31 December 2017

almost

The last few days have been everywhere.

Everything surrounding the wedding was both hectic and fun. They're such a happy couple and it made the wedding that much better. Several tears were shed because I'm the kind of person who cries at weddings now.

Of course everybody woke up struggling today. Some from alcohol, some from dancing, some from both. Which is why I have absolutely no plans for New Year's Eve and I'm not even worried about trying to stay up until midnight. I've been blessed to have a lot to celebrate this holiday season, and I'm content to let the new year ring in quietly. Well, as quiet as it can get in the neighborhood that loves fireworks.

I did take down the interior Christmas decorations and there's a Parks and Rec marathon so the day was not all lost. Plus the mountain of laundry is slowly dwindling.

27 December 2017

gift card mania

I located a handful of old gift cards that still have a balance, so I started looking around online so I could use them up. Generally when I have a gift card I try to use the entire thing all at once, but I guess these slipped through.

First up: Corelle. I have $25.98 left on a gift card and then a quick google search for my pattern yielded a little bit of information: True Blue is based on an old pattern called Old Town Blue and there are a TON of vintage pieces, like milk glass coffee cups, creamer + sugar sets, gravy boats, and napkin rings. I didn't realize until now that I already have a few items in the Old Town Blue pattern, because they're so similar. A serving platter and some bowls. Slightly obsessed with getting some additional pieces now, even though I can't use the gift card because it's all through vintage sellers. Maybe I'll use the gift card for some Pyrex pieces.

H&M: $50 that I haven't touched! I forgot how obsessed I was with H&M before I discovered stitch fix. Would definitely require a trip to the store since I need to try things on. I think Houston has several stores now.

Bed Bath & Beyond: $9.12. I JUST ordered a knife set for my brother and his soon-to-be-wife. I could have applied this weird amount to that order and been done with it! No matter, I need a new bath pillow because the one I have has suction cups that damaged the newly re-finished bathtub. Garr.

$5.37 on an Old Navy gift card. Another one that requires a trip to the store because this will barely cover shipping on anything I buy online.

Visa. Do they still even have these because this one is warped and I'm pretty sure Chris got it in college. Yet, there's still $14 left on it. I'll just apply it to whatever I buy next.

There's not much I could use online, but now at least now they're on my mind.

26 December 2017

in-between-ness

It's that weird few days between Christmas and New Years. Things are not back to normal because I took off work, and things are not exactly festive because it's between holidays. Too early to start carrying out resolutions with enthusiasm.

Fighting the urge to start packing up Christmas. It seems that every year I get a little more disenchanted even though I try my best to enjoy the pretty decorations and lights, and soak in the holiday. Now that Christmas has passed, it seems silly to keep up all the decorations. However, there's no harm in keeping things up for a few more days. I'm mostly just bored looking for something to do. Plus the house will look better decorated if I end up hosting out-of-town relatives for Frank's wedding.

Speaking of that, I cleaned up the guest room/Chris's room, which has become an extra room where I throw extra crap, like the boxes for all the Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations. I moved all that stuff into the closet so now it's clean with fresh clean sheets and a fluffy comforter... which quickly got a cat-shaped indentation in the middle.

Today I made it to the hardware store to get a new flusher for the toilet (that broke a few days ago). Did you know that they have different flushers for front handles and side handles? Have you ever even paid attention to that? I haven't, and I guessed wrong in the store. Derp.

Stopped by the grocery store and found 4 of the Simple face wipes I spent half a day looking for last week. Of course I bought all of them. Also I shopped hungry so magically Fritos and cheese dip made it into the cart and now I hate myself.

On the way home I checked the mail and the ONLY thing in the mailbox was the latest issue of Cooking Light. It was like the universe was telling me to sit back and relax. So I obliged. I enjoyed a hot bath with a glass of wine and an episode of Dr. Who. No, I haven't mounted a tv in the bathroom... yet. I just popped my phone in a plastic baggie and watched it on the Amazon app. I needed to relax SOOOO bad. I feel a bit more restored.

Suzy got me a RocksBox subscription and I'm SO excited to try it! It's kind of like that designer handbag rental from the Sex and the City movie, but with jewelry. You get to try allll kinds of jewelry, as much as you want, and only buy the pieces that speak to you. So I can rock a different designer piece of jewelry every day without having to pay for it. Um, yes please. I've been stalking the website to see when my box ships.

Oh, crap. I wanted to find some shoes to wear to Frank's wedding and I guess that will give my life purpose tomorrow!

12 Days 2017


The Twelve Days of Christmas for Hubs was a little different this year. 

[A few years ago I saw a neat idea; give your hubs a small gift on the 12 days leading up to Christmas, following the number theme. It was a huge hit, so it has become a tradition.]

I had some cool ideas, but this year the items had to fit into a flat-rate box. So they're more like stocking stuffers than gifts this year, which is fine. I adapt!
Such a bummer that I don't get to see him open these in person, because it's so fun for me to see him in that moment of joy that you can't help but get when opening a gift.

Here's what's in the stocking this year:
  
Day 1: A USB plug for the wall. Because there are never enough around.
Day 2: Two small bottles of Armor-All car cleaning products.
Day 3: Three homemade biscotti, sealed with the Food Saver so hopefully they make it intact.
Day 4: A 4-pack of olives.
Day 5: Five small packs of mixed nuts.
Day 6: Three pairs of under-eye masks. These are awesome no matter what gender you are.
Day 7: Seven pieces of fancy chocolates
Day 8: An 8-pack of dry erase markers.
Day 9: A 9-oz bag of Fritos, lightly salted
Day 10: A package of Purell wipes.
Day 11: A bag of maple pecan granola clusters, 11 oz
Day 12: Earl Grey tea (hot).

See all 12 Days of Christmas

Jewish Christmas

Well this Christmas Eve was a little different.

We stayed in a hip and trendy hotel downtown, hit up Katz's deli twice, and enjoyed Christmas Eve in a tailor-by-day, bar-by-night establishment.  Enjoyed the company of, most notably, an outspoken Jewish bartender in a Hawaiian shirt and a retired judge dressed up as Santa and his wife, who hand out booze to the homeless every Christmas Eve.

They had one of those cool digital jukeboxes so I fed it a $20 and everyone took a few turns picking out jams. Towards the end of the night, when everyone was pretty well lit, a man walked in who was fairly obnoxious and ended up talking to me about statistics. I just agreed with what he said for about 20 minutes before I got up and escaped. Turns out, he ended up picking up our tab. All four of us. And we'd been drinking for hours... the bill was no doubt over a couple hundred bucks. Classy move, I think? After that, we ended up accidentally stealing his uber and had to circle the block and go back and wait for our real uber. At that point in the evening it was hilarious to most of us, except him...

Overall, it was fun and I'm glad I didn't have to sit at home lonely with my cat on Christmas.

24 December 2017

Litmas

Most people wake up after a night of partying and say, "Oh, I'm never drinking like that again."

I woke up from a night of partying saying, "Oh, I'm never eating like that again."
The food hangover is worse than the alcohol hangover. It's a thing.

There were so many dips. And so many vessels for those dips. I sampled them ALL in every combination. That buffalo chicken dip. It was so good. But now my belly is so bloated. Worth it.

The 5 favorite things was such a big hit, again. It's so much better than a white elephant or secret santa because everyone gets something fun, and you learn a little bit about people at the same time. Some people bring 5 of the same thing, and some bring 5 different things and it all works out.

I brought Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel seasoning, and Simple face wipes. I continuously love those face wipes, although now I prefer the travel size because a big pack would sometimes start to dry out before I could use them all.

I would up getting the following favorite things from other people:


Collin's favorite- a six pack of Bud Light- which I will keep for Ashley haha
Stephen's favorite- A glass promoting pizza
Karen's favorite- A beautiful Lennox ornament
Caylan's favorite- A pair of sparkly earrings
I can't remember who brought this one: A flask with a jewish pun. Possibly my favorite thing ever.

I also got a banh mi sandwich from Akhtar that I gave to my dad because (obviously) I couldn't eat it. The earrings were a bonus because somehow Caylan left the party before the exchange, or somehow didn't get to participate.

