Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ramblings--from Yesterday

I am floored each and every day at the weather here. This morning, expecting cooler temps for the week (since I missed the balmy 80s last week as we were traveling to MS), I put on a t-shirt and yoga pants and a light pullover—by light I mean, so old and worn that it needs to be retired. I got this pullover which is nothing more than a long sleeved material…no thickness to it…for my high school graduation 12.5 years ago, and I have worn it ever since then! I think it’s the most useful graduation gift anyone ever received.

Out the door Chance and I went at 5:15 to ride the bicycle our 2.5 miles. And wow! It was so warm!! We got to the lake—more like a large pond, but here, for some reason, they refer to it as a lake—and several mallards were roosting in the water’s edge. It was quiet and no one was out, and all I heard was a low chatter of quacks, and Chance’s tags jingling to tell me he was still following me. Absolutely soul inspiring.

Today is my birthday, and even though I am like a little kid on my birthday, somewhat a little more secretly now than years past, I usually am sick or something on my birthday. Today has been awesome…only bad part is I had to work. Aside from that, I couldn’t ask for more, well, I could, but I won’t go there. Many calls from friends. Many wishes on Facebook.

And yes, KCA, I am an old woman! But I actually feel great. I jumped back on the Weightwatchers wagon last night, and this morning DH prodded me for doing so on my birthday and New Year’s. But, I actually think it will force me to practice some restraint this week.

I suddenly am so motivated to do things. My first thing, I am a compulsive list maker, and I carry around a notebook with tons of useless lists and I wanted the Iphone (which I LOVE!!!) so that I’d stop carrying around useless notebooks…so today, I vowed to stop carrying a notebook so that whatever I felt like I had to write down I had to use my Iphone, which I do a lot, but this will force me to make the moistest of the hostess… I am now endeavoring on a huge task to inventory my life on that thing short of security related stuff!!

And then I had a revelation while in the ladies room today, no not doing the doody—if I like these apps so much and I hate being a chemist on days and I love all things green, and I want to do good, why not find a way to mesh life, chemistry, green, and mobile apps and market it…along with organization…I know someone just stole my idea, don’t worry , it’s hard to figure what’s going on in my brain…and if you do, then let me know.

Well, I must go and enjoy my birthday and while I’m at it, I think I’ll learn about some blogging techniques. And dream about starting school in 6 days and try to teach Chance obedience via telepathy and re-landscaping my backyard and download some new apps to help me be connected on the Iphone. The greatest thing since sliced bread!

Happy New Year’s! 2009—the Year of Productivity and Food for the Soul

Monday, December 29, 2008

Days Gone By...and More On the Way

Somehow, it always happens. I anticipate Christmas, and it flies by. I don't do all the things I intended, and I usually come home from Christmas depressed about how much money I don't have, or that I miss my family, or that I gained weight, or that I didn't get this or that, or it's cold, or I intended to do this...I could go on and on. This year, I went home, the first time I'd been home since August, which is quite unusual for me. I had so much fun. I was sick most of the time, which is again unusual, I don't get colds, yes, I had h. pylorii for 2 months, but most people don't get that like they get a runny nose. I don't get runny noses. But the weather change was enough to give me a horrendous sinus headache for the entire time I was home. Nevertheless, my 5 year old niece made me laugh and laugh and laugh, and so did my father-in-law, and my step father-in-law and my aunt and uncle, and I can never go a day without laughing with my dad. And Brian was even at his funniest. I think it was one of the jolliest Christmases I have spent with my family in quite some time...oh, and Jeff was his usual jolly self that I know perhaps better than anyone.

We returned home, and no depression. In fact, aside from being tired, I rather enjoyed the day. Brian and I are getting along great, the dog is piled up on the bed legs sprawled out on his back, soaking up the cool air from the ceiling fan. The day was beautiful, 78 and sunny. Perfect Fl weather and Brian can now park his truck and my 4runner in the garage!!! Still have to work on being able to get the bike out without moving the vehicles out, but I think I see the solution to that, just waiting on our neighbor to get the shelves he claimed.

what I noticed most today was that Chance and I were in the last light of day at 6:13 pm on our evening adventure. Do you know what that means? It means that we are on the downhill to the dog days of summer. Tell me I'm wishing my life away, I know. I just love long days.

I love the idea of starting school next week too. Three days a week. What is even better, 8 weeks of it and then I start new classes. Time to get rolling.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Digressions over the year

Time flies when you're having fun, but more importantly, time flies when you're not. The first of my year consisted of coping with the loss of my forever dog and companion, Charlie. I was engulfed with grief. In fact, my last two months at Benning were a blur. I came home every day, in tears, took a shot of Bacardi...I do not have a drinking problem, it was one shot, and it almost felt like I had to have it to be able to walk into that house. Moving wasn't much better, we got here and I travelled all the time, and was alone, our house was empty. I was still engulfed with grief.

Then, when I was laid off, I decided to patch the pain and get another dog. My dad found me an appropriate little scrawny puppy. He was lanky and skinny. I had made up my mind that I really didn't think I wanted him, and he'd taken up with my dad and likewise, so I was prepared to not feel bad about leaving him to be my parents pet. Then we went home to visit and I saw him, and still, I didn't feel that immediate attachment, just an obligation to care for him. But he picked me out. Not knowing me and having an affection for my father, he latched on to me and would not let me out of his site. And it's been that way for the past 5 months.

We enjoy our trips to the beach on a regular weekend basis now. The pain of Charlie's death haunts me at least twice a day, and I miss him so much. But a little girl said it best yesterday at the beach...she was about 10 or 11 and she played with all the dogs, which is heaven for most dogs and their owners. She looked at one dog and said to me, you just have to understand them...what they want. All Charlie ever wanted was to be near me and me to be happy. Well, he is very near to me, even in death, and I suppose I am happy. I get to go to the beach every weekend, and it's December. I walked outside while ago and said it was hot and it's the official first day of winter. I miss Charlie, but he lives on in my soul. I remember that he never had a bad walk, all he ever wanted in life was to play and be around those he loved. And that's what I have in life, so I'm happy. Now that I know what it is to be happy again, I realize how much time I lost while I was sad.

I am going to try and savor every day next year. My resolution is to have no resolutions, but to seize each day and not become slave to "the house needs to be cleaned" or "I need to work late" but rather to become slave to taking a breath of fresh air and allowing it to calm me. I vow to "have a good walk" every day, dogs do, so why can't people.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Day at the Beach

Living in FL has its drawbacks...the housing market sucks, property taxes are ridiculous, and, well, there's not much more. What is great...it's mid-Dec. Where I am from, people are freezing their buns off and people from up North would scoff at that. I, on the other hand, got up this morning, took Chancey for a bike ride--he ran, I rode--came home, put on shorts and a t-shirt and went into the yard to work...all before 8 am. We then played in the water hose, got ready to go to the beach, and off we went. The day at the beach was wonderful. One of the joys of being a Floridian is that in the winter all the people are gone from the beach, and you can enjoy it without sweating a gallon, and without fighting for your 1 sq. yd. of beach space.

You can only enjoy weather like this in FL in December!! I love it. The highs all week are in the upper 70s and 80, and the lows in the upper 50s. Fabulous. If only I could work from home and get paid for it....a goal to work towards during my MBA pursuit which begins in 21 days.

The doggies have a ball at the beach. Today, I saw Chance play more with dogs than I ever have, and he finally learned to swim way out in the water and not be afraid. I loved it. We both returned home tired pups, and DH cooked us dinner. Grilled beer Italian sausages with sauteed peppers and onions...and he even cleaned up the mess!!!! WOW...I feel like I've died and gone to heaven....not really but close.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Updates, I'll try and keep it short...

I think juggling a job, a dog, and a home life, and exercise is a challenge. I have barely had time to check my email and balance my checkbook...or spend any money (which could be a good thing). So, updates:

GMAT:

Apparently, I did well enough to get into school of my choice, USF. Classes begin Jan. 5, and before I know it, that date will be upon me. Excited, another ball to juggle.

NEW NIECE OR NEPHEW:

Don't know what it is yet, just know I am only getting one. Boo-hoo. My neighbor is also pregnant and due around the same time as my SIL. Now, I want one. Timing, we'll start next fall, unless God determines I'm starting sooner.

