Sunday, September 28, 2008


Last night, after taking me out to a wonderful birthday dinner, my boyfriend gave me this and asked me to marry him! Of course I said yes, since he's the most wonderful boyfriend any girl could have! I won't embarass him by detailing all the reasons I love him (like the fact that he sings funny songs to the dog and is as big a dork as I am) but suffice it to say, I'm very happy right now!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Zero tolerance policy

Any time I see a blade of grass in my garden now, I yell "Out, out, damned weed!" I'm not exactly sure when regular old turf grass became a 'weed' in my book... but really, as far as plants go, there are much nicer and much more beneficial and productive plants. Ya know. Some of which I'll learn about when I start my Habitat Stewards training tomorrow. In the meantime, here's a picture of the cardboarded lawn that I promised. We're trying a small patch around the existing garden bed, to see how it works.

And here is a picture of my spectacularly spooky headless girl:

I was considering putting some kind of birdfeeder on top, a saucer or tray, or a bowl, wouldn't it be great to see the birds eating out of it? But I also just like her sitting there, watching us... er... y'know....

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Inks Lake

Yesterday we went to Inks Lake for my boyfriend's work party...

We fed this friendly doe...

Watched some ducks paddle around...

Fed this buck & his family....

Played on some Sea-doos...

Enjoyed the scenery...

And when it was time to drive home, we talked about coming back soon.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Operation: kill all grass

I really hate the grass in my backyard. It's not even grass, really. There's like, a tuft of grass, then some clover, then weeds, one of those long grass-runner things, then dirt patches... ugh! And besides, I want to garden, so: kill all grass must be done! I got some big cardboard boxes from work and after we mow the lawn, I'll dig up the rest of the grass/weeds and spread the cardboard out, weigh the corners down with rocks, and leave it to die. I have no mercy for anything green underneath. Die grass die! Now, I must point out I have no clue if I'm doing this the right way. But as with my herb & now tomato garden, it's working... so I am determined to prevail!!! It's too dark to take a picture of it right now but I'll take one when the cardboard is down, k?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Thunder, thunder everywhere....

We've had a lot of late-summer rain here, and lately a lot of thunder in the afternoons. Sometimes it sprinkles, sometimes it just thunders. I really don't like the rain, despite knowing how badly we need it. As I've mentioned before. But this thunder-with-no-rain thing is pretty neat. I think it will get cooler soon, too. I hope so, anyway. I'm much for a crisp-weather person that a sweltering-heat kind of person. I mean, sno-cones are pretty much the best thing about summer. Otherwise give me a chilly breeze so I can turn the oven on again! Anyway, I'm really just rambling soooo..... let me stop!

Monday, August 25, 2008

And there goes August...

(cute doggies make it better)

Not too long ago I was lamenting the end of July and now, there goes August.... how does it go so quickly! Well my personal theory on it is that our scheduled, regimented lives prevent us from really observing & digesting & reflecting on our days. Weekdays: get up, get ready, feed the animals, grab coffee, slam bam, rush to work... work all day, run an errand, rush home, get dinner on the stove, do some chores, sack out in front of the TV. Go to bed, sleep fitfully, get back up, rinse, repeat. Friday nights, stay up later so you can relax a little bit more, maybe go out, hang out with friends, whatever. Weekend: sleep in, run all your errands you didn't get done during the week, do some more chores, try to recover from last week and prepare for next week, maybe fit something fun in, then it's Sunday night again, get ready for the upcoming week, go to bed, can't sleep, etc. etc. Ack! It all turns into one big blur. When do we ever get a chance to slow down and actually experience and live what we are doing? Right now I'm working part time so it's great to be able to take the time to actually 'be' in the moment. 3-day weekends are the best invention ever. I feel like I have time to truly enjoy activities (and even errands!) without feeling rushed and stressing out about getting there on time and getting back on time. I have time to pursue non-work activities that I enjoy, and I know that these activities truly make me a better person... more positive, more active, both mentally and physically, and definitely healthier all around. I pretty much dread having to work full-time again. I'll have to learn how to hold onto my experiences once I'm rushing around trying to fit everything into the week again....

Sunday, August 17, 2008


I've been feeling so unmotivated this past week. It ended up kind of rainy all weekend, so I'm going to blame it on the weather, rather than feeling guilty about it. I must share my grilled sweet potato dessert recipe, though:

peel one sweet potato, cut it into quarters
put the quarters on a square of foil
drop 1 tablespoon of butter and 3 tablespoons brown sugar in the middle of the potato quarters
wrap the potato in the foil and/or make a pouch
put it on the grill (or in the oven at 350 degrees) for about an hour, till it's all soft
remove from heat and let it stand about 30 minutes, then put the sweet potato quarters into a bowl with some of the syrup that's at the bottom of the foil pouch. Top with chopped pecans or walnuts, and vanilla ice cream too if you want.

I've decided that sweet potatoes make fabulous dessert foods, and besides, they're better for ya than most other desserts!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Another month, another $250 electric bill

Okay, not quite $250, but close. This IS Texas, y'know... we've had record-breaking temperatures this summer, lots of days in the 100s! It's been sweltering. Oddly enough, most early mornings it's fairly cool outside... which has been very nice. But two months of opening a $200+ electric bill makes us really want to get solar panels. Even with the rebates our electric company is offering, we'll have to pay several thousand dollars. But it is a 0% interest loan, sooo... it's looking more and more appealing every day! In the meantime, we definitely have to 'eat poor' this week. If we didn't have company this weekend, we'd barely have to buy any groceries at all (the one thing I'd splurge on is good parmesan), but since we do have company we will do a big BBQ tomorrow. Still, we'll pull it off pretty cheap. I love being able to do that!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Weekly find!