Worth noting: Calvin picked out gifts for all the aunts and uncles again this year. Last year he picked for me a little nativity scene. This year he picked out a giant bottle of wine and some sour patch kids. It's like he knows me or something.

So much merry was made, and I'm thankful the holidays this year involve fun folks.

22 December 2017

counting blessings

I am pleased about a few things.

One.
The cold front came through and I can turn off the air conditioning again, yay! Opened as many windows and doors as I can to let that fresh cool air inside. I've been enjoying my $50 electric bills. (Oh, BTW Energy Ogre is legit and I highly recommend trying it.)

Two.
Got all my shopping done today! Mom graciously offered to ride along with me in my quest to complete everything on my list. We went to every drugstore in a 20-mile radius trying to find the travel size Simple face wipes for my 5 favorite things. We were unsuccessful but she stayed positive and didn't try to talk me into buying the regular-sized ones just to end our quest, which I ended up doing anyway.
And the cashier at Trader Joe's berated me a little too enthusiastically for buying 5 jars of Everything but the Bagel seasoning without actually buying bagels. It was uncomfortable.
And she was morally supportive when the ATM literally started shooting $20 bills all over the floor at Walgreens. I try not to make a scene when I'm withdrawing large amounts of money...
Then she bought me lunch so overall it was a good morning.
Also I decided that if I went to the ATM for my family's Christmas gifts, I'm not going to stress over Chris's family's gifts. This year they can also enjoy a $20 bill with a ribbon around it.

Three.
I located charcoal capsules, which help muchly after an evening of lit-ness. Which we will be doing much of in the next few days.

Four.
I spent the afternoon lounging, reading magazines with Pumpkin, doing laundry, and overall enjoying my vacation. To be honest I'm a little bored, but I figure enough fun will be had in the next few days to make up for that.

21 December 2017

whew

Hey, yo. I woke up early, and got all my work stuff done today. It was kind of a big day because I'm certified on a new product line now. However... I'm SO READY for vacation!


Except the next few days are jammmm packed.

Tomorrow I plan to spend finishing up alllll the Christmas related stuff. Since I opted to do cash for gifts, all I have left is 5 favorite things and something for the neighbor. The 5 favorite things require a trip to specific stores, since I've oddly had trouble locating one of them.

Saturday's the Christmas party. I have a cute new dress to wear. Only I just realized yesterday that the back is mesh and see-through. Am I okay with that? I don't know if I want to advertise how much my bra band digs into my back.

Sunday Suzy, Mom, Dad, and I booked a hotel downtown and we're going to hit up this cool bar and probably some jewish deli. I'm so excited to see Suzy!

Monday we plan to find somewhere to brunch and see a movie. Too bad there's no musical out right now.

Tuesday I think is the first day I don't have something planned. The next Saturday is Frank's wedding so I'm pretty sure the week will fill up.

Completely not feeling the Christmas Spirit this year. Probably for a lot of reasons, one being so busy and two not being with Chris. Hopefully I can find a little of it in the next few days.

20 December 2017

Vacation Eve

I'm hungry but I've already brushed and flossed and mouthwashed.
I guess I'll stay hungry then- not that impeccable oral hygiene prevents my teeth from needing root canals.

Andrew's birthday was today. I can't believe that kiddo is 2 already!
Lately it seems that I don't give him as much attention as Calvin. I caught it because Calvin is very interactive and easier to communicate with, and Andrew is independent and chill, so I hang out with Calvin more.
But ever since I noticed it, I've been trying to give Andrew more attention. Aunt Nen loves both her nephews. Even the snotty one!
He's such a cute little guy. And resilient. It's interesting to see the differences between the two of them. Andrew is incredibly analytical. He's going to be the kid that takes things apart to see how they work.

Planning to get up early to head out to League City one last time and finish up this install because FRIDAY my vacation starts! Yeah! Not that I have any crazy plans but I'm definitely going to sleep as late as I want. I call that a vacation. Plus it's Christmas and Frank's wedding and New Year's so party party party!


19 December 2017

November Fix

I completely forgot to post about my latest fix. I asked for something for a holiday party (preferably sparkly), and pants.

I got these items:


A pretty blouse that I kept for work, another blouse that was really cute but I returned because it made me feel like a little kid, a sweater that I LOVE LOVE, a dress that is a smidgen too tight but I'd wear to a party, and some pants that are an odd color but I kinda like and I've worn a few times. I was shocked to find nothing sparkly, especially because I requested it.

I postponed my next fix until after the new year because all my funds are being diverted to Christmas. But I still need pants. This recent cold weather has reminded me that I don't have a single pair of well-fitting long pants. So I bought a few pairs that were on sale at Maurices.com and we'll see how they fit. Oy. The pants struggle is so real!

18 December 2017

view from the bed



Every night. Friends + kitty.

Don't know where that other sock went.

Medium-key annoyed that it's 70 degrees again after SNOW and chilly weather the last week or so. On the plus side, I guess it's a good thing because I don't have any cold-weather pants that fit and last week was a wardrobe struggle.

I found myself adapting to the new keyboard today when I was on my work computer. I hit the "delete" key instead of the "backspace" key because they're damn reversed on this new laptop.

Fending off Alzheimer's, one keyboard at at time.

17 December 2017

Sunday blues

Thrilled that I stumbled upon the Sound of Music on tv tonight. Julie Andrews can do no wrong. Even with that dorky haircut.

This weekend went by incredibly fast. Like, there was no time to get anything done.

I woke up today and went straight into the office to import the chemistry data from everything I ran this week. I would up troubleshooting the new software and deleting/re-importing data about 5 times before I figured it out. In the end, it was dark outside by the time I got a good idea of how to use the software and what I need to do this week to finish up. In the process, I ended up missing a colleague's Christmas party that I really wanted to go to.
There are only so many hours in the day. On the plus side, I didn't wear a bra alllll day. Solid Sunday.

Speaking of the Sound of Music, the company I work for is based in Germany and I routinely get emails addressed to "Frau [my last name]" and I think it's so cute.

Tuesday I have free passes to see the new Pitch Perfect movie and Wednesday is Andrew's 2nd birthday.

Okay. Only 4 more days until my vacation begins. Time to buckle down. Woo!

16 December 2017

status

Setting the scene: Crappy Hallmark movie on TV. Fireplace lit. Christmas lights twinkling. Settled on the couch with a scotch glass full of wine. Kitty creeping back and forth across my lap because she can't decide where to curl. (Would probably prefer to curl up on this computer.)

Got the vast majority of my Christmas shopping done at the ATM today. I'm calling it; I'm too darn busy right now to go shopping and fight the crowds, and time got away from me and it's too late to order things online. So I simplified and am going to give cash. Not memorable or meaningful but always appreciated.

So the couple of things still on the list are gifts for the kiddos, stocking stuffers, 5 favorite things, and I'm going to pick up a couple of poinsettias for the neighbors. Still have yet to introduce myself to the new neighbors, and still trying to figure out what to get for the sweet neighbor who always watches Pumpkin. Suggestions?

I think I decided to keep this little computer. I don't love it but I could probably get used to it. Right now it's full of games because Calvin used it for a minute today. OH. Today he gave me an unsolicited "I love you." Auntie win! Andrew was not thrilled with me today because I held him down while mom gave him some medicine. Poor kiddo is in that stage of life where you're constantly sick. Also after a few hours with him I think my clothes have a thin layer of snot and pee and milk. Hm.

12 December 2017

Vent/Rant

I'm going to rant for a moment.

So today. I'm validating an instrument at a new hospital. It's still being built and no one is really in the building except 3 people from 3 different companies installing equipment in the lab.

We've all been doing our own thing, validating our instruments and chatting every once in a while. I had a lot of trouble locating my reagents, so I spent most of yesterday and today trying to locate them, in the meantime validating what I could on the reagents that I did have. Plus I'm trying to figure out how to use this new software, and it's been a while since I've used this particular instrument, so everything was kind of a carefully controlled mess.
In fact everyone had some sort of setback, which is typical, and since it's such a small lab we all knew about everyone else's issues. Still, it comes with the job and it's not a big deal.

This afternoon I was able to locate many of the reagents I was missing, yay! So when I got back in the lab I was ready to focus and get a lot done.

