feeling blue

What do you do to pull yourself out of a funk?  My usual fallbacks don't seem to be working.  Chocolate isn't working, reading isn't working, knitting isn't working, That 70s Show isn't working, playing with my dog isn't working.  I haven't tried exercise yet because my joints hurt like the dickens.

I'm thinking about maybe some anxiety meds, or a one-way ticket to somewhere else.

What are some of YOUR tricks?


timing wants

using timing and planning to control spending.

I've been reading a little bit about the difference between being frugal and being a tight-wad. Sum it up to say that tight-wads save money to have money; frugal folks save money to be able to put it toward their carefully-considered priorities. Paying off a house, being able to buy a car without financing, saving up for travel, clothes-shopping at Ross and Target to be able to visit fancy restaurants. THAT is frugal.

My husband and I haven't really set any financial goals, other than "no credit card debt" and "save $2000 to get us through the winter heating oil bills." We can't really have much of a real savings plan because, after a meager retirement investment and putting aside some toward the winter pillow, and a little bit of play money, we pretty much break even every month. So we can either scrape by and build up meager savings, or we can have the occasional dinner with friends, keep our blockbuster subscription, and maybe get a book or two each month.

Sometimes, when I have to pull the belt tight, I have trouble walking the line between 'want' and 'need.' My thumb, for example, has felt like it's perpetually jammed for a couple of years now. Before I got married, I could afford to see a chiropractor about once a month for a spinal adjustment, and he would take care of the thumb for me too. Now, a year after taking on a grad student to feed and house, there are days when I can't even really use my right hand without experiencing low-to-moderate pain. Do I NEED a chiropractor? No, my thumb won't fall off, and it doesn't interfere with daily life enough to make it a priority. But I sure could go for an extra $40 a month to keep the problem at bay. And some days, I'm hard-pressed NOT to pick up the phone and make an appointment.

Another example. For a graduation gift, my mom got me a great sewing machine. Problem was, I'm a hands-on learner but at that time I couldn't afford lessons. I slugged away trying to figure out the machine, but I never got it right...in fact, I was getting worse. Not too long after that, I had a few 'life-altering experiences' that prevented me from getting back to sewing. This past weekend, after a couple of months of really feeling the itch to try again, I packed up the machine and went to a friend's house. She spent the better part of 3 hours showing me the ropes, and she sent me home with all kinds of samples to try out.

Excellent! A new hobby! And one that will even help me save money, no less! All I need is a cutting mat, a couple of rotary cutters..... and about $70 of cash to get these goodies and all the beginner patterns and what-not I could need. But I don't have $70. I don't even have $20 for a second-hand mat right now, thanks to an expensive vet visit a few weeks ago. The 40% coupon to Joann.com has been singing its siren song for the past day or so. It's just 20 bucks, right?

Wrong. That $20 spent will come directly out of savings, which is counter to our plan. And given the vet bill, some summer travel, and a couple of work expenses that haven't been reimbursed yet (MY fault, not theirs) we are really strapped right now. And yet I came so close to making the buy. Seriously...cursor hovering over 'submit,' wondering how to explain it to Brian...

I couldn't quite bring myself to place the order, though. I felt a hesitation, and I jumped on it. I started thinking about where I would put the cutting mat. The answer was, nowhere. I don't have any clear table space right now, and I don't know when I might get to clearing space. This would mean that my 'so important' cutting mat would end up sitting in a corner somewhere, waiting to be used, and making me feel guilty about the current state of my house. Yeah right...as if I need MORE reasons to beat myself up.

So I closed the window. I don't HAVE to have this right now - there are other projects that I already have materials for, that won't require a cutting mat just yet. I can use those to practice and really determine how seriously I want to pursue sewing. I will poke around at nearby yard sales and estate sales to look for bounty. And then, I will begin to make a place for a permanent sewing station in the house, at which point I can completely justify spending the $20 or even $40, for a cutting mat (if I haven't already found a decent used one). I might even be more likely to HAVE the money, at that point, too, as I'd be aware of my expected finishing point and could start setting aside bits and pieces in preparation.

THAT is what it means to be frugal.

one year later

I wrote all of this a year ago, the day after I saw my ex-fiance, also the day before I moved to be with my now-husband. June 8th, 2007, to be exact.

