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Not only is it not freezing cold outside, but there is no precipitation falling from the sky and it actually appears the sun might be shining!  I think I might go for a walk outside instead of going to the gym.  I love walking around Jamaica Pond in the afternoon on my way home from work.  Feels like pushing an internal reset button and I arrive home relaxed and refreshed.  And since The Ice Creamsmith has reopened and Chris is back to working his standard Tuesday/Thursday night shifts there, I’ll be home all alone tonight.  This is kind of fun at first–I’m much more productive when I have to entertain myself and don’t have my husband to distract me from all the projects and chores I should be working on with Wheel of Fortune/Jeopardy (yes, we really do watch both) and a real meal (as opposed to an apple with peanut butter or cereal, but go-to standards for eating by myself).  It gets old fast, though.  We are both the type of introverted, quiet people who are slow to warm up so we do much better the more time we spend together.  Plus I go to bed early so on the days he works we usually don’t see each other at all.  No biggie, though!  I actually really enjoy being by myself.  And I have a recipe for coffee toffee bars that I’m excited to make–and will try to report back on (I still have a peanut butter cup cookie recipe I’ve been meaning to get on here…).  And Chris will come home with pints of Bailey’s Irish Cream and oatmeal raisin cookie ice cream (if he knows what’s good for him)!

I really dislike house cleaning.  Though I’m obviously super organized and our house is very neat, it’s not really ever very clean.  I just don’t like vacuuming, mopping, scrubbing and dusting.  I have friends who will spend hours every weekend cleaning their house, but that is just not how I want to spend my free time.  Yet I’m annoyed when I notice my house is dirty.  I hate seeing dirt on the rug, but I don’t want to vacuum.  I hate seeing grease on the stove, but I don’t want to scrub it.  This means that sometimes just walking around my house makes me feel bad about myself!  Isn’t that terrible?  I can see it’s dirty, and I don’t like it, but I don’t want to clean it even though I’m perfectly capable.   What’s even worse is that sometimes actually cleaning makes me feel bad about myself too!  Because I’m annoyed that I just spent however long doing something I dislike, and I didn’t even really do a great job and within hours it’s dirty again anyway!  I can’t win!

I’ve always wanted to hire a house cleaner and have come close a couple of times, but it’s hard to rationalize spending hard-earned money to pay someone to do something I really could do myself if I was just…what?  More disciplined?  A masochist?

But starting this business has made me think about the value of paying a pro to do something you don’t  want to or can’t do yourself.  In theory anyone should be able to organize their own stuff, but some people either really don’t know how or just don’t want to.  Clearly I’m fine with the idea of them paying me to do it for them!  So shouldn’t I apply the same principle to my own life?  My time is valuable to me and isn’t it worth the money to be able to spend my free time doing what I enjoy, instead of something I hate?

I’d been thinking about this a lot recently and then today I read this post at Get Rich Slowly about making peace with hiring a housekeeper.  That sealed the deal—I’m going to do it!  Now I just have to find someone I like who’s reasonably priced…

P.S. One thing I do like is growing our own vegetables in a little garden we started in our yard—we’ve already started some seeds indoors!  We’re hoping to outdo even last year’s prolific crop, or at least grow something besides zucchini.

This year's soon-to-be seedlings!

Today, I went to a movie almost solely for the air conditioning.  It is hot.  Since it was 60 degrees and rainy all of June and July, we never put in our AC unit.  Ceiling fans can only get you so far.  Yesterday I went to the beach, and did this: DSC00756As neurotic as I now am about sunscreen, I missed this one spot in reapplication and am now the idiot with the one spot of sunburn.  Worse, it was over a strap, so it’s sunburn, white strip, sunburn.  Despite that it was a perfect beach day.

But I obviously couldn’t go again today and risk coming home with some other weird pattern on my skin, so I went to the movies.  I will say that when you’re used to working and then you have some days off, by yourself, with nowhere to go and nothing in particular to do, it’s kind of hard to identify what it is you actually want to do.  Maybe I want to lay around in bed all day, but then will I regret being lazy and feel like I wasted the day?  Maybe I want to plant  new flowers in the window boxes, but then will I be hot and sweaty and miserable and curse myself for not just relaxing while I have the chance?  The options are almost paralyzing in the morning.  At some point I have to just walk out of the house with the car keys and see where I end up.

I saw Julie & Julia, which I’d been wanting to see mostly out of curiosity (and a love for Meryl Streep) since I read the book.  The real Julie Powell is pretty sarcastic and snide, and Amy Adams is just so cute.  It was a very good movie, though it had a softer tone than the book–not a bad thing.  It just cracks me up to think that this woman had a movie made about her.  Crazy.

Because I think these shoes could make me really happy

Because I think these shoes could make me really happy

Alternatively, if you know where I can find a cheaper version, let me know!

