Garage slippers

I’m a pretty conservative dresser, and I mean that both in terms of modesty and trends. I’m not super picky about what colors I wear (except pink. I don’t do pink) and I don’t feel the need to be really up-to-date and trendy. I play it safe, and I’m happy to do so.

If you asked me to describe my style I would probably say “muted preppy”. Preppy because I prefer classic cuts and “muted” because I’m not super into things like gingham, polo shirts, pearls and pairing two really loud colors together. Again, nothing too risky for me. I don’t care if this makes me “basic”; I just want to blend in and to look acceptable while doing so.

I say all this to preface a conversation that L and I had the other night. I should also say that he doesn’t have much of an opinion on my wardrobe. I’ve asked a few times and all I’ve gotten from him is that he likes that I look “nice” (translation: don’t go out in yoga pants) and that he appreciates that nothing I wear is particularly revealing.

Back to the story. So the weather around here has been super strange. We’ve had several days in the 40s and 50s (not complaining) and all of our snow has melted. Thinking that we would have a pretty consistent snow covering from here on out I took my flats to the cobbler to have them re-soled. Now it’s too warm to wear boots and I don’t have my go-to flats…see the problem? I pulled a pair of driving moccasins that I’ve had since 2007 (?) from the waaaay back of my closet and I’ve been wearing them while my shoes are getting fixed.

Now, I really really like these shoes but I admit that they look a bit sloppy. Any structure that they had initially has all disappeared and they look pretty floppy when they’re not on. Also, dye from jeans has apparently rubbed off on the top of them so they’re a strange bluish-black near my ankles. You can’t tell that when they’re under pants, though. And everyone is confused about what to wear to the office right now so no one is paying attention to my shoes.

We’re sitting in the car (on the way to the grocery store I think), talking about the weather and I mention how glad I am that it’s warm enough for me to wear these shoes. This statement is followed by a long, pregnant pause. L looks over at me and my shoes and under his breath goes “shoes? I’m pretty sure those are slippers.”

SLIPPERS?

He continues “You know, not like regular slippers for your bedroom but, like garage slippers. Shoes that you wouldn’t really wear outside of your house. (He’s speaking more quickly now) I mean, you can wear them outside your house, but, like you shouldn’t wear them places other than the outside of your house and your garage, you know?”

I’m laughing really hard at this point. This is the most he has ever said about any piece of clothing or item that I own and he’s apparently really embarrassed that he even brought it up. “So, you don’t like them is what you’re saying.” I manage to mutter this as we’re pulling into the store parking lot.

Liam slowly nods his head. Yes, yes this is exactly what he was trying to get me to understand and he’s very happy that I have actually said the words for him. I ask whether he would like me to get rid of the shoes. No, no that won’t be necessary. And he completely understands why I’m wearing them out and about since I don’t have more “normal” shoes at the moment.

“But I should probably not buy this kind of shoe again?” He responds with a quiet “It’s a slipper.” And there’s my answer. I can never buy these shoes again, because to my husband these are not shoes.

They are slippers.

But, not normal slippers. Garage slippers.

About me: 5 quick things

I think you can get a bit of a sense of who I am by post-hopping around my blog.  But here are five more things about me – none of these are full-post worthy but I felt like they were worth sharing on the internet nonetheless?  I always find these posts entertaining so I thought I would share my own.

1. I’m a pen and paper kind of organizer. Maybe it’s because I got my smartphone so late in the game (and survived all of college and the beginning of my professional life without one!) but I prefer to kick it old school when it comes to keeping track of my daily schedule. My current planner just an average full-sized Mead but in a great yellow that’s super easy to find in my bag. I’m pretty sure that my pedestrian tastes in such things means that I can’t call myself a “planner person” because those folks all seem to shell out $60+ for their organizers. That is something I used don’t understand. Erin Condren looks like Lisa Frank to me. And not a grown-up version.

2. I am most definitely a dog person. I grew up with a very curious dog – he was cat-like in that there were select people he would give attention to and the rest of us were ignored. Whatever dude; your loss. In my first year of graduate school L and I started talking about adopting a dog and I was like…why? That sounds like a lot of work and a relative lot of money.  Now that he’s here with us I can’t imagine life without a dog.  I’ve been ruined for life by a little Boston Terrier mix.  Early on in life I thought I was a cat person.  And then I met my in-laws’ evil cats and now I wonder what I was thinking for the first 18+ years of my life!