TELL ME WHY one of the other ladies there validating her instrument, who had barely said a word ALL DAY, decided to start chatting. And would. literally. not. stop. talking.

She was not catching any of the typical, "Heyyy I'm trying to work here and don't want to chat" cues. None. Even when I busted out with a, "I can barely hear you because this instrument is kinda loud." She didn't even slow down. And she KNEW I had finally gotten reagents so I thought something would click in her head and she would understand that I was trying to work. Nope.

At one point I tried to ignore her, but she was asking me questions, like obviously trying to get to know me, and I felt bad blowing her off. And the med tech world is small and she could be my boss one day so I didn't want to be rude.
Instead of focusing and getting a lot done like I wanted, I half-way chatted and half-way worked, which in the end sucked and I also made a couple mistakes that I would have caught if I was giving things my full attention.

At the end of the day I was so annoyed and then had to spend 90 minutes in traffic so I'm just done. There's no food in the house but I have wine so.

I think tomorrow I'll bring headphones or pretend I'm on a conference call for a while if I have to focus, and maybe she'll chat with the other people.

But she seems really sweet at the same time and networking is PRICELESS, especially with the competition, so I also think I might try saying something like, I really have to focus right now but I'd love to have lunch later and we can chat. Still, as nice as you try to say that, it always comes across kind of mean. When I finally master that I'll consider it a valuable life skill.

11 December 2017

Loving lately

Couple of things I'm loving lately:
(AKA I'm typing as much as I can to see if I'll get used to this new keyboard)

Christmas light timers. I tried two different kinds: The kind that turn on at dusk and stay on for a pre-determined amount of time, and the kind that you set exactly what time they're on. The ones at dusk are not as good, because they will turn on if a storm rolls in at noon and be on all day only to shut off at night, but overall they're both good. I like them for two reasons:
1. When I was traveling no one had to worry about turning them on and off. Plus when lights are on it looks like someone's home. Plus it took a lot of work to put up those lights and darn it, people are going to look at them even when I'm not home.
2. At night before bed when I'm in my jammies, I don't have to put on pants to go turn off the Christmas lights. Or, more accurately, I don't have to hope that no one sees me when I step out my front door real quick sans pants to unplug the lights.

So Christmas light timers are awesome. For both myself and the neighbors who probably talk about that lady on the corner with no pants.


Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel seasoning. I think this may be in my 5 favorite things this year. It's delightful. I like it on eggs.

Oh, speaking of being THAT neighbor, new neighbors moved in and I think they're sort of my age and I'm excited to make friends with them. I'll be showing up at their door with a bottle of wine sometime soon.



extended test drive

Ok. Time to test the photo aspect of this new questionable electronic item.
I snapped a quick couple of photos.

Hey, kitty.



Man, this Delete/Backspace button issue is really annoying! I think the keyboard is just too small.

Plus I'm not sure that I need an actual windows os. I might be happier with an android tablet that works just like my phone. A tablet with a keyboard? The problem is, a keyboard seems fine in the store until you get home and actually start typing on it. UGH WHY IS MY LIFE SO HARD?

10 December 2017

test drive

Spent the last few weeks in Lake Charles for work.
Observations:
1. The drive is not that bad.
2. Casinos are fun but I'm still no good at gambling.
3. I love traveling for work (Hello Hilton Honors Gold member) but it's tiring and I feel guilty leaving kitty alone for so long.

I did not skip my birthday this year. Thirty three... I spent it in Lake Charles working but my colleagues made it special. Plus I came home to presents all over the house which I wanted to blog about but it's so much work... Snapchat got all the glory this time.

Christmas is up! Mostly. This year not all the lights went up, but a respectable amount did.
I tried a poinsettia garland on the tree this year and I really like it. A handyman came over to hang a couple of new ceiling fans and he commented on how nice it looked. Oh yeah... the fan in the living room burned up on Thanksgiving so that household upgrade got bumped to the top of the list real quick. The new ones are gorgeous and functional. I love those two things together.

I bought a new laptop/tablet thing. While looking for a new one I had two things in mind:
1. It had to have a keyboard. I really only need it to blog because I do almost everything else on my work computer or my phone.
2. It had to be inexpensive. I don't want to buy an expensive laptop just for blogging and miscellaneous internet browsing.

I looked at a few things and I figured a tablet with a removable keyboard would be the best of both worlds. The cheapest one I found was 200 bucks and this is my first time using it.

Obviously, I don't love it right off the bat because it's different than what I'm used to.
The keyboard is a little small so my hands feel slightly cramped when I'm typing.
Plus the delete key is where I'm used to having the backspace key, and the numbers at the top are shifted a little to the right than where I'm used to. So writing this post has taken a lot of fixing keyboard-related typos. Moderately disappointed, especially because I bought it specifically for the keyboard ease.

I might adapt to it easier than I expect, especially because the price was right... and basically the price goes up from here. When I bought it I made sure to ask about the return policy and I have some time. So I'll use it for a week and then decide if I'm going to return it or not.

I hope I can blog a lot in the next few days to test it out. I'm starting an install at work on Monday so things might be busy. I just got trained on this new instrumentation, and this is the first install where I'm in charge. My mentor will be there to guide me and answer questions, but this is my show. I'm a little nervous-- only because we have to use a new software for the first time and neither of us has much experience with it. Hoping it goes smoothly.

17 November 2017

Hey another brain dump yay

-Super creeped out because gmail tries to suggest possible responses to emails. Also not too long ago I had a VERBAL conversation about hamsters and the next thing I know, I'm getting ads about them on instagram and coincidental re-tweets regarding hamsters. I know google reads everything and there's someone always listening in through phones and smart tvs but this is just blatant. I am but a humble civilian, cut it out. Why not send Dr. Who memes my way instead of badgering me about something I looked at on Amazon once 3 months ago and decided not to buy?

-In other, non-paranoid news, traveling for work always throws me off. But when it's immediately after a time change... Internal clock chaos. This last trip turned out to be super fun, because I ran into a few people that I only see when we all happen to be at a training together. Much fun was had. My Whole30 detox was seriously derailed, but I recovered remarkably fast.... ignoring the fact that I didn't poop for 4 days.
Also I met a fantastic French woman who massively improved my (almost) juggling skills. *puts juggling balls on Christmas list* *Will soon see juggling memes on Pinterest* Also, did you know French people kiss on the cheek to say hello and goodbye? I'm so worldly now.

-Experiencing serious kitty guilt. Because when I used to travel, she'd respond with a "Meh" and go about her nap. Now when I come home after a few days away she's unapologetically needy and requires much attention before she'll settle down and be normal again. She's definitely wanting more attention in her old age and I feel terrible leaving her alone.

-Thanksgiving should be interesting. I offered to host this year, mostly to brag about my new double oven and so I don't have to go anywhere. But the combination of people and situations should be interesting, especially because I haven't seen Chris in months. Yes, he's still my husband. What fun! Bonus points: Ashley actually planned everything and I'm just responsible for a clean house and a turkey and maybe a pumpkin pie. Potential white trash antics depend on how much alcohol gets consumed. I'm counting on Suzy to start spouting governmental conspiracies to derail any tension.

-Chelsea's bachelorette party this weekend. Should be a fun excuse to show some cleavage and sing along at a piano bar. My favorite! I hope they play Friends in Low Places. Looking forward to seeing Suzy (and Ashley had to cancel because Andrew has pinkeye boooo.) Not actually surprised at that last part = grubby kiddos. That just means someone gets a hotel room to themselves and damn I should have reserved one so I could get my points but I actually didn't plan anything... so there's that. The part that's cracking me up the most is Calvin is so paranoid about Andrew's germs that he's screaming and running away from his brother and if that doesn't shout about all our germ paranoias I don't know what does. There was no logical way he could escape it, really. Welcome to our life, kiddo. You'll love the smell of bleach eventually.

-Speaking of Chelsea, I have to get up early to beat the crazy people to the mall tomorrow and buy my future sister in law some lingerie. Only slightly uncomfortable at the thought of buying lingerie that my future niece or nephew might be conceived as a result of... I'm rooting for a niece. For the record.

