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Posts from the ‘Holidays’ Category

To Do: Endings and Beginnings

This is a strange week. I am off from work, which is fantastic of course. But with that time off comes the pressure of using it well and having something to talk about when people ask what I did with all that time off. Can’t time be like money, and people just mind their own business? Of course, this is the real world, and that will never happen, but a girl can dream on the couch in her PJs for a week.

This is also a strange week because it straddles two years. The first half of the week will be reflective and contemplative and retrospective. The second half of the week will be joyous and fresh and new, and again, full of pressure to do great things. Goal setting and resolution making and all that…the ability to start over, it seems, is inherent in this season, more so even than Easter. But what if you try to do this year round? Then you look at this as the same as every other week, with a nod to the new year and the new date it will take you months to getting used to. You just enjoy the break and the ability to start over.

Even in that light, my goals this week.

  • Plan and use my Thursday nights better. Gym is open, yoga app is downloaded and loved, so next time he’s gone (…like 2 weeks) I’ll be prepared.
  • Attack the pre-holiday list. I was SO on top of this, that I thought for sure I had forgotten something. I didn’t.
  • Make another purge pile. The pile of curtains, odds and ends, et cetera will head off to the donation box this week. Pile in process.
  • Renew our passports. We are those terrible people right now. Passportless. It feels so weird. Both of our passports expired during 2014, so we don’t have to go through the full massive process, just a new application and photo and a check.
  • Menu plan for NYE. Our much-loved tradition for NYE is for the two of us and only the two of us (…plus dogs of course) to stay in and drink and eat ourselves silly. It usually ends up being lamb of some kind, and when I asked Steve if he wanted to continue that, he said yes. So, we’ll be doing a small amount of butterflied leg of lamb, some brie and cranberry cups, possibly some vegetable thing. Breakfast is cold lobster tail and champagne. It’s lovely.

Looking forward to this year’s end and the next one’s start.


To Do: Looks Like We Made It

I sing that song every Friday when I get to work, much to our front desk person’s chagrin. I’m just jazzed it’s Friday, yo!

Except today. Today is Tuesday. But it’s kind of a Friday. Because starting today at 2:30pm, and ending at 9:00am on Monday, January 5th, I have a paid vacation. The whole operation shuts down, and we get paid, and we lose no vacation time. A concept unheard of in my former life as a public servant.

So, it looks like we made it to this wonderful point when we all NEED this break, and we’ll get it.

My vacation plans are relatively non-existent, aside from Christmas and New Year’s Eve. And that is A-OK by me.

What do I have to do, though?

  • Vegetables and grains, not meat. It’s becoming easier and easier to do this without thinking about it. Any meat outside of the one big meat meal each week is a total afterthought or B-note in the meal.
  • Plan outfits for this week to finish strong! I have not planned outfits. I’ve been a coasting-close-to-the-line hot mess instead. Up until this morning, I was fighting a wicked wicked chest and head cold. I was knocked on my ass, to say the least, but I was not going to stay home for the 1.5 days before a 2 week paid vacation because, to this former HR lady, that’s simply suspicious. So off to work I went, in corduroys and a sweatshirt jacket (…yep), to hide in my office and conduct a cacophonous glottal orchestra. Today, I at least wore a sweater. Work wise, though, I’ve finished strong. So.
  • Plan and use my Thursday nights better. Ok, so I didn’t do the long yoga practice last Thursday because I was starting to get sick and the mere idea of downward dogging made me cough and hack. So, I wrapped presents and read instead. Our cable was out, which for us doesn’t mean “no cable TV,” it means “no internet,” which means no audio visual anything. So I had a book I had downloaded to my Kindle, and I read a good chunk of that while Steve was off saving lives being an elf on top of a ladder truck with Santa, throwing candy canes at little kids. The gym in our building reopened and MY is it lovely. It is huge and new and shiny and nice. So, perhaps a little visit there sometime when Steve is gone will be in order.
  • Attack the pre-holiday list. I have some kitchen cleaning to do (Steve cleaned the apartment on Sunday), and some prep work for Thursday’s meal, and some table setting ahead of me. But I have Wednesday off, so that’s that. Heading to the grocery store when it opens tomorrow morning instead of sleeping in.
  • Make another purge pile. There’s always more to rid ourselves of, especially around the holidays. Making another purge pile sounds like a great idea.

