Thursday, December 31, 2009

Random snippets

Did NOT gain weight over the holidays!!!

Slept like crap last night, but trying not to think about it...staying up to watch ball drop and babysitting tomorrow at 10 a.m., so it behooves me to live in denial.

Was going to offer to take small person to local park, but looks like weather may not cooperate...

Back at work...they moved our desks while I was gone. Have a window seat now for first time in ages. Loving the natural light. Sales are scary-dry...makes me glad we're past the holiday season. We had to kill time in a meeting for an hour and a half this morning, just so the queues could fill up on our end. That grateful thing (about work) is easier to take, when the queues are that dry. Praying we get busy again soon...

FYI: Homemade fudge keeps for more than a week in the fridge...made butterscotch last Monday and it's still in fine shape, no separating or flavor difference. This could be a dangerous development, as this stuff was way easy to make >:)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Contemplative

I've lost track of time being off work so long, almost forgot Lil Bro's birthday yesterday...we don't speak enough, so that would've sucked, but I did manage to send him a singing voicemail that parodied Cat Ballou ("Happy birthday, dear Frankie...")...yeah, ok, inside joke...anyway, since I work New Year's Eve and then am babysitting New Year's Day, I'm trying to get some thinking in now, that pensive, dreamy thinking that occurs this time of year, when the new year is before you all full of promise and whatnot...

Started new socks for MIL...any sock pattern that calls for size 1s is just lying to you, i don't care what it says...size 1s are for baby stuff, nothing else, in my book.

I want to move this year. That ain't news.

I try to do this thinking around Samhain, which pagans/witches consider to be their New Years', but it's hard to fight the ole Gregorian calendar.

I want to get pregnant. That ain't news either, just gets more pressing the older I get.

I'm going to eat healthier and exercise more. I know now that I have that in me.

I want to make more things by hand.

The apartment needs a major purge.

Keeping it short, because those are all big ideas.

I'm so grateful for all the blogs I read...this Internet thing has been such a blessing for women my age, give or take, such a great outlet for sharing ideas. I learn so much everyday.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

There's no place like home












Happy holidays, y'all! I'm pretty sure the new top graphic is from the holly family...the inlaws have a couple of bushes in front of their house in SC. The other pics are randoms from our trip. The niece is still beautiful, though four days of excitement and questionable parenting did bring out her colors. As I'm fond of saying, I'm ready to have my own children to worry about, so I can stop judging certain people for how they're raising theirs.
Thinking of being more seasonal about the top pic...had some fun experimenting with the ole point and click this trip.

We survived and are glad to be home. I got spoiled as usual, got some new clothes, jewelry, and a neat wicker box that I'm still deciding how to use. They discovered the beauty of secondhand this year too, which made me feel a little better about all the regifting that occurred...got a gorgeous red and black patterned jacket that Mom J found at a secondhand store for a steal.

The damn socks didn't fit, so they'll end up going to the niece. I made the gussets too tight and the foot too short. Live and learn. BAH!

I'm still fried...the trip was 6 hours back thanks to construction and holiday traffic. Thanking gods I don't have to work until Thursday. I'm babysitting, of all things, for a family friend on New Year's, which should net me a nice chunk of change, which is great because things are still sphincter-tight around here financially.

Man, it's nice to be home.

Learned a lot about myself this season, how I want to celebrate the holidays. How good it feels to give of yourself. My inlaws' neighbors came by Christmas Eve with a centerpiece as a gift, and it felt so good to have pumpkin bread to give them. That's what the holidays are about.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Random musings as we count down...

What the frick is a sugarplum? Wikipedia probably knows...

Ohmygoodness, but I have to stop drinking.....I'm pretty much a social drinker; it's not like I'm grabbing a beer every night after work or keep a bottle in the house. I'm not worried about becoming a friend of Bill W. But Lil Sis and I together killed a large bottle of Mer-lot last night, and the ensuing vertigo was another wake-up call from my pancreas, I fear. The good news is the holiday gluttony can't be justified much longer, and my concerns should keep me from getting completely toasted at the inlaws and shoving my large foot in my mouth.

Managed to pack this morning without making myself late for work...didn't even have a headache, which is surprising because I was flying too high to remember to take Advil before bed.

I wish we had one more night here. Meara heads back to Orlando before we get back from SC :( My cup runneth over when I get to hang out with her. Loved the look on her face when she saw all the cookies in her gift and the promise of more...I was bummed that I haven't gotten to try out so many of the cool recipes I discovered this season, so I'm giving myself an excuse to bake once a month and sending her a baker's dozen. Will probably try and theme 'em too. We had a blast at Mom's...dinner and gifties and National Lampoon's Christmas on AMC. They got us a brand-new microwave! And there's a pretty scarf around my neck today and a new Vera Bradley over my shoulder :)

Can I please stay home this holiday and play with my new microwave?

Ah well, SC won't be that bad...Les and I have each other for breathers from the back-biting that occurs there, and I'm thinking with the exception of Christmas Day, the time will go by fast. I have a new portfolio from Mom too, a hand-me-down with fresh calendar sheets for turning my dreams of the move next year into reality.

I'm entering the land of dial-up tonight, so won't post again until New Year's Eve, unless I escape to the library while we're in SC...Happy Holidays everyone! Send me some snow!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Countdown

Man, it's coming up fast. Thankfully, my ducks are in a row, only one or two sneaking out of line occasionally, the little shits...

Making my list of stuff to pack today...tonight we're doing Christmas early with Mom and Meara, because we head to the wilds of SC tomorrow night right after work. Two batches of cookies and one batch of fudge still to do...I'm not entirely certain everything's getting cooked here anymore. Don't want to shorten our time with Mom and Meara tonight, plus there will be wine /:)
...thinking toll house and fudge may wait til Thursday. Thankfully, that fudge recipe really was easy (and holy-crap yummy!), and I can make toll houses in my sleep...

beauty that moves reminded me of tiny happy's idea for a last-minute gift...right up my alley for something extra for the MIL...just gotta gather materials...wonder if Joann's would have a doily?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Getting in the spirit

Chilly here now...30s at night, 50s during day. Windows open full time :)

I set out today on this shortest day of the year wearing my green hat, purple curly scarf...got complemented on the hat and was proud to say I'd knitted it myself. Keeping my hair down to warm the ole ears...

Freezer full of pound cake, cookie dough in the fridge. Body was wiped out by evening, but I'm rallying today for round 2. Tonight, cookies, wrapping pressies, looking ahead. To a holiday season that doesn't require extended travel. To the 2 days off I have once we get home. Yeah, OK, I'm grousing...I know I'll enjoy seeing everyone, and lord knows I'll enjoy being up there (my grass, my trees, the niece...). But it's also motivating...would love a holiday where we spend a day instead of several, where I don't have to worry about the cat being alone...we clean her litter before we go, place clean water and treats in several places, and she feeds from a silo, but still...

This season is teaching me frugality, patience, and quite a bit about how I want to celebrate the holidays, whether we have children or not. I want the tree up next year. I want to observe pagan Advent, Yule, and Christmas. I want to make more gifts...the sewing machine never even made it out this year. Not beating myself up over that, but as I see what we've purchased vs. what I've made in the gift department, it's a strong motivator. Trolling the evil big box store on Saturday for last-minute gifts rang false and hasty...was entirely necessary this year, with the way we've been living paycheck to paycheck though, so feeling bad about it is useless. I also may start shopping for staples there...can't stand the thought of contributing to that place, but the fact is the money we save there could go toward the move in some way, so I'm willing to sacrifice my pride and principles for a pinch.

So I sit here, pondering Yule, with my Santa pin on my shirt and my wreath earrings in, and I think about the sun god, the nativity story, and the hope of enjoying the wonder of the season with our own children someday...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Notes from a baking frenzy

Ah, not really a frenzy...actually I'm quite chilled about the whole thing. Enjoying myself, taking it a step at a time...even looking ahead. Made the snickerdoodle dough today to get it out of the way, because while I'm not baking cookies until Monday and Tuesday evening, a huge chunk of Tuesday evening will be spent celebrating with my side of the fam (eeeee!), so that evening will be kind of a scramble. We leave for SC Wednesday night after work and will be gone until Monday. I could throw together the 2nd batch of cookies in SC, but I'd rather not add to the chaos while we're there. I'm also doing all our laundry here, not bringing any with us. The house really ain't big enough for the amount (or ages) of people that live in it now, so having us there pushes it just over the edge.