-Speaking of my brother getting married (OMG I FEEL OLD), I found a sparkly dress that might be slightly too casual so I'm hoping I can dress it up with blingy jewelry and shoes. Also keeping an eye out for another, slightly more fancy dress. And yes, I did clear a sparkly dress with my future sister in law, who responded that a New Years Eve Eve wedding definitely needs sparkly dresses. Because I would never wear a sparkly dress to a wedding without clearing it with the bride first.

All right, so my brain dump consisted of travel guilt/ work crazy (Did I mention I have a new boss that I've never met?), several paranoias, relationship insecurity, and my brother's wedding.
Pretty much sums up life right now. I kinda love it.

31 October 2017

ready set dump

Hi.
Ready for a bunch of random stuff?

-Sinuses. Oh, God sinuses. I fought the good fight this fall. But with the erratic weather all of my efforts stood no chance and I finally succumbed against my will last night. Fever and chills and congestion, oh my. I still pretty much refuse to take antibiotics unless it gets really bad, so I'm relying on nasal spray and neti pot and decongestants. Yay.

-Stitch fix! This time I asked for girly blouses (something with ruffles or lace), pants, and shoes. My box included the following items:

I kept the brown(ish?) pants and the lace tank top. The black blouse was ridiculous with huge goofy sleeves, the blue pants were a petite size and were (duh) too short, and the shoes are adorable but uncomfortable. (I'm on my feet too much to wear uncomfortable shoes, no matter how cute these are. My heart cried a little when I put them back in the bag to return.)

Since mom signed up under my referral code, I got a $25 credit so the two items that I bought were just under $100. Kind of steep, considering that was after the styling fee and credit were applied.

However, I hesitate to bitch about the price because one big thing I've noticed about more expensive clothing is the quality. I'll pay $80 for a pair of pants, but the fit won't change. They won't pill or fade or stretch after several wears and washes. The fabric looks a little more polished.
Also I've been ironing all of my work clothes. What a difference ironing makes! When I'm ironing, it's easier to notice if a button is loose or a seam is unraveling so I can get to minor repairs before they become a tear or a lost button. How adult-ful of me, huh?

-We're instagram famous... if you are a Ft. Bend County Museum fanatic. Except Ashley who is hidden behind Collin...

-It's Halloween and I'm feeling crappy so I just put the bowl of candy on the porch. It's pretty rainy so I'm not expecting a ton of trick or treaters. If that's the case I'll have a ton of leftover gluteny candy that I don't know what to do with. At least I won't be able to eat it.
Thinking of doing another Whole 30 in November, at least until Suzy's birthday, which tips off the whole holiday season and gluttony reigns until we are all disgusted with ourselves by around New Years. I've actually adopted a lot of the whole 30 habits from last time, except I've started drinking more and eating a lot more sweets.

-I hooked up the DVD player ALL BY MYSELF today. And it actually works. Props to me, I'm feeling myself and my ability to do electronic things.

21 October 2017

moments

Someone explain to me how I am somehow signed up for another 5k tomorrow? Akhtar talked me into it, but only when he explained that they teach you CPR at the end. Okay. That's like the universe talking to me. So I'll get my ass up before dawn to go exercise IN THE RAIN and learn CPR. This time, I demand mimosas afterwards.

Also excited to get dinner with Missy. I thought she lowkey unfriended me in real life, but it turns out I'm just not getting all my text messages. Super.

On that note, I'm making an effort to repair/strengthen some of the friendships that I've neglected the past few years. I've learned that I tend to withdraw when I'm struggling with something... and while it's super easy to withdraw, it's not psychologically healthy in the short or long-term. Thankfully the folks I surround myself with are the forgiving and understanding type.
[I'm surprised at how much active effort it takes to meet up with people now. It's soooo much easier to go home and plop on the couch.]

Also making an effort lately to be present. Like, to stop and smell the roses, literally. Instead of running through life and everything blurs by, to stop and actually experience the small things. To notice the shapes of clouds when I'm at a stoplight, focus on the background beat in a song, or take a random deep breath and identify all the things that I can smell (not advisable sometimes in a lab). It's like little mini-meditations. It's going well.
In other news, allergies have been killer lately, and the zyrtec just makes me sleepy. Even if I take it at night I'm groggy the next day. In an effort to help with all things allergenic, I washed my pillows. Just tossed them in the washing machine and dried them with tennis balls in the dryer. Now they're SUPER fluffy and I can't wait to jump in my fresh clean bed.
Acne has taken a turn for the crazy, because that's life now. I know it's hormonal and I can tell it's on a cycle now. So there's that.
Anyway that 5k's not going to complete itself tomorrow. Peace out, y'all.

14 October 2017

A few small updates

-The new teeth are beautiful. They should be, considering what they cost. My dentist is meticulous and he did a really great job. You can't even tell that anything was done, except if you look closely the crowns are prettier than my actual teeth. Next up he'll be filling all of the regular cavities (4 or 5?) in one [sedated] appointment.

-The annual allergies/sinus infection process has started, despite my benadryl efforts. I broke down and bought some 24-hr zyrtec and nasal spray to make things more comfortable, but overall it sucks and I felt crummy all week. By the way, tissues with lotion are pretty great, but the tissues with lotion + Vicks are remarkable!

-Andrea talked me into going to this yoga triathlon thing. As a rule I usually decline things like 5Ks, however disguised they might be with wine/chocolate/costumes/colored powder... underneath it all I don't particularly like paying money to deal with large crowds and exercise in the blazing heat.

BUT I've been trying to find ways to hang out with my friends that don't involve food or booze. Because it seems all we ever do is go out for dinner or drinks, which is nice but gets old and it seems like we could be doing much healthier things while maintaining our friendships. So I agreed to try it. (And sewed up a quick yoga mat strap for the fun of it)


Overall, it was actually a pretty neat event, and I met some cool new chicks. I would have enjoyed it more if it were not a sunny, 95-degree day. I did my best through the sweat and sinus congestion; I walked the 5k but I lost steam halfway through yoga and had to seek shade during the meditation. In the end, we all skipped our extra activity and went home because it was so damn hot. I really wanted to try hooping but I guess it wasn't in the cards today.


-I cleaned my shower last weekend. I always feel the need to talk about it because it's such a huge pain in the ass. No matter how much I scrub, I can never get all the hard water deposits off the shower door and it looks constantly grungy. This time, I tried something I saw on pinterest and it actually worked better than anything else I've tried.
So, I'm sharing the shower-cleaning miracle: A dryer sheet. Yep. I took a couple of (new) dryer sheets, got them wet, and used them to clean the shower door. It wasn't effortless, but took WAY less elbow grease than any other cleaner I've tried, and took off WAY more grunge. I was surprised and totally happy about it. Once the doors were clean, I sprayed them with Rain-X to hopefully buy more time until the next cleaning.

-I found an old James Avery charm bracelet, empty with the tag still on it, in the drawer the other day. I used to love wearing my charm bracelet. It got filled it up so I asked for a new one for my birthday many years ago. Then I stopped wearing it because it got in the way in the lab, and I never filled up the new one. Now, I think I'd be able to wear one since I don't deal with specimens as much, plus I can afford the charms now. So I'm looking forward to building this new bracelet.

-Acne adventures continue!
Quick recap: When I first went to the dermatologist after ending birth control, she prescribed a few topical antibiotics (Velitin and Aczone). I gave the products a chance, but they didn't do much, so I went back. Then she asked if I would consider taking oral antibiotics. No, thanks. She respected that, then prescribed a retinoid... which also isn't doing great things for the acne but it IS fading the dark spots so I use it a couple times a week but discontinued the other products. Why pay for a refill when they don't help?

Backtracking, Chris randomly bought a bottle of tea tree oil with a bunch of dietary/ workout supplements a while back. When I saw the bottle I convinced him that it would probably not be a great idea to ingest it (??) and then it sat in the bathroom cabinet for a while.
The last time I got a big hurty zit I dabbed a little on it, and what do you know, it calmed that big hurty zit down overnight. I don't think I can use it preventatively, but it certainly helps shorten the life of the acne that does pop up.

That's all for now.