I found something really great this week & I really like it, so I thought I'd share...

Kombucha. I love the stuff! Fermented green tea, seems kinda weird, I know. I bought two bottles of the Synergy brand - Mystic Mango and Multi-Green - to try them out. I sipped the Mystic Mango first, it's a fizzy, slightly-sour citrus taste. Not horrible, I thought. Then I tried the Multi-Green: fizzy, slightly sour, green tasting... I took another sip, and another, and I was sold. This product has all kinds of healthy-sounding stuff in it: active enzymes, antioxidants, and probiotics. As well, there are all kinds of supposed health benefits -- digestion, immune system, appetite & weight control, healthy skin & hair, just to name a few! Who knows if it can really help all those things, but I can tell you that I've only been drinking it for 3 days and it makes me feel great! I could almost give up coffee! But don't worry, I never would. Still, it's my new go-to drink of choice in the afternoon when I want something other than water. Plus, since it's fermented, it "might contain" a small amount (less than 0.5%) of alcohol. Drinking at work is sweet! So, I definitely recommend trying this. It was $2.99 per 16oz bottle (2 servings per bottle) where I bought it. Hey, that's cheaper than Starbucks!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Hot, hot 'dog days' of summer

Why do they call it that anyhow? I'm gonna have to go google it now... Anyway, feeling so hot and lazy today that almost all I can bear to do is sip a cool virgin mock mojito (crushed mint leaves with lime seltzer water) in front of the fan. I have tons to do, but just can't focus in this heat! Everything keeps getting put off until 'next weekend' but I know that soon, my schedule will be too packed to do it all. Such are the rhythms of late summer, I suppose (though here in TX you might deem August to be merely mid-summer). I did get this little necklace made, and am quite proud of it. Am not yet sure if this exact one will be for sale...

And obviously, forgive the bad photo. Am still playing with my camera and my homemade lightbox. So many things to do!

Saturday, August 2, 2008


I sold my Camaro today: goodbye trusty old friend! I hope you find
a new home where you will be taken care of and driven fast!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Summer colds

SUCK! I've been under the weather for the past few days. Summer colds are worse than winter colds, IMO. Not only is it hot outside, but the usual hot soups and teas you would want to make you feel better only make you feel hotter and more miserable. Yech! But I've been drinking my spicy chai tea like a good little sick girl, and I'm on the mend. Here is what the Yoga Yoga website has to say about chai tea:

Yogi Tea is a health-promoting beverage and a tonic for the whole body. It strengthens the nervous system, energizes the body, clears the mind, and is both a remedy and preventive measure for colds, allergies, and other illnesses.

And here's my recipe, feel free to experiment with it. I like mine really spicy and strong, but you might be wimpier. Enjoy!

~Chai tea~

Add the following to 12 cups of purified boiling water:

  • 20 whole green Cardamom pods (you can put them in whole or crush the pods slightly to open them a little)
  • 20 whole Black peppercorns
  • 20 whole Cloves
  • 3 sticks of Cinnamon
  • 3 1-inch by 1-inch chunks of fresh Ginger (no need to peel them)
  • two regular size bags of black tea (or use decaf).
Any of the ingredients and the specified amounts are completely optional! You’ll know once you try this recipe out, if you want to alter it at all. But this one is pretty good! Simmer on low for 25 to 30 minutes (too high will make it dissipate!). Drain into a bigger pot or into a pitcher, pouring the liquid through a strainer. Pour some into your mug, then add some honey or Agave nectar (or sweetener of your choice, but try to avoid refined sugars) and soy milk. Bend your head over your cup, inhale deeply, then sip slowly.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Squirrelly Wrath!


Okay no wrath, just a rescue mission! Two of the cutest little baby squirrels ever fell out of their tree outside our office building today, and so my boss and I rescued them! We took them to Austin Wildlife Rescue and dropped them off for rehabilitation (as they term it). They were so adorable! I wish we could have played with them longer, but at least we know they are going to be taken care of until they are healthy enough to be released back into the wild.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Best Bruschetta

I made the Best Bruschetta Ever last night!! OMG it was so good I am still in heaven! I've attempted bruschetta before, but not until last night did I finally get it right. Here's what I did:

I used Artisan-style Roasted Garlic french bread, sliced thin (probably 1/4", I bought it in the bakery section). Butter each side of the bread, place it on a cookie sheet, and put in the oven at 350 degrees until it's toasty (not burned!) on each side. You want it to be really toasty before you put the topping on, so that it doesn't get soggy.

Make the topping: dice a tomato, remove the watery seedy part. Take some fresh basil leaves and chiffonade them. Splash a little bit of balsamic vinegar (a very little bit! again, we want to avoid soggy bruschetta!) over the tomatoes and basil, grind some sea salt over it. Using a fork (so that you don't spoon excess liquid on), put some of the mixture on top of each slice of toasty bread. Put it in the oven, under the broiler, just until the tomatoes start to brown. Take out of oven, turn off oven, put some fresh mozzarella on top and let it melt.

