Archive for September, 2009
Two Sundays ago I woke up with the desperate need to get my hair cut. I’m not exactly sure why I do this to myself, but for some reason I tend to wait until my hair is at it’s absolute worst then rush all around town in search of a shop that can squeeze me in with little to no notice. After a couple of weeks at the beach, and a couple of months since my last haircut, my hair was in disarray.
I Googled for shops in my area and found only one open on Sunday. Within two minutes of searching online I was armed with the address and well on my way. I know women who have gone to the same hair dresser for years and years. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen the same hair dresser more than three times in a row.
This time I hopped in the chair and asked the hair dresser, who I’d never met before, to cut off a few inches. With two inches gone I decided to ask him to cut off two more. He added a few short layers and I walked out of the shop fifteen minutes later with a completely new style. The shorter length really brought out my curls, (which I absolutely adore), but with them came a whole bunch of unruly and unwanted frizz.
I‘m not a fan of spending money on hair care products. To be honest I rarely find products that work on my hair, so I tend to use the products that I buy for free or close to free after sales and coupons. I have a bunch of hair products in the cabinet that I’ve been meaning to try and my new haircut provided me with the perfect opportunity. First up on the list, Curl Gel-les’c (Curl Jealousy), by Curls. The line was originally created to cater to the unique needs of biracial and multiracial women, but is now expanded to provide products for women of all races.
So far I’m really happy with this product. For the first time my curls feel soft, bouncy and in control. I’m only sorry that I don’t own a bigger bottle. The product comes in an 8 oz size but I only have a small travel size. I’ve also been using the Quenched Curls Moisturizer, which really seems to help hydrate my hair.
I love my curls, but I’ve struggled with them for years and years, if any of you curly haired girls have suggestions on products you typically use please leave me a comment. In the mean time I’ll use what I have on hand until the bottles run dry.
This weekend my mom and I found the perfect gadget for tailgates. A small, 3 quart crock pot complete with carrying case. On Saturday I made the most delicious batch of chili complete with beef and kidney beans, but I couldn’t figure out a good way to keep it warm. I’m super excited to bring this along to next week’s game. I haven’t exactly figured out what to make yet, but I have all week to figure that out. Total cost a little over $15 at Boscov’s.
I just found out that my husband and I have a voucher for Southwest airlines that must be used by the end of December. I have a list of places in mind that I’d love to visit, but I’m also open to suggestion. If anyone has a favorite place, a favorite town, a favorite hotel, etc, please let me know. It’s been so long since I planned a vacation that I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of the possibilities. The voucher is worth quite a bit so it looks like we could fly anywhere Southwest will take us.
Yesterday after laying in bed sick until noon I decided I couldn’t watch another second of television or riffle through one more magazine. I washed the sheets and blankets, ran a load of laundry and dusted the furniture. I was itchy to get out of the house for awhile and long overdue for a trip to the grocery store, so I grabbed my reusable bags and headed to the store.
Along the way I decided to stop off at Marshalls and Target in search of two very specific items. I’ve been dreaming about buying a small set of ramekins for a couple of months now. Every once in awhile I come across a recipe that requires them to make individual portion sizes and I’ve been dying to make a new recipe for individual chicken pot pies. I was also in search of soft but relatively inexpensive washcloths. I wasn’t in urgent need of either item, but I didn’t feel up to doing much else that afternoon, so I stopped off in search of them.
I will be the first to admit that almost none of the towels in our home match. I’ve bought matching towels in the past but inevitably we use them to wipe up water in the basement or a spill in the house. Ultimately, they get grungy and dirty and I end up replacing a couple of the towels with new ones that don’t match the originals. I’ve tried purchasing white towels and bleaching them, but so far that hasn’t seemed to work for me either.
I started my search at Marshalls, but they didn’t have one single ramekin in sight. I know I’ve seen them there before, but yesterday I was simply out of luck. They did have a ton of super soft washcloths in stock, but I decided to search for cheaper prices at Target before making a decision. The stores are right next to each other, so I stepped out of the door to Marshalls and into the door of Target.
