New Ideas, New Beginnings

Dear Folks,

I’m almost 100% sure that Fig and Thistle is going to close shop. I’m going to take the rest of August to think on things, but I’m almost positive this is the best decision.

I started out as a book blogger with very little life blogging and then I made the switch to life blogging with plenty of bookishness sprinkled in there. I feel that social media has become my favorite way to share bits and pieces of my life and engage in conversation. Pairing this with my love of journaling and other writing adventures and I just don’t have the time, energy, or heart to blog.

I do plan on blogging. Less blogging, but more focused blogging. I’ll let you know when I cook up another blog idea.

All the best,

 

Amanda

Meals for the Week, v.5

Lunches: It is the first of the month and that means LOTS OF BILLS. I’ll be using up odds and ends in my freezer for lunches to save some money. I seem to have picked up a variety of veggie burger patties. Each day I’ll have a veggie burger and a roasted vegetable of some sort. Oh yeah, I’m home all next week – with the exception of Monday – to get the kids set for school. School starts on Wednesday, August 3rd. AUGUST 3RD!!!

Sunday 07/31: Homemade Pizza Night! / Salad

Monday 08/01: Turkey Burgers / Pasta Salad / Watermelon

Tuesday 08/02: One Pot Creamy Garlic Pasta/ Bread / Salad

Wednesday 08/03: Honey Mustard Chicken / Jasmine Rice / Steamed Veggies

Thursday 08/04: Chicken Nuggets / Green Beans / Fruit Salad

Friday 08/05: Spinach and Artichoke Lasagna / Salad

Saturday 08/06: Slow Cooker Chicken Lo Mein Noodles

What's Happening(and what's not)

What’s Happening (and What’s Not)

Yesterday I talked a bit about making time for blogging with all the other people and activities in my life. Today I thought I’d talk a bit more about why I’m in a “time panic” in late July and August and how I’m adapting instead of giving into anxiety.

Time is a precious commodity here at chez Roper, but time is difficult to manage due to two other factors. Factor number one is that we have only one car and not the greatest transit system for our needs. Errands, pick-ups, and schedules are all timed around when who needs to get where. Luckily, we all go to work and school within a ten minute drive from our apartment, but time is still constrained to what everyone else needs to do and when. The other factor is money. August is our most broke-ass month. Almost 63% of my take home pay is eaten up with the kids summer care. We pay our rent with our tax refund and try to make it until Sam’s student loan check hits in late August. Then there’s back to school clothes and supplies and our car insurance renewal. August is lean to say the least, but we make it just fine. It just means conserving our fuel, making sure I cook at home, shopping sales for the kids, and forgoing a our monthly date night. Obviously we are not plagued with hardship, but it takes time to pinch, scrape, and plan our finances.

But what is most obnoxious about August is that everyone in my family has several schedule changes happening within the month, but at completely different times.

  • Sam has his regular work schedule at this part-time janitorial job, but we still haven’t heard if he is working for the Boys and Girls Club afterschool program which starts next week. Then his university classes start the end of August, but we don’t even know what his school schedule will be like until he takes his teaching exam August 8th.
  • Hope starts school next week, but we also have to work in more appointments for the orthopedist and the orthodontist and we have no idea when she can go back to work.
  • Atticus starts Kindergarten next week and is full of Kindergarten jitters. Out of all my kids, Atticus needs the most consistency in our home life and schedule in order to thrive. Ballet starts in the middle of the month.
  • Persy Jane doesn’t move up into her new daycare class until the week after next, but don’t tell that to her. She is determined that next week she will be in PS1.
  • I have the nuttiest schedule of all. This week I am working my usual summer schedule. Next week I work on Monday and then I’m home for the rest of the week to get the kids set for school and because there is no summer day camp that week. The week after is normal, but then I work a side-job all weekend long. Then we move to library “office hours” and I work completely different hours. Then I have a training to do on a Sunday, and a Tuesday  night training, and then we finally switch to our regular semester hours and then Labor Day holidays hit. It makes it very difficult to figure out meals, errands, or any sort of normalcy.

You know what I do without a structure to my day?

freakout

This huge ramble leads up to what’s happening (and what’s not). What’s happening is a fair amount of clinging to my bullet journal, various lists, and using my kitchen timer to focus on tasks. I map out each weeks schedule and figure out money and transportation well in advance. When I’m aware of inconsistency I cope better. The schedule and routine surprises are what throws me in a tizzy.

What’s not happening? Deep cleaning, projects, seeing friends and playdates for the kids. Everything we can drop for August has been dropped. Survival mode is on!

I’ll be hanging onto a tiny shred of sanity until September.

coffeetalk

Coffee Talk: On Blogging and Time

I was inspired by my friend Amanda over at The Zen Leaf and her weekly “Sunday Coffee” posts. The post feels like a remarkable catch-up with a friend over a cup of java. I’ve been trying to think of a clever way to title my chatty, rambling posts, and I do love coffee. Hence, Coffee Talk.

