Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Taking Stock

A little off this week...not much to report...

Outside: blue sky, white clouds, grey sky, black clouds...can't make up its mind.

Inside: a little warm and none too exciting.

Wearing: jeans, sandals, gigantic shirt that would be cute if it wasn't a size fashioned by Omar the Tent Maker, but it's so comfy, I have trouble seeing that it's totally unflattering and continue wearing it everywhere with a rather blind stubbornness.

Reading: Eye of the World by Robert Jordan. First time reading Wheel of Time series.

Creating: snickerdoodles, not much else...will dig into the UFOs for a knitty get-together with friends this weekend.

Going: NOWHERE! Taking time to just be, and not travel...can't afford it right now anyway.

Hoping: Lots of stuff. Going to the doc myself tomorrow, hoping all's well there. Hoping Dad J. continues to heal. Hoping a college friend who totaled his car this week continues to heal. Hoping a grade school friend whose father is fading from cancer, gets plenty of quality time with him in these next hard days. Hoping I make enough to cover the damn rent.

Image from here.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thoughts on a Sunday

I think my efforts today may not extend much past taking the recycling to the center and turning a frozen dish into soup. I also think I'm OK with that. I have some things to wash out by hand and some reading to do.

I heard a friend sing last night. Her voice, accompanied by her guitar and that of a friend, travels straight into my heart chakra and gives me this feeling of peace. I fall into it, a place of contentment.

We also drummed and chanted a bit, sitting around a fire laid outdoors. It threw off the occasional spark and kept the mosquitoes at bay. There was hula hooping and fire spinning. People danced sinuously around the fire as the spirit moved them, and we sang songs about the elements. I'd forgotten how these activities spoke to my soul.

I was asked, more than once, how I feel about staying. These are people who believe that things happen for a reason, that there are things in life beyond our control. As a recovering control freak, I fight this viewpoint. But I also admit to that relief, that recognition that right now, little can be done to better my situation in the short-term. It takes my dreams out of the clouds and brings them down to eye level.

I'm grateful for this clarity. Just thinking about it stirs my motivation, which was pretty dormant today until the coffee kicked in. I'm going to putter, and then create my budget sheets for the rest of the year. Have a great Sunday, y'all!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


"A swift, spiritual kick to the head that alters your reality forever."
~ from Grosse Pointe Blank

I'm having one of those afternoons.

Something fantastic happened. My significant web stalking capabilities have been running into a road block with regard to finding one particular friend from high school. At my last high school (there were 3, long story), I had 2 best friends, one in my grade and one 2 years below me. We three were inseparable in 1987; and then one of us graduated and moved on to college. I took an extra year of high school (another long story, not really my choice), so the other friend and I stayed close. I went to college nearby the year after that; she graduated a year later, and moved to Alabama to continue her studies. We exchanged the occasional Christmas card or catch-up letter, but we were both lousy at writing. She married, stayed in Alabama; I bounced around Florida...and thanks to our inability to maintain correspondence, we lost touch, which I always hated, because she's this really sweet, positive person, someone who's bubbly, but not annoying, a really good listener...the girl's a 5'4" hug!

With social media being such the norm nowadays, I figured it'd be easy to find her again, but for reasons I couldn't fathom, I was having trouble pinning her down. Y'all know I make no excuses for being the occasional Web FB friend from age 5 can attest to that. I figured she was taking time off from work to have children, which was why I couldn't find her name at her old schools (she worked her way from teacher to assistant principal, to psychologist/guidance counselor). Suffice it to say, I thought to put her maiden name in the search on FB today (I've tried this before, but it's never worked), and after being out of touch for years, I found her again!

Even more interesting though, is the motivational response that I'm getting from looking at her pictures. She had gained some weight in high school, but in her junior year, she made the decision to eat healthy, drink water, and get more active. I cheered her on as she dropped pounds and embraced seltzer water and rice cakes, but turned my nose up at doing anything like that myself. In point of fact, I didn't need to back then; I was 5'8" and weighed maybe 150, which for my frame is fine. However, the healthy habits obviously could have helped me. Fast forward 23 years: I'm 125 pounds overweight, and she looks fantastic; she obviously still embraces a healthy lifestyle and it shows on her trim frame and pretty face.