WORLD SERIES:

Let down, seats sucked. Step-MIL threw up in my floor and failed to tell me til I found out 2 days later. Eww is an understatement. I have more company coming Sunday. I don't mind, but after she leaves on Wed., BB and I have decided we don't want any company til after Christmas, lest you and Will decide to visit, Carter, or you and David and the dogs, Hallie.

WORK:

I just got handed a new project, a big one, and I don't think I'm at liberty to talk about it, but it's going to be very challenging and rewarding and right up my ally: green technology. I'll say more when I can.

CHANCE:

We started obedience school on Tuesday. Don't like the "vibe" of the school, but it will teach me and Chance to work together in a distractive environment. Hey, you got to get out of the comfort zone to improve, right?

ELECTION:

I don't think I'll say much, I could go to jail. No, wait, they'll probably repeal the Patriot Act now. All I can say is our country is doomed with all these Democrats running the show. Not that I'm not "liberal-minded", but too much of anything is bad. So, when we are bombed, don't cry about it, my fellow Donkeys.

MY HEALTH:

Still sick. Googled it the other night, decided I don't want to read about it, it's scary. I'll go to the dr. first of the year when I have time off. Til then, I hope and pray it's not so serious I could die.

RUNNING:

I am, but my sickness is cutting into it a bit, and so is work. Monday, Chance and I are going to try and start doing our morning run to see if we can work harder. Oh, and I lost 3 pounds last month. YIPPEE. That's not a lot, but three pounds a month means by march, I'll be where I want to be, without too much sacrifice. And I am hoping that my exercise is causing the weight loss, not the sickness.

GARDENING:

Not much time for it, but I am in the planning stages of the overall Cannon Ball re-landscape project.

BLOGGING AND IPHONE:

Oh, and I am moving the other 2 blogs to this site. If you have any advice on how to move my posts from one site to this one, please advise. 3 sites is too many for me to keep up with all these stones in the fire. Oh, and I am leaning heavily toward an Iphone, if I get one, I am confident I will make more of an effort to blog.

I SAID I'D TRY AND KEEP IT SHORT. I'M DONE. NOW THAT I'M BACK TO IT, I'LL TRY AND KEEP IT UP.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

GMAT WORLD SERIES GAME 2:

BRANDO 0 GMAT 2

So, I decided what the hell...I vacuumed the floors and mopped, Step MIL (don't even like referring to her as that, that means we acknowledge her as a Step) is coming with FIL to watch the World Series game. And then Brian's friends (Charlie's human breeders...would that make them god-grandparents...since my parents were his grandparents?) are coming on Thursday night....decided that I didn't want my first impression of my house to be chewed up sticks in the floor and Chance's vomit pile from eating his rubber ball last night...I tried to tell him. .....so I ran the vacuum and steam mopped the floors. This sounds like a lot of work, but I have a Dyson Animal, and it takes like 15 minutes to do all 2200 sqft and then like another 15 to push around the steam mop whilst it does magic...no chemicals needed. I'm so green i love it. And since I didn't take Chancey for a walk this evening. DH was kind enough to go for a long run and drag the dog with him...don't think the dog wanted to go and he's been passed out every since, guess he's not recouped from eating the rubber ball last night.

And to reward my puppy for eating a rubber ball and throwing it up this morning at 4:15 and waking me in a panic (since Charlie died ultimately from what started as a casual vomit, I now freak anytime a dog does so), I've been up every since.

And I am feeling like it's Friday and it's only Tuesday...I'm an old person. When I work (which is usually always except when I am fortunate enough to have the Army displace me from my comfortable homey surroundings or when my company goes belly up and lays me off), I get up early and go to bed late all week, and by Friday I crash at like 8:30 when most people are just starting to celebrate the weekend with large amounts of beer and little sleep. Then I use the rest of the weekend to veg and catch up on my week's missed TV shows and sleep. Well, this week, I have a game, twice the company load of normal...twice isn't even justice. My house normally consists of me, Chance, and DH. Tomorrow, it will boast an additional two people, and one whom makes me uncomfortable to be around.

Then, on Thursday, add to the above, a very sleep deprived me from being out too late at the game the night before and still rising for walking the dog before a WHOLE DAY OF WORK and coming home to DH who's off, and FIL and STEP MIL. Then enter Friend, Shane, wife, and little girl, oh, and the dog they are bringing for us to babysit (I did not sign up for this, and do not mind but keep in mind I am freaking about my test...and you see why).

Mind you, I still have to work all week, cram some more, and sleep...not possible, entertain these people, cause God forbid if I act like DH when I have company and hide, they'll all think I'm a horrid B#*&^. And they'll act all weird around me, and DH will be upset but will bottle it up like everything else. So, I have to play hostess, worker, cook, maid, dogwalker, student, and happy person. Oh, and I have PMS and have been sick with either a hole in my stomach, h. pylorii, or colon polyps for 4 weeks now.

DH leaves for work trip on Sunday. Can't wait, I will miss him badly, but that means all company will be gone, I can sleep and rest and reclaim my house...cause I feel that it's wrecked now and really will be once the whirlwind of people is gone.

Should be fun though. I enjoy company, just why does it always fall that Murphy picks the most inopportune times to invite himself and guests to my home?

Oh, I almost forgot the topic of my post. So, I sucked it up and took my last single practice section...Data Sufficiency. I breezed through the questions, deciding that they were rather easy. Then I got my score. I missed 7 out of 15!!!!!!! GMAT, you're kicking my ass and it's only spring training.

Well, I intend to take Practice Test #2 Thursday and kick ass...I at least hope my score goes up by 40 points. That way, I can sleep on Friday and prepare to do well on Saturday...even if it means going to stay in a hotel. Oh, BTW, anyone want to come visit...I got a cot I can pull out and a blow up mattress...

GMAT WORLD SERIES STATS

I took almost all of my practice tests today...need a miracle at this point. Stats follow:

Critical Reasoning: 5/15
Reading Comprehension: 10/15
Sentence Correction: 12/15
Problem Solving: 12/15

Left to determine:

Data Sufficiency (tomorrow)

Practice test #2

I did manage to make my study notes for math. Apparently, I need some critical reasoning notes too...or maybe just sleep.

Did good. Bought a TB baseball cap...already have a Navy and Sky Blue warm-up suit that I decided I'd wear to the game. Hey, already spent $650 on this game, I'm not buying a Rays outfit.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The GMAT World Series

I sucked it up and registered for the GMAT for this Saturday, the 25th. Thanks to my good friend Dr. Wifey, I forced my conscious self to agree with my subconscious self and face the fiddler: I would not study any harder if I had 4 months to prepare versus 4 days. In fact, I would still postpone it.

As you all know (or if you are like me and live under a rock--you may not know), the World Series of Baseball begins Wednesday, the 22nd. Being a resident of Hillsborough County now, I find it fitting that I should attend. I won't go into the details of my sarcasm, let's just say that the $640 I spent (unknowingly of course) on tickets would have better suited my taste to be turned into a $1400 net profit ($2000 selling price for the purchase of my tickets to a game that I could care less about attending)...to be spent on upgrades to our home, or the principal balance of our mortgage. Remember, I am of the Dave Ramsey school of thought. However, my DH and his DD are like two kids in a candy store.

Now, instead of giving up a night of my life and the precious cramming and restful sleep that I could be enjoying, I will be attending Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday. And as for the rest of the week, beginning tomorrow, well, it will be filled with DH's DD and SM...

Don't get me wrong. I am truly happy that DH can go to this game. Seems like a big deal to him. It'd be like me going to the Kentucky Derby or the Women's Championship Basketball in which TN was seated to take the title (ah-hemm spring 2008). So, I get it, and that's why I'm being a sport and going along with it, afterall, it was my good fortune to provide the opportunity to go. And I am even more thrilled that DH's DD is coming down to go. I sometimes wonder if DH cares (or if it bothers him) that DD doesn't come around more often. So, this shall be an eventful moment in our lives--as the family we are....

And you knew there'd be a BUT......

But, for cryin' out loud, could it not have happened the week before this, or the week after this!!! No, of course not, it's Murphy showing up. Don't want to think of what else (or breathe out loud or type what I already think) Murphy could do to make it even more challenging.