I'm sure there are other ways to do this, I have no idea if this is a 'traditional' way of making bruschetta, but whatever, it was great! Enjoy!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I finally update my blog

and no one's reading? argh! the nerve! Fine, fine. You just won't know what you're missing. So there!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A bevy of basil...

If there were such a thing as too much basil, then I surely am suffering from it.

I bought a huge bunch at the farmer's market last week, I just couldn't resist, and so this whole week I've been eating basil, cooking with basil, researching how to preserve and store basil... whew! My thumbnails are discolored from pinching leaves off the stems (I didn't realize that would happen, but basil discolors when left to dry or when it's frozen, so I guess it makes sense). After making a huge batch of fresh pesto and still having tons of basil left, here are some of the spiffy storage methods I've found:

Freeze whole basil leaves. Many websites will have you chop the leaves and freeze them in ice cube trays, but alternately you can simply freeze whole leaves: wash and dry the leaves, spread them out on a cookie sheet (or I used those flexible plastic cutting boards), and pop them in the frezer for 10 minutes. When they are stiff, put the leaves into a baggie and keep stored in the freezer. Three days later, my frozen basil leaves have turned darker but I can pluck single leaves out of the bag.

Dry-pack basil in salt. See this website for more info.

Puree 2 cups fresh basil leaves with 1/2 cup olive oil. Pour into a freezer-safe jar or container, leaving 1/2 inch room at the top, and freeze. The recipe I found only called for 1 cup basil with 1/2 cup olive oil, but I found that to be rather runny and more oil-y than basil-y. So I hope my adaptation works! You can use this basil puree later for pesto, or you can stir 2 tablespoons basil puree into 6 tablespoons vinaigrette dressing (or make your own).

Basil vinegar: combine 3/4 cup basil leaves with 1 pint red wine vinegar. Cover and store in the fridge for 2 weeks. Strain basil from vinegar before use.

I also placed leaves on a paper towel and left them on the table for a couple days, until they were dried and breakable. I then put the leaves into a jar. Of course, all herbs lose some intensity of flavor when they are dried, however basil that you dry yourself will still beat anything you buy at the store.

I would say I've got enough basil to last me a while, but if I come across the same deal this week at the farmer's market, I'm probably going to succumb to buying more! How can I resist?!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I am the epiphany of zen...

(poking fun at my boyfriend for using the word 'epitome' when he meant 'epiphany'!)

Well today hasn't started so well. I got a ticket for expired registration and inspection tags. A motorcycle cop was parked in the median checking out each car as it drove by. I had nowhere to go, I could see him checking out the stickers and as I drove by he turned on his lights and wheeled around to come get me. Sigh... so I pulled over like a good little girl and didn't make any excuses to try and get out of it, and got my ticket.

As I drove off, up ahead I saw a dreaded bus in my lane. It was the same bus I had already passed, but ended up behind it again when I had to stop for my ticket. Well I waited patiently behind the bus, traffic was steady in the other lane so I couldn't move over. Finally I could move over and pass it. Then I got to the coffee shop, I could tell I was gonna need a triple shot today. After I got my coffee and left, I was driving along, and what do I see in front of me, the SAME DREADED BUS! WTF mate! It was the 3rd time this morning. I passed it easily enough this time though. If the rest of my day is this bad... GULP!

But all in all, I have to say that I maintained my Zen this morning, when in the past, I probably would have turned into a gnashing, rude, wild-driving jerk. Big, out.

Monday, July 7, 2008

rain, rain, go away

It's pouring outside and while it is much-needed here in Texas, I'm also cursing it. I planted things yesterday and as I look out across the yard, I see a couple low spots just filling up with water. We haven't had much rain since we got this house, so I haven't been able to pay attention to any trouble spots. Are my plants gonna drown?! One of my favorites, a coconut-scented geranium, is in one of those mini-lakes!
coconut geranium

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I love mulch!

Got most of my plants in the ground today and realized that I love mulching! I thought it was going to be a pain to spread it out in the beds, but it was so easy and it goes so much further than soil does. I never mulched before so I didn't realize how much fun (what a dork!) it would be. Now I want to mulch everything! mwahahah!!!

And, I finally found my camera cord, so now I can charge it and take pics and start downloading them! This blog has been visually blah, but I am hoping to change that. As an aside, I can't believe it's already July!! Summer would be nearly over except that in Texas, 'summer' lasts until like, September or October. I still have lots on my agenda for this summer, and now I can photo-document it! yippee!!

Monday, June 30, 2008

today: better

Even for a Monday, today was far better than yesterday! huzzah. I did squirt dish liquid in my eye (on accident, duh). That freaking stings. But I also got other stuff done: made tomato sauce to freeze, blanched yellow squash to freeze, and washed peaches that I got at the farmer's market. Tomorrow I'll slice them and freeze them. I'm also going to make a Viennese cucumber salad tomorrow, and need to figure out what to do with the green bell peppers I got. I'm trying to get most of my produce at the farmer's market, not because it's cheaper (cause it really ain't), but to support local farms and try to eat in season. I'm becoming quite a little homemaker!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

World: 1, Jocelyn: 0

One of those days where nothing is working out for me... ya know those? I hate 'em. I'm not even trying anymore, I might as well go to sleep and hope tomorrow is better!

Monday, June 9, 2008

So far, so good!

