Monthly Archives: December 2009

>A Look Back

>I know everyone gets reflective at the end of the year, but I think this is a good thing. For me it helps me put aside a lot of the “Oh, I wish I would’ves” and think about what was and all of the other good things.

I can’t believe that as I’m about to enter a new world decade and a new decade of my life, I already have a house. Sure, sure, the bank owns it, but it doesn’t change the fact that we can “burn a Pentagram into the backyard” (Chris’ words, not mine). I honestly don’t mind paying the taxes for it either, it make me feel like a real grown up.

It’s also nice to have nice neighbors and cool new friends. It’s a relief to be stable somewhere, have Chris on a normal schedule, and live a relatively normal, low stress life.

I’ve been able to accomplish a lot this year and do things I never would’ve imagined before (like bake bread each week). I’ve read more, made more, met more people, done things outside of my comfort zone, been humbled, been proud, laughed, cried, yelled, napped, and all the rest.

I don’t have huge, obtuse resolutions for the new year. I have set in place concrete projects that I want done. Plans will change, new ones will appear, some will go away, and I’m ok with all of those things.

I just want to keep learning new things, spending time with friends and being a better parent. I want to be jubilant more often than not, be creative as often as possible, and enjoy little moments constantly.

2010 will be better than 2009, which was a damn good year for me. How do I know it’ll be better? Because I’ve decided it will be.

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>The 2010 To Do List

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There’s a ton that I want to do this year. Most of it involves our house. We have many projects to finish around here:
-Drainage ditch from front to back for when it rains.
-Plaster the inside basement walls, so that our basement will stop flooding when it rains.
-I need to paint the upstairs hallway and the downstairs bathroom.
-Chris has to put storm windows in the basement and build an entire door for down there too.
-I have to plant my garden, which involves laying down cardboard, filling the area with soil and nailing together boards for the perimeter of each section.
-Put in a clothes dryer line outside.
-Build a chicken coop.

I’m hoping that with a lot of these, it will reduce our energy usage inside the house and reduce overall food costs. Also, planting the garden (and I have flowers that need to be planted as well), will be good for the planet and will force me to go outside and be productive on a regular basis.

I feel confident about these projects. The deck I want will probably have to wait another year, but that’s fine. I don’t necessary want to do anything crazy this year, just tend to necessities.

>Musings On Christmas, Part 3

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This one’s about gift wrap. I realized too late this year that I fell back on habit and wrapped our gifts in regular wrapping paper. I even bought more, but not much more. Next year I’m going to use newspaper, because we get the Sunday paper each week and after I’m done with the coupons and Chris is done with the comics, it goes in the recycle bin.

I did however get creative with the blueberry bread that I gave a few people here. I had just wrapped each loaf in saran but that looked so boring so I went to my scrap fabric and cut really long strips to wrap the loaves with. I thought they looked really cool when I was done. Some people may have thought that it looked silly and half-assed, but whatever.

I just hope next year people don’t look at me sideways when they get stuff wrapped in comics. Even if they do, maybe they will realize why I’m doing it. And if not, I hope they get haunted by evil Christmas spirits.

>Noggy

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If you’ve never had a good, homemade nog, you must try ours. I say “ours” but a few years ago Chris found the recipe online and then we put it up on Recipezaar.com so that we could find it year after year. This is the 3rd year we’ve made it.

It’s insanely good and also terrible for you. If you have a history of heart attack or alcholism, I really wouldn’t even think about drinking this stuff.

>Helping Out

>Generally, when I’m talking about something Navy-related it’s of a negative nature. This time it’s different.

About a week ago a family that had just arrived to the area had their house burn down. Thankfully everyone was safe but they have two kids, and another on the way.

The next morning the Omsbudsman and the president of our FRG put up notices online about what happened and to see if we could donate anything. At the site, one of the people Chris works for came around collecting money and informed them that they were moving into housing that day.

Over the course of the next few days, so many people donated clothes, furniture, housewares, and money to the family. When I went on Monday to drop off stuff on base, I saw the Omsbudsman and she told me the family already received a ton of stuff. I told her and the guy (he happened to be there loading up his truck with donated items) that some friends of mine had even more stuff they wanted to donate, and that I would be bringing it soon.

Obviously, what happened was horrible, especially so close to Christmas. I must say though, that it’s quite amazing that not even a full week later they have a new place to live and tons of things given to them by other Navy families.

The Navy may not be the greatest, but at least when there’s a tragedy, people really stick together and do the right thing for total strangers.

>Thriftin’

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I’ve been a big lover of thrift stores since junior high. I used to frequent the Buffalo Exchange almost weekly in high school. When I would get sick of something, I would bring it back for store credit and get something else. Some of my most favorite purchases were from there. In fact, every time I go back to AZ, I make a special trip there. I have also been to the one in San Francisco, Seattle and Albuquerque.

Buying used clothes doesn’t freak me out. I’ve even bought used shoes. The key is just to wash all of the clothes before wearing them, and that way you don’t end up with crabs. Haha.

Seriously though, I have found the coolest stuff for dirt cheap. Just a few days ago I got a whole bag of stuff for under $18 at Salvation Army. A lot of the things were half off too, so I got a rockin’ dress for $2.50. It’s a tad big but I’ll probably just sew the sides in. I wore it today with a big belt around the middle and it seemed fine to me.

I think the only downside is that if you find something you really like, there’s no guarantee that it will fit, and you can’t just go back to the rack and find it in your size.

I think it really goes without saying that there are many “eco” benefits to buying stuff used. I’ve just never understood paying insane amounts of money for a shirt. Really nice jeans-sometimes, but not a shirt. Plus I get the thrill of the hunt when I’m thrift store shopping too.

Remember also, when you get sick of old clothes, or they no longer fit, try to resell them online or donate them them to your local thrift store. Also, if you have something you know you really want, see if you can find it in good used condition online first. I just got a great pair of Emu boots from ebay that were barely worn, for half the price of new.

But seriously, don’t be afraid of crabs, that’s just silly.

>Musings on Christmas, Part 2

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So we got our tree today, put it up, and decorated it. It sucked that the place didn’t have a military discount (if I had my own local business, I would for sure), but the guy was super nice.

All my life we’ve had real trees. Recently my parents got two fake trees since they travel so much between Northern AZ and Phx; they aren’t at one place long enough to take care of a real tree. I completely understand this. Also, if you live in a super tiny apartment, I completely know why someone would get a tiny fake tree versus spending lots of money on the real thing.

But I can’t imagine getting excited about decorating a fake tree. For starters, there isn’t the amazing pine scent. I love the smell of fresh pine trees. Plus, having a real tree is great because you get to take something wonderful from nature, bring it inside, and dress it up like a crazy drag queen. It’s simply fantastic.

We even had more ornaments this year because I just made a bunch with Jack at school on Friday, and completely forgot that I bought a few at Target last year after Christmas, when everything was on clearance. Plus Jack got to help me decorate this year. We had so much fun, he was really excited.

I’m glad that for a few weeks we’ll get to enjoy this lovely tree. I’ll be sad to see it go.