3. I’m a total hypochondriac. It’s, like, really bad. The very first time I had heartburn I called the hospital (to be clear, not 911) because I was concerned that I may be having a heart attack. I have had some…unique…medical concerns for someone in her twenties so I suppose that contributes to my alarm. Luckily the most serious problem that I actually deal with on a regular basis is insomnia. And even that only comes in waves. It’s most likely to show up when I’m my most stressed. Oh, and at my in-laws’. Infer what you will from that last sentence :)

4. I’m not using my graduate degree. This one is a bummer. I’m proud to say that I am actually using my degree in one of the most mocked college majors (history!!) but I have an advanced degree on top of that and haven’t been able to break into my new field. That has been a big part of my annoyance with my job this year. It’s no longer what I want to be doing; I’m trained to do something very different and interesting, and therefore I’m over what I’m doing now. But I am so, so thankful to have a job that keeps me warm, fed and clothed/housed. Displeasure is not the same as ungratefulness!

5. I despise wrapping presents.  This one felt very seasonally-appropriate so I had to share.  I cannot stand wrapping.  I’ve heard people say it’s fun, relaxing and even therapeutic.  I disagree.  I find it incredibly stressful to figure out the amount of paper you’ll need to cut, where to put the to/from tag, what kind of corresponding bows/ribbon/lace/etc should accent the wrapping job.  Oh…and it takes me forever!  I’ve watched my mother bang out dozens of presents in an hour.  Me?  I’ve never counted but I think it’s probably like 8-10 minutes per present.  (Only if they’re square or rectangle.  Cylindrical?  You’re getting a gift bag.)  Of course I do it, because the finished product is completely worth it but if anyone out there finds it therapeutic you can come over and avail yourself of my to-be-wrapped pile and collection of paper and bows.  No charge; no questions asked.

Skype dates and Christmas mugs

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Merry Christmas! Thanks for stopping by for some chatting and coffee. Liam and I are still on our between-the-holidays diet so I’ll be enjoying my hot tea over here. I do drink coffee in the mornings at home but black coffee isn’t something I like paying money for, you know.  My office has holiday mugs!!  We don’t decorate the office (or really even acknowledge the holiday season) so it was a fun surprise to open the cabinet one Monday morning to find the usual Ikea white mugs had been replaced with cheery holiday ones.

How are your holidays going? I’m hoping not too stressful! I’m frantically working to finish knitting a massive scarf for my mother but I keep getting sidetracked by other small projects. Other than that everything is running smoothly. We are with my side of the family for Christmas this year and since we were going out for Thanksgiving as well we managed to bring our (wrapped!) gifts to the house then. There was talk of us hosting a holiday cocktail hour but Liam’s finals ran so late into December that we decided against doing it. Are you hosting anything this season?

I’m going to start with my low for this week – the darkness, amirite!? I feel like there are about two hours of light a day. I have a serious amount of respect for people who live much farther north and have longer, colder and darker winters. I could swing the longer/colder after so many years of practice with Chicago weather, but I don’t think I could do darker. I have a relatively short commute and only make it a few times each week and even I feel like I never see the sun. Thankfully the longest night is coming up soon and then we’ll be moving toward longer days.

My high for this week was getting my husband back!!  He’s my buddy and my favorite person in the world and I’m so glad that I actually get to spend time with him now that the semester is over.  I’ve always been aware of how much of the household burden that L shouldered while I was in school, but I never realized how lonely that was for him.  Anyway, it’s fun to be acting as a pair again, even for the little things like grocery shopping and making meal plans.

I’ve waxed on before how I don’t really love my current job.  Well, this week was probably one of my favorites on this job so far.  I felt really productive, there was lots of work to be done and the mugs I mentioned at the beginning really put some Christmas cheer into our office.

We have a Christmas party this weekend and I’m having a virtual get-together with my friends later this week to catch up and  show off our trees.  I can’t wait!  Have you ever had Skype dates with friends?  My closest friends and I are quite literally scattered across the US (reppin’ all 4 of the contiguous timezones!!) so this is our only way to “be together” over the holidays.

