Archive | September 2013

Mini Monday: The Shutdown

Capitol

Tonight at midnight we find out whether or not my husband, a federal employee, will be reporting for work tomorrow. At this point, it certainly doesn’t look likely. And we find ourselves in that catch 22 of flexibility versus money — we would probably have time to get out of town for a few days, but with no idea when my husband will be reporting for work again (or if he will be paid for all of the days that the government remains shutdown) it’s more likely that we will remain at home pinching pennies.

So I’m trying to embrace the positive side of this brief (I hope) unpaid vacation by thinking of all the projects around the house he can work on while this ridiculous stand off drags on. And based on what I’ve got on the list so far, it looks like I’m finally going to have the live-in maid that I’ve always dreamed of! I’m sure my husband just can’t wait to get started on painting the utility room floor, cleaning the stove, patching the porch roof, and cooking copious amounts of soup and sauces to freeze among other projects (it’s a long list). With both of us home all day I had to come up with enough tasks to keep him out of my office for at least a few hours a day so I can still get some work done!

And don’t worry, I’ve promised to pay him … in peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. He quickly agreed to the deal.

 

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Mini Monday: Fall!

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Yesterday was the first official day of fall and the season has definitely arrived in DC. The sun is still shinning, but the temperature has dropped into the 50s and 60s. It’s time to bundle up and close some windows!

Growing up in California, I never appreciated fall until we moved to the East Coast. I am sure there was some sort of transition between summer and winter on the West Coast but I don’t remember noticing it. Now that we experience all four seasons as very distinct entities, I have a new found love for fall.

My favorite fall things include:

  • the chance to wear sweaters and scarves;
  • watching the leaves change, particularly when they turn bright red;
  • cooking (at least helping/watching my husband cook), baking and eating warm food again;
  • buying tiny pumpkins and gourds to create a fall centerpiece for the dining room table;
  • being able to enjoy a sunny day outdoors without becoming a hot, sweaty mess;
  • and snuggling up with my hubby!

Shiloh: A Series of Photos

Since early August we have had three dog visitors: Bo, Shiloh and Bella. It seemed like there would be a pause in our hosting four-legged guests, but Shiloh’s mommy just got engaged and asked if we could watch her furry angel while they visited family this weekend. And really, how could we say no to this face?

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This morning Shiloh and I got up late — of course she got up early with my hubby before he went to rowing, came back to bed, got up again to go for a walk when my hubby came home, then came back to bed again — made coffee and started to work, but she was still a little bit tired.

shiloh yawns

Despite some big yawns, Shiloh managed to pose for a few pictures. During her photo shoot she was preoccupied, wondering what this so-called “work” was that I had been doing because she certainly could have gone for a lot more petting.

Shiloh 4

Then she just couldn’t take it anymore — it was nap time! It’s “ruff” being a doggie intern.

shiloh 3

Hall Closet Re-Org

While our old house has a lot of “character” (such as fabulous hard wood floors, old-fashioned glass door knobs and, of course, a seemingly unending list of expensive projects) it unfortunately lacks the storage space that newer homes are built with. One of the best features of the second floor is a hall closet that allows us to store towels, sheets, toilet paper and assorted other toiletry items right across from the bathroom. I love it so much that I often include it when I am giving guests a tour of the house (weird, I know).

Closet_before

Despite my love for it, the closet tends to get cluttered really quickly so I took some time yesterday afternoon to straighten things out. The good news is that I now know we don’t need any toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, contact solution or, well, anything for the remainder of 2013 as you can see…

Closet-After

As I was re-arranging, I realized that I could utilize the unused space toward the back of the main shelf for the extra towels and sheets, which helped de-clutter the front portion of the shelf. I still need to take a look through the travel items box that is overflowing on the second shelf and get rid of expired or almost empty containers, but I’m definitely happy with the results so far!

closet after 2

Mini Monday: Miscellaneous Musings

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It seemed like a busy weekend, but looking ahead we can’t count on enjoying a lazy weekend at home until November, so I suppose Saturday and Sunday weren’t anywhere near as hectic as the upcoming weekends are going to be! The highlight of the past weekend was attending a college friend’s wedding on Saturday evening. The setting was beautiful, the food was delicious and, most importantly, the bride and groom were head over heels in love from start to finish.

But a new week is underway and I appear to be battling the onset of a summer cold. My plan for fighting it is mostly just to ignore it and get a lot of sleep. We’ll see how that goes. So this morning instead of thinking about my scratchy throat, I’m trying to focus on the things that are making me smile and the list is long:

• My husband made blueberry pancakes for breakfast — yum! (I ate them too fast to snap a picture.)

• While I was out running my errands I took advantage of a “free iced coffee every Monday for 6 weeks” deal at Dunkin Donuts and, even more exciting, discovered that the pumpkin donuts are already back.

• We are trying to be frugal this fall because of our upcoming home renovations, but while I was at Trader Joe’s I couldn’t stop myself from spending $7 on this mixed bouquet and these Gerber Daisies. They went so well together and are brightening up the living room as I type!

• Speaking of the living room, we re-arranged the space a bit yesterday and rolled up the boring and stained rug we bought when we moved in to put down a carpet that my husband brought home from Afghanistan. We also replaced the hand-me-down runner in our entry hall with an Afghan piece. I’m trying to get used to walking on them because I’m nervous I might ruin them, but what’s the point of having a memento if you can’t enjoy it?

• And last, but not least, our fall garden seems to be coming along nicely. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we will have as abundant of a haul of cucumbers and sugar snap peas as we did in the spring/summer. I’m also trying green beans (again) because they were a total flop this summer. Speaking of the summer, our tomato plants all appear to be getting a second wind which is exciting. I brought in a small bowl of cherry tomatoes this morning and each of the larger plants have a new batch of green fruit on the vines. Here’s hoping that when they start to turn we can get to them before the birds/squirrels do!

The Best Thing About Freelancing…

Bella

Is that you don’t have to pretend to be busy all day. My job, like every job, has hectic times and quiet times, but when you are in an office with a boss you don’t want it to look like you are “wasting time” checking your personal email or catching up on facebook. It’s not that you aren’t doing your job, there just may not be anything to do at that moment, but no one wants to look like a slacker. So you try to get ahead on projects, check your work email a million times, review your calendar… and want to bang your head against the desk when you realize that only 5 minutes has passed and you still have nothing work related to keep you occupied.

This is why I love working from home (and for myself) — when I have work, I do it. When I don’t have work or am waiting for edits, there are plenty of other things to do — laundry or running errands or learning a new jazzercise routine or meeting a friend for coffee. For me, these other outlets are key to the idea that I am working to live, not living to work. I love my clients and I pride myself on doing every project on or ahead of schedule, but there is a lot more to life than working and by being my own boss I don’t have to spend a part of each day proving to someone else that I am doing my job.

Usually I’ll just have a quiet day here or there, but this week with Labor Day and Rosh Hashanah every day has been fairly low key. I’m so glad that this morning I could enjoy the cooler, breezy weather over an iced mocha with a friend, her son, and my newest doggie intern, Bella. Now, with Bella’s assistance, it’s time to see what I can get accomplished during this mellow Thursday afternoon.