Well today was my first day at the new job! It went pretty well, for a Monday. I didn't sleep well last night so a migraine was brewing all day. Towards the end of the day I was in pretty dire pain but I made it home and took some medicine, then crashed out on the bed and let my kitties comfort me. The pain is gone now but my 'nap' is throwing me out of sorts! Ahhhh.... But I'm still feeling positive about the job! I will probably be getting more involved in nature and wildlife and preservation of our natural habitats. It was really exciting to talk about these things with the Executive Director (ED). This will be a great summer for visiting the preserves and the bird sanctuaries in the area!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Cooking today

I have to do some cooking this morning, primarily making some cupcakes for my mother's birthday. But, when it's summer in Texas, IF you have to turn on the oven, you know you better make it worthwhile and cook more than just one thing! That's a good energy-saving tip for year round, actually. Try to combine your cooking so that you don't just have one casserole in the oven. Go ahead and make some muffins or a cake while you are at it, or roast some veggies for later in the week. The only thing you've got to think about is the temperature it will cook at. Most baked goods you can lower the temperature and just cook it longer, but roasted veggies don't really get all roasty unless the temp is at least 350 degrees. This is all my opinion and from my experience, of course. But it has served me well so far and I continue to experiment!

Anyway, today I am making the cupcakes, and so I took a look around my kitchen to see what else I could make. In my fridge I had 2 zucchini and 2 cucumbers, some leftover sour cream and some yogurt, and my pantry held a can of chickpeas which recalled the tahini in the back of my fridge. All those ingredients sounded pretty Greek to me (lol), and I remembered thumbing through a Mediterranean cookbook at Border's the other day and a picture of some Greek zucchini patties looked pretty darn good. I googled until I found a similar recipe and now Greek food is going to form the basis of my lunches next week. One of the cucumbers will make some tzaztziki sauce, the chickpeas and tahini for hummus, and I just need to pick up some pitas and some tabouli.

I'm hungry just thinking about it all, so I am headed to the kitchen to start!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


There is a page in one of my many notebooks where I've written the word "happy" in silver ink. That's it, just the one word surrounded by a bubble. When I wrote it, I am sure that I wasn't feeling very "happy". Still, I wrote the word to serve as a beacon to guide me, and as I was sitting here just now, I realized I feel "happy".

Happy! how? Happy! why?

Well... I've had some ups and downs in the past several months: poor health, the loss of Smokey, the loss of my previous job, and taking the plunge into home-ownership (even though it was a good thing, buying a house is one of the most stressful life events that people experience). But now things are settling down: I am healthier and I feel more positive; I'm starting a new job that I think will really, truly be a rewarding, enjoyable one; and we've been in our house for a couple months now and even though the improvements are far from over, we've reached a point where the house is comfortable and I can just enjoy it. I have a lot of hobbies I've delved back into, such as gardening and cooking and yoga.

Even though I still have far to go in all these endeavors, I feel like my journey (and it is all about the journey, you know) is well under way.

Monday, June 2, 2008

I'm still alive!

I have been mostly ignoring my blog lately, but it's giving me a guilt trip so I have to try and pay more attention to it. It's been so busy lately, trying to get the house finished-enough for our party. And I'm a perfectionist so finished-enough isn't nearly perfect enough! But, our party took place on Saturday, and I just told everyone "Anything that isn't perfect, just pretend it is!" and they complied (or maybe they were just too drunk). So, it was a success! I neglected to take any pics, though....sigh...for some reason, I like to photograph nature and landscapes and things but when it comes to people/parties/family stuff, I always forget the camera. I guess, people get upset with bad pics but I've never had a complaint from a mountain or a tree or a waterfall!

Anyway, so it's the beginning of June and as of next week I will be working for the Travis Audubon Society! I will be the volunteer coordinator/office assistant but hopefully a grant is coming in that will launch me into the Volunteer Manager role. Yippee! I was dying to work for a non-profit and I'm extremely excited about this opportunity! I get to do something that feels good, and I can honestly say that my job is "for the birds"!

I've got some big goals for June and the rest of the summer, one of which is the paying-more-attention-to-my-blog goal, so keep comin' back!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

We has a yard!

8 bags of leaves, 2 snakes (little ones, I even picked one up to transplant it to a different area), 1 blister, a bad sunburn, and countless bug bites later, that is. Phew! This past weekend we worked in the backyard. Devon mowed it down, I raked up all the leaves (okay, not all of them), he worked on extending our patio, and I planted lots of things. The ivy plants I'd had indoors went under the tree. A neighbor gave me some plants from her yard: bulbines, flowering aloes, and rosemary. We made three trips to Lowe's: Devon bought a BBQ grill (charcoal, natch) and put most of it together, until he grew tired of cursing at it. I bought more plants: sages, guaras, and bulbs -- hostas, lily of the valleys, calla lilies, agapanthus, and tuberoses. That night it rained, fortunately for the bulbs I'd planted. Yep, the yard looks nice!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Whew, trying to get the new house organized is certainly a chore! And my packrattery doesn't make it any easier. As I go about unpacking all the boxes, I am trying to sort out some items I no longer need/use/want. These items are going into stacks on the living room floor, and eventually those stacks will be further sorted. I have books to sell at Half Price Books, larger items like a receiver and stereo speakers that I need to photo and post on Craigslist, items to put in a future garage sale, and clothes that I think I'm going to try to sell at a resale shop. I am kind of intimidated by the resale shop (what if my clothes aren't trendy enough and they refuse them?!) but I'm going to force myself. And at least I am making an attempt to pare down and simplify! Maybe without so much stuff crowding my life, I'll accomplish more quality things! Here's to me.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Things: Stop breaking!!!