I'm rolling with the ideas as they come to me...had my selections picked out, but spotted a recipe that I thought would modify nicely to about half-diabetic, so threw it together for my mom...hey, it ain't the holidays if you can't experiment on your family members :)

Dad's with me today as I work.....I'm putting the eggs into individual small Pyrex dishes before adding them to recipes, ensuring everything's sans shells (which naturally means I'm cracking eggs with the precision of a master chef and haven't seen a shell all afternoon), and I'm cleaning as I go. Really, it would be virtually impossible to pull this off unless I clean as I go, as my kitchen is galley and quite limited in counterspace, but still...the useless ark of a former microwave still sits on our counter, but I'm thinking Husby will be prodded awake later to send that sucker to its final reward, so I can enjoy that pinch of counter while I have it.

The good news: the inlaws have a microwave we can probably take. The bad news: it belonged to the fam members with issues, so I can't help feeling like they'll be expecting decent gifts now. Ah, Christmas...

Stuff that's coming to me as I work:

1. The Kitchenaid stand mixer is about the greatest frickin' invention for the kitchen. I'm so in love with mine. It's a hand-me-down from my MIL, black with paddle attachment, whisk, dough hook, and easy pour rim. The woman has two daughters of her own, but gave it to me when she upgraded because she knew I'd use it. Man, do I! The stand gets cleaned between recipes, and I've been known to talk to it. And I'm finally remembering to grate cheese and veggies with the attachment I got for xmas last year.....Dear Santa, when you win Lotto, I wouldn't mind the pasta attachment, the grain mill, the juicer, the...

2. Reminder: 1/4 c of butter is half a stick...not 1 stick. But on the upside, I now have extra streusel topping to try on one on the pound cakes.

3. It's not a hardship to soften butter without a microwave, so long as you remember which burner on the stove acts as a vent for the oven. I've had no problem today getting butter to cooperate.

4. Imitation vanilla extract is NOT an acceptable substitute. Tries way too frickin' hard and doesn't taste right. I have too much respect for my baking to continue using it...luckily I have a half bottle of the real thing, that I think is going to stretch perfectly for my needs.

5. If Ina Garten's pound cake tastes half as good baked as the batter does....I'm making extra for us!

Edit: pound cake recipe bakes 2...yeah, right! The first 2 kind of 'sploded all over themselves, so I'm trying 3 this time around. Good news: extra!

Also, godspeed, Brittany Murphy...some of her stuff annoyed the crap out of me, but from the Torkelsons, to Girl, Interrupted, to Luanne on King of the Hill, the girl had talent to burn. Such a shame.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Turning point

Got my xmas bonus.

The relief nearly brought tears to my eyes. I sat for several minutes just letting it wash over me.

I'm very tired of living like this. May the new year bring strength to change.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I think I'm finally chilling out.....

This holiday thing...wow, it makes ya crazy.

Did my daily blog troll and I'm glad I did, because there's some very smart ladies out there espousing the tenets of frugal holidays. Much as I have trouble believing that there won't be a last-minute scramble on xmas eve at the inlaws, to put as many presents under the tree as frickin' possible, because Grandma likes a full tree even if she doesn't want to pay for it...the fact is that the holidays are so much more than gift giving. And I have no business feeling guilty. I keep grasping for ideas on extra gifts to give people, when they already have one gift in the hopper AND I'm planning to bake for everybody. I also have no business feeling cheap for the regifting ideas that are presenting themselves. If I'm not using something, if it would go to Goodwill otherwise, why not present it to a loved one who could get good use out of it? Makes me wish I could unclench my emotional attachment to Dad's wood planer...Les's Uncle Bill is a woodsmith by trade. But I also dream of a workshop of my own when we have a house/carport/garage, so I'll indulge in some selfishness for now...

I'm been emotionally flogging myself for weeks, when in fact, the holiday's going to turn out exactly as I want it to.....frugal, with gifts that come from the heart.

Part of the problem also is that Les and I aren't particularly religious, so the whole season falls flat a bit if you're not careful. Saw the most excellent quote by Louis Nizer yesterday:
"True religion is the life we lead, not the creed we profess."
Wouldn't mind trying to live that way...

So enough already! If I can't afford a lot of ingredients, then I'll go with the old standbys: Snickerdoodles and Toll House Chocolate Chip (and pound cake and pumpkin bread, because decreasing insane baking pressure takes baby steps). I know those recipes, so there's less chance of a screwup. It's not like all those recipes I've been finding and want to try can't be tried any other time of the year. Simplicity! What a concept!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

OK, so the bitchy hasn't evaporated completely...

I fell off the junk food wagon several days ago, and can't seem to hop back on. I'm hoping that finally planning and shopping for the holidays (baking ingredients tonight, books on Saturday, still brainstorming for Lil Sis) will assuage the level of stress I'm putting on myself.

Random, scatty post warning!

Strung the lights...one set over both the pantries in the living room, another set higher up in the bedroom. Husby's fluctuating between holiday depression and feeling sorry for himself for not working these days, so I did it while he grumbled. Unplugged them when I kissed him goodnight (he's much more nocturnal than I, and his sleep schedule varies).....found them back on this morning :) bwuahahahah! My evil plan's working!

Figured out what I'm baking, expecting it to change 3 more times while I'm buying the ingredients and obsessing over money...the not-knowing about the xmas bonus is really rather maddening.

Pretty sure it's not the money that's concerning me over Lil Sis's gift...it's more a difficulty in translation. How do you materialize something so it says "happy holidays and by the way, you're the most important person in my life next to that guy I married 10 years ago." She's gone through some tough growing pains this year, but one thing never changes: the way her beauty, inside and out, knocks me flat every time I see her.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Enough whining

I nag, nag, nag Leslie about indulging in pity parties, and then what do I do? The last couple of posts have been whiny little snores. Enough already!

I'm going to string lights over the stack of boxes to the right of the TV in the living room. I'm going to string more lights over the top pantry cabinet or across the far living/dining room wall. I'm going to send out my blasted holiday cards. I'm going to clean the blasted kitchen so I can get going on the baking, and I'm bringing the sock to work until the sucker's done. Ho, ho, friggin' ho! I WILL get in the spirit!

The saying goes, bloom where you're planted. Well, I can't stand where I'm currently planted, but whining sure ain't going to change that. What will change it is planning, budgeting, purging, organizing...all things I'm very capable of doing myself and motivating the husband to do as well. The only way we're going to create change is by just doing it...geez, now i'm starting to sound like a Nike ad. ARGH!

Microwave died over the weekend...sucker's at least 20 years old, Mom bought it for me used when I started college. We're seeing if the inlaws have an oldie in storage, but if not, I'm talking up toughing it out as long as we need to. There are more important things in the budget once we hit the new year, and with a little bit of patience we can survive without it. Creamed the butter for cookies the other night instead of nuking it and was quite pleased with the results. I frickin' LOVE my Kitchenaid mixer!

Spent yesterday trolling Charlotte websites, trying to educate myself, and sent away for a pile of relocation packages, which'll probably all be variations on the same thing, but at least it's a start. Also sent away for their DOT map...it's sweet and will give me a different perspective than the mini atlas we have. Also found a gold mine of an About page describing all the different neighborhoods...hopefully I'll be able to match areas with crime rates through some more web trolling...though of course the best educating will come in February when we're able to go up there and explore a bit.

Now if only I could knit and edit websites at the same time :)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Weekend, where art thou?

Keeping from feeling sorry for yourself is a full-time job in these parts nowadays. We have gifts figured out for about half the family...I need to write down what's decided on, so I can stop obsessing about it and focus. I've simplified the baked gifts, but I'm falling behind on the last sock. I did some knitting on Sunday and a whole lot of not much else. And my brain wouldn't let me nap, which was equally frustrating...

Saturday evening was the company holiday party. I tried to get festive, but between the lousy paycheck and not winning anything as usual at the raffles they hold, I'm glad it's past us. Food wasn't even that good...best thing about it was the baybreeze that was 3/4 vodka.

The spirit is willing, but vacant...I know that the holidays are so much more than just gifts, but between the barrage of emails I get trying to save the holidays from political correctness (which I wholeheartedly subscribe to, since I want to celebrate Yule over Christmas) and the hopelessly cluttered apartment negating any attempts to decorate, it's hard. Add to that a paycheck that barely allows us to afford food, much less gifts for a dozen people, and I'm wishing December were over already. And don't get me started on how temps have soared back into the GD 70s...

I'll rally, I know...I'm planning to start baking this week, fill the freezer, and finish the sock, and handmake a gift or two and get wrapping on the stuff I already have. I'm taking us to Chamblin's next weekend to seek out a couple of last-minute gifts. I hope to still get a bonus before we leave for SC. Can't stand the thought of shopping on Christmas Eve, but we may not have a choice.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The bluebird of happiness crapped in my Christmas pie...

