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Every year during holiday break, I get the urge to organize. Normally, when I’m at home, it’s the house that gets the pampering. But since I’m dog sitting this week, I took the opportunity to clean up some of my email and do some paperwork and budget – things that get missed when I am at home and there are dishes to be done.

I found a great email thread of messages to myself that I forgot I had started in early summer (back when I was still teetering between Renaissance and forty as my theme for the year) of ideas about what I might want to spend my 2015 doing. Here are a few of them:

  • Finally learn Spanish
  • Run a race (5K? Half marathon?)
  • Go on ___ dates
  • Write letters
  • Send photo Christmas cards of Uncle Wallace (amazing, creepy Santa mouse) and the “kids” (ceramic mice)

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  • Embrace traditions of the women who came before me – Mom’s pies, MeMaw Sharp’s garden (herbs, since I’m currently apartment-living), MeMaw Catherall’s crochet/knitting blankets
  • Embrace my own traditions (4th of July party? Friendsgiving? Cookie party?)
  • Buy a keyboard
  • Take an art class
  • Take a cooking class
  • Buy a piece of art that moves me
  • Learn Italian or French
  • Get something pierced
  • Dance in a flash mob (or as part of some type of performance)
  • Keep flowers on the table and wine in the wine rack
  • Lose a pound for every year I’ve been alive

This series of emails also includes a pretty extensive travel list (well, extensive for me, considering that the farthest I have traveled in the last couple of years was Houston):

  • Trip by train
  • Atlanta
  • Drive up the west coast
  • Road trip – bookshop tour? Coffee shop tour? Connect-the-friends tour?
  • Writing retreats
  • Solitary retreat – perhaps somewhere beach-y?

I think all of that sounds pretty fun. It still seems to fit the year’s theme nicely.

It also sounds expensive.

I go back to work on Monday, so I’m getting my mind wrapped back around that this weekend. I don’t think I want to switch jobs just yet, so I’ve worked out a pretty intense budget that allows me to live within my current means – even during months when I don’t have my teaching paycheck – and save up some money to do some of the things on my wish list above.

Now, I don’t want to boss my word around and tell it what to do (you can’t always force these things). But you know what would be really fun, as a professional with a master’s degree and 15+ years experience in my field? To earn an income befitting a grown woman with those credentials.

I feel caught in haphazard youth. I am basically still living with the same financial restrictions I had in college. I love a good challenge, so it has been its own kind of fun, but I am beyond ready to move on.

I want an income that allows for the extravagant lifestyle to which I intend to become accustomed. And by “extravagant,” I do mean a lifestyle characterized by the ability to:

  • Pay off debts and live debt-free
  • Buy wholesome, mostly local food
  • Drink good coffee and wine
  • Donate consistently to causes close to my heart
  • Have a nice, modest home that is small enough that I don’t need outside help to keep it clean but big enough to entertain comfortably
  • Make ethical purchases (i.e., fair trade, waste-free, sweatshop-free, cruelty-free, etc.) without having to buy almost everything secondhand
  • Pamper myself with regular hair appointments and toiletries that I don’t have to make myself and that won’t give me an allergic reaction/cancer
  • Go out to eat/drink with friends once or twice a week
  • Travel.  Just ever.  Anywhere.

I – competent, educated, professional, adult woman – want to earn an income conducive to doing all these things as a matter of habit, not having to decide each payday which 2-3 get their turn that month.

That would be a lot of fun for me.

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Dwarves are very upsetting…

Yesterday, I went to see the new Into the Woods with my sister and Mel and Hope.  It was really the only way we could have seen it, since Mel and Hope were the people who introduced us to it to begin with. We giggled all the way through it, sometimes before the line was even finished. It was a great outing.

Amendment: Tammy and I totally saw the filmed version of this play in high school. We have loved it even longer than I remembered.

On the movie itself, I have some thoughts.

1. I know what was missing from my life.  Chris Pine singing Agony. It made me so happy.

2. How dare they cut out the reprise of Agony from the second act! I know the whole play is too long to do as a film.  But come on!  “There’s a dwarf standing guard?” That’s just good comedy. Imagine Chris Pine singing this:

Excellent, no?

3. I really liked Anna Kendrick as Cinderella.  She did a great job.

4. Okay.  I know I’m going to lose some people here.  Meryl Streep. She’s awesome. She’s amazing. She’s fantastic. She did a fine job – a job she should be proud of. Worth every penny.

But.

She’s no Bernadette Peters.  There.  I said it.

Let’s move on.

5. This movie really should be a sing-along.  I know at least four people who would really enjoy that.

6. Just because it’s Disney and involves fairy tales does not automatically make it a movie for children. At least, not a public movie for children. Sure, it was funny when a certain character said, “May I kiss you?” and a kid in the theatre shouted out “NO!” But there were some moments when it was really uncomfortable that the children were there. Maybe they could watch it when it comes out on video at home, where they are free to ask questions or be redirected or distracted by puppets or something when scenes come up that raise questions that parents aren’t prepared to answer yet. That’s what a parental guidance rating means – that some parental guidance might be necessary, and that’s hard to do (and terribly annoying to others who are old enough to understand the movie without it being explained to them) while whispering in a theater.

7. Speaking of moments (or whole, complete scenes) that are not necessarily child-friendly, Johnny Depp as the wolf was everything I imagined he would be.

8. I didn’t enjoy Lilla Crawford as Red Riding Hood.  She wasn’t bad, and she has a nice voice.  But…the timing or something was off.  There were some great lines that she just didn’t hit right.

All in all, I liked it, and I really love that Hope drove in for the afternoon just to see it with us. That made it spectacular. Good friends.  Good times.

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