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


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.

Day #2

Ok, so I'm a day late logging in, kill me. I did get up and go run yesterday. Funny, the first day wiped my puppy out and gave me the energy go go all day.

Yesterday, day #2, or training session #2, was much better for puppy. HE was rather active yesterday and last night, he was a riot. I, on the other hand, breathed better and was tempted to skip workout #3 tomorrow and go straight to #4, but I'm not going to jump ahead, I have a tendency to have that backfire on me later. I wasn't as fatigued, and my legs didn't hurt. Hey, I'm not running that far after all. Yesterday, I had a lot of errands to run and a focus group to attend. That sort of got tiring. But training schedule in check.

Since I sneezed wrong Tuesday morning and that catch in my back seized up my lower back muscles, I decided to postpone weighlifting until next week. But it IS still on the radar.

On target. I guess I will get a sweat session today, we have to mow the yard, and that's about a gallon of sweat in a hour.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Day #1

Today is September 1. What a great day to start any new routine on. It's Monday, it's the 1st. The only downside to this is it's a holiday and my day will be filled with a BBQ and beer, or liquor most likely. But like a good little school girl, I got up and did my homework first thing.

I am training for a 5K run. It is October 18. Yes, I was fit enough a few months ago to do one, but wouldn't subscribe to one. So, out neighborhood is hosting one to benefit kids and St. Jude. My DH told me he'd run with me if I'd run it non-stop (I have this habit of breaking after one mile for a minute or so). So, I agreed.

Last night, I GOOGLED training schedules for 5K's. I found one that takes 9 weeks, you train 3 times a week. I don't quite have 9 weeks. I have 7, but I'll try and train every other day and see how my training goes. Worst case scenario, I only run 2.5 miles before stopping...but I'm a determined puppy, so I figure if I see that I only have a 1/2 mile left, I'll suck it up.

I am also studying for the GMAT, which I am tentatively taking Sept 20. That gives me about 18 days to study, not really a long time, if you saw my assessment test. I am praying that the fact that I have a master's degree will jar my brain into functioning at the level that got me to my master's degree and I will score the minimum needed score.

Also, I am trying to lose some weight. So, I weighed this morning after running and sweating and drinking 20 oz of water, which is not when WeightWatchers (yes, I used to do that, and I lost 12 pounds and quit...unfortunately) tells you to weigh. So, here are the stats:

Weight: 148
Height: 5'6"
Inches in areas: don't know yet, haven't measured
Training for today: Run 60 s, walk 90 s, do this for a total of 20 minutes; I ran 10 times. Puppy Chance ran with me, he is now sleeping and let me study.
Breakfast: Banana, 3 bites of a peach (was rotten, yick), cup of Activa Light Vanilla Yogurt, cup of coffee, yes with sugar and cream, hey, some things I refuse to give up.
Vitamin, Lipo 6--meds

We have friends coming over for lunch, grilled hamburgers, and beer. So, since it is Labor Day, I won't beat myself up too bad about eating or studying. But after today, it's hard nosed.