In 5 days, 14 hours, 3 minutes and 22 seconds, I will be at Mt. Angel Abbey in Oregon, where I am going to make doing nothing look like an Olympic sport. Actually I’m going to write some, and I’ll probably blog, and I’d be surprised if I could stay away from Twitter, so I guess I’m just talking about doing nothing productive.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, we’re going to celebrate my husband’s birthday, attend the monastery’s Art & Wine Festival, and meet my long-lost cousin the monk. (And, of course, do lots of praying as well — we plan to join the monks each day for Mass and parts of the Liturgy of the Hours if possible.) I’m ridiculously excited.
For whatever reason, I now have a permanent association in my mind with the word “vacation” and that “I’m on a Boat” video. I debated about whether to admit this, but I have actually spent a fair amount of time imagining my own version of the video for our upcoming trip to Mt. Angel. And yes, I have been emailing my husband with lyrics:
I’m on retreat, fellow Christian, take a look at me
Straight chillin’ with the brothers of the Holy See
Ordinary Time, not Lent, so we gonna eat
Pray for me, my fellow Christian, ’cause I’m on retreat!
I could go on. But I’ll stop now.
Internet, your long wait is over: Simcha’s back. If you don’t know who Simcha is, don’t worry about it. Just go add her blog to your feed reader; it’ll all become clear. If David Sedaris were a homeschooling, 30-something Hebrew Catholic mother of eight, this would be his blog. (Wait. Or would it be “her” blog? Not sure if that analogy works. Moving on now.) Anyway, you can read more about Simcha in her about page here.
Speaking of which, this is one of the best quotes I’ve seen to summarize how I feel when I do any kind of non-blogging, formal writing.
Every time I sit down to write, I think, “Well, it’s over. Clearly, some astral confluence of outside forces made it possible, until yesterday, for it to appear that I could write, but things have changed now. From now on, instead of someone who lives like a pig because I’m writing, I’ll just be someone who lives like a pig.”
– Simcha Fisher, talking about the prospect of writing a book, in response to one of my dozens of emails about when she was going to start blogging again
Here’s a cool tip for tech nerds and/or people who link to Youtube videos: you can add #t=X at the end of any video’s URL, and replace X with the number of seconds into the video where you want it to start.
For example, I might write: Check out this awesome song for moms of nerds.
The link there is to the basic address, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osWuWjbeO-Y. Now, then I could say: I was particularly impressed with the chart about variable inheritance.
In that case the link is to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osWuWjbeO-Y#t=61. That #t=61 tag will make it start 61 seconds into the video. Cool, huh?
We recently switched to a “cash”-only budget, and I am loving it. I used to walk around with this constant, vague sense of guilt that I knew I was probably blowing our budget (and therefore draining our savings account) each month, but I didn’t have time to keep a running tally of everything I was spending. Now all that’s gone: with our new system, I can’t overspend. I couldn’t fill my car up with gas the other day because I wasted money on frivolous stuff, and it was surprisingly refreshing to have a clear signal of “you’ve spent too much this month; time to stop now.”
A super-condensed summary of our system:
- Once a month we pay basic bills and set aside money for unexpected expenses.
- Then we take whatever is left and divide it between my husband and me, each of us getting enough for personal spending money + the areas where we usually spend money (e.g. I get amounts for groceries, gas, necessities for the kids, etc.)
- Then we each put our money in separate accounts and use checkcards to buy stuff — that way we don’t walk around with tons of cash; we can go online and check our bank balances to see how much money we have left for the month.
I’m amazed at how much it’s helped us not only stay on budget, but have peace about money.
Earlier this week I got all melodramatic and made a fist-shaking proclamation that I would finish this draft by the time we go to Mt. Angel or die trying. It’s looking like it’ll be the latter.
I look forward to reading your posts!