I started off strong in Target. I went right to the kitchen isle in search of ramekins. The ramekins were more expensive then I expected, so I decided to hold off on the purchase. I also chose not to look around or search the clearance isles because I knew I’d buy things I really don’t need. It helped that I still didn’t feel much like myself that afternoon and certainly didn’t want to wander aimlessly around Target for hours.
I headed straight from the kitchen area to the bath section, where I found a very pretty bundle of washcloths. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, I also found the cutest and strangest bathroom trashcan. It’s in the picture above. It’s shaped like a child’s bucket, complete with sand and sand shovel. I don’t know why but I was drawn to that trash can. It was marked down to just over $5, down from $20, and I knew it would look adorable in the beach house.
So I strolled out of Target with a unnecessary, but very funky trashcan and a set of 10 washcloths. I’m typically very good about sticking to my shopping lists, but every once in awhile I purchase something unexpected. I know we really don’t need a new trash can for the beach, but yesterday I simply couldn’t resist the purchase.
My home and my office are roughly 30 miles apart. If I leave work at just the right time, run into very little traffic and drive a bit faster than the posted speed limit I can get home in roughly an hour. If I leave too late, run into a standstill on the beltway or heaven forbid an accident, it can take me upwards of two hours.
The entire time I was in North Carolina I drove less than three times per week. In fact, on one particularly beautiful morning I decided to drive to the store, not because I needed something, but rather because I desperately wanted to drive the jeep.
On my first day back to work my GPS alerted me of a significant amount of traffic on the beltway. Rather than idling on the asphalt for over an hour I decided to head home through the city. I set my GPS to route around traffic and headed for what I hoped would be a shorter ride home.
In retrospect I could not have made a worse decision. I avoided getting stuck on the beltway, but I wound up behind every city bus, slow driver and confused tourist in the greater DC area. I forgot just how many left turns were needed to get home and I spent the greater part of 30 minutes just waiting for my chance to turn onto one side street.
Needless to say nearly 1 hour and 45 minutes after I stepped out of the door at work, I came within two miles of home. Of course by that time I was grouchy, hungry and in a great deal of pain. (My shoulder and neck pain increase significantly after a long commute.)
I could not stand the thought of driving home and preparing dinner so I stopped at the worst place possible on my way home. That’s right I headed for the drive-thru at McDonald’s. I bought a two cheeseburger meal and a side of chicken nuggets just in case I was still hungry when I got home.
I’m embarrassed to say that I ate most of my dinner straight out of the paper bag. By the time I got home I dragged my laptop, purse and a bunch of other items from the car along with the nearly empty bag of food and of course a plastic cup half-filled with Coke.
On the way home I kept thinking “I must keep snacks in the car from this point forward.” I know that I have a long commute. I know that I tend to eat lunch rather early and leave work rather late. So how hard would it be to find some relatively healthy snacks that will stay fresh in the car?
I need to work on a sports article. I open my laptop, research a couple of facts and then stare into oblivion at the screen. Sometimes this happens. Everything and anything distracts me at once. I can’t seem to focus or concentrate.
I have a running to-do list at work and at home. Lately the list is growing larger and larger. Every time I start checking something off of the list I think of one more thing to add. Then I spend a few minutes thinking about what other tasks I might have forgotten. Twenty minutes later I try to regain focus on the task at hand.
Tonight I’ve put aside my goal yet again. This time I’m distracted by tasty tailgating recipes as I search for something scrumptious and portable for Saturday’s football game. By the way anyone have a favorite recipe they’d be willing to share? I’m searching for something that will feed 4-6 people, that doesn’t require extreme refrigeration, isn’t too pricey, and is relatively easy to eat in your hand.
Tonight I came across the 100 Thing Challenge. One man’s challenge to rid his life of unnecessary possessions. His ultimate goal is to own no more than 100 things. Over the last few years I have made extraordinary progress towards eliminating unnecessary objects from my life and home, but I can not imagine owning less than 100 things.
