What to do..

So I have been struggling with what to do next with my life. Sure I love my job but really long to do that ‘thing’ that will bring me total fulfillment. I have a few ideas as to what this next career may be but to move forward in any area I need to work on it during my time at home. This means working on my dreams at night. The problem is that I am usually so tired and just don’t feel like doing anything – which was the case tonight. I could not get motivated to do anything. How am I ever going to move forward with anything?

But then I thought about a funny art project I had started Sunday and was suddenly excited to finish it. I am not very artistic but I want to be. I love Inkscape and want to explore being a vector artist. It was nice to do something that furthers an interest of mine even when nothing was appealing. Well at least something was – drawing.

If I can just keep it up who knows. I might even improve.

2015 Goals

This year I have big plans as I do every year. I always start out with the best intentions. This year I plan to keep my big goals in front of me in hopes of moving forward.

Freelance full-time This is a scary goal. I can’t believe I actually want to leave my well paying full-time job for the unknown, uncertain world of freelancing. But I value my time and my best hours are work hours. I want to do more for me. To get off to a good start with freelancing leads me to the other goals for 2015.

Debt Free With debt gone, we get to keep more of our money a month. Win- Win.

Save at least $3K I want to have a starting amount for freelancing to help me get started. That way if I only make $100 the first few months I have some money to fall back on since my income will be the fun money.

WRITE If I want to make money writing, then I need to write and write a lot.

Draw Another hobby/passion I am developing hopefully into a web comic at some point.

Lose Weight and RUN! Have to do this!

Organize and clean house By this I mean clear the clutter

So over the next week I will take each of these goals and break it out further for a better plan/course of action. Also maybe a monthly checklist/tracker. So my action items for the next week:

Blog about each goal
Develop tracker for goals for monthly blog post

Here is hoping 2015 is the best year yet!

Day Two – Wrap it up

advent ornament with 2

After Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, no doubt you have purchased a few presents. Wrapping those gifts is always the hardest part to me. With a few small preparations, wrapping will be a lot less stressful.

Gather all of of your wrapping supplies in one place. Designate an area that you wrap gifts. This can be a spare bedroom or some other space that is seldom used in your home, My space this year is our kitchen table as we eat (when we eat at the table) at the dining room table.

When you are ready to wrap, all of your supplies will be in one place which will make the task go faster. Gift wrapping for me always starts out fine but by the time I get to the fifth present I am done. This is why I always try to wrap early and often instead of waiting until the last possible minute. I have done that, too. I do not recommend it at all.

Consider using gift bags for your presents and skip a lot of the wrapping process. It is so disheartening to spend five – ten minutes wrapping a gift only to have a child rip into it in less than ten seconds. While it is fun to see them rip the paper, gift bags are a gift in itself as the parents will now be able to use that bag to carry presents and/or to give their own gift.

So gather your supplies, have a wrapping station, and take frequent breaks. This Christmas wrapping presents could actually be enjoyable.

Home Delivered Food

Last night our neighbor friends invited us over for dinner. They cooked a meal they had bought from a service that delivers all the ingredients and recipe to your door. I would describe the dish as strawberry bread pudding. I was surprised by two things: bread pudding being served as a main entree and that I really enjoyed it as bread pudding is not something I normally eat.

There is a part of me that loves this idea of food dishes delivered to your door that you then cook at your leisure. Then the other part of me feels so guilty for evening considering this since it makes me feel very lazy housewife. Still it would be nice to have someone else take care of the planning of a meal even if I have to cook it. Cooking is the fun part. It’s the shopping part that is a downer.

My neighbor loves this service which makes me seriously want to try it out. I am thinking about either Plated.com or BlueApron.com. Has anyone else used a food delivery service and what has been your experience?

Coincidence or something else?

What I am about to tell you may not be Twilight Zone worthy, but it is interesting. First a little background. My daughter is visiting her grandparents in another state. She has been there for about a month. We skype practically everyday. She has a Nintendo 3DS and so do I. We both have the game Animal Crossing which we haven’t played a lot in the past few months.

