Phase one on my packing is complete! I have sorted through all of the possibilities when it comes to my clothes and the kids clothes. Phase two comes tomorrow when I weed it all down to a reasonable amount. This I have learned since becoming a traveller...we all need MUCH less than we think we do!
The first big trip I took to France I took all that was possibly allowed by the airline...packed to the gills for a trip of 12 days I think. We traveled to three locations and it was CRAZY dragging all of that luggage around. The next year we figured out how to go much lighter but I was still packing for every possible scenario and packing anything I thought I might need. That is still a little crazy...it is not like we were going to places where there was no civilisation. There is always the possibility to buy things that come up as you need them on vacation...plus it is kind of fun! The next year we were were traveling to two climates (Switzerland and Italy) and by planning down to the very last detail we were able to fit all of our things into TWO suitcases for the 4 of us and plus a back pack each. Before leaving Switzerland we mailed our cool weather things back to Norway and lightened our load even further.
This year again, we are going with two small suitcases for all 4 of us and a carry on each. Not as much planning is needed since we only need warm weather clothes but we are restricted by Ryan Air's limits for luggage. I am kind of like a pro at this these days but we will see how it all shakes out when it comes to the final day of packing!
Now...swim suits. Not my favourite thing to do but I did it. If you know me, you have heard me complained of this gut I have. This is my problem with swim suits. We there is that thing about one of my boobs being smaller than the other one. I blame Liam. When he was a baby he had a favourite and he some how sucked the life out of it! So rude.
So anyway...I am going to just not care about it all. How about that? Last time I didn't bring bikinis but this year I am. I know that here in Norway people don't worry about such things and I have seen other women in other countries so much more comfortable with their bodies so I am just not going to worry about a gut and a double of boobs that don't match. I will not let my body define me! I have worked too long all year and gone through too much to let myself be held back on my one big splurge all year. I know I can be in better shape that is for sure but this year will all that we had going on I was never able to pull it off. What's done is done...no need to lament it. When I get back I can revamp my exercise routine and I will.
Ok...I gotta go now and get down to doing some work before I lose the day. I hope all of you are having a sunny summer. Perhaps we can all head into this wonderful season without letting our feelings about our bodies define us. Deal?
I was on edge the past few weeks that my tax money would not come before vacation but today mine came! Patrick's came yesterday. Whoo HOO! Norway is extremely helpful to the worker when it comes to vacation. Tax money is generally earmarked for June, the month that people begin to take vacation. There is a chance it won't come until the fall but that is rare.
The other thing Norway does is that money gets taken out of your check each month tax free and then given back to you in June for you to use on vacation. The money equals over a month of pay. So between that and your tax money (if you are getting back) you have vacation money enough for a reasonable vacation. We also set money aside each year just incase, but this past year was kind of tight. I have been saving my freelance money incase we needed it for vacation but was hoping not to have to use it and now I can keep it in savings! Yay! We even have enough to do a little clothes shopping in Malta. It is wise to shop in practically any other country in the world when you are outside of Norway since it is so expensive here.
In other news, I have been notified that I will be hired to write another article for the interior design people that I wrote that article about yellow for. Shocking really. I kind of thought I was out of my league there since they edited my article so heavily. I thought they did not like my writing. I guess I don't fully understand this whole business so I am just going to go with it and be happy about it. It was super fun to write.
I got down my box of vacation clothes today and will go through them tomorrow. Things fit. I think. Somewhere in the past few days I got a look at myself in my underwear and things are not so bad as I thought they were. I don't have a full length mirror in my house so I would have to stand on my sink to get a good look at my rump or midsection. Makes me wonder where exactly I was that I got a good look at myself in my underwear. I hope it was someplace appropriate.
I was surprised to see my yellow article published so fast...and I was surprised to see that I was a woman named Donna from Orange county. But I suppose it is better that I be that then a pastry chef from Norway giving decorating advice! In reality a woman named Donna from Orange county probably did edit up my article as it is not so much what I wrote exactly but I am still pretty happy about it. Here is a link:
I am winding down a bit on the work side of things trying not to put as much pressure on myself to get so much done in a day since the kids are on summer break. I have one more big deadline before I go and then just my normal recipe work. I am writing about dessert garnish and have to be done by Monday.
