Friday, March 11, 2011

a year in review - March 2010

one of my favorite pictures - Aiden and Uncle Terry

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

book no.1 - Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America

I had wanted to read Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich for a long time, and I had it listed on my wishlist at Bookcrossing. (As a side note - Bookcrossing is amazing. I haven't been very active there in, oh, probably 8 or 9 years, but it's a site worth looking into if you have the time.) A fellow Bookcrosser got in touch with me and offered to send me the book. I said OK and then forgot about the book again until it showed up in my mailbox.

The basic premise of the book is that the author goes undercover as a blue collar worker in various cities to see if she can make enough to survive. She sets herself up in each town with a place to live, and goes about finding a job and then working it. She lives thriftily and sees if at the end of the month she has made enough to pay for the next month's rent.

You can probably guess from the full title of the book just how well she fared. The book offers an interesting insight into low wage jobs and not much more. (I found the chapter on maid services particularly fascinating.) I've worked some of these low earning jobs myself, so I guess I already knew first hand the probable outcome. Fortunately I've had family to support me. You do feel for the people stuck in this vicious cycle.

The author isn't particularly funny, and she doesn't offer much that I, and most of America I suspect, didn't already know. She seemed to have a particular hatred for drug testing - I guess because she's a pot smoker. But she goes off on the injustice of drug testing on multiple occasions in the book, and I got bored with that pretty quickly. I see no harm in companies drug testing their employees, and I seriously doubt they do it to dehumanize prospective employees and exert their power and control from the onset.

All in all the book was an OK read. Nothing earth shattering was revealed in its pages, and the writing style was ho-hum. Not a bad read if you have it lying around, but I wouldn't go out of my way to find a copy.

Monday, March 7, 2011

New Year's resolutions

I started this post in January. Can you believe it's March now? Oh, well - things have been crazy (what's new) while we've tried to adjust to our new schedules.

I don't usually make hard and fast resolutions, but I do try to reflect on my life and see what needs to be changed or worked on. So, without further ado, here's my list of things to work on for 2011:

  • stand up straight - I don't think my posture is horrible, but it could certainly be better. I'm going to make an effort to notice when my shoulders are slumping and to pull them up.
  • spend more time playing with the kids - Amelie has complained several times that I never make time to actually play with them. So I'm going to try to do better.
  • make a schedule and stay on it - I'm horrible at time management. I start something, get distracted and start something else, and before you know it the whole day is gone and very little has been accomplished. I'm hoping a schedule will at least help me get a little more done.
  • get Amelie caught up on school work and stay caught up - We've actually made some strides toward this now that I'm working and not in school. I try to get her through at least two days' work every day I'm at home with her. It doesn't always happen, but each little bit gets us that much closer. We're also working through breaks that are built into the schedule. We may have to work into the summer, but I think we'll be ready to start second grade on time.
  • make time daily for prayer and devotions - I'm trying to make time for this at breakfast time. I find if I put it off until after that it often doesn't get done. My mom got me a subscription to Magnificat so that has helped.
  • have a baby - I know I'm not in control of this one, but I hope to either have a baby or be well on my way to having one by the end of the year. When my insurance kicks in at work I'll be heading to the OBGYN to see if they can find out the reason I've had so many miscarriages. Hopefully they'll find the problem and it will be something fixable.
  • put $1000 into savings and pay off $3500 worth of bills - The $1000 will be easy since we're getting a nice tax refund. But the $3500 will take a little more planning and budgeting. It be really nice if we could get even more than that paid off.
  • make exercise a regular part of my routine - I'm so terrible at this, but I have to do it. I need to get healthy, and I need to lose some of this extra weight.
  • declutter - I've already started this one, and it has made a big difference in the apartment. I'm also trying to partially follow the FLYlady system to stay on top of chores. It's nice to be able to relax at night in a semi-clean apartment.