spectating participant

January 29, 2006

pissed off sulking

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 7:11 pm

I can still be rather childish at times. I can throw giants fits and get all worked up when I shouldn’t. I’m in the middle of one of those and fully aware that I need to just get over it but far too pissed still to consider it. Unfortunately, it is also a bit to the scale of really screwing shit up for me if I go around spouting off stuff that I should just keep quiet about. Now, I’ve mentioned that my housemates are not the cleanest people. That really doesn’t matter. However, when I manage to keep the kitchen clean on a some what consistent basis, I do expect everyone else in the house to be able to at least try to maintain some sense of order. Sounds reasonable to me, but obviously that is not a common courtesy I should expect in this house. So, yesterday they had company and did fondue. I guess it was the make up part for the NYE bash their company didn’t participate in. But, what it means is that every single inch of countertop, stove top, sink basin, and table is covered in a ridiculous amount of mess. Arrgh! So no, I can’t possible make dinner or anything else in that kitchen without first having to try and dig out some space to maneuver in - bah! So, my goal is to keep my mouth shut and to cook downstairs for the next week. Perhaps in a week I’ll feel like dealing with in. In the meantime, I’ll probably just fume about it instead, because, really, that certainly crosses the line of being ridiculously inconsiderate. Yes, I know the assumption is that I’ll eventually clean up whatever mess gets left behind, but to leave that behind without considering how it’ll negatively affect others in the house — argh, like I said, I’m a bit worked up over it. And now, I’ll head downstairs and see what I can do in a poorly stocked kitchen.

January 26, 2006

2 minute update

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 2:59 pm

well, by the clock I have 3 minutes, but I’m sure browser slowness or whatever will drop it down to 2. Classes started today, all 21 credits of them. Well, I only have 15 credits on Tue/Thr and am now in my 4th class of the day. There will be one more following this. The good news, so far I don’t think that I need to buy any books. Yay for waiting! It looks like the library will suit my needs or I’m just not gonna need them enough to pay for them. My book bill is now dow to about $300, hopefully I won’t need any books for Monday’s class. times up!

January 22, 2006

we are strong, we are wise

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 11:29 pm

I am a beautiful, smart, powerful woman, yes, I most certainly am. I have just got home from the [Baltimore Yearly Meeting] Women’s Retreat and I am feeling energized, inspired, and refreshed. Unlike the past two years, I did not go needing release from my life. I did not need a moments peace or a break in the insanity of my day to day adventures. No, I went to smile, to share, to make new friends, and to be surrounded by some of the most amazing women I’ve ever met.

I have always felt that religion is a crutch for people. That what people cling to as faith is simply their way of making an excuse for their inability to truly internalize the world and find their place in it. I viewed many people as weak for needing God and for what they called giving over of their life to Jesus. That kind of faith, that kind of spirituality, is not for me. Then, i started attending [Quaker] meetings. And here I found silence — no fire and brimstone, no urging of sacrificing your power to an unknown thing. Here are people, pulling from their life, their experiences, and their ability to triumph and sharing that knowledge, that life, that grace — not some holy-bound notion of grace with others. And, we listen and we take and leave what we will. Now, having felt that religion is for those less intellectual peoples, I never expected to find such an amazing group of people and group of women among anyone participating in a religious-type activity. I went for the socialization, knowing quite well that religious is a social institution and one of the few ones left that can build strong communities. I needed a community to build, to support, and to support me.

At my first retreat, I was astounded by the intellectual, philosophical, and political conversations happening at meals. I remember mentioning this before, the pure amazement at this group of women who give and take from the world as a whole, not women who’ve built a wall of spirituality around themselves and merely function within it and look no where else. No, these women know what is going on and they are ready to talk about it. And here, I’ve spent another long weekend with women who make my jaw drop, who give me endless rays of inspiration for what I can do in the world, and who I’ve finally been able to see, as the Quakers call it, the light that shines in each one. I am proud to be one of them, I’m proud of what a wonderful woman I am, and I am glad that I have found a community to stir myself into.

