Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Overwhelmed with Work? Time to Blog.

I've done it again, gone and gotten myself overbooked with work assignments, none of which pay much, but all of which help keep the heat on. I do that, always have, maybe always will. So far, it's worked out okay. I think the stress gets to a certain point and then it just gets kind of numb and I go into Turbo Jen mode for a few hours that somehow are about 800 percent more productive than any in the preceding three months. And then I collapse and start to feel the stress again, but all washing away instead of building up.  

No time to blog, but I'm at a point where I'm waiting on callbacks, out of energy to make more calls. So blogging, even if I don't have the mental energy to say anything much interesting.

With the glorious exception of becoming an aunt to the world's cutest baby, it's been kind of a rough week here at Casa Boulden. Ben and I have both been stretched thin (unfortunately, only figuratively) with work, made more difficult by sharing the car. Money's tight as usual, but tighter. We're a long way yet from going hungry or anything, but for the first time in our marriage a trip to the grocery store really does need to last until the next paycheck, so there is markedly more room in my pantry than I'm used to having. I've had to get creative with the budget cooking even when nothing I can find in the kitchen remotely inspires me. We decided to discontinue our cable TV, going down to the most bare bones level. We took the digital box back and the guy came out today and disconnected the vestigal channels. No more cable news, movies, or the cable shows we watch. That's ok, though; we actually feel good about making that sacrifice for the sake of the household budget and we own more books and DVDs than we ever find time to get to, so we aren't hurting for entertainment options. It'll be kind of fun, I think, disconnecting from the "talking picture box." Since I work from home and depend on the Internet to do my job, we haven't disconnected it.

Anyway, just when we're being bombarded with advertisements and incentives to purchase all the shiny, best things for the people we love lest these stores go out of business and everyone in America loses their jobs. There are some great deals out there, but they all require money I don't seem to have. It's frustrating. Even when I was making plenty of money, there was never *really* enough to get my family and friends everything I'd like. I'm trying to be creative, thrifty and a bargain shopper, make some of the gifts. There's a challenge in that I like, and they are fun to do, but it's also a lot more work and I'm already up to my elbows in projects. Me and my ideas. We'll see how many manage to come to fruition. 

Today, Ben got a small "bridge loan" from one of his brothers to tide us over through this particularly low fundage week until my next check arrives. I hate to have to do that--we've had to before and always try to repay it pretty quickly--but he was very gracious about it to us, no questions or recriminations. No strings. 

It's nice to have help, and nice to know that much as they may need things themselves, my family understands tough times and doesn't have unrealistic expectations of mountains of lavish presents, the kind I'd like to give. It's good to come from a family that knows that's not what Christmas is really about.

I'd been feeling kind of humbuggy, but I mustered up enough optimism and energy over the weekend (actually, I think I was still high on having a niece) to get the Christmas decorations down and put up the tree. No one is coming over likely this season considering our schedule and Ben and I are not exchanging gifts or stockings--but it is nice to have the tree with all the ornaments we've already collected in the three years we've been married. It's lovely, festive, quiet and undemanding, and didn't cost a thing.  

Here are a few pictures. I haven't yet discovered the trick to taking good pictures of Christmas trees, mine never do them justice. Still pretty, though:

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