Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Snow, Again? Plus, Planning for Summer Vacation

Can you believe MORE snow in the forecast for us tonight, with a possibility of 1-3 inches?   It's inconceivable! And yes, I do know what that word means. :)

I'm off to make my weekly trek to the grocery store a day early, and maybe I'll get there early enough to avoid the crazy bread and milk buying frenzy that I'm sure will be happening today.

In other news, I've been working on vacation plans for the summer.

We usually like to take a big trip during our summer break. I love to travel, but for the past several years the thought of trying to fly out on a vacation has not been appealing to me.  I used to love going to the airport. The whole process of air travel was exciting and fun (well, most of it) and I loved planning our trips.   But lately all the hassle and expense of air travel has over-shadowed the fun for me.  We took car trips the last couple of years, which were just as fun and a lot less expensive. But, The Professor informed me that he really wants us to go somewhere out west this year, if we possibly can. This means flying.  I've spent the past several days researching possibilities and working out potential itineraries for us.  I have three potential trips planned, and now we have to decide which one is the best option for us this year.  This is the part of the process I like the least, since it involves a LOT of back and forth, hemming and hawing by The Professor, who never, ever, rushes in to anything. (We dated for SIX YEARS before we married - talk about not wanting to rush into things!)  The Boy and I have already decided where we would prefer to go - but it will take The Professor about twice as long to come to the same conclusion.

In planning our vacations I have found Vacation Rentals by Owner to be a very good source for great houses to rent, at reasonable prices, at almost every destination we have visited.  I love using rentals for our travels instead of hotels, unless it's for a one or two night stay.  I've had good luck with the owner managed rentals, but I've also had good luck using real estate offices that manage rentals and other types of cottage or vacation rental management companies.

Where ever we end up going, I'm sure we'll have a wonderful Summer Holiday.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

For HeathaLee

Yarn Along

Joining the Yarn Along again this week.

I'm still working on my afghan project....you really can't tell much about it in this picture. I don't really think I should start a new project while this big one is still so far from being finished. I just keep crocheting along...

I've enjoyed several books on my Kindle since my last Yarn Along post. I finished The Antiquary.  I also read The Agony Column, by Earl Derr Biggers, which was another enjoyable story, set in Britain at the beginning of WWI.

This week's Yarn Along book is On the Incarnation, by St. Athanasius. C.S. Lewis wrote a very famous introduction to this book, which I read some years ago, and I thought it was time that I actually read the rest of the book.  I've been afraid to start it because I thought I would not really be able to follow along or understand it (I'm a Bear of Very Little Brain, you know) but I've finished the first chapter and I was surprised at how not difficult it was. I also love the fact that I can read a book that was written in the 4th century on my 21st century e-reading device.  I feel like Jean-Luc Picard on the Starship Enterprise, with my e-reader and a cup of Earl Grey tea beside me!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Tone of Voice is Everything

Well, it's finally Friday and I've got to get out to the grocery store later this morning.  My usual schedule for grocery shopping was put on hold with the extra-wintery weather this week, but the temperature is supposed to rise above freezing today, so I'm heading out.

Before I make my trek for supplies through the Frozen North I'm posting about how I'm doing with my New Year's goals so far.  I think I'm going to write a post concerning my goals for 2011 every few weeks or so on Fridays so that I can look back and see how I'm doing and where I need to work a bit harder to achieve my goals.

Today the goal that I have on my mind is the one I made concerning my role as "Partner" (remember those 5 "Ps")  - talking to my Dear Professor with a Low and Relaxed Tone as often as I can.  Well, it hasn't been easy. However, one result of my working on this has been to realize just how tense I am, especially in my neck.  It's no wonder that even my "happy" voice tends to sound high and shrill.  During the day I have to make it a point to stop and let go of the tension in my neck.

Maybe I need a visit to  Phoebe Dinsmore.

Hmmm...maybe tone of voice is not quite everything.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Yarn Along

I'm joining in the Yarn Along with Ginny at the Small Things blog.

I don't know how to knit, but I do crochet. Right now I'm working on a pineapple afghan, which I started in October. I'm hoping to be finished with it by spring, but I'm very slow.  There it is, not so artfully draped over the chair in my bedroom, next to my terribly disordered night-stand.  Maybe I'll learn how to stage a photo one of these days. Until then - welcome to my real life. The books I'm reading right now are on the top of the stack there - Good Calories Bad Calories, by Gary Taubes; and my wonderful Kindle with which I am reading The Antiquary, by Sir Walter Scott.

I do occasionally straighten up the books on the night stand.

GCBC is a very dense, scientific book, but I'm finding it pretty easy to read.  It's been a very eye-opening experience, to say the least.