And since I just said it, challenging. That's just what this will be, and I am up for a challenge. Challenge: to study adequately as possible for my GMAT (which I hope all of you do your prayers, rain dances, or sage wands to bid me well) on Saturday morning at 8:00 am......

My solution: study tonight, tomorrow night, and Wednesday on the way to the game, Thursday night, and Friday night long as I go to bed early. Then Saturday after the test, I am attending a hog roast that our first two FL friends are throwing. I suppose it may come as no surprise that on Sunday I am sleeping, and resting, and maybe, just maybe Chance and I will go tot he beach and soak up some rays on our toes.

Good luck Rays, I am off to find a cowbell (the #1 marker of a true Rays fan...besides the Mohawk...and yes, I am brave enough to do it--just ask Frog, I've shaved my head before, but not a big enough fan)...and I am going to learn some more geometry.

Oh, in my AL series playoff for the GMAT (since we're talking baseball), I made a 420. Not too good. I need a 500. But, I was also doped on sinus meds. OH, brother, that's another stone in the fire, I'm not feeling well...I just was reminded of that!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Juggling Time

I've been whining about studying for the GMAT for what, months now? I still haven't studied. The thought of it sends me in the opposite direction. I started looking for classes to take to help me prepare, and they are already in session. And I started the new job, meaning that when I get home in the evening, after running or walking the dog, catching up on emails, laundry, and household chores, and cooking supper, I am spent and have no energy left to study. What I need is a course in time management...back to the type I had in high school when I could do everything on my weekly to-do list in one day.

Last week was my first week of work. The locality so that I can come home for lunch is great. Work is sort of boring because I haven't been trained on the instruments yet. But I did learn 3 new softwares. I think I need to keep a list of all the softwares I am fluent with.

I still like FL, I mean hey, it's mid-October, and I'm still sweating when merely walking the dog first thing in the morning. I thought we were due for a cool spell this week, and just checked the weather and the highs are in the 90s.

What sucks about this move: I don't have enough vacation time on the new job to go home for Christmas (and possibly Thanksgiving).... We are in fact 12 hours from home, and flying is so out of the way, it's not really an option. Both DH and I took a paycut to move here. The cost of living is about 2x what it is elsewhere. My friends are all somewhere else.

What's nice: I just discovered some nice beaches, good shopping, and am taking Chance to a beach for dogs next weekend. And we are starting to find some good restaurants. DH is home a lot more.

I need something to turn my attitude around. A new purse would be nice, or a planner that fits me, or this guy to come out and give the fencing estimate so I can prepare myself for my new enclosed yard.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Getting There

Chance and I rose late today. I was one of the idiots watching last night's pathetic debate. I'm sorry but he said, she said is not debate. These candidates need to go back to college and learn the rules of engagement. Least I remember the formalities.

Today, we completed training # 17 of 27. We are 63% of the way. I am working on eating habits, rather than weights. I have decided to postpone weights until I complete the 9 week training program. No, I am not going to stop running, but I feel that that is a goal that needs to be accomplished first before I add a new one. Plus, I need to learn to manage working, and running, before juggling some more stuff in.

I read a blog from one of Wifey's friend bloggers...about eating disorders and compulsive eating. I do that, I eat for no reason, and my mission this month, since Flylady says it takes a month to learn a new habit is to eat better. Not off to a good start. Since DH is away, I've dined on rotel and chips and red-beans and rice, two of my favorites that he will not eat. But I'm diving into apples and veggies for supper and going to keep trying. My return to vitamins and natural energy sources like caffeine (I know, it's not natural but I need it...I don't drink cokes, but I crave caffeine) is helping. So is being sick every time I eat food re-heated in the microwave. DH says to go to the dr, but maybe it's good for me. maybe there's an underlying condition, like stop eating microwaved food! We'll see. No dr.'s though, they don't usually have your best interest, unless you wave money at them.

Two of my special people

I know, DH will die that I put this on here, but I love this photo. And these two are rarely seen being friends...it's usually a big event that they even speak. Usually, DH spends two days talking about lemon juice, or grapefruit juice to prod DN to correct him in calling her cat's name...the cat is orange and her name is Orange Juice, named by moi. There was a smoky grey boy whose name was Burnt Toast, again, complements of moi, but he left us for better opportunities. Anyhoo, downloading pics today and came across this. I love it, and I miss them both. So, ta-da.

My, My What a Surprise

I walked out in the yard yesterday morning, something I do every day, but yesterday was different. I'd cut down all the Mexican petunias the evening before, and I was inspecting the newly opened up space and how much I didn't like seeing the parts of the fence the petunias used to cover. They will grow back, and judging from the size of the stalks, they'd not been pruned back--ever!! Much to my amazement, there was a grand 12" long bloom stalk off a cactus, that just sprouted overnight. And the flower was opening up with the sun emerging over the treeline. I am overjoyed that I saw this spectacle, as often cacti only bloom momentarily and can often do so without being noticed. The photos do not do it justice, but they're the only preservative I have. And to think, I'd thought about giving all my cacti away to keep pets and small children safe. Glad I've held on to them, further reinforcement that they truly are spectacular and amazing.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Dental Check-up

Most people hate going to the dentist. I never have minded it. The past 3 years, my dentist used a fluoride rinse on me, and it usually made me sick to my stomach, but aside from that, my trips are never that bad. I don't get cavities. I've had like 2 in my whole life. I just get plaque build-up...so does my Dad...another great thing I inherited (feel the sarcasm...sorry dad). And I'm not a ritual flosser, so my gums bleed sometimes. But I never get cavities!!! You hear me. Just plaque. And I go every 6 months. I even go the extra mile to remind myself to find a new one when we move. No forcing me to go.

Today, as I am sure you have figured out, I went to the dentist. I chose the one in the Lake St Charles shopping complex in front of my neighborhood. Figured I may as well use the convenience. Ok, big mistake!

The dental office was very unusual. Tastefully decorated. Not something I've experienced in a dentist office. Every room was decorated in greenery and antiques or old shabby chic. I loved it. Wow! I thought. This is going to be a great dentist. I asked the assistants who decorated it, they told me the dentist did. Ok, it's a male. And while that's fine, I have never known too many men to be decorators. So, I was struck a little off.

First, they started promoting the whitening. Ok, I came in for a cleaning, and yes, I need to have my teeth whitened. But the last thing I want from a dentist is a salesman. Look out for my health. I'll ask you about the whitening if I want it...it is COSMETIC you know, not necessary!!!

So, then they take x-rays...in some of the oddest places I've ever seen. Yes, they were all of my mouth, but I've never had them shoot the backs of my front teeth. I blow it off, in the back of my mind, I feel that I am getting a good dentist.

Dentist comes in right away and makes small talk, where am I from, etc. Oh, he's wearing a very trendy shirt and tie, very trendy, too trendy to dig around in someone's mouth all day, but still, I am open-minded.

I told him I'm originally from NE MS. Ok, get a friggin map, dude!!! He keeps asking me if we got flooding this summer "down there", if we get a lot of crawfish, if we see all the boats come off the MS River. Ok, I said I was from NE MS like 5 times, and pointed out that it was the corner of TN, MS, and AL. But he never got that.

So, while he's poking on my teeth, he proceeds to tell me I have 5 cavities! Only he tells the assistant in dental code. I quickly asked him what that meant, and he said cavities.

Me: 5, are you sure, because I never get cavities, and I can believe that one, wight eara, but, not the other ones. (with my hand in my mouth pointing and talking so use your imagination as to how it sounded).

Dentist: Yes, did you not feel the pic:?

Me: no, only slightly on one.

Dentist: I can fill them today.

He writes something, hands me a sheet of paper and asks me to sign it. It's the estimate. Ok, I'm not at an auto shop. Don't most dentists have so much business they have you come in later to get your fillings filled. On his "estimate" he has prices for 5 fillings, a cleaning, and a whitening treatment. All complete with the insurance prices and my part. Ok, most dentists I know don't even know this shit, they have their receptionist person/insurance person do that. What the F^&*?

