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Entries in intentional life (5)

Trusting My Gut and Waiting for Magic

The house we put an offer on

The last few months have been nothing short of a roller coaster ride. Big changes are a foot and they’re happening fast. This is what happens when you marry an impulsive man who is quick to make decisions. As a plotting, planning, gather all the details Virgo, I’m doing my best to trust my gut and go with it. I know it will all lead to good things even I haven’t the slightest idea what they are.

To fully tell this story I need to go back to early September. A week or so after our return from Burning Man I found out I was pregnant. The signs had been there, sore boobs, unrelenting need for sleep, and over powering smells, but I wasn’t convinced until I saw the little pink plus on the pee test. Dan and I had only just decided to start trying in August, Burning Man being my first ovulation since the decision. I guess I really do take after my mother.

We let the news sit for a few weeks feeling mostly stunned, but also excited. As expected we started to look a little closer at our lives and how a baby was going to fit in. It quickly became clear that our tiny attic apartment would be hard enough for a pregnant woman let alone a crawling baby, steep narrow stairs, no extra storage and no second bedroom. But moving in San Francisco is virtually impossible these days, so we made the momentous decision to relocate to Portland. Most of Dan’s family is there, we both have friends, and most of my family is only a little further north in the Seattle area.

The first week of October was a rough one. I ended up losing the baby at about 7 weeks. I want to write separate post entirely on the miscarriage. I feel it not only deserves it, but found with my experience that it’s just not talked about enough. So more on that later.

We decided that moving still made sense, we knew we wanted the baby even more now and San Francisco was becoming too pricey to maintain the lifestyle we wanted. So we headed to Portland in early October to scout neighborhoods and look at what our money would get us. Shortly after our return I got news that Zaarly was laying off about half their staff, me included. While stunned at first, I had seen it coming and it kicked us in high gear with the move. It’s certainly easier to hunt for a job in a new city when you’re there. Once I was officially done with Zaarly we made a second trip up that ended with us making an offer on a house. I told you things were moving fast.

So now it’s the beginning of November and we’re packing up our entire San Francisco life for Portland. Our offer on the house has been accepted, but every day seems to bring a new financial challenge in the process that we need to overcome. My not having a job being a huge one, we prequalified for the loan with both our incomes, but our mortgage broker hasn’t given up and sees a way to make this work. 

We’re leaving San Francisco on the 17th of November with the hopeful plan of staying at Dan’s mother’s for a week and then moving into “our house” just before Thanksgiving. However, that really is just a hope at the moment given the financial hurtles we’re encountering. I knew buying a house was an intensive undertaking, but neither Dan nor I had any idea it would be this hard. Worst case we can actually live with his mother for a while as we decide our next move.

To say I’m feeling a bit stressed is the understatement of the year. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited about this adventure, it feels right. I just can’t shake the feeling that we’re moving too quickly and making it all much harder than it needs to be. And we probably are, but if I’ve learned anything in my time with Dan it’s that he has a way of making things work out, sometimes almost by magic. 

Off To Work I Go

It’s official, I have a day job and at a startup no less. I’m as excited as I am nervous. The job is a great fit; I’ll be supporting small business owners with my marketing and community building skills. The team is young and full of energy and while I bring a lot to the table I’m certain I’ll learn a ton too.

However, being the planner and control freak that I am, I’m already a bit nervous about my changing schedule. I don’t want to let things go, but realize that my new commitment will most likely take more of my time and energy in the beginning than even I can imagine. If I want to keep up with bread baking, granola making, canning projects and of course blogging and bitters, I’m going to have to be much more productive in the evenings and weekends than I have been. I’ve always functioned better when I have a lot on my plate; downtime makes me lazy, where a packed schedule makes me efficient. So I’m looking forward to it, but currently my mind is running amok and making me a little anxious.

On the other hand knowing that a steady paycheck is soon to be mine, along with benefits, has taken a noticeable weight off my shoulders. My paychecks will double our income, giving us a lot of wiggle room. And while Dan and I have already started daydreaming about a few luxuries we can now afford, we’ve already mapped out a budget that puts most of my paycheck toward credit card debt and into savings. Right now working toward buying a house is more important to us than a bigger wardrobe and fancy dinners.

So during this last week of unemployment I’m going to do my best to tie up loose ends while still getting in a little playtime. Then for the first few weeks of my new gig I promise to be gentle with myself and not create superwoman to do lists. Instead I will let myself settle, get used to new hours, new ways of using my brain, and get used to working in a team again. I will strive to find balance, but know that it may take some time. 

So for the next month or so you may be hearing less from me. I'm pretty sure I can get at least one post up a month, but we're also getting close to beginning the licensing process for The Bitter Housewife and while it looks pretty straightforward I anticipate a lot of last minute research.

Here's to new adventures!!

Shaping The New Year

Welcome to 2013! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season full of family, friends and play. 

I love the fresh feeling a New Year brings, the sense of possibility, of starting over. However, I also find the New Year laden with expectation, too much weight put on resolutions and change. I believe that you can’t achieve the things you want without stating them and making a plan, but I also feel that most of us put too much pressure on ourselves to make multiple big changes all at once, setting ourselves up for disappointment.

In the last few years I’ve made the gradual shift from resolutions to goals. It may just be semantics, but to me goals seem to be something you work toward slowly in steps whereas resolutions are something you promise to do right now. So I took some time last week and listed goals for Bitter Housewife along with some of the key tasks needed to reach those goals. Dan and I also made some personal goals for this year, things we both keep saying we wan to do, but never seem to find the time for.