One of my dad's old sayings :)

My paycheck was a steaming reindeer flop. The drop in sales kicked my commission in the 'nads, and I've gone from joking about giving everyone baked goods for the holidays to wondering if I'll be able to afford the ingredients.

Paraphrased from Bones last night:

Daisy: "Christmas should be celebrated in March since that's when Christ was actually born."
With ya on that one this week, sister...

From an older episode:
Tempe: "I'm not discriminating against him because he's a Muslim. I find all religions equally irrational."
Good stuff.

So I'm in a bit of a dark place today. Here's another funny from Dad, though I'm sure he snitched it from somewhere...
A birdie with a yellow bill
Hopped upon my windowsill
So I closed the window and bashed his f*cking head in.

Yeah, feeling a tad dark.

Going to spend the weekend assessing, planning, and visiting this blog relentlessly until I feel a little better and more in the spirit...the scene just knocks me out. I can picture Linus with his blanket just going up to that porch and sitting indian-style with a cup of cocoa to take it all in.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chilly Thursday

Next couple of days should be nice here, 50s and 30s. Still, I'm very jealous of the Midwest. I'm sure there are plenty of people up there who'd tell me to stuff my jealousy as they dig out their cars to go to work, but I can't help it. Around this time last year, Meara and I were outside spinning and playing as the snow poured down around us. My knees ached the whole time we were up there, but I don't know when I've felt more alive. Delightfully ironic since we were there to honor Nanie, who'd finally gone to Summerland.

Meara heads to Milwaukee next weekend for a friend's wedding. I'd like to stow away in her suitcase.

My relationship with food is changing. There's something about preparing food that settles me, steadies my brain. When I'm working in the kitchen, I'm in a good place. It's a tricky proposition, recognizing that when I'm working to eat better...because the urge is there, especially with the holidays, to bake a crapload of, well, crap...breads, cookies, fudge. I hope to bake quite a bit in the next 2 weeks, but I'll give most of it away. But what I'm getting at is that I feel the need to explore this part of me more.

The other day I went over to Mom's to loan her some rice, because it's all the dog could eat initially while she's on the mend. Mom was in a scattered place, checking mail, getting changed, chatting me up, so I got a pan out and cooked up some rice for the little hairball. I've been enjoying hypoglycemia more lately and had had a dull headache all afternoon, but I realized that the simple acts of measuring water, setting the timer, checking the doneness of the rice was making me feel better.

I doubt it means I should go to culinary school, but I look forward to exploring food preparation more, especially as it becomes evident how healthy I need to be eating.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Quick stop...random mental wanderings...

Sleepy...accompanied Mom to vet last night...remarkably fast visit for an animal ER though, caught 'em on a good night...I kept saying to Mom that what the dog needed was puppy Pepto...turns out you can give dogs the pink stuff...

Also achy, which is just from being active this weekend...doesn't feel like I'm coming down with anything, just my bod being wimpy. Did a pinch of organizing Saturday. Sunday Mom and I went down to St. Augie to visit with Christy and her mom, who were down from New England. Yesterday was laundry. Hate when a day off gets taken over by the mundane, but it couldn't be helped...

I really can't believe it's December already.

10! Pounds! Down!

Would love to get sock done this week...will be trying for that in the evenings so I can worry about everyone else's gifts over the last 2 weeks...

Celebrated 10 years with the company this weekend...can't decide if I should be proud or suicidal...

Friday, December 04, 2009

Editorial musings and random thoughts

Bear with me, I'm high on caffeine.

A sampling of the copywriting gems I face on a daily basis...these have cropped up just today.

"...we replace widows and doors..."

Well, I'll be sure to keep Mom away from there.

"...our owner is the eldest of 6 children. He has 3 brothers and 3 sisters..."

Must be the new math.

"...swine flue..."

Condition acquired by eating pork while sitting in a chimney?

Random: I'm wearing about my favoritest outfit today...jeans, sneaks, and a navy blue pullover sweater with a nondescript pattern that's SO comfy. Weather was 40-something when I left for work this morning. I'm thinking of eating lunch outside. Wearing my hair down is keeping my ears warm. I love winter!

Went digging for my purple scarf in my bag o' knits (couldn't find it, the apartment ate it), and found that I did finish the blue mittens last year. I thought they were still UFOs! Thinking of felting them a bit, because one of the thumbs came out huge, but I'm so delighted to find that I finished them. I really want to make myself some fingerless gloves with leftover sock yarn once I'm done with the MIL socks. So glad to be on the heel flap of those suckers...I'm NOT a fan of size 1 needles, not with my man-sized hands.

OK, back to work.....sales plummeted last week thanks to the holidays (well, I HOPE that's what it was), so we're all scrabbling to grab sites the minute they post in the queue. It's a blast.

Weekend, Advent, n' other stuff




Sorry it's fuzzy, it was shot from a cheap-ass, pay-as-you-go phone.


If there's anything more beautiful than a free latte on a Friday, I don't know what it is :) Barista recognized me and started making it automatically, and when I said I hadn't ordered it today, she gave it to me anyway because she remembered goofing on an order of mine a couple of weeks back. I'll take that kind of suck-up service anytime!


So, how come a male barista isn't called a baristo?


So equipped with my caffeine high and the promise of a 3-day weekend, I'm in a decent mood. I'm less scared of the impending holidays, I've started the heel flap on the 2nd sock, and I'll knock off the holiday cards this weekend and study my recipes. I found a pile of good ones on the Web this week, and I hope to start baking quick breads this weekend, because I can freeze them until they're needed. Also, my team's doing a holiday potluck at work next week and I'll test a couple of the cookie recipes on them ;)


My best pal Christy's in FL with her mom, so we'll get together at some point this weekend. I need to tear into my closet to find an outfit for the company holiday party next weekend. I'm pretty sure I can scare up something appropriate in the depths of the ole closet, but I am going to need to invest in a new pair of pumps. God, payday can't come fast enough. I'd love to get the holiday shopping done, but it's going to have to happen in drips and drabs...in the meantime, I'll continue with my lists, see what can get accomplished at home, and we'll hit Chamblin's this weekend or next, get some books with credit for gifts.


I'm thinking I want to start recognizing pagan Advent, make it a ritual. Already a Sunday behind, I realize. Can't imagine having the energy and creativity for the whole Advent calendar (especially once/if we have kids), but just the Sundays is workable, the concepts of Hope, Faith, Love, and Joy translated in my own way. It's yet another ritual that the Christians claim to have invented and the Pagans claim was stolen from them by the Christians, so I choose not to care one way or the other and just make it my own. Anything to help me get in the spirit, remember what the season's about, the birth of Christ, the birth of the Sun God, and whatever the heck Hannukah celebrates. When I think about having children, I imagine giving them a unitarian upbringing with a well-rounded understanding of faith. Tall order, I realize...


Happy Friday, y'all!


P.S. Weather in the 40s and 50s...happy as a clam :)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Holiday planning

Making my lists...
Checking 'em twice...
Enjoying small panic attack about how the hell it's all getting done...
Santa Claus is...

Where'd the year go? I've never had a year whip by like this one did.

I am making lists. Since there's no money to spend on gifts yet, it's all I can do, that and write holiday cards. Can't even send 'em yet, as I'm almost out of stamps. Next payday...

I'm unearthing the sewing machine tonight. I'm pawing through the apartment looking for regifting options. I have half a sock to finish. We have a box of books going to Chamblin's that will hopefully provide some gifts for the booklovers in our fams. I need to make a list of exactly how much baking needs to occur between now and the holiday.

Don't think we've ever gone into a holiday season this tight. There just isn't a spare penny lately. I want the holidays to be a time of frugal giving, but this feels weak. I'd rather plan to be frugal than be forced into it. I want everyone to get cookies, not just the folks I can't afford to shop for.

Ah well...live and learn and look to the future...this weekend I'll string lights around our windows and find some evergreen. Our apartment's too much of a disaster area to put up the tree, but I'm determined to get in the holiday spirit!

Monday, November 30, 2009

We interrupt this blog for an extremely short motivational speech...

I! DID! NOT! GAIN! WEIGHT! OVER! THANKSGIVING!!!

We return you now to your regularly scheduled blog :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Holiday weekend










Really gotta learn to keep my hand steady on the ole point and click...also, these are in reverse chronological order...we smoked the turkey at our place and then went to Mom's, hence the cat watching the fire here. Also, Mom looks mopey in that first pic, but she's actually mellow...she'd had a glass of wine :)
Thursday...Baking, cooking, watching Macy's, watching the dog show, went to Mom's, ate yummy food, saw Lil Bro, revelled in the cold weather...really nice, starting a new tradition I think, for Thanksgiving...


