Monday, December 31, 2007

Arizona

We decided to take a mini vacation between Christmas and New Years since both of us were off work. We hadn't taken a vacation together in forever (or at least a couple of years)! Arizona is different enough that we felt like it really was a getaway, even though it was a short trip.

We (truthfully me) did not get off to a good start. We got a bit of a late start because I didn't get up early enough. Then, I managed to forget my wallet so I didn't have any ID or credit cards with me. Normally, A does all the driving, but still, I felt very insecure without my wallet. Later, I discovered I brought the wrong contact lens solution and I didn't bring any extra bras so I have no idea was I was (not) thinking when I packed.

Our first stop was Casa Grande. I recommend taking the guided tour. The volunteer docents are so enthusiastic about the site. One of my favorite stories is that for as long as Casa Grande stands or until the Hohokam return, a pair of Great Horned owls will remain at Casa Grande. We were told that the owls have been there from at least the 1920s. While I don't want Casa Grande to be destroyed, I also don't want the owls to leave. They were quite a sight to see.
Our next stop was the Tucson Botanical Gardens. They currently have a tropical butterfly exhibit. We just love seeing these.
This is probably the third or fourth butterfly exhibit we've seen. I never tire of them.

We had a mundane Japanese dinner the first night and a terrific Mexican meal the second night. The first was selected by the intriguing name from the GPS. The second was from the restaurant list the hotel gave us, plus, the parking was full when we drove by the night before which we took as a good sign. There were several cars in the parking lot even though it was early (before 5:00). At first, we were the only non-Spanish speaking customers. We were a little taken aback by the menu. We knew it was a Mexican seafood restaurant by the name, Mariscos Chihuahua. But I guess the picture of the shrimp on the restaurant sign should have been a strong indicator. There weren't any appetizers or entrees that didn't have seafood. Good thing we were in the mood for seafood, lol. I was a bit surprised by the assortment of hot sauces plus ketchup on the table. Why ketchup? And, were the dishes not hot enough on their own?

A ordered garlic shrimp and I ordered shrimp in chili sauce. I was assured it wasn't hot, just flavorful. Guess that was why all the sauces were on the table. Look at this plate: french fries, rice, and tortillas. I was in carb heaven! Oh yeah, and the shrimp, too many to count. Guess I shouldn't forget about the shrimp since they were supposed to be the stars on the dish. They were tasty, but a bit too spicy for my tastes. I still managed to finish off most of the dish.After Tucson, we headed north to visit a friend. On the way, we passed an outlet mall. Too bad I didn't spot it sooner because if I had, I would have made A stop. You know how I love outlet shopping. We had a nice visit with E and he choose a Chinese restaurant for dinner, which I smilingly agreed to with some trepidation. Hmmm, no Chinese descriptions on the menu and no chopsticks on the table. Not a good sign. Still, the food was hot and filling and tasty, though all the sauces were too sweet. There was enough food for us to stuff ourselves and for E to take leftovers home for another big meal. I'm not sure if it was the food or the temperature or what, but A and I suffered from some digestional distress the next day. Hmmm, reminds me of Thanksgiving, though this wasn't as bad.

Arizona was beautiful in a deserty sort of way, but the weather? Brrrrrrr!!! My poor skin was dying (and still is). I used up a whole (small hotel) bottle of lotion and it still wasn't enough. All in all, it was nice to get away, even if I do feel like a lizard at the moment.

More on Christmas

Recognize these boxes? They are leftover Harry and David gift boxes. We received a couple of gifts from vendors (though nothing as huge as we used to receive) and I just couldn't let the boxes go to waste (though the contents went to various waists, lol). Yeah, "packrat al" strikes again. Fortunately, all the boxes stack inside each other so they won't take up much room.

We spent Christmas with A's family and his brother's in-laws. For the past few years, we've spent it with my side, so this was a bit different. Traditions in his family are now non-existent since his mom passed away. (Or maybe we haven't had enough time to establish new ones?) And in my family, they've evolved or devolved, depending on how you look at it. Since Uncle T passed away, I just couldn't bear to spend it with my family and not have him there so I decided it would be better to spend it down here. As it turns out, my family was in several places due to Auntie M's passing so it was just as well I stayed down here.

