Mylifesamess's Blog

Waiting at the Crossroads

Posted in Uncategorized by mylifesamess on 11/03/2011

I haven’t been single for a few years now.  I’m probably looking back through rose colored glasses, but I have a fondness for the single life.  I miss the time I had to myself, and my privacy.  I’ve always needed time to be alone and in my head.  But, beyond that, I miss the excited anticipation of not knowing what was ahead of me.  I think everyone’s favorite kind of romance is the one that hasn’t yet played out.

I bring it up because I feel I’m at a similar point in my professional life, but maybe have not yet realized it.  I thought at this point I’d be well into my established career, but I’m still doing the same old cost bookkeeping at the same place that I swore I would never stay at for more than a year.  I failed the CPA exam miserably, and if I don’t pass a part before the end of the year, then I’m going to have to take more night classes to sit for it again.  I’ve been at a standstill trying to ignore the crossroads in front of me since I got my exam results, but the end of the year is coming, and I need to figure out where I’m going.

The CPA path is a daunting one.  I think I can do it, but the motivation isn’t there for me, and without that, there’s not much hope.  I could stay at my current dead end job and use it to try and support my other interests, but that’s not working out so well for me right now, as my credit card balance can attest to.  I can head lazily off into the accounting direction, finding a different, somewhat better job in an accounting department somewhere.  Or, maybe I can try something completely different.  I don’t know, and it makes me queasy to think about.

I have let this put me in a funk for too long.  I’ve been neglecting and putting off everything.  It’s time to figure it out and move on.  Ugh.  Fuck.

Childhood Manifesto

Posted in Uncategorized by mylifesamess on 10/09/2011

I’ve been dwelling the last few months on my past.  More than usual, which I don’t think is very productive for me in any way.  I’m going to indulge it, anyways, because when I want to do something, I blow off or explain away the reasons why I shouldn’t do it.

I think I was a strange kid.  For one thing, I had a very strong moral code, though I wouldn’t have characterized it as such then.  I think I got it from my reading and from Disney movies.  I wore what I perceived to be gender neutral clothing – jeans and plain t-shirts.  Persuading my mother to buy this clothing and allow me to wear it was a battle.  I felt strongly that caring for one’s appearance, even in the slightest, was vain and degrading.  I was embarrassed for people who did.  This was another source of contention between me and my mother, who was and is a very well put together lady.  I think now that I must have been confused by the contradictions that modern standards of beauty set before us.  We go to great lengths to beautify ourselves in such a way as to fool everyone around us into believing that our modifications are in fact simply part of our natural beauty.  Real, raw beauty gives those of us who have it a better starting point.  Raw beauty alone, however, has a far more limited mileage than we realize, unless we take steps to build on it.

I had a lot of raw beauty as a teenager.  I was adamant that I would not build on it, and often preferred to obscure it.  Low self esteem probably played a part in it, but it was also this unwritten manifesto that influenced me.  I felt superior to my female peers, more worthy of respect.  I, I thought, was not a silly girl that would just accept the status quo.  The status quo was ridiculous, illogical, and sexist, and I could not accept it, or defend it.

My Xanax is kicking in, and I can’t focus enough to really elaborate any longer or bring this post to a satisfying end.  I have quite a different view on beauty and appearance now.  I still recognize its faults, and do my best to rage against them in my own, mostly ineffective ways.  I wish that someone had understood me way back when.  I wish it was my mom.  I can’t resent her for it, though.  I wasn’t an easy child to understand.

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Friday Food Reflections

Posted in Uncategorized by mylifesamess on 06/18/2011

I tend to go through phases in my life.  I may go for a couple months during which I’m motivated to really keep our apartment tidy and organized, and then I’ll experience another couple months where, while I still want a tidy and organized apartment, I just can’t be bothered to do anything about it.  I also have phases when it comes to cooking and food.  Cooking yourself good, healthy meals takes time and thought.  Sometimes I’m motivated to do it, and sometimes I’ll stop at Burger King for a veggie burger on the way home from work three nights in a row.

Currently, I’m in the phase where I’m taking the time and thought to prepare myself healthy meals.  This particular phase, however, feels different than previous ones.  Lately, I’ve been taking a lot of pleasure in the time I spend in the kitchen.  I see this as an excellent development that may help extend my good food phases, and even potentially eliminate my bad ones.

I’ve been creating a mental list of factors that have made me enjoy cooking more lately.  Here’s what I’ve come up with:

– decent equipment

– a clean kitchen

– a well stocked recipe file

– seeking out inspiration for recipes and cooking techniques
– reflecting on, improving, and sharing my cooking experiences
It’s Saturday afternoon that I’m posting it, and I have some errands to run for Father’s Day and the coming week, so I don’t have time to elaborate on these factors, but I’m sure I will in the future.

