Sick Take 2 & Project Organization

The flu wiped out my department at work for a week just a month ago.  This week some head cold replaced it and it has taken us down one by one.  I went home at noon on Friday.  It was month-end and I had an AM conference call so I put in an appearance, having worked the two days before just as miserably.  My nose hurt from all the blowing and it was really hard to concentrate.

Having extra time on my hands for the first time in months, I started “Project Organization”.  This projected involved (notice the past tense) redoing our fail filing system so I can not only find what I need but get the paper clutter under control. I had piles strewn throughout the house.  I also wanted to start a home and budget binder.

I went to Office Depot and bought lots of goodies.  I should never be left unattended at a yarn or office supply store.  I tried to stall when DH asked me later how much I spent.  Let me say that every dime was worth it.  I made our files easy to move, since we will buy a house this year (if I state it as a fact it must come true).  So I bough multicolored hanging folders, binders, a labeler, paper, and other misc items for the chores ahead.

Our files are now in two file boxes, divided into color zones.  I will go into details of that in a later post.  I have a few sources I’ll share then to help anyone looking for a simular system.  I didn’t follow just one program and kinda made up my own with inspiration from others.  I also put together my buget binder and a household binder.  I have already advised DH that I’m tracking our finances and he has agreed to provide me the receipts I need.

You see, we have a joint checking and savings account we both contribute to, but we also have personal checking accounts that we use however we please.  This means no fights over the same pool of money.  It works for us and everything is paid upon receipt or is auto-paid out of the joint accounts.  We contribute almost equally and share any surplus.  We are a team, but lately we have been extravagant and I want to protect our nest egg before we do it any more harm.  It will after all fund our new house and renovations.

So a budget we will have!  I had to swallow my perfection and skip over January completely.   I started with February.  I plan on going back to January before the year is over if I find the time.  I will share my binders and the printanles I used and created for each.  As I go I will make modifications and plan on sharing perfected documents instead untested drafts.  I found that many existing printables don’t work well for our house and I had to make those used for my budget needs.

I also started on my TKGA Master Hand Knitting Level 1 project.  I read the directions for the second time and took notes, because I have to make a binder for that too.  I sketched out the sections and printables I will have to make for that.  By next week I hope to have started Swatch #1 research and attempt a cast-on for it.

The first few swatches are really easy, but I want to do this right.  I was telling Polwygle at Knit Me For a Loop what I hope to get from this endeavor and I am now sharing that with you.  Obviously being one of the few to achieve the pin is an honor it itself, but I also have long-term goals for my future in knitting.  I want to design patterns and teach classes.  The TKGA program will do this by teaching me the basics in the way I learn best (self-teaching) by giving me a structured learning plan to complete at my pace.  There are no quizzes or tests, just swatches and projects that require research and detailed reports.  If what I submit passes, I move on.  Otherwise I correct my mistakes, lessons learned, and try again.  It will be a journey, but I’m lookong forward to it.

What are your knitting goals this year?

I’m a Grandma

Last weekend was interesting to say the least.

We got up really early on Saturday to take Bubba to the vet.  He had a 9:30am appointment but they asked us to come in at nine.  I have to say that Simmons Veterinary Hospital is the best place for dogs, ever.  Here is a list of reasons, compiled during our initial visit and then the tour.

  1. We are five minutes away.  Any traffic conditions.
  2. They greeted us like old friends.
  3. Bubba was excited to be there.
  4. They are clean and sterile like a human hospital.
  5. They are open 24/7 for emergencies.
  6. They have daycare.
  7. They have boarding.
  8. They have five parks for the dogs, several with water!  Ponds and lagoons.
  9. They bathe and make your pet smell good after a day of romping.
  10. They took an amazing photo of him for his file.  They printed a copy for us.
  11. They printed a plastic card with his name and immunizations for us to keep.
  12. They trusted us to come back to pay for his annual visit.

So the story is quick, my list covered most of the important things.  There are a few tests pending but Bubba is healthy and happy.  We have decided we will put him in daycare twice a month.  During the weekend so we can run errands without guilt.  He is kenneled during the day while we’re at work.  We feed our snakes every two weeks and so on those weeks Bubba will not have to stay in his kennel as we feed them and clean everyone else’s tanks outs.  

