Friday, August 12, 2011

What is a day off?

No, this will not be a lament saying that I am overworked or stressed out or have so many demands on my time that I never have any free time.  Instead, I will attempt to rationalize what tends to happen on my days off.

What is a day off really for?  It is so nice to not be required to be out of the house for 9 hours plus on those days off.  I usually have two such days a week, though not always the same two.  Some days I do leave the house for minutes or hours, some days I do not. 

I try to arrange things so that I can do some errands after work so that there is less on my MUST DO list on my days off.  That doesn't always work out that way though.  For example, today was my day off and what did I do?  LAUNDRY.  A load of whites, a load of lights, and a load of darks, which must be taken down from the line after I type this.  GRRRR

I try to catch up on housework.  Sometimes I can do it on days that I work, but larger things must wait until days off though. 

I try to catch up on correspondence on my days off.  Paying bills, etc, I can do on days that I work, but correspondence which requires me to express genuine thoughts and feelings in a thoughtful way, I like to save for my days off.

I may spend more time on the computer on my day off.  This can be good and bad.  I am more likely to do something relaxing on my day off like watching a dvd or television or reading a book. 

The biggest question I have is how to balance what needs to get done with the need for recreation and relaxation.  I am still working on this. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

High and low tech living in the same house on the same day.

Today was a sunny and very warm day.  Some may even call it hot.  Like yesterday, the high was in the low to mid 90s and unlike what seems like the past two weeks, it did not rain, nor was it even a bit cloudy.

I was off today and had things to do around the house, so I did them.  I am so glad for several modern conveniences but I am also glad I can use some low tech approaches as well.

Kitchen appliances are modern luxuries I like.  Toaster, refrigerator, stove, two cup hot water boiler, etc.  I did my laundry using a relatively modern washing machine, but instead of using the dryer, I used the low tech method of drying them....on a clothesline outside in the wind and sunshine.  I used the dishwasher to wash and dry some of my dishes, but did others by hand and let them air-dry.  I plan on cooking chicken for Supper tonight, but I also have some mint in a pitcher of water setting out in the sun to make a pseudo mint tea to drink cold a little later today and this week.  The nice part would be saving electricity by drying most of my clothes that way for 6 months out of the year. 

In keeping cool I made use of both modern and old fashioned methods.  In the morning, when the temperature cooled into the mid 60s, I opened the doors and windows to let the cool air in.  When the temperature warmed up later in the morning and in the afternoon, I closed the windows and doors and let the air conditioner cool the house.  Another option could be to spend more time in the basement in the hot weather because it is about 15 degrees cooler there than the rest of the house.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

In a cleanup, cleanout, fix it or throw it out kind of mood.

Computer files and a broken bathroom storage cabinet were the most recent victims of my wrath!  I'm not sure what caused this most recent session of purging, but I am delighted with the results.  I hope it is more of a lifestyle change than a simple Spring cleaning phase. 

Some of my recent victories in this war include the two examples mentioned in the last paragraph as well as some shredding of lots of paper.  (Confetti for sale here)  Even the flower beds are getting an overhaul by pulling dandelions and other weeds.

Part of this may be the fact that I am approaching 5 years living in my house.  In a way, I feel like I never really moved in because I never addressed the clutter issue.  I am now getting caught up on maintenance and repairs and am beginning to feel like I AM THE HOME OWNER, NOT JUST THE OCCUPANT.  I think I realize what it means to be a home take ownership of the home and to make it into something nice, not just a place to dump things and be protected from the elements.  It is a home, not public storage.  It is where I LIVE, not just stay.

Addressing the issue of clutter will be even more meaningful because I will make room for MY future by letting go of parts of my past that I no longer need.  I am sure there are things that I should have tried to get rid of 25 years ago, instead of holding onto them as useless baggage.  They cluttered floors, shelves and who knows what else and instead of purging them when I should have, I tripped over them and moved them once or twice, hundreds of miles.  I am literally carrying around excess weight.

OK, enough blogging for today...time to stop living in the past and de-clutter my way into the present and future. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Time off for good behavior

...or perhaps I've been around so long, my workplace can't tolerate me as much as before, so they are willing to pay me to stay away.

16 years is a long time to stay at any one workplace, especially in these days of high turnover rates and few if any incentives to stay long term.  When I reached the 15 year mark almost a year ago, my paid vacation went from three weeks per year to four.  Our department had some issues with staffing and there are two months where taking a vacation is not allowed, so I took one week last September and one in October.  I understood the staffing issue, so in January, I told them I would take the remaining two weeks right before I would lose the time.  (The fact it took more than 2 months, several reminders and a meeting with the my boss' boss' boss to finally approve it is another matter.)