Black Friday...up at decent hour, to mall with Mom & Lil Sis, to Walmart, to St. Johns Town Center, wandering, shopping, people watching, eating good food...had SUCH a good time, even though I couldn't spend a cent...weather gorgeous!


Saturday...TV, to farmer's market with Mom & Lil Sis, lunch at Al's (my new pizza fave in town), wandering the Westside hitting old haunts, home, knitting, TV...


Sunday...serious relaxing, getting back into work mode, light baking, ignoring laundry...


Nice.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Nice surprise

So I happen over to the ole Gmail account, which I only check about every 6 months or so, because I plain don't use the sucker...and discover I may have missed out on winning a drawing. Back in May, MommaZen held a drawing for a copy of her first book of the same title, and sure enough, I'd won! Her newsletter has also been going to that Gmail account, which was a little confusing, because I plain don't use that account for anything anymore. Could've sworn I had the Yahoo addy buried on this blog somewhere, but I guess not...so if folks tried to reach me through here, it's only been directing to the Gmail. Well, I fixed that.

But ACK! What to do about the winning? I dropped Karen an email, and she must've been online at the same time, because I received a nice note back fast, offering to send me the book! I'm so glad! For a topic as seemingly ethereal as Zen, a lot of the books on the subject conversely can be quite heavy-handed in their treatment of the topic, but her essays are thought-provoking and easy to read. I'm looking forward to this unexpected gift to myself :)

turkeystuffingturkeysweettatersturkeygravyturkeypieturkeygreenbeansturkey...

I kind of love Thanksgiving (pretty sure I've mentioned before how it's my fave holiday), and I'm determined not to get too depressed about any dietary limitations I need to inflict upon myself this year. The key is moderation. I haven't been diagnosed yet. I know my body. I'll experiment, try a little of this, a little of that, and steer clear of the booze.

Lil Sis is fashioning a nice meal that's pretty diabetic-friendly for Thanksgiving (my mom was diagnosed a couple of months ago), but with Les and Lil Bro also in attendance, I want to have some evil foods too >:) I'll make one of Paula Deen's greater inventions, apple butter pumpkin pie, which Les would take intravenously if he could, and I'm planning a naughty side dish of some sort. Funny how my thinking is changing though...was trolling Potato Gratin recipes and came across one of Emeril's, that sounded sinfully delicious, but called for, among other things, 6 egg yolks and a pound of Gruyere. I'm pretty sure my heart stopped while I was reading it, so I moved on.

Temps dropping into the upper 30s on Thursday night/Friday morning...oh darn :) I'll be the one sleeping on the porch. Ok, not really, but boy will it be nice to legitimately wear one of my sweaters again or throw on a scarf...

I know my body...yeah, sure.....it's amazing how quickly life can unravel if you let it...got to work this morning and started feeling like crap. Realized I had about 3 different reasons for it (1st day of monthly fun, Paxil withdrawal b/c I'm a dumbass and haven't refilled my Rx yet, not enough breakfast). So I went to lunch early, grabbed food and my Paxil, and downed some Advil while I was at it, and the difference is marked. So silly that I should be this old and still letting sh*t unravel like that...it's like holding onto sand underwater sometimes, I swear...so dumb...anyway, feeling a lot better.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go look up the lyrics to "Over the River and Through the Woods." :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Fell off the wagon and it ran me over...

Checked some books out of the library about diabetes. Woke up hypoglycemic this morning after indulging in candy and pasta the night before. Sucks that I'm getting the hint right before Thanksgiving, but can't be helped. Maybe next year...

Bad news at dentist too...two teeth with multiple cracks that will require crowns and a possible root canal. The worse news is that I really can't afford to get 'em fixed until after the first of the year.

So glad I'm only working 2 days this week. Making an appt with my doc for my next Monday off, so I can talk test results. I'm a bit down, but just going to concentrate on educating myself and planning my meals well.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Weekend

So Irina won Project Runway :P Boo!

Can you imagine being hated on by the general public like that girl is? I know she dug her own grave with her attitude, but geez...

I'm a Carol Hannah fan, but I fell in love with Althea's hat last night (the one on her head, not any of her models)...large with fat cables. It's inspiring me to crib something together using the cheat of a fat cabled capelet pattern from Lion Brand (posting link, but requires registration). Also thinking of creating a skirt for myself for the company Christmas party...am hoping to start fleshing out that dream this weekend.

SO nice to step outside and not sweat.....Florida fall is finally here! 70s during the day, 50s at night. Still not cold enough for me, but sweet relief all the same.

Cardio still a sticking point, but the diet end of it is going well....was seriously craving bad food earlier today (gotta be hormonal...REALLY wanted a burger from the mom-and-pop place down the street), and instead hit Publix for granola bars and blue corn chips to go with the lunch I'd already brought to work. That'll keep me and then some if I work late today, which I'm trying to grab the motivation to do. I'm learning.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Just keep swimming...

It's so easy to let life live you a bit, rather than you feeling like you're totally in charge....yeah, like we have any control over the grand scheme...but I wax existential. That's how the last couple of days have been. In my defense, I'm hormonal, but still...

Still doing well. I definitely do better with a little structure though, say, with a work day. I allow the clock and my tummy to dictate when I eat, and that's easier at work. Weekend (and payday) proved a pinch more difficult to eat healthy, but I did pretty well for myself and the scale tells the tale (yeah, you didn't really believe I'd stay off the sucker, didya?).

Exercise is trickier...I did 2 miles on Saturday morning, which felt fantastic, but also told me I walk better on the treadmill. Much as I adore the outdoors, my gait issues demand a rhythm while I'm this big, and walking on the access road, I definitely didn't pay close enough attention to my stride because my knees were achy for days afterward. I've been listening to music to help the time go by while exercising, but I just monitor myself better on the treadmill - like I've said, it faces the window, allows me to watch myself, my whole body, as I move. So I took a couple of days off after that...plus the aforementioned hormonal symptoms, which bring aches down both legs as I get close to the monthly fun. No more excuses though, tonight I'm doing a load of laundry and 45 minutes on the bike or 30 on the treadmill.

Our money issues demand a little menu planning lately. Last night we did tilapia, and this morning I prepped a pot roast into the crock pot that we'll eat off of for the next couple of days.

We're barely making ends meet, and I don't know how the hell we're going to manage the holidays. I hate the idea of giving people only baked gifts, but that's just pride talking...I know it's perfectly fine to give of yourself this way...it's just hard to reconcile after years of being with a family that likes to go all out for the holidays (his...ah, mine too, now that Dad's gone, but you feel less guilt on foisting said baked goods onto your own family, ya know...)...even though we've all trimmed back in recent years...still, I need to get away from the tube and get in front of the sewing machine; there are several ideas percolating in my head for small sewn gifts that wouldn't cost much at all. I'm in the spirit, in spite of the money woes, though I refuse to wear my xmas earrings or sing a carol until November 26 :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Happiness is...

...weather straining to reach 60F and not succeeding.

...my reverse seasonal affective disorder kicking in thanks to said weather, producing this grin I can't seem to keep off my face, even if it'll only last a day.

...dunking my peanut butter sandwich in my chicken noodle soup.

...Day 4 of this new life, still going strong.

...sharing the elevator with a coworker with a bag of McD's and feeling nothing, no deprivation.

...my 3-day weekend coming up, just 'cause I need to burn PTO.

...thinking about hitting the stationary bike after work.

...finding the goose feather in the pocket of my overshirt.

...improved posture and jeans fitting.

I will not go near a scale for at least the first month. Why do that to myself? I'll simply enjoy my clothes fitting better. Besides we women are blessed with the ability to lose weight 3 weeks out of a month and then seemingly gain it all back the 4th week, thanks to hormones, water retention, whatever...I won't let a number dictate my health. I'm dictating it, for the first time ever.

I was thinking about my eating habits in high school, and abysmal doesn't cover it...these habits have been ingrained over a lifetime, not just a couple of years. At Wamogo (junior high/9th and 10th), I'd have a mug of tea in the mornings before catching the bus, and maybe an Instant Breakfast. Lunch degraded as I got older...2nd senior year especially (serious lonely time), my lunch was a brownie, a small bag of Fritos, and an iced tea loaded with sugar. Dinner was normal and we weren't deluged with crappy snacks at home much (there was Pepsi in the house, but there was also the express understanding that it was for my parents' rye drinks, not us kids), but the damage was done. And then of course, college, where you're allowed to eat whatever the hell you want, so long as the money holds out, and my addiction to movie theater popcorn was conceived in my desperation to avoid classes, adulthood, etc.

Maybe I'm finally outgrowing it...but I'm pretty sure it has more to do with finally loving myself enough to change.