Something shifted into focus, seeing her. Why have I abused myself as long as I have? Granted, in my case, we're dealing with some seriously long-standing habits, and some switching of bad habits for other bad ones. (Do I eat because I don't cut myself anymore? Do I eat out of fear that Les will leave me suddenly, like Dad? etcetcyadayada....) Also the fact that my brain chemistry ain't normal will always factor in. But how much of that is an excuse? How much of that could be shaped positively with a little gritted teeth and elbow grease on my part?

They could write an academic thesis on how the unconditional love I receive from Les has allowed me to let myself go, that it's freed me to be myself. Except myself is unhealthy and looks like hell. I want to live to be 102, I'm terrified that Dad's condition is genetic, and I'm a heart attack waiting to happen.

I think I'm done being stupid.

Taking Stock

One day runs into the next. We're trying not to travel for the next month. Prayers that Grandma and Dad J.'s health allow this. G'ma's in the hospital with pneumonia; Dad's still trucking along toward hopeful remission.

Hurricane Irene isn't even going to grace us with her presence here in Florida, unless you're a surfer; and Virginia/DC had an earthquake this week. The world's pissed, folks; quit hurting her.

In that vein, I'm heading back to a more vegetarian diet, well, lacto-ovo anyway...can't imagine giving up my dairy, though I am cutting back on eggs b/c of the cholesterol. I'm 1 month away from my cardio appt and my health is likely worse than the last one. Two frustrating things I'm learning about eating and living healthier: it really is more expensive, so purchases must be done with care; and label reading is a MUST. I went shampoo shopping in my local health food store, and quickly realized there's no point paying twice as much for shampoo that isn't organic or non-GMO and still contains plenty of alcohols and petroleum products. Or the products that claim to be soy-free, but then have canola oils in if rapeseed is any less genetically modified than your average soybean. Totally chaps my ass that companies think we won't read labels and they can get away with that shit.....and of course, thanks to our latent consumerism, they can and do get away with it. Well, not this chickie...

So I said the hell with it and I'm going to try no-poo for a month; baking soda shampoo and vinegar/tea tree conditioner. It's a real gamble considering how very much hair I have, but I'm willing to work with it. I so want to make my "footprint" smaller...I'm reading about permaculture again and thinking about planting on the porch. Baby steps.

Outside: sun showers, courtesy of Irene.

Inside: back to normal...yesterday was hilarious. One of the server batteries caught fire and it took hours for the computers to function normally afterward.

Wearing: best slacks on the planet, short-sleeved sweater that will annoy me by end of day, and clogs...we're biz cashz today for tours with the suits of the company we just absorbed.

Reading: Eye of the World by Robert Jordan (starting the Wheel of Time series), Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, and the September Vogue/aka Fashion's Bible.

Creating: yea,'s been a scattered week. Will be baking up a storm for a friend's b'day party Saturday night, trying to decide what to make...may try my hand at something vegan, so they can partake as well as the party-goers...

Going: no further than Orangedale for the party and the recycling center on Philips hopefully...


Images from here and here

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Taking Stock

The new obsession. Asheville, NC. I'll idealize it in my head until I see it this fall, and then we'll really talk about where the heck we wanna move to. Hoping to get us up there in October to go apple picking and explore.

Outside: August. Florida. Nuf said.

Inside: Short attention span theater.

Wearing: comfy-est pants on the planet. Sandals. Oversized shirt.

Reading: Poisonwood Bible again. I'm a little fascinated lately by the anti-feminist rhetoric of fundamental Baptist sects.

Creating: holding pattern...unless you count a slightly more organized house.

Going: SC this weekend...Dad J and Sis-in-law's birthdays. Say a prayer that the car AC doesn't cost us an arm and a leg on Friday.

Hoping: that we can get said AC fixed without it raping my paycheck, that Dad J continues to improve. That I can keep exercising every other day. That I'm able to plant the herbs and tomatoes on the back porch. That...

Image from here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Monday Musings

I didn't think I'd feel this relieved. It's actually frustrating to feel as relieved as I do about our inability to move, because I get afraid that it signals a complacency that I've been fighting against since, oh, moving to this damn state really. I really don't like it here. I've certainly said it often enough. There are no seasons, the trees don't change colors at the right times, and my apartment's too small and devoid of modern clothes-washing machinery.

But this is different. Seeing my credit scores, seeing that there are definite steps I need to take before we can even THINK about trying to leave...these are steps that weren't in my plan before, and have to be now. It creates forward movement. The question, "are you doing everything you need to be doing?" gets an honest answer now, not just one that's fueled by my dreams of traipsing through a field wearing muck boots.

