Thursday, January 31, 2013


Old pic, but almost how the ground looked this morning... :)

Finally got a pinch of seasonal affective rained all freakin' day, and by the end, I was over it. Yesterday was just meh, couldn't focus on work...which is hilarious when you consider I managed to snag another potential bit of employment in a phone interview in between hardly working. This keeps up, I'm going to be working 6 things at once, but at least I'll make enough to buy crappy insurance to get us started. And this would be a part-time steady gig! Fingers crossed...

We opened the windows yesterday though, and the rain combined with the rushing of the brook in front was really nice to hear. This morning there was a dusting of snow on the ground, and the temps are back to cold, so I'm in a better place. Now if I can just get out in it...

We bought 2 bags of organic potting soil the other day. I WILL put my hands in the dirt today. Then tonight while vegging, I'll write up some plans on how I'd like to plant out there.

Cash low, but I should get paid tomorrow, provided direct deposit cooperates, and the bills are all up to date. Feels good.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Yup, Khan was a pussy here....once again, no snow. Oh well. Enough ice to take a picture anyway.

Work is still sketchy. I'm making enough to pay the bills, not enough to buy health insurance yet. Got some more nibbles for freelance work last week that I'm hoping will turn into something.

Here's a thinker: if your average health insurance plan doesn't recognize a specialist doctor visit copay until you pay their ridiculous deductible, then how hard should I be looking initially for insurance when we'll be paying out of pocket anyway? I get that whatever we pay would go toward the deductible and give us the added safety net...just seems illogical when you're only looking at it from a cash standpoint. Just venting...I have two trains of thought in my head nowadays: "wow, January meandered nicely, allowed us to really settle in..." combined with "holy fuck, how is it almost February already?!?!"

How does anyone get a job nowadays? I've applied to everything I can tolerate, it seems, and it's all "don't call us, we'll call you." Hell, one place even has in their material that if you do call them, it knocks you out of the running for the job. WTF?! When did companies get so picky? This ain't just Obamacare, it's the whole economy sitch making folks put much more effort into their selection processes, so that they're not wasting money on someone. Meanwhile, those of us who would be happy ringing up groceries in the interim, get the shaft because it would be more cost-efficient to hire a high-schooler who might actually stay with them? I'm a little frustrated...

Gonna go put my hands in the dirt. There's a nursery up yonder where I'm hoping to procure organic soil that doesn't have the words "Miracle Gro" or "Scott's" on it. Queues are dry, so I'll work later tonight. There's a dying aloe plant and herb seeds getting my attention today.

Friday, January 25, 2013


Working hard here. I try to crank out 20 sites most days, but the queues aren't always accommodating. The weather was wonderful-sunny most of the week, and today Khan (really, Weather Channel?!) is trying to make things slick. We're supposed to get snow, but I'm betting it'll stick to freezing rain. Good thing we don't have anywhere to go, really. I was hoping to get my 2nd check from the dotcom today, but I'm learning that living out in BFE means slower mail service. It sucks, but hopefully this is the only time I'll be dealing with money issues because of direct deposit should kick back in next check.

And funny thing is, we don't have money issues, not really. Yes, it's definitely helped having Mom J. here again (she's visiting because we lost Dad J a year ago today, and she wanted to be anywhere else than home), because she's been cooking the last 2 nights and sneaking grocery runs in...but we would have been OK if she hadn't, so her kindness is surplus, which is sweet. I had just bought chicken breasts, and we have plenty of dry goods, so I probably would've tried some variation on burrito bowls this week. I need to do that anyway, so that the lack of Chipotle in my life doesn't make me twitchy. Gods, I love that place!

The job hunt is daunting still...really makes you feel valued when not even the crappy retail sales positions are calling you back...but not much choice than to keep trying. My "cold calls" - where I send my resume and snazzy cover letter to companies without warning - have produced another potential freelance opportunity, which certainly helps keep hope alive here. I feel like I don't know how to gather work myself, because it's such a new prospect; and then I realize I really do have the basics down. Put yourself out there, period. Worst case scenario: they don't call or email, you lose nothing in the bargain.