Getting bored yet? I'll switch back to other topics soon...it's just been such a good week and I'm feeling so strong...here's a splash of other news:

Started second sock, fearing I've made them too small, but they're for a small MIL. Will fast Sunday night, pick up paperwork at doc's on Monday morning, and get my bloodwork and GTT done. Hell, I already fast now, haven't eaten anything after dinner at all this week. Enjoying a hole in one tooth that's contributing to my headaches as much as the blood sugar working itself out...that'll get fixed on the 23rd. Haven't given much thought to Thanksgiving, because the money's not going to be there for me to go all-out. I do have one side dish in mind, a cauliflower-sweet potato something, if I can find where the frick I put the recipe.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Such energy!

I literally bound out of bed. It's in part because I know I won't sleep with the snooze button, because the bod's a little sore. Did the half hour on the treadmill last night...it's one of those fancy thousand-dollar jobs that measures your heart rate if you want, so I was able to monitor myself, keep it high without going too high. Tried out several different gait lengths, from a very light jog to my long-legged stride. The treadmill faces the windows in the fitness center, so I was able to keep an eye on my knees, make sure my gait didn't fag out too much. Got back in time to watch the 2nd half of Biggest Loser while stretching, and that has to have made a difference because I'm not that bad off today at all, and it was the first time in months, maybe a year, that I've done any concentrated exercise. Geez, that's embarassing.

Having a small Healthy Choice meal fill me up is surprising. I'll experiment with cooking as I continue on this journey, of course, but the battery went dead in the car yesterday, resulting in extra errands after work, and I wasn't going to find an excuse not to work out, so it was grab it and growl last night.

There's always excuses to fall back on, until you make the decision to live differently. I could easily have told myself I should wait until I get my bloodwork done. Or hit the drive-thru yesterday at McD's instead of Publix, where I headed for the soup aisle and found something quite satisfying and low in fat and sugar carbs. Geez, if I'd done that, I wouldn't have known the battery was dying until the end of the day - it quit the first time in the Publix parking lot. But I can't even think about fast food right now, don't want the lethargy it produces, and besides, I'm off white potatoes, so what's the point of hitting McD's...I'm making the time to eat breakfast at home and prepping lunch, when there's food in the house, the night before. That's making a huge difference, and I'm feeling so good right now. I look at the years of emotional eating with a kind of disbelief; it baffles me that, intelligent as I am, I could graze and graze to the point of discomfort and not stop, or see it for what it was.

I thank y'all for the support, it means so much! Don't even want to say wish me luck, because it has nothing to do with luck. I know I have a LOT of hard work ahead, and right now, I'm just revelling in the strength that's presenting itself and making the job enjoyable.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Turning Point

I've spoken plenty of times on here about my health, my large body, nonexistent self-image, and desire to get healthy. It's old news and, up until now, indicative of a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure, emotional eating/food addiction, and crappy self-esteem, with my legitimate chemical imbalances thrown in for good measure.

I gained the weight for several reasons. Being on Paxil and Lithium is one culprit. Sitting on my ass in a desk job for the past 12 years didn't help, and I was never a natural athlete to begin with. Well, that's half-false, as I'm sure there's an athlete in me, but thanks to flat feet and knocked knees (which cause gait and posture problems), high-school band, and said crappy self-esteem, I never put myself out there past junior high in any sports. Pity, as I was in great shape back then...145 pounds, 5'7"ish, and thought I was fat. Gotta love the '80s. So I'm saying it's not in my normal daily schedule to walk a mile, lift some weights, or go for a swim. Yet.

During Dad and Mom's darker days, he'd crack wise that she wasn't losing weight as a way of getting back at him somehow. I'm pretty sure that's an issue, however tiny, existing in my psyche as well. I never expected to get married, was settling my brain into the idea of being permanently single, and Les came along with his unconditional love. Being unused to the idea of someone loving you like that, causes you to test said love. Sure, my folks loved me unconditionally too, but in the early days, they sucked ass at showing it. Dad never thought he was deserving of love, and that rubbed off on us kids and instilled those feelings in us. I'm old enough now to get a handle on those thoughts, but it's always a bit of a work in progress. Les and I have been together for 12+ years and it still baffles me that he's stuck around. God, let me get over that nonsense before small ones arrive on the scene...

Anyhoo, I think I've gone prediabetic. That knowledge slams home hard. I'm a chocoholic with a serious sweet tooth...enjoy me some sugar with my chocolate cake and add some fries on the side. Lack of portion control and significant hedonism have caused my diet to spiral out of control for years now. McDonald's and Starbucks became regular go-to spots to assuage cravings (they're close to work...god, I love me a frappucino!). However, I enjoyed a hypoglycemic crash this past weekend, and the symptoms are still presenting themselves. I read too much, and I know my body. It's time to change before I give myself a heart attack or destroy my pancreas. They call it morbidly obese for a reason.

I've put a call into my doctor's office to get fresh lab work done, blood draws for my LDL/HDL levels, triglycerides, etc., and a 3-hour glucose tolerance test. I'm purchasing Bob Greene's Best Life book on Managing Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes, and I'm updating my glucometer this weekend with a new battery, strips, and lancets. I've already started changing my eating habits...managed to keep the calorie count around 1800 yesterday, I'm watching my carbs and educating myself on distinguishing good from bad, and I got in 10 minutes of exercise walking/being dragged by Mom's mutt.

The change is marked: significant energy and this great feeling of doing right by me. Tonight I have laundry planned, which I'll wait for transitioning from washer to dryer by enjoying half an hour of treadmill or stationary bike time, as the micro-fitness center at my complex is right next to the laundry room. My sleep has been disrupted lately by low blood sugar headaches, so I'm not pressing myself to get up at the crack yet to exercise. One thing at a time, gotta stabilize the system first.

I have no desire to grab a quick double cheese or an eggnog latte right now. My desire to change is really strong, and I'm feeling fantastic about feeling better. I pray this strength continues, as my health really does depend on it.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Fantastic Friday

No particular reason...every Friday's fantastic when you work a 9 to 5.

Can't believe it's been a week since last post...not a lot to report...still don't whip out the camera enough, still too warm, still bored at work. Given the new unemployment stats, my gratitude shifted upwards again, but it's still mind-numbing doing straight editing and has me thinking about what I want to search for next year in the Carolinas...

Temps dipping into 40s finally at night, but they don't stay there long, and the promise of 80s is back for next week. I'm going to spend the weekend organizing small areas of the apartment as well as my Carolina information, so I can focus on specific cities to put out feelers in, in the coming months...

Excellent Newsweek article that underlines, in the wake of the Fort Hood horror, the clusterf*ck that is the military's inability to deal with stress...

Working socks for MIL and planning to sew a portfolio cover for a SIL Xmas gift...will work those this weekend too. Hoping for a relaxing weekend with small efforts to replenish soul...not much to ask.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Fantastic Friday

Or it would be if the prospect of OT wasn't looming over my head...I'll get up at the crack Saturday and give them 4 hours and be done with it.

We sorely need the money, but I also sorely need home time. Cleaned the kitchen last night and my head was clear once again...when the f*ck am I gonna learn that that needs to be status quo? So I'm energized to dig into the apartment some more...I've been doing well at that the past couple of weekends, I'm getting into a zone of sorts. Also going to be baking, prepping for the week with healthy meal options...been reading recipes all week and really getting inspired. And thankfully, I've reached a stopping point where fast food is concerned...at my age and size, the thought of having a heart attack is really waking my ass up. Took me f*cking long enough! I'm also inspired to create recipe boxes for the crazy amounts of recipes that I've taken off the Web...Joann's offers photo boxes in the impulse section that are cheap and will fit the bill nicely, I think.

Happened upon a goldmine that's going to be my saving grace in this holiday season: Organized Christmas. Les's family really celebrates Christmas, though the economy should give us an excuse for taking it easy in the gifts department a bit. I'm quite tired of spending the holidays in a panic about gifts and cards and whatnot though, so I'm looking forward to organizing it better so I can actually enjoy and get into the season. As a non-Christian surrounded by Christians, it's tricky finding your own ways to get in the spirit...requires a bit of research and effort, but it's so worth it as I align how I feel about the holidays with how I wish us to celebrate them.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Contemplative Thursday





Found these guys behind my work when I was leaving tonight...

So exactly how lame is it to think that my dad sent the geese I've been seeing so much lately?

I'm walking out to my car this morning. Humidity 93%, temp 75F, overcast, damp, feels warmer, and should get to mid-80s today. It's not pleasant weather. Key out, I cock an ear because I think I hear them. I strain my eyes to the sky where the honking is coming from and within 30 seconds, I see them...an entire flock in 2 sections, close to a dozen fly right over my head, with a 2nd contingent off to the right, flying over the neighboring apartment complex, breaking the morning silence with their honks. And it dawns on me, why I've been seeing them so much lately...Dad sent them because we're not having autumn here this year.

