Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Note to self: price all-weather tires. Suddenly recognizing how irresponsible it would be to move up there without them. Please gods, let us survive without 4-wheel-drive for just one more year.....
Hilarious that it takes pics of Grandfather Mountain's first blizzard to jump-start my brain. Grandfather is closer to Boone than Asheville, quite a bit further north than where I'm intending us to move. But it also reminds me that the reason we didn't camp the 2nd night when we were up there this month, is because we were concerned the temps would dip into the 30s and precipitation would ice over the Blue Ridge, effectively stranding us or causing us to make a treacherous 1st gear slide down the mountain.
So weird to look at Hurricane Sandy pics online and not be the recipient of the damage. Florida caught such a crazy break this year, only one decent tropical storm in an otherwise yawnworthy season. Can't tell me climate change doesn't exist.
We had the windows open for the 1st time last night. It's bliss, absolute heaven. I walk outside and a weight is lifted. Supposed to get back to 70s tomorrow, but I pray the humidity continues to take a break...
Image from here.
Monday, October 29, 2012
Doing a pinch better today, but I've got that fragile feeling, like I"m made of something with a thin crust. Gotta do laundry tonight, but thinking I need to hit the elliptical up by the laundry room too...not liking the extra poundage that has snuck back.
That pic makes me want to go home and knit small things. And drink cocoa.
Yesterday was better, but exhausting. Went and dropped off recycling and did a quick shop, then came home and got cooking. Made the apple butter pumpkin pie for Les, then set some yeast for bread, then made waffles, then started dough rise...and realized an hour and a half later just how warm the back burner on the stove gets when the oven's on. I had set the bread bowl on there, because it ain't easy finding a warm moist spot in an air-conditioned apartment...and discovered the dough half cooked already from the heat of the oven when I went to punch it down. Sonofa! The only reason I'm not more discouraged, is because for the first time, I know what proper yeast proofing looks like now. That yeast looked awesome, mixed it with warm water and honey and the results WOULD HAVE BEEN a great bread.
So I'll try again later in the week, because if there's one cool thing I'm realizing, it's that I don't even like white bread anymore. Didn't get to the apple crumble, but may try that on Wednesday, as a Halloween celebration-type thing. Also going to carve a pumpkin for the first time in ages...bought one at Sky Top to use on the pie, but realized it would've been too labor-intensive to roast the darn thing. If I were feeling 100%, maybe, but not this weekend...
Highly annoyed with Hurricane Sandy for shutting down the stock exchange. Doesn't Mother Nature realize I need my options to rally, and fast?! What I would give for the liquidity to move like, now.....
Prayers for Les's grandma please, in the hospital with sepsis and hanging on by her claws...she's 92 with a very tired body and the strongest constitution I've seen south of the Mason-Dixon (north of the M-D would've been my own Nanie). It's maddening not living closer, in times like these.
Image from here.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Posted this bad boy on FB the other day, after a particularly long work-and-bad-hair day...not sure what I was going for, other than satirical sexy ;)
In case you haven't heard of her, the Bloggess is a delightful woman named Jenny Lawson who wrote a memoir of her slightly odd life, who probably doesn't even realize the good she's done at demystifying mental illness. She has generalized/social anxiety disorder and a fairly bipolar/borderline personality, which is handled with meds and still occasionally knocks her flat. She handled her book tour for the memoir with the aplomb of a seasoned author, and then had to take a month off because her brain said in no uncertain terms, "STOP!" I know those days, where getting out of bed is a struggle, where you reach a point where it's impossible to fight what's going on in your head...and there doesn't have to be any tangible reason beyond "my body chemistry is having a bad day/week/month..." It's a royal bitch, and society still isn't that great about accepting it.
Those whom it afflicts have trouble accepting it too. As someone who craves tangible answers for everything, to the point that it's practically made me an atheist, the idea that I'm down "just because" was unacceptable for years and years. Getting back on lithium has been a godsend actually; Hubs noticed the difference right off, said it was like I was giving myself permission to just chill, rather than bounce off the walls on the weekends wanting to get EVERYTHING done. I agree for the most part, but sometimes, it's still hard to reconcile that it's OK to let that happen. Particularly when you're trying to move in 2 months with only 1/2 a career option ready and stock options that refuse to stay steady...