I realised that I never mentioned where we are going on vacation in my last blog. We will be going to Malta! Whoo Hoo! I am pretty dang excited about it since last summer was such a dreary downer. Malta is one of the most exotic places in Europe that I can think of. English and Maltese are the languages there. Maltese is based on Arabic and I find the names of things so very interesting there. Lots of X's and Q's...and Q's don't have U following them. I have no idea how to pronounce anything! Malta combines sun, beaches, good food and history...all which I love. Malta has prehistory even, which I REALLY love. Apparently, (in the words of Kipling)"when the world was so new and all", there used to be a way to walk from Africa to Malta so (in the words of Eloise) "you can just imagine." Malta has the oldest standing structure made by man on the face of the earth. Possibly there is one in Turkey older but there is debate about that. There are "cart ruts" on Malta that lead right into the sea. I just love all of that stuff and thinking about what it all means. I think I will love to be someplace where I can stand where our ancestors stood so very long ago. Patrick got me an IPad so perhaps I can blog from there. I got an assignment to write about Maltese pastries so I will have to be doing some...ahem...research for sure!
We have had a bit of excitement around our house thinking about Malta as well as our jobs and our future which I will save for another day. Exercise...still not so much. Weight...still the same. Sleep...I am finally getting some. (Had insomnia there for over a month.) Eating right...that I am pulling off. Spending time with my little family...going very well.
Hi. I've been gone awhile huh? It is true. I have been just "all up in it" for the past several months since I started my little freelance business. It is like being "new" at something all over again. I have had a really hard time balancing my tim, partly because every hour in my day equals money...if I let it.
Things have been good fortunately. Despite being new at writing for a living I am not at all new to the topic of food or writing recipes so there is some balance there. Once I figure out what a client needs from me I can generally do it but there still is a learning curve there. I have been surprised at how many people have need for a chef who can write a bit. This is good...except for awhile I was overwhelmed by how much work I was getting. This lead me to "disappear" for awhile. This caused my balance to get all out of whack. No more "me" time, no more Spark time, family was coming second and work first. I could see it happening but I need to be succeeding so I had to dig in for a few months and let other things go.
The good news is that in just a few months I have learned that I can pick and choose my jobs and that I don't need to take ones that don't feel right, partly because I have gotten a few good paying hourly jobs that keep my income going. I am going to keep on being picky now and guard my family time more closely.
I have not been exercising AT ALL. I have a new found appreciation for people who work at a desk and how hard it can be to find the time to get up and move a bit! I have been eating right though and this has helped me to maintain...not lose but to at least not gain.
We go away on vacation (happily my new income has helped make that possible) in two weeks and I had originally thought I would work while I was away but have now realised that I just want to be with my family. I have been winding up my projects and let my ongoing clients know that I will be unavailable. Except one...I was surprised to be contacted for a job writing about interior decorating of all things! I tried out this past week and if they want me to I will write some while I am away for them because it is soooo different than writing about food and I would love to keep this account. The hiring manager read some of my articles and liked my style and gave me a chance. I wrote about "yellow" of all things!
So, my goal is to Spark again and to focus on my family, myself AND my work. I intend to get myself in shape again. Working from home is not all that it is cracked up to be for me right now but I can see ...if I really focus on balance and making it more ideal for me...I think I can get there.
Here are a few links to some articles I have written:
I have been "interviewing" via email for another recipe development job and they inquired as to whether any of my previous work has been published so they could see it. At first I was worried because as far as I knew the site I have been working on was not live yet but THEN I went to check and HEY!!!! There it was! Yippeee!
The main page has our picture my recipe for "Date Truffles" and if you click under the "Food" section you will see more of my recipes. At the bottom of each is my bio. The truffle picture, the sushi smoked salmon salad pictures and the blueberry yogurt granita pictures are all done by Patrick. They have more recipes by me that they have not posted yet. I suppose they will add them slowly.
I just love the look of the site!
I gotta go shop now for fresh fruits and veggies...it is "photo shoot day" at our house!