Bella’s Chick Mix

Posted in Uncategorized by mylifesamess on 06/05/2011

I haven’t been listening to my podcasts lately as much as I usually do.  I do a ton of data entry for my job, and podcasts often save my sanity.  Anyway, the only podcast I’ve been listening to with any regularity the last couple months is Sklarbro Country.  One of the Sklar brothers mentioned the other day that his small daughters loved listening to female rock musicians, which got me thinking about my own niece, who’s eight years old.  She’s into Hannah Montana, but do not even mention Justin Bieber around her.  She’s also into playing acoustic guitar.  I felt a calling to help introduce my niece to a more diverse world of music, and making her a CD featuring a bunch of female musicians might help her make an extra connection with the music.  So, after an evening of deliberation, I came up with this mix :

1. The Pipettes “Pull Shapes”

2. M.I.A. “Jimmy”

3. Norah Jones “Sunrise”

4. Lauryn Hill “Everything is Everything”

5. Imogen Heap “Just for Now”

6. Neko Case “This Tornado Loves You”

7. Cat Power “Half of You”

8. Priscilla Ahn “Dream”

9. Brandi Carlile “The Story”

10. Brandi Carlile “Hallelujah”

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Raspberry Cake with Buttercream Icing

Posted in Uncategorized by mylifesamess on 06/05/2011

http://www.marthastewart.com/284034/raspberry-cupcakes-with-pink-buttercream

I made this recipe a few months back as a belated birthday treat for my co-workers.  I omitted the lacy chocolate hearts and food coloring.  The cake was delicious.  The buttercream icing came out overwhelmingly buttery.  Maybe I’ve never had real buttercream icing, but it was too thick, too much like just eating plain butter.  I’m going to use Julia Child’s recipe for buttercream icing this time from her book “The French Chef Cookbook.”  There’s not a whole lot of difference between the two recipes, just slight variances on the amount of eggs and sugar, besides the addition of vanilla extract to Julia’s recipe.  We’ll see how it turns out.

Running After the Wagon

Posted in Uncategorized by mylifesamess on 06/04/2011

My life is better when I’m organized and effective.  That takes work…a lot of work, actually.  I go through phases.  Sometimes I’m enthusiastically organized and put together, and sometimes it’s a massive struggle to find the motivation to even take a shower.  While I don’t advocate living life always beating yourself up for not being what you think you should be, I do think that always striving to be your best is a good thing.  So, I try not to get too frustrated with myself, and just keep trying.

Speaking of frustration, my ass is broke this week.  Not technically broke, yet, but as soon as my landlord cashes my rent check, my account is going to go negative.  I make a little over $30,000 and share a cheap apartment with my boyfriend in a cheap part of the country, and yet every month, my rent check nearly zeroes out my account.  It angers me.  How are people in this country supposed to save for any sort of future when it’s so difficult to make ends meet on a salary that’s twice what minimum wage pays?

So, I think I can make it to Friday without buying gas or groceries.  I stocked my pantry pretty well last week.  My mom’s birthday, however, is this week, and while I have a card for her, I don’t have a gift.  For Mother’s Day, my sister and I took her to a really nice restaurant for a fantastic lunch.  I also gave her a gorgeous antique pin that I bought for $10 while I was hunting for stock for my Etsy store.  So, pretty much, the only thing I can afford to get her until Friday is something that I already have or something that I can make.  Right now, I’m leaning towards making her a raspberry cake with butter cream icing.  I have most of the ingredients, with the exception of the raspberries, which I can probably get Tom to buy for me as his contribution.  To make this cake, however, I’ll need to use my mom’s kitchen, as I am lacking the pans and mixer necessary to make it.  It seems awkward to use her kitchen to make her a present, especially since she’s such a neat freak and would insist on cleaning up the kitchen herself.  I may have to recruit my stepdad’s help in this.

In other news, I’m scheduled to take the FAR portion of the CPA exam in August.  I feel confident that I will totally blow it, and that makes me want to cry.  I feel so far in over my head every time I open up my review book to study.  My professional life really didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to, and this is my chance to really start making some forward progress in it.  I’m going to submit my resume to some firms soon in hopes of getting hired as a low level accountant.  I figure that way, even if I fail, at least I’ll have made a little progress.

I’ll type up the recipe for the raspberry cake with butter cream icing this weekend and post it here.  I made it as cupcakes last time.  The butter cream icing in the original recipe tasted like I had just grabbed a fistful of butter and threw it against the cupcake.  I found a butter cream icing recipe in my Julia Child book which I will use instead this time.  If that’s what I end up doing.

Developing a Cleaning Schedule with Remember the Milk

Posted in Uncategorized by mylifesamess on 02/07/2011

Remember the Milk allows you to maintain an online to-do list. It’s extremely easy to make entries, set deadlines, set up a repeating schedule, or postpone tasks. While planning a large company project with multiple deadlines over the holidays, I relied on RTM heavily to help me keep a time line and prioritize my work. After the holidays, I think I got burnt out on to-do lists and organization, and I ended up neglecting my RTM account for several weeks.

RTM’s main function in my life has been to help me develop a consistent cleaning schedule. I had to take time to figure out what I needed to do to keep my home in good condition and how often I had to do it. For me, “good condition” isn’t spotless, or even really that tidy, but being able to take proper care of the property I own and rent.