Geez! Can't anything work?! Argh! Plugged in my computer yesterday, POP! and it died. Opened the oven tonite to make a pizza and yanked the handle right off!! C'mon now, things!! Sigh. Well, at least they are easy to fix - the computer was just the power supply, which I replaced myself (nose in air) and the oven handle can be screwed (or glued!!) back on. At least I get to get a new tattoo on Saturday! Yeehaw!!! I would post it but my internet connection is sucking right now and I just don't have the patience to wait for it! Anyhoo, so yeah, my mom, sis, and I are all getting star tats. They aren't all the same design, but we'll all have stars on our bods. I love tats, I want so many. Another thing I'd like right now is a drink. I had to settle for a bottle of Asti that I had in my fridge from who-knows-when. It was still really good, though. Yumm. And now that we seem to be on the topic of things that I want: some really obnoxious music. Of course my boyfriend's band is playing tonight, but I chose to stay home since I have sooo much to do here. (note: all I've done so far is goof off online, drink champagne, and break the oven.... maybe I should rethink this.)

Monday, April 14, 2008

All moved in!

We are finally all moved in to the house, even though we aren't quite unpacked (okay, okay, not unpacked at all, it's more like camping -- except less organized). All I have in the kitchen so far is the sink cabinet, stove, and fridge. Cabinets are in the process of being assembled and installed (we bought the Ikea Varde cabinets). Then dishes can be unpacked. We will add more cabinets as we go. I think the next one will be a drawer unit - I didn't even think about where we would put silverware! I guess it will have to just go on the shelf for now. Far from ideal, but... it's a work in progress! I can't wait to get my craft room all set up and start making jewelry again! I also have lots of projects around the house, and I haven't even thought about the garden/yard yet. Besides, I need to find a job first so I can afford to do all this stuff. Then I'll have money but not the time to do it, which is the reverse of what I've got now! But that's okay, it's still fun. It is fun to watch the cats getting used to the place. Ciggy likes to lay on the concrete floor in the gameroom, and her nails click across the wood floor when she walks. We're going to have to trim those! We could hear her walking around all night last night. Trey is laying in her usual spot: the living room floor. I wonder if she misses the carpet? They both seem to like the windowsill, and Ciggy is really enjoying our new sheets. Once they seem used to the house, we can start letting them go outside. I wish my Smokey was here to explore the new house and the yard. Once the fence is repaired we might adopt a couple doggies, and I plan on getting some fish for my craft room. I'd like a turtle, and I would name it Ignatius, but turtles always seem bored and that would depress me. So fish instead, named after all the famous philosophers. Sounds like a plan to me!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Floor looks great!

So at nearly the last minute, we decided to paint the kitchen/dining room floor instead of putting wood down. At the paint store, I was looking through the Benjamin Moore faux finish brochures, and I found an example that would be perfect for the floor:

I showed it to our wonderful friend Kris who can do amazing things with paint, and she said it was do-able! The base coat is a concrete paint in Grey Flannel, and it is topped with metallic crafts paints in Espresso, Rust, Gold, & Teal. Doesn't it look great?
She did a fabulous job and we are absolutely in debt to her! This is one of my favorite things in the house now! One of the best parts? It cost way less than $100 for everything! Wow!!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Still packing...

I am in my own personal hell. Wait, let me try and remember, was sanding glue off concrete floors worse than packing? Hmmm.... well maybe they are about even. But I'm plodding along like a good little girl, taping boxes and labeling them and stacking them up. At least I don't have to actually move them! Such a waste, ya know... pack the boxes, move them from this place to a new place, and unpack them. The stuff is only in the boxes for a few days, it feels like such a waste. At least I don't have any aversion to unpacking the stuff! The house is coming along, we'll be moved before we even have kitchen cabinets and appliances hooked up - we don't even have a single bathroom sink hooked up yet - but I'm going to wait on touching up some of the paint because we keep banging things into walls and corners and door trim and just messing it up. So I'll wait till we are moved and stuff is pretty much in place, then I'll go around and touch up (and hopefully not make too much of a mess). I would post some pics (and I really need to get my sister's camera back to her, I can't believe in all this packing that we haven't found ours yet) but I need to figure out how to resize photos and whatnot. But I promise, pictures soon!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Pitching a fit!

I have to start packing (my boyfriend insists - we move in 4 days) and if there is anything I hate, it's packing. It's too overwhelming! It makes me curl into a dead roach position. Ack! Noooo! Please don't make me! Booo hoooo hooooo.......


I hate you.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A typical day, as of lately....

Now that I'm temporarily unemployed, even though I'm enjoying the time 'off', I am also struggling with establishing a schedule and trying to feel like I've accomplished something at the end of the day. Of course a lot of my time has been spent at the house, trying to get it ready for our move-in. Today I'll be doing some painting over there, and perhaps some light cleaning as well - it's unbelievable how much dust has been kicked up and tracked all over the place! I asked my dad if building a new house was so dirty and dusty, and he said no. So that seals the deal, next time we will just build new! lol! (I wish!)