It's not really very interesting, unless you're me.

i have updates for you
no drama
just some real hardcore solid closure stuff
and for some reason i'm really sad now
i think the sad is more of leaving work, tho
(today was my last day)
this morning adam imed me
he wanted to have 'the closure talk'
i didn't get it at first... but eventually i did so let my guard down
it went fine, ended well
we apologized for what we did wrong last year and wished each other luck in the future, that sort of thing
(ps im getting married way sooner than he is )
not that it's a race or anything
but still
so i was all weirded out and thinky about that this morning
and then it was my last day of work
and i spent the last 2 hours sorta zoned out and thinking about everything that's happened to me since i started there
all the weird stuff that went down at work and outside of work
i was sooooo different
when i started at cai i was living at home, engaged, going to state... concussion-free
in this really tumultuous relationship
and mom and i were fighting all the time
just recently graduated
it feels soooooo far away
i don't know why i'm crying
i cried the whole last hour there and the whole way home
it's like
wow... everything is over
everything is different
i am completely removed from that whole situation
i can look back now and remember the good times
and see them as the good times...
not big fat lies, you know, or like,
and i don't know why but it makes me cry
come sunday, i'm going to be in a new city, in a new state
no job... new relationship
ENTIRELY different future ahead of me than the one i had in mind 2 years ago
today feels really... big
i feel like i've really put adam away now
like, sealed the book, stuck it on the top shelf to collect dust and maybe be reopened down the road
and that's good!
but why does it make me sad
before, it felt over...
like, the road was blocked and there was no entry
now it feels like i'm on a whole different map
do you think it's normal?
i'm like, weeping and sobbing over here
it feels SO final
i feel like i'm in mourning
maybe i am
i don't know what, tho
maybe this is my real step into adulthood?
putting away my 'childhood' or youth or .. something
time to grow up
i'm not mourning adam or losing that relationship
maybe it's the process
that makes me cry
hell, maybe it's just the CHANGE
(oh...i say hell now, sometimes)
i miss brian... so much
i love him so much
i'm glad he's not here this weekend, tho... i'm glad i have a couple days to process this by myself
'mysteries of a woman's heart' or something like that
well...time to wrap it up
i'm off to see BUS
tomorrow is transition day
sunday, i move up to richmond

james joyce wrote in stream-of-consciousness - but to my knowledge, all of his work was fiction. it was crafted and labored over and polished. i admire what he was able to craft. what i might admire more, though, is if he wrote his own thoughts, and if they were as effective in communicating or teaching or exemplifying what it is when we chew the fat in our own minds.

tonight i faced a blank page. it was an eager vessel for all the ideas and emotions and untelligible feelings to congregate on my brow ridge, teleport to the back of my hands, and then sort themselves out at 93 words per minute. tomorrow, i will be changed.


the greatest threat to marriage

I don't think that gay marriage is as big a threat to 'real marriage' as some of my fellow Christians would make it out to be.

One of my favorite bloggers in the whole wide earth went through a hard divorce a few years ago. I remember reading one of her posts years ago, probably from around the LAST time Cali dabbled in the gay marriage finger paints. And in it, she wrote something that punctured my self-constructed evangelical bubble of 'protection' and set my opinions a-changing.

She said that the biggest threat to marriage isn't homosexuality, it's divorce.

It's not like we straight people have mastered the art of marriage, and the numbers and other cultural forces indicate that we won't, any time soon. So why are we so scared that more people want to play in our sandbox? We're all still going to get sand in our ears and our eyes and our underpants, and there will always be that weird kid who EATS the sand, and that other weird kid who poops in the sand, and most of us will try to play nicely for a while and some of us will even build magnificant castles and towns and moats. Gay, straight, plural, what-have-you, there will still be some marriages that work and lots that fail.

Why are we fighting so fiercely to 'defend' something against homosexuals, when we aren't even taking very good care of it ourselves?

As a Christian, I know the bible says something about homosexuality being bad. I also know that this is what the King James translation SAYS the bible says. I don't know what the ancient texts say, and even if I did know, I wouldn't know what kind of real meaning they had back in their day. That's to say, I DON'T KNOW what the bible says about gay relationships. I personally think there's something maybe not-quite-right about them - we're designed to procreate after all - but I do also think that creation is not perfect and that things go wrong.

