Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sorry, I Fell Off the Net

OK - since I last was here. I finished the Crisis / Housing / Temporary job.

I started the new job. Moved to the new floor. Cleaned out a bunch of crap that was left for me - maybe someone thought is was meaningful / helpful...I assure you, it was only meaningful to the recycle pile. And settled in about in time to take a holiday break.

I'm trying to make the most of my new position but not so much planting any roots because there is a potential job on the horizon with the same organization - with the benefit of promised long-lasting-ness, with higher pay, with more creative freedom, with more but desired responsibility, with a supervisor that has 100% faith in my ability and the right balance of "there" but not "over your shoulder". So we will wait and see what happens. I'm ready to believe that either option will allow me to do things that I will take pleasure in and will grow with me. (But I'd really appreciate the bigger paycheck NOW instead of 1.5 years down the road.)

I've made progress on the 101 goals. Must update.

I've failed miserably at other goals. Must get on the ball.

I am once again on the mission of cleaning out - minimizing the "stuff" in my life. Let's hope for better progress this year than last. In an effort to be "simple" was the theme of my tree this year...I know, it's late for sharing decoration pics, but I'm in charge please admire my simple tree...

All crystal snowflakes were a craft project...easy but sparkly!

And speaking of crafts. I ordered a double batch of these paper balls last year! I've assembled a few - obviously they are too big for my tree. I was thinking of doing a door decoration with them, 0r using them as some sort of countdown? But now I'm kind of stumped. So if you have any inspirational ideas - please let me know!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Composting 101

(Notes from the girl who did it all wrong.)

I just filled a good portion of my raised garden with my own, home grown compost - after two years of effort. For anyone that knows anything about compost - you might realize that it really shouldn't take two years to make compost. So let me tell you a story...

I remember hearing about composting long, long ago...I must have been in middle school. I was the only preteen in my corner of the world concerned about such things...if only I had known back then that I was revolutionary....and not weird. (sigh) I convinced my mother for a short time to let me dump the coffee grounds and tea bags in a section of the garden - I'm quite sure she thought I was insane. It didn't take long before the weather sucked, my allergies ran a muck and I lost interest.

So one day as I was walking through a store and I noticed an affordable composting box - oh yes, I had to have it. I promptly brought it home and started stuffing it full of goodies in hopes of making lovely dirt.

About that same time a couple of things occured...
1. We had a shipment of like 50 pounds of some citrus fruit
2. Fall. And in our yard that means many, many leaves....
3. It also means sticky balls. Lots of sticky balls.

Generally, I am a rule follower. But sometimes in life - I have to learn lessons the hard way. Do yourself a favor...and if you plan to start composting - just trust me...

Mistake #1 The instructions say don't include citrus fruits in your compost. They aren't kidding. I dumped the skins of that 50 pounds of citrus fruits into the bin. We also consume a ridiculous amount of kiwi in this house. It seemed wasteful to just throw that out - so I threw it in the bin.

Well, turns out - they say not to do it for a reason. The bugs / worms / icky creatures that do the hard work don't like citrus fruit. They will show you their dislike by NOT living in your compost bin - therefore, no compost for you.

Mistake #2 Leaves are great for compost - you can really lend a hand to the process by raking your leaves (dry), putting them in a large container and then pulverizing them with a weed eater. It's kind of a lawn tool blender. And it's amazing how much this can cut down on the bulk - and make your large leaf pile about 1/3 of it's original size. However, leaves are dry (that may seem obvious to you - you are smart readers). You need to compensate this dryness either with more frequent / heavy watering OR by adding much more wet matter to the pile.

If you don't keep the compost pile wet - you will have lots of the wrong kinds of critters living there. Mainly, I found ants - lots of ants. There were other critters in there as well - but I didn't look that close...I was too busy screaming "Eeewwwww" and trying to ensure none of them got the chance to crawl on me.

Mistake #3 Sticky balls. If you have a sticky ball tree - first, I'm sorry. Second, you likely already know this lesson. If you do not have a sticky ball tree - drive around your neighborhood. Find someone who does. Send them a sympathy card. (Really, they need your support.) They are really pretty trees but their beauty is soon hidden by their devilish little balls. They make your yard a landmine field. They make your lawnmower a deadly weapon. They make you crazy. They never end. And in the world of compost - they take 10 million years to decompose. Save yourself the headache - burn them or use them as mulch in areas that you would like to discourage anything from going...but do not fool yourself into thinking they will break down in your compost pile. It won't happen. Two years later - you will still find them there - laughing at you from the bottom of the pile.

They should alter that saying about after a nuclear explosion - all that would survive would be the cockroaches, Twinkies, and sticky balls.

After two years into the art of making compost - and so far having was time to admit I had a problem. So I went to my garden center - bought some compost booster and got really productive this summer. I added very little to the compost pile this summer - wet matter only. The bin was nearly overflowing. After garden season ended - I dug out all the magical compost (thank you to the compost booster for working - and to myself for reading / following the directions) and when I got to the sticky ball layer - I threw all those under our large pine tree. We'll keep using this plan for future seasons and plan to never pay for mulch in that area again.

Now that I am starting from a clean slate, I'm super excited about doing it all the right way this time. (And having a product by next season.) Produce cut into small sections. Coffee grounds. Tea bags. Lots of banana peels. I emptied all my summer potting soil there as well. I've also started putting napkins and paper towels there unless they have come in contact with something offensively dirty. I'm also planning to put my toilet paper tubes into the compost. (I would consider composting other paper products but I recycle those for a local charity.) Occasionally a piece of cardboard will make it to the compost pile. We will add some leaves to the pile - assuming that it ever stops raining long enough for them to dry out.

I'm still completely committed to composting - I like to reduce my trash and I like to make my own rich soil. If you garden or if you just want to be the greenest kid on the block - you might give it a go too.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Just Call Me Big Bird

I've learned a lot about myself during this "bump" in the road of employment.

I have learned that I am a nester. (spell check denies this is a word but you know what I mean- you know, nesting - making your space home / well stocked)

In this temporary job I am working at two locations. In one land, I was lucky enough to be given an office - with a desk, a phone, eventually a computer, some simple working supplies.

At the other land where I work - I find myself working out of a mostly empty conference room one day and in someone else's office the other. This means on one day - I'm sitting in the other office workers lunch room...(it's a nice treat when they decide to eat sausages and sauerkraut for lunch)...there is no phone, no computer, no internet connection even if I brought one. Files must be packed out of the main office to this location and locked any time I so much as go to the bathroom - because I can't lock the ROOM (I have no key) this means loading and unloading the files into a temporary cabinet several times a day. There are no tissues, no office supplies, no resources. There is however, now a mini-office in my bag - which weighs a ton, which I must pack in and out every day...because I am a working nomad. And on the day when I'm in someone else's space ---well, how awkward is it to dig through someone's drawers while searching for a paper clip? And it gives no relief to the whole "storage" problem....but at least I have a key that day.

It brings me ridiculous comfort to have a few simple things in my work office...I will admit that as I was moving out of my office for over 6 years - I realized I was over-stocked with comfort items. But have you ever tried to make it through a day of work when you really need a nail file? How about chap stick? What about hand lotion?

I also like to have some food items on hand. A few breakfast bars. Maybe a few snack items to help fend off any temping evil food. Maybe a shelf-safe lunch item. And I like to drink hot this leads to a coffee mug, a spoon and an electric kettle.

It took me about 2 days to move my personal office fridge. (staff fridge does not mean my standard of "clean" and I've had one two many things walk away in a shared fridge...a fridge that is all mine requires a higher degree of willingness to commit crime)

In truth - I've had a small bag that I've really wanted to bring in as well. It includes a toothbrush, deodorant, tylenol, nasal spray (it's a fending-off-germs thing), powder...and my gym socks and shoes. (my work shoes are not treadmill no shoes equals no taking my break at the gym)

The list goes on...and yes, clearly - my temporary home (or no home to call my own) has showed me that I can absolutely survive with all these things. But how much nicer is it to feel secure in your space - that your needs, however random, will easily be met?