I told him to just clean my teeth, and he's tells me I can't get this price hardly anywhere else. I say, just clean my teeth. I'll reschedule (with someone else). So, he doesn't even scrape my teeth, something every dentist I have ever been to has done because of my plaque problem. Them he polished them, then he flosses them, if you want to call it that. I don't floss regularly, but I do a much better job. He acts like he's got a plane to catch, or maybe he wants those cavities to multiply. And that's it. No rinse, not even with water, I have to ask for it.

I'm peed. I ask him about the whitening (being a chemist pays). He does not know I am a chemist. He tells me in a very kindergarten explanation how it works. DUH! So, I ask what is the oxidizing agent. He says it's what whitens my teeth. I tell him I am aware that that is what whitening is (oxidizing the yellow organics out of the pores). I ask him what the chemical is. He says peroxide. I say what strength. His face was proof of the pudding. He was stupified. He said, "you know, I'll have to look." I ask is it 30%, or stronger. He says that 30% is strong. I told him you can buy that in stores. And he says that the manufacturers don't even tell him the strength. Ok, my fellow chemists. You must maintain MSDSs for chemicals in your business. We all know this. The MSDS has that information on it. I told him that, told him I was a chemist, and that I would be seeking a 2nd opinion and left.

My teeth feel cleaner, but I feel dirty. And I feel (and I can't believe I'm saying this cause I hate insurance companies) sorry for my insurance company, cause someone is taking them for granted. I am going to file a complaint with the BBB.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Phil Collins was on to something

When he wrote the lyrics, "Oooh, how I wish it would rain now, down on me..." We start the dry season here in FL in today. Well, it actually started here two months ago. I didn't start counting til September. So, rainfall total for September at my house = 0.6" How pitiful. My water bill hurts and our poor diseased grass looks awful. We will be resodding some parts next spring, but I haven't broke the news to DH yet. I convinced him to go ahead and have the fence replaced. Yippee!! Then, I am going to save up and have the curbing put in the front. I will post before and after pics soon. Oh, while my wonderful parents were here last week, the resident forester trimmed trees for me. DH does not like, but DH does not know much about landscaping. Looks much more open, and I do not like that, but you prune for a year's growth, not 6 weeks. Stay tuned for pics.

Gardening tips for fall: Begin saving coffee grounds, egg shells, banana peels. You should save others, but if you don't have a large property or a compost bin (like we don't yet have), this is a great additive to the soil, and the above three break down so fast on your dirt, you don't know you tossed them out after a week. And plants will grow, grow, grow next spring. Also, if you have bushes to prune, get trimming. I don't rake leaves out of beds til spring, it helps to protect tender plants from hard freezes if you grow them like I do (in zones where they really don't belong). Also, trim back perennials. Give them a good fertilizing. They will set new growth for next year before the freeze. IF you are going to bring in plants for winter, set them in the shade now. You might repot to rid of pesky ants that love to hide in pots. Setting them in shade adjusts them to reduced light. I would also cut back on water content. Believe it or not, plants sleep in winter. In fact, many cacti can make it all winter without water or light. Some perennials can, but I give them as minimal of both as I can. I'm too afraid of killing them. However, if you kill a plant, you are learning. That's how I've learned so much. What some gardeners can grow, some can't. I can't grow African violets...but I have my first one ever reblooming. I'm so excited!!!

Counting Down...

Today, I began week 6 of the 5K training schedule. By Sunday, I will be 67% complete. Monday's 20 minute run was a breeze compared to today's 5, 8, 5 minute intervals. Not sure why, but I stepped up my pace a bit, and it was humid, and for some reason, my sinuses are gross today. Think it's a slight weather progression into fall, and my body notices it more that I conscientiously do. Anyhoo, I've been running for a month, and since today is the first (and I like to start things on the 1st), I am going to be tracking my measurements as I begin weight training again.

Weight: 145.5 lbs
Biceps: 11"
Forearm: 10"
Chest: 30.5"
Waist: 32" -- how embarassing!!
Hips: 38" --these were always 41" so I am impressed and only beginning
Thigh: 22" at the fatest part
Calf: 14"

Note to self and readers: my weight usually fluctuates by roughly 3-5 pounds per month, maxing out at 148. For the past month, it held constant at 148, not sure why, but I was pleased that it maintained some constancy.

Next measurement date: Wednesday, October 29

Oh, and the 5K is 17 days away...no, I will not have completed the 9 weeks of training but close enough that I think I will be ready. And my realtor and her chemistry hubby (whom I owe much gratitude to both) are hosting a pig roast that day. I haven't been to one since high school...and I absolutely love this couple. They are both very interesting, and so outgoing. I think it will be great, and a great way to celebrate my first 5K ever!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Training Progressions

I can't remember exactly which session I am on right now, but I have completed 5 weeks of training in 30 days. Feels great. I look forward to running every day, but am holding myself back. Yesterday, ran with DH, he was enthusiastic and encouraging for a change. IT was fun. Now, must make myself get back into weight training!!

A Week's Worth

Saturday, September 20

Parents arrived. I'm thrilled. I'm extremely close to parents, and love it when they visit!! DH enjoys it too, because they do not need entertaining and he can keep his normal schedule.

Sunday, September 21

Realized what a shop-a-holic my mom is, and where I get it from...maybe it's the female hormones. We went to Target for a swimsuit because she needed a new one. Bought one there. Went on to Sears...she bought 5 (or was it 8) there, but only for $40!!! What a deal! I also bought 3 youngest nieces Christmas and birthday presents (all 3 have bdays in January). Then, we went swimming at home, drank a couple of drinks, relaxed, and ate some good food. Life is good.

Monday, September 22

Me and Dad trimmed the trees. Don't think DH was thrilled about it, but I think it looks much better. Mom enjoyed the spa-like setting and puppy sat.

Tuesday, September 23

I can't play this up in this post, but we went to Weeden Island nature Preserve! WOW!!! You get to walk through the mangroves up on a boardwalk. Saw lots of vegetation I cannot YET (soon will) identify. Many sand pines, live oaks, cabbage palms, saw palmettos, and of course, mangroves. Critters: raccoon snoozing in the middle of the day in the top of a cabbage palm, raccoon scavenging in the picnic area while we had lunch, a bald eagle, a turtle, a sea turtle, some cranebills, and lots of "hopping" fish.

Then we drug Dad to a couple of stores for more shopping. He's such a good sport.

Wednesday, September 24

Again, Dad was a good sport. We went to Siesta Beach in Sarasota. Beautiful beach. Saw pelicans, seagulls, miniature seagulls, some other weird birds, some toucan Sam looking birds not as brightly colored, but they definitely had the beak thing going on, a dolphin followed Mom down the beach in the shallow water...she thought it was a shark, kind of cool...that is was a dolphin and not a shark and that it followed her, though I'm sure it wasn't following HER. Saw a squid washed up on shore, many large Man-o-wars on the beach--HA, HA, die, die, well, they hurt. And picked up several nice shells and sand dollars for niece Ally. Took the scenic route home over the skyway, awesome!! Oh, found out at the end of the day that I forgot to lotion the backs of my legs...my legs never get sun...no matter how hard I try. Well, they did today, it was funny, normal body, bright red back of legs...my legs aren't a part of my body I like to enhance. I was not happy.

Thursday, September 25

Dad is tired of shopping and the beach. Great Dad that he is, he mowed the yard for me while me and Mom went shopping for my new work clothes. Oh, did I mention I got the new home at Metrohm? Accepted the offer on Monday, start work on Oct. 6. YIPPEE!! Thanks, Dad, Yard looks great!!

Me and Mom found a deal in JCPenney's. I bought a pair of pants and like 10 shirts for $194. I was happy. Finally, after a while, we went home.

Thursday night, we picked up the MIL from the airport. I'm tired!!

Friday, September 26

Vacation is reaching an end and I am a little sad. I took Mom, Dad, and MIL on the MacDill tour. Me and Mom hung out in the backyard the rest of the day. DH and Dad watched the bailout crisis on FOX (I hate FOX News, but I won't go there now). Not sure what MIL did.

Fence guy stopped by to tell me about replacing the fence. DH not happy.

We went to Landry's. Thinking it'd be busy cause it's Friday, an upscale restaurant on the water, I made reservations. Place was dead as a doornail (don't get that expression now that I ponder it...). Dinner was good. And we made it home in time for the great Debate. But I fell asleep--since no one would shut up long enough for me to watch.