My purge did not begin voluntarily. Truth be told I owned a cat that would not stop spraying. If I left any items laying out and about he would nuke them, so the first few possessions went directly into the garbage. The next round of stuff went out before the cat could destroy them. This included anything that was not in a sealed container or dresser drawer. After the cat sprayed the dresser, the dresser went to the trash and most of it’s contents went off to charity.
The more I purged from my life the lighter and freer I felt. As I looked around my house I quickly realized that I actually used very little in my home. I finally said goodbye to old books that I’d been hanging onto since college, outdated clothes that I hadn’t worn in ages and lots of knickknacks that I was tired of dusting.
I have no idea how many items I actually own, but I can tell you the number is far greater than 100. Actually when I first read about this challenge I considered counting my possessions, but than I worried that a little OCD might kick in for me and I’d rather not go crazy. Heck in my kitchen alone I must own a few hundred possessions. I have stacks of plates, glasses, pots, pans and mugs, not to mention cutting boards and silverware.
I do like the idea behind this challenge and although I don’t intend to whittle all of my possessions down to a specific number I would like to take a glance around the house again this month to see what else I can do away with. I plan to start in the kitchen where I’d be lucky to whittle things down to 100.
I finally sorted through the mound of mail that stacked up while we were away on vacation. I must say that the mailman was particularly good to us. We received $283 in checks, including $40 in rebates from a variety of sources and a reimbursement check for $243 from Aetna.
We also received two gift cards, one for $5 to Subway Restaurants and one for $25 to Macy’s. Among the pile I also found a couple of coupons for free items from VocalPoint and a bunch of free samples for cereal and other oddities.
I’m happy to report that I did not find any catalogs in the mail. Last fall while we were away on vacation we received more than 15 catalogs in a two week period.
Unfortunately, I also found a whopping electric bill for over $400. My husband installed a programmable thermostat midway through the summer, but we’ve still been turning the air conditioning down quite low before bedtime. Next summer we’ll definitely need to run the air conditioner much less at night!
After two weeks of vacation I am both sad to be home and ready to be back from vacation. Unfortunately, after two weeks of bliss my husband and I got into a heated disagreement with my in-laws. This is not the first time I’ve failed to see eye-to-eye with my extended family and I’m afraid to say it certainly won’t be the last.
Over the last two weeks my eyes were opened in ways I could never have imagined. Growing up in my parent’s house for eighteen years I must admit that I’ve come to understand their fears and motivations. I understand my place in the family along with my roles, both the one that came naturally and the one I created for myself.
For as long as I can remember my parents have been open and understanding of the decisions I’ve made. Even thought they haven’t always agreed they have always stood beside me and supported my goals. I can’t remember specific conflicts between my parents and I. This isn’t to say that incidents didn’t happen, but rather that those events did not impact my relationship with my parent’s.
As a daughter-in-law I have often struggled with my in-laws. Quite simply I cannot seem to understand the motivations that drive them. My in-laws are guarded and reserved. A friend once remarked that you never really know what’s going in their lives. That they seem to hide the truth from even their closest friends.
For years I have felt more like a second class citizen than a part of the family. When conflicts have arisen my in-laws have categorized my rank and place in the family. The first time it stung more than I can admit, the second time I was already numb and I will admit that the pain was much less severe.
I’m not the perfect daughter-in-law but if you knew the facts you would agree that I have given my all to fit in with my extended family. My in-laws mean the world to my husband, just as my parents mean the world to me.
I wish things didn’t have to be this way. I wish that my upbringing was not so different from my husband’s and that my in-laws were a little more open to seeing things our way, but this vacation I learned that I can wish and wish and wish and wish and things will simply never change. There is simply too much baggage at this point on both sides.
At some point in time children grow up. As part of that process children often begin to see things differently than their parents. They begin to realize that they might not choose to live their lives the same way that their parents lived theirs. While some parents are happy to see their children spread their wings others are disappointed by the decisions their children make.
I’m afraid my in-laws are constantly disappointed in us. In terms of financial success my husband and I have broken away from the pack of our peers, but somehow or another it seems to me that no matter what we do we are never good enough… and I for one am sick of being shown and told that I am a disappointment.