Am I alone here? Or do you find yourself cramming personal need items into your workspace?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wishing Wednesday

Week 35: Where I get back on track.

  • I wish for the ability to stay on schedule.
  • I wish that helping to change the world was as easy as helping people in this current job.
  • I wish to be at my best - when others are at their worst. (Think able to find calm and wisdom when someone is screaming insanity at you.)
  • I wish people wouldn't scream insanity at me.
  • I wish for fall to stick around - often in MO fall is a 6 day event followed by the immediate onslaught of winter.
So be close to the countdown in the land of crazy, for the people that I've had the chance to work with, that those people are already dreading my departure, that life is full of other chances and opportunities. AND - thankful for the trip that I won through work...proof that sometimes our thoughts do become reality.

Hope your wishes are coming true!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wishing Wednesday

Week 34:

I wish I could get it together enough to actually have this posted at the beginning of the day - instead of remembering late evening...and continuing to think of a wish every time I roll over in the middle of the night, mmmmmkay?

Hope you are more on top of it than I have been...

Monday, September 6, 2010

Watch-Out Brownies

I got this recipe from an email recently - here is the link to the original...

I thought it sounded really good- who doesn't love a high fiber brownie?

I made a few alterations - mostly because I had no desire to scoop cookies out when I could just as easily bake in a 9x13 and then cut them later. However, word of caution - if you are not use to having a high fiber diet - proceed with great care. You have been warned. These brownies will have a "nutty" texture because the cereal will not soften during baking.

1box (1 lb 2.3 oz) fudge brownie mix
2cups Fiber One® original bran cereal (some of the ratings suggested breaking up the cereal - I tried to do this by hand- but this cereal is not for the I mostly was unsuccessful - I think you could break it up in a food processor and that may make the texture of the final product closer to a normal brownie- the texture didn't bother us)
2tablespoons miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1/8teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3cup water
1tablespoon vegetable oil
2teaspoons vanilla

1 egg
I also added 1 TBS applesauce because the mixture seemed a little dry.


Heat oven to 350°F. Spray pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix all ingredients with spoon. Pour into 9x13.
2.Bake as directed on box until set (though my toothpick never came out "clean"). Cool completely. Store in tightly covered container. Freeze up to 2 months if desired.

Wishing Weekends?

Week 33:

  • I wish that this new work schedule didn't seem to suck my sense of time into a dark vortex - somehow I missed Wednesday...and then got swooped up until the weekend.
  • I wish I knew how the kiddo got to be 10 years old while I have not aged a day. (Okay, it's wishful thinking here...let me enjoy myself.)
  • I wish I could figure out how to get my hen and chick seeds to sprout.
  • I wish for good news to come to those patiently (or anxiously) waiting for grant decisions.
  • I wish for everyone to enjoy their bonus weekend day - don't we deserve more of these?
Highlights from the week:
  • Dropped my first UA. And seriously - why is the wording "dropped"...b/c eeeewwww - don't DROP it, please!
  • Found a praying mantis on my office window - he chilled with me for most of the day (from his side of the screen).
  • Watched a storm blow over the city skyline - I seriously have a nice view from my temporary location.
  • Discovered a new "healthified" brownie recipe - will share.
  • After years of effort - we've FINALLY attracted our very own humming bird! Yeah!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

So Not Over It

At the end of week 2 at the new "temp" job (2 weeks down 14 left to go) - I fell into a sad grief for the loss of my old job.

You see, the problem is that I was really good at my old job. I loved that when I came into work I was mostly in charge of my own day. I knew what to expect. I knew how to do all the work. I knew what was coming up. I knew how to kill time. I knew how to hustle ass and get shit done. I even knew that I'd get my "to do" list for the entire year!

I had my own parking space. I had my own office space. I had my own computer, my own phone, I knew how to order supplies, I knew where to charge copies too. I knew everything - I was the master of my job. Even my supervisor could sometimes offer suggestions, but didn't know all the in's and out's like I did.

Some days were filled with meetings. And regardless of the crazy hour I might have to leave - at the end of the road there were people that I liked and knew and understood. (Minus all the ivory tower overlords.) My phone didn't ring off the hook. The expectations were clear. I had a whole handbook of guidelines to direct me, forms to fulfill every requirement, and while some of it varied from year to year - it was all systematic...once you figured it out and translated what they wanted into what you could deliver.

I miss my old job. Miss it like a dear old friend. And in this area - there is nothing comparable. Nothing even in that field of expertise. So I'm starting over - which may sound like a positive opportunity for growth - but in reality, that means I feel like a newbie straight out of school. I've gone from 'expert of most things' to 'expert of nothing'.

I've discovered that I'm really not so fond of work that is completely people-centered. I don't mind people in small doses - but when your job is one that totally demands on meeting the whims of multiple people (often without resources or logic)...well, it kind of sucks. It's a bit like fighting a forest fire with a water bottle.

I'm also not such a big fan of "traditional work hours'. Add that to the list of things I'm missing - in the old days - if I wanted to start my day early - I could. If that happened - I would also leave early. I didn't take a lunch break and I didn't hesitate to take off when my kiddo got out early - because I always had extra comp hours to burn. When your job revolves around people - it also revolves around their hours - which do not do much for my mommy duties!

And somewhere in the back of my mind - I'm losing faith that I will find a place that fits me (and I it). And that I will be good at, enjoy, and be able to live with the wages. Okay, at the end of the week - that doubt was front and center in my mind, pouring out of my mouth, and making my eyes water. I'm trying to cram it back deep down into the dark place as I prepare for week 3...if you have any extra hope in your pocket...please feel free to send it my way.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wishing Wednesday

Week 32: The one that ponders my new / short-lived / temporary job...and that status of the world...

  • I wish I had a magic wand to fix the problems of people that are trying so hard to get ahead and are still falling short.
  • I wish mental illness could actually be cured with a pill.
  • I wish that I had the power to magically make people chill you think yelling at me (or every other person you have contact with) will make me want to bend over backwards to help you?
  • I wish that everyone had to play by the rules.
  • I wish that Cobra rates were not so damned high that they could throw me into panic attacks.
  • I'm thankful for all the chaotic, unbalanced people that find it within their hearts to be nice and talk nice and work nicely with me - while I try to work with them.
  • I'm thankful for moments that I can balance a need to stand up for myself with the need to avoid physical harm.
  • I'm thankful (and fearful) for the days I can count down before I'm not in some of these situations anymore. At bad moments my mantra is "only XX days to go..."
  • I'm thankful for some of the amusing things that have been said to me and that I have been able to say to others because of these experiences.
  • I'm thankful for a desk, sometimes a phone, and sometimes a computer to do my job with.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wishing Wednesday

Week 31:

I wish that my internal alarm was not set for 3AM lately.

I wish that I was not about to report to work for my 3rd day - and that I still have no solid idea of what I am doing, no office, no chair, no desk, no computer, no phone, and only a key to the bathroom / staff lounge - which will at some point be my office.

I wish it was easier to look at the scraps of my old job / old office as they become the "leftovers" for my current (but only 16 week) position.

I wish I could get a grasp on time - how quickly hours get filled, days pass, and wishes pile up.

I wish that as I return from what was officially a "vacation with a little substitute chef-ing" I wasn't having to barter for a parking spot that has been 100% MINE for the past 10 years. (it's just meanness)

And thanks...

Thank you Adult Swim for the pleasant entertainment - at least if I am not sleeping- you have a good show to offer.