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Bubba and the picture the vet took. Love this!

The lady at the vet who was checking us out was backlogged on something and couldn’t fully check us out.  We had expressed interest in a tour, but the dog wasn’t welcome as it wouldn’t be easy to navigate him around.  So we took Bubba home and paid for his visit when we returned a few minutes later.  We passed through the medical portion and past the surgery suite.  There were isolated kennels for dogs with contagious infections.  A post op area.  Then we crossed through another room and past the next door were the kennels.  I believe there were 100 in all.  These were very nice, inside and air conditioned.  One even had a television!  They have three walls and a fancy gate.  No fighting between the bars, just seeing the neighbor across the way.

They named the hallways for streets and each room has it’s own name.  It is a neighborhood of kennels.  We arrived during feeding time and it was very orderly.  Each kennel is labeled for the dog and has the appropriate medicines and documentation outside of each in a mailbox.  Dogs do not wear personal collars and each is assigned a color-coded collar with their data printed onto it.  Waterproof, like those bracelets you get at parties and events.  We went through another door and into another kennel section, it was just like you’d expect at the pound.  Past that we came outdoors and toured the five parks they use to exercise the dogs.  We were impressed with the way they clean everything and sterilize those that can be.  From kennels to the turf they have in the parks.  Happy dogs everywhere.

Tour over we made our way home and relaxed for a few.  I wandered into the kitchen and saw something that didn’t register at first.  Morticia was in her stump hidey and I saw white lumps all over!  She had laid some eggs!  I was shocked but not really surprised.  We knew this male and female had lived together at their previous home and that is why we took them home.  We had prepared ourselves mentally for the eventuality of a clutch.  Immediately DH called Wild Cargo Pets and spoke to the owner.  DH had seen an incubator there weeks ago and it was still there.  We put Bubba up and drove over.
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We had already planned on traveling to the store that day, because our large retail boa Odin was going to them to find a home.  He was just too big for us and a pain to take out of his tank to feed.  Not aggressive, Odin was a sweet giant.  Heavy and active.  We ended up leave Odin home and thankfully so.  We arrived to find a kind gentleman, we’ll call him Frank.  He had had a snake wrapped around his arm that he’d brought from home with his four small kids, one in a stroller.  The snake wasn’t eating and he wanted to talk to the store’s owner about possible solutions.  DH mentioned Odin and Frank expressed interest and wanted to know for how much. DH wasn’t looking to make anything and wanted the new owner to be someone who’d take care of his needs.  So it was a free exchange.

DH collected Frank’s information while I shopped.  We needed new substrate for the balls because we are moving them into Odin’s bigger tank.  I also needed sand for the beardies because it is easier to clean their lunch out of it and they like it too.  We are going to set up the balls old tank for the beardies, because we have the sides covered with shelf paper for privacy and glare reduction.  Then we’ll clean the beardie’s tank and wrap it in shelf paper and set it up for the uromastyx.  This way all creatures will have three walls and less glare from all the lights and other exhibits.  We plan on using Onyxia’s smaller tank (we moved her into Loki’s tank with newly found Nefarian when we found Loki a new home last week) for feeding the ball pythons so I still need to sterilize that.  The one tank we’ll have leftover will be just that.  In case we need to isolate someone for sickness and also for the new beardies!  How awesome to have this leftover tank just when we needed it most.  So I’ll start setting that up so it is ready in time.