Overall I see this as a year full of change. I will be going back to the workforce in some manner. Dan and I will be tackling The Bitter Housewife together to see if we can really make it go. I also want to regain control of a few areas of my life that have been neglected in this first year and a half of marriage.

Now comes the hard part, actually making them happen. To help with that Dan and I put a planning day on the calendar for each week, where after dinner we’ll check in with each other about what we want to accomplish both for the week and the month and help each other to make a plan to make it happen. We’ve also set aside one night a week where we won’t watch any TV. We don’t necessarily need to be tackling a project or goal but we’ll be spending time doing some of the things that we never seem to have time for, like reading, writing, or even game playing.

One of the other things I do to help me keep moving forward is post my goals in a visible spot so that I see them almost every day. I write out a note card for the year’s goals and then I set smaller goals for each month, list projects I want to focus on, and even break out smaller tasks to tackle. Then I tape these note cards above my desk where I’ll see them every time I sit down to work. Because of where my office is I also see these note cards every time I enter or leave the house. This gentle reminder of all that I want to do keeps me on track.

Here are a few of the things I hope to accomplish this year:

Personal

1)    Get healthy

2)    Take control of finances

3)    3-4 big knitting projects

4)    3 big sewing projects

5)    Complete a writing/photo project

6)    Do 2 public readings

7)    Put together a literary dinner

8)    Improve my photography

9)    Learn about graphic design

10) Learn about typography

Bitter Housewife

1)    Move blog to Squarespace 6

2)    Secure commercial kitchen

3)    Build influencer campaign

4)    Build launch strategy

5)    Launch company

6)    Launch product

7)    Secure 5 retail accounts

8)    Teach classes

9)    Begin book proposal

10) Write business plan

Food Geeks Unite!

Dan and I love to talk about food and the many things that relate to food like tools, kitchen spaces, and techniques almost as much as we love to eat. We plan the next meal while eating the current one. We daydream out loud about the perfect kitchen – it has a separate white tile prep room that can be hosed down for easy clean up. We read cookbooks as though they were novels. We buy too much food when we go shopping because great ingredients excite us.

We have a few friends that get annoyed by our geekery and obsessiveness, but many more that relish the dinner invitation or the suggestion of cocktails.

I think I love food so much because it’s both intimidating and simple at the same time. Some of the best meals require only a handful of ingredients; yet instill a sense of awe.  It’s also something we all have in common no matter our skill level, we all must eat and almost anyone can name one or two foods that give comfort on even the worst of days.

For Dan and I it’s also about lifestyle. We want to know where our food comes from, what goes into the things we put in our bodies. We research what goes into the making of our favorite treats because we genuinely want to know. Some things we decide to make on our own, others we’ll leave to the specialists, but appreciate the effort even more. I believe it’s all a part of living with intention.

The older I get the more I am convinced that there’s no reason we can’t create a life full of inspiration, satisfaction, and engagement. We should surround ourselves with the things that are most important to us and make us happy. For us food serves a dual purpose. It alone brings us joy and satisfies, but it’s also something we can share with friends, family, and those who are important to us.

So here’s to food and cocktail geekery! I apologize to those of you that I annoy and may the rest of you benefit from the spoils. 

Intentionally...

Two weeks ago I attended the World Domination Summit in Portland. I went with the hopes of meeting amazing new people, gaining new perspective on my business ventures, and igniting some serious inspiration and motivation.

While I certainly did meet some amazing people, I left a little disappointed. I wasn’t overwhelmed with ideas and inspiration in the way I thought I would be. I wasn’t riled up and ready to go. Instead I was feeling my normal old self.

When the summit was over I headed north to Seattle to visit with family before heading back to my “normal life”. I was sitting in my father’s kitchen while he made us a quick lunch of black bean chili and as he opened a can of beans I suddenly realized that it has been more than a year since I’ve opened a can of anything other than tuna.

I was raised on home cooked meals and my father has always been quite adept at making something tasty from whatever is in the refrigerator. He is by no means a processed, packaged food sort of person, but as I looked around his kitchen I started to realize just how differently mine was stocked.

I saw 12-packs of canned stewed tomatoes and black beans. The last time I was in a Costco we were prepping to serve 60 people dinner at Burning Man. I saw a store bought loaf of bread and two boxes of granola. I make us a loaf of bread and granola every week. I saw milk, eggs and yogurt in chain grocery store packaging. We buy our eggs from 3 different farms that we can name and our milk and yogurt from family owned farms less than an hour drive from our home.

I’m making no judgment on which is better, but in that moment I came to realize just how different our food choices were. The more I thought about it the more I realized many of our life choices were quite different. Dan and I don’t own a car and neither of us has for many years. We live off of one middle-class income in one of the most expensive cities in the US, but both of us live better now than either of us did when we were single and making twice as much money.

While at WDS I also listened to a talk by Joshua Milburn, Ryan Nicodemus, and Joshua Becker on living a minimalist lifestyle. Joshua Becker made one statement that seemed to bring it all together for me. He said that to him living a minimalist lifestyle wasn’t about seeing how little he could get by with it, it was about choosing to have things in your life that you value and getting rid of the things that distract you. This I can get behind.

I came home to Dan 5 days after the conference had ended with more appreciation for the life we had and were creating. I came home determined to live a life of intention. I came home full of inspiration. I am inspired to focus only on what I have control over and not live a life of reaction. I am motivated to make choices that support my values. I want to create a lifestyle where money comes in because I’m doing things I enjoy and goes out toward the things that make me happy.

I share all this not because I want to convince you our way is better or to receive a pat on the back. I tell you all this because it’s at the very core of what On Becoming A Housewife is all about - intentional choices and all the pleasure and fun that come from doing things that really matter to you.