My triumphant return (to the gym)

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I mentioned yesterday that toward the end of this year I had basically given up exercising. So bad, I know. As I noted in that post I was a really hardcore athlete growing up and I decided after college that I would just work out for fun/health. I very much enjoy being active so that wasn’t a problem for several years.

And then this year happened and I’m not really sure why but I stopped exercising. Stopped moving, basically. And it hasn’t been good. I feel soft, blah and unhealthy now.  In a quest to….well, feel less soft I’ve already started back at hitting the gym. L and I went for the first time in too long last night.

And WOOF. I completely understand why people talk about how hard it is to get back into working out. The worst part for me was remembering the place I used to be and not being anywhere near that.

But, you’ve gotta start where you are and I’m committed to doing just that. I’m working through a modified version of Couch-to-5k right now, and I hope I’ll be back to fighting form somewhat soon.

2.5 (slow) miles down; many more to go.

2015 Goals

I don’t like New Years resolutions, because they’re old news by March. People go all in for a little while and then throw them by the wayside when they get bored. And to be honest, so do I. I prefer setting goals each year, and then mapping out a way to accomplish them in quarterly increments. That way, when everyone else is setting aside their resolutions I’m moving onto stage two of my plan.

Money

One major goal that my husband and I have set is to get out from consumer debt. No more credit cards and no more only paying the minimum on our vehicle loan. Provided Liam does not have a decrease in his income this goal should be a moderate stretch. In order to accomplish this I have two sub-goals to help free up our disposable income.

I’m going to go on a non-essentials shopping ban for the first four months of 2015. No clothing, accessories, makeup, coffee, etc. Honestly, Christmas is a fairly materialistic event in my family and my birthday happens too so this is really the easiest time of year to make a no-shopping pledge.

The second thing I am planning to do is continue with capsule dressing for another full year. I had initially thought that I would take on this experiment for a single year and would go back to “normal” dressing in the spring of 2015. My initial thought was to go the year without purchasing any clothing but I prefer the idea of continuing with the capsule instead.

Travel

Liam and I are roadtrippers. We love being in the car together, stopping in small towns and seeing parts of the country that you miss when you choose to fly. We have two trips in mind: Louisiana/Alabama/Mississippi and a jaunt through the southeastern states (North Carolina/South Carolina/Georgia/Tennessee). Given the heat of summer in these places I think we’re going to aim for making the trip relatively early in the year.

There is also a very vague plan in the works for me to go to Oregon with some of my college girlfriends. I think that there are two of us who are solidly committed to going and probably will, regardless of what the rest of the group decides.

Fitness

I’m declaring 2015 my year of running. I know I’m about five years late to the party on this one but I need/want an activity with the flexibility that running provides: it can be done anywhere and needs little equipment. I got very very bored with my fitness routine in 2014 and pretty much abandoned working out by the end of this year. As a bit of background, I pushed myself really, really hard as an athlete while I was growing up. It was a lot of fun, but also a lot of stress. After college I decided that I just wanted to work out for fun, and not keep track of progress and numbers but now I think I need specific goals. So, I’d like to do the whole gamut of this running game: 5k, 10k, half marathon. Okay – a marathon would probably complete this but I don’t know I would have the time to commit to that training.  And let me just throw this out there: the idea of a Tough Mudder repulses me.  I just can’t get over the idea that the course is just swimming with germs.

Blog

I am very much enjoying writing on and maintaining this little blog. I have a small group of consistent readers (hi! thank you!!) and very much appreciate each of you. Though I would still write on here even if I didn’t have a single reader I hope to grow this space over the next year. I’m still working on how to achieve this goal, but one specific item on my list is to improve the look and feel of the site. I’ll probably play around with it over Christmas.

And there you have it. I will probably check in on these goals from time to time over the next year so this isn’t the last you’ll be hearing of them. Oh, and one last thing. If you’re thinking something important is missing in this list you’re correct. Two big parts of my life didn’t get included: my marriage and my faith. As for faith, that’s a very private part of my life. I do sometimes reference it on here but for the most part I don’t blog about it. And, as for my marriage I don’t set goals. Goals, to me, have an end and can be measured objectively. I don’t see marriage the same way. Just because I don’t set goals doesn’t mean that there aren’t things I hope to improve; it’s just that relationships don’t fit in to my very black-and-white approach to goals.