My gods, the money we/I wasted living in the city! I look at my money coming in and my amply stocked pantry, and I'm able to earmark a little cash for organic potting soil, to transplant the aloe and get the herbs going. That's money that was never really there in Jacksonville, because I was eating McDonald's, at Starbucks, wherever I could get a quick fix. Here, the fast food is only 5 minutes away, but why run up there when you've got sandwich stuff at home? Sad that it takes moving into the semi-boonies to make me less lazy about finances, but with the pay cut I took, my mind is always in a different area now..."if we buy that, will there be enough for gas later in the month?" and it breeds responsibility.

Yes, I'm 43, why do you ask?


I hit that path back on Tuesday for walking/exploring purposes, but alas it doesn't run long. It opens up into a clearing, where the path extends way up a steep hill, but when I got to the top, I realized I'd be walking into someone's backyard basically, so I hiked back down. Under the heading of "you can't take the packrat out of the girl...", I found an old hood from a vintage VW bug back in those woods, which I carried home and am thinking of cleaning, spray-painting baby blue, and using as one end of a hoophouse once I start planting out front. I think the hood will need daisies painted on it too. This is what happens when I go exploring after reading about the River Arts District in Asheville. When I'm worrying about book proposal ideas, I'll take whatever creativity rears its head.

Happy Friday, y'all! If you live in Khan's wrath path, stay safe!

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Iago's a dicktease. Well, snowtease, but the first word relays my irritation better. Not a flake was seen at 3,000 feet. My Lil Sis and Mom got a nice coating of the white stuff, but nooooooo...

At least the storms gave way to sun. After 3 solid days of rain, the daystar broke through. It's cold and bright out, and I itch to put my hands in the dirt, when I really have no business doing so yet, given the temps, never mind that I keep forgetting to re-cover the aloe and it's seriously pissed at me. As soon as my checks come in next week, I'm going to the local nursery for some organic potting soil and break that sucker up. I know the babies under the big leaves are still OK, and would like to keep it that way.

Such potential!!!

The 2nd bedroom ain't perfect, but I managed something today that I really wanted, at least for now...the closet doors close. The closet has been spilling out into that bedroom, and we've got more family visiting this coming week. It's going to be hard enough concentrating on work without kicking myself for the purging we still have to do. Which is silly, since the house is already way beyond better than the dining room of the old apartment looked for like, the last 5 years. Talk about perspective.

Unexciting pic, but source of pride :)

Mom J's coming back up to visit this week, as well as LilSisinLaw next weekend. This coming week is the first year anniversary of Dad J passing, and I certainly can't blame Mom J. for wanting to be anywhere else (he passed at home). Still, now that I'm working regular and trying to find real work still, I may make myself scarce a bit. I've gotta find a job with bennies, and don't have the time to socialize. Sounds shitty, but it is what it is. If we had medical insurance, I'd neglect the crap out of work to hang with her, but until then...

I assuage my green thumb itch by going outside, moving stuff around out front, thinking about what I'd like to do out there. It's a small space, to be sure, but when I clear it and remulch, I should be able to do flowers on the borders, greens in small raised beds, and herbs in containers. Hot damn!

Couch is an AMAZING hand-me-down from the Johnson homestead.

Entertainment center scored at a going-out-of-biz sale

Kitchen we can move around in!

We rarely had visitors at the Jax apartment, because it was such a hole, so it's not like Meara had a whole lot to compare this place to, but I think she was suitably blown away by how homey we'd managed to make it in so short a time, on limited funds. We haven't even hung pictures still, just curtains (and that in itself is such a source of pride too!) Mom called it a diamond in the rough, but given the age of the building, I think of it more as a rough in a diamond...because I just can't get enough of the mountains. My eyes soak them up every time I go for a drive, and I grin for no reason other than the relief I feel at not being in Florida anymore. The air's different here, I'm definitely more relaxed (in spite of the worry about finding a real job)...there's just so much I love about the area!