Is being homosexual genetic? I don't know, but it wouldn't surprise me. Were we designed to be gay? No, probably not, but however many hundreds and thousands of years later, our genes may have landed us there. (The subtext from those two sentences is that I'm behind the intelligent design theory and don't *necessarily* think evolution is right, or wrong.)

Do I think homosexuality "wrong" for lack of a better word? Probably. Do I think it's against "God's plan" for us? Yes...but look around and note the distinct lack of Utopia. Humanity today is clearly not in line with God's plan for us. Imagine how things would be - the Garden of Eden forever. Would we even be here, or would a sinless Adam and Eve have sufficed? Things change. We're on plan b now, or maybe plan c. As such, the original plan and our physical reality today are different. I don't know how homosexuality plays into this worldview yet. This is all purely my opinions (and lack of them) and not a political stance.

Do I think gay marriage is something the government needs to have its nose in? NO. I don't think ANY marriage is something the government should have its nose in. I don't think the personal lives of citizens is something the government should be worried about. Give me an army, some roads, a mail service, a justice system, and a few other critical things, and then leave me alone. I haven't figured out how to let my true political opinions inform my pragmatic stance on anything.

Lots of people seem to think that it's appropriate to enforce their own opinions into law. This is true across the board, and not just in the' right wing conservative' groups that people are so fond of bashing. I don't think lawmaking should be about opinion - it should be about safety and protecting the citizenry, and that's pretty much it. Just being 'not ok' with something doesn't give me the right to demand that it be criminalized; simiarly, liking or agreeing with something shouldn't give me free reign to make it a requirement of everyone.

today i'm thankful for

1. The new abundance of farmers markets in Richmond. Love it. New knitted market bag to prove it.

2. Yarn swaps. I have something I don't want...I can trade it with someone who wants it, and get something I DO want in return. My latest trade was some lofty alpaca yarn that I sent away in exchange for some "2nd Time Cotton" - spun from cotton scraps from the 'fashion industry.' What a cool yarn. See 'new knitted market bag' above.

3. Unfinished objects. Really, they drive me crazy, but after having a knitting project sitting in the 'finish me' pile for years while smaller or more important projects butt in at the front of the line, it feels soooooo good to pick it up and knit on it some more, dreaming of when it might be finished. This also works well because I tend to put projects down when they're somewhere between 50 and 75% done, so finishing them is a lot less daunting than starting them.

4. My watermelon plant. It's silly, I know, but this was given to me by a really nice gentleman at the church where Brian was serving last year, and I didn't think I'd be able to keep it alive but I think it's actually THRIVING and it reminds me every day of Sammy Kirby and how great he is.

5. (Almost) always having enough. We've had to scrape by from time to time, but over the years we have managed to accumulate a lot of good-quality things that, now that we can't afford them anymore, really make our lives easier. Good electronics; enough clothes to keep from having to wear the same outfits every week; comfortable 'classic' shoes that, while not particularly trendy, won't ever be unacceptably unfashionable; for me, a good set of circular needles. Every day I'm amazed that I own almost everything that I could need, or even 'need.' Still on the hunt for a black pencil skirt and some black dress shoes and 'the perfect white shirt'...and now, a cocktail dress...but once those are found, I'll be set for a long long time. When I get really down, Brian reminds me not to worry, that God will provide just like he always has. And he's right.


knick knacks and good causes

If you're looking for something to do, check out the White Elephant silent auction and tent sale!!

Friday and Saturday, ASID and Richmond Habitat are putting on a silent auction and tent sale.  I had a sneak peek at some of the stuff today, and it looks like it's going to be a great event.

SO, if you're looking for an update on your summer decor, if you're overzealous for silent auctions, if you like that outdoor market kind of feel...check it out!

Also, I have it on good authority that Richmond Habitat is debuting their new coffee - "Grounds for Grouds" to raise awareness and funds to stock up on land.

More details on the White Elephant here.


giving up on great expectations

So there's this awesome website, dailylit.com, where you can get books delivered to your inbox or rss aggregator. Public domain books are free, and copyrighted books are offered for less than you'd pay on half.com (which, in my opinion, seems to have better prices and is more reasonable for sellers, than amazon...heresy, I know).