Spent yesterday playing game after game of Mah Jong on the Kindle and beating myself up emotionally for not doing something else. There's plenty of reasons why my brain's taking a sabbatical, the not-at-all irrational fears associated with moving; being back in Florida where a cold snap means it only gets up to 65, but it doesn't feel that cool because the damn humidity is still 90%; i'm off my exercise regimen, which creates self-loathing, since i know damn well I'll only feel better if I go expend a few calories SOMEHOW...and for a topper, we're basically sitting vigil waiting for word about Les's 92-year-old grandma, who's in the ICU with sepsis, praying both for her recovery or alternately that the gods decide she's had enough pain. That one hurts, and brings with it the concerns about using paid time off for bereavement when I've been stockpiling it for move stuff. Selfish as hell, I know, but these thoughts come up and threaten to overwhelm...
So when I woke up this morning and realized the fog hadn't lifted yet, I told myself it's OK. Gave myself permission to feel rotten if that's what I need to feel, and treat myself with kid gloves today. No being pissed about what doesn't get done; instead just focus on what I can get done...a very-little grocery shopping, dropping off the recycling, and processing some of the apples from last weekend for an apple crumble. Nothing earth-shattering, but if I can be kind to myself, maybe this week will be better.
Friday, October 26, 2012
My gods, but Friday feels good! This week was a royal bitch on wheels, just couldn't get back to me. Dunno if it's because money's so tight or just being back in Florida, but man, we've both been down a bit this week. Payday's paying the rent and not much else, but we're entering that terrifying transitional period, so my brain's waking up to all that needs to be done and this weekend will be all about organizing and making lists (with a healthy dose of cooking thrown in, as we make do with very little). The motivation's there...they're raising our rent just enough to make it not worth it to stay.
Even though I usually don't find this stuff til Friday morning, I'm enjoying the search...so much neat stuff out there!
- Yet another blog for health foodies...the pumpkin risotto looks interesting; I'm already thinking of substituting butternut squash.
- Homesprout—lotta loveliness there.
- Gonna have to try this Apple Crumble recipe...all the apple crisp recipes I come across use oatmeal in the topping and I'm just not feeling it lately.
- My itch to get my MFA flared up badly this week and I'm raveling a mental thread about educating myself again, since getting back to school is so far off...why do these urges always happen when I've got most of my books packed?! Anyhoo, this site is going to help me get a handle on what I want to study, as my dissertation idea starts to take shape...
- Spotify—yea, I'm late to the game on this one, but wow, it's going to save my sanity the rest of this year...can't be spending any dough on stuff like music, and this will fill that gap quite nicely, from what I can tell.
- Heritage Radio, where have you been all my life? My jaw dropped as I perused their shows, and I haven't even listened to them yet.
- And since I don't want to knit anything for anyone this holiday season, it's only natural that I find a pattern like this beauty, which I'm betting knits up fast and would be perfect for just about every female on both sides of the family....hmm....
Have a great weekend, y'all! And don't bother with hairstyling if you live on the East Coast; looks like Sandy gonna be more wind than rain.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Having one holy hell of a time getting back on track this week. My head's out of the mountains, but I'm not sure where it landed. There are deadlines pressing down on us, a tenuous stock market toying with our nest egg, and dirty dishes still in the sink. How are we gonna live without a dishwasher in a house? Gotta lotta discipline coming...
Haven't been to the Y yet, and I need to do something...my jeans are a bit snug.
People who don't answer emails make me nutty. Gonna have to schedule a day off in the near future just for phone calls.
Thinking it's silly to strip and repaint the cabinets when they'll just get banged up in the move, but I do want to take the stuff out of them one by one and give them a good going-over. Dad always said he only slapped those together, and they're easily 35 or 40 years old...but except for cat scratches, they're in really good shape. If I can reinforce them for the move, it'll be easier to refinish them once we're there.
I smelled leaf rot when we were up in the mountains...it was exquisite!