06 October 2017

teeeeeth are so dramatic

Let's talk for a second about root canals.

I thought they'd be like an intense filling and then I'd move on with my life.
Wrong. It's been three days and I still can't chew! That side of my mouth is sore and tender and even if I chew on the other side it's still too much when something accidentally gets chewed on that side. I haven't eaten solid food in THREE DAYS. Breakfast and dinner aren't so bad because I can eat yogurt and soup at home, but I have tried two different meal replacement protein drinks to take for lunch, and both were awful. I'm hungry and I want to chew something.

The root canal itself wasn't too bad. I can't believe I just said that but the dentist gave me a pill which made me calm-ish, and I discovered dental dams are AWESOME because they basically eliminate surprise fingers and tools down your throat.
The process of taking x-rays made me gag so much that instead of having me bite down, he held the film in place with his hand. Good call.
The tooth molds weren't too bad, but the process of digitally mapping my mouth for the crown sucked. So it was a very up-and-down procedure. It took 3 hours and I actually was exhausted by the end of it.
Also I have gained mad respect for my super patient dentist, and Maribel his sweet assistant who held my hand and insisted on turning on Cinderella for me to watch during the procedure. (Which I didn't watch because I shut my eyes, but the background noise on the headphones was kinda nice)

So anyway, now my mouth hurts and I didn't expect it. But at least I get to keep these teeth. I have to travel next week and I gotta be careful so the temporary crown doesn't fall out. I'm so glad these two are behind me and I can move on to the next thing.

I think it's a combination of not being able to eat + a sore mouth + some busy workdays, but I've been ready for bed by like 9pm every night, including tonight. Night.

02 October 2017

Intuition

This morning a very odd thing happened.

My alarm went off and I pushed the snooze button, like normal. When I put my head back down on the pillow, prepared to steal another few minutes of sleep, I heard my mother's voice in my right ear. She said my name. In a tone of voice that I havent heard in years; the tone you would use if you were trying to gently wake a small child.

It was so clear that I can hear it now, hours after waking up.

Before I woke up, I was having a dream that I traveled back in time but couldn't get back, so I was forced to re-live my life from the age of 10. Except I still had all of my adult memories. So I was thinking about all of my regrets in life and what I would do differently the second time around.

So the odd feeling of the dream combined with my mom's voice in my ear prompted me to call her at 730 in the morning. Which literally never happens because neither of us is usually up and capable of speech at such an early hour.

She answered the phone saying, "What the hell is going on in the world," to which I replied, "I wish I knew, mom."

It turns out, she thought I called about the shooting in Las Vegas, which I hadn't heard about. She'd been up for hours because she and my brother are scheduled to fly there this evening for a slot tournament at a hotel right next door to where the shooting happened. And of course was distraught.

So now I've got a weird unsettled feeling that I can't exactly place.

27 September 2017

lappy and stitch fix

Dude, old lappy is really, really starting to lag.
I've been spoiled by my super new, super fast work laptop and now when I log onto lappy for personal use, it's more frustrating than anything else. Especially since it updated to the windows 10 version and I really hate it. Cortana is a betch and I can't find anything.

I had an office day yesterday and did a full backup on it because as laptops go, this one is definitely on borrowed time. After years of digging in my heels and refusing to update this trusty old laptop (after all, it still boots up!), I think it's time. This thing has been chugging since 2010 and that's pretty old in lappy years. (Also according to that link apparently I hate every new windows version haha.)

So anyway. Starting that research I guess. Not that I can afford a new computer right now because, teeth and home repairs. Oh, adulthood is fun.

Anyways, the real reason I logged on to blog. Stitch fix! Gotta have some fun in the midst of teeth and home repairs. I got a really great box of clothes last week.

It's been a while since I last got one, since I postponed it due to travel and Harvey and I was low on funds. The last few fixes have been awesome and I've kept everything, so I prepared myself to return a few things I didn't love this time around. I really didn't expect them to keep the streak going.


Well, that didn't happen. I loved all the things, especially the uber preppy plaid knit blazer (socute!). Every item filled a need in my wardrobe, and I've already worn the pants and orange-y blouse. (I have something similar but this has flower cutouts in the arms, guys)

With the $20 styling fee applied and the 20% discount for getting all 5 items, I paid around $270. I'm not mad at it. Because individual pieces would be way more expensive and that white blouse is Calvin Klein. Does that still count as designer? Alicia Silverstone counts it as designer.
Plus I didn't actually have to go to the mall and fight the hordes of people to search through racks to find the right thing. I never would have picked some of these things out for myself but I LOVE them.

I am SO pleased with the whole process. Life was so much simpler when I wore the same color scrubs to work every day, but it seriously hindered my ability to dress myself like a professional adult who hustles. I feel so much more confident now when I have to pick out clothes for work.

I will gladly shop at Aldi and keep the AC a degree or two higher to be able to afford my stitch fix. It's not only good for my wardrobe, it's good for my soul.

25 September 2017

Auntie moment

I'm convinced that your life is not complete until you have a sweet little 4-year-old grabbing onto your leg begging you not to leave.

And, for contrast, a grubby little almost-2-year-old waving and saying "byebye" on repeat.

I thought I'd have to do spectacular, special things to get those kiddos to like me, but all I do is show up and play a little, tell them I love them way too much, and bring a present every now and then.

Mostly I just drink wine and gossip with their mom... and they think I'm great.

I'm okay with that, but I don't get it, haha.

13 September 2017

weird week

It's been a weird week. And it's only Wednesday.

After a few frustrating setbacks, the plumber came and ultimately fixed the tub issue. He did admit that he had no idea how it had broken, and he'd never seen anything like it. I told you it was weird. He also complimented my tub refinishing skills. Sweet. So now I can finish caulking and enjoy a bath the next time I work out in the yard and my muscles are achey.

Dentist.
The saga continues.

I forgot to mention that this dentist is the super sweet guy who opened his practice on New Years to see me back when my wisdom tooth was infected. Over the years I've always wanted to go back to see him, but he was never in network. Well, now he is.

I tried half of a xanax before my appointment to test it out. I don't know if it's the placebo effect in action, but my anxiety wasn't that bad. Granted, the appointment consisted of simple x-rays, a cleaning, and a small filling to repair the one that had fallen out; it didn't require numbing or drilling, and was in the front. Super quick. It feels SO much better. So smooth.
Now I need to break myself of the habit of tonguing the spot. Remember how he mentioned my teeth are clacking together and chipping because they're crooked? Well I was never aware of it but since he mentioned it, I can TOTALLY feel it now. How did I never notice that? It's weird. I don't know what to do with my mouth.

Anyway, after the cleaning and minor filling business, the real fun began.

Same situation; old fillings got loose and rotted underneath. New cavities are still popping up though. He commented on how my teeth are really freaking clean, my gums are healthy, and he can't figure out why I have so many cavities. He even did this saliva test that counts bacteria levels, and if they're high it can lead to cavities. The first one came out low, so in disbelief he repeated it. Low again.

My new theory is that it's from growing up with undiagnosed celiac. The right minerals were just not absorbed through the damaged intestines, and the enamel is weak. Well... anyway.

Immediately he wondered why my previous dentist didn't start on the big problems first- she focused on doing the small fillings first and left the root canals for last, but the insurance money ran out so I didn't go back. Fast forward a year and I'm finally back in the chair, with a better insurance plan because I knew what was coming.

He said I was in danger of losing two teeth if I didn't get them done fast. They're right next to each other, and they've got an additional cavity that formed between the teeth. EVEN THOUGH I FLOSS LIKE A NUTJOB. He showed me the xrays and damn you can totally see them.

So...two root canals and crowns, and that's just the start. There will be two more root canals, one needing a specialist because the root is curved. Sure. Of course.

Now, the xanax was helpful but there's no damn way I could make it through all that fully aware of everything.

His suggestions cracked me up and made me like him even more. He said to stay up super late watching netflix the night before the appointment and try not to sleep. Then to come in exhausted for the first morning appointment where he'd give me a sedative and laughing gas. He said most patients fall asleep through the whole thing. I'm really, really hoping for that. I really don't have a choice.