Anyhow, a typical day is now comprised of waking around 9am (although the cats would love it if I stayed in bed longer but I told them I can't be as lazy as they are) and immediately making some 'coffee' in my Bialetti stovetop espresso maker. Then I'll get online and check email and apply for jobs and maybe read a couple personal finance blogs. After I 'wake up' enough I ponder the rest of the day: run an errand or two, do some stretching or maybe hit the gym (which I actually have yet to do, since working at the house has been serving as my 'workout' lately), what will I cook for dinner... all this usually gets me to about lunchtime, at which point I will get ready and make a bit of food and then be on my way to whatever I've decided I have to do that day. Evenings usually include cooking and watching some Star Trek Voyager episodes from Netflix. Bed around 9:30ish, sleep, rinse and repeat.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Come on, you're killing me...


My car broke down today. Overheated. Dammit! I already HAD three bad things happen!


Keeping fingers crossed that it's an inexpensive fix...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Homemade Granola

As promised! This is a recipe I found in Better Homes & Gardens and have modified it a bit.

4 cups old-fashioned (not quick-cooking!) oats
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds (I have been combining shelled pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, you can use whatever nuts you want)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup cooking oil
1/4 cup honey (I prefer dark corn syrup)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups raisins or dried cranberries (or whatever you want)

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a bowl, combine the oats, nuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
2. In a saucepan, heat the oil and honey. You don't need to boil it, just warm it up a bit. Then add in the vanilla. Pour this mixture over the oats mixture and stir to combine.
3. Spread granola in a large glass baking pan. Bake 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
4. Place pan on rack to cool. Once cool, stir in dried fruits. Seal granola in air-tight container (I use a big glass jar). Store for 1 week at room temperature, or in freezer for 3 months. Serve with milk or soy milk like cereal, or eat plain (but it doesn't clump that much so I prefer it as a cereal).

Makes 9 cups.


Monday, March 24, 2008


I love to cook, and now that I am unemployed (hopefully not for too long though), I have tons of time for it. Therefore, this week I will be cooking:

1. 'Meat'loaf & mashed potatoes - yumm, comfort food! I made this tonight. The weather is *just* chilly enough for it. I used ground turkey mixed with Smart Ground (vegetable protein crumbles). Added in some seasonings, some Italian bread crumbs, an egg, and topped with a thin layer of ketchup. It's great!

2. Cuban black beans - in an effort to save money on groceries, I am attempting to buy more bulk foods - rice, dry beans, bulk oats... For this recipe, the beans are soaked overnight and the next day are simmered with onions, bell peppers, and chopped jalapenos. I might add a little bit of Rotel. Serve over rice. Simple, healthy, tasty!

3. Jamaican Jerk Chicken - my mom brought me a bunch of packages of organic chicken leg quarters. She gets to the grocery store super early and gets first pick of all the reduced-for-quick-sale meats. She always picks me up some organic chicken leg quarters or thighs, and boy am I ever grateful! I mixed up some jerk marinade and the chicken is marinating in it. I will probably serve this with yellow rice with peas.

4. Homemade Granola - this super recipe will make me breakfast all week long! I'll post the recipe tomorrow, you'll love it!

And now, with bellies full and eyes droopy, we are headed to bed...zzzzzzzzzzzz....


Well, after many hours stressing about the floor saga and scouring the internet for flooring options, we decided to just go with what we wanted in the first place: wood! Bless Lowe's for approving us for a credit card, having a 10% coupon off flooring right now, and also having no payments, no interest for 12 months. Huzzah! Now we only have to choose a color:

Gunstock Oak
(the website does not have the one we were looking at, but this is close)


Red Cherry
. What do YOU think?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Floor: 1, Humans: 0