Spent a chunk of yesterday unpacking and reorganizing, playing box Tetris as Lil Sis calls it, to get the stuff that can stay in boxes (board games, Christmas stuff, Dad stuff, etc) stashed in a way that we're not tripping over it...and unpacked a large chunk of our library. That feels so good! to have our books at hand again. It's not done yet, but I'm just going to tackle that place one section at a time, until the only thing keeping me from inviting people over is the smoke smell...

I'm starting fresh lists, downloading free budget templates until I get one that speaks to our sitch, thinking about projects. I want to plant stuff out on the porch and refinish those cabinets. We're going to cook more at home this fall. There's zucchini in the crisper begging to be made into bread later this week. I'm in a surprisngly good place right now.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Peanut Butter Pie

Husby and niece, circa Christmas 2007. Takes my breath away.

I wasn't familiar with Jennifer's blog before today; I may have happened across it at some point, but I can have blog ADD at times. But I checked out Heather's post today, and then Shauna's, and I was moved to tears. You'd think after Dad, I'd remember how precious life is, but we humans are easily distracted by shiny objects, until your earth is shattered or that of someone else's, and you remember just how important it is to live authentically.

Naturally, it brings home a host of other issues with me. I couldn't make peanut butter pie today if I wanted to. We don't have all the ingredients, and whatever's left in the account is going to bounce against my Y membership on Monday. That isn't a responsible way to live. Then there's the fact that I got my credit scores finally from that BofA thing, and they're worse than I thought. I need to try and remedy one or two errors, but most of it's legit; and that doesn't exactly bode well toward getting us to NC anytime soon. I'm finally understanding that dreaming it doesn't make it happen. And reading a post like the above ones only punctuates the amount of time we've already wasted, no children, no home...

Husby snores periodically on the couch while I type this. His noisy cartoons go on in my left ear, but I think he'd probably wake up if I went remote-rooting. I adore him.

Hug your loved ones, people! And then get to work!

P.S. Husby's an Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie guy actually. He's so getting one once I get paid.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Dawn Breaks

Snitched the photo title too, as my subject line. It's rather appropriate.

The dream's not dead. I just had to hit the snooze button again.

I should be more disappointed. As I wrote in NC Moving, I honestly thought I'd get approved for the credit card. My bankruptcy has been discharged and we only have 2 big yucks and 2 small yucks on the ole credit. But one of those big yucks is from another credit card company way back when, and until that one is discharged, I could be looking at more brick walls.

Some very good things came out of this latest failure. I signed up for a thing at BofA that allows me to, for a negligible fee, access my credit score and report whenever I want, so I can track its improvement. I realized I really want to take a good look at Asheville, because if I'm being honest with myself, I'd rather live in that size and type of community than the massiveness of Charlotte. I'm definitely getting my wheels turning and motor running on several projects, from writing to container planting to refinishing those cabinets to cleaning to purging our stuff. And I'm going to actually budget: create a plan and timeline. It's not nearly enough to just give myself the deadline of when the lease runs out. Even if Les finds work or gets accepted for SS disability, it'll take time to save money and I'm finally figuring out it ain't gonna fall from the sky. One good thing is that we are very close to done with our car payments. When we finish with those, I'll start saving toward a secured credit card, to build the credit back up, bit by bit.

I made it back to the Y last night, and the difference today is posture, my mood, everything. I don't expect to lose all the weight I've gained before my cardio appointment in September, but I'll be damned if I'm going to him with the same bloodwork numbers. So I'm back off the fast food, taking my supplements, trying to eat more focus on me is back. Thank gods. Happy Friday!

Image from here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Taking Stock

Wasn't I just here? Too much going on in my head, won't bore you with the rambling...check out NC Moving if you're desperate for info.

Outside: steamy.

Inside: boring.

Wearing: as little as possible. It's wet wool blanket time in Florida, where you step outside and want nothing more than to turn right around and go back indoors, unless you've just drank massive amounts of water and have an adequate head covering....

Reading: NC brochures/magazines

Creating: lists

Going: nowhere this weekend, thank goodness...our car A/C is being quite lazy, and there's no money to fix it : (

Hoping: credit card approval comes in, I can figure out where in the hell I want to move us, and my friend D recovers quickly from her accident. Our stock continuing to rise would be nice too.

