Zen & Calm

I spend a large part of my time in grad school working on group projects. It’s the nature of the program and I’ve had relatively fantastic partners. Most grad school students are pretty motivated and when the classes are taught online or in a blended (online + classroom), the learners are usually super motivated.

Usually in the lead up to a group presentation being due, I stress out. Stay up late for nights on end prior to the due date. Eat poorly. Shun the gym. Basically, I become a hermit whose sole focus is on knocking the project out of the park.

Not this time.

I’m still stressing out, but I refuse to do the other things I usually do. I think the difference is that I believe my partner is just as stressed out (if not more so) as I am. She’s also super-motivated and works full-time with two young children. I’ve taken the role of calm, zen worker bee this time. I like it. We’ll see how the presentation goes tomorrow, though. I may regret this come grade time. (ETA on 11/11/2010) We go an “A” on the assignment. I was very pleased.

Oh, la la.

I recently had the opportunity to go to Paris for the weekend.

One of my coworkers was confused. “Why did you go to Paris, Texas?

No, honey. Paris, France.

When the opportunity presented itself, we freaked out a bit. The plane ticket wasn’t in our budget and I really did not have the leave time from work. After shifting a few things around, we were able to make it happen and off I went.

It’s been many years since I was fortunate enough to go to Europe. I was reminded of how much I like Europe. The winding streets, old buildings, and fantastic food do me in every time.

The weather was beautiful and I walked more in 48 hours than I had in the 48 days prior.

Also, don’t be surprised if you come to my home in the next few months and discover that we’ve acquired an espresso machine. I fell in love with café au lait and while I already loved red wine, I’m not jealous of the really inexpensive, but good bottles we picked up at the corner store.

I don’t regret any of it. Not the flight there or back. Not the time away from work. Not the stress I experienced in trying to cram my school work in while sitting on the bed in the hotel room with a glass of wine and hunk of cheese on a plate next to me.

I got to experience a city I had not yet visited. Add another push-pin to the map.

Homeownership isn’t for wimps

As part of our quest to make our one-bedroom condo livable for a bit longer, we decided to have our bathroom partially renovated. On Columbus Day, the work was done. Our old fiberglass tub  was ripped out and a new acrylic one (with walls) was put in. Our old, mildewed, and stained vanity was removed and a new one with a white marble top was installed. It is quite pretty and today we went to a big box, Swedish furniture store to pick up a few things for the “new” room – namely a new towel bar, wall hooks, and a toilet paper holder.

While there, we impulse purchased a chair in addition to our planned purchases. I know. A chair. Who does that?

Well…we do.

Our current living room chair was old when we inherited it in 2002. Since then, husband (and the dog) have spent countless hours wallowing in it. When my mom visited a few weeks ago, she was horrified that we still owned it.

The point of all of this is that sometimes what you set out to get doesn’t match what comes home with you. Creating a calming, healthy home sometimes means that you have to be flexible and open to changes.