Oh, Chance has had a full week of fun with the grandparents (after all they were his surrogate parents).

Saturday, September 27

We go through the usual routine when parents leave of figuring out how to place all of Mom's new treasures in the truck, most of them things I gave her. She and I have a habit of swapping stuff, usually yard art and plants...Dad has just learned to not say anything, DH IS learning.

I held back tears as I kissed and hugged them goodbye. Boohoo. Won't see them til Thanksgiving. Still hurts like I just moved out yesterday. Wish I could go home with them.

Me and MIL go shopping to help DH keep sanity. Fun day, lots of good buys. We ate at bd's...I highly recommend you find one. bd's.

Sunday, September 28

Me and MIL go out again shopping...this time JCPenney has 20% additional. I'm mad. I could have saved so much $$$ if I'd waited. I buy something and get one of those surveys and 15% reward for taking the survey. I rush home, take the survey, grab Wed's purchases, return to the store. Return the purchases, and rebuy with my two coupons...20% and 15%. DH is looking at me like...well, you can imagine. He thinks I'm nuts. I saved $71!!! Enough to pay for the first purchase I made in there earlier that day. Mom taught me well. Way to go Mom. We shop-a-holics are savvy!

Monday, September 29

Ok, I've not watched what I want to, had a nap, or read the newspaper in peace and quiet for a few days. I took Chance to get neutered. Everyone is making a big deal of it and I'm a little cranky over all I just mentioned for Monday. I drop him off and find a tailor to hem my pants. I hope when I have a child, she has legs that fit into the length of pants they make. I hate that EVERY stinkin' pair of pants I buy has to be hemmed--and SHORT kind is too short!!! I guess I need to learn to sew. Take drug test for job. Pick up pants on Thursday, just in time for new job!!

Come home, clean house, MIL talks about a lot ALL day.

Tuesday, September 30

I drop MIL off at airport, breathe a sigh of relief, and now understand DH much better. This past weekend has really brought him and me MUCH closer.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Training Day #9

Ok, HIP, HIP, HOORAY!! I've made it 33% of the way through my training schedule. I've done 9/27 workouts. I feel like I should get a reward, but what would it be? A nice new running outfit, one that doesn't make my belly look giggly. I need new shoes, but that's not fun.

Opportunity Knocks

Ok, I am a Dave Ramsey addict. And no, I don't drive an old beater. Contrary to what "Dave says" my car is new, but it's paid for!!! And yes, I do believe you can get through life without a car payment...or a house payment, if you are smart with your money and practice restraint for 5 years. 5 years, I can do that. I was a poor starving grad student for 5 years. I stuck out some other unfortunate situations for 5 years. 5 years is a small time to take to not have to make a house payment anymore. Think of all the money you'd have.

Ok, so, DH and I are on the Plan. We used to spend ~$600 a month on groceries...there are 2 of us. Yes, I am a foodie and a food collector. One of those people who can't buy a can of lima beans, I buy like 4 in case I need them later. So, on the plan, we decided to cut our grocery budget to $300 a month. We are in fact a family of 2--3 but Chance doesn't get people food.

So, I made my list. I usually do this. I scavenged for coupons. I don't ritually do this, but occasionally I do. I took list, and coupons and CASH for groceries to store. I was walking around, phone in hand to calculate my grocery bill as I shopped (aren't phones versatile?). I got to the produce section, a place where--when I used to try and budget I always blew my grocery bill. How do I know how much 5 bananas costs when they are sold by weight? Well, this time, I used the scale...for every piece of produce I put in my basket. I noticed this man meandering through the isles. He would stop, pick up a random piece of fruit, put it down, glance towards me, wander to another section of fruits,...this went on for a minute or two. Being the observant, paranoid person I am...WOMAN POWER...I began to scope him out, is he casing me, about to shoot me, mug me, steal my list and coupons, or steal my bananas.

Finally, he walked up and this was the conversation:
Stalker: Excuse me, miss, but I was noticing how carefully you shop. Do you always take that much care to shop in the manner that you are now?
Me: No, but my spouse and I blow $600 a month on groceries and there are only 2 of us, so we thought we'd curb it back to half that.
Stalker: The reason I ask is that I am in the financial services and we work with people every day to teach them about smart spending doing what you are doing.
Me: Really? I want to get into the financial industry, but I haven't done it yet.
Stalker: What do you do?
Me: I'm an unemployed chemist. I thought about changing fields and am working towards an MBA and have been recruited by another financial company to sell life insurance for starters but I don't much see myself as a life insurance salesman...
Stalker: We are holding an info session tomorrow night at our company. Would you be interested in attending?
Me: Yes, I would.

We swapped info and he disappeared. I checked out, went to my car, made sure I was not being followed, and drove home--enjoying providence.

Once home, groceries put away, I had $43 left, and saved $17.50 in coupons...I hopped on the computer and read about Primerica. They are a division of Citigroup...and you can read about them. But I had mixed feelings about whether I wanted to be a part of that.

I decided not to tell DH about it. He often thinks I am gullible and naive, and figured he would react that way to this.

Late that night, I got to thinking about the session. If I didn't tell DH where I was going, what if this stalker opportunity knocks guy lured me there to kidnap me, kill me, molest me...What if the whole thing was a set up?

Tuesday, I had an interview with a guy about an organic synthetic position with a very small startup flavor company in Lakeland. It was interesting, but I didn't walk away hyped up about it. I walked away with a lot of doubt about my abilities to do a good job and to be happy working there. I arrived in Brandon, and drove over to the address the opportunity stalker had given me. Legit. Still, in question, I went home.

I never went to the info session. I figured if I had some mixed feelings about how my values would mesh with their philosophy, then it wasn't for me.

I have found that opportunity knocks in the strangest places and times. Cott did. So far, financial advising positions have dropped out of the sky into my lap twice, and twice I haven't felt super good about them. However, they've found me. A synthetic position was offered to me. I don't feel good about it. I did feel good about Cott. And I did well there.

Now, I just interviewed with an instrumentation company for a technical applications specialist position. State of the art, new facility, 12 minutes drive from the house, compassionate people dedicated to their work. Company offers really good benefits. And since George gave me the technical shove in analytical chemistry, I have wanted to be an apps specialist.

The VP of Sales and Marketing told me he wondered if the interest in the job was of convenience. No and yes. The job itself is of interest. The distance from my home...a convenience...more like an opportunity.

Well, they want to start people by Oct. 1. I walked away from this interview, and phoned my Dad. He's like my idol for guidance, little does he know. I always look to him for wisdom, guidance, and approval. He's surprised me more often than not with what he does approve of. Last night, he tried to convince me to not be afraid to recognize my weaknesses and let others know of them. I am not a strong organic synthetic chemist. With some guidance I could be, but did I want to develop that in solitude? Not really. He spent some time telling me that things would be ok, and worst case, I could quit. He doesn't realize that he instilled in me the value to not give up. He could tell I didn't feel warm and fuzzy, and I know it bothered him that it bothered me. I shouldn't put my concerns off to my parents. After all, I am grown. But, they are my best friends, and my truest friends. I live 12 hours away and have called almost every day since I moved away in 2001.

Today, when I called Dad, the first words out in the conversation were: this is the job I want. I was confident. Do I know everything I need to know to be successful in it? Yes: hard work, determination, dedication, and that I will have unlimited resources to help me if I want to help myself. Oh, and I can come home and see Chance at lunch. I hope I get the job. For now, it's my new dream job. Financial planning, yes, but for the next decade, it's going to be on a philanthropic basis. Maybe, that's not my destination. Being happy is, and I think I found a happy new home today. Hope they take me in.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Somber Reminder

I have a very dear friend who asked me to send her a picture of Chance. Chance is the new puppy. He came into my life at a time when I was on the fence about letting another furball hang around. I lost Charlie tragically in February, and I still am not over it. People probably thought I shouldn't have gotten a puppy when I did, but I am home, and have time to train a dog to enjoy the house without destroying it. I know I can never replace Charlie, and I'd trade almost anything to have him back...but that sadly, will never happen. There's not a day that doesn't go by that I don't quietly say his name and have tears well up in my eyes. Some days, it's so hard, I break down and really boo-hoo. I've always had a special place for animals in my heart. They make better friends and companions than people do. But, Charlie, he was special. He was my only friend for a very long time, my only family member in a strange place...he was so much more, but it hurts to write it, so I will save my tears for another day.