I’m so very grateful for this new job and all of the personal and professional joy it has brought me, but it’s time for a short break. I’ll be ready to start again, fresh and re-energized, in the new year.


To Do: Getting in the Spirit

Creeping ever closer to Christmas, I’m noticing that my planning has paid off, and I can simply enjoy the season and get into the spirit! Early shopping, menu planning, and decorating, then; now, I’m just listening to Bing and Nat, crooning away, and munching on candy canes.

We got our tree on Saturday, in my favorite Christmas tradition. Tree Day, if you remember from last year, is bigger in our house than actual Christmas, and this year was a lovely execution. The tree looks beautiful in the space, and I’m thrilled to be able to just sit and enjoy it! By the way, Steve named the tree Herbert. Last year, the tree was a girl, this year, it’s Herbert. Go figure.

tree day

Realizing that I have time to just be this year, I’ve turned my focus back to taking care of myself. Eat better, eat less; move more, move better. That’s the goal. I have been trying to find a yoga studio since we moved, but I don’t have an extra first born child laying around to exchange for a crowded, sweaty class. So, I tried DVDs. I tried videos on Hulu+ and Amazon.

I hated them all.

Until I found this app: It’s $3.99, but SO worth it. So. So. So.

Yoga Studio lets you build your own class, pose by pose, or choose from numerous pre-set classes. They are all HD videos, with good explanations and pacing, and soothing non-obnoxious music. You can schedule classes in your calendar from the app, study new or challenging poses, and generally avoid mortgaging your life to pay for decent yoga. They have a great triple sun salutation class (12 minutes?) that I started my day with today, and it’s already paying dividends. Highly recommended, guys! Stretching and moving and centering my….spirit? was a nice way to start.

Now, onto the To Do list!

  • Start addressing the holiday cards. MAILED! The only exception? The one that has to head off to Australia…that needs a special stamp. I’ll send that tonight when I drop packages at the Post Office.
  • Wait for the rest of the Christmas presents to arrive. ARRIVED! I’m waiting for one small thing to arrive (today!) then it’s all here.
  • Slowly decorate for Christmas. DECORATED! You can see some of the décor in the picture above, but I’ll post more next week.
  • Vegetables and grains, not meat. Mostly did this. I ordered in Indian food twice last week, but only ate vegetarian stuff. My one big exception this week? A very porky brunch at Daikaya in Chinatown yesterday…it was amazing, but I’m back to mostly grains and veg. Lunch today is cous cous (I realized that I could just bring dry cous cous and olive oil to work in a mason jar, mix with boiling water from the dispenser, cover, and five minutes later have lunch).  Leaving it up as a challenge in this week before Christmas (…which involves a lot of meat eating).
  • Plan outfits for this week to finish strong! I have a busy work week ahead, interviewing candidates for a new position. Usually, I’m on the nicer end of business casual, but this week I want to spiff it up for external candidates. No full suit needed, but close. And it’s my last full week before a glorious two week office closure. I figure: if I finish strong, give it all I’ve got between now and Tuesday the 23rd, I can really enjoy my break as it was intended. I need the break now, for sure, but why not adopt a balls to the wall spirit between now and then?
  • Plan and use my Thursday nights better. Steve has EMT overnights on Thursdays, so it’s just me and the pups from 7:30am Thursday through 5:00pm Friday. Of course, I’m at work Thursday and Friday, but that evening, alone, is long. I’m trying to use it productively (wrapping gifts! cleaning my closet!), or completely non-productively (ie: 5 episodes of Gilmore Girls and wine? sure.). I created a 40 minute yoga practice–most of the one I used to do at my studio–in my new yoga app and I’ll do it on Thursday night before diving into some version of food and tv that Steve doesn’t like!


Getting into the spirit in more ways than one this week.