January 20, 2006

eating through savings

Filed under: family, life — suzanne henderson @ 10:32 am

I put more money into savings yesterday, another $360. That doesn’t really feel like much, but I know that Chris also threw some into his savings account as well. At this rate, we just might actually have some money to buy a house. Actually, I’m feeling much more secure about a lot of money things at this rate. And, since we’re cutting lots of corners to save money, it has me wondering how long we can actually keep cutting corners. What it is basically adding up to be is not going out to eat. I spend over $100 a month on and he probably spends tow to three times that much because he pays for more meals than I do and frequently dines out for lunch. If eating at home is all it takes for us to collectively save more than a thousand dollars a month, why not continue this thread indefinitely?

Eating out has always been my biggest money eater and I used to hate to admit to how much I spent on dining out each month. To maginify the problem, I hate fast food and if I would get over that issue I would be able to maintain my current eating habits on a much smaller budget. Oh course, my health would not thank me, I’m sure. So instead, eating out must always be a sit down dinner and, as of late, at an independently owned restaurant. One tactic I’ve developed to curb this monthly expenditure is to not be selective in my ordering. Instead of spending the bare minimum to get full, I’ll order up anything that we want to eat, wether it be special drinks, appetizers, or a dessert. The logic is that by doing so it costs more to eat out and I need to seriously consider that before walking in a restaurant door. It has worked, actually. Because now I know that it will cost me more than $30 to eat out and that is a lot for a meal.

I like dealing with money issues and looking at these things in more detail. For instances, I’ve noticed that if I keep some snacks on hand in the car or backpack, I am much less likely to feel like I must eat now. It is that sudden urge to eat and the patience that seems to vanish with it that allows my mind to start justifying $20 for lunch (me alone). If I can get a snack that lets me make it home, woohoo! Another important money thing, I feel, it talking to Alex about it. I don’t every recall hearing about money when I was growing up, something that I feel is very important for developing personal responsibility. So, Alex is frequently getting tidbits of financial wisdom/advice/commentary. For instance, I made black beans and rice for dinner this week. Adding everything up, for the three of us, it costs about $3 a plate — probably a little less. We asked alex how much she thinks it costs, per person, when we go out to eat. $15, pretty right on including drink and tip. We then talked about how much money we saved by eating at home ($36). Now, say that we ate out every night (which is a little far fetched, but it made the math easier) eating out would cost $315, eating in $63. Annually, we would be saving $13,104 by eating at home and that is worth a lot of other fun activities. Now, we also covered the fact that rice and beans is a very cheap dinner and that some nights our at-home-meals cost more than that — like it we have steak for dinner at $5 a steak versus $15 a steak when eating out. But still, hopefully it was a fairly useful thing to hear — I hope. Of course, I think she was getting tired of figuring out the math by the end. Since I’ve begun talking to her about money this past year or so, I’ve noticed her considering financial options a little more closely.

And speaking of savings and Alex, I really need to start paying her an allowance again. Technically she gets one, but since I never carry cash, I never give it to her. I think I should work on that. She gets about $4 a week, half of which must go into her savings account and the other is cash. She likes seeing her savings account grow but doesn’t like the idea that she can’t just take it out. I’ve mentioned that if she finds something that she really wants, that is a big ticket item, that she should develop a plan of savings in order to buy it. I think I would like to see her save up a portion of it from her cash money (half would be great) and then be able to use a portion of her savings account money. Money in the bank is easy to save since I usually put it in for her, sometimes she gets to do it. I think it builds more of a saving concept is she has to monitor the cash in hand to save up as well. Or maybe I’m just a mean mom who makes life too hard on a 10 year old girl.

January 18, 2006


Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 6:39 pm

- printed wedding invitation materials price comparison list
- emailed a possible wedding photographer
- found a flight for my mom to fly out here for graduation
- took alex to school
- went to JoAnns for invitation materials price comparison
- went to Michales for invitation materials price comparison
- went to [Reflections] (scrapbooking store) for invitation materials price comparison
- bought things to make first batch of sample invitations
- had a rewarding lunch for the am errands
- went to the bank
- went grocery shopping
- started making a hope-to-be-yummy dinner dish that will take a few hours to cook
- found out I do indeed have a wedding photographer
- watched the baby for a little while — this is where I’m at now.. there is still more that will happen

so yay! I have something actually confirmed other than that I will be getting married. And, I can now buy the flight for my mom to come out here in May! Think I need to go check on dinner though….

January 14, 2006

spiders, snakes. mice, oh my!