It has been several years since I've taken two weeks in a row, and I must say I enjoy it.  Mostly I take one week at a time and usually add a personal day and/or an unpaid day off plus a weekend to extend my time away to a week and a half.

I can feel a difference the second week makes.  Now that I am in to my second week, I feel my stress level is much lower than it has been in several months and my happiness level is higher.  However, it took a full week plus three days to really feel that way.  I am enjoying this fourth week of vacation since last year.

Now to figure out how to use my next 4 weeks of vacation!   ;-)

Friday, March 18, 2011

June in March: Free samples of heaven

Today was one of those bonus days for me.  Workload was somewhat light, especially for a Friday, and the weather was absolutely delightful with afternoon temperatures close to 80.  The average high for this date here is 57 so well above normal. My thermostat is set at 67 yet the house is 75.  Remember, it is still technically Winter.  Even my seven year old cat seems more playful than usual.  I love being able to have the windows open. 

This wonderful weather reminds me of something I heard many years ago:  Every once in a while, God will give us "free samples" of heaven.  Today is one of those free sample days. 

Another nice thing to come from this wonderful day:  I thought about several friends in places where this is normal weather.  I hadn't heard from one of them in some time so I texted her and asked about the weather where she was, and we had a nice "text-chat" for a few minutes.  My challenge to others...if you are thinking of someone, go ahead and contact someone you may have lost touch them, send a text, send an e-mail.  You'll be glad you did.  Don't let anything stop you!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A small action that unites past, present and future

This may be the earliest I have ever planted.  After checking the weather forecasts and gardening advice, I decided that today, March 15, the ides of March, was the day to plant, at least this, the Spring crop. 

My timing seems almost perfect.  About a half inch of rain is expected overnight, and it started as the last seeds were covered, followed by several days of sunny, warm and frost free weather.  According to the seed packets, I should see tiny green specks emerge in 7 to 10 days and have fresh-picked spinach and lettuce in my salad bowl in 45 to 55 days.  I may supplement nature by watering it if the weather gets too dry but now is the time to trust that the seeds know what to do from here.

What I did was something I have done most years since I was a child, though perhaps not always this early in the season.  Then it was along a driveway in front of two hedges.  Now it is a backyard garden.  Hopefully this year I will add other crops a little later in the season.  Planting vegetables is something that many people did long before me, and will do after I'm gone, perhaps in the same ways and also in different ways and maybe even different places.  Planting also reminds me of being on the Amtrak train last September around sunset rolling through the Salinas Valley of California with lettuce fields as far as I could see in every direction.

More about my garden in future blogs.....

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Times have changed...

This is the day we change from Standard to Daylight Savings Time.  We "lose" an hour of sleep and "gain" an hour of daylight in the evening.  It's all an illusion though the amount of daylight is no more or less than we would get if we just relied on nature and sun-dials. 

Besides the illusion, I have a few other observations. 

Calling the time from November to March...a mere 4 months...Standard time seems strange.  That means for twice as long we are...what?  Non-standard?  Sub-standard? Should we make Daylight Savings Time the standard and come up with another clever name for the shorter segment, like Nightlight Time?

Not all areas change their time at the same time, either.  Some parts of the United States don't change at all. Europe doesn't have to deal with this for a few more weeks.  However, there was a "time" about 11 years ago when Europe changed their clocks before North America.  This worked well for me because I was travelling from North America to Europe.  This meant I arrived in London an hour before I thought I would.  I still had the two and a half hour layover before my flight to Germany, but at least I got the flight part of my trip over with an hour sooner than I thought.

Also, I remember a time not all that long ago when I was in gradeschool, the time changed on the last weekend in APRIL, not the second weekend in MARCH!  Here's an idea...instead of changing the clocks to suit our lifestyle, why don't we re-adjust our bodies to that of our home planet.  When it's dark, go home, sleep.  I think the Amish live that way.  Our ancestors lived that way. 

Posted at 7:22 PM...or is it 8:22PM?  Who knows?  Who cares what you call it?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Taking off (or learning to fly)

Anyone who knows me well, knows that in my heart, I am a writer.  If you know me a little better, you also know that I like eagles.  That is how I chose the title for my blog.  I wanted to combine two of my interests. 

I kept a private journal starting when I was in my early twenties and like many things, started enthusiastically, but then, over time, I suppose I lost interest and haven't written anything in that for a few years now.  This will be more of a public journal.  The flight of the eagle is my life's journey.  Writing in this format is me learning to fly. 

In addition to sharing a bit about what is going on in my life, I will also use this platform to share many of the articles and reflections I have written (and am still writing.)