Next week, we'll be officially homeless...meaning we need to tell the complex that we're not renewing the lease, but we don't have housing nailed down yet up there. The risk that entails could easily be crippling, but I'm determined not to freak too badly, just get nose to grindstone and push through it.
Was going to dress up as Merida from Brave for Halloween, but my company doesn't allow any replicas of weapons of any kind, so I can't make a fake bow and quiver of arrows to go with the costume, so without it I'm just a large chick in a green ritual gown with seriously unruly hair, and I'm not sure how worth it, it is...
I'm getting the itch to create...not sure if it involves knitting or holiday presents or what (I shove Christmas/Yule outta my mind FAST when it tries to blow through), but I think we can make it through the holidays if I get my hands a little busy now...
Baking apples and pumpkin and wheat bread and maybe tortillas this weekend, and I need to print more of Heather's Whole Food Kitchen out and start putting it into practice, because we've been living on pizza and carbs for 2 weeks now.....oh, THAT's why my jeans are snug!
This is the crap that flies through my head when I'm supposed to be editing sites.
Images from here and here.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
You may be able to sense a theme in my graphics for the next week or so.....
Gotta love when the stock market dips at the same time that the bank account's dry...FWP, I know, but still...meals are gonna be really creative the next week or three.
Not sure it's possible to be less engaged in work today...there's so much going on in my head. The calendar is not my friend right now, my jeans are still a little snug from the trip, and my gods, the work that needs to occur in the next 10 weeks!!!
OK...that was today's freakout...now more about the trip...
We spent Wednesday night in Columbia with Hubs' sister; she has an adorable carriage house rental downtown. Girlfriend knows how to shop vintage too...her place was outfitted so nifty!
Headed straight to the campground the next morning, a pleasant enough 3-hour drive...until we hit the mountain. The weather report was saying AM showers, and we were climbing 5,000 feet on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Around 4,000 feet, we were literally driving in. a. cloud. I haven't seen fog like that since Above All (Warren, CT); we literally couldn't see 5 feet in front of the car. We inched our way to the top, got directions at the Pisgah Inn to the campground, and inched our way to the campsite. Seriously scary driving. Once there, we assessed the sitch, put up the tent, and headed back down the mountain to get provisions. That was better, because in the valleys the sky was clearing, and the Ingles had Starbucks. Hot dogs, firewood, and a latte later I ,at least, was in a better mood, but damn...that fog! You literally could've walked into people at the inn parking lot.
Thursday night was...interesting. We were wiped out from a hard sleep the night before and the stress of the fog, so we just built a fire, had hot dogs and chips, and hit the sack relatively early. It dipped into the 40s, and we were buried in sleeping bags, fully clothed, with blankets galore on top. Ducking out around 5AM to pee was comical....I know I joked we'd be freezing our tails off, but damn!
I adore the cold, but have never slept outside in that level of chill. When we heard the weather report threatening 30s the next night, it was easy to make the decision to pack it in. Our car is perfectly fine for Florida, but with no all-weather tires or 4-wheel drive, there was no way we were taking a chance of the Parkway being icy. I found a library branch really close to us (for WiFi or computer), and we popped down the mountain to see if there were any rooms available for a reasonable rate in the area. There almost weren't, as it was peak. I checked the cut-rate branch hotels first, like Super 8 and Days Inn, and almost laughed out loud when Super 8 wanted $235 a night. I've stayed in Super 8s where they should've paid us!
Managed to find a motel in Brevard, about 45 minutes outside of town. We went to Tupelo Honey for brunch (the rumors are true, it's delish!), and then headed uptown to get more literature from the local Chamber, see if my freelance contact was available, and visit a property management company to get our feet wet in that area. The first and third items were successful; alas, the second was not. We also jaunted around town a bit, grabbing cash in case we needed to park at meters, and then breaking said cash at a tiny pharmacy. I'm glad we did this, even if we never did need to park, because it got us more familiar with town and made Asheville upper and lower less intimidating. We've lived in Jax for 15 years, so anywhere new is gonna be daunting at first.