Here’s what needs to be done every day to achieve that goal :
– wash all the dishes in the sink
– make sure pets have food / fresh water
– scoop litter box
– sort mail

I vacuum a small section of the apartment every two days, and dust a couple pieces of furniture every three days. I find this a much more palatable solution than doing it all at once every week or so.

I do my laundry, clean the bedroom, clean the kitchen, and take care of any houseplant maintenance once a week, but not all on the same day. The bathroom and kitchen floor are cleaned every ten days. Bedding is washed every two weeks. The couch cover is washed every month, and so on.

I try to make sure that large projects don’t fall on the same day. I also try to break individual tasks that take longer than 20 minutes a piece down into smaller, shorter cleaning tasks that can be regularly rotated.

It might seem silly to some that I had to put so much effort into figuring this all out. My mom was, and is, quite tidy, and always has an impeccably clean house, so it’s not as if I wasn’t raised right. Maybe neglecting housework is a generational thing…the majority of my friends who are my age aren’t really tidy. But, I know that I sleep better at night when I’ve clicked everything off my list.

I had almost three hundred neglected cleaning items that had built up over the month of January in RTM when I finally opened it again last night. I deleted them all and started fresh. It’s a good feeling.

Life Efficiency Through Free Downloads

Posted in Uncategorized by mylifesamess on 02/07/2011

I had a brilliant idea today.  Why don’t I try out a tired meme in a way that’s not inventive in the slightest, and probably already been done?  For one month, I’m going to try to get my shit together.  I’m going to exercise, eat well, keep a clean house, keep my finances in good shape, make efforts to socialize with friends and family, and make substantial progress in my studies for the CPA exam.  This month would be perfect, since it’s a short month and I’m already getting a late start.

I’ve gotten rid of an admirable amount of stuff since I started this blog.  Almost everything in our apartment now, at the very least, has a place where it goes, even if it’s never there.  And, perhaps most importantly to me, I ended up throwing away very little.  It’s virtually all been donated, sold, or recycled.  Of course, it never ends, and there will probably always be a box under my coffee table of stuff to get rid of.  But, if I had to pack all my belongings up in a day, I could do it, and be pretty well organized about it, too.  Not really a worthwhile goal that people strive for, but it got me to a better place.

Now, I have to focus on getting the rest of my life to a better place.  To do that, I’m going to spend the next month relying on tools I love – computer programs and website content – to help me get there.  I also have a day planner to help me, which I enjoy using very much.

First goal : How do I get better rest?  I feel tired just thinking about this.

 

Stuck with Cases

Posted in Uncategorized by mylifesamess on 03/28/2010

I find all  the “upcycle” craft stuff pretty irritating.  I don’t want to turn my cassettes into wallets and lamps, and I don’t want to make a CD case mural.  I just want to get rid of this stuff as responsibly as I can.

I could have sworn that there was a CD case drop off out by Philadelphia, but after extensively searching county and state waste management websites, I just can’t find it.  Only one person on Freecycle was interested in the cases, but they never showed up.  I think I’m going to have to bite the bullet and do the GreenDisk thing, which is really a last choice.  I don’t like that I have to pay a fee for the recycling processing as well as for the shipping charges, and I don’t like the idea of just packing stuff up and shipping it to some address I found on the internet.  I also don’t like the website.

The two ways I can look at this are :

– I’ll report on my experiences, and if they screw me over, then I can attempt to make as many people aware as possible.

– I’m making the best decision I can based on the information I have at the moment.

The second one is something I’ve been working on for a while.  I have a tendency to beat myself up if I make a decision that doesn’t end up working out the way I wanted it to.  I can’t keep leaving these cases lying around, and the thought of just throwing them in the trash just bugs the crap out of my environmentally conscious side.

Update:

After some packing, weighing, and estimating, it looks like I’m going to spend about $50 on this endeavor.  Now, I’ve blown more money on worse things, but still, that’s substantial.  The good news is that, since I rarely buy physical CD’s anymore, I will probably never accumulate quite as many cases again and incur this kind of cost.  I would feel better about dropping this kind of money if I had a little more confidence in the business.

CD Recycling

Posted in Uncategorized by mylifesamess on 03/22/2010

I was going to set up my shredder so as to have a nice little disposal center as suggested on unclutterer.com so that I can quickly deal with mail and paperwork when I get home each day.  Then, I realized my shredder sucks.  The few items that I have to shred I usually just shred at work, mainly because my home shredder sucks so bad.  So, I’m going to take my uncluttering a step further and get rid of my sucky shredder on Craigslist.

My next step was to deal with the clutter of useless CDs, CD / DVD cases, and cassette tapes that I had piled up by my trashcan.  I’ve grown to hate the thought of throwing any sort of plastic away, so I stuck them by the trashcan in a sort of limbo until I figured out what to do with them.  Earth911.com seems to be quite helpful in finding nearby locations to recycle uncommonly recycled things.  Apparently Best Buys have recycling kiosks for compact discs in the front of their stores.  I will have to investigate and see if they also accept the cases.  If that doesn’t work, I always have the option of shipping everything off to www.greendisk.com for a pretty low price.