The thought brings happy tears to my eyes. I laugh and cry and drive to work with a buoyant spirit.

Guess it's not too lame after all, huh?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesdays




Carolinas...a love story.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Full of Hope Mondays



I have two kinds of Mondays: the kind normal 9-to-5ers have (::grumble, bitch, moan, complain:: and see cat above) and Full of Hope Mondays. On the latter, my brain wakes up to new possibilities and I spend the day pondering craft projects, reorganizing the apartment in my head, and looking ahead to the future, all while editing the occasional website.

Today was definitely a Full of Hope Monday, and it was a welcome change after about 2 weeks of hormones and depression. I looked up sewing patterns, pondered holiday gifts for family, and even looked at Gastonia, NC, as a possibility for us, but thankfully tossed it pretty quickly out of the pile - just too many lousy memories.

Saturday was lovely...hung out with Lil Sis and Mom for Lil Sis's birthday. We did lunch at Friday's, wandered St. Johns Town Centre, enjoyed Starbucks at B&N, wandered some more, did dinner at the bar at PF Chang's, and then hung at Mom's and watched Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. I was surprised! I don't watch too many romantic comedies anymore, because a) don't need 'em as much when you're living the dream (pause so readers can barf), and b) I've seen enough of them to be bored of them. But this one was smartly written and had some great lines...we laughed out loud and rewound at several spots.

Sunday, woke up surprisingly not hungover (imbibed several adult beverages the night before), so I tackled the kitchen and baked cookies for Lil Sis to take back with her. That felt great, as it's been a while since I've baked, and popping the zucchini bread out of the freezer this weekend too, got me in the mood to get baking again. Just in time! I'm making lists for baked goods that are going in people's holiday gift bags this year, and this week, I want to try my hand at apple butter bread.


Got my birthday pressie!! Tried taking a picture, but point-and-shoot doesn't do well against glass, so here's the link. Don't know when I discovered Selina Fenech, but her art is delightful and I look forward to purchasing some more incarnations of it in the future. She's a 20-something breast cancer survivor too, so I'm kind of blown away by her ability to live off her art...reminds me I'm behind in my dreams. Love listening to Garrison Keillor, but it reminds me that I still want to publish - dude's got, like 4 books coming out this year! I'm rereading the Mitford books, and something's stirring in my creative psyche...we'll see if it turns into anything, though I'm betting the holidays will help it take a backseat once again. Got a lot of hand-making of stuff to accomplish...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday

I may hate my desk job, planting my ass in a chair 8 hours a day while my body atrophies from lack of use, but I do love working on a "normal" schedule. Mondays may suck occasionally, but Fridays are great, full of hope and promise. Never was able to manage that when my days off were Tuesday and Wednesday...just ain't the same.

Should've known we wouldn't have any sort of autumn down here this year...summer was mild in my book, not sure we even had any days in the 100s. So I'm still working on ignoring the weather...shake my head at the mugginess and 80s, and head out with my brain firmly in a cooler place, trudging through wet leaves, dreaming of next year...yes, it's gotten a pinch milder here, but it sure ain't the same...

My heart goes out to the Thompson family...Orange Park is a community right down the road from Jax, so we're all feeling the loss of that little girl Somer. Saw another story in the paper about a guy wearing no pants who chased a girl home from school yesterday. Lovely.

I'm recognizing that we can't start saving for the move until after the holidays, so I'm preparing a budget for the minute the holidays are over. It'll take me about a month to accrue fresh PTO after the first of the year, so I'll plan our first trip to Charlotte sometime in February, just to sniff the place out.

Lil Sis is home to celebrate her birthday this weekend! I'm so glad...she's had friends moving away from her right and left lately, for jobs or other life changes, so I love being a phone pal with her and any extra opportunity to smother her in hugs :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hiya!


Been dropping off on here for a bit, and can't always blame the camera...though I admit I'm still getting used to finding things to snap. Didn't realize the moon was setting instead of rising last night, so missed a great shot...must've been in perigee or something because it was fingernail and really close-looking at my location. Ah well...the cauldron shot's an oldie from our CT trip last year. Didn't want to leave you hangin'...


Weather gave us bliss this past weekend, and now it's creeping up again, so I'm just trying to ignore it. Highs in the low 80s...grumble, grumble...


Caught a wild hair the other night and picked up a needle and thread...wanted to remove the snaps on a favorite purse, because it's Target cheap and was tearing the fabric. So I did that, sewed the holes shuts, and then repaired two more things of Les's that were in a pile that's been ignored for quite a while. One thing needs a patch, so I may search for some flannel that'll match it. It got me in the mood to sew, which is funny because I haven't been knitting lately...which gets me bummed and throwing in the towel about handmade gifts for the holidays...but I really can't afford to have that mindset, because we can't really afford the holidays this year, so people are just going to have to deal with baked goods and handmades.


So last night I went looking for the embroidery goldmine (aka stitch encyclopedia) I found at Chamblin's and I ended up rearranging the stash area again...funny how those things happen. I finally have access again to my crafting books, which have been buried on the bedroom coffee table for way too long, and the holiday brainstorming can resume!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Autumn and goose love




I have a love affair with Canada geese. Ever since my childhood in Warren, CT, where I've romanticized laying on the grass in our field watching them pass by overhead from south to north. Their honks sound in my soul when I hear them, and I love their solid coloring. One of my favorite movies still, is Fly Away Home.


These guys I feel sorry for, as I see them year-round. These poor critters have no business being in Florida past, like April. It bothers me that they could be suffering from climate confusion. I suppose, depending on their intelligence, they could've elected to be snowbirds year-round, but somehow I doubt that's likely. We have several flocks in the area, two that I'm aware of nearby...there's a dozen or so that travel between St. Luke's and Baymeadows, and there's a batch that live in my business district off of St. Augustine Road near Bayard. I'm cynical enough to wonder if some outfit trucked them in for decoration. Ah well...I love spotting them and when I see them, I talk to them briefly and tell them I enjoy their company. Yes, I'm a little tweaked.

I spent the afternoon thinking of stuff for this next bit, and it put me in such a good mood! I'm hitting the Southern Women's Show with Mom on Sunday (an orgy of brochures, free samples, and free food), but I hope that Saturday can be a day filled with baking, organizing, doing something with apples and pumpkin, and hanging curtains in the bedroom. The temps are finally dropping for a pinch this weekend.


Autumn is...

Apples and pumpkins
And leaves on the ground
Wood smoke and chill nights
And family gathered 'round.

It stops rhyming here, so don't get your hopes up...

Curling up by a fire sipping hot cider
Raking leaves for the sole purpose of then jumping into the pile
Crisp air
Digging out the woolens and boots
Finding a knitted cap for long walks after dinner
Cold noses and toeses
Extra blankets on the bed and not needing AC
The smell of leaf rot
Trying to dig and realizing the earth is cold

Jesus, how'd I survive as long as I have in Florida?!

Grabbing a jacket before you step outdoors
Rosy cheeks and wind cutting through your slacks
Soups and stews for dinner that have spent all day in the crockpot
Colors and colors and colors in the trees!
Hot cocoa with little marshmallows
Jack o'lanterns and the last harvests, finding new ways to use squash

That last one's a biggie...I start planning my side dishes for Thanksgiving a full month ahead.

Making sure the car tires are in good shape
(and keeping a window scraper in the trunk for good measure)
Contemplative evenings
Fall festivals and foggy mornings
Dreaming of eggnog
Walnuts to snack on, and apple butter on English muffins
Starting holiday gifts
Smelling the air, straining your eyes against the grey sky for a glimpse of flakes
And the warmth of wrapping yourself in a woobie when you come in from the cold.

10 months 'til Charlotte...I WILL make it happen this time!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Not-so-tense Tuesday


My lapsed-Catholic-turned-witch self doesn't believe in JC anymore, but I still think of God (as in Father, Son, Holy Ghost) every time I see the sun burn through clouds like that.
I definitely have different views now. I'm starting to reread "Twelve Wild Swans" by Starhawk, and there's that coming-home feeling that I haven't had in a while. It's good that I'm digging into it now, so close to Samhain...best time I can think of to renew my faith.



I'm jonesing for autumn and no help for it here...temps dropping as rain threatens, but the humidity's still kicking our asses. Today was cooler, but I see blogs of snow starting in the north and I ache a little. So I must content myself with clouds, clover, and random cat pics :)




Got demoted...well, not really...they just finally took the extra work away from me, the work they've been having me do for the better part of a year now as a stop-gap. The relief I've been feeling since hearing this is notable. Yes, I'll be bored out of my skull again as a regular editor, and it'll be tough getting back to focusing on one or two projects vs. like, five...but I'm in a position to make money, and the stress of that extra work, I will not miss. For the first time in quite a while, I went to work in a decent mood.
Geez, that last shot's kind of cat porn...sorry, Figaro!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday, Monday...

nah, nah...nah, nah, nah, nah...