When I first discovered dailylit, I got excited and thought that maybe this was my shot at getting through some of those 'great works' I've been meaning to read but just can't seem to strike my fancy the way other (read: less significant and thus less likely to come up in intelligent discussions and thus seemingly less likely to cause me to embarrass myself) books do. Austen and Dickens, Moby Dick, and a few classic self-help books appear on the 'free table.'

And so, in a cloud of enterprising spirit and romantic notions, not to mention the thrill of having something to fill in the gaps of boredom at work (this was back in the day when those existed, mind you), I signed up to read Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. I'd attempted to read this book several years ago, but I just couldn't manage to plod my way through the first couple of chapters. I kept getting distracted at the wordiness, and it's hard to take a book seriously when you keep getting stuck on the fact that the author was CLEARLY paid by the word, and thus you are faced with a few too many word-flourishes.

In short, I thought Great Expectations was really boring the first time around, and I'd put it down in lieu of the Great Gatsby. This time, I resolved to plod through it, page by page, this time, because surely there was more to it! Besides, even if it is STILL boring after a few years, at least I only have to devote about a minute and a half per day on reading it.

Oh how the young are naive. I'm still finding it difficult to plod through, even if I'm being spoon-fed. Every couple of days I decide to stop the subscription, and it's right at that moment that the plot moves forward enough to keep me interested for the next couple of days.

In general, I am a fan of simplicity and a modicum of hedonism. If it's more stressful or agonizing or just plain boring than it is pleasant or useful, I tend not to do something. Live life to the fullest, cast off the shackles of useless things, release what is no longer serving you, blah blah blah. I am torn on this issue, though, because I value being well read, appreciating good writing, and generally crossing things off the 'to read' list.

If I continue at this pace, I will be reading Dickens into next year, and lingering in a book makes me a little bit crazy. Does this outweigh the prospect of NOT reading the book? Of giving up on Dickens again, and plunging back into ignorance? Being well-read requires determination, of course, but where does 'being well-read' take a knee to enjoying the process? Ultimately I don't read because I 'should' - I read because I like reading.

Your thoughts?

my next new car!

A few years ago I was reading something about the Mazda Rx8 before it even came out, and I saw some reference to something called a hydrogen fuel cell engine.  I didn't really understand the science, but the concept was something along the lines of 'new kind of engine' and 'only emits water' and I thought it was REALLY COOL.  

Fast forward a few years, and you've got Honda, announcing that it's preparing to release its first hydrogen fuel cell car, called the Clarity.

I think this is a really great step forward, although I also think it will take quite some time before we will be able to have widespread use of the technology - right now it's limited to Southern California.  Production will need to be altered, I'm sure, in ways that reduce cost AND negative impact on the environment - which is currently an issue for today's green cars (meaning that the environmental damage required to produce them is greater than what is conserved by driving them).  And we'll also require some type of new - or replacement - infrastructure.  I'm not sure if hydrogen fuel is pumped the same way gasoline is, but if it's not, it means we'll start seeing hydrogen stations along with gas and diesel stations.

I'm hoping to get 7 or 8 more years out of my trusty Toyota...maybe by that time, buying a Clarity, or something like it, will be something that the likes of we little people can do.


can't help but feel the shame

As someone who holds a degree from a prestigious journalism school from a premier public institution of this country, someone who scored a 94% on the spelling and grammar exam that makes most j-schoolers shudder with fear, someone who once aspired to be a copy editor for a large newspaper and VERY WELL COULD HAVE, someone who staffed multiple publications and oversaw one of them while in school, someone who was awarded a top-shelf internship through the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund, someone who placed a heavy emphasis on the study of English, grammar, the history of English, linguistics, and the like...

I am ashamed to admit that a couple of years and one traumatic head injury later, I could only identify 10 of the 15 misspelled words on this quiz.

Seriously. I even spent a semester studying DICTIONARIES, and I only got two-thirds right. That's a failing grade, if I recall my college days correctly. Next thing you know, I'll be messing up my subject-verb number agreement and putting all kinds of errant it's gaffes all over the place. *involuntary shudder*

I was wallowing in dejectedness when I noticed a link at the bottom of the site. "See a list of the 100 most often misspelled words" it said. And that reminded me of the enormous list of spelling words that were to be included on the S&G. (Really, that test was a beast.) And I have now resolved to find my copy of that book, or acquire a new copy, and re-learn the English language that I once loved so dearly.


today i feel like

When I was in Leichtenstein on part of the American Music Abroad tour, we had about an hour and a half to eat and do any shopping/sight seeing. Which was fine, because there wasn't much to see or do where they dropped us off, anyway. I was bound and determined to bring back a souvenir of every country I visited on that trip - and I'm happy to say that I still have most of these little items. My choice from Leichtenstein?