We brought over cholesterol specials from thepioneerwomancooks.com. The olive bread was a bit too salty and I think we chopped the olives up a bit too fine since we used a food processor instead of hand chopping. But still, it was tasty. As were the bacon appetizers. Now you know we had to go out and buy all the ingredients for that, lol. They were surprisingly tasty. You can see them here in all their fatty goodness.

It was fun to see little G tear open his and everyone else's presents. He didn't quite get that they weren't all for him, especially since he was allowed to open his sisters' presents also. He's definitely got the oohing and ahhing part down. As soon as he tore into a gift, but before it was even recognizable, he'd cry out, Look at that, Wow!!! And before anyone had a chance to admire the gift, he'd be off to open the next one, lol. Next year should be even more interesting since the twins will be almost two, still a little young to understand what's going on, but old enough to get into everything.

In the past, we had gotten gifts for the in-laws' in-laws (got that?) since we were all opening gifts together. But this year, we thought they were opening gifts at someone else's house, plus there was the rumor that they weren't exchanging gifts. Well, we were surprised that everyone was opening gifts and that there were extra gifts for us. Opps!

Plus, we were a little embarrassed by the generosity of everyone. Not that we cheaped out, but we were more conservative than last year. I know Christmas isn't a tit for tat, but still, we were a bit overwhelmed by our gifts. Really, the best gift of all would be having all of A's family together for a holiday. But I don't see that happening any year soon.

We went to Target yesterday to check out the after Christmas clearances. Anything Christmas-themed is now 75% off. There were a few things left that I wanted, like some large gift bags, but I'm waiting until they're 90% off, lol. A says they'll be gone by then, to which I say, no problem, I didn't really need them anyways. I also didn't need the decorated As that I bought, but I couldn't resist.

I hope your Christmas was wonderful and full of love and joy! Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Playing catch up

We just got back from a little vacation to AZ and I'm so far behind everything. Need to unpack, need to do laundry, need to go grocery shopping. Why is coming back from vacation such a chore, lol?

I just checked Google Reader and I've got 35 blog posts to catch up on (and that's just the blogs that I've put on there. There's another dozen or so that I check sporadically). I still need to post about Christmas, Auntie M's funeral, and gasp! China. Sigh. Someday I'll be caught up.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A very scrappy Christmas

Santa baby (yep, that's how the tags were signed) brought me lots of scrapping gifts and a tee shirt. Most of these, I knew about since we bought the Cricut (an electronic die cutting machine) together and he showed me the tee shirt in the catalog and I loved the saying. I bought a couple more Cricut cartridges and figured that was it. But the box was awfully heavy and large for the cartridges and tee shirt. It turns out Santa A bought me a cordless Ott light, woo hoo! Perfect for taking to crops. I guess he figured out that I wouldn't buy myself one because I didn't need it. Okay, I know you're thinking I didn't need the Cricut either, but I do have a daylight lamp already, just not cordless. So it was a nice surprise. And I can hardly wait to wear the tee shirt to work.

I think that A was more excited about the calculator I bought him than his big gift (Rosetta Stone Spanish software). Oh well.

On a more discouraging note, I weighed myself this morning and my weight is back up to what it was in September. Could have something to do with me eating nonstop for seven hours yesterday, lol. Plus a huge dinner the night before. Plus all the goodies we had at work for a couple of weeks. A and I both want to lose the extra weight we gained, so hopefully, we can motivate each other.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas cards

Have you finished sending yours out? Or do you not send Christmas cards? This year was a um, semi-half assed effort since I did not write a Christmas letter nor include a photo, although I did write a little something in every card and even a letter in some. I wanted to let some people know about the highs (going to China) and lows (Uncle T's passing) of the year.

