March 24, 2014

Spring Has Sprung

This past weekend was the first of spring, although from the looks of my yard you'd think it was already summer! Granted, Southern California was the one area of the country that had zero winter-like weather this year, so it's understandable that my plants are confused.

One of my favorite plants is hibiscus--they're easy to care for and add so much dramatic color to a landscape. I have at least a dozen in the ground and in pots, and love adding to my "collection" when I find new colors. Even though the last couple of days were on the cool side, I spent plenty of time on the patio enjoying the blooms.







Also in bloom: this delicate dendrobium I bought on a whim a few months ago, not sure whether I could get it to bloom or what color it would be if it did. The flowers are tiny--smaller than a quarter.

Welcome, spring!

March 3, 2014

House Guests and Introverts

My mother-in-law has been staying with us for several days. She's a sweet woman, and she lives several hours away so my husband, K, doesn't get to see her as often as he'd like, so we were happy to have her come visit.

The problem with visitors for us is that our house is tiny, so any guest has to either sleep on the couch or on an air mattress in the office (a room so small there's barely enough room for at twin-sized mattress). This is fine for a night or two, but extended stays get uncomfortable for the guest.

I'm also an introvert, and I regularly need time and space away from other people. Regardless of how much I love my family or friend who is visiting, I get overwhelmed with constant talking and entertaining if I don't get a break. Some people get it, and are also happy to have some time to themselves. My best friend is like me, and whenever she and I visit each other neither of us has any compunction about saying, "I love you, but let's go be in separate rooms for a little while" after a long day. 

Other folks, like my husband and his mother, are very extroverted and enjoy being around other people as much as possible--and many don't understand why someone else would find so much socializing to be tiring. It can be a challenge to steal away for a few quiet moments alone without them misunderstanding what it means or taking it personally. I admit that yesterday I found myself running errands that weren't urgent, just so I could be in the car by myself for a bit. I felt guilty about it, but it also felt good to be alone for a bit.

Question for other introverts out there: how do you survive house guests? What tips do you have for getting the alone time that you need?

February 24, 2014

Worth the Money: New Mattress

I'm a pretty frugal person. In some instances, kind of cheap. I've had the same bed for about 8 years, and it was originally my sister's--she slept on it for about 6 years before I inherited it. It was always too firm for my liking, and wasn't a quality bed to begin with. After 14 years, it was looooooong past the point at which it needed to be replaced. But I just never wanted to pull the trigger on a new one, because nice mattresses are so stinking expensive, and my husband and I have had better (I thought) uses for the money.

But I also have had lower-back problems for a long time. Probably due to having a desk job and no abs, and wrangling with a 30-pound dog on a regular basis, but the crappy mattress certainly hasn't helped. Over the past couple of weeks I've been miserable, barely able to stand up straight, and lying in bed has only exacerbated the pain. So K and I finally broke down on Saturday and took advantage of the Presidents' Day sales and bought a new bed. It was delivered the same day, and I only wish I'd bought it years ago.

Holy cow, there's a world of difference between how I feel today and how I felt just a few days ago. Yesterday was the first Sunday in my memory that I actually slept in past my normal wake-up time (to the luxurious hour of 7:30), and I've actually felt well rested for the first time in a long time. My back pain isn't gone, but it's definitely improved.

I can't believe I waited so long to buy a new bed, even knowing that it would help me--all because I didn't want to spend the money! Now to get some new pillows...

What important purchases have you put off and wished you hadn't?