In Which I Finally Learn To Get Pics Off The Camera

So…I’m kind of a technophobe. I know, I know. It goes against every geekery bone in my body. Tech is wonderful, I’ll admit, but I find most electronic gadgetry (except power tools, which are like my candy) intimidating and I really don’t like change.

Lemme ‘splain. (Cut here for pic!spam) Continue reading

The Year of Eviltry

It’s been 2013 for almost a month now. There have been resolutions made and already broken (not necessarily by me, but you know who you are), some kept, some still going strong. I have dubbed 2013 the Year of Eviltry for various reasons, not the least of which is that it has “13” in it.

There’s a lot of year left ahead of us and while randomly talking with the man who enables my crazy (AKA “my husband”) about all the random things we have to celebrate this year (and the representative costs thereof), we decided to combine them all into one big celebration extravaganza at the end of the year.

We were over in the United Kingdom visiting family in 2007. We’ve long planned to go back, but it seems like every year something or other comes up and we just can’t manage it. This year, though, we’re starting the planning early and hitting it hard, so we can spend the holidays in Scotland this year. With all that’s going on (and has gone on!) this year, we’re both deserving of a little something we’ve been wanting to do for a long time. We haven’t had a real vacation together in years and this just seemed like the thing to do, so we put our heads and determination together and decided we’re going to make it happen this year.

THIS YEAR WE ARE GOING TO SCOTLAND.

There. I said it. In big bold letters. And I’m posting it on the internet, which is FOREVER.

Now, there are a few caveats to this goal.

Travel is expensive no matter when or where you go, and flying first class is one of the more expensive ways to do that. (What? I SAID we deserve a treat, and if we’re going to do this, we want to do it in style. Go big or stay home, I say!) This is going to take some major savings, because the James household in no way shape or form has that kind of money, now or ever. But there’s hope. I’ve worked out a shoestring budget that will allow us to meet this goal over the course of the year if we’re very, very conscientious about sticking to it.

“Conscientious” is a…loose term. “Sacrificial” is closer to the word I’m looking for here. I was talking on Twitter about the yarn embargo I’ve enacted.

You read that right.

I have agreed to not buy yarn for THE ENTIRE REST OF THE YEAR in order to save money for this trip to Scotland.

I know. I KNOW, ALL RIGHT? But! I made a list of the knitting projects I have planned and have made sure I have all the yarn I need for them. I have enough yarn for the year. I have enough projects for the year and beyond. On the off-chance that I don’t (I hear you laughing over there), I comfort myself with the knowledge that THEY HAVE YARN IN SCOTLAND. Good yarn. Nice yarn. Yarn I will buy when I’m over there. I can do this. I CAN DO THIS. I will not buy yarn. I will not buy yarn. (Of course, this doesn’t mean I can’t be gifted yarn or gift cards to yarn stores like Webs if some wonderful lovely people take it upon themselves to bestow them upon me. *cough*plznoRedHeart/LionBrand*cough* Just sayin’. Yarn Embargo only applies to me spending money on yarn.) NOTE: I’m just kidding about this, by the way! DON’T DO THIS. I SEE YOU PLOTTING YOUR EVIL OVER THERE, AND I AM JUST KIDDING. MOSTLY. NO, REALLY, I AM.

Now don’t think this is unfair. Husband is also giving up spending money on things he loves in order to make this trip possible. We’re both very committed to the new budget we’ve worked out (WE SPEND HOW MUCH ON PET CARE?!) and that budget requires sacrifice from each of us. There are a few things that are non-negotiable (like both human and animal medications), but a few things are.

Like, you know…my yarn. I don’t need yarn. Okay, I do, but not like that. I don’t need to buy any more. I have everything I need and then some, and plenty to keep me busy with projects throughout 2013 and beyond. When I looked at how much I spend on yarn, I was…um…yeah. That money is going into savings this year.

This budget thing is also going to require a few things be put on hold until next year. I had planned a few home improvement projects this year, but if we’re going to make this trip, they’ll have to wait. The bedroom doesn’t really need to be painted. We sat down and really looked at what we want to do versus what we needed to do and found we could save a lot more money if we cut some things like painting the bedroom out. I can deal with the horrendous wallpaper in there another year. For Scotland.

A few things, though, need to be done, and they’re budgeted for. Like the downstairs/library floor. That just has to be done this year. HAS TO. That horrid carpet down there isn’t going to last another year with all the crap it’s been through, so that just has to be included in the budget. More on that as it develops.

Another thing this budget entails is a lot less going out to eat/ordering take-out and a lot more making food at home. I admit we’re pretty bad about eating at home because it’s just the two of us and our schedules are often out of synch, so it’s easy just to order a pizza or grab a sandwich while out and bring it home instead of making something. But all that adds up.

It’s not just food, either. We can save quite a bit of money doing a lot of things ourselves we normally pay others to do. We just both need to stop being lazy and actually commit to doing things ourselves.

Is there a chance of failure? Huge. Vast. We may find that we’re just not able to make our new budget work for our household. Disaster may strike and wipe out our savings (this has happened on more than on occasion, so let’s be realistic here). You never know. But, that’s why it’s a goal.

You have to work to achieve goals, and this one is ours. It’s going to be interesting trying to reach it. But with a little luck and a lot of effort, we’ll make it.

I mean, I’m giving up buying yarn for this. I’m going to be COOKING for this. I’m SACRIFICING.

It’s going to totally be worth it though, to buy Highland wool in THE HIGHLANDS. (I have a thing for Highlanders. Shut up.)

But I’m totally not sacrificing my tea. There’s a limit.

Now, if you hear me whining on Twitter about the #yarnembargo, you’ll know why. And you can remind me I’m doing it #ForScotland.

How To Make Proper Iced Tea (For Science!)

Subtitle: A tutorial for tea junkies. With linkage!

Now, I was going to attempt to be clever and title this blog post something like “Summertime Blues” or “In Which I Instruct You On How To Make Iced Tea,” but I’m not feeling particularly clever at the moment, so you get a bare bones instructional post. Continue reading

The Great Office Cleanup of 2011

Catchy title, huh?

Yeah, it’s not as great as it sounds. For those who aren’t following me on Twitter, here’s a partial recap of the event. I was going to live tweet the progress, but I was cleaning my desk for the most part, and the lappy had to be moved. So I did a recap, and now this blog post about it. Continue reading