Last year, I purchased several boxes of 50%/75%/90% off cards so I don't need to restock after Christmas this year. Though if I do find some I like at 90% off, I'll pick them up. But I need to change my card buying strategy. I really need to pick up two boxes of each style (not always easy to do on clearance) because I like sending everyone the same card. This year, I ran out of cards so I had to open a second box. Now I'll be all confused next year (not really, since I put little notes in the boxes, but you know what I mean). Each year, I select the cards I want to use based on my mood. Some years, I like elegant. This year, I went for humorous.

Then there's the dilemma of who to keep and who to cut. My list is pretty constant, all of A's aunts/uncles, a few on my side, scrapbooking friends, a few childhood friends, a few work friends. I decided to cut one friend off the list since I hadn't received a card in a couple of years, plus she hasn't returned any of my phone calls for a year. Yep, I figured I could take the hint. But low and behold, a card from her this year. Guess she's getting back on the list for another year. We'll re-evaluate if she doesn't call me at all this year. On the other hand, if I keep cutting people off the list, I can stick with the one card box per year strategy, lol.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

More drama or is it trauma?

I had gotten two phone calls informing me of my aunt's passing, so I feel somewhat special that people felt the need to tell me. But then, one of the calls was from my uncle (my mom's brother, not the widower); he asked me to write something about my aunt. I was a little taken aback since I had seen my aunt maybe three times in the past 20 years. We weren't exactly close. I tried to demur, but Mr. Stubborn wouldn't take no for an answer. Unfortunately, he couldn't really explain what he wanted. I finally got the impression that this would go into a program or handout. So, I wrote a draft (with lots of blanks) and then talked to my mom to get more details. Came up with something I thought was appropriate, and gave it to A to read. Guess it wasn't my greatest work because he was a little hesitant. I told it was meant to be read, not read out loud. It "sounded" better to him then. You know, because writing a speech is different from writing a written piece. This morning, I dropped the sheet off at my cousin's because she's flying up tomorrow and could get it to my uncle faster than USPS. Then I called my uncle to let him know it was ready. It turns out, someone was going to read what I wrote. Who that someone would be, he couldn't tell me. I lost it then. I told him that first of all, I didn't feel it was appropriate for him to ask me to write something, but I did it anyway. Second, he didn't explain what he wanted so what I wrote wasn't appropriate. Third, if he was speaking, and two of my cousins were speaking, what the heck did he need more speeches for? Yes, I understand that he's stressed and sad. Yes, I know he's been very helpful to my uncle, the widower. But I really don't appreciate him adding stress to my life. So what I wrote is going in the trash (not really, it is going into my family files)

For more drama/trauma, I have been agonizing whether or not to fly up. On the one hand, probably no one expects me to go. On the other hand, I want to go to support my mom and show my respect for my uncle (the widower). A volunteered to drive up, but then, that would be a lot of driving, we'd have to get a hotel ($$$), we'd be tired. We decided it would be better if I flew up alone. But then, there wasn't any place for me to stay. Finally, I decided to fly up the day of the funeral and leave that evening. It is going to be a long day. When my mom heard I was coming up, she immediately called and said not to. I'm soooo upset now. You know how moms talk to you in that tone of voice, the "oh honey, don't do that" tone of voice. Damn it, it is my decision to make! Here I am trying to be supportive and you're shooting me down. Sigh, damned if you and damned if you don't.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sad news

My mom called tonight and I knew it wouldn't be good news. She called to let me know that my Auntie M passed away earlier today. We're all worried about my Uncle B. They were married for over 50 years. They don't have kids, but other members of the family will be helping out. You know, like with the funeral arrangements, and staying with him so he won't be alone. There are already plans for a get together in February. I still don't know what I'm going to do.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Difficult decision

I've been getting updates about my aunt in San Francisco and the news isn't good. Basically, she's getting liquids via IV for comfort, but nothing else. I suspect it will be less than a week before she goes.

So now the decision part. Should I go up for the funeral? A and I have plans for a mini vacation. Is vacation more important than showing support for the family (which is what I think funerals are for)? Usually, I would say not. But we haven't taken a vacation in two years. I know A would understand, but I would feel terrible canceling.

If I do go to the funeral, it would be to support my mom. A little to support my uncle. But really, if I hadn't gone to China this year, I wouldn't have seen my aunt and uncle. Before this, