Just like last year, Anne of Modern Mrs. Darcy has invited us all to share what is saving our lives this cold, grey February. I checked out my list from last year, and a lot of it still holds, but I'll try to share some new things that are getting me through my days right now.
1. COFFEE. I got
me us my husband a Keurig machine for Christmas, and it's so easy, and makes decent coffee. We've only had a cheap espresso maker for years, and it was sadly unpredictably quality-wise, and always somewhat time consuming and loud, so I really only used it on the weekends. Also, I wound up with about $35 in coffee cards over the holidays, and I've been doling them out pretty carefully, so I've been managing to both drink coffee and save money, which is nice. I really do blow a huge chunk of my disposable income on coffee, but I'm saving up for hiking boots right now, and I'm actually getting there pretty quickly.
2. Having a loose reading plan. I mentioned this earlier, but I started the year rotating through one Cybils book (I'm a round 2 judge), one Dumbledore's Army Read-a-thon book, and one Mt. TBR book. As the first two events wound down, I slid library books and #ownvoices books into my rotation. It still leaves me plenty of leeway for the mood reading I do, but makes me feel more focused and productive at the same time.
3. Make America Kittens Again. This free Chrome extension replaces pictures of The Trumpster with pictures of kittens. I don't care what your politics are, you have to admit that's pretty great.
4. Running grocery list. Many months ago, someone randomly gave me a magnetized notepad. I stuck it on the fridge and it just lived there for quite some time. Then one day I used up the last of something--onions, dish soap, chicken stock, who knows?--and jotted it down on the notepad. I continued doing this until the next time I went grocery shopping. It serves two purposes--it writes the bulk of the grocery list in advance, and it helps us to actually track things we run out of that we might not specifically think of until we need it again. The whole family quickly adopted to this new practice--the kids will write things like PECH AND VANILA JOGURT or THE HOTTEST PEPPERS YOU CAN FIND on the list, and The Winemaker brings the list with him when he's going
5. Haircuts My daughter and I both got fairly drastic haircuts the other day, and we both feel very glamorous and fresh. Even though I was too lazy to hunt for coupons, the price with tip was less than what my mom used to pay at the salon she went to (which was NOT a very fancy salon).
5. Windows. My new classroom has a wall full of windows. In my teaching career, I started out with six years in a windowless room, then spent five years in three different rooms with windows, back to three without, then one with, and back to four without, and now am back in a room with windows. I really feel that the 1/3 of my teaching done with natural life has been the happiest and healthiest years on the job.
6. Alone time. Monday evenings my husband plays bridge. (No, really.) So after the kids get to bed, I have between 1-3 hours on my own. Twice a month, my daughter has a three hour Saturday morning class. I drop her off, spend an hour in a coffee shop, then spend two hours at the library. I look forward to these small oases in my crowded life. Teaching and parenting get exhausting for an introvert.
7. Low-key activism. There is a lot going on in the world right now. In my country. A lot going on that I don't like at all. I am already operating just on the edge of being able to cope with things in my own life, so I was dragging my feet on getting involved. I'm getting there though. It started with accepting the fact that I'm going to have to follow the news even though it's upsetting. We don't have much disposable income, but I made some monthly commitments to organizations that are doing good work. I've narrowed in on the issues that I feel the most strongly about--and have more background in--and am following those more closely, including signing petitions, sending emails, and soon making phone calls (the introvert's nightmare--calling strangers). My daughter has expressed interest in attending a protest, so I'm going to find a family friendly event we can go to. I can't do a lot, but I am not going to let that be my excuse for doing nothing. Neither am I going to beat myself up for not doing more. (That's the plan, anyway.)
There you have it. That's what saving my life in February of 2017. It's that or the dead man's float at this point. Hang in there. The days are getting longer (at least in the Northern hemisphere)!