Today, I downloaded my pictures, sat down and sent that email. Chance, welcome to the family. You've been in it for awhile, but I think it's time I allow you to be noticed as a part of it. Some would say you have big shoes to fill. I thought about saying that. But you don't. You'd never be able to fill those shoes...or paws. Instead, you have your own big paws, and just as Charlie had a purpose in my life. He taught me some of the most valuable lessons I've ever learned. You have a purpose, too. Together, we'll find it. So, all of my bloggers, meet Chance. It's a fate chance that I met him. And I would like to think he's offering me a chance to watch over another doggie.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Training Day #7

It's Saturday. Most people look forward to sleeping in on Saturday. I know when I was living in FTB, I did. And by sleeping in, I meant waking up around 7:30, taking Charlie out for a stroll around post when the only people who were awake were those poor souls sentenced to Saturday PT. We loved it, he got to roam off leash, and I got the peace and solace of not hearing the parade of cars pouring onto post, or running into that dreadful man who chastised me for not having Charlie on a leash, and I got to walk in daylight, the first daylight. It was refreshing and motivating.

With no FTB to walk around, and no Charlie to frolic about with me, and no Hallster to laugh with, or Diesel to squeal and cover me with kisses when he sees me from a quarter mile away, I don't find walking that much fun anymore.

And being unemployed, I don't care that it's Saturday. Just another day to me for now. Chance let me sleep til 6:30, or more like I let him sleep. I had been wide awake since 5. But I've already been through the why I don't get up in the morning dark story. So, I lay in bed, on my back, arms propped up til 6:30, then I heard paws stretching against the crate. So, I got up. Lying in bed is a double edged sword. It can be nice, and it can be a force of dread for me. This morning it was a force of dread. I dreaded running today. Yes, I started week 3 of training today. And I don't know why cause I always feel good afterwards, but I dreaded it. I even contemplated putting it off til the evening--but I knew full well that I'd not run today, and throw off my whole schedule of running if I didn't get up and go this morning. So, out the door we went. My breathing after the first 90 seconds sucked, and today we were to begin running 3 minute intervals. Yeah, right, I thought. Then I remembered all those times I'd run with Hallster, and how engaging in conversation could make the time go by faster. Let's say I didn't talk to any birds, but I made it just fine.

I do need some breathing training. Yes, I know, in through the nose, slowly exhale through the mouth or nose, lips pursed, and breathe through your diaphragm. But, when you have hereditary reduced lung capacity, how exactly do you overcome that and learn to breathe normally? Perhaps, this training will help me...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Curbing my Excitement

Curbing is a popular yard garnish here. And it looks nice. Adds value to your home. See www.artisticborders.com if you're unsure of what curbing is. To me, prior to being a Fl-R-i-deean, curbing was what you tried not to run over in your car. Here it's concrete borders tinted colors people put around their flower beds. Don't know why it's so popular. Perhaps because St. Augustine is a spreader and gets thick and hard to deal with in places you don't want it. Anyhoo, got my curbing estimate today. Don't fall over from sticker shock. $1300. What a deal. I'm happy. I know, I live in a toenail clipper neighborhood and now I want $1300 toenail polish. Good grief.

I'm also curbing my excitement because I have 2 (count 'em 1, 2) interviews lined up next week with 2 companies I am very interested in. I've already made my list of pros and cons to each. What would be fantastic would be to walk away next week with 2 offers in hand and have to make a decision. Well, I won't blab on and on about them...I'm superstitious. Let's just say I'm excited and will probably suffer from OCD house cleaning to channel some excessive energy in the next few days...oh and more gardening....

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Verizon and Automation

Here we go again. Verizon has got the best product. FIOS rules, and internet is so fast 99% of the time, you can't click fast as a page can load. However, they like Bank of America have the suckiest customer service system on earth!!! I HATE AUTOMATED PHONE SYSTEMS!!! However, I have forced DH to deal with the issue at hand with them, and he has held the phone on hold for 1 hour each day for the past 2 days. Finally, today, with my OCD and lack of patience when dealing with balancing my precious budget (do you hear this Congress---I can balance a budget....in a timely manner), I called Verizon. Went through the BS of getting an operator...and before any of you comment on how you just press 0.--that's great when it works, but when it doesn't, sometimes you have to go through the prompts. I can give you a website if you'd like of how to get through several companies prompts promptly if you'd like.

Ok, so, within 10 minutes of being on the phone with live voices and they were all AMERICANS (Thank GOD!!!), I had told my story 5 times. Finally, some guy set the account up for me...why can their blasted website be this efficient? I don't know. But score for me.

I phoned DH and let him know I had taken care of the Verizon account access issue. Amazed, he wanted my secret. Should I tell him? I don't think so. I'm happy. I can view my bill. However, I am somehow signed up on automatic billpay and you have to phone C.S. to change this...note that you can sign up online but you can't sign down (or un-enroll) online. How convenient. I don't embrace automatic payments for anything other than my mortgage and those accounts that give me incentives like reduced rates on student loans, thank you Sallie Mae--you owe it to me. But for now, just so I don't have to make another lousy C.S. phone call then rant about it on this blog, I'll embrace Verizon's automatic bill pay. Who knows? Maybe they'll convert me to a person who likes all my money ripped out of my account without my clicking the button. I doubt it.

Hurricane Looming

You can tell I'm not a native to FL. One, if you talk to me, you definitely know I am not from Florida. I am very proud of my southern accent. Yes, it's true, I talk a little more Southern each and every time I go back home, and my accent changes somewhat when I'm around people with other accents. But, no matter how much I change my accent, you can always tell I'm Southern. And I'm thrilled about that. People talk to me and say, where are you from? They never guess MS, but they know it's not Flor-i-da. Probably cause I say Flarduh. I live in the great state of Flarduh.

Also, on days when the winds and rain from an offshore hurricane are looming over us, I find it a great day to work in the yard. I hurt my neck pulling on those palm roots and bushes Monday. So, I confined myself to the recliner yesterday. Hard to believe once I was there that I did that for almost two months. What a waste.

Today, I felt better, and the grass needed cutting. After all, I live in a sidewalk neighborhood where the lawns look like they've been cut with toenail clippers and people walk their poodles with a glass of wine in hand. (Taken straight from my hair dresser) Not us, we've got dead patches of grass, an old truck parked in the drive, mold growing on the soffits, and I would rather carry a flask of Bacardi to walk my big golden retriever puppy. (Thanks for the idea Hallster)

I also ripped up the mondo grass surrounding the outermost border of the flower beds. WOW! Did it ever look better. I'm itching to get a hold of those bushes. But I must wait on the pink flagging tape Dad is bringing me next week so I can flag the sprinklers. DH all but threatened my life if I tore up the sprinkler system. I don't think he was so concerned about me tearing it up, just what fancy and green alternative (which = expensive) I would (and most likely will) come up with to replace it. Did you know that sprinklers are a waste of water? Drip irrigation is more efficient. Large turfs of grass is a waste and environmental no-no. Landscaped areas of native plants are better.

Watch out toenail trimmed wine toting neighbors, I'm about to have little pink ribbons all over my yard, and by the time we leave Flarduh, our yard will be the prettiest (and probably with a lot less grass than it has now). It won't be the prettiest because I'm worried about what my neighbors think...it will be because I leave a horticultural mark on every home I've ever lived in. Even my apartment in Knoxvegas had some flowers growing amidst the bushes before I left.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Life in the Easy Chair

I worked too hard yesterday. I pulled and jerked on palm roots and shrub roots. I knew better. Today I have a massive kink in my spine somewhere below where the ulnar nerve connects to the spine....the sight of my original injury. Now, I am confined to holding my head a certain way and sitting upright. Sucks, I had big plans to pull out more junky contractor's bushes today and move pavers to the edges of the new fern bed and dump the excessively large pots of dirt into the fern bed. Well, that will have to be on hold. I guess the nice thing is that as long as my battery holds up, I can do some more planning and work on my computer generated landscape plans. I have managed to find a way to prop the laptop up so that I can use it with minimal use aside from typing.

