jumble sale office. There's no one to give them to and at the rate he grows, they're taking up far too much space. (Ditto, clothes that I no longer wear, now that I think about it.)

I resolve to go out and talk to other humans from time to time. Since I work from home, it's very easy (and tempting) to hole up for the day. It does make other people worry about me though, and of course, they say that sunshine and fresh air is good for you.

Finally, I will manage my stress levels by tackling the house one room at a time. There always seems to be stuff lying around or things to be fixed (door locks, window locks, over fans, dodgy dishwasher) and my initial response is to - do nothing and stress about it. No more. I will roll up my sleeves and get things done, even if it's only one task a week.

I feel better already!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Why I Love the Internet

Everyone's talking about "switching off" and otherwise not using the Internet as much as we do, and yes, I acknowledge the risk of inter-acting more with virtual friends than real friends, however, I'm a big fan of the Internet and all such things. Why?

Search and Rescue, for a start - The Ball & Chain drove to Detroit last week, usually about a four hour drive from Chicago. Unfortunately, he chose the night of the historic deluge to do this and ended up stuck in traffic, in a couple of feet of flood water, with all the roads impassable and every side street too.

To cut a long story short after four hours sitting in the car, he managed to get to nearby Ann Arbor in Michigan, (via some very dodgy neighborhoods).  However, because all the college students were moving in (with parental assistance), every hotel there was booked. Ball & Chain began talking about driving to Toledo, Ohio - over fifty miles away! At which point I jumped on the Internet, found the nearest hotels to where he was parked, called them and eventually got him a room. (He got to bed safely at about 2am, but ironically, never made it to Detroit since it was all still impassable the following morning.)

Shopping - I loathe shopping. Be it cereal or ski jackets, I will do almost anything to avoid it. I have been online food shopping for about twenty years now and swear by it. As long as you know what 6 grams versus 32 grams looks like, it's pretty foolproof these days. Clothes shopping is a little more risky in that every brand seems to size their clothes differently, but hey, if you stick to a few web sites it's pretty reliable.

Weather predictions - If you live somewhere like Chicago, where the temps can drop thirty degrees (Fahrenheit) in a few hours, looking up the local forecast is invaluable. If you click on one of those doppler radar maps you can actually see clouds moving your way, and the clever color chart also tells you how severe the storms will be. No more sticking your head out the door and hopng you won't need a fleece.

Cooking - I don't really bother with the myriad of recipe books in my kitchen. Truth be told, I have one or two faves in each book, but otherwise don't use them. These days, when I have an urge to cook (which isn't often) I simply hop on the laptop. It's usually more driven by an over-abundance of a certain ingredient and the wish not to waste food, so I simply type in what I have and voila - a few suggestions as to what to do. This week saw three bags of carrots in the fridge vegetable drawer - what can I say, I was out of town last week and the place went to pot. Anyhoo, not wanting to waste said carrots, I made carrot bread (which really should be called cake as it was just as sweet and yummy) and curried carrot soup. Many recipe sites even have comment sections where other cooks (ha!) can suggest adding or going light on one ingredient or another.

I also like social media sites, but let's face it, - they're more of a great way to waste your time than a practical addition to one's day to day life.

Blog Archive