Those errands accomplished, I kept the phone on high in case my freelance contact called to meet; and we drove back to the campground to break camp and head to Brevard. It was still daylight as we traveled through farmland to the motel, a pretty drive, though we kicked ourselves later when we realized we could've taken Blue Ridge almost all the way there. We bounced around that town a bit, because Les had really bad luck with his e-cig batteries dying the whole trip; and we grabbed Pizza Hut for dinner, which we brought back to the room and hoovered while watching the tube and feeling quite grateful for the roof over our heads, even though the motel definitely had its flaws.
I realized since we were in Brevard, that Sky Top Orchard would be on the way to Charlotte, so that became the plan for the next day. We got up at a decent hour, ate the rest of the pizza for breakfast, I bought a local map, and we back-roaded it to Flat Rock, only about a half hour away. The orchard was hopping, and fairly picked over, but it was still a delightful excursion. We picked a peck of apples, grabbed a pie pumpkin and some peach jam, and snatched up the required, SINFUL apple cider doughnuts. The weather was clear and gorgeous, and the exercise did us both a world of good!
Dinner with Mom and Lil Sis at Mac's that evening, where we gorged on BBQ and then went back to Meara's to chill. We headed out around noon on Sunday, in a hilariously packed car, both ready to get home. It's odd, getting that depressed feeling about being back in Florida and yet relishing being back "home". I'm so ready for "home" to be further north.
It took til yesterday evening to unpack, we did it in spurts between naps and re-acclimating. I'm at loose ends today, would rather be writing letters again to the 2 viable employment agencies in Asheville in my wheelhouse, giving them a timeline for employing me, filling out their apps...but gotta earn some money first. I get paid this week, but rent's due and the stock is doing its dip before the 3Q announcement next week. Planning a move requires a great deal of organizational ability and patience. Both are lacking a little too much here for my liking. Time to do something about that.
Monday, October 22, 2012
What we learned...
- Our sleeping bags aren't suited for cold weather.
- The Blue Ridge Parkway is a really beautiful drive, and we only hit like, 25 miles of it.
- Inclement weather at 5,000+ feet means driving through a frickin' cloud.
- Maps are blamed when the navigator sends you on a scenic route (this was especially helpful to me since I was the navigator...winkwink).
Not enough work accomplished this trip, but my soul is recharged. More tomorrow...
And yes, that's me feeding the sheep and my sweet guy resting on the hill of an apple orchard. The Y has nothing on the hills at Sky Top! My body's still bitching...it feels fantastic!
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Thought I had to work today...completely forgot I had today off. Good stuff. Went home at 10 a.m.
Both pics from Grandfather Mountain's FB page. I like how autumn is turning itself out this year, not showy, more like a sleepy artist dabbing a little red here, a little yellow there...
Gotta go pack and plan. Wish us luck! Back on here Tuesday.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
I'll drag us out early on Thursday (we're staying with his sis in Columbia, and she has to get to work probably anyway), and it's only 3 hours to Asheville. Hubs wants to go straight to the site and set up camp, which makes sense; and we'll need to hit an Ingles to buy provisions. I'm hoping to knock out the employment agencies maybe that afternoon, but we'll see...best laid plans don't hold a candle to real life on these trips. Friday, I want to hit the property management companies and get the straight poop...and hopefully even look at a couple of houses. Thank goodness for the Internet...I've already got a couple of properties in mind.
There's so many "what if's" still to iron out to make this work. That's what this trip will hopefully do. I'm still scared, in the back of my mind, that the property management companies (or landlords) won't want to work with us, because our credit is so abysmal, but we're hoping that offering extra up-front dough or cosigners will do the trick. Really pisses me off that that one number makes me look bad when I've got 18 years of established work ethic and a spotless rental history in my back pocket. Capitalism has its drawbacks.
50% chance of showers on Thursday up there...I'd appreciate any good wishes where the weather is concerned for us on this trip. We're rainproofing the tent, but it's ancient.
Image from here.