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 5:20 pm

Chris lives in an apartment in the basement. It seems that it is a constant battle with the bugs and creatures that want to claim the space for theirs. In the spring and fall it was the mutant-cricket-looking bugs. They are brown and seem to have too many legs or antenna and wings. Thankfully they don’t make noise like crickets, but I still hate it when they are staring at you from the bathroom floor. Even worse is when one invades your bed and leaps on you, as you’re slipping off to sleep, and scares the crap out of you. I was about to decide to start sleeping cocoon style when things were getting really bad or just give up and go back upstairs to my room and leave chris to the bugs.

And then, when it rains, there are the frogs. Cute little things that provide lots of entertainment to the cats when they make it into the lower hallway. One even stayed around for a week or two and without getting tortured to death. However, when they decide to carefully place themselves between me, in my sleepwalking slumber, and the bathroom door, I can’t stand them - squish under the toes!

So now, we’ve got the mice in from the cold. Skitter, skitter across the drop-ceiling tiles. Megan says she’ll call the exterminator to have the come out and rebait the traps–and hopefully remember to get that back on a monthly schedule, at least during the winter. And with the mice comes out the snake. He doesn’t seem to like the cold either and the basement seems like a perfect place to munch on other creatures while taking shelter for winter. He is no stranger to the house, in fact there are 3 long skins in the basement from his continued occupation over the months (or years?). A few months ago, when the verizon guy was here, he made an excellent showing and offered a good laugh at the stress he put on the poor man that had to work in the same room with him. He is a [black rat snake] of impressive size. Quite the contrast to the little [ringneck snake] we chased out of the kitchen this summer. In fact, looking at photos online right now, I’m starting to feel a little less warmth toward him — the photos are displaying a big and intimidating snake. At least it says that they are pretty harmless, that will certainly go a long way if I happen to trip over him on the way to the bathroom.

Spiders have always been around. There were a few this summer that really freaked me out. We have what I think are wolf spiders or a similar type. There were a couple that had footprints of several inches. I think one could easily take on a mouse or two and win. And, this morning, while I was putting on my pants — a my foot went in one leg and a spider was tossed out the other end–eeek! That is just a little too close for my comfort. I’m good a shaking out my shoes and slippers before putting them on and now I need to start doing that to everything I put on.

All these bugs and creatures freak me out. Especially during the middle of the night when I need to make it from the bed to the bathroom without the protection of shoes or sight. I can’t wait to get a house and refuse to have a bedroom in the basement. Well, if one of the kids want to live in the basement, that would probably be okay with me–they just better realize what they are getting into.

January 13, 2006

financial house cleaning

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 5:25 pm

I’ve been working, nearly nonstop, in 15 minute increments (yay [flylady]) all day to get my room in order again. I’ve gone through stacks and stacks and stacks of paperwork. I’ve finally put the last file away and stowed everything away and out of sight. I’ve established a new file holding area for the current items that I am working on. Now, instead of dragging out the large file box that I’ve had for years, I can put away current financial statements or PTA newsletter files in a spot that is easy to access.

I am also doing this so that I can gather all of the paperwork I need for the home buying process. We’re possibly going to go through the NACA organization to try and buy a home. They have a whole list of paperwork that you need for your first appointment and they look at more than just your income/debt ratio in getting you qualified for a mortgage. I’ve been looking over my credit report and noticed that there are more negative things on there than I want (well, who wants any negative things on their credit report?). One of them was for a physician services in 2004 that I thought had been paid for. Thanks to all the filing I did today, I was able to pull up the bill and my insurance claim report to see that the hospital filed a claim but they did not. So, I wrote up a letter, made all the necessary copies — including my insurance card from 2 contracts ago, yay for still having that — and sent it off to hopefully get that taken care of at some point. But, I may be too late and will then just need to pay it in full, blah.

Getting my financial life in order is truly what prompted this cleaning spree. Current and overdue bills are really bugging me and I want to get them cleared up asap. I could take all the money I have from savings and pay them all off, but I don’t think that will be the best approach. In terms of credit, paying things off right now is not going to benefit me in the short term. It is a rather small amount of debt compared to the school loans (ouch!). Mostly I’m just mad at myself for having ignored so many of these things for so long. I’ve been living on such a limited budget for over a year now, keeping things in check with extra diligence, and surviving on less than half of what my take home pay was when working full-time. Some of these bills could have been dealt with then, sigh. Oh well, spilt milk, time to get things taken care of now.

