Thursday, February 24, 2005

A Nearly Perfect Day

Originally uploaded by Rozanne.
One of the main reasons I chose to start my own business was so that I could be mistress of my own time. As it happens my business has been more successful than I had envisioned, so I often end up working just as much as I would if I had a "regular" office job. That's good from a financial standpoint, of course, but not from a quality-of-life standpoint. Still, if I've got work (i.e., paying assignments from clients) to do, I do it even if I know that I have plenty of time to complete it and could, in fact, take a day off. There's always this little black-garbed Puritan looking down his nose at me and telling me that I should work, work, work, because another assignment could come in at any moment, and I need to keep on top of things so I can accept as many projects as possible.

Well, that is not really how I want to live. I would prefer to make less money and have more time. I don't want or need to make a six-figure income and sacrifice my youth (what's left of it) to commerce, although I haven't been very good about living up to that resolve. It's hard to subdue that Puritan guy. Also, I often feel that I have to put in a 9 to 5+ day like everyone else penned in an office or people will think I'm Queen Slackerette of Slackonia.

It's nuts to think that way. And why do I care, I have to wonder? There is a trade-off. I don't make as much money as people with office jobs; I have to pay for my own health insurance; I have to pay all my social security; I have to sock away money for my pension and--obviously--there are no matching contributions from my employer. So shouldn't I at least be entitled to more free time? (Yes. The Puritan guy definitely has me in his clutches.)

OK. Enough rationalizing. I'm happy to report that I ignored the Puritan and his black soul and took today off. For nearly two weeks now we've been having spectacular weather in Portland. That strangely hypnotic February sun has been shining and the temperatures have been in the upper 50s and low 60s. Anyone who lives in the Pacific Northwest knows that this is highly unusual weather and it should be savored to the utmost extent--if possible. Today, I did that. I started out the day by treating myself to breakfast (blueberry and pecan pancakes!) and then headed straight for a nursery to do some unfocused hunting and gathering. In general, I am probably one of the most reluctant shoppers in North America, but I do love to shop for garden plants. No impulse buys this time, but I did manage to score this hydrangea, which I have been trying to find for nearly a year. Totally justifiable, since it is on my "list" of must-have plants. It was a bargain, too. Only $7.99.

I came home and found two fantastic surprises in the mail. How often does that happen? My lovely and talented sister, who is a metalsmith, had sent me a set of six coasters that she designed and made herself. One is pictured at the top of this post. Beautiful, don't you think? Also, a hybrid musk rose ('Prosperity') that I had ordered had arrived. This rose is part of an ongoing experiment to see what will or will not grow well in the rather challenging sunlight conditions of my garden (on and off shade in the morning with blasting sun for about two hours in the afternoon). Hybrid musk roses are one of the few varieties of rose that are supposed to do well without a lot of sun. We shall see.

I had planned to plant the hydrangea and the rose, but there was so much weeding and watering to be done that that didn't happen. I always tend to think I can get a lot more done than is realistic. That's OK. I enjoy puttering around in the garden, even if all I'm doing is weeding. I find weeding quite satisfying.

Around 4:30, I headed inside to make a slightly more elaborate dinner than usual.* I had read about the existence of a dish called Psycho Chicken in Jamie's Manor Menu blog, and I knew I had to make it. It's called Psycho Chicken because you slash away at the (dead, raw, plucked) chicken with a very sharp knife a la Norman Bates. Not only do I have a very sharp knife I actually have the soundtrack to Psycho, which I played as I stabbed the carcass. It was great fun. (Please recall that I proved in the comments to this post that I am not, in fact, an actual psycho.)

As promised, the Psycho Chicken smelled wonderful as it cooked and tasted wonderful, too. Bonus--it's super easy and if you need to get out any aggressions you might have as the result of, say, your yucky job, well...this is just the ticket.

A few other random good things about today.
  • When I got home after plant shopping, I found that B had reinstalled the bathroom mirror and all the cabinet hardware. I hadn't even suggested or hinted that he should do this. Progress is being made!
  • I am really liking how the bathroom looks now that it is finished. I'm almost glad the contractor messed up the paint job, because the new color is such a vast improvement.
  • It was warm enough to garden in a T-shirt and shorts.
  • I still have two and maybe three PIFF films to look forward to. I haven't blogged about PIFF, because it just seems too much like school (book reports, etc.) to write about the films I've seen, but I have been enjoying them immensely.
*Vegetarians and vegans may want to skip to the next paragraph at this point.


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