Saturday we take the car in for some maintenance, so I take my 3DS and actually play Animal Crossing. First time I have played in about a month. It was fun. Last night we are skyping when my daughter says she wants to connect the 3DS to the MIFI so we can play Animal Crossing together because she started playing it again yesterday. We travel to each other’s towns, and you can play that way over the Internet, too.

It was kind of neat that we both played the same game after not playing it for at least a month. And played it on the same day. I like to think of it as some connection. It makes me miss her less.

We weren’t able to get the 3DS connected because the MIFI was the wrong encryption, and I didn’t feel like walking through how to change it. Instead we just played Animal Crossing and talked about what we were doing on Skype. A fun time and memory for sure.

The Patrick Rothfuss Experience

My anniversary gift to my husband this year was a meeting with Patrick Rothfuss. Ok, so he had to share that gift with the over 400+ attendees at BookPeople in Austin, TX and managed only to exchange pleasantries with Pat. It was still worth it.

Not only did my aspiring writer husband get to meet one of his favorite authors, he got to hear this author speak about his writing process, self doubt, and all the other human emotions we all experience but somehow think are unique to only us. Writing is hard. It is much easier to speak thoughts than to put them down on paper. Writing can be frustratingly long process. It is good to recharge the creative batteries every once in a while – ok maybe more often than that some weeks.

The talk started at 7pm and lasted a full hour. Then the real fun began. This was our first ever book signing and didn’t know what to expect. Needless to say, we learned a lot. First, you will wait and wait. Then you will wait some more.Then when you are ready to give up, you will still have to wait but will see progress. For my husband, this was actually entering the room where Pat was signing. From that point, it took about 20-30 minutes. All in all we were there for five hours. We learned some lessons if we ever do this again like bring some refreshments.

This was my first exposure to Patrick Rothfuss since I haven’t read his books yet. He was quite entertaining, has an impressive beard, and just seemed to really enjoy being there. I would definitely travel again to see him and next time I will stand in the massive line for an autograph. While in line, my husband notice a few unusual requests. One guy asked Patrick to sign his leg which will serve as a template for his next tattoo. That is one way to mark (permanently!) the moment. Another guy asked for a hug to which Patrick agreed. Then there was the guy who wanted to play the saxophone for Patrick. So there is some commonality – these were all guys! There were plenty of females in the line as well so I can either assume that only the men were making crazy requests or that my husband just didn’t see anything out of the ordinary from the females. Granted he was in line for four hours. Of those four hours, only about an hour was spent close enough to see what was going in the signing room.

Anyway. It was a great experience and one we would love to repeat sometime.

180 day challenge

Today is January 1, 2014 – the day I start my own 180 day challenge. The challenge is to code learn graphic design each and every day. My goal is to learn coding as well as create a few apps. I have a master plan for the 180 day challenge with a task for each day. Most of the tasks are code oriented but there are a few that aren’t but will challenge me to move forward with some other goals.

Today’s challenge is to code an Advent calendar of household tips for my other blog Geeky Housewife. I plan to use javascript to make each day work when it is supposed to. So you can’t peek ahead. The rest of the coding will be in html. It probably won’t be that pretty but hopefully it will be done today.

I will be posting each challenge here before I begin and then a post after it is completed.

Updated 2nd day of challenge: I have realized in preparing for this challenge that what I really want to do is something more creative. Therefore I will spend the net 180 days learning, practicing graphic design. Then I will be able to evaluate if this is something I want to pursue further. If not then I may revisit my coding challenge.

Animal Purse

After running across a great deal on Webkinz, I decided to buy a few for Christmas gifts and to make it a special gift by crocheting a purse for each stuffed animal. After searching in vain for a pattern, I just winged it. I love using the thick yarn as these purses went way faster than the others. I was getting tired of making them as my order came in about a week before I needed to have them all made.

I started with an oval shape for two rounds – increasing on the second round. Then an even round in the back loops. From there I just added even rounds until the purse was the height I needed it to be. The handles are chains (51 total) then slip stitch back to the first one.

Also this was a good use of some stash yarn as each purse takes less than one skein.