Certainly not an understanding of how to spell the country's name... We tootled around in a gift shop. I found a t-shirt with an amusingly bad translation of an English phrase and American (I think) concept. You know those little 'emotion' charts with all different emotions listed, and each one has a funny face to go with it? This t-shirt was like that, except it had cows for faces, and across the top it said TODAY I FEEL LIKE:

SO, on any given day while wearing this shirt, I could 'feel like' happy, sad, sleepy, in love, angry, and/or a couple other things.

Special note - the 'sleepy' one looked either drunk or hungover, and it had bubbles. Not sure about you, but for me, bubbles are not a part of being sleepy.


Book Review: Blue Shoe, by Anne Lamott

Here's a novel idea (groan) - I've been reading a lot lately, and I'm going to do a brief write-up of each book as I finish it.

I just finished reading Blue Shoe, by Anne Lamott. Lamott is one of my very favorite authors to read. She and I disagree on a lot, politically, and we have different understandings of God, but she is SUCH a good storyteller. My favorite thing about her writing is her metaphor. She is often beautifully illustrative, and often humorous at the same time.

Though I have read a couple of her books of 'thoughts' - personal essays, stories, etc. - and her book on writing, Blue Shoe is the first novel of hers that I've read. I could sense a lot of Lamott (as she presents herself) in the main character, Mattie. The story itself was too interesting to be trite - but it wasn't really captivating. By the time it was about halfway through, I could predict the ending.

In Blue Shoe, the emphasis isn't on a riveting plot, it's more about the quirkiness of daily life. It's the ins and outs of one woman's life over the course of a few years. It's about how you can adapt to scary things, it's about enjoying the interesting parts along the way and not getting lost in the drama.

One thing I appreciate about Lamott, and about her characters, is that she is deeply introspective, and also deeply flawed. In Blue Shoe, much like in real life, Mattie tries, she fails, she screws up, she finds joy, she finds peace and then loses it, she fights the urge to throttle her kids. Lamott puts a magnifying glass on what it means to be human, and she describes it so deeply and so beautifully that you can't help but want to embrace the characters and scold them at the same time, because on some level, you two are the same.

Favorite quote from the book: Mattie is being overanxious about something and eats too many cookies. She finds herself lounging on the couch afterward, feeling like "a boa constricture digesting a small pig." This line made me laugh out loud - because I've done the EXACT same thing and felt the EXACT same way. And haven't we all?

That's what I love about Anne Lamott.

book crossing

One of the intriguing things that the Internet has spawned is BookCrossing.com. You know them, right? I'm only mildly acquainted. I released one book into the wild, once, and I'm thinking about sending more along - either through a controlled release (giving it to someone specific) or by releasing into the wild - leaving books on their own at various sites.

The local scene doesn't seem to have too many book crossers, but it could be fun. I think Richmond is quirky enough to get into something like this. Then again, most of the people who are giving away books probably already have their favorite charity or charities to donate to.

While I lounge in limbo-land, what I've decided to do is register all my books on PaperBackSwap with a BookCrossing ID, in hopes that maybe garnering some new journal entries.  I just started with the PBS so we'll see what happens in that arena.  

Either way, these are two really great ideas that you should check out, if you're interested in reading and sharing.  I would LOVE it if there were more BCs going on in Richmond.


baby powder update

I'll have you know, Eli was not very happy to receive his baby powder bath.  He was violently cranky about it, and spent about two hours glaring at me from his chair.  Apparently he is not convinced that this is a better alternative to baths.  We'll just see about that, my fine furry friend.

the many uses of baby powder

In my never-ending quests to 1. improve my life and 2. spend less money doing so, I've done a modicum of research on various topics pertaining to simplifying.  If, for example, I can get the majority of my cleaning done with harmless baking soda, vinegar, and/or lemon juice, then I will gladly pass by a closet full of random harmful chemicals that will ultimately end up in the ground/water/ozone layer.