Thank you Netflix - for yet another series that I am falling in love with after it's old hat to most viewers...I'm diving into Gossip Girl ...and having flashbacks of the 90210 days (pre-Melrose).

Regardless of the chaos / uncertainty / short shelf life - I am thankful for my extension at the office in this new and very undefined job.

I am thankful for the offers (however crappy) that continue to be mentioned to me - it gives me hope that the dream one will come along.

I am thankful for the cooler's almost got a hint of fall to it!

What wishes are filling your days?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wishing Wednesday

Week 30: Working on borrowed time...

  • I wish happy b-day to me.
  • I wish for the weatherman to be right - meaning, that soon my A/C may stop getting an overtime workout.
  • I wish for some time to brew over some exciting ideas - ideas that will be very share-able should they be ideas I happen to follow through with.
  • I wish for kindness to kitty's...this week I had a dream that someone was boiling kittens some people do lobsters...and for the record...eewwww!...then saw a news story about some guy marinating his cat? Stop hating on the cats!
  • Based on that dream - maybe I should wish for restful sleep.
  • I'm thankful for great sales!
  • I'm thankful for recent discoveries of TV shows that are old news to most - but most entertaining to me.
  • I'm thankful for a change of pace- the ability to be flexible and the opportunity to give different things a try. (Think going from desk job to solo chef for 40-100 people's meal's)
  • And finally - I'm very thankful for the chance to try a new employment position with my old workplace (but not the evil overlords that kicked us all to the curb). It will be a VERY different line of work, but good or bad - it will only last for 4 months. I will still be looking for a "long term" placement; but I'm thrilled to be able to relocate within the same building - with the same benefits and seniority - and possibly my personal parking spot. (I'm really thankful for my personal parking space.)
Hope the week is filled with many things for you to be thankful for and time to consider your wildest wishes...

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Corn Waits For No One

It is my favorite season.
No, I'm not referring to the weather - which pretty much could be described as so hot you contemplate peeling off your own skin.

I'm referring to the season of corn. Oh, sweet corn! (Do not confuse this with anything that has ever been served at a restaurant - that is barely food.)
I love the impatience of sweet corn. When it is ready for picking - you must pick it NOW.

It is fast to cook.

I love that when you really know corn - you know that the good stuff is not the overly large kernels. The good stuff is the baby small kernels because they are full of sweetness.

It is fast to pass - sweet corn (or at least the good stuff) is short lived.

This is how it has come that when we have sweet corn - we HAVE corn. Like corn equals a meal for me.

So the other night - I steamed up a pot of corn on the cob. A pot that should have fed everyone in the house...

And somehow, by the time hubby reached the kitchen - the pot had been emptied and was on round 2.

See? Corn season really is short around here.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wishing Wednesday

Week 29: Life after Job

I am wishing for a "do-over" with my compost box...I've clearly mucked something up.

I wish my jade plant will forgive me for neglecting it.

I wish that the pests that have invaded my house will soon go away - either of natural causes or poison can be ordered.

I wish for patience and the ability to be focused and still relax.

I wish for a burst of productivity and organization.

And I'm thankful...

...that I do have some time to breathe and that I do not have to take the first low paying crap job that is offered to me.

...that while I may be looking at crap jobs right now - even if I do take one, I'm not committed for a lifetime.

...that while my hen and chick plant died (flowering equals death for hen and chicks) I think I was left with many seeds to start a new adventure.

...that there is time to make changes. Classes to build skills. Chances to move in a new career direction.

And what are you wishing for lately?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wishing Wednesday

Week 28: Still searching...

I wish I knew what I wanted to be when I grow up...the clock is ticking.

I wish that Droid would put James VanDerBeek's voice back on their commercials - the new dude sucks.

I wish that I would be able to think up my "dream job".

And then I wish that it would be found on the help wanted ads.

I wish for safe returns from travel.

Thanks: I'm thankful to be done with my knitting project - a shrug.

I'm thankful that the kiddo seems to be doing better with his travels than last time.

I'm thankful for tomatoes that are starting to blush.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Things to Do...Killing Time

When you suddenly have a lot of time on your hands - there are so many possible ways to fill it...

You could clean your house compulsively -

or not.

But here are some things that have been swirling around in my brain.

1. Learn how to harvest sunflower seeds.

2. Bake like crazy.

3. Do a puzzle. Catch up on some trash TV. Finish that knitting.

4. Lose whole days to job searches online.

5. Learn to make your own flavoring extracts and seasoning mixes.

What would you do if you got had some unexpected free time?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Trophies and Tears

At the end of baseball season they have a ceremony.

Well, that is a bit false. They distribute trophies. In a parking lot. Out of the back of a truck. Followed by a pool party.

There is no pomp and circumstance. There is no difference between the "winners" and the "not winners". There is no recognition for specific people, specific well-doings, or "just showing up".

Don't get me wrong - it was hot. We were pressed for time. I'm glad it was short and went something like, "Thanks. Here you go."
And by the way - that trophy is MUCH nicer than the one we brought home.

Truth is - my son loves trophies. I HATE them. If you won the Nobel Peace Prize - sure, buy a trophy for the occasion. (likely not plastic-brassy-tacky plastic) If you won the little league championship - yes, buy a trophy. My house does not need a trophy to sum up the 2010 season.

What do you DO with these things? They sit around, collect dust, aren't even personalized. They may be "precious" for like a few weeks. Then the next sport season will start - and we will be onto earning the next trophy. (Read that as paying for it with our registration fees.) It saddens me to think of the number of trophies that are likely in the landfills. Does someone recycle these things? (mental note, find way to reuse these things and make a million dollars with your brilliant idea)

So, we have another trophy. Whooppie.

And onto the tears...the reason we were pressed for time was because my little dude is leaving me for 10 whole days to go on vacation with his dad. 10 days. He's never been gone this long. The last time he "went away" he was gone 24 hours before he called crying hysterically and "needing me". It also took about a half a week before he would leave my side (or the house) upon his return.

I'm hoping that a few years of maturity will make this vacation a little less traumatic. But it's still been a little rough on both of us. He called this morning after being on the road for about 5 hours and I could hear the insecurity in his voice. Of course, it's easy to focus on missing you Mom when you are stuck in a car and knowing that you will continue to be stuck in the car for many, many hours to come.

The tears, so far, have only been on my end. Because I hate to let him go. I hate to have him out of reach - in lands unfamiliar to me - in situations that I can not control or protect. It kind of rips me into pieces.

It will be a long number of days. I'm hoping to fill them with projects, appointments, and to-dos. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wishing Wednesday

Week 27: Where the harsh realities of job searching are sinking in...

I wish there were laws about things people could NOT ask applicants to blindly state - like my salary requirements. I require to be PAID - other than that, does it really matter what I want? Honestly - you have XX$$ to give me, I can take it or leave it...right?

I wish there were laws about things people HAD to say about the employment what it pays. Because if I'm going to tailor my resume and cover letter to your position - only to find out it pays 1/2 of what I will make on unemployment...let's save us both some time, k?

I wish there was a way to quickly detect the 10 worst things/ 10 best things about any job you were considering - again in an easy totally transparent kind of way. You know, don't yank my chain about "fulfilling in creative ways" if you really mean - sell your soul to our company and we will use you up until you are a weak twig that breaks under the slightest pressure...then we will discard you in the alley out back. Doesn't that seem fair?

I wish AGAIN for the crystal ball...some "odd" jobs have come to my attention being a party planner for cow-people - and no, I'm not making that up. Is this the best thing the universe is going to send me? Seriously - if this is the path I am destined to take - I'm going to need a neon sign...b/c I'm just not feeling the love.

I wish that crabgrass had a mortal enemy - and that this mortal enemy would come battle in my yard. Because I am really in fear that the crabgrass is plotting to take over the world...and based on it's progress in my yard - we should all be very, very afraid.