We had to make a trip to Home Depot to  buy vermiculite.  It is a lightweight substance used in gardening and apparently is the best medium for egg hatching.  We finally made it home with rats and crickets in tow because it was feeding time for our zoo.  I released the crickets and fed them.  DH fed the balls and I set up the incubator.  I got the eggs in the incubator and setup a secondary thermometer to monitor the temperature inside the Tupperware.  It was advised that we put the eggs on the medium in a Tupperware inside the incubator.  We have finally got it set to a good temperature.  The incubator is at 89 degrees and the Tupperware is at 83 degrees.  Bearded dragon eggs need 80-85 degrees to hatch.  The hotter the sooner they hatch, the cooler the later.  The temperature also determines sex.  Which I find incredibly cool!!  I’m trying to stay in the average so it could go either way.
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This is only the first clutch.  We got 14 eggs and so far all of them look good.  She could lay one to two more clutches.  The later ones may not be fertile, apparently she will have stored the sperm needed for this already and will lay her clutches regardless if they are fertilized or not.  The eggs will be yellow if unfertilized and white if they are.  All 14 are white, so I’m hopeful.  I have to baste the medium under the eggs a few times a day to keep the humidity around 50%.  We probably don’t need the incubator because South Florida weather is perfectly suited for this.  Not taking any chances on my first clutch!

A few hours later after all of this excitement, DH went to Frank’s house to drop off Odin.  He picked me up on the way home to check out a reptile store a few miles south of us that we’d never been to.  Turns out I had a few years ago but long forgot about it.  We were obsessed with their grapevine selection and snagged a piece that cost $50.  Expensive for a piece of decorative wood but the picture does this justice.  It is a rare find of it’s kind.  The rest of the decor was cool and they even had venomous snakes!  Definitely a store to visit a lot in the future.  DH made an order for a special hidey for the balls and we stopped for dinner and went home.

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Bubba checking it out.

Sunday DH let me sleep until noon.  It was really bad because I had lost an entire day on Saturday and still needed to finish laundry.  The house needed cleaning too but that is something that can be done during the week.  We need clean clothes, a clean house can wait.  I fed the lizards and made him breakfast.  Took Bubba outside and got dressed.  We hung out for a few hours until the late afternoon and I was hungry.  So we decided to go to Taco Bell, but he needed to pump gas first.  When he came back to the car, I’d had a thought that the place down the street that sold garden stuff might have shale rock like the kind decorating the gas station for the bearded dragons.  So we drove there and lo and behold they had WOOD.  I wish I’d taken a picture of the crate of wood they had but my phone was charging at home completely dead.  The pictures of what we bought should suffice.  We spent a little more than we paid for that one piece we bought the night before.

I can only imagine that everyone at the store thought we were crazy.  I mean we were excited as though we’d just discovered a lost civilization.  When they told us the wood was $2.75 a pound we took weight into consideration as it was relative to the piece’s size.  We bought 25 pounds of wood and walked away like we’d robbed a bank.  If we were to buy that at the pet store it’d cost well over $300 or more.  They sell this stuff for premium prices and we got one large piece for six dollars because it was light!  Easily would have paid thirty or more in store.

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Doesn't look exciting, but I can't wait to put it together.

So we finally drove to get our foods and went home to unload our treasure find and eat noms.  The rest of the evening was just us playing World of Warcraft and me folding clothes.  We had a guild LFR run tonight to help gear up a few guildies and alts.  It was fun, lasted a few hours.  I’m now sitting here talking to you.  I always like to write my posts out while the weekend is fresh in my mind and upload it later after I’ve had a chance to add pictures.  This way I can tell the whole story without being distracted by uploads and picture edits.  A less stressful way to blog.

Lolita Dreams

Lolita is the color of yarn. Sweet Dreams is the pattern.

Just a few picture updates. I haven’t knit on this in a few weeks. I should be able to work on it sometime this week off and on.







Clickity Clack Woof Ruff

Polly over at Knit Me For a Loop has challenged me to be her partner on a very exciting venture.  We are going to participate in TKGA Master Hand Knitting Program©.

This is something I’ve wanted to achieve for over a year and never prioritized.  I’ve already acquired the instructions and started reviewing to ensure I understand the entire course.  We’ll start sometime in the next month or so after we’ve had the time to physically and mentally prepare.

We will have to knit 17 swatches of various stitches and one project.  I’m under the impression that Knit Picks® Bare yarn line is acceptable to use for this program.  It appears I can knit the mittens in color so I plan on using colors I’d wear for the project piece.  I haven’t decided and won’t finalize my choices until I review the yarn guidelines of course.

