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What We’ve Been Up To

The blog has fallen into a state of abandonment the past month or so and for that, I am sorry.  When I logged in last night I practically expected bats to fly out of the computer or WordPress to follow apart like a decrepit old house.

It feels like its been way too long.  I feel like a data dump on our lives is in order, even though things haven’t been very exciting lately.

So here’s what we’ve/I’ve been up to:

1. Lots of sitting on the couch, catching up on TV.  Lots.

Chris has been sick and sniffly on and off since we got back from Malaysia over a month ago.  On the weekends he’s just been trying to recover from working all week.  The air has also been pretty smog-tastic.  Result? Lots of time spent catching up on Hulu.

I’m not usually a big TV watcher, but I’ve been enjoying watching the first few episodes of shows that I’ve heard good things about or catching up on shows I used to watch only once in awhile.

So we’ve been watching Battlestar Galactica (wow! intense but really excellent), Boardwalk Empire (jury is still out on this prohibition era Sopranos-esque show) and Running Wilde (surprisingly funny with goofy one-liners and lots of puns.  Admittedly, its so bad, it should probably be cancelled but I’ll enjoy it while it lasts).

We’ve also watched a few episodes of Outsourced.  I originally thought this show was incredibly rascist and awful but surprisingly (and guiltily) we’re sort of enjoying this incredibly shallow and unrealistic but also really light-hearted show.  Maybe that’s just how much we miss India, that we are willing to put up with a crappy TV series just because it takes place there?

And of course I’m desperately trying to catch up on The Office and Mad Men (which, at Season 1, Episode 2, I’m sooo far behind on).

This next paragraph might come off “as a bunch of baloney” as my father would say, but I’m finding all of the narratives in these TV series are inspiring new thoughts and ideas in my head and waking my brain up again to the art of story-telling (In addition to books and of course actually sitting down and, you know, writing).

Why TV and not movies which arguably have more novel-like narratives?  TV is more manageable.  Little known fact about me: I don’t watch many movies because I can’t, its literally nearly painful for me to sit still that long.

So yes, while TV is sort of a lame passive activity, I’m also finding that I’m getting something out of it.

2. New Exercise Routines! Including Shredding!

As I’ve written about here before, not being able to get up in the morning and run outside here seriously bums me out.  I’ve never been good about going to the gym.  The amount of time and effort it takes to get there always seems like a waste to me.  I’d rather run around my neighborhood, do some pushups afterwards, and save myself the time it takes to pack a bag and get to a gym.

Which is why I’m in love with Shredding*.  Say what you want. Jillian is so annoying I usually mute her, but her work out kicks.my.butt.  And it only takes 20 minutes.  20 minutes of panting, and sweating, and wanting to die but still, just 20 minutes.

And the crazy part?  It works!  I’m realizing just how little my previous “strength exercises” were doing for me.   I’ve only been doing it every other day or so for a few weeks and already I can tell my posture is better and I have these sweet little muscles popping up in all sorts of new places (like my shoulders, wow!).

Coupled with some strength band exercises that I’ve started doing during our extended Hulu marathons and I’m feeling in much better shape than I have since we got here.

3. Getting ready for the Holidays!

I love the holidays, I love the baking, the preparations, the crafting that I always say I’m going to do but never really do.  I love the decorations and the cozy sweaters and the cider and hot chocolate.  I love Christmas lights and firelight and candles.

I’m going to do a whole post on this soon but for now its enough to know that, when my parents came to visit a few weeks ago, my mom brought holiday hand towels, cinnamon and pine candles, and about 15 pounds of baking chocolate in her luggage.  Oh, and there’s definitely a “fugly” homemade holiday card coming out from Chez Dumm this year.  Stay tuned for lots of holiday-themed posts coming up.

4. A home budget!

Finally, I have figured out a spreadsheet budget that works for me.  Inspired by Katheats, I created my own geeky month-to-month budget for spending and saving (color coded for the seasons!).  I’m in love.  I love having a handle on what we are spending and I love that I was able to figure out a system that works for us even though are spending habits are totally different than most peoples in the US (all cash purchases and online orders).

Is this something you’d want to see? Would my template be useful for anyone?  It has pretty colors if that is a selling point?

5. Thinking about what comes next

As in, what do I want to be doing that I’m not doing right now, (saving the world, working harder at writing a novel, getting a Master’s as soon as we are in a city/place where it’s feasible) and what do we want to be doing as a family that we should be planning for (saving the world, buying land in West Virgina to build a wee little cabin on, travel, bidding again in a few months, ankle-biters, etc).

Being cooped up a lot has given us looooooots of time to talk and think and plan.  In some ways it’s been an intense 6 weeks or so.  Less going out with friends, more sitting on the couch having grown up conversations.  That’s probably part of the reason I haven’t blogged much lately.  We’ve been doing more talking and thinking than doing.

Fear not though, I think we’ve got our mojo back.  We’re ready to get back out there in the world, throw crazy wonderful holiday parties, meet new people, travel, and see new things.  Get ready dear readers, its the holiday season and soon you’ll have more posts from Hot Pot again than you’ll know what to do with! 🙂

*No I’m not being paid by Jillian Michaels, nor did I receive a free copy of the DVD.  I just really like the workout.   The day someone pays me something on this blog or sends me a free trial of anything, you will know.

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