Sometimes injury gives you time for reflection. Funny, while I was pulling up all the grass in the new fern bed yesterday evening, I was thinking to myself how joyful and thankful I was that I could be out there in the heat on my hands and knees, sweating and working--that I had the health to do it. And that I had overcome my blues and feelings of worthlessness to get off my butt and do things that I knew I'd want to do when I go back to work, but will (when returning to work) complain that I never have the time for.

You see, right now, I have the best of both worlds (don't know which worlds I'm talking about)...I can exercise, play with the puppy, train the puppy, study (hard to do), blog, clean my house of the 10 years of grime I have found on the windows and blinds, restructure the flower beds, organize the household, cook dinner most every day, look for my dream job, make photo albums for family for Christmas...all the Martha Stewart stuff you all make fun of me for.

Then I got to looking back (while pulling the grass up) on what I'd done since I've been laid off:
1. Unpacked the rest of the boxes from the move
2. Decorated the back porch with plants and lights
3. More organized the "stuff" we hold on to in the house
4. Reclaimed and maintained the landscaped beds from weeds and ants and SNAKES!!
5. Refinished 6 dining room chairs
6. Finished 4 barstools
7. Convinced Brian to set up the weight room in the dining room
8. Painted the very large entertainment center in our living room
9. Cleaned out the "junk" room and turned it into a bedroom (now we officially have 3 bedrooms and 1 office)
10. Learned to care for and maintained a beautiful pool
11. Back to exercising
12. Learned to blog
13. Applied to graduate school again!
14. Purged our home of all the stuff we held onto that we no longer needed
15. Trained the new puppy without going to school
16. Created a home inventory
17. Created some new flower beds (2 in process)
18. Planned new landscaping for the spring
19. Decorated the whole house the way I want it (less wall art and the master bedroom)

Might not seem like a lot, and I could have done it all in less time that what I have, but I've also spent a lot of time catching up on lost sleep from travelling and moving, and a lot of time mindlessly watching TV and chatting on the phone to those who I can make answer the phone.

Life in the Easy Chair is hard when you're chomping at the bit to work on your to-do list. However, seeing all this makes me not feel too bad for sitting in the easy chair. Besides, I can sit here and expand the to-do list, another habit I'm known for.

Training Day #5

We did it. Training day #5. Getting easier to make myself do it. It's like a job. Today was our earliest day yet. It's still not as easy to pass the time as it was when I ran with the Hallster. Well, perhaps when I get to spend some time with the Hallster again, I'll be able to keep up with her.

Gardening ADD

I received an email this morning that can be attributed to every thing I do; below is the text:

Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.

This is how it manifests:

I decide to water my garden.
As I turn on the hose in the driveway,

I look over at my car and decide it needs washing.

As I start toward the garage,

I notice mail on the porch table that

I brought up from the mail box earlier.

I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.

I lay my car keys on the table,

put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table,

and notice that the can is full.

So, I decide to put the bills back

on the table and take out the garbage first.

But then I think,

since I'm going to be near the mailbox

when I take out the garbage anyway,

I may as well pay the bills first.

I take my check book off the table,

and see that there is only one check left.

My extra checks are in my desk in the study,

so I go inside the house to my desk where

I find the can of Coke I'd been drinking.

I'm going to look for my checks,

but first I need to push the Coke aside

so that I don't accidentally knock it over

The Coke is getting warm,

and I decide to put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke,

a vase of flowers on the counter

catches my eye--they need water.

I put the Coke on the counter and

discover my reading glasses that

I've been searching for all morning.

I decide I better put them back on my desk,

but first I'm going to water the flowers.

I set the glasses back down on the counter,

fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote.

Someone left it on the kitchen table.

I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV,

I'll be looking for the remote,

but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table,

so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs,

but first I'll water the flowers.

I pour some water in the flowers,

but quite a bit of it spills on the floor.

So, I set the remote back on the table,

get some towels and wipe up the spill.

Then, I head down the hall trying to

remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day:

the car isn't washed

the bills aren't paid

there is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter

the flowers don't have enough water,

there is still only 1 check in my check book,

I can't find the remote,

I can't find my glasses,

and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.

Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today,

I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all damn day,

and I'm really tired.

I realize this is a serious problem,

and I'll try to get some help for it,

but first I'll check my e-mail....

This is how my day went yesterday:

I went into the garden to pull the weeds.
WHen I got all my tools gathered,
I realized that several cacti were dying and needed to be disposed of.

I got a box to put them in,
And then I decided that the flowers on the lanai could be planted in the garden.

I moved the large flower pots to the garden and
Saw that teh coneflowers were sprouting and needed to be planted.
As I started digging,
I noticed that there were 2 dead palm roots that needed to be removed.

I walked to the porch to get my water, and
I saw some new cow weed growing in the yard.
So, I stopped to pull it up,
I made it to the "weed box" with the weeds,
Then I spotted some rocks that needed to be moved.

I filled 2 pots with rocks,
And had no where to put them.
So I left them alone.
I went back to the garden

And pulled the weeds
Then I took all the cacti out of the garden,
condensed them into 2 pots,
throwing out the rest.

Chance knocked down several stands of mexican petunias,
So, I trimmed them back.
I pulled up all the dying cannas,
varigated ficus, and dead palm roots.

I planted the two large pots of flowers,
the coneflowers, and transplanted the lamb's ears.

Finally, I moved all the tools back to the garage, and then
washed out the pots...
Eventually they got put away.

Well, we went back into the yard in the evening
To removed the rest of the rocks from the corner of the yard...
Still had no place to put them,
So, I pulled all of the grass out of the area where the new fern bed will be next spring.
I pulled the weeds out of the other flower bed,
And never did sweep the back porch off.

I guess I do have ADD. My ADD is a little like OCD and ADD and meticulosity. I have to start 15 things at once, and then I finish them. However, I find (especially in the yard) that the little tasks--like removing rocks from an old small landscaped area--turn into the long ones. And the other part that's hard about gardening is that today I have a massive pain in my spine...ulnar nerve over worked yesterday from jerking on shrub roots that I shouldn't have. Well, I'll rest today, and go back to it tomorrow.



Monday, September 8, 2008

Sun, Wind, and MORE Sun

I bought rain gauges Sept. 1 and put them out. It's a shame that I am a gardener and watch things like temperatures, sun movement, phases of the moon, and rainfall patterns and had no rain gauges til now. Since I bought the rain gauges in FL where it rains every day during the summer, we haven't had a drop. In fact, since FAY, the FL coast's first burgeoning hurricane of the season, we have had very little rain. I heard some guy in the store say the other day how it was nice that it was not raining. He must live in a condo, cause my grass is crying right now.

Anyway, Chance and I went out into the backyard this morning to do some weeding. I ended up cutting down massive amounts of the invasive Mexican petunias. Chance helped by running back and forth along the brick wall where they are planted and stomping them down. At first I was mad, but then I realized he actually helped me see where they needed to be thinned.

Then, I ended up removing two plants from the lanai and planting them in the flower bed, pulling up more of those dratted variegated ficus, and throwing away several cacti--I know, right, me throw away plants? Well, I had contemplated selling them, but the effort seemed too much for me. I just wanted them gone. I repotted the others, condensing them down to 2 pots. I will keep one pot forever, as me and those two particular cacti go back a long way. But the other one, I have no sentimental attachment to, just hated to throw them out....part of me hopes they tucker out so Chance will stop gnawing on them and I will stop bumping into them in the garden.

All this, and I only went out there to pull the weeds. Oh, yes, I did pull weeds. Worked up quite an appetite. An appetite for clearing out. I came inside and gathered up $321 worth of donations to Salvation Army, who is kindly coming to haul it away on Wednesday. Again, I could sell it on Craigslist and make cash dollars, I know. However, since we are going to have a LOT of deductions this year, and DH has been home so we have actually paid taxes, and I do not have a job, so our tax bracket just dropped....I hope this was the wiser choice for the amount of work. And, my house no longer has a bunch of stuff that's like, what do we do with this? Well, some but much less than it did. Now, if I could only get DH to rid of his workout mats that haven't moved since they arrived here, we could probably park both vehicles in the garage. Sweet bliss. I smell it. It's only around the corner!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

New Habit #2 Budgeting and NOT Shopping

I drug DH to see Dave Ramsey live yesterday. Ok, I've been a fan for a long time, thanks to my good friend Froggy. And I've tried to live by him -- but DH always said he was NOT going to live like a pauper. So, to console myself, since he could blow the budget, I did too by shopping.

