Cold, Financial, Organizational, Autumn Cooking (?!)

>> Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It is cold. (Says the transplanted Minnesotan). OK, so it's cold for here. It's been in the low 40s the last two mornings when Lanse has gone off to work. Considering two nights ago we didn't know it would do that, and last night we just added blankets to the bed (trying to keep the heat costs down as much as we can), even with my sweater and afghan and coffee and cat my fingers are a little bit blue beneath the nails. Sigh. It's still supposed to get to 75 degrees today.

I don't think it's the cold itself as much as the speed of the cold. Last week it was absolutely gorgeous (aside from the rain), in the mid 80s, 60s at night. Then WHAM we drop 20 degrees. As much as the weather here is typically wonderful and warm (yes, we did spend January 1 on the beach last winter) it tends to skip over my favorite temperatures both in the spring and fall; we tend to not get many days in the 70s. Today, when I'm sure the sun's hitting the porch, I'm moving out there.

We are taking the Dave Ramsey course, Financial Peace University. It is really fantastic, it's offered through our church, and there's a handful of people at our church who took it previously and it worked. If we followed his steps, we'd become millionaires.... eventually. It is not a Get-Rich-Quick scheme, it's a step-by-step logical process for becoming debt free and building up savings and stuff... basically Wise Accounting for Dummies. He's got a couple of catch phrases: "We live like no one else now [sell all our stuff and eat rice and beans] so that we can live like no one else later [super wealthy millionaires]" and he showed a clip on how gazelles get away from hungry cougars, and we're supposed to "be a gazelle" in our fleeing from debt and being consumed by financial slavery.

Frankly, we kinda suck at it. I think we're both more for tangible goals; ephemeral 'if you do this long enough this other thing will (probably) happen' goals don't apparently work well for us. He's got a lot of neat tricks that save money, which I get all Special Snowflake* about, using poor mobility and low stamina and blood sugar control issues as excuses (are they really excuses if they're true?) for not catching the bus (and thus getting a job) and not eating beans and rice. And we're really not good at emotional risk-taking to pay down debt; there's stuff we could do but we're afraid to do it, or feel we have some other legitimate reason to change up the program. Maybe we do. But what it really comes down to is, as Lanse succinctly put it, we're feeling more like sloths than gazelles.

That said, we put some dollars into 'Adoption - Immediate' (as opposed to 'Adoption - Savings') and went out and bought some organizational bins to start making the back room useful again. Turns out that the small bins we got from Lowes over a year ago were made to fit into the big bins we got from Walmart this week, so it's all spiffy. I took pix, cuz it was just so cool to me (dork).

Returning to the cold, the side benefit of the Dave Ramsey-meets-Cold Autumn plan is that I've discovered the return of wanting to cook. I pulled out the crock pot, and I've used it three times in the last three weeks or so, and I've baked two loaves of bread with my bread machine. I have to put another of both in today too; gotta research what to throw in with the pork roast and then I'm trying to time the bread to be done when Lanse gets home. Good stuff. Also, I'm a member of a Walden research community (for my school) that gives me a $20 GC for Amazon every month that I play along, so I just ordered a mini-crock, 1.6 quart; the way we eat right now, that should do us just dandy. Yay! I've been researching via and emailing with the Crock Pot Blog Lady, Steph. She's faboo. She's cooking something in a crock pot every day for a year for her family (of 5, I think). She makes some of it up, and tosses some of it out, but it's fun to find recipes and get ideas from her. She doesn't have much for the mini-crock that's meal worthy, mostly dips and sauces, so I asked and she's gonna see what she can come up with. Yay!
Last night we had tacos, and I just upended a pound of ground beef (raw) in the crock with the taco seasoning packet and the required water. The meat kinda had a weird texture because it basically boiled instead of fried, and it didn't crumble like it would had I browned it first (I tore it into chunks with meat forks), but it was pretty good nonetheless.

Um. What else? Oh, a friend of ours from church (who we also game with) was just hired for Lanse's department at work. Should be interesting to see how that develops.

Also, I got my last quarter final grades. A (100%) and A (93.7%). I am SO glad to be done with Sociology, it's not even funny. I thought I was gonna get a B! *gaspmoan* For those who aren't aware, I do realize that Bs and Cs are at some times acceptable; it's just my personal goal to knock this part of my scholastic life out of the ballpark, since I failed out of Wheaton with an Academic Dismissal (failed too many classes to stay). I'd really love to have an amazing success story and tell Wheaton (in my head, of course) exactly where they can... put... that Academic Dismissal. Of course, right now you find me writing this blog instead of studying....

I'm in the middle of Pioneers and Philosophies of Education. It sounded cool before I started to think about it, and then realized that my Wheaton D in Philosophy was actually based in a mental blockage I have against questioning the building blocks of reality (a technique I feel breaks down faith, and I have absolutely no need for). So I got a little nervous. Last week we studied Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, and it was actually quite fascinating; we're not studying their philosophies on life per se, we're studying their philosophies on education in particular, and so far it's been reading articles on modern people's take on them, instead of having to sit and read books they wrote themselves. So it's a lot more applicable and, therefore, easier. Woo! This week includes a bunch of people, including (I believe) Maria Montessori. So that should be interesting. If I ever get around to it.

Finally, Spook just jumped up next to me and licked my right eyebrow. There's no accounting for tastes, I guess.

*Special Snowflake: someone who thinks that their situation makes the rules not count for them. Ref: people who cut in line because they're late; people who think their child doesn't have to follow the rules in class; basically, people who use any little thing as an excuse to get what they want, and think it's perfectly normal. Of course, the irony of the phrase is that all snowflakes are uniquely special.


About This Blog

Life is about changes; transitions from one place to another, from one purpose to another, from one being to another. They say that the person you are today is a completely different person from who you were ten years ago and who you'll be ten years from now. So far, at the age of 33, I've had four major transitions in my life which redefined who I am. Two years into the results of the most recent transition I am again - still - exploring how God is shaping me. Over the next few months I hope to review my past and set goals for the future, and embrace the next adventure of rediscovering me.
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