So many financial things are looming ahead. I’m hoping that I’ll be taking care of a lot of financial stuff once married cause I think I’ve gotten a pretty good handle on how to do it effectively and because I am a little bit anal about it. I’m sure I’ll have to back off being too controlling on money, but still think that I’ll have a good mind as to how to make a limited amount of income best address a broad amount of bills and debt. I so look forward of having my own space and all the monthly obligations that come with it. Yes, I am honestly excited about having to pay bills and looking forward to barely scraping by. Budgeting is fun, no really, I do think so!

brainless twits

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 12:57 pm

I don’t want to become one of those chicks who’s brain seems to vanish the moment they find out that they are getting married, but I can’t help being excited about some of the details. After rambling on way too long over sushi about this stuff with a good friend, I think I’ve decided that wedding talk is strictly off limits for conversation fodder. I guess it is a big fuss right now because I have free time until the 26th of Jan and then it all disappears into classes and papers. So, I’ll just mudder about it to the electronic masses and be content knowing that people are free to close the window and move on to less boring material at any point.

So, I think we’ve finally narrowed it down to two different dates. The 1st being June 10, 2nd being July 1. June is a very bad month for my mom because that is when all the big dances (pow-wows) in Pawhuska are and she makes fists full of money selling ribbons shirts and shawls and whatnot during the dances. So, I’ve been trying to figure out a time scale that doesn’t stress her out too much. July 1 might be the best alternative. Since the 4th isn’t on a weekend, I can pretend it won’t interfere with holiday plans. I’m not sure when the Independence festivities will be observed but maybe this date will work. I’m also being silly in thinking that we’ll have a house by then and be able to then move into it after the wedding. Perhaps that is being a bit overly romantic/sentimental/old-fashioned but I’d sure like it to work out that way. Another push for the July date is that Alex does not get out of school until the 15 of June and if we end up going with the June date, then we would need to be driving her to and from school for a few days (depending on where we end up living, this could be a pretty big hassle).

In addition to all of this, it is time for me to select the dates for Alex’s summer camp. I’m worried that I am not going to be able to make this happen. Last year I worked a week and that earned me 50% of tuition credit. This year that is now worth $400, not a small thing to ignore, but I’m afraid that I will not have the time available to make that happen. And if I don’t work a week, then I need to come up with $800 for Alex’s camp, something I’m not so sure that I can actually do. Sigh–so many irons in the fire.

January 11, 2006

for those who need coffee before making coffee

Filed under: family, life — suzanne henderson @ 11:06 am

If I wake up early enough, I like to start coffee for Chris because it really helps him get moving. I typically do this just a few minutes after crawling out of bed and washing my face (what I need to get me going). Today I realized that I am a creature of habit and routine. Making coffee is a simple process: 1. wash out any leftover coffee and fill pot with water 2. fill maker with water and set pot on counter in order to be able to remove filter basket. 3. remove basket and place in filter and coffee grounds 4. replace basket and pot 5. turn coffee maker on.

Now, today I encountered the new coffee maker that he got for Christmas. It is a nice, shiny new model that has an auto-shut off (and lots of other fairly useless features). Unlike his old coffee maker, this filter basket lifts out of the top and does not interfere with the proper placement of the pot. Instead it interferes with the customary coffee making process and routine. Being on autopilot, I still set the pot next to the maker after filling it with water. And, since I only needed to drop the filter basket in the top before turning it on, versus sliding it in before moving the pot into place, I did not have the clear reminded to put the pot in place… as you can imagine, this didn’t turn out well.

Back in bed for the additional morning snuggles until coffee is ready, we heard the strangest sound and couldn’t figure out what it was. Ignoring it as any reasonable, still-tired person would do, we continued snuggling and waited for the new coffee-is-done-alarm to sound. But, once Chris finally made it to the kitchen, he returned astounded and interrogating me about what I *did* to the coffee maker. There, on the counter in the kitchen, were grounds all over the warming plate and a puddle of coffee. Since there was no pot to release into, it simple overflowed from the top (which was better than it just pouring out fresh made coffee–I think). Sigh, so much for being a good girlfriend and making coffee…

guess next time it’d be a good idea to investigate any very unusual sounds one hears in the morning.

January 7, 2006

more details

Filed under: family, life — suzanne henderson @ 8:07 pm

Chris proposed marriage last night. We were out having dinner and right before dessert he asked and got much mumbling, smiling, laughing. He had to ask if I’d answered or not, to which I couldn’t remember for sure if a yes or no had entered into my response, to which I agreed quite clearly. There was a lot of other stuff that went along with it and a better description that could be done, but I still get all silly giddy about it and can’t write up anything comprehensive.