Most recently, I have been wanting to invade my bathroom cabinet and put the baby powder to use.  Because let's face it, I have way too much.  Which brings me to.....

A bunch of new ways to use baby powder.  I don't know about you, but I'm stoked.

Disclaimer: There are a few different kinds of baby powder.  Use TALCUM powder at your discretion, as there are some that can be harmful.  Just google 'baby powder' and decide for yourself which kind you want.  And if you just want to use up what you've got now, try not to breathe it in.  Because, surprise, the talc MAY be linked to cancer.  Just like everything else.  

The list!

- Sprinkle baby powder on your squeaky hardwood floors.  Take a buffing cloth or a broom or brush or what have you, and get it in the cracks really well.  If you have a sweet 50s ranch like I do, you have some squeaky floors.  And if these bother you, here's an awesome solution.

- If you get a liquid or grease stain on your clothing, a wall, a carpet, etc, rub in some baby powder - about enough to cover it.  Rub it in really well, let it set in for a couple minutes, and brush it away.  Keep doing this until it's gone.  I haven't tried this yet, but I've got an old grease stain on a suede skirt and I've also read that this method works on such things.  I'll report back!

- Put a small bowl or dish of baby powder in your closets or drawers to keep the must away.  You'll also smell 'powdery fresh' for the rest of the day.  You can also drop a little bit of powder in your sneakers (or your husband's!!)  I will be doing both of these just as soon as I finish this entry.  

- Sprinkle a light coat of baby powder between your bed sheets every day to absorb perspiration and prevent odor.  Ok, maybe the odor was a little much...ick... but it sure has been awfully hot and sticky the past couple of nights, thank-you-very-much-high-of-102-every-day-this-week.

- Sprinkle baby powder on your carpets, let it sit for a few minutes, and then vacuum it up.  This works just as well as the expensive stuff that my mom liked to use before she got all hardwoods, but it doesn't cost nearly as much.  Rumor has it, this will also help remove cigarette smoke smells.

- Rub some powder (about the size of a quarter maybe) loosely all over your hands to help the rubber gloves slide on faster.  Maybe I'm the only person on Earth who still uses these...but still.  And when you pull them off, rub the rest of the powder into your hands.  It acts just like hand lotion!

- Rub a little bit of powder on a necklace (or glop of necklaces) that's all knotted up.  The powder acts as a lubricant and it's much easier to work the knot loose.  (Another tip, use a couple of needles to work it loose.)

- If you're at the beach, rub baby powder on all the places where wet sand is sticking.  The powder dries your skin and the sand comes right off.

- Freshen up musty old books.  Dust some powder in the pages, let the books stand up (like you'd stand them on a shelf) overnight and then brush (or shake of you're reckless) the powder out.  Same goes for playing cards - toss them into a baggie and add some powder...shakey shakey, and bam!  You've got some (dusty) fresh playing cards!  Clean up the mess with a couple of good shuffles.

- Insect repellant!!  Sprinkle baby powder in the places where the ants and roaches like to enter and roam.  Sprinkle it with a heavy hand all around the outside of your house to keep them away.  Something about the talcum that the buggies don't like.  Another thing you can try is this amazing stuff called diatomaceous earth.  That's the only thing that kept our ants and earwigs at bay.

bad dreams

I had really bad dreams last night.  As usual, this set of bad dreams had to do with tornadoes.  We were all living in a place something like VCU only it wasn't so close to downtown... and these enormous tornadoes kept brewing and tearing everything up.  In this one, I lost track of Eli.  NOT a good feeling.

Last time I had dreams like this, there were tornadoes all over Virginia that night.  I'm not sure if there were any last night, though.



Five things I'm thankful for, today:

1. The water cooler at work. I can get in my daily recommended dosage of water while at work, I feel better, I get to see my coworkers more because I'm ALWAYS having to go to the bathroom, and it doesn't even cost me a dime.

2. RVABlogs. Seriously. I don't have nearly the force of opinions that many of our bloggers do, but I love reading about all the different opinions and happenings in our great city. It's a shame that I am totally NOT into foodie blogs, though, because there are good ones here.