Well I have to admit that the floor in our house is KICKING OUR ASSES!!! I'm SO tired I can barely type... but the defeat was resounding and I have to broadcast it, so... Well, we really wanted to do stained concrete floors in our new house. Well, 1975 house... the carpet was hideous, old, stained, and disgusting, and there were 3 layers of tile in the kitchen/dining and bathrooms. We yanked it all out, and ever since we have been scraping, sanding, scraping, sanding, to no avail. The carpet glue and the mastic from the tile is NOT coming up! We even rented a drum sander today, hoping it would sand right off. Ack! We were wrong! The machine barely made a dent! Sigh!! $80 wasted... dreams of stained concrete floors, dashed... the only floor that is free of goo is the gameroom, so we are going to stain that one... but the others, there's no way the stain would penetrate. So, friends, what do we do? We don't have enough money to put in wood floors right now (which was our ultimate goal anyway, the stained concrete was just going to be for the meantime). We don't want to put down tile or vinyl. Definitely no carpet. So, maybe paint the floor? That's all I can think of... and might be able to do a cool technique to make it look mottled like a stained concrete floor would have. Guess I'll be searching the web for a while. If any of you out there are ever tempted to do what we tried, let me just warn you - DON'T! Imagine the project in your mind... then imagine it 10 times worse. Just DON'T do it!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Rainbow Bridge

~~~~~Posted in loving memory of Smokey~~~~~

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

--author unknown

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sad day

We got Smokey's ashes back today... I'm too sad to write about it much but there was a very nice poem they gave me that I'll share with you maybe tomorrow.

Today was also my last day at my job. I left quietly, not making a big deal out of leaving, and only saying goodbye to the people I cared about saying goodbye to. I still feel extremely betrayed/hurt, but stayed professional to the end. Tomorrow is Good Friday and we had it off as an 'optional' holiday, and I'm definitely taking the option! My mom is going to come visit and we will go to Whole Foods, the Antique Mall, and maybe Michael's. I will also take her to see our house. It's pretty messy right now, actually it doesn't look quite this messy anymore, but I still gotta show it off!

I'm going to throw myself a little pity party tonight, complete with pizza, hot wings, and soda. But starting tomorrow it's time to move onward!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pasta alfredo with spinach and onions

Since I can't think of much to say (not that I don't have anything to talk about, I just can't make my fingers put into words what my brain is thinking) I decided to post a recipe for you. Yum, lucky you! Here is my creation (and I sure hope you cook like me, otherwise this 'recipe' will drive you crazy!)

Half an organic onion, cut into thin (but not paper-thin) strips
Some (or a lot of) garlic cloves
Some organic spinach (I like baby spinach leaves)
Some organic pasta (I used penne but would have preferred fettucine)
Organic Alfredo sauce in a jar, or Alfredo mix (I used Simply Organic brand from Whole Foods)

Start boiling water for the pasta. When it boils, add pasta. Meanwhile, saute the onion until almost carmelized; add in chopped or minced garlic and the spinach. Cook til spinach is wilty. In a 3rd pot (unless you are more efficient or less messy than I, and then you can figure out a way to reuse one of the other pots) start heating up/making the sauce. Drain the pasta, put it back in the big pot, then add in the spinach and onion mixture, stir together. Pour the sauce over this and stir some more. Sprinkle on some freshly-grated Parmesan. Serve with some crusty bread and some wine. Salad if you want. You can always say the spinach in the pasta was your 'greens'. Eat. Yumm!

P.S. I think you could also use mushrooms in there, or maybe a few chopped green onions. Let me know how ya like it!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Smokey's bed

We have decided that we will put Smokey's ashes under this group of trees in the backyard:


I want to build a nice garden bed around the base of the trees, with bird- and butterfly-attracting plants, some birdfeeders hanging from the tree and maybe a birdbath nearby, so that animals & creatures of the yard will come to visit Smokey. That way he will have some company when we aren't there. I'll put a little bench or some chairs out there so we can sit with him, too. This grouping of trees is also directly outside our bedroom window, so he will always be close by. I think he will be very happy here... we miss the little guy like crazy, but we try to remember that he is always in our hearts.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

In Triplicate....

Do you believe bad things come in 3's? I guess when something bad happens it is easy to look in other areas of your life to find other things that aren't going so well. But right now, I can think of 3 seriously bad things that have happened to me just in the past two months:
1. I was diagnosed with spondyloarthritis.
2. I was let go from my job (soon after we closed on a new house - we haven't even made the first mortgage payment yet).
3. I had to say goodbye to my Smokey.
Of all these, the last is the one that is the real kicker, the one that really hurts, and the one I can't do anything about. After being diagnosed with the spondyloarthritis in early February, I was so determined to get healthy so I could regain my energy and my joie de vivre. And last week, even after my boss let me go, I was very positive about new job opportunities. I was even a little excited about my plan to find a couple part-time jobs to work. But today, everything seems dark and dreary. How do I keep my head high?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

They live in our hearts forever...

My Smokey passed away this afternoon...
He slept and cuddled with us all last night. This morning, fearing that the end was close, we took him to the vet so they could watch him today. Around 4:15pm they called and said he'd taken a turn for the worse.... He was gone by the time we got there to say goodbye. Now he is no longer in pain but I miss him terribly. I can't believe that I will never again be able to hold him, cuddle him, kiss on him, pet him... I hope he knew how much I loved him, and how much Devon loved him too. He will live in our hearts forever.

Monday, March 10, 2008


My poor little kitty isn't doing so well... he is curled up on my lap as I write this, but I'm not sure how much longer he will be with us.