On the thankful front...
Thankful for vacation hours that were stockpiled.

Thankful for plants that will soon be filling my dinner plate.

Thankful for kind people that say nice things.

And last but not least - I've been thankful a lot lately for iced coffee recipes, and for the reunion of ice cream, Oreo cookies, and hot fudge all together in my bowl.

Hoping that your week is filled with more than you could wish for - all the best!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Survival of Soccer Camp

Goal 27 was to send the kiddo to soccer camp.

This week - I clocked many hours driving to camp (1/2 day event), sitting and watching camp (making great progress on knitting shrug), and driving home. We spent 15 hours driving and 20 hours improving skills and having fun.

We were able to also visit an out of town pal (goal 6) do some lunch, spend some gift cards at places that are not located anywhere near our homeland and soak up some sun, pool-side. Total success.

And I made a bleacher buddy by tackling goal 15 - and talking to another mom that was a complete stranger. Soccer Mom's Unite!

Additional benefits of the week - I think that I lost several pounds of myself by project "extreme sweat". I got to do lots of people watching - because there is nothing more bizarre to watch than the behavior of parents with young children. I was serenaded every single day by a group of campers that happened to meet in our park shelter for song time. I hope that their songs soon are deleted from my mental play know how the most annoying songs are the ones that get stuck the easiest?

I am close enough to being done with my knitting project that I am now compulsively measuring after every other know, just in case I magically have reached "the end".

On top of all of this - we also wrapped up baseball season. A week full of wins! Adding another 12.5 hours (4 games) of bleacher time to my week. Is it any wonder that my butt wants a bleacher vacation?

Mother nature did NOT behave herself very nicely for the occasion. She did provide the occasional mild breeze (thanks), excessive heat warnings (no thanks), and on the final day...she sent a storm system that I was pretty sure would be the end of us in rush hour traffic. After some frightening moments, driving blind, and pretty much being deaf from the noise of wind / pounding rain...we found the sunshine, slowed our pulses, and returned home safely.

All in all... a very good, but very long week. Hoping to recover this weekend.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wishing Wednesday

Week 26: The one where we put on our pretend hats and believe that it's Wednesday...but don't make the week any longer.

  • I wish for another day of pleasant weather and great progress on knitting project so that I can end my week of sitting through soccer camp on a good note.
  • I wish for that icky feeling in my throat to NOT develop into something with more significant symptoms.
  • I wish for clear signs from the universe to point me in the right direction.
  • I wish for much productivity balanced with a nice amount of relaxing.
  • I wish for safe travels and safe returns for all the come-ers and go-ers.
  • for breezes that come out of no where.
  • for friendly faces that come in and out of our lives.
  • for hope and things to look forward to.
  • for sound sleep.

Friday, July 9, 2010

End of Days

I have officially ended my days in the office.

I have packed requested things. Set OUT OF OFFICE to permanent.

I have thrown away an amazing amount of paper. (In a recycle bin for non-profit organization.)

I have submitted my stacks of files to shred.

I am done.

Except...I keep waking at odd hours of the night and remembering things undone...boxes and shelves unsorted, emails unsent, supplies that could have found a better home.

At some point, I'm sure it will stop mattering. Things will be what they will be.
Things will be thrown away. Things will be sent out to others. And soon, there will be no proof that we were ever there.

Websites will be canceled. Phone lines will be disconnected. At some point email messages will stop coming in - either because I stop answering them or because people figure out we are gone or because we won't have active accounts. We will be a memory.

Being away seems to be better than being there and constantly saying goodbye to every phone call and every email. I feel like the book is shut. And I'm even starting to look forward to the next adventure. Not enough to want it to begin yet.

Just enough to start window shopping without feeling nauseous. Baby steps.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Who's Got the Map?

Since the amputation of my entire department, I'm pretty emotional.

I waiver between extreme grief for the agency that I wish I was still working with and excitement at the idea of doing something new.

I waiver between fear / total panic at the idea of going somewhere else to work - with new people, new expectations - that whole "not being the expert at your job" is kind of horrifying. I feel like I've been dumped and I'm jumping into dating before I'm even "over it". Maybe I'm not ready to like new co-workers or get to know new office mates?

I think I should take some time to catch my breath and then I go into extreme hysterics that I will never find anything and I better get serious about the searching RIGHT NOW. I think I should have NO expectations - and on the other hand - I think I should set my sights high...I'm a pretty qualified person. (Until you go to look for a job - and suddenly...all the things that make you "special" are non-applicable and make you look totally unskilled.)

I've never collected unemployment - it sounds like something people in this situation should embrace...and then I feel like there's something really wrong with me for considering that ---and what if that benefit runs OUT and I'm still lost? How sad would THAT be?

I've invested some years into polishing my skills in this field - but maybe it's time to move on. Maybe there's a whole other field to consider ---maybe one that's more fun, or has more money, or has more advancement?

I kind of think a "job" instead of a career would be an OK thing - clock in, do it, clock out. No worries. Maybe I could be a dough master (I really saw that advertised) or a PhD of java-mixology (I made that one up). Really, if the money is going to suck regardless of where I go (and so far - nothing comes close)...shouldn't I at least have the advantage of having a blast?

I need a crystal ball. I need direction. I need to have all the offers laid out in front of me so that I can put together the very best poker hand possible...

So if anyone's got the career GPS - please send it my way...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thank You For Reminding Me...

So, it's been a head-spinning crazy kind of week since I found out I was no longer "necessary" in the eyes of the evil overlord. And while I am in good company of people that are in the same boat, it still kind of sucks.

But I'm trying to be positive......and this is a reach at such tasks...

Long, long ago - I was dating an idiot. Technically I was engaged to the idiot. But don't hold that against me. It ended - badly. And he spent much of my last year in the same town proving what an ass he was with his behavior and choices. One night, I was particularly upset - and I called him. (dumb girl moment) He - of course, failed to be the support that I needed. He failed epically.

My next obvious step was to call my dad. And his answer was something like this...You deserve better, he's an idiot, he's acting like an idiot. You need to thank him for reminding you WHY you don't want to be with him. Every time he's an ass (there were many examples for me to reference - and many more to come) THANK HIM - at least in your mind. Because he is giving your proof that walking away from him was the right thing - and you should keep going that way.

Yes, you have permission to use this with whatever girlfriend will benefit in the future.

So I'm applying this to my current status of job-less-ness.

1. Thank you for firing me because I already knew you were contemplating firing me...and the idea of sitting with you at a table and having nice conversations for another contract year all the while knowing you are planning my demise - not my idea of fun.

2. Thank you. I will never again have to wonder when you say "don't do this" if you mean "do this" but only when the moon is full or when it's raining on Venus or some other nonsense.

3. Thank you. Because even as you burn all of our jobs to the ground - you can't stop lying and mis-communicating and stepping on toes.

4. Thank you. Because I will never again be accused of "writing my own story" - as if it is my problem that I find it offensive that you'd rather execute people than to ask questions and have conversations about OPTIONS.

5. Thank you. Because you have pushed me into a place that I likely would not have stepped on my own...and while I don't know exactly where that is yet - I'm sure it will be more hospitable than being one of your employees.

6. Thank you for kicking me off your boat. I am pretty sure that karma is going to come take a big chunk out of your ass - and I'd rather not be standing close by when it happens.

7. Thank you - because of the way you handled this entire situation - I think the whole world is one step closer to seeing your true colors. It only takes one power-hungry person to ruin the reputation of an immaculate 20 some year old organization. (Your mother would be so proud.) I think it takes true class to blame the victim - it's a wonder tactic that I often see 3 year-olds use (or bullies or abusers). Congrats on your maturity.