Monday, October 15, 2012
My head's in the trees this week and no help for it. In my continued quest to stretch Les and I beyond our abilities, we're heading up to the Carolinas this week to camp, scout, and hopefully freeze our tails off. I get the feeling that the fall color won't be as great as I'd hoped (the winds are blowing leaves off before they have a good chance to turn), but I'm really more concerned with it being other than 80 degrees while we're there. I've yet to feel a bite in the air this autumn, and my soul aches for it.
Hence the camping, and of course, because it's leaf peeping season up there; so normal people are shelling out $150 a night minimum for a roof over their heads while they're vacationing and hitting the parkway. We are poor little church mice with a tent that hopefully still works, so we're shelling out a mere $19 a night for 2 nights in Mount Pisgah, and bookending the trip with sleepovers at both our sisters' places. I'm planning for us to visit several temp employment agencies while we're there, several property management companies, and hopefully the company I'm wooing for freelance opportunities. It's a lot to cram into 2 days, but we're getting down to the wire here. Everything's going to fall into place really fast, I have a feeling...
The weekend was a little sucky; I learned I can't eat Zaxby's anymore, not just because everything they serve there really is a heart attack on a plate, but also because the sodium levels in the food wreak havoc with my arthritis. My knees are still bothering me after 2 days of ache, and I haven't overexerted myself, so it's easy to label the soreness on what I'm putting into my body without thinking. Trying not to self-flaggellate...been reading a bit of Brené Brown, and the urge to start buying her books is palpable. Patience...$15 on a book is half an application fee for a house rental...just gotta keep reminding myself...
Image from here.
Friday, October 12, 2012
It's not happening this week.
I did get to the Y twice this week and did yoga in between, and work has been busy; so I get home at night and decompress by goofing off on the Kindle and then berating myself for not using my time wiser. I've been rereading the Mitford books and was reminded somewhere in Book 3 that when you have a large project (like, oh, say, moving to another state), it's important to break it down into small projects rather than to always look on it as this massive thing to accomplish, because that can just get you overwhelmed and lead to your brain short-circuiting...well, mine anyway. There's even a noise that accompanies my brain short-circuiting...it sounds like that point in Scrubs when Dr. Kelso punctures both eardrums with a faulty stethoscope.
Probably better to nod and smile at that one, than to question how my brain works...
This knowledge proved important after-the-fact this week, because I approached my boss finally about working remotely, got the skinny on what it might entail, and concluded that while it will put food on the table, it absolutely can't be my only source of income. That brought me back to reality a bit, but I got up, dusted myself off, and made a list that very night of the temp agencies I want to hit next week when we're up there. Because this move is still happening, if I have to have 3 cosigners on a frickin' rental house!
I'd like to say that today's links were things I happened upon throughout the week, but in fact, I discovered most of them just this morning...oh well! If you're sensing a bit of a theme, blame Heather...I've only scratched the surface on her course, in part cuz my printer ran outta ink this week, but it definitely has me being more conscious about what goes into my body....when I'm not a raging hormone hostage like I was this week, that is.
• I want to appreciate Indian spices more...this recipe might be a step in the right direction.
• Can't afford the magazine subscription, but love the concept!
• Terrific looking healthy recipe resource! And oh my, yes, here too!
• More recipes from an IIN graduate
• And just about everything listed at Ashley's site, plus the opportunity to moon over her little man in flannel...I have a serious crush on the Huxmeister :)
We're camping at Mount Pisgah next week, so this weekend is all about frugal prep for a little outdoor living. I'm so looking forward to cooler temps and finding our way comfortably with less resources this trip.
Have a great weekend, y'all!
Image from here.
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
Made rather amazing progress in the dining room on Saturday. There are almost 2 dozen boxes ready to be catalogued and taped up, and I broke down an entire bookcase. This coming weekend will be all about planning. We're heading up there middle of next week, and I want to hit some property management companies and the company where I hope to freelance, introduce myself around, get a vibe about the place (because I'm hoping to wow them and pave the way for my eventual hire after the new year), at the very least. And of course, leaf peep and take mad amounts of pictures! It's getting gorgeous up there!