The cost? Holy crap. Over a grand just for those 2 teeth. Insurance only covers 1 crown every 86 months or some ridiculous longass length of time. So the rest is out of pocket, actually my HSA, until I reach my deductible. I need to go look all that up. The sedation by itself is $200, which in my opinion is worth every penny.

AND THEN after all that's done I guess it'll be time to consider straightening my teeth. But how do you do that--- can you even get braces/invisalign with a bunch of crowns??

What I'm trying to say is: I just want teeth when I'm old, and I guess my kitchen counter money is going into my mouth.

09 September 2017

plumbing woes

Well, damn. I was all excited that I finally got around to refinishing the bathtub and 100% completing the guest bathroom. I mean, the materials have sat around for a few years. I did refinish it, it was pretty easy, and it's beautiful.

But there's this smell. I've noticed it in the bathroom on and off, but recently more often. Like a sewer gas smell. I figured that it was because we don't use the bathroom much and the pipes are drying out. So I'd pour some bleach down the drain and move on with my life.

I guess after spending so much time in the bathroom, I became motivated to figure out the source. I expected to find something dead somewhere. I even pulled up the bathroom cabinet floors. Turns out, there's an access panel to the shower/tub pipes underneath the cabinets, and once I removed it I could see that there was a problem.

It was definitely damp under the tub. The gasket around the cleanout was super old and worn, so I figured water was leaking when the tub was used and that's where the funky smell originated. I replaced the gasket, and while I had my head in the hole I looked a little closer at the pipes.

Further down, where the tub drain met the sewer pipe, something didn't look right. The pipe edges looked jagged at first glace, which doesn't seem right since there should BE no pipe edges because they SHOULD BE smoothly connected. I couldn't get my head at the right angle to get a good look, so I grabbed a mirror and sure enough. Something was wrong. It was almost like if someone tore a piece of paper and placed the two halves about an inch from each other. That was how the pipes looked. I could see it with the mirror and put my fingers clean through the space where there SHOULD BE solid pipe! Basically the tub has been draining under the house.
How the pipe broke, I have no idea. The foundation was checked only a few years ago so something tells me it's been that way for a while. It looks like someone ghetto rigged something at one point which is just dandy.

In the meantime I pointed a few fans at the hole to dry things out until Monday when I'll call a plumber. Here's hoping that they don't have to tear out any walls or floors to get into the space to fix it... I am NOT about that kind of life right now. I put a ton of work into making that bathroom pretty and I'm going to be really annoyed to have to put more work and money into it.

Especially because I've saved up a small home improvement fund... because the A/C is questionable, the siding is literally rotting off the house, we need new doors, and could really use a few upgrades like decent ceiling fans. I guess that's just the way things work when you own a home.

06 September 2017

eventful day

Today was interesting.

It started with a trip to the dentist. WHY can a trip to the dentist never be a simple trip to the dentist? WHY does it always have to involve drama and trauma? I have great oral hygiene and healthy gums, but terrible, terrible teeth.

Continuing last year's cavity extravaganza, where I learned that Valium doesn't do crap for my anxiety, and I only got 1/4 of my mouth filled before I ran out of insurance money. Today's trip was inspired by the fact that back in April, a filling fell out of one of my front teeth. I've developed a serious compulsion of tonguing the rough spot plus exposed cavity is never good. So, to take advantage of the fact that half of our customers are underwater and work is slow, I went to the dentist.

Sigh.

The anxiety is still there, possibly worse?

The dentist said that the reason the filling fell out so quickly was that because my teeth are so crooked that they're hitting each other. I know my teeth are crooked. I'm pretty self-conscious about it, especially because despite 3 years of brutal braces back in high school I'm now in my 30's with crooked teeth. I figured one day I'd get vain enough to fix them.

Well, I had to laugh when the dentist suggested braces. Yeah, no. No. No. No.
Adult acne AND braces?
Not signing up for that. No way.

But he's got a point. So I figure I'd consider invisalign. Something less socially awkward has got to be worth every single penny. But first I have to make sure I still have teeth to align and get all these cavities filled.

*slow sob*

So that was the first event of the day. Moving on.

The biggest event of the day, I thought happened when I heard a box drop on the front porch. I was so excited because I'd been tracking the package. The laminator I ordered 2 weeks ago but was delayed by Harvey finally arrived! I unpacked it with a giddy laugh, turned it on, and it laminated beautifully. Oh, it was glorious. LAMINATE ALLLLL THE THINGGGSSSSS!!!! Really, though. I have a legitimate work purpose for a laminator, but also, consider all the wonderful personal uses! It totally made the crappy dentist visit leave my brain. That was the most exciting thing of the day, rightfully so... until my evening walk.

A few weeks ago Akhtar and I agreed to commit to go walking every other Wednesday. Just meet up and get some light exercise, catch up. Today was one of those Wednesdays. So we're walking along the Braes Bayou and the weather is gorgeous, it's actually a little cool and breezy. We're discussing Harvey and how devastating it was, and how blessed we were to be personally spared the devastating flood waters. Then we come up on a woman lying on the ground and a man giving her CPR.

I'll let that sink in for a second.

Apparently this woman exercising along the trail collapsed, and an anesthesiologist happened to be the first person to get to her, found no heartbeat, and began administering CPR.

Then we walked up.
I, having no phone or demonstrable CPR knowledge, identified the nearest intersection so that Akhtar could give it to the 911 dispatcher. I said a silent prayer for her and the man giving her CPR until help arrived in the form of 4 burly firefighters. When they began to intubate I suggested we move on and let them do their job. I couldn't watch that.

So we continued on our walk, discussing how we are suddenly really, really motivated to take that CPR class we've always talked about doing. On our way back, the emergency vehicles were leaving. I really, really hope that she made it.

How crazy, to be enjoying a nice evening and suddenly your heart stops? I wonder what she was excited about today.

Counting my blessings, indeed.

05 September 2017

wah.

I'm in a funk.

Thanks to Harvey, the stringing of days spent being useless has reached capacity and has overflowed. Having ample time to think, by myself, produces thoughts that aren't easily distinguishable between groundbreaking and paranoid. The logical part of my brain is telling me not to make any big decisions while in this funky state. Kind of like how they tell you not to do any online shopping or banking after a surgical procedure because you're not in your right mind.

As much as I cherish my solitary moments, over the past few years I've gotten used to companionship. That, combined with this new job that involves a lot of working from home, means that I find myself feeling lonely a lot now.

What do I do to pass the lonely evening hours? Drink, of course. I've found myself watching that clock so that when it hits 5pm, I can start drinking. Drunk and lonely... super satisfying.
Not ideal, not healthy.

When my alcohol tolerance and waistline increases, and it's harder to get out of bed in the morning, I know it's time to cut back. I can feel myself spiraling into a pattern that's not good.

I'm determined to re-start some healthy habits.
Which means now I'm sober and lonely.

After depleting my junk food stocks during Harvey-snack-fest 2017, I stocked up on a bunch of healthy foods and have adopted a Whole30-ish diet again. This time, I include beans. Because I love beans and they make me feel good and they're literally a whole food so I don't see a problem.

I started walking around the neighborhood again. It's hot and sweaty and miserable, and the mosquitoes attack almost immediately, but I heard the mosquito truck spray last night and it kinda feels good to get sweaty, even if it has nothing to do with exertion.

Back to measuring out a serving of wine again. Because, you know, it's good for your heart. This time around, though, it's hard to limit myself to 1 glass a night. Because alcohol and misery go together so well.

I even started poking around meetup again. There are not a whole lot of groups that I'm interested in, mostly moms with toddlers and hardcore yoga groups, but I joined a Science Enthusiast group and one for "Multiple Interests and Tastes," which is right up my alley. I also figured now's a good time to stretch my comfort zone. So I joined a Toastmasters group. Have not motivated myself to go to anything yet.

Mk, time to go walk.

02 September 2017

Harvey

Damn, Harvey. We get it. You're a monster of destruction. Over a week since the hurricane hit and Harvey is STILL wreaking fresh havoc all over the Houston area. The word disaster doesn't even begin to cover it.

Our area is in recovery mode, at least the areas where the water has receded to leave behind a soggy, moldy, heartbreaking debris field.