January 3, 2006

holiday meltdown and annual recap

Filed under: family, life — suzanne henderson @ 4:51 pm

A meltdown of pounds, that is. While this holiday has been full of all sorts of yummy goodness that I’ve enjoyed making and partaking of, I was a little nervous about stepping on the scale this morning. I’ve mentioned that I’ve established good eating and fairly regular exercise habits these past several months. I’ve been steadily losing weight, slow but steady, regardless of the number of the days at the gym or at home (some weeks finals and papers came before laps and running). I was shocked to see that despite my daily doses of eggnog, mmmm eggnog, that I am still losing weight. In fact, I lost a little more over the Christmas holiday than when I was hitting the gym every few days. That gave me enough excitement to do an extra 20 minutes of swimming laps today, yay!

So, 2005. Since I have a terrible memory, it is really hard for me to just think about what I did last year. Sure, I could go through my entries and see if anything sticks out at me, but I’d rather just see what I can come up with. I’ll probably forget many important things but oh well.

First, I fell in love with a great guy. That kinda started in 2004, the interactions at least, but it was early in 2005 that I really fell in love. In my family studies class we talked about love and stages of love and how it is love when you shift through the butterflies and see all the cracks and tears and broken parts and still want to be with them. Also, we discussed tolerating the one you love; It kinda seemed strange that this is one of the characteristics of love but I think that is a pretty key point. Now, if all you are doing is tolerating the other person, then you probably need to rethink why you have the relationship. But, if you’ve seen all the wonderful and not-so-wonderful qualities and highly value the ones that are wonderful and understand that the person is not perfect and that you may just have to tolerate some of the things they do — like their ability to just crawl into bed and fall asleep, just like that, lay down and be snoring a few minutes later, gah!. Or, perhaps more importantly, be able to tolerate the fact that they will always buy large, heavy pieces of machinery that may or may not work but that they truly believe they will eventually get around to repairing/using some day. So yes, 2005 was the year to fall in love. 2006 shall be the year to turn that love into a lifelong commitment, more details to be posted.

Second, Alex has shown me just how smart and adaptive she can be. She has really shown some amazing signs of maturity and responsibility this year. She manages to get herself up and ready for school and out the door and to the bus stop, either by bike or foot, every day. I’m so amazed at her ability to regularly take care of this important step and to be responsible enough to do it. She has also taken on cooking dinner more often and will happily volunteer when she knows that I’m too tired or not in the mood to cook. I’m very proud of her and she understands that there is more change afoot and seems eager and willing to see these new changes take place. She has been giving ideas and suggestions about housing options — too bad she doesn’t know just how much some of her ideas would cost — and seems ready to move into a house of our own.

I discovered that camp is an amazing thing. Alex attended for the first time this year and I spent a week there cooking to help make it affordable. I think every child need to go to a place just like that, for at least 2 weeks every summer, and truly get to be a kid. I’m working hard to juggle that extra obligation in with all the upcoming changes because I feel that it is an essential activity for the growing mind and body.

I kicked ass in school. I got one B in the Spring with the rest As. And then, this fall, I managed to pull that up to all As. However, I do have slightly modified expectations for this upcoming semester since I’ll be taking 21 credits. With a course load like that, 4.0 GPA doesn’t really matter. What matters is surviving it all with my wits still about me.

Speaking of of wits, I had the best year in terms of dealing with emotional turmoil and managing the bipolar stuff. I’m on a medication routine that is balanced and has worked wonderfully. I’ve managed to filter out all the unneeded stress in my life and have spent a year being fairly balanced. I’ve established routines and schedules that help my life go smoothly. I stopped seeing my therapist over the summer and once school started we met but I had nothing to talk about. And so it has continued that I have not felt that impending doom or stress waiting to fall, forcing me to make those weekly/bi-weekly visits. Instead, I’ve found ways to deal with the few moments that occasionally come and go and found ways to work everything out on my own. And, importantly, I feel prepared to deal with the upcoming stress of a heavy semester, graduating, buying a house, planning a wedding, and finding and starting a new job.

Last year was a very good year and I look forward to this one being even better. Here is to the excitement that a new year brings and the possibilities laid out before.