If you have any goals of your own that you want to share, I’d love to hear them! Anyone want to be my running buddy? :)

Capsule clothes and a red scarf #WAD

Red ranks very near the bottom of my color preferences. I was going to say that I only own one red item of clothing (scarf) but I actually think that I only own one red thing.

But today I am wearing my red scarf in honor of World AIDS Day, as I have done every day for the last nine years.

Nine years ago today I finished my classes and homework early and didn’t feel like studying for finals so I dragged a similarly-situated friend to our Student Union to hear the night’s speaker. I’ve forgotten his name and some googling has indicated that his nonprofit is no longer active, but the message that night has stuck with me longer than most any other campus guest speaker.

As we walked in the door we were handed sealed cards and it was explained to us that these were the results of the HIV test that we had just taken. After introducing who he was and a bit about his own exposure to HIV the speaker asked us to open our cards to reveal our test results. My friend’s was negative; mine was positive. That in itself wasn’t particularly dramatic but the speaker opened the floor for discussion about the test results and we had a great conversation about the shock, shame and horror that surrounds a diagnosis of HIV positive. Later my friend told me that seeing my “positive” result was jarring because only a very few students in the room were “positive” and that brought home the point for her that HIV/AIDS can really strike anyone.

That evening and speaker did what no state-mandated sex education ever did: it made me an advocate for safe sex practices, for getting tested and for open conversations between partners.  Peer to peer education and influence cannot be overstated.  I don’t have any personal connection to HIV/AIDS; I don’t know anyone who is open about having the virus and as a married woman I’m (theoretically) at extremely low risk of contracting the disease.

I’m not entirely sure how to close this out.  I hope that you see red all over your town today – and if you haven’t left yet, throw some on yourself.  We’ve come a long way in the fight against this cruel disease over the last few decades but that’s not good enough. Today, I wear red to show support for the push to end HIV/AIDS once and for all and my support for those much more invested in this fight – individuals living with HIV/AIDS and their families.

Thanksgiving recap: Coffee Date, Volume 4

Good afternoon! Though I’m linking up a bit late I’m glad for the opportunity to share a bit about Thanksgiving and hear about yours as well.

Sadly we’re back from Thanksgiving with my side of the family already. We left early Saturday morning (today) so that my husband could get back to studying for finals. My family has so much fun together that it’s not a very study-friendly environment. I guess that’s a mixed blessing at this point, really.

The high note of my week was obviously getting a chance to spend time uninterrupted with my family. My parents house is a few hours outside of Chicago and we’re very much in the country when we’re there. Our turkey was from a nearby farm – it was delicious! – and we spent lots of our free time walking in the woods. An excellent holiday by all accounts.

There’s something you should know about me – I’m a terrible cook. No one ever asks me to bring food to holidays – I’m the pop and snacks girl. But this year was different! I made a pie that was raved about and managed not to mess up the potatoes. I’ll count that as a major win. Now there is pressure to repeat that for Christmas…God give me strength!!

But to be really honest there was never a question that this holiday was going to be great. My family has had a rough year and we were glad for the time together and for the fact that 2014 is almost over. For the first time in our lives I think we will all get into the New Years Eve spirit. (It has never been a big holiday for us before.) There was one major surprise though: The Weather. I love Chicago but our winters are no joke. And as I’m sitting here typing this on Saturday afternoon the snow has completely melted from our yard and the temp is in the mid-50’s. Unreal! I haven’t yet looked at the 10-day forecast but I’m glad the snow cover is gone for now. It was too early for the grass to disappear.

The only real low of the week was having to leave the festivities early, which is hardly a low in the grand scheme of things. This time can be hard, but I know that our little family will have greater opportunities in the future because of it.

Lastly, there’s no coffee for me this week, which you would know if we were meeting for real. We’re on a “carb rest” (the most ridiculous term for a diet that I’ve ever heard) between now and Christmas and are trying to clean up our eating overall. Have your favorite holiday drink for me though!!

And if you have a favorite paleo-ish food blog, let me know! I’m on the hunt for easy weeknight meals.