8. Finally, Thank you for reminding me - that if the ONLY nice words I have EVER received from you are two days after you have kicked me off the either didn't have the sense to value me before or you are just being a bad winner. Either way - you officially suck in my book.

My loving and supportive agency - who was NOT responsible, pleased, or supportive of this plan to let my whole department go - has decided to foot the bill for things that our lame-O funders did not value. Like giving us notice, extending our health care two months and paying us for our vacation time - all out of their own not-for-profit pockets. Which reminds me to Thank THEM for being such decent people. And makes me sad that I have to leave.

I'm sure that they will continue to give me reasons to be thankful until the very end...I'll hope that it serves as motivation to push forward and stop looking back.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Theme Song Of The Evil OverLord

Yes. It's official. I am unemployed.

Life Without Commercials

Somehow it is already June and I've not done very good about reporting my progress on 101 goals in 1001 days. Sure, I've blocked them out from time to time- but I really haven't "shared".

I talked my son into joining me on the adventure of life without television for 1 week.

Once upon a time I had a handful (okay, more like 2 handfuls) of shows that I kept up on. This year has been a blur and I've given up on all of them.

My TV viewing seems to be mindless hours of Nickelodeon (with child)- watching the SAME episode of the SAME shows over and over and over. (I'm considering muting the television and seeing if we can act out all the lines...because really, it's THAT BAD! But then again he feels that way about Law & Order marathons; so maybe we are even.) My other daily pleasure is King of the Hill - as it has become the opening show for Adult Swim. Sometimes I "watch" it. Sometimes I listen - glasses off / totally blind - but it's a peaceful and pleasurable lullaby for me to fall asleep to.

On weekends I tend to get sucked into a vortex of Lifetime, House Hunting / House Remodeling shows, various shows that I randomly flip through, and Netflix.

Between baseball, summer school, the pool, and "other stuff we should be doing" - I thought this would be about as painless a time as ever to embark on our week without viewing.

And it hasn't been so terrible...

The weekend was the hardest - and I'm thankful that we were out of town and busy to make time pass quicker. I miss Hank on a nightly basis. But I've slept okay every night without the TV running (yes, it generally runs all night - bad habit, I know). Because the weather is either REALLY hot or just kind of hot - missing the forecast hasn't been detrimental. So really during the weekdays - we've barely missed our viewing at all.

We've even talked about doing a little "overtime" and extending it a few days. Or maybe, making it a policy not to watch during the week at all. We'll see ...

I think what we have noticed the most is that we seem to have more time now. More reading is happening. Chores don't get put off as long. No one has gone into shock and needed medical attention.

So there you go. One more goal is close to being met... How about you? Ever gone on a TV vacation? Are you meeting your yearly goals?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Not In My Ice Cream

For obvious reasons, I am not posting this on the weight loss blog.

And if you are one of THOSE readers - I'm telling you now, I can not be held responsible for any craving that may overtake you after reading about this...

I bought an ice cream maker.

Why? Regina, don't you know ice cream is not the road to weight loss?

(Yes, so I've heard.)

Well, see it all started when someone posted a frozen yogurt recipe. And this reminded me of how much I really enjoy frozen yogurt. And you can't find it in the store. And this makes me crabby. And our frozen custard store went out of business. And that makes me want to cry.

And I love homemade, plain-Jane ice cream. Always vanilla - you don't even have to ask.

I am not opposed to toppings.

And then I was served some really GOOD ice cream from a local shop. And I did the math. I could go bankrupt in a month OR I could buy an ice cream maker.

So I have a new toy. It takes no salt, no hand cranking. Keep it in the freezer all the time - in 10 minutes I can have ice cream.


Did you know? There are EGGS in lots of those recipes? Like raw eggs. I can't do that.

And the recipes for non-egg ice cream are filled with lots of small amounts of ingredients that I don't buy. So this is problematic to my previous budgeting of how much ice cream I have to eat before I've SAVED us money!

But I also love ice milk. It's so simple. Milk. (I do have to buy whole - which is not normal for us, but is do-able.) Sugar. (And I can adjust this a bit to make it a little more healthy.) Vanilla extract.


And no fear of salmonella. Well, almost no fear. You see, while I am offended by ice cream recipes involving raw eggs - there is NO hesitation for me to chop and add some cookie dough.

Logic, smogic. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wishing Wednesday

Week 25: The one where I obsess about job loss.

I wish I had a crystal ball.

I wish for a sign from the universe - you know, something subtle like a neon sign with arrows...that says "Go This Way!"

I wish to quickly recover from the "we've stolen your job away" shock.

I wish for the ability to make wonderful first impressions with people that are offering wages that are not in the same pay scale as unemployment.

I wish for my dream job / hiring process to start close to the "return to school" date for my kiddo - so that we don't have to re-think child care for the 5th time this summer.

Thankful that I did catch up with Mr. Mojito and he delivered another glass of magical yumminess!

Thankful that no one is keeping score in my life (or at least they are doing without a huge scoreboard for me to watch).

Thankful that sometimes in life you find people who keep the good memories about you in their "easy access" files.

What are you wishing for this week?

Wishing Wednesday

Week 24 :

I wish we had some answers regarding who's about to get kicked off our island of employment, who's going to willingly JUMP off the island, and who's going to be left to clean up the mess after everyone else leaves the island. (Maybe that should be a wish for patients and less wordy sentences.)

I wish on my special needs animal post I had not failed to mention my anti-social fish - who has successfully eaten EVERY tank mate (larger, equal size, and same species) out of a 55 gallon tank. Forcing me to put him in a 20 gallon isolation tank where he will live alone the rest of his days - btw, while I see this as punishment - he could care less.

I wish I had taken the package advice a little more seriously about the spacing for the mammoth sunflowers we are growing. Now I'm just praying they don't crowd out / kill my tomatoes.

I wish for the ability to let go of some of the items that are crowding up my space. (And maybe I wish for a mute button for my hubby-dear, who sometimes points this out in a less than helpful / nice way.)

I wish for two opportunity doors to open for every one that is slamming shut.

Thankful for...

The idea that the universe may have a better plan for me than I have for myself. (And kuddos to the Universe for all the eerie-meaningful messages lately.)

Pitching successes (by my son) and occasionally safety equipment that makes pitching failures less painful. (Unlike the one that nailed my kiddo in the back.) :(

I'm really thankful for flowers that have long blooming seasons.

I'm thankful that my toad isn't blogging about me - I don't think he'd have many nice things to say. (And thankful for the frequent smiles I've had from this image that Karen suggested.)

Which also reminds me that I am thankful that my dogs can't talk.

What are you wishing for? Are you balancing that with thanks?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Line Starts Here

I'm not even sure what line I'm in yet...

The line for complaints?

The line for fulfilling undiscovered dreams?

The line for the manual that explains how not-to get run over by the "Change" bus?

The line for anxiety medication?

The line for beverages that help to "fuzz out the edges"?

Oh, wait. This may be the line for severance packages and unemployment.

Why? Because, yesterday - near the end of my work I was on a serious roll of productivity and task ass-kicking...(on a FRIDAY - for the record)

Some man (it must have been a man) took out a pen in his ivory tower without windows and managed to eliminate 100% of the funding they provide for my all-important job. (Which is about 50% of my overall funding.) On the eve of my 10 year anniversary.


I know I'm not alone. Everyone that depends on the financially crisis-crazed budgets has been looking at cuts in every direction. And until yesterday - it looked like they were attacking every line item EXCEPT mine. And suddenly project Bracing for Impact started to phase into project Roll With the Punches, Hang On Tight, and Assess Damage When The Ride Comes to A Full And Complete Stop.

In hindsight, I'd rather have had my arm cut off instead of being executed.

Should I be making my way to the unemployment line - I'll bring a case of beverages and some cake - because I will be amongst friends.