3. Richmond Habitat ReStore. Seriously, this place is awesome. They have all kinds of great stuff at a discount, it's wonderful. Especially for me, who can only handle small projects. Imagine anything you'd need to do just about anything for/around/in your house. Chances are, they have it. Paint, tiles, wood, casters, landscaping bricks, furniture, washers/dryers, cabinets, everything. All of it is donated, and all of it goes to a great cause. And I can shop there guilt-free, knowing that I'll probably be able to get a half can of paint or stain when really that's all I'll need - and not have to deal with leftovers. I plan on visiting there this week to pick up the wood and hardware (and maybe stain!) to build a home-made yarn swift. Lord knows I don't have 70 extra dollars sitting around to buy one!

4. My car. It's a 2001 Toyota Highlander and I've had it since it was new. My mom gave it to me as a gift (high school graduation/turning 18). She also covered some of the maintenance while I was in college. It's held up well these 7 years/100,000 miles, and I'm hoping I can keep it going for many more. Seriously, no complaints.

5. The Petite Pet Inn and Spa. Eli and I went there for a doggie luau and it was great to introduce him to a social life. I think he made some good steps toward being less afraid of the world there and I hope to be able to go back from time to time. Now if only I could find my own social life!!


major yarn itch

Lately I've had a major urge to buy yarn. No particular reason, other than finding several new and old projects that I really want to get underway. Everything is so tempting!

I have a small stash of natural fibers and a medium stash of acrylics, most of which are years old. I've offered to do a bunch of knitting for the rescue - some dog blankets to send to new adoptions and some sweaters etc. to try to sell online and at various functions. I decided to do some initial stash-busting and I took out a few balls of some really chunky yarn. I made Eli a small blanket from this yarn once, and he seemed to like it, so I figured it'd be a good way to knock out 3 big balls and move on to greener, less squeaky pastures.

My initial plan of action is to alternate projects - one for the dogs, one for humans. I altered this plan a little bit because right now I'm in the middle of 'two for the dogs' because it'd just be easier to bust out these two blankets from these three balls. So now that I'm about halfway done with the second blanket, I'm thinking ahead as to what comes next. I've got it down to two choices.

One is a 'market bag' - I recently acquired via a yarn swap a skein of 'second time cotton' - a recycled yarn generated from cast-offs in 'the fashion industry,' whatever that is. It's a great thing, I think - might as well take scraps and work them together into something useful. This is something knitters love, after all. It'd be a relatively quick knit - three or four hours worth. I could work on it on and off for a week and have it done, or bust it out over a weekend, no sweat.

The other is a black short-sleeve cardigan. I actually legitimately need one of these things. It'll take a while to make, though. I ordered the yarn for it online from a discount yarn site - 6 balls of yarn for about $18, including shipping. Not bad for a much-needed cardi. I couldn't buy it for less. It'll be a significant time investment, though - and I haven't made anything like it before so it might take me a while to work on it. I'm torn between working on a dog sweater first (learning about piecing and buttons and assembling sweater parts) - or heck, finishing this ugly sweater I began in February - and my general excitement for working on the project.

Decisions! Wants vs. needs! Planning vs. caprice!

HELLO insomnia

Once again, I can't sleep.  And this time it's a new culprit.  It's not money worries.  It's not a restless husband.  It's not breathing problems.

It is HOT as HADES outside and our dinky little window units just can't cut it.

This heat-wave introduction to summer simply will not do.

Good news is, I've been invited to go to Belle Isle tomorrow (today) for 'a swim and a beer' by someone apparently named Susan, whom I don't believe I've ever met in my life.  I'm not sure who she is or how she got my number (especially because I have an NC area code, and Belle Isle is definitely in Richmond) OR why she's awake at 4:30 in the morning - unless she's dying from the heat as well.  

At least if I have to be awake at o'dark thirty, I have something to entertain myself.


tank the tank

I'm excited! Today we are getting back in the saddle, and transporting a dog from shelter to rescue. In other words, we're taking a dog from a shelter where it very well might be put down, and taking it to a group of people who will care for him and find him a permanent home - a 'forever home' as they're called.

Some of the transports I've done in the past couple years include an older chihuahua, a momma boxer mix and her million little puppies, a family of cattle dogs (a mom, an aunt, and 4 or 5 wiggly rascally puppies), and a pair of spaniels. There are others in the mix too, whose names I don't remember.