While I was still employed, we were living large. Not really, but we got a lot of nice things we'd been wanting for the new home. And then I was unemployed, don't fret, we saved for the rainstorm...and we haven't hit savings yet. But life is sure a lot harder when you're used to blowing money and suddenly you have to watch what you buy at the grocery store.

I must say yesterday was VERY refreshing. AND he is HILARIOUS! I laughed til I cried a lot. And not boo-hoo, just laughing so hard I couldn't breathe. Anyhoo, I spent $76 on 2 tickets. Yeah, if you're like me, you're going, no wonder he's rich, you idiot. I already knew what he had to say and I don't need to hear him cause I already bought two of his books. But, I figured in this financially belt tightening time, if he got through to my husband, then it was the best money I ever spent.

Guess what? He did. Granted DH let me know how awful it was to sit through that, but he did admit that it was funny and he learned something and he was willing to try it if I would take part of the blame in who spends the most money. Well, I rightly always have and did then. I know, I know, I can't go shopping anymore. Well good, I don't need to. It's part of being green. So, today we have our first budget meeting. And we have to have one each month or every time we have an emergency and have to restructure the budget....and Dave says we'll have 18 the first month. He's probably right. He also says this will unite us more than anything other than having kids (and more than that for some)....well, I think he's right. And I hope he's right. We need to be united....

stay tuned to see how fast we get debt free even while I am job hunting and studying to be another degree toting graduate.

Day #4

I should really be calling these posts training #4, instead of day. Oh well, maybe next time. So, this morning, I really wanted to sleep late and not get up, but my body was like, "look, slacker, you're getting up" at 6 am. So, I got up. Chance and I hit the pavement at 6:15. We started earlier than usual and good thing, cause it is (and was then) much hotter and humid than the past few days. UGHH. Talk about challenging to breath. We are beginning week 2 today. And we had to ramp up the time we run, and ramped down (training schedule does not say to but we do) the rest time. Felt good. By the end my legs were jello. Chance, nada...he was back home and rip, roarin', and rompin' all over the house, dragging out dirty clothes, all his toys, shoes, mulch from outside, our sheets, anything he could fit in his mouth and move. Then I put him in the bed to get DH up and he laid down to sleep. Hmmph.

Scale day tomorrow and first weights day! Big expectations!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Hanna, Ike, and Josephine

I have always loved hurricanes. I know, I'm weird. And no, I haven't seen one firsthand. This move to FL was exciting because I could see lots. And it rains lots here. Something I have been unaccustomed to in the changing climate over the past, I dunno, 15 years. What have I learned so far, and I'm sure my education on hurricanes will evolve over the next 3-5 years while in FL.

1. Buy supplies early.
2. FL is not the geographic location for people who like to garden with pots.
3. Hurricanes bring much appreciated winds (dries the sweat on your body).
4. The meteorologists don't even know where they are going to strike.
5. Each and every hurricane is different, so stop comparing them.
6. Get ready to constantly deal with insurance policies even if you don't make a claim.
7. You get NO rain when a hurricane is in the area unless it strikes your area.

Still having a hard time dealing with #7. We have St. Augustine grass. WOW! I never knew you needed a PhD in entymology, and botany--more specifically the family Gramineae (Poaceae), category: Monocotyledonous (that's grass). But you do. So, you can't give it too much water, but it can't go without it. And you can't fertilize it with plain old yard fertilizer, and you have to treat for insects and weeds in certain months, and if you don't you get dead grass with lots of tall ugly weeds. BLEGHH. Later on this weekend, I am going to start my gardening blog. Stay tuned. I'll try and address your questions, and hopefully, with my photos of my pitiful grass, you can help me.

Well, puppy is asleep, so I'll go play in the Christmas ornaments for awhile. I have a plethora of them. And they need a home, anyone interested?

Day #3

Chance and I struck the pavement at 6:30 this morning. I am not afraid of the wilderness, nor the dark. And I have ritually gotten up before most people are entering REM sleep for many, many years now. That makes me sound old. Let's just say, as a child, I never slept late, and it followed me into adulthood. I love sunrises. I also like my personal safety. We live in what I consider a safe neighborhood, complete with brick and concrete walls. It borders the interstate in places, and funny, the nice concrete walls don't go all the way along the interstate area. You'd think, in a CDD, where they like being isolated from the world, they'd make sure the interstate was completely blocked out, at least for the poor souls that live on that side and have to deal with the constant roar of traffic. Anyhow, I used to strike out before daylight at FTB. I never worried, I guess because I was on a military reservation and I had to fear wild pigs (yes, saw one once, very large, and very hairy) more than I had to fear idiots wanting to inflict trauma and harm to an individual enjoying life. So, I'm learning that even though I like eastern time, it's tricky because daylight comes later (and even later depending on where you are). There are also no lights on the back side next to the interstate in the "woods" where we run...good, I am after all, from the country and think lighted walkways are somewhat overrated. But then again, there's some good to them. Personally, if I was a criminal, I wouldn't want to hop the wire fence and wade through swamplike areas of who knows what kind of snakes and alligators are in them to torture some young lady at 5 am, but I am not a criminal and I guess I don't understand what drives them. That said, I am being forced to learn to sleep late and go run later. What sucks about that? Well, I miss my cup of coffee at 6 am as the first hint of light enters the sky and I'm not on the back porch pondering anything earth shattering. Instead, I'm out sweating, not that that's bad, I'd just rather have it over with by that time, and so had my stomach. One thing is for sure, my tummy wants to intake food by 6:30, hard to do when you run at that time.

So, for the training. We are on day #3. End of week 1. According to the schedule, 8 weeks to go, but since I only have 6 weeks, we are starting week 2/day #4 Sunday. I'm looking forward to it. chance has gotten used to this level of activity. Now, time to ramp it up. And find a longer route.

One thing I keep forgetting to mention: the real results won't be noticeable for another 3 weeks, and I don't start weight training til Monday. I know, I said Thursday, but the ole back still hurts a little...the worst part of exercise goals, is you get ancy, you don't want to wait for results. You want instant ones. So, guess that's why I'll have to keep busy til then. Sure feels good to run again and to have a goal while doing it this time. I think that's why I've always found it easy to quit. I've never had a goal, yeah, get in shape, and lose inches, but no real tangible, endpoint on a timeline. Now I have one. Should be interesting.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Puzzling

I love puzzles. I used to put them together all the time, and then I just stopped. I also like to use them as wall art. Hey, you work that hard, what are you going to do with it when you're done, put it back in the box?

I bought 2 puzzles two years ago with intentions to use them as wall art in my kitchen or dining room. They are so me, country shabby chic gardening scenes: a potting room and a canning bench complete with the summer harvest in both. Never put either one of them together til now. Monday evening, in a drunken state, I drug out one of the puzzles and put together the border. That's always a first. Tuesday, I put together the birdhouses, and part of the window box and sorted all the pieces into color categories.

Not a whole lot of time invested so far, and while it's something to do to keep me from studying...
let me digress. I went to a focus group at USF's Business School (to which I am applying for admission to the MBA program) yesterday. It was nice, got a free lunch and a $15 Target card and made 2 new networking contacts. I also learned that those who attended the MBA info sessions (I did not) found out they had to note WHEN they were going to take the GMAT but did not have to take it by Oct. 15. YIPPEE!!! I'm sure without saying you already know what this means for me...more PROCRASTINATING STUDYING!!! Back to finishing the puzzle, afterall, it's not like I have a job or a test to take, right?

This morning, over coffee, I guess I got in a groove, and 3 hours later the puzzle is complete. Should I start the next one or wait a day or two? I guess I'll wait til I get this one framed. Part of the reason I finished it, was because while they are fun, I am OCD, and CANNOT stand to have something lying out on the table undone. It had to be finished and put away. ARGHH!! Me and my habits. I can't win.