But I'm not sure this is the end of the story. Until I was struck with anxiety and insomnia around 3AM I was pretty sure that there is hope. I just MAY make it into the lifeboat. I think that it will work out. I am not deluded by the idea that my job will look ANYTHING like it did 24 hours ago. But I've been there and I've done that. And now, I'll get to do something new.

Maybe in the same building. Maybe with the same benefits. Maybe not. Maybe I'll be cracking books. Maybe I'll be tapping my creative energy. Who knows?

But the times, they are a'changing (thanks Billy for the theme song). Take a number. Wear comfy shoes...we may be here a while.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Special Needs aren't Just For Peeps!

A while back (OK, it was weeks - time flies) I mentioned that my house has become a magnet for animals with special needs. Here's a short list of what is going on in the world of ME...

1. I have a narcoleptic Plecostomus fish. Incident #1 - He seemed to be passed out in a plant. Incident #2 - Found him sleeping UPSIDE DOWN at the top of the tank (apparently implementing the energy-saving "Dead Fish Float") Apparently the poor fellow eats himself into a mini-coma and then just gives up movement while he digests...this is not normal fish behavior - they usually like to be hidden or seek shelter from other aggressive fish if they are not feeding. At this point, he will be dead for days before I realize he is not just "sleeping it off".

2. I have a head-banging cardinal AND oriel. It's a female. She starts in the morning - flying INTO my window. Curtains up or curtains down. Over and over and over. On days that I've been home - she will do this for HOURS. Sometimes, she starts again in the afternoon. Doesn't matter if food is out there - she still does it. Doesn't matter if the sun is shining or a cloudy day. (It was suggested that maybe she's seeing her reflection? OR not seeing the glass?) It was also suggested that maybe they see a reflection and think it's a "mate"...but that implies EITHER that birds are color blind - or that potentially these birds are gay, since the female and male varieties look so different. So maybe I have head-banging, poor visioned, color-blind GAY birds?

3. I have a fish that is a vain interior decorator. Okay, so it is common for the Oscar fish to move things around the tank. He digs up rock - and I have LARGE rocks in the bottom - not weak little pea gravel - so this is the equivalent of weight lifting. And by saying "he digs up rock", what I really mean is that i smooth it out to cover the bottom nicely. And he digs it up to build 2 mountains on each side of the tank leaving the middle of the tank open- where he dances and dances around his reflection admiring himself from every angle. He has also buried the "ancient ruins" decoration - so either he doesn't like it or is re-enacting the scene of a landslide. He prefers his plants and heater to float in the tank instead of be mounted. AND recently, he started a new behavior of removing the filter tube from the filter - and burying it in the rubble as well. Perhaps he is part DOG?

4. I have a squirrel that needs behavior management. I am sure that to some extent all squirrels taunt dogs. But I have one - let's call him Chip - that has become a master. I should pay him for giving my dogs a workout...because between their hide and seek / tag games and all the tracking they do to find out where he's dogs are pretty active. And the squirrel is building his self-esteem with each day that goes by because his bravery is growing by leaps and bounds. He was on our deck yesterday - drinking water from the dog bowl - WHILE the dogs were following his path...let's just pray his luck holds out! For if the pups ever get a hold on's not going to be pretty - for either party! Because they are definitely in the same weight class division!

5. I also have a toad that is stalking me! Last year, he scared me on more than one occasion right off the steps of the deck - where he apparently decided to take up house. This year - we keep crossing paths. First, in our new garden site (where I removed his house to make room for the raised garden). Then, near the side door - where he had taken up a temporary shelter under my recently purchased potting soil. Then in a flower bed - under the mulch...after this encounter he relocated in the exact same bed in the exact spot where I needed to plant a week later. And just yesterday - he found me again as I was trying to weed another flower bed. Each of our meetings go something like bent over very near the area, ground begins to move, I scream bloody murder, scramble to get away, and then try to calm my pulse and breathing while he stares blankly in my direction. I don't mind him being there - but if he could announce himself a little better that would be highly appreciated.

6. And lest you think I don't have any animal fun at work - this week I was greeted in the office by a gang of flies. Bad enough to have the critters around at all (and it's quite a mystery HOW they got to our office- it's like Fort Knox) but these seem to have attended kamikazes school and really enjoy dive-bombing people. I don't think I've ever been so happy to count down the days of the life of a fly before.

Wishing Wednesdays

Week 23:

I wish my Duck-Dog would stop spitting out her medicine-filled cheese, separating the items, and eating only the one she finds desirable!

I wish to successfully complete my own medication today - Finally! I can manage to get ONE of the TWO doses in me per day...and can only take with food...leading to a 5 day medicine taking about 10 days to complete.

I wish I could locate - and then wear -the one swimsuit that I own that comes closest to being flattering - or at least not likely to result in gasps, stares, or laughter.

I wish for time and energy to tap into all the creative energy that is flooding my mind recently. (And let me clarify - I am NOT asking for insomnia so that I have more hours in the day.)

I'm wishing for more wisdom and patience - two things that I'm pretty sure you can not O.D. on!

On the list of Thankful Things....

Thankful for medicine that stops my dog from quacking!

Thankful that the vet has weekend hours so we didn't have to pay the emergency fee to help her stop quacking!

Thankful that the huge anaconda that was apparently WRAPPED around my child at SCHOOL yesterday had been fed recently enough that he wasn't tempted to snack on my kiddo.

Thankful that my glasses arrived and are FINALLY correct! (4 returns and 4 months later...but who's counting)

Sometimes (not often) but at least once recently, I have been thankful for the slowness of bureaucracy and the hurdle of red tape!

Monday, June 14, 2010

What Does the Dog Say?

I am sure -my excellent readers - that you long ago mastered your animal noises.

So if I told you that Saturday morning my son awoke to an odd noise....

And that this odd noise caused him to inquire "When did we get a duck?"

You would assume that the noise was...or sounded very much like a Quack!

And you would be right.
The confusion enters when I tried to explain that the Quack noise was coming from our smallest dog - and while her nickname is Goose, she is in fact all dog and should NOT be quacking.

But in case you have a small dog - and in case they ever start quacking....I want you to know, that after you stop laughing (and I strongly suggest recording the noise - because no amount of description does that noise justice) that you should call your vet.

Because our poor little puppy had a fever and an upper respiratory infection. Lucky we caught it in time to prevent dehydration or further complications. She will be fine after a few days of medicines and cough medicine to stop the quacking. And in the meantime, she is just happy for all the little "treats" of pill filled cheese!

I'm thankful that our son is old enough to know that the dog doesn't usually say Quack - because I can just imagine the worried looks that would have inspired from his teachers!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wishing Wednesdays

Week 22: Where I'm trying to get my head on straight.

I wish I wasn't feeling like the Universe is picking on me.

I wish for no more pool leaks, no more lost items, and a general break from drama. Please I'm begging for mercy here!

I wish I had a buy 2 get 1 free plan with the repair dude that keeps coming to see me with my lack-of-hot-water-issues.

I wish I could choose which medical tests I could fail and which ones I could pass.

I wish that anyone else waiting for medical test results would receive the results they were wanting to hear.

I am thankful for good conversation that passes the many hours that I'm spending sitting on bad bleachers watching mostly bad baseball.

I am so thankful when things WORK. It's a novel idea - I know.

I am thankful for new found resources and people.

I am thankful that while my day stared with much drama - at least it started.

Maybe I should try to convince myself that I am happy for all of the work-place drama (I mean, transistion)'s like having a soap-opera cliff hanger every day...and every day you come back thinking you will FINALLY learn the truth...but it's drug out for another week or two... I'll work on that one. :)

What are you wishing for?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Mr. Mojito Where Have You Gone?