Only right now I’m not drinking coffee. I do like tea, but coffee is my life force. Alas it is 9:36 pm on Sunday, July 24th, and I am pass my coffee curfew. Instead I’m drinking a milky Imperial Earl Grey Tea in my literary first lines mug.

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And yes, this wee post is coming to fruition on a Tuesday morning in the future. I know many bloggers write and post things for the future, but I’ve never been good at it. So much can happen in 48 hours, but I don’t the world will stop turning if what I say now is no longer true on Tuesday morning. Wibbly wobbly time stuff.

I very nearly deleted my blog this summer. I love the community, but I was trying to do too many things and feeling unnecessarily stretched thin. I have three kids, a husband in college, a 40-hour a week job and my bipolar II disorder takes some skillful managing and self-care. That is just scratching the surface. I have so much I want to do. I bullet journal, read, and would love to get back to crochet. I enjoy cooking dinner for my family and miss baking bread and scones. I’m itching to get back to yoga and I’m backlogged on snail mail letters to write.

Throughout all of these relationships, hobbies, and daily tasks (aka life) there is one thing that constantly pulls at me almost as much as my love for my kids. Writing. I don’t know how I’ve managed to do it, but I’m clocking in a solid five to nine hours a week writing and reading poetry. My home and office is stacked with slender volumes of verse. I pour over interviews with poets and literary journals. I jot, draft, craft, and revise. I read my poems aloud. I read the poems of others aloud. I submit and I’m assembling a humbling rejection pile (but, as Sylvia Plath said in her journals, “if I don’t write in spite of this, in spite of rejections, I don’t deserve acceptances”). I’m doing the one thing I’ve wanted to do since third grade and I’m ditching all those worries over failing or looking stupid or being subpar and I’m just fucking doing it.

I still want to blog, but in order for this all to work: parenting, career, writing, marriage, etc… I have to have a time and a place for everything.

Sunday afternoon for a few hours and Sunday evening for a few hours more is my time to blog. If I don’t write it on a Sunday then *poof* no blog that week. I have a page in my bullet journal of topics and ideas and that helps me manage my time. I find blogging in the this wedge of time allows me to enjoy crafting posts and not worry about “leveling up” in the blogosphere. I enjoy my time with Fig and Thistle and then I walk away and live my life. There is social media to connect with my blog buds and I’m certainly finding other creative ways to express myself. The pressure is off on blogging and, as a result, I am back to enjoying it.

Now, look at these gorgeous flowers Sam brought home for me today. Persy Jane picked them out for me.

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readerlyramblescanva

Readerly Rambles: 25 July 2016

There’s still a week left of July, but I already feel the need to look at my July reading and start making a pile for August.

#24in48I had plans to participate in the 24in48 readathon and I guess you could say I did participate. I got about four hours of reading done, which was enough to get me into a book and bust my reading slump. I’m declaring that a success!

What I read: Considering I had major life disruptions July was a fairly good reading month. This month I read:

  1. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 
  2. Blind Huber: Poems by Nick Flynn
  3. The Colossus and Other Poems by Sylvia Plath
  4. The Poet, the Lion, Talking Pictures, El Farolito, A Wedding in St. Roch, The Big Box Store, The Warp in the Mirror, Spring, Midnights, Fire & All by C.D. Wright
  5. All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

What’s in Progress: I’m wrapping up July with a graphic novel, Jillian Tamaki’s This One Summer, and a classic, The Wind in the Willows. Seven books total for July. Not too shabby.

What’s Up Next: Ye Olde TBR for August

I’m only putting four books on my list because A Clash of Kings is huge and August is an odd back-to-school flurry of activity. In addition I plan on reading one to three poetry collections (depending on how things go) and I like to play fast and loose when picking poetry books.

Let me know what you enjoyed reading in July and if there is anything I should add to my radar for August (or later). 

Happy Reading!

 

mealsfortheweek

Meals for the Week, v. 4

Trying to get back on track with meals. The new school year is around the corner!

Lunches for work: Mango Quinoa Black Bean Salad, yogurt, fruit

Sunday 07/24: Balsamic Drumsticks / Corn / Mashed Potatoes

Monday 07/25: Chicken Nuggets / Tater Tots / Peas

Tuesday 07/26: Creamy Tomato and Spinach Pasta / Bread / Salad

Wednesday 07/27: Chicken Salad Croissant Sandwiches / Chips / Fruit

Thursday 07/28: Blueberry Pancakes / Scrambled Eggs

Friday 07/29: Black Bean, Corn, and Quinoa Stuffed Red Peppers / Chips & Salsa

Saturday 07/30: Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese / Steamed Veggies