Art is the Handmaid of Human Good

Life in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA

Happy 2009!


Thirteen days in and 2009 and here’s my first post of the new year – sheesh, I’m a bad blogger!  I guess we’ll play some catch up (because the life of an unemployed layabout is fascinating, I’m sure!)

2009 has been pretty nice so far.  The biggest news is that my brother and sister came to visit on the 4th and they brought with them a treasure trove.  Is seems that my stepmother and father are cleaning out their barn and Eddy and Lauren brought me some things that had been stored there.  First up?  China, lots and lots of china.
A girl, her mirror and lots of china...

It is my mother and father’s wedding china and it is, no joke, service for twenty.  Yes, that’t right I now have enough fine china to have a formal dinner for twenty people.  Gist and I have been using it (it’s replaced the five year old plates we got at Ross when we lived in Cali) and I have to admit that it makes me so happy.  On so many levels.  It’s a nice connection to my mother who died when I was seven, it’s Royal Doulton which makes me chuckle and think of Hyacinth from the old BBC show Keeping Up Appearances (I’ll admit that I find myself trilling about hand-painted periwinkles in an insane British accent sometimes), and it’s just plain pretty.

They also brought a box of photos from when I was young and it’s been quite the kick to go through them.  Some of the highlights:
Such a charming child...
I was such a charming child.

Getting our picture taken 1979ish
My mother is most certainly telling us to behave.

Family Photo - Goleta, CA 1979ish
It appears that we were able to behave, at least for a second.

Family Photo Proofs May 1981
Check Eddy out – always in motion.

As we were looking through the photos, we decided to create some new and precious memories:
Day 345 - Sunday, January 4th 2009
Eddy – still in motion.

It was a good time.

I’m also almost done with my second Project 365 – less than two weeks left and it can’t come soon enough.  I’m definitely suffering from 365 fatigue.  That hasn’t stopped me from starting a new photo project – 52 Beers.  Yup, a beer a week for a year.  My first beer?
Day 350 of Project 365, Week 1 of 52 Beers - Friday, Janury 10th 2009

A Saison Nouveau from Beer Works. It was delicious!

I’ve also been doing some knitting.  I cast on Bella’s Mittens.  They are my first pair of mittens, time using the Magic Loop and cable pattern and I am enjoying all of it very much.
Starting Bella's Mittens

There’s also ye olde job search to keep me busy.  It’s pretty slim pickins out there right now but I’m trying not to stress about it and to enjoy not working as much as possible.  I am actually quite good at that part of being unemployed – if it weren’t for the pesky lack of spending money I could get used to my unemployment lifestyle that includes a daily nap, lots of time for Wii Fit and swimming, and being able to cook elaborate meals that take hours and home-bake our bread.  I’ve also applied to volunteer at the local hospital and a friend has an interesting idea for a project that I think will be really fun to pursue.

Gist and I have actually been pretty amazed by the whole thing – our budget took a pretty significant cut (unemployment pays about 40% of my former salary) but in a lot of ways, having me home has really improved the quality of our lives.  Even with the “oh, our budget’s super tight” stress, I’m still a lot more relaxed and happy than when I was working.  I’ve taken over all of the cooking, cleaning, errand-running, and general chore-doing which has freed up time in the evenings and on weekends and allowed us to really have that time off and not have to worry about what has to be done before Monday morning rolls around.

It’s also really made us think about money and spending and consumerism in general. There’s so much pressure to buy, buy, buy in our society (especially around the holidays) and this situation has given us the opportunity to really step back and think about what all of that buy, buy, buy means – not only for our budget but for our society.  Me not working isn’t sustainable with our long-term financial goals right now, but I think once those goals have been reached our new goal will be to go back to this way of living.

So that’s about it – 2009 is off to a good start.  I’m pretty excited for all of the changes this year is going to bring…


Author: Marianne

Hi my name is Marianne Gries, welcome to Art is the Handmaid of Human Good. I use this space to write about and share pictures of things that interest me. That includes my life in Lowell, my adventures in car-lite living, the food I cook and eat, my dogs, home improvement projects, vacations, knitting, and interesting things and places I see and visit. Thanks for stopping by!

2 thoughts on “Happy 2009!

  1. You have a sweeeeeeet camera.


  2. I totally relate to the last part of your post. I’ve thought for a long time that mine and Jason’s life would be really nice if I’m not working; not because he doesn’t want me to work, but because I think I’d be happy working at home. It took me a long time to admit that, feeling like I’m a bad feminist for not necessarily wanting to work. So silly! I hope you find something soon that enables you to get to your financial goals even quicker. Also, I’m loving the old pictures.

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