Today we'll be transporting a Great Pyrenees. His name is Tank.
And he weighs nearly 100lbs. He sure looks like a cutie, though. An enormous hairy cutie.

I'm not sure how to prepare my vehicle for such a monstrous dog.
We'll lay down the back seats, spread out a blanket...and hope he sleeps, I guess. Cus if he's pacing or drooling or barking.... that's a lotta dog to handle. And as he'll be coming from a shelter, he probably will smell very bad.



In which I complain endlessly

I am tired.  It's been a long month.  Fraught with a $$$ fundraiser at the Jefferson Hotel and some related candy-making escapades, a visit to a few too many doctors with a few too many 'well I don't knows,' and a couple of days of x-treme summer heat soon to be followed with x-treme outbursts at the summer electric bill.  Let's not think of the cost of 'an ambulance escort to the hospital' until I have a couple more paychecks socked away.  Please and thank you.

I don't get paid enough for this.  I mean really, I work at a nonprofit people.  Cut a sister some slack.  And let's have us some time off.

Tomorrow we're doing a transport - the first in a long while, since we took a break after losing one of the dogs that we were attempting to transport last year.  Oops....  she turned up, fortunately... but yeah, there was much laying low.  Or is it lying low?

I'll also be attending a 'doggie event' where my small-breed dog can get to know a few of his compadres.  Should be fun!  Eli will probably disagree, though.  He's not so much into 'other people' and especially not into 'other animals.'  He ALSO does not do the x-treme heat, so much.  We're probably going to get him shaved next weekend, provided it's not too expensive.  Imagine a very small dog with big pointy ears and a big poofy tail, and otherwise shaved.  Hilarious.

Generally I have overbooked myself this weekend and my to-do list is too long.  It's ok, though - most of what I'll be neglecting isn't too important.



A somewhat late announcement as to why I have not been quite as prolific a writer lately. Back to your regularly scheduled insanity as soon as I can focus my eyes.



A while back I mentioned an inchworm that I'd found, once lovingly painted by my brother at summer camp.  I also mentioned that he greets me in the morning.

Here he is, thoughtfully perched atop our kitchen 'table,' which is more like an oversized stool.  He totally clashes with our black/red/chrome decor scheme, and to some extent this makes me happy.

He might be classified as clutter someday, but for now, he's cute and sentimental.


I've been taking better care of my skin the past couple weeks.  It was going great until the weather decided to turn 'summer' and now I just feel greasy all day.  Not so much fun.  The cool thing is that Brian mentioned last night that he'd noticed something.  Brian is not quite as oblivious as most guys when it comes to a girl's appearance, but he's still a guy...so it was nice to see that he could tell a difference.

It's part of this whole kick I'm on, to take better care of myself.  Too many episodes of House combined not fitting well in cute clothes combined with one scary ER visit have jump-started my 'motivation.'  It's time to take charge, and eat better, dress better, do some skincare preventative maintenance, and MOVE more.

Even Flylady's on board - the new habit for June is to drink enough water.  My goal is about 64 oz a day minimum.  I'll try to drink that much while I'm at work, and then anything else I have while at home is a bonus.  I hear it's good for just about EVERYTHING - skin, weight loss, energy...magic elixir!

How conscious are you about how much water you drink?  Did you ever set out to drink a set amount or reach a threshold every day?  If so, how did it affect you?


Glory Daze

Today we had Brian's last Sunday at the church where he's been interning.  We've been going to this church since last September and the folks there have really embraced us.  There are lots of 'personalities' there and we're going to miss them.

Remember how I was talking about knitting the baby blanket in church, and how all the church ladies thought it was cool that I'd knit, and they'd monitor my progress, etc...   well, apparently not ALL of the church ladies were very happy.  I was discreetly informed of this fact a few days ago, and as such, I left the needlework in the car today.

I was amused when a few folks - even folks who hadn't really talked much to me before - even MALE folks - mentioned that they saw I didn't have the knitting with me today, and how was it coming along, and what will I be working on next?

One nice gentleman even said "I hope it wasn't because of me!"  'I hope so, too,' I thought to myself.

Something that hadn't really occurred to me before this 'knitting incident' is that people will be watching me, and any offspring, perhaps more closely than they'll be watching Brian.  I figured it wouldn't be as bad, seeing as he isn't setting out to be Head of Staff -- but it's still something I need to keep in mind.