We went to the local pizza joint the first night Mom and Lil Sis were here, and it was cemented that that place will get our money whenever we have need for a break from our own cooking. Local tap beers, scrumptious handmade NY-style pizza (with meatballs!), and seriously friendly atmosphere with local music almost every night. They even prep pizza that you can take home and bake, and they deliver to our road. Oh. darn :)

That's the back of the kitchen. The washer and dryer were scored at a used appliance store by Mom J., as well as the twin bed that now sits in the 2nd bedroom, so honestly, she can visit whenever the heck she wants to, within reason, because buying those up-front would've been a bit of a hardship. We're being super-careful with money, but my's really showing me the money I blew in Jax on fast food and other crap we didn't necessarily need, because while things are damn thin right now, we're living much more authentically, keeping off the fast food, and not wasting our resources wherever possible.  Hell, even the emotional eating I do here is better for me...I made energy bars again using Terry Walters' recipe from Clean Start, and I'm making cookies this week to take care of our sweet cravings.

Instead of late Christmas/New Years' cards, I was thinking of writing letters to some of my friends. Probably a pipe dream, given I barely have time to scratch my watch or wind my butt these days, but maybe in the evenings......last evening, I was plowing through a box of mementos and found a cache of old letters from friends. Rereading those suckers was delicious. I remembered living vicariously through Katherine in Europe and at Furman, through Alexa at MIT, Egypt, and NY.....

One thing I really hate about the Internet is how it's killed letter writing. I get that as we get older, letter writing takes a big backseat to real life, marriage, kids, etc., even without the Internet for a distraction...and I was never any better at writing letters than anyone else. But still, making the effort ...

Thursday, January 17, 2013


So there's this storm called Iago, that's supposed to be hitting my little town in the next coupla hours...

He's late. This annoys me. I want my snow!

I know, I know...I should relax. I'm definitely not mocking the storm. I have a high school friend who lost her mom to black ice on a CT roadway. And we still don't have snow tires.

I hopped out to grab a few things today, because we have no intention of hitting the roadways for the foreseeable future. If we get nutty, there's a convenience store within walking distance, but given our financial sitch, we'd have to be pretty desperate for crap food to go there. We're otherwise stocked, and assuming the power holds, life will go on as normal. I need the laptop time, so I'm hoping we don't lose power; but at the same time, I'd love to tuck into the Little House books for the umpteenth time, reading them by candlelight with hot chocolate on the side. Thinking that's gonna happen tonight regardless...

I think I read that Asheville didn't get any snow last year, so this winter's been nice for the locals. Thing is, even though it snowed the first night we got here, and a couple of days after, I barely remember it because we were so insane at the time. Les's mom was visiting, we were getting settled, my body was in pretty decent pain that first week, and we were numb mentally from the move. This snow, I want to enjoy. Plus we finally found the blankety-blank camera!

First photos! We're the door on the left, the cat was a neighbors'...we're leaving the kitty condo outside for any ferals that need a hideaway from the cold. The ugly plastic shelving used to be our bookshelves, and I can't wait to harden off seedlings on the sucker. The lease also states I keep the flower bed weeded...they don't know what they've gotten themselves into, signing me. I'm hoping to rake up the whole thing, 86 the errant saplings, and plant greens and flowers. Just gotta wait for actual spring...

The brook is our front yard :) Just past the driveway is a couple of steps leading down to it and an ancient playset for kids. Good thing the playset is ancient or I'd probably hit the swings tomorrow. I so love it here!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Still here...

FINALLY unpacked the camera cord.....!

Now where the hell did I put the camera?

Stashed the dang thing when we were flying around here getting ready for Mom and Lil Sis to visit.

Job hunting full bore this week...very little sites to work with.

Gentle, soaking rains here...making our brook full out front.

Cup still runnething all over the place :)

More later...

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday musings

Still not enough hours in a day...

I'm working, but I'm still not up to speed, and that's gonna hurt our wallets very soon. Starting real job search Monday.

We're still not fully unpacked, and that's starting to suck on a nitpicky level. I'm no stranger to having a box or three around, and I'm OK with the 2nd bedroom closet serving as box storage for the near's the little stuff, like how my makeup still resides in one of 2 clutterpiles, so if I want to go job hunt on Monday, I should really organize that area and where's the time for that nonsense? I'm on the computer from morning to early evening, then we eat and unpack and move more shit around...and I fall into bed wiped at night. I'm not complaining, believe me...just whining a little. Last 2 nights I've made an effort to relax a little, and realized I don't have the time to do that yet. Silly, I know, but still...