Image from here.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Taking Stock

I nicked a pile of these types of shots off of Rosie's blog this morning. I couldn't help myself. They nutshell New England for me, and awaken that ache that reminds me that I won't be happy until I'm somewhere more rural. God help me when I find that place and its proximity to a Starbucks is measured in tens of miles, rather than tenths...

Also, for reasons I can't understand, I'm completely smitten with her family.

We head to NC on Saturday morning. I need this distraction, even if it's less of a scouting trip and more of a visiting one. We just won't know if we're able to move for awhile yet, so I'm going to relax, visit Mom and Meara, and drink the area in. Already planning a trip in October if we aren't going to be able to move this fall...I want to pick apples off a damn tree this year!

Outside: Supposed to feel like 110F today...not bad in the shade; I still ate lunch outside. Wish I could do the rest of the workday out there...

Inside: Love the juxtaposition of hitting 110F outside while my toes freeze in my sandals inside, because the damn A/C is set so low...

Wearing: capris, T w/embroidered flowers, aforementioned toe-chilling sandals...really, I feel a pinch like a slob when I wear them to work, but they're easily the most comfortable shoes I own right now, so hang fashion...yes, they're more comfortable than my SNEAKERS! Those who know my tomboy ways understand the enormity of that statement.

Reading: finished the Millennium trilogy (so. damn. good.) so officially at loose ends in the reading department...thinking I need to tear into a box and find something by Kingsolver to take the edge off...

Creating: stalled on the knitting, but my brain's been dealing with a LOT so far this week. Also, doesn't help that I unpacked the PS2 to get over the Mah Jong DTs...I lasted a whole 2 days with that time-sucker in a box. Thinking I want to get moving on socks soon...haven't ripped out Candleflame either, and I'd love to do something with that yarn...maybe double knit a feather and fan scarf instead?

Going: NC!!! Bringing the cat, because we'll be gone basically 4 days and she's been dealing with some kind of dermatitis she's getting more clingy each time we leave for longish periods, so we're going to spoil her.

Hoping: I get approved for a credit card with a decent limit, so we can continue moving forward...

Image from here.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011


When I have my own house, there will be lavender in the herb garden.

"Excuses are like assholes. Everybody's got one."
~ DH

Wishing it won't make it so. That's the hard, hard lesson I'm taking away from my latest realizations, that it takes so much more than just wishing to make an out-of-state move occur, when you're working under our handicaps (living paycheck to paycheck, 2-person household + cat with 1-person income, modest savings, no credit cards, inability to acquire a bank loan, the list goes on). Don't get me wrong, I wasn't just wishing...I've been job hunting since May, investigating the apartment/house situation in Charlotte, researching the neighborhood layout of the city. Also, applied for positions outside of Charlotte...and have received zero nibbles back. My skill set and the economy just aren't meshing right now. Not giving up, but definitely reconciling myself to the fact that a lease renewal here could very well happen for now.

This is thanks to the realization that we plain don't have the funds to move. My stock options are in the basement, and any partial liquidation of the 401(k) can't occur until I have terminated employment with my company (US tax laws designed to save us from ourselves), and since I'm having a wee bit of trouble lining up a new job, it becomes rather logistically impossible to coordinate an out-of-state move without a chunk of spare funds from somewhere. That may be where the credit card comes in, but I don't really want that to be the end-all-be-all option either; even with a 0% APR for the first 12 billing cycles, it's a gamble that requires further review, once I've received the yay or nay from the credit card company, which won't be for 7 to 10 business there's that.

Spent about 18 hours screaming internally with that realization. Our apartment has no washer/dryer, enough crap for a 2-bedroom, and has been smoked in for 13 years. It's a hole that I have no intention of even trying to get the security deposit back on. If I wasn't so worried about them raising the rent further, I'd demand fresh cabinets and carpeting on the renew. Add to that how dark we keep it sometimes because of Les's head, and it really does take on a "pit of despair" feel. Name that movie : )

So once I had a moment to set aside lamenting and gnashing my teeth and make a list or three, my brain just exploded with renewed hope on the subject. This means I have the time I need to research more, I should look into other means of income through my writing, we can really organize the boxes in the meantime....and a host of other things, which I outlined further on the NC Moving blog. And it blew out the lit fuse on the ominous end of August deadline (when we need to let the apartment complex know if we're moving or not). If I can still make it happen in that timeframe, least now I have a realistic view on the level of work that needs to occur, all the pieces that need to fall magically into place to make it happen.

Image from here.


My brain is totally immersed in the NC Moving blog this week; wanna know what's going on? Go there : (