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Archive for December, 2009

Yesterday I received a call from a friend. We are not close friends – more two people with mutual friends who run into each other from time-to-time at events. She offered me dinner and an extra ticket to the theater that evening with our mutual friends (her husband was ill.) It was an incredibly kind gesture… but I declined. I had all kinds of excuses – the fire was going, I’ve been up since 4am, I was snuggled under a quilt and was comfy, I hadn’t showered for the day, etc. Mostly things that could have easily been altered to go out.

Now, I find myself wishing I had done everything I could have to go last night. I would have loved to have seen the play – “A Christmas Story,” I know she is an incredible cook, and she is also a wonderful person and I would love to get to know her better.

The problem…I am a home-body… almost to the extent that going out is so uncomfortable that I just don’t do it. The phone call with this friend yesterday got me thinking about a change I need to make…

New Year’s Resolution #1:

I am going to make an effort to get out of my comfort zone in 2010.

I currently have invitations for events on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and January 2nd – and have already been thinking of excuses for not going to any of them. So, for those of you who get up, get out and socialize… what is the secret?

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Warm Gifts

Yesterday a friend of mine gave me a scarf she had just finished crocheting. Crocheting is a new activity for her – but the short scarf was very well made, and rather stylish. The best part… it was made from recycled soda bottles! She saved me the yarn wrapper to show me.

I remember as a child reading the Little House series. I couldn’t understand how the children could be excited about warm socks or a scarf. I now appreciate such things – especially when the gift is made or given because it really represents who I am. The scarf is so warm, it may never leave my neck.

Also, yesterday, I was given a small space heater. It had made its way to the church from the home of a member of the church who had recently died. In attempting to clean out the store room (so I could access items in it) I came across this heater. I asked the rector if she wanted it in her office (she freezes) – but she said her office was fine and didn’t want it – and she told me to take it if I could use it… and I can. I will close off my newly insulated office and be able to heat just the small space in which I spend so much of my time. All this in an attempt to reduce my carbon footprint.

Now, for those who may have followed my blog for a while may know, I keep the temp in my house in the low to mid 50’s during the winter. Most of my friends and chosen family know this about me, and while they give me grief for it and won’t visit during the colder months of the year, they also support this decision by passing along used warm socks and sweaters to wear. They know I appreciate the recycling factor involved in passing on clothing that one probably won’t wear again. Other than a few “personal” items and two blouses, I haven’t purchased any clothing for 5 years. This, quite frankly, is fine with me since I truly hate to shop!

This year the few gifts I do give will be much like other years: gift certificates for me to perform a task for the recipient. One friend specifically asked that his gift be a gift certificate to tear out all the old caulking on his tub, clean the area well and apply new caulking. In the past I’ve given gift certificates for landscaping or the crafting of a wooden bed frame and headboard.

If you can cook, a gift of a special meal is a wonderful gift, if you have music to share – share it.

Whatever holiday you may be celebrating during this last month of the year, have a joyous time and try and stay warm 🙂

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Surviving in Your Car

A college friend of mine and I were talking yesterday. Her daughter was giving her grief because she “stocks” the car during the winter. Warm hats, socks, gloves, blankets, food, etc. This is how I grew up – never leave the house during the winter without a half tank of gas, coffee cans (not plastic) with candles, matches, chocolate and nuts and everything you might need to survive in your car should you get stranded in the snow.

Now, perhaps in the age of cell phones and with areas being built up as they are, this may not seem necessary. But, if I go out on a meeting a distance outside of St. Louis and am wearing heels and a skirt and a “dressy” top, if something happens and I have to sit in a dead car waiting for a tow truck for an hour or two during bad weather – I’m sure going to be glad I have the hat, gloves, blankets, and heavy socks and boots to keep me warm in the mean time. As a rule, I tend to keep a few magazines or a book in the car in case I need to kill a little time before appointments. All of this takes very little space and could be a life saver if the worst happens.

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Well, the mild weather we have had here in St. Louis has given way to cold and freezing rain and lots of wind. We are expecting snow today.

As is usual for me during the winter, I have my thermostat turned to 52 degrees. I bundle indoors an have two tied quilts (made for my by my grandmother) and a comforter on my bed (which to me is the most comfortable way to sleep!)

On Sunday I was at church and it felt like I was in a roasting pan. Yes, I have gotten fairly comfortable in my 52 degree house, so when I go places that have the heat set on 68 degrees I am most uncomfortable. And, I had shed down to just one layer in preparation for the warmer temps – and it was still uncomfortable. Today I will be visiting my 100-year-old lady, and she keeps her house at about 75 degrees during the winter. I think I will wear a tee-shirt under my sweater and peel down to just the tee while I am there.

My office is feeling much tighter and warmer since friends and I insulated it a few months ago, I still don’t have all the new boards in around the window to add additional insulation (I’ve been busy and haven’t taken the time to purchase these) – so I have put up plastic over the single pain glass and metal windows. It helps. I still haven’t found my hair dryer… I’m not sure I own one anymore.

My toes have been cold lately walking around the house. Then I realized that I was still wearing my Crocs – those comfy shoes (that I live in) with all the holes in them. Great sole insulation, but lets a lot of cold air in through the top of the shoe. I think I need to invest in slippers with thick soles. A friend of mine who also works at home and keeps her house on the cold side wears insulated winter boots in the house all day.

Some days I take short walks in the back yard to collect fallen branches and twigs for kindling for future winter fires. I snap them into smallish pieces and put them into a old yard cart that I destroyed a number of years ago – one I have drilled holes in for water drainage so I can keep the kindling fairly dry outside near the house. Actually, it’s not a tough task – I have been picking up branches all year long and putting them in the back of the property – so all I have to do is wander over there and snap away.

I admit, I am already thinking about what plants to start from seed again. January can’t come soon enough!

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