I fell in love with the mojito about a year ago. Thanks to a lovely lady - who could have easily become one of my best friends in the world - if only she was better at email communication and had a less busy schedule and didn't live clear across the state...

But she did introduce me to the wonderful mojito and for this I will be eternally grateful. And while I am not a frequent or heavy drinker by any stretch - when I do indulge, I now have this drink on the top of my wish list.

At a dinner meeting (off the clock) I recently decided to visit my friend Mr. Mojito at a local Mexican restaurant. I was served the best mouth-watering beverage I had ever encountered.

When I went to pay the bill - the young bartender asked me how I enjoyed my drink - and I was very happy to slather him with compliments. Soon I discovered that he had only recently learned how to make this variety - which included tequila and some other alcohol that I'd never heard of. I was really surprised to hear the ingredients that I had just willingly ingested and purely enjoyed...but mostly, I was just left with the impression that this was my new favorite place to order my favorite drink.

For over a week - I dreamed about the beverage. Passing the word onto others that it was pure liquid heaven in a glass. So on our next date night - I suggested that spot as a dinner option.

And I was served a mini-version without a sugar-rimmed glass filled with an icky but drinkable beverage - garnished with lime. To say that it was disappointing ...those words are simply not strong enough. It had gone from the "best ever" to the "never again" list. My dear friend - Bartender Mr. Mojito was not on duty.

When the server asked how I was enjoying my drink - I was honest that it was not making my mouth happy and I nicely demanded (requested) to know when My Mr. Mojito would be working again.

I'm already searching for a Mojito buddy to join me and redeem my memories of the yummy drink! If he can not recreate the golden liquid---I will chalk it up to a once in a lifetime bliss-and-joy experience in a glass. Cross your fingers and join me for happy hour.

What's your wonder-beverage? Can you get it anywhere or do you count on a few special mixers to make magic in your glass?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Can You Feel The LOVE?

Karen over at A Peek at Karen's World tagged me with this!

Ah, how much do you love being loved? SOOOO MUCH!

So here is where I share with you lucky readers 10 things that I LOVE!
(In no particular order.)

1. I love sleep.

Not in a sleep all day kind of way. But in a way that makes me very serious about sound snoozing. I like feeling rested and waking with a clear head (which doesn't happen nearly as much with the seasonal change right now). So it's no surprise that I get pretty close to 8 hours of sleep each night - I work even better on 9!

2. I love plants.
There is something very happy about growing things from seed or pinching it from one plant to make a whole new plant. This is why I have a long list of gardening experiments in my life...trying to grow a 7 foot wide hosta, propagating a jade plant from a single leaf, pinching my impatiens so I can be cheap and still have flowers everywhere, growing a pineapple plant from what would have been compost (he just turned a year old) and the list goes on...

3. I love it when I make myself chill out and take it easy.

This is closely related to my love of the beach. And to my love of flying kites. And to my love of hammocks. And to my love for my reflexologist. And to my love of getting swept up on movies / books. And to my love of plants. And to my love of knitting - which teaches me patience.

4. I love food.

Food is fun. Food makes me smile. I love the smells. I love the people that flock to it. I love to master making it. I love to make it taste better and be more nutritious. Is it any wonder I co-write "Does This Blog Make Me Look Fat"? I assure you - this is not by accident.

5. I love my animals. (and some of those that aren't mine)

My puppies make me feel like a rock star when they dance at the door just to see me. (Even when I just stepped outside a minute ago.) I love that they find comfort in being around me (so much that we have renamed them the pup-arrazzi). I love it when they listen and I love to see them be frisky and happy. I also love my fish - who dance wildly as I walk by their tanks or throw rocks to get my attention. I am mystified by sea creatures in general.

6. I love the people I share my life with!

My hubby. My super kiddo. Real life friends. Bloggy friends. Friends I'm soon to make. People that think I know stuff. People that know I don't know anything - but like me anyway. And even a few reoccurring strangers... the grounds keeper for the building behind my workplace stops working to wave and smile at me - and I don't even know the mans name, but he's priceless on a grumbly-dreadful-morning!

7. I love being creative.

This makes me hard to live with - because I'm always onto the next thing. I like to craft. I like to knit. I like music. I like writing. I like to cook. And generally all of these inspirations occur at the same time. My husband would say this makes me a clutter bomb for our house. But you have to answer when the muse calls.

8. I love being the mixed-up creature that is ME.

It's not an easy job and I doubt that anyone else wants it. Every time I take one of those personality quizzes - I am a perfect split between introvert and extrovert. This means I am very social - until I am not. I need balance. I crave it. I am equal parts quiet and loud. I am equal parts routine and mixing it up. And if I get stuck on one side or the other - I tend to get moody.

9. I love the small things.

Small dogs. Baby animals. Small children. Museums of miniatures. Small purses. Small cars.

And then I love the small the sunshine, birds chirping, a new blossoms on a flower, a nice writing pen in a fun color, a note from a friend, a message in my inbox, technology that works, communication that is clear, a new tube of chap stick, a pound dropped, spell check, a comment on a blog page - it really doesn't take much to excite me. (One definite exception to this is diamonds - I prefer them large.)

10. I love my to-do list and notes to self.

I doubt that a day goes by without me making a list. A list of books to read. A list of things to do. A list of grocery items. A list of projects. The list goes on... Do I complete them? Not always, maybe not even often. I often lose them in my purse or car. But for me - writing it down makes it "stick" in my brain a little better. So I often write the grocery list and then - even if it's with me in the store - I shop without checking it. If you find me checking things off my list - it is a sign that I am stressed and overwhelmed!

And now - I am charged with spreading the love and tagging others with doing this same task.

By all means, if you aren't listed...feel free to spread some love yourself and please, let me know you did! Report 10 things you love and tag 10 more people! (I'm following Karen's lead and tagging 10+1)

Kristin @ Write It Down
Erin @ Dutch Girl Diary
Tricia @ Endurance Isn't Only Physical
Lisette @ Fancy Frugalista
Mary @ Giving Up On Perfect
Funny @ In My Mind I'ts Always Funny
Sweet Pea @ Newlyweds
Cole @ All The Small Stuff
Tina @ Tina's Place
Megan @ Twinsomnia
Michelle @ Honest and Truly

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wishing Wednesdays

Week 21: 80% chance of grumpiness with happiness expected for the weekend.

  • I wish the puppy would stop having an upset has caused rough mornings for me!
  • I wish I could take a nap...since I was up about every hour of the night (with the dog).
  • I wish that the concrete dudes would fix the catastrophe of a mess they have made in the backyard and complete the project.
  • I wish for patience as I wait (again) for the concrete to dry / cure...causing a 3 day wait (again) before putting up the pool. It's June people...MOVE IT!
  • I selfishly wish for rain during those 3 days - so that I'm not wishing I was in the pool. (And so that Mother Nature can take care of watering the plants that she tortured all night with her high winds and lashing rain.)

As a bonus wish: I wish to stop thinking evil thoughts about the concrete dude that RAN OVER my brand new hosta. One would think that being on the total opposite side of the yard would ensure safety? Clearly not.

Hoping for the grumpiness to pass quickly and for a good -rest of the week. What are you wishing for this week?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Wishing It Was Wednesday

Week 20: (Notice I have counted and have myself back on schedule! Now if only the week wasn't breezing by me...)

Thankful that - I have mastered the ability to count and know what week we are on.

Thankful that - the concrete dudes must read my blog - they showed up that very afternoon after last weeks wish!

Thankful that -hosta's arrived in healthy status - even if they were late.

Wishing for...

I wish that this "not hungry" phase would last long enough to jump start some lowering scale numbers.

I wish that time in the office would pass as quickly as time off.

I wish that a certain gal pal would meet her Mr. Perfect.

I wish for nice weather for the holiday weekend (this would also enable the quicker completion of the concrete pad).