Carry my camera in my purse now, but remembering it's there is still a trick. Spent half the day Saturday hanging out with Mom and Lil Sis and didn't take one picture, even though I'd love to capture more of Lil Sis, who after almost-26-years still radiates light in my book; and Mom's adorable mutt is all round n' cute and not barking as much (so the urge to drop-kick her has waned considerably). We hung curtains and imbibed Bud Select while Mom napped (she just had carpal tunnel surgery), which resulted in quite a bit of silliness and nice bonding. Then we enjoyed dinner at Carrabba's, which was so scrumptious and filling, and they were so heavy-handed with the garlic I'm pretty sure the vamps will steer clear of our apartment the rest of the week!

Sunday was a wash, darn mood swings...there's nothing quite so frustrating as wanting very badly to change your lot in life and lacking the energy or motivation to do anything about it. It bothers me when I'm so whipped by life I don't even want to knit.

So armed with orneryness and a firm desire to be elsewhere, I trudge into work today, determined to change things somehow. 10 months til Charlotte...

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

You take what you can get

This is a glimpse of fall. Live oaks don't change color much, the leaves are probably browning, but I'll take what I can get this week...temps are in the low 90s. Just not right.


The clouds are a great example of how I stay sane in this tropical unseasoned state...how I keep from missing mountains...the one cool thing about Florida for me is that there's so much sky! We're flat here, so it's just friggin' everywhere, and the clouds, especially during hurricane season, can be spectacular in their different colors and densities.

It's interesting, having to remember to take pics...I'm first and foremost a writer, but it's finally dawning on me that all the blogs I love are picture heavy, that there are many other forms of communication besides the ole written word. My apologies for the droning journal-like nature of this little blog up until now. I get it finally, and will be giving you glimpses of me, how I think, what I see, what I hope to pass onto you, not just in words, but in pictures now. I'm enjoying trying to find interesting things to shoot, especially when my dang day/week is so repetitive (get up, grab breakfast, go to work, sit at computer 8 hours, regain sanity, go home, feed, chill...). Lil Sis has a really good point with her brand of restlessness lately, reminded me how we only hang on this planet in this body the once, so might as well make it memorable, purge the drudgery from your life if at all possible. That frame of thought's been really prevalent since we lost Dad, but doing something about it is quite another story. But I'm quite tired of falling back on the drudgery in the name of responsibility. That needs to be my motivator to getting us the hell out of FL...there's so very much more I intend to accomplish.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Cleaning fool

Something weird's happening...I guess I've never been a spring cleaner, more of a fall cleaner. Fall means back to school and new notebooks and clothes...but since I have notebooks and can't currently afford new clothes, I'm cleaning. Obtained boxes from Mom's move last weekend. Saturday was kind of a wash, though I did clear out around a key catch-all chair in the bedroom. Woke up clear-headed on Sunday though, and dug into the dining room. It's definitely a work in progress...I'll be digging into old boxes in the coming weeks and purging some stuff. But something funny happened...I had an OK day at work today, because I was looking forward to getting back to the cleaning in some form. Tonight I had to make dinner and do some old dishes, but once TV time hit, I tackled a project...reorganized my yarn stash. The above pic is the result. I hope to keep adding pictures as the mood strikes, whether they are of my surroundings outside or in. It's just that the apartment's still such a disaster, that you'll only get those in glimpses at first.

Sunday was fantastic...I plunged into the dining room, just started someplace rather than look around too much and get overwhelmed. I knew I wanted a fresh Goodwill box, a fresh Chamblins box, and to get some more stuff stored. That took me toward the bookshelves, where I discovered at least 10 shoeboxes of mementos and "stuff." So after I'd done a piece of sorting in the dining room, I took the shoeboxes into the bedroom so I could relax with the tube and sort. Purged a bunch of stuff, kept a nice amount, and managed to fit it into a single smallish box. It's interesting how at this age o' mine, you look at things you've kept and are able to say, I don't need this because I have my memories and they're enough.

Hopefully I can keep this mood going...geez, shouldn't say it like that, like I'm already setting myself up for failure. I'm not. It feels so great, and I've barely even started. When I have TV I want to catch, I'll drag a box into the bedroom and see what I can get done. Tomorrow night I'll hit another corner of the bedroom, because I think we need to get the other coffee table out of there too...that one's nice, solid wood. It has 2 funny little drop leaves on the sides and it's scratched to hell - it was another dumpster acquisition. But we honestly don't need it at all, and we won't refinish it, so I'll be talking up its removal this week.

Work's about to get harder, as the copywriting/design team undergoes some supervisory transitions. I'm keeping my chin up and my eyes on the future...I look to December, when I'll hit my 10-year mark with the company, and then I'll look further and see we're going to be able to move next year like I want, and if not, it'll be time to hunt here.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Mini rant and random thought

When did we stop driving while driving? I headed to work today in back of a guy who couldn't leave his bangs alone while studying himself in the rearview, and I was followed too closely by a broad in an SUV yacking away on the phone. Would've loved to have slammed on the brakes to teach her a lesson, but I love my car too much. I just don't get it. I guess I'm just lucky that my life isn't busy enough to have to talk to people while I'm driving. And I can't judge some folks...like I know my LilSis gabs away on drives, but she usually uses speakerphone or a hands-free...and she's a very social creature who's currently lacking a bit in the friends department, so I'd never begrudge her her phone time. The ones who annoy me are the ones who clearly don't have the IQ to be multitasking like that. I'm fairly proud of my smarts, but I don't talk on the phone while driving because a) speakerphones annoy me and where the heck would I put the silly thing without it sliding someplace while I drove?, and b) I drive a stick and know my limitations. There's plenty of people out there who could use a dose of my self-confidence.

And, off subject, it just figures that I'm contemplating a career change when unemployment just jacked up to 9.8% and the pundits are thinking it'll definitely go beyond 10% before it goes down...perfect time to be thinking about kids too. Geez, I love my timing.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Autumn Color Week: Orange


Yeah, like we'll ever have orange leaves in Florida...

So you get a shot of the log cabin blanket I started a while back, that's been abandoned until I get the xmas socks done...colors so far are burnt orange, burgundy, green, and off-white. I'm hoping to build it to king size, using all acrylics, like Red Heart. Hate the stuff and it's hard on the hands, but I just can't afford something that size in the good stuff.

What else is going on...not a whole lot. Work's hard. I'm thinking about how moving may mean a career change for me, which would be fine - I really can't stand how much time I spend sitting on my ass every day - but I also know that my current unhappiness is fueling that idea, so we'll see how things pan out.

I'm praying that payday tomorrow means we can pay rent without having to borrow from family. It's going to take a small miracle though.

Keeping it short...not in a great place still this week...looking forward to weekend. Got a bunch of book-sized boxes from Mom's move, planning to put them to use this weekend, consolidating stuff.
Read some Starhawk this afternoon and it boosted my spirits...going to dig back into my Reclaiming/Feri books, start thinking about Samhain and renewing my faith.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Autumn Color Week: Green


So all I ever see around here is green, so I ain't giving you green leaf pictures...instead I'm posting a wishful-thinking pic in the hopes I'll be wearing these things soon. The snood I made last spring, and the scarf was a gift from the MIL from her trip to Scotland this past summer.

Keeping this short, because work is harder to take when the humidity has vamoosed, so I'm ornery...I ache for cooler days, colder nights, and I'm living in the future again, dreaming of Charlotte and a yard to plant things. At least I'm finally feeling more like it's autumn, about time since tomorrow's October.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Autumn Color Week: Yellow


Yeah, OK, i'm a day late...and technically I ain't posting yellow.

Looks pretty, don't it? Don't be fooled...just the view of the retention pond behind my apartment. I liked the way the sunset shined off the fountain. The right pic below: I was trying to catch the moon rising over the pines. I'm working with a simple point-and-click Canon PowerShot A460.

Dawned on me while driving home tonight that one reason we don't see the leaves change down here is because the northeast corner of Florida has mainly three kinds of trees: pine, palm, and live oak. Four if you count the crepe myrtle that abounds in the landscaped business districts. Live oak is a remarkably hardy tree with small leaves, very different from the oaks you see up north. Live oaks are those sprawling trees that you see in pictures of the old South, their tall branches reaching across streets draped in Spanish moss, so that it's like you're driving down some arboreal tunnel...they're a valued tree down here, their limbs supported with wire and lumber when they grow beyond their own strengths...we have a Treaty Oak downtown that has a boardwalk you can frickin' walk through...it's the damnedest thing to witness.