In December of 2006, I sprained my ankle really badly a week before my family and I were scheduled to leave on a grand tour of Italy.  Chris and I were leaving our third floor apartment on our way to my parents’ for a Chanukah party and I was bringing over approximately 7 months of dirty laundry to do while there, carrying a basket in front and a pack on my back.  I missed a step and landed on the outside of my right ankle with all my weight and the weight of my 7 months of laundry.  I crawled back to the couch, made Chris call me an ambulance, spent hours in the ER, the next week in bed at my parents’ house, and hobbled around Italy alternating between crutches and being pushed by various family members in a wheelchair.  Around the very modern and handicapped-accessible ancient streets of Italy.

Today, as I went for a stroll for some frozen yogurt with a coworker who apparently likes to walk blindly into busy intersections, I tried to step back onto the sidewalk after realizing we were walking against a green light and stepped into a hole in the street.  I feel off my very cute but clearly impractical wedge sandals and twisted my left ankle.  It hurt, but was nowhere near the pain of the first sprain, so I powered on to get the fro-yo and spent the rest of the afternoon with my foot up on a chair at my desk, an ice pack precariously balancing.

It’s not swollen and I now know I will survive to walk normally again one day, but it hurts.  Did I mention I leave in three days to meet my brother for a week in Quito?  A week undoubtedly packed with lots of walking, and possibly even hiking?  Seriously.

celery heart flower

celery heart flower

How gorgeous is this?  I cut the bottom off a heart of celery yesterday as I was making chicken salad and was astounded to see this.   What a great surprise.

Whew, we had a busy weekend.  I think it’s not even that we were busy that exhausted us, but because it was mostly spontaneous stuff.  We are not spontaneous people, generally.  I like to plan in advance and we are often lazy.  We like to be lazy.  It’s not as exhausting.  But it is boring, and this weekend was fun!

Chris and I each hung out with a friend on Friday night, then woke up on Saturday on a mission!  I decided to go to a new pilates class, which then contributed to the weekend being exhausting since I haven’t taken a real pilates class in like, a year, and it kicked my butt.  Or more specifically, my hamstrings and abs.  Chris decided to install a new screen door on our porch.  Then we did a bunch of yard work.  Then we cooked dinner, hung out on the porch admiring the new screen door, and were happy to call it an early night and got in bed to watch TV.

Until 10:09 when my brother called.  Weird.  “Where are you?’ he asked.  In bed.  “What are you doing?” he asked.  Watching TV.  Why?  “Huh? Uh? Um? Pub crawl?”  Oops–his friends had organized a pub crawl as a going away party (before his 1 year, round-the-world-trip) and we blanked on the date.  So we hauled ourselves out of bed, put clothes on and drove downtown to meet them at the pub.  *I would like to point out it took me only 15 minutes to get out of the house looking pretty cute considering I’d just gotten out of bed!*

It was great to see all my brother’s friends from college and meet his new friends from Couch Surfing (a crazy concept I am still wrapping my head around).   We hung out at the bar until it closed at 2 am.  Since I am prematurely an old lady, I have not been out this late in years!  And unfortunately, when you’re a prematurely old lady, you still wake up at your normal time even when you go to bed at 3 am.  Ugh.

And we had plans to bring our old dining room table over to our friends’ (since we no longer needed it thanks to our gorgeous new handmade one!).  After that we decided to run a couple errands, including taking another look at this sofa we’ve had our eye on.  We thought we might buy it as a first anniversary present to ourselves.  But then we went into their outlet section and saw the same sofa, but as a sleeper, for $150 less than the regular one.  What?!?  So we hemmed and hawed for a bit and then decided to just buy it.

Except we had to take it home ourselves right then.  We had to move the old one out of the way.  Vacuum.  Call my brother-in-law to lend a hand.  Haul in the new one.  Rearrange.  And finally pass out on our comfy new sofa!

But it’s creating a design dilemma.  I don’t want to have all matchy leather furniture.  So then I got this chair from Ikea:

Which is comfy and looks good, if not a bit anemic across from the big sofa.  And the room now is bordering on overly masculine.  I think I need something softer and more feminine for the second chair.  Maybe one of these?  ( I love this first one!)

It’s a good thing I put the kibosh on any more big purchases for a while.  I’ll need a lot of time to decide between these beauties.  And to convince Chris.  He’s not a fan of anything that doesn’t look comfortable enough to nap in.  And of course, he wants to build something!

Is this not the sweetest little piece of jewelry you’ve ever seen?  I love how clever it is while still being sophisticated and not over the top.  I got it with turquoize pearls and just love it.  It’s so pretty and subtle, it’s been a real conversation starter.  And it was a steal at only $15 from the missficklemedia shop on Esty!