Probably one of several reasons why I'm leaning back toward Buddhism a bit. Went to a service at the Unitarians last weekend, and it was fine. But it was just fine. And sometimes you need a little inspiration or moving speech. I don't know...this place is so peaceful, I think my big want right now is to study that, deepen it...NOT take it for granted like I always do. And I'm so used to letting life live me, rather than the other way around, that recognizing that I have that peace in my life right now, makes me realize how very much I want it to stick around. And how creating a time in the mornings before work to meditate, and then spending my days living wonderful to have reached a point where that's even possible, where I'm not already looking ahead, looking ahead, to getting us out of our most current rut, because we're not in one right now...and maybe, just maybe, don't have to go back into one?

I could weep, rereading that last bit...we really are starting fresh here. I'm the same person, but we don't have to make the same mistakes we made in Jacksonville...learning and growing is possible. Whodathunk...

Mom and Meara visiting this weekend. So terrific that they're only 2ish hours away :)

Image from here.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Apples and popcorn

Yea, still can't find the camera cord. Don't judge me. There's still unpacked boxes in too many corners of this place. Almost 2 weeks here already and I look around and days still need about 48 hours in 'em.

Work is painfully light, so I'm having to make the adjustment to doing sites later in the day, after the in-house editors have gone home. Dropped my résumé to 2 temp agencies today, applied for 2 more spots elsewhere, and the Soomo lady is getting a phone call tomorrow. That's the local company that tossed me a pinch of freelance and might be hiring another editor this year.

Took a jaunt around town today, lots of turnarounds as I get used to the roads and their maddening signage. A given exit may have 6 different route signs directing you, and everything is east/west here, when you'd think it should be north/south, so remembering where you are and where you're headed is vital.

We found a steal of an used entertainment center at a place nearby, and killed most of the rest of our reserve dough @ Target yesterday, buying bookshelves and little finishing touches. There's still things we need, but it'll need to go on a list for later. Thankfully, there's plenty of meat in the freezer and the pantry is pretty stocked.

The subject line? Just my lunch, after getting home today :) Very pleased with myself, went on my Asheville jaunt right around lunchtime, but I wasn't hungry yet, so brought both coffee and tea, and an apple with me and steered clear of the fast food. We really can't afford slip-ups of the McDonald's kind right now, financially, and of course, that shit's no good for you anyway. Still, it's a step in the right direction from a girl who used to ignore her home-packed lunch to hit the local McD's out of laziness and cravings. Baby steps rock!

Windows open for a bit...low 50s here, not quite balmy, and we're headed into several more days of overcast, looks like, so enjoying it while we can. No snow forecast til later next week. I'll take it, rain and all. It's so damn lovely here!

Image from here.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Hi there!

Still deliriously happy. Not enough work at the dotcom to go around right now, which is skeery, but I'm determined to steal all their sites tonight and this weekend, and then copywrite the rest of the time.

I putter around the kitchen in a dance-y haze, there's so much delightful room to move around in. The washer and dryer have been humming today, and the 2nd bedroom is s...l...o...w...l...y looking better. Today is filing cabinet day, and with the advent of so much paperless, I'm realizing just how much I can purge. We need a shredder.

Two sets of curtains up, the living room and bedroom. Hot-diggety-damn!

Entertainment center probably getting procured tomorrow at the local Hospice thrift store. Delivery price could be better, but it's still a steal over retail, never mind that we're helping a good cause.

Thanks to Pinterest, I'll be hitting up Joann's tomorrow to see if they have those unfinished crates for like, $9 a pop. Anything's an improvement over the box stacking I've been doing to give the books homes. It's OK for the 2nd bedroom right now, but still looks seriously tacky.

Now seriously, where the fuck is my camera cord so I can show you guys pictures?!

More soon! Have I mentioned lately how I love it here? Hit the Blue Ridge yesterday for a piece, accidentally on purpose...those are some holy-crap hills! Also got to see a nursing calf at a Polled Hereford farm on the way. Can't wait to explore more with the camera!