Hope your week is flying by with lots of wishes coming true!

How To Scare the Bejeabers Out of Your Child

My son and I were having one of our rambling-chatty-not-so-focused conversations early on a weekend morning. It involved a cuddly blanket. And two dogs.

One of the dogs had plopped herself right on top of the blanket. And of course, this added heat made my child decided he no longer wanted to be covered up. He was asking if she liked to be covered up and I thought her snoring was a pretty good indication of a I tucked her in tight. He commented "Now She Will Be A Butterfly."

And I saw the light bulb in his head turn on. His eyes widened.

"Mom, Did I ever tell you about how they scared me at daycare?"

I brace myself - mind fast forwarding through horror stories, possible ways my child has been damaged, and begin planning my revenge on the soul that has emotionally damaged my child in a manner that he can only bear to speak of it 4 years later.

"At nap time, I liked to have the blanket tucked real tight around me. They said I was rolled up tight like a caterpillar in a cocoon. But you know, Mom it's really a crysilis - because a cocoon is for a moth, and a crysilis is for a butterfly."

I nod.

"She told me, 'When you wake up you will be a butterfly.'

"That really bothered me because I thought about it and if I was a butterfly I wouldn't see you anymore. And maybe you wouldn't be my Mom anymore? Or I thought maybe I would see you and I'd be yelling "Mmmmmooooooooommmmmmm!!!" and you wouldn't even notice me- because I wouldn't look like your kiddo anymore. And I was scared and worried. And I tried not to fall asleep that day."

(Sigh of relief.)

See how that was SO innocent? How many cutesy things do we say to kids every day that causes them undo concern and stress? And while I'm mostly amused by his rambling - it reminds me that you just can't make too many assumptions when communicating with children.

This is the same child that was certain we would see witches in Wichita...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Wishing Wednesday

Week XX? : who knows?

I wish I had mastered the skill of counting and that I could know how many weeks we've been at this.

I wish for answers to my summer school / child care / transportation to summer school / vacation schedule issues.

I wish for quickness on the parts of the concrete masters that will be building a pool pad - seriously people clock is ticking, get here soon.

I wish for the survival of my new orchid...may it be resilient and long blooming.

I wish that my glasses order would be right, fast, and that I will be properly rewarded for not shoving them up their arses the first two times they mucked up the order.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Frozen Puppy Treats

With summer coming up (if it ever stops raining)- I was very happy to find this healthy, cold treat for the Pups! This recipe is very similar to a product that I had previously purchased in the store - but at a greatly reduced cost and higher nutrition!

Honestly, I was most interested in trying this recipe out because I accidentally bought plain yogurt and it just wasn't the flavor (or flavor-less) for me! The pups were thrilled with my accident!

1 cup peanut butter (natural is good- even for dogs)
32 oz plain low fat yogurt

  • Put peanut butter in the microwave for a few seconds until it is melted. (Try 30 seconds and stir.)
  • Combine with yogurt.
  • Scoop into cupcake papers (I have small dogs so I used a silicone mini-cupcake pan for smaller serving sizes.)
  • Put into freezer. (About 4 hours.)
  • Once cups are frozen pop them out (if using silicone) and put in freezer bag for storage.
You can serve them straight out of the freezer - or let them soften at room temp for a few girls like to dig right in.

So simple and puppy approved!

Signs of Life

I may have mentioned before that I am in inpatient gardener. So imagine my frustration when over a year ago I was shopping (for plants- which in my mind is often better than clothes or shoes). Anyway, Mom found one of those generically labeled plants that had a unique shape and attractive leaves - and was the only one left. So of course, regardless of it's generic instructions for care - it was a "must have".

We were not even to the parking lot before plant envy set in. And being the super-duper Mom that she was - she offered to take one of the little branches - which was almost broken off anyway, and send it home with me.

One year later the damned single-leaf plant has been well cared for, well sunned, but not too sunned - well watered but not too watered. And for about 8 months - it's only sign of life was that it was green. It did not grow at all.

And then...right about when I was thinking "Great. I'm going to be 100 years old and someone will be cleaning out my house and they will wonder why I have kept a plant with one leaf. And hopefully they will think I've only had it for a few months." ...but as if the plant sensed the doom that was sneaking up on sprouted a ever so small - barely visible to anyone that wasn't compulsively leaf.

Flash forward another 6 months and you would see the exact same picture. That new bud - seemed frozen in time. Green, but not growing.

Mother Nature must have hit the "start" button some time in February...because that barely visible nub - has turned into THIS...

Not only has it rewarded me with super fast growing but look at those colors! (Old leaf is plain green - new leaf has with yellow and white. And I'm not sure that you can tell - but there's another leaf forming. I'm crossing my fingers that it's not going to go into hibernation before it decides to grow too.

On another gardening front...

I am also the kind of gardener that often has to learn things the hard way.

You know, they say - after blooming season is past, discard your paper white bulbs.

Well, I don't.

I keep them and let them finish out their life cycle and all the while reflect on how this is likely one of the marketing ploys of the gardening world to make us act out our compulsive "disposable" lifestyle even in the garden section. I'll let you know how it turns out...

Also, they say that Gerber Daisies are nearly impossible to grow from seed - yes, I tried it all last summer. Because I love them and I couldn't bear the thought of life without some Gerber blooms. They all failed - I even sorted through the millions of seeds to find the "fat ones" -which are said to be the fertile ones...failure was all I had to show.

Likewise, when they say that you can grow a Jade plant from a single leaf. You know I have got to give it a try. Because who doesn't love making one plant from another plant? The challenge... the skill... the frugality!

Now, I'm not proud to say that I've killed my share of Jade plants in the past. I have struggled with the delicate balance of "dry" without turning that into "totally forgetting to water for months on end followed by a wet season to make up for such errors."

I may be past that now. I've been host to a new Jade plant for almost a year now - and he is not only surviving but seems to be growing and reports to me that he is very happy. On one or two occasions he has dropped a leaf (because of my shady past with this plant - I would dare not harm it just for the sake of an experiment). I read that dropped leaves is normal and not a sign of "user error". So I rejoiced.

And planted the leaf - b/c, you know by the time I am 100 years old - that could be a whole plant. (enter mad-scientist laugh here)

And - several months later - please see the results. (Sorry it's fuzzy - too small to get a good pic with the details...)

There are about 4 leaves in here. (One is clearly dying.) The one with the largest growth has been going about 8 months. The first 3 were without any signs of roots. (Timeline not guarenteed accurate - because it is based on my brain so it was either 3 months or it FELT like 3 moths) The last additions (the other 3 leaves) have been added in the last 2 months and they are taking off fast - so maybe I've finally mastered the right amount of water. (Current system = look at plant, it appears dry, resist the urge to water. Repeat the next 8-10 times you have this thought. Then when thought occurs the 11th time - act on impulse and water - less than you think you should...almost like you are punishing the plant and denying it a full sized drink.) But two of the leaves have new leaf buds on them.

I know you probaly can't tell in the picture - but this is all taking place in a 1/2 inch painted terra cotta pot. Have you ever spotted those? Usually sold with seed packets in the $1 section...the seeds always flop out - or live and then need to be transplanted - and get damaged as you move them out and try to seperate's the equivilent of plant torture....

We had 2 plant torture pots - so in the other I experimented with some branches that dropped from my "Irish Bouquet". I got this plant at Lowes - it was with the succulents - I have searched for plant info - because the directions were very vague - I've found nothing and I've never seen another one anywhere else.

But when some leaves dropped - I thought the plant was similiar(ish) in nature to a Jade - so I popped them in dirt. And they are happily living (though not growing much) in their new location.
Coming soon...instructions for making your very own pots to start seedling in!

See how I'm trying to contaminate you with my Spring Fever?