Ironically, the tree in the forefront of that left-hand pic is some kind of maple...

So I finally took the camera out of its case tonight, because there's suddenly an oh-so-subtle lightness in the air, a slight change in temp and humidity that promises an almost-fall-like forecast the next couple of days...I may not get my colored leaves this year, but I'm going to be more present in the seasonal change. As I transported laundry tonight, I watched the sunset shine off sea oats, and the moon rise above the pines.

Also switched out the top graphic...would love to find something autumn-y, but haven't yet, so you get Figaro...one of those pics where you say afterward, holy crap, I nailed it without red eye or anything! Looks innocent, don't she? Again, don't be fooled. Sweet when she wants to be, but also enjoys flying around the house when you're trying to sleep, screwing with the vertical blinds, and rarely comes when you call her. Saw another cat outdoors tonight and mused that if we ever lost her, if she ever got out of the apartment, the "Lost" posters would have to say "Doesn't necessarily answer to Figaro".

Monday, September 28, 2009

Manic Monday

Have no business posting right now...enough work at work to keep me busy for 3 days...and just overheard that our paychecks took another hit this period. I really want to make it to 10 years at this job, but survival will dictate starting the search early, I think.

Mom's move went smoothly...think she probably spent too much on gratitude food for Les and I, but those expenses naturally come up in moving anyway (not like you can easily cook when you're in limbo like that), so I'm trying not to feel too guilty about it. Movers showed up just after 8 a.m. and were gone from the new place before noon. Punctuated how we'll definitely need to save for movers when our time comes...Mom's new place is right down the street, so we had her almost completely unpacked by 4 p.m. Of course, I hope not to be in the same shape as I am now when the time comes, but I do hope to have a small person to tend to, so it just makes sense. Speaking of shape, even with the movers, holy crap, does my body hurt! Went to her old place Sunday and cleaned, and that I'm feeling today in my hands. Then we did lunch and hopped to Home Depot and PetSmart for some necessities...nice, relaxing day after the craziness. Then I went home and lay like a numb lump for the rest of the evening.

I miss Autumn, will be trying to get in the spirit more this week. No point today, we're getting up in the 90s, but the rest of the week will be milder. Patience.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Vent

So we had an assignment for work that asked us to suggest how other departments could improve, so that overall productivity, quality, and customer satisfaction could improve...

I'm leaving this part off the memo, because I still value my job, but I'm so frustrated I had to stick it somewhere...so why not here!

If only Operations management could see how much an incentive pay system hurts productivity rather than encourages it, then perhaps we could increase Customer Satisfaction.

I don’t have an answer to that last one. If I did, I’d be in management, banging my head against the wall at a higher level than I do now. But recession or no recession, until Copywriters and Designers are given the time necessary to build quality sites, sites that don’t have to be sent back two and three times before making it through Quality, thus negating the productivity factor in the process, our departments will continue to work in a circle while management scratches their heads.


ahhh...thank goodness it's Friday...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Life goes on

It's been a week. Finally feeling like me again. Wanted to hold off and add pictures, but that's just not a habit I've been able to embrace yet.

Hormone imbalance, my ass...it's basic cause and effect. When I eat healthy foods, I feel good. When I eat crap, my metabolism and mood plummet. I turned another corner recently, probably from watching Biggest Loser or something (first eps of a new season deal strongly with how you're shortening your life if you're morbidly obese), and I'm starting to remember the downsides of what I'm putting into my body. If I inhale Peppermint Patties at bedtime, I'll wake up with a blood sugar headache. If I grab a quick bite out at lunch that translates to 2,000 mg of sodium in one sitting (yeah, pulled that one just yesterday - yuck!), my increased blood pressure will also give me a headache. It's like 40 was a magic number for my body, and I'm really seeing how I need to change.

Not pregnant, and that's the other reason I think my hormones are pretty OK on their own...being on the damn things sends me 'round the bend. It's like I was back in college or Fort Myers (my Prozac and Risperdal days)...spent the last 2 weeks screwing up at work, high on life or deeply depressed and frustrated, and boy did my paycheck reflect it (ouch!). The damn hormones made me far more bipolar than I've ever naturally been.

Meantime, been turtling a bit, letting myself heal...knitting at MIL's sock and brainstorming for xmas/solstice gifts for others, enjoying the new TV season...have had new shows to watch every night this week, which is nice, as some of the newbies have potential in my book ("Mercy" stood out last night...The Forgotten and NCIS:LA were OK.....and while I normally wouldn't watch fluff like "Eastwick," the casting of Paul Gross as the male lead combined with Matt Dallas as Rebecca Romijn's boy toy has piqued my interest, or my vicarious libido, sufficiently).

Samantha: "He's supposed to be my ideal."
Molly Ringwald, Sixteen Candles

::sigh::

Ehem...ah...now then...anybody seen autumn, because it sure ain't here. Muggy and high 80s during the day, because it's been threatening to rain and not doing so. I don't know yet when I'm going to find the time in October to get us up to SC for an inlaws visit, but I do know I'll be itching to drive a little further, see some leaves turning. I ache for the Carolinas these days, but that also has to do with my unhappiness at my job.

This weekend is all about helping Mom move into her new apartment, slightly larger, better layout...organizing Friday afternoon/evening, transporting some stuff; Saturday, moving; Sunday, cleaning...should be a sweaty blast :P

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ever. So. Slowly. Rallying...

Made a point of reading blogs this morning, and it's helping my mood...when you can't motivate yourself, a peek into how others live can bring inspiration.

Definitely need to start putting pics on this sucker. No wonder I can count my readers on one hand. This has always been just a journal for me, I'm not trying to inspire folks, but still...

I'm ok, nothing new here, the depression...just knocks your wind out every time. You wander along thinking you're fine, and you are, but if circumstances align to make you not ok for a piece, then WHAM, and didja get the license number of that thing? I stared at dirty dishes last night and couldn't lift a finger. I wandered the apartment at times, because there wasn't enough on TV to hold my interest and I couldn't bring myself to knit. You're lost in your body, and the map stores are closed. Lonely business. Josh Groban's HILarious guest stint on Glee helped last night, and I slept hard, so maybe my body's taking the steps it needs subconsciously. Consciously, I'm wearing my meditation goddess earrings today. I'm treating myself to a half-price Vivianno at Starbucks. And maybe, just maybe, some knitting or fabric touching or dish cleaning will occur later.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Keeping it short

You know that part in Home Alone, when Macauley Culkin runs screaming around the house with his arms flailing over his head....?

That's where I'm at. So I'll keep this short. It's been a shitty week, and I'm pretty sure the progesterone negates what little Paxil is in my system, because the way my moods have been swinging, I may as well be back in college...except I'm a 40-year-old married person, so I can't ride my bike at 1 a.m. any more or enjoy the endorphin rush of slamming my wrist into something...I should be grateful. Knitting, Husby...I have things at my disposal now that help me ride out the worst of it. Still, I'm stretched pretty damn tight this week. So I look forward once again...Pagan Pride this weekend, maybe the farmer's market. The little things.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Then again...

Jordan: I mean, how would you like going from unbelievably horny to clinically depressed 6 times a day?
Dr. Cox: Gimme a break, willya, I can knock that out on the way to work.
Paraphrased from Scrubs

After Toby has spouted a meaningless diatribe...
Will: Toby, either get Andie to marry you, or kill yourself.

Paraphrased from The West Wing

Jumped on my mood swing this morning and haven't stopped yet...was regular mopey when work started, and the black mood has thwarted rather ably the happy feelings my music was giving me. We've got a meeting tomorrow to discuss how we can do our jobs better, to improve customer satisfaction. I couldn't give less of a crap. How about a little employee satisfaction?

Something wonderful happened this week...

I'm able to listen to music again.

Sure, I've listened to music in the last 2+ years, but I haven't been able to enjoy old favorites, like Josh Groban, Enya, etc. without it shredding me inside. Dads' passing made music too beautiful to bear for some reason, and I certainly couldn't listen to my old faves at work without the danger of getting weepy...

Turned a corner last spring when Mom and I went to the Kelly Clarkson concert at Universal Mardi Gras, and it's been building ever since. When I realized I couldn't afford the iPod just yet, I dug out the old MP3 player, added some stuff, and brought it to work. Not only can I listen again without it shredding me (there are one or two notable exceptions to this, which I quickly pass over), it's making work bearable, and that I definitely need. I'm really bitter and frustrated these days.

1ww...been practicing positive thinking...the suck part is the progesterone may make my cycle late, so it's harder to determine when I should start throwing away money on pregnancy tests...