Watching the news, while harrowing enough, does no justice to seeing it in person. Walking down a neighborhood street lined on both sides with tall piles of destruction is shocking. Helping friends with the damage; literally the walls of their homes disintegrated into a muddy mess in my hands. It's surreal, because it's not an isolated situation. It's everywhere. Everyone knows someone who has been affected. If your home is safe and dry in this city, you're the exception.

I know I keep saying it. I'm counting my blessings. Despite all of the factors involved, myself and family, and property, are okay. Neighbors a few doors down have those piles of destruction in their front yards. Somehow, we are the exception.

It's been exceptional watching the outpouring of help in this community. Because at the end of the day, it's just stuff and most are thankful to be physically unharmed. Homes and businesses can be cleaned out and rebuilt.

The damage is overwhelming, and so is the compassion.


20 August 2017

Project Backyard

For some strange reason I chose today, of all hot-as-hell days, to start Project Backyard Cleanup 2017. Maybe something broke and I couldn't stand looking at it anymore.

Let's take a quick trip down memory lane and check out the progress we've made since purchasing the house.

Exhibit A: Unkept jungle. Rat habitat. Messy flowerbeds. Call it what you will. The back corner was a hodgepodge of old tree stumps, vines, and trash. We had to take a chainsaw to a tree that had fallen and had been dragged to rot in the corner. We screamed at bugs when we moved it all out. (The first "we" with the chainsaw was obviously Chris. The second "we" screaming at bugs was all me.)

 

Over the course of several weeks, we managed to clean things up and make them look tidy. Much sweat, a little blood, and a burst of tears (when I once fell over on a rake and hurt myself.)

Exhibit B: Taken maybe 2 years ago? Managed and tidy, if still ugly. Notice how the corner behind the (leaky) birdbath is nice and clean.


This is how that corner looks today*. The jungle had taken over again. In an act of desperation, Chris bought some industrial strength vegetation killer and nuked the whole thing, with the exception of that corner, because I forbade him to kill my gardenia and rosemary.  He even sprayed a little onto the back neighbor's jungle, because it started to climb over the fence and invade our side.

*This is how it looks after hours of tearing out grass, weeds, vines, and discovering a new sinkhole. The rosemary is scraggly and the gardenia didn't even flower this year, because it's so choked.
I didn't take a before picture out of sheer embarrassment. You couldn't even see the fence. I'm afraid to go deep into the actual corner because I'm not sure what's living in it.

Here are the project plans:

I decided to make the flowerbed a lot smaller, and turn the rest of it into grass. It's so big that it can't be kept up and the jungle keeps taking over and it's ugly and probably harboring critters. So the new edge of the flowerbed is to the left of the tree, where I moved the bricks.


Here's where the new flowerbed starts. I chose that spot mostly because there's a raised sprinkler head that would be really weird and annoying in the middle of the yard, but makes sense if it were watering a flowerbed.


My to-do list involves removing all the old bushes and weeds. I've also got to fill the surprise sinkhole*. I'll need to clean out the rest of that scary corner and trim the bay trees and oleander. Next I'll trim and transplant the rosemary and gardenia, which has to wait until winter or I'll likely kill them both. Then next spring I'll need to sod the areas that will turn into grass.

It's a lot of work but here's hoping that this will make things prettier and easier to maintain in the long run.

*When researching how to fill sinkholes, I came across a cute idea to put a time capsule into the sinkhole before filling it. Totally going to do that!

17 August 2017

today

Today I got blessings from the appropriate folks and am officially checked off on the software system we're updating at a bunch of sites in the area. What does that mean? Freedom and usefulness at work! Yay! Which means even though I had not scheduled to visit any customers today, my 'office day' was actually busy. I love it.

Speaking of, I need to do a quick office tour because it's been completely re-done but is still in progress. I dig it in many ways. But it's still in progress. So.

Today I also went to Walmart. I swore off Walmart years ago because I hate it. I literally haven't been in a Walmart in years. The crowds, the long checkout lines... I'm over it. However I needed to pick up some folding stools for my colleague and myself, and no other place had any like it and I wasn't about to pay 6 bucks for shipping. (They're handy when going into customer sites that don't have precious extra chairs or chair real estate.)

Of course, when I was in Walmart with my stools in hand, something caught my eye. I've been looking for a smaller roller bag to fit all my supplies in, because the one I have is too large and bulky to be rolling through labs and it's a pain in the ass. This one, however, is perfect. Small and tidy and fits everything I need. My label maker even fits in the side pocket. I must have looked at a dozen online that I didn't like before I saw this one today. It was fate.

Today I also renewed my library card. Random, but necessary. While I was there I noticed a flyer that says they do 3D printing. Say what? Cool. Now I need to figure out what I need 3D printed. A custom cookie cutter, perhaps?

15 August 2017

tuesday musings

I'm tired. So tired that I wonder if I'm coming down with something. Or maybe just a lot's been going on.

I got pretty travel weary, then I thought I'd have a travel break for a while. Then grandma passed away and it was back to Wisconsin, again. It was a good trip, full of cheese curds and too much drinking with family, listening to records and sharing memories of grandma. I'll miss her. Such a huge amount of genuine loveliness was packed into that tiny woman.

Today marks the first day that I was at a customer site without a chaperone. FINALLY. I'm still not officially signed off because the one who must bless my checkoff is out on PTO but I'm happy to be helping out and I know what I'm doing. I actually did some troubleshooting and fixed a few things in the software and overall it was a success. Baller.

Digging the stitch fix stuff I've been getting. I feel so much more confident when I have to dress professionally now.

My sweet neighbor who watches Pumpkin when I travel just brought over flowers and a card with grandma condolences and visited for a bit and now I'm ready for a shower and bed.

31 July 2017

Isabelle

I keep a couple of her letters in my desk. I'm not an overly sentimental person when it comes to keeping old things but for some reason it has always felt right to hold on to a few of her letters.


Although her body was shutting down, her mind was all there. How must that feel, to be acutely aware of your own mortality? She frankly told us that she was ready to die peacefully in her bed. She said, at 95, she'd had enough of life. It was a bit unnerving, but I mean, I get it. If I was 95 with congestive heart failure, I'd probably be ready to die, too.

When Ashley and I concluded our visit to Wisconsin a few weeks ago, she seemed strong, and in good spirits. That didn't stop her from telling us as we hugged her goodbye, "Take a good look! You won't be seeing me again!"

I'll be damned if she wasn't right. The thing is, I really expected to see her again. I figured she'd hang on for a while longer, even as the disease and drugs gradually shut down her body. I figured it would be more of a process, perhaps because working in healthcare, I've seen that long, slow decline.

Nope. The woman said her goodbyes, took her last communion, made peace with the world, and slipped off to heaven in her sleep, in her own bed. I'm convinced that somehow, she orchestrated this. I gotta give the woman props. She actually died how she said she wanted to. Slow clap for grandma.
 
I know that it's a good thing that her life ended now. It would have been horrible to watch her suffer. I'm thankful that it didn't get to the point that her death would have been a bittersweet relief.

That being said, it's a sad day. She really was a joy to be around. There's so much about her that we don't get to know now. It is a shame that we lived so far away and our visits were not frequent.

It's surreal that she won't be around to teach us anything else. Just a few weeks ago, we learned that Orioles love grape jelly. I'll never hear her tell the story again about the hummingbird who drank the sugar water mixture moments after it was out of the fridge. The stories about going to dances on Friday nights and wringing chickens' necks for dinner. I'll never hear her talk again about all of her 13 brothers and sisters, and how they all died.

I'll miss her sense of humor. She had a sense of humor you'd never expect from such a sweet person. I loved the way she started to chuckle mid-dirty-joke. 

She'll never scold us again about throwing away tin foil. The ancient jars of mincemeat in the basement will eventually be thrown out now.


She is survived by 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren who are going to do amazing things in their lifetimes... and will no doubt share her sense of humor and pass on her passion for the simple beauty in life. What a legacy.

Her ashes will be kept in a green urn with a hummingbird on top. That part makes me smile, because I think it would make her smile.

Rest in peace, grandma.