Every 3 weeks, I work a project at work that tests my patience and heightens my focus. This is one of those weeks, so I'm at loose ends when I get home and have trouble winding down. Did yoga last night and man, did it feel good! I think I'm finally to the point where I can do yoga on my "off" days from the Y, and it'll tone me without the heavy strain that weightlifting can produce (when you're unable to pace yourself, as I have proven time and again to be the case). I figured out that my tummy troubles last week were plain old muscle strain from not pacing myself properly on the elliptical (and man, did that suck!), so I've switched to bike and treadmill for now. So far so good.
That pic's motivating me...gonna pick up some yarn tonight during TV, try and take a break from the Kindle. Knitting's always a good wind-down.
Image from here.
Friday, October 05, 2012
Another full-of-promise weekend ahead of me, replete with dreams of baking, unpacking, packing, and planning. We're pulling out boxes, going through them...packing fresh boxes...purging, I pray...and there are recipes I'm looking forward to trying.
I'm researching car insurance, home insurance, rent-to-own furniture and washer/dryers, and other things for the move. The trip in mid-October will include looking at houses. I still haven't approached my boss about remote work. My freelance gig hasn't forgotten me, though I pray she sends me something to work on soon.
Some items that caught my eye this week...
• Second and Edgemont—just beautiful.
• Putting Grouchy in my pocket—a really decent idea, whether you have kids yet or not.
• These beeswax candles will be getting purchased for around the home once we're settled up there. (Actually, go to Cold Antler Farm and click on her link for this company, so they'll know their advertising is working.)
• I'd forgotten they put out this new tangent from Mother Earth News...it's a beauty!
• I'm hoping to make wheat bread, these muffins, these scones, and a variant on this apple dumpling recipe (instead of buying Grands, I want to use up the Bisquick in our cupboard). Will also be tucking into the new recipes from that Whole Food course, and grabbing stolen moments to read her material...it's awesome!
Have a great weekend, y'all! Stay cool! And then tell me what it's like, cuz Florida is still suck-ass muggy.
Image from here.
Thursday, October 04, 2012
...I'm pretty sure I'm sticking with Blogger for now.
Damn though, I understand now why people put Wordpress experience as a criteria for jobs. I can't decide if that site/platform is disorganized or too complex to be true DIY, but I do know it requires study. It's not something to attempt to accomplish, oh, say, while simultaneously editing sites for small businesses (wink, wink).
Also, while they (WP) do have more variety, it brought home to me how tired I am of "templated" web designs. I eat, sleep, and breathe them 8 hours a day, and in my free time, I'd like something more creative and dynamic. Since I haven't yet acquired the skills to create custom designs, we'll make do here.
Other thoughts on this week:
• I've lost 12 pounds so far!!! Ridiculous how good that feels :)
• No thanks to images like that one...I can feel my urge to cook and bake coming back with autumn. Made a decent chicken pot pie last night, and was centered by the study and care it took (trying a new broth/cream base, searching for organics in Winn-Dixie when they're seriously lacking...). Should be interesting in the coming weeks, juggling health with NOMs...
• Romney's an asshat who would cripple our country in many ways if he won.
• That said...I remember when my views were shifting from right to left, and I voted for Gore over W because I felt that he was the lesser of two evils. Now, in 2012, it dawned on me that my views have gone so far left, that I'm voting Obama because he's the lesser of two evils....and because our two-party system can't yet handle (probably in my lifetime) the Green/Freedom Socialist philosophies I'd like to see governing the US.
Stop back by tomorrow for the Friday Favorites!
Image from here.
Tuesday, October 02, 2012
Gonna be a thin week or two here, because I'm thinking of changing the blog, and that means educating myself about a new platform...when I'm not educating myself thanks to Heather (registration still open, folks! worth every penny, and I'm saying that only dipping my toe into Module One!), or unpacking and repacking a box, or rediscovering knitting (finally! hello, startitis, where have you been?), or working occasionally between laundry and housekeeping and the Y, if I can get my intestinal tracts back on track, cuz I had another inflammation sitch this week...let's just say Whole Food Kitchen couldn't have come at a better time!
I oughta save that image for the Friday favorites, but the idea is too awesome to wait...deep-dish pie in a springform pan. Can't wait to try out new recipes this weekend.
Image and glorious recipe here. Enjoy!