I’m embarrassed to say that I still don’t have updated pictures of the shawl in progress just yet, but hopefully later this week I’ll take a few and post again next weekend.

I do have a bit of news.  My mom needed to find a home for her Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog, Bubba.  She pulled this dog from the mother and I nursed him back to health after a big parvo scare.  We lost one puppy in the litter to the disease and saved two.  The remaining pups had already been sold.  He has always been my big puppy.  For record purposes, he was born March 25, 2011.

NBK's BOCEPHUS "Bubba" (FG's Adonis x FG's Raven)

Bubba (Front) & Indie (Back) = Brother and Sister + Best Friends picture taken April 7, 2011

NBK’s BOCEPHUS “Bubba” (FG’s Adonis x FG’s Raven)
NBK’s INDIGO “Indie” (FG’s Adonis x FG’s Raven)

Saturday morning, my mother drove up with Bubba and goodies in tow.  We’d planned on taking him last weekend but things didn’t work out as planned.  A few hundred dollars later to buy all the food and collars and other items we needed to prepare our house for him and he is happily settled.

Bubba on May 7, 2013

Bubba on May 7, 2013

We still have to schedule a vet visit for him to be checked out.  Thankfully we have one around the corner so traveling is easy.  I’ve also been advised that he gets his annual shots in January, so that is something we need to do for sure.  He has also been on heartworm medication for a year in addition to flea/tick drops monthly.  He has been extremely well taken care of provided for and so we’re very thankful to not only have a loveable and well trained dog but a healthy one.

He has taken to our various lizards and snakes.  He sniffs around the bottom of their stands and is barely of a height to reach them unless he puts his paws up.  He hasn’t bothered them thus far and I don’t anticipate any issues.  We have him setup with his kennel in the spare bedroom, complete with a nightlight.

Bubba on  May 7, 2013

Bubba on May 7, 2013

Our plan is to block that room with a baby gate and allow him to sleep in there, kennel door open, at night.  I wouldn’t mind him sleeping in our room if I could ensure he stays away from the laundry.  He will be kenneled while we’re at work.  I’ll walk him in the AM and DH will walk him in the PM.  In the evenings I like to sit outside and relax, so we put an anchor into the ground that allows us to tie him out with a 25 foot lead since we don’t have a fenced yard.  This way he can play and roam safely and I don’t have to worry about him chasing a duck across the lake!

I’ll take pictures of my ventures this week and post them with a quick caption.  I need to take more pictures and I might as well blog here with them because I’m not much of a facebook user.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend and have a great week everyone!

Bubba on Jan 17, 2015

Bubba on Jan 17, 2015

In Progress

I’ve made some progress on the shawl I’m working on. I’d post pictures but I’m sitting in a chair at the salon waiting for my color to develop. I’m going burgundy red and added a lot of layers to the cut so I have some volume.

My hair is naturally curly. Spirals. It took me a long time and many mistakes before I learned to take care of it. Curly hair specialists are far and few and I’m lucky that the closest one is near my job. If this one didn’t exist, I’d have to drive over an hour to another county.

I’m bored and left my knitting in the car and my husband took that to go get his hair cut. So I decided to write in my blog since I have nothing else to do.

So far we have managed to stay true to healthier eating. It just so happened that DH was hospitalized on New Year’s Eve and so this makes it appear as a resolution but it isn’t. He needs to eat better and lose weight. I’m cooking healthier and making him a packed lunch with snacks so he can eat without having to worry about the healthy choices.

Since I’m already making him salads for lunch, I make one for myself too. I dislike many lettuces but its my way of being there for him and I could stand to lose a few inches myself. I use a mixture if greens, spinach is my fav. I mix in a lean protein with cucumbers and tomatoes for me, peppers and onions for him. I cook chicken with a vegetable for dinner and make him egg white omelets the morning.

It has only been a week but it is working. I make the salads at night because my mornings are busy with the animals and getting them fed for the day.

Happy New Year

We rang in the new year with a bang. DH was hospitalized with chest pain Tuesday night. We also had gunfire in our neighborhood during New Year’s celebrations.