A better view of the books, with my afghan-in-progress as the background

I have never read much Sir Walter Scott - besides Ivanhoe. Last year I found his Guy Mannering at the library and really enjoyed it, so now that I have my Kindle and access to many of his books for free, I'm on a roll with the Waverly novels.  I'm not reading them in any particular order. The Antiquary piqued my interest, so I started with it. I love a good, old-fashioned story.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow Day!

Wow! We hit the snow jackpot in our part of the world!  Somewhere between 8 and 10 inches of snow fell on Sunday night and we woke up to a real winter wonderland.  We live in a part of the South where it does get cold, but we don't usually get a lot of snow. I don't think we've had this much snow in twenty years!

We had a lot of fun yesterday with The Professor's oldest son and his family.

We started out behind our house.
 Yes, Southern children have to use pool floats as sleds.

 Lucky had a wonderful time bounding through the snow.
Here's Little Bud, with a friend.
The snow came up to his chin, so we didn't take him on our
long walk.
We walked across the college campus to get to the woods.
Here's The Professor, striding down the sidewalk.
Winter Wonderland!

On the trail home.
Notice the swords.  Those swords go everywhere The Boy goes.

We had a wonderful walk! 

It's going to be bitterly cold for the rest of the week around here, so this snow is not going to be melting any time soon.  The Boy is outside right now, working on a snow fort.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Goals for 2011

I know I said I'd be posting my goals for the new year on Monday, but I forgot that The Professor will not be going back to work until next week.  The Boy went back to school yesterday, so The Professor and I spent the day together, mostly just hanging around and talking. He watched me play "Every Word" on my Kindle and tried to help.  That Kindle....  It's my new best friend. Seriously.

So, I spent the day away from the computer and with my dear Professor. I also spent the day away from the laundry, putting Christmas decor away, etc. :)

I spent Saturday and Sunday mulling over the past, what I'd like for the future, and the reality of the present. I also pulled out one of my favorite books, A Mother's Rule of Life by Holly Pierlot.  I'm not sure how I came to know about this book, but it has been very helpful to me.  At first glance you might not think I'd have much interest in this book, since I'm not Catholic, only have one child, and don't homeschool, but I really love the concept of developing my own "Rule of Life" to help me find a way to focus on building a life that is pleasing to God, which is my ultimate goal.

In working out my own "Rule of Life" I have found Pierlot's Five Ps to be a good way of focusing on the major aspects of my life.  All my goals for the new year are based around the Five Ps of  Prayer, Person, Partner, Parent, and Provider.

If I learned anything in 2010, it was that I must pray. My goal for 2011 is to re-commit to my practice of daily prayer and build on it as I can, making time throughout the day to stop and pray.

Another thing that 2010 taught me is the importance of caring for this physical body that I have been given.  I'm NOT resolving to dive into any major "body reconditioning program" or to lose X number of pounds this year.  My goal for 2011 is to commit to some kind of exercise most days of the week, to get outside into the fresh air and sunshine as many days as I can, and eat good food in moderation.

In my vocation as wife to my dear Professor I have settled on one area that I really want to focus on this year: communication - specifically, one aspect of communication - Tone of Voice.  I was in a play many years ago in which one of my lines was "Tone of voice is everything."   My goal for 2011 is to develop the habit of speaking to The Professor with a Low and Relaxed Tone of Voice at All Times and For ALL Occasions.  I want to communicate love to him, no matter what we are discussing, and the tone I use when speaking to him may be more important than the words I use. (The reason I have chosen to work on Tone of Voice is because The Professor is very sensitive to any amount of tension in my voice.  Really. Any amount. I don't even notice there's tension or that my voice is up in the higher register until he brings it to my attention. He's got extra sensitive tension-receptors or something. Are all men like this, or just mine?)

This year brings me right smack into the middle 40's and my son right smack into teen-ager-dom. A worrisome combination, isn't it?  This year my goal as a parent is to navigate these waters carefully (remembering the Tone of Voice thing) to keep the lines of communication open while still holding my son to a high standard of behavior, yet NOT micro-managing.  (Let go of the reins a little, Carlyn!)

That sounds so good, doesn't it?  I'll let you know how the "not micro-managing" goes. :)

In my vocation as wife and mother, it's my responsibility to manage our household resources.  I just read in the paper the other day someone's prediction that by 2012 gasoline will be at $5 per gallon!!! I hope that is one prediction that doesn't come to pass, but the reality is that I need to be finding ways to make the best use of our financial resources so that we can take rising prices in stride. In 2011 my goal as a provider is to focus on finding ways to save money on our weekly household expenses and to re-commit to my housekeeping routine.

I want to end this list the same way I started it, with prayer.  None of these goals can be accomplished without God as my Helper and I pray that these goals will all work toward helping me take up my own cross and follow Christ no matter what comes to pass in this new year.