30 July 2017

clearing out brain space

In the midst of traveling coast to coast and neglecting to record my thoughts (except for on instagram and snapchat), I thought about how counterproductive it is. I mean, this is my outlet. It makes no sense to neglect it. I have often wanted to post while traveling, but I don't feel comfortable logging in on my work laptop. Big brother and all that.

So, a little bit of psychological self care and a big old dump of brain thoughts. Ready set go.

-Adjusting to the lack of a housemate. The hardest part is when I'm going to sleep. I might be a strong, independent woman in the daylight hours, but an incredibly competent gun-wielding man is very reassuring against all of the things that go bump in the night. Plus things like snuggles and general affection are missed. Actively trying NOT to revert to cat lady status. I try to speak to actual people more than the cat, on a daily basis. Meanwhile kitty is enjoying extra pets and attention.

-Work stuff is slowly, glacially, starting to evolve. I have plans to move things along so I can start to be a productive member of the damn team.

-Skin. Yowza. My skin has revolted. The apex of summer has arrived with a full onslaught of pimples. Even though I've managed to avoid a lot of Houston's sweltering summer while traveling... or maybe that's the cause of it? Either way, the dermatologist gave me retinol which seems to make them angrier. Adult acne, yay. The super fun part? It's not just on my face, but on my scalp, back, and booty. Sexy. Also. Did you know they make shampoo with salicylic acid in it? It's an actual thing. That, combined with good old fashioned Head and Shoulders, is working. At least on my scalp.

-Speaking of hormones and how fun they are, my period is over a week late. I'm trying not to freak out because, you know, lack of fallopian tubes... and sperm, for that matter. Still, the paranoia abounds. I gave away all my pregnancy tests in a moment of confidence, and now I wish I had one. But I'm not going to go buy one because of the aforementioned lack of required circumstances, and it's always the case that I get my period literally 5 minutes after I break down and take a pregnancy test that reads "negative." This particular madness is no doubt related to the aforementioned pimple factory. In the meantime I'm wearing all my black underwear and wasting pantyliners. My boobs are extra large though and I'm okay with that. Hormones, yay.

-Got a few projects in the works. Mostly necessary home maintenance... which are mostly backyard upgrades but it's just too horribly hot to work out in the yard. So instead it's mostly couch time (Netflix-- Hart of Dixie and The Ranch), and going out for drinks with friends and family. Not the healthiest habits, BUT I've got a pushup challenge to start in August. I've found myself far too embarrassed at how difficult it is to hoist my (relatively small) suitcase into the overhead bin. Wimpy arms are also not sexy.

-Dentist. Do I EVER need to see one. A filling fell out in April and the tooth is so jagged that I compulsively tongue it and I should really, really see a dentist sooner than later. Also I think that the last dentist I saw filled a lot of "cavities" that didn't really need to be filled. Ugh. I would call her a bitch but she DID prescribe me valium and xanax without a second's hesitation. Not that I liked the valium, and I actually haven't tried the xanax. Speaking of, is it healthier to have a few drinks at the airport bar before a flight, or to take anxiety meds? I haven't decided. A colleague who is uncomfortable flying prefers the meds but the drinks are working for me so far.

-I swear I'm not a drunk, cranky, sweaty, hormonal, pimply mess with great boobs and funky teeth and wimpy arms though. In general my disposition is pretty good and I've got my mental shit together. Getting a bit travel weary, but for the immediate future I should be able to stay in town. Even though next week starts with a trek straight into the medical center first thing in the morning. I do NOT miss that mess. At least now I get paid for the commute.

-Again, it's too unbearably hot to work out the way I usually do- with a walk/run around the block, BUT I've made a point to exercise 30 minutes every day that I travel. Yes, I pack my tennis shoes and workout gear even though it takes up precious luggage space. Since the places I've traveled to have much more moderate climates, I've logged quite a bit of exercise in the last few months. Go, me!

-After trying that Whole 30 diet, I've actually preferred to eat a breakfast that consists of fruit, eggs, and greens. I don't miss waffles or cereal at all. I also find myself choosing to eat lower carb, probably because it's easier to find celiac-friendly travel meals in the form of salads and such and they're naturally lower carb.

-Okay.
Mental health/anxieties/paranoias, check.
Physical health and eating/drinking/exercise habits, check.

I think we're good here.

09 July 2017

got me feeling some kinda way

Trying to be productive over here amongst major adjustments that I never feel ready for.

The world gets tilted when it's travel, travel, travel and I come home, open the door, and things are different. I'm not sure if it made it easier or harder that he packed all his things when I was away.

Admittedly, I expected this to happen under a completely different context. Several scenarios were discussed and before I could come to terms with any of them, my husband is living 8 hours away.
How can four years of military-related absence leave me unprepared for a mere two years of grad school? There was a point where I never thought I'd have to experience that complex set of emotions again, yet here they are.

I'm surprised to find that, even in a wildly different scenario, the same underlying sentiments still swirl under the surface. It's like dejavu. On a basic level, I know how to do this all too well. Suck it up, gather some strength, look on the bright side and embrace the independence. On a complex level, there's still so much tumult and a feeling of loss.

It's this fresh adjustment period that's the worst. I keep noticing empty spaces where objects should be. A few years ago I got deep satisfaction from his shampoo bottles in the shower, and now they're gone again. His side of the closet is now starkly empty. I'm used to sharing my life and my space with him and it's a bit of a shock to find it abruptly gone.

The universe likes to make things happen whether you're ready or not-- but I take comfort in the fact that somehow, things always fall as they should.

10 June 2017

Stitch Fix

I signed up for Stitch Fix because I need help dressing like an adult.

The first few fixes were disappointing, because I initially entered some sizes in my style profile that I thought were right but turns out were inaccurate. There was one whole box that made me look like a bag lady and I returned everything. It was sad but the return process was super easy, even for me who hates anything that is remotely a pain in the ass.

I adjusted the sizes in my profile and since then I love everything. I've really wanted to post about it but who's got time for that? I have a little time this weekend to upload pics and such. Here's what came in the latest one.

It came with:
1 bag (The first few fixes came with shoes but then I requested bags)
2 blouses
1 blazer
1 pair of pants

I asked for a tote that had room for my laptop. I got one in the last fix and I love it. It travels super well and I wanted more. But they've only got one tote in their inventory right now and that's the one they already sent to me! Fortunately my laptop fits in this punchy orange bag they sent instead. Keep!


I didn't specify anything for tops, but my profile says I'm looking for classic, lightweight, dressy pieces for work- bonus if they don't take up much room in a suitcase. These were great. I especially love the blazer because it's one of the few that FITS!


Pants are the hardest thing for me. Most are either too big or they fit in the waist but are baggy in the booty.

I got a pair of pants in the last fix that I was initially super skeptical about. They are pull-on with a faux fly and seemed more like leggings than slacks, but they look surprisingly nice when worn. I loved them so much that I asked for a similar style. These navy blue patterned pants are the same deal and I love them. I noticed the pocket has a discrete zipper closure. So cute!


(See? They make me look like I have a booty)


So that's the latest fix. I'm keeping all the pieces and I can't wait to wear them.

If I get a minute I'll try to post some of the other pieces I've kept. There's some really solid stuff that I get compliments on a lot.

05 June 2017

psych

Last night's vivid dream involved tornadoes. I was in a hotel room with my mom and sisters and a tornado hit, so we hid under the bed and shielded ourselves with a mattress while the twister raged around us. Then, the hotel gave us free breakfast coupons.

In the fridge: cantaloupe, watermelon, cherries, apples, peaches, blueberries, and grapes. I'm basically a fruit hound. But no lemons; the stores have been out. Curses!

I lost my favorite sunglasses. Merp. But in the search for them, I got to make an extended pit stop at Ashley's and play with the boys.

Notable moments: Calvin was making silly faces and when I asked why he was doing that, he replied, "Because Andrew likes it." Sure enough, he made a silly face at Andrew and Andrew started cracking up, hands shoved in his mouth. Soaking up these moments.

Got a ton of weird shit swirling around in my head. Some's been brewing for a while. Actually, most of it. However the time for action may be upon us shortly. Should be brutally fun. Maybe then I'll stop dreaming about monsters and tornadoes.