Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Monday Angst (With Optimism)

Filed under: Cooking - Folkcat in the Kitchen,Daily Life,The 99:99 Plan — folkcat at 3:35 pm on Monday, June 12, 2006

Yet another Monday. This one doesn’t feel quite as Monday as Mondays usually do, though.

Let me touch wood while I type this, just as a precaution. Things are looking pretty good at the moment. Earlier this weekend, they weren’t. But that’s a story I’ll leave for after the jump. Let me put the good part on the front page first!

Today, I actually feel like I have a grip on things. I’ve already done my exercise for the day. I’ve got materials laid out for the next project in my 99:99 Plan rotation. (Beaded stitch markers, this time.) I’ve had a shower. I’m planning ahead to going out to knit at the bookstore tonight.

I even maintained a bit of the 99:99 Plan over the weekend – I did a round of exercise on Sunday, and I fit in a combination Quiet Time and Housekeeping round of reading and disposing of catalogs and magazines that had accumulated.

Cook's Illustrated Magazine

One item in the stack was a sample issue of Cook’s Illustrated magazine. These are the people with the PBS show, America’s Test Kitchen, where they explain in detail how they went about coming up with the most effective – and simplest – ways to cook, well, a lot of classic and interesting recipes. They don’t just say, “Do this.” They tell you why Doing This gives better results.

If you like the show, you’ll like the magazine, too. The articles are like text versions of the sort of recipes they do on the show. They discuss the dish they want to work on, they analyze what makes it good, what makes it bad, and they talk about the different things they tried to get better results. Then, they give you the final, best version they came up with.

As with the show, Cook’s Illustrated magazine also provides equipment and food reviews, where they test a variety of choices and give their recommendations for the products that give the best results at a reasonable cost.

I’m going to be seeing if I can fit a subscription to the magazine into our budget. While we may seldom do a recipe as they offer it, the education in how cooking works and why will help us to improve our results in anything we attempt in the kitchen.

And so, right now things are feeling good. I wish I could say that they did on Friday. Don’t bother reading on unless you really want to hear the dark side of my weekend…

The weekend started out pretty rough. I’ve been feeling our budget crunch heavily, and it came to a head Friday night. It feels like we haven’t got enough of a grip on things to be able to maintain even the modest lifestyle we have. If anything gets damaged, we really don’t have the resources to replace or repair it. I spend a lot of time in mild fear as I watch our aging, but essential, electronics go through their paces – my Palm Vx, my Olympus digital camera that I bought over 6 years ago, our computers that are just as old.

I’ve already taken a hit this way. When my older Tivo unit was killed by a lightning strike a few weeks ago, it significantly reduced my ability to pursue my television hobby. (Imagine a music lover whose iPod was just destroyed, and they can’t afford to replace it.) Granted, I still have my newer Tivo unit, but the whole point of having more than one was to be able to record shows that conflict with each other. Now, I’m reduced to a single track of programming unless I resort to my VCR again. And it looks like it may be quite some time before I can afford to replace that Tivo and restore my full video capacity.

The toughest part of the weekend was getting Gryphon to understand why the budget issue was so bad for me. Of course, I first had to figure that out myself.

The a-ha! moment came when I realized that, the way Gryphon passes his free time at home, he seldom has to deal with any of the things that I see getting a little worse all the time. Gryphon’s idea of a good time is reading, doing crossword puzzles, or playing older games on his computer.

I’m the person with the most electronics in the house. Television, Tivo, VCR, DVD player, digital camera. I’m the one who most often interacts with a lot of the equipment that’s aging.

When my Tivo died, it didn’t affect Gryphon at all, because he very seldom watches any television. So the most glaring item lately that had an impact on my mood, on how I feel about the budget, went almost unnoticed in his life.

When I explained this little revelation to Gryphon, it made an immense amount of sense to him.

Compounding my frustration was the fact that the budget planning – trying to plug all the bills and everything into Quicken to make sure we can afford to buy even just groceries this week – was in Gryphon’s hands. I’ve always been involved, but not so much hands-on with it. Which meant that when we decide, for instance, “We need to find money for a new Tivo,” I’m left waiting until Gryphon has time to juggle the numbers enough to see when that can happen.

So our other a-ha! this weekend was to acknowledge that I’m the one who has more time to handle that part of the budget process. And as an added bonus, if I handle it, then I’m not just left in limbo wondering what’s happening with it. Even if I have to acknowledge that the answer is “Not Yet”, at least I know that for sure now.

So there you have it. If you stuck around this long, more power to you! The good news is, things are looking up today, and I am mostly past the angst part – and well into the optimism.

Hmm…if optimism is the dessert here, maybe I’ll just have a second helping!

2 Comments

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Trackback by A Consumer Reports...

June 20, 2006 @ 1:03 am

Lightening Strike

This consumer reports on the need for more than one TiVo in any household….

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Comment by Lynn

June 9, 2010 @ 7:03 pm

I am looking for a partial skein of Lion Brand Wool Ease Sportweight Fuchsia yarn, dye lot #27112 to complete a project. Any chance you have some of this you’d be willing to sell?

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