I’ll start by stating that DH is fine. He couldn’t sleep Monday night and complained about shortness of breath and a weight on his chest. He had a weird EKG at the Urgent Care clinic and they sent him straight to the nearest ER. We were out of the ER quickly and they did another EKG before assigning him to a room in the ER.

They admitted him for observation and testing. There was no place for me to sleep so I went home. I couldn’t sleep and finally closed my eyes around 3 am or so. I was up early and got to the hospital by 9 am. He saw a cardiologist and had an electrocardiogram. His triglycerides were bad and his bad cholesterol was in the safe zone but high in it. They released him in the early afternoon on New Year’s Eve and we went to bed early that night around 6 pm. Neither of us had slept good the night before and we were exhausted.

Fireworks woke me up at midnight, I know because I looked at the time on my phone. It was really loud and I couldn’t go back to sleep for a while. I heard the pops and bangs and the sound of fireworks exploding.

I also heard what I thought was glass breaking, but my dreary mind blamed it on the bearded dragons scratching on their glass. Turns out I was wrong.

DH was up before me and we only noticed the broken glass on the sliding glass door when I was making breakfast. I thought someone’s firework went off wrong and hit it. Turns out it was some idiot across the lake celebrating with their firearm.

We called the police to file a report and
They found two more bullet holes, one in our grill and the other in a satellite dish. We were lucky with the grill because it just missed the propane tank. We don’t use the satellite because we have cable.

DH will follow up with a cardiologist and do a stress test. He got meds for cholesterol and is feeling better. I don’t expect to hear from the police about our report but stranger things have happened.

We remain positive and are thankful no one was hurt. It had been a rough few days but we are alive and well with healthy New Year’s resolutions in mind. I plan on knitting more and cooking healthier. This year we will buy a house and I look forward to whatever 2015 has to offer.









Habits

I really do have the best blog thoughts while brushing my teeth.  It happened again tonight!  I was just standing there furiously scrubbing my teeth and my mind wandered. 

Sadly brushing your teeth prevents you from recording anything for later use and I often forget these brilliant ideas by the time I remember I had one.  I have what is called a very short term memory.  I am great at memorization by using mind tricks to make retaining the data easier.  Usually by associating that memory with another item so that one helps you remember or relate to the other.  Sadly this takes time and sometimes repetition to stick forever.  My mind wanders too much and too fast for any memorization techniques to take effect.

So I chanted “face” in my mind until I had a chance to sit down and write to you.  I even took a detour by pouring myself some cereal and chatting with DH.  I sat on the couch and watched the last 10 minutes of a show I started earlier, washed my bowl, and came here for the promised weekly post.

I may be a few days late on this post, but at least I’m here and that is better than my blog abandonment for the past months. Look ahead and not behind I say.

Onto the topic at hand…

I am lacking in habits and I’m really trying to fix that.  This is what I was thinking during my ‘inspiration’ time.  You see, I always have the best intentions but I never follow any routine for too long and my hard work goes to waste. 

Case in point.  I forget to wash my face one night and the next morning it looks like a minefield! This usually occurs because I was wearing make-up on one of the rare occasions I deem worthy of such preparation.  I know better and yet I do it again and again. 

So I thought out a game plan to force myself into such routines.  I would document the journey with pictures.   Maybe not to always show off but to have so I retain the motivation during and after. 

This thought lead to others and I started to make a list in my head of the things I want to add to my daily routines.  Since this blog is mine and I can do whatever I want with it, I figured I could use it to keep track of these goals and sometimes report results *cough* failures to you.

1. Wash my face every morning and night.  This includes extra diligence during the weekends because I cheat a lot on those. 
2. Apply lotion daily.  I do this this a few times a week but I sometimes don’t do it for weeks.  I have dry skin and I want to take better care of my largest organ.
3. Kinda with #2 but I want to track it separately.  I want to take better care of my hands and nails.  I have only recently experience strong natural nails with pervect cuticles.  A big part of this is moisturizing but also filing daily.  It also means I need to stop biting my cuticles.  I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again.

I’m going to leave the list at that.  For now.  It takes thirty days to create a habit and this list will keep me busy for three! I’m sure I’ll come up with more in the meantime.