Last fall we noticed that he was losing a bit of weight, actually we didn't notice it at all but I took him to the vet for an allergy shot and she said that he'd lost weight in the last month or two. Since he is an older kitty, she wanted to do some bloodwork before giving him the allergy shot. Bloodwork came back fine, we gave him the shot, but over the next few months I started to notice him losing weight. Back to the vet, and she felt that his intestines were 'ropey' when she did her physical exam. So in January he went to a specialist and had an ultrasound. Results: visibly enlarged lymph nodes, but nothing else noticeable. The specialist said it could be intestinal cancer, or inflammatory bowel disease. The only way to tell for sure if it was cancer is with a $2,000 procedure, which we can't afford, and the specialist didn't want to do that anyway, given his age and the fact that he has a heart murmur (the anesthesia might cause complications). So we put him on steroids and a special diet to see if he might get better. Instead, he has continued to lose weight, even while the steroids make him ravenously hungry (he is eating all the time). This past Friday, I noticed that he isn't able to jump up on things - the side of the tub (his perch while I take baths), or the bed. Today he seems to sway or lose balance when he walks, or he looks like he is walking with his back legs crouched really low to the ground. Took him to the vet this afternoon and he is only 4.05 pounds. He's never been a big cat but now he is practically skeletal. The vet is going to conference with the specialist tomorrow morning, but we fear the worst... I love this cat, he is the most awesome, cuddly, talkative, sweet cat ever. He's been with me for 10 years, through everything. He might not even make it until we move into our new house, and I know he would have liked having a yard to play in again. I'm so sad. Even though I've realized for a while that he is getting older and that one day he would no longer be here, now that the time seems near, I'm still not ready. Please everyone keep your fingers crossed for my kitty, that the vet will have a last-minute insight for something we can do to get him healthy and keep him around with us.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Alas, it was not to be...

Management at my job changed their minds yesterday, and decided that I should find another job. Now I feel so hurt. But, there is not much to do except try to move on and let it go. So I am now searching for a new job! In a brilliant stroke of great timing, someone did reply yesterday to a post I had on craigslist right after all this went down. I had posted my resume on craigslist before I decided I really did want to stay at this job. I never got any replies when I first posted it, so I thought that maybe no one ever read that section. But yesterday right after I was given notice, I checked my email and there was a reply from someone who is looking for an accounts payable/administrative person. Now it may not work out at all, but I am taking it as a good omen. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Yay! Small victory!

First, some background: I have recently been diagnosed with spondyloarthritis. For several years I have had sometimes-agonizing pain in my left hip, and have had several incorrect diagnoses and ineffective treatments. It's pretty much been a nightmare, and I'm lucky I didn't lose my last job because of the time I had to take off. I am now on medication that seems to be helping but I don't want to rely on it for the rest of my life. In order to get myself back into good health, my doctor has suggested that I pursue physical therapy, stretches, light workouts (such as walking in the pool), and just good old rest and stress relief. Many of you may know just how difficult it is to fit all that into your work schedule, especially when you have already taken a ton of time off for various doctor appointments, etc. In order to get my body into a healthy state, and also so that I wouldn't be taking a ton more time off from work, I felt that having some flexibility in my work schedule would be helpful. I concocted a plan and talked to my boss about it, making sure to point out how this can be a win-win situation for both him and I. My basic proposal was:
1. I will work Monday-Friday from 8:00 am - 2:3o pm, which is 32.5 hours a week.
2. I will be able to work all day if the operations manager is scheduled to be out, so that I can cover her.
3. I will be paid at the same hourly rate, but only for the number of hours I work (thus saving my boss money). I will retain my health insurance and other benefits (sick days and vacation time).
4. I will be available by phone after 2:30 pm for urgent matters.
5. I will be responsible for the same duties I have always done, and will complete the same amount of work in 6.5 hours per day (this is totally doable right now, besides I've been bored out of my mind since we have been a little slower than usual for the past couple of months).
6. This is only going to be a temporary situation, until I regain my health.
7. We will re-evaluate after a couple of weeks to make sure it is working for him and the company as well as for me.

Armed with this list, I proposed it to him and gave him ample time (over a week) to think about it. He agreed today to let me try it! I'm so happy and appreciative that he is willing to try it out. My goal is to prove to him (and myself!) that this will not be detrimental in any way. In fact, by allowing me this flexibility, I am even more determined to be a valuable, productive employee. I will be very careful not to squander this precious opportunity!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Since I'm the Queen of doing things other than what I *should* be doing....

I decided to start this blog. It is entitled "Blahby Blahby Boring," which is an inside joke between me and my sister. It is also bound to be a self-fulfilling title since I have no idea if what I have to say is in the least bit entertaining, interesting, or otherwise worthwhile. I also have an aversion to putting my thoughts down on paper (much less posted for the world to see on the internet) but I have way too much going on in my life right now, and instead of letting everything run circles in my head, I'll let it run here!

What, you may ask, do I have going on right now? Well, lessee....

1. My boyfriend Devon and I just bought a house that needs some (not just minor) work before we move in on the 28th of March. Come back soon for updates (and hopefully pics) on the progress of that ginormous task! I'd like to find a remodeling or decorating contest to enter, so if anyone knows of one or hears of one, please lemme know!

2. I am in the process of trying to talk my boss into letting me work 32 hours a week instead of 40. I like where I work, I really do, but right now I AM SO BORED. Plus, having been recently diagnosed with a type of arthritis that affects my hip, I need time for the myriad doctor appointments, treatments, physical therapy, and work outs that will help me get better so that I don't have to be on medication forever (I'm only 30). I see win-win: He gets to pay me less and still gets the same amount of work out of me, while I get the time I need to focus on my health. Hopefully he will see it the same way and agree to it. That would make me SO HAPPY!!

3. I am planning on taking art courses at Austin Community College this fall (maybe summer, if I can work things out that soon). In order to do that, I need to pay off an old debt to a school (Master of Business Administration courses - bleh!) so I can get that transcript, as well as get my car paid off so that I only have to work part-time while I go to school.

4. One ultimate goal is to get my business, Cormorant Studios, up and running. In the beginnings, this will probably just be a small Etsy shop (do you etsy? I love etsy!) featuring some of the things I make. Cormorant Studios is still in the development stages, so I'm not going to spend a lot of time hashing out my million-and-one ideas for it (at least not on this post).

5. I accepted a part-time job today, scoring essays online. It starts at the end of April and will last for about 6 weeks. At the end of it, I should have enough money to pay off my car, or to mostly pay it off. It might make for some long weeks, but I'll be doing it from home so it shouldn't be too bad.

Those are the big, bulleted goals in my life right now. Of course there are a zillion others in the back of my mind, and if you know me at all, you know I have a ton of ideas about things I want to do/make/be. But those will have to come into play later while I focus more on these. Anyway, please feel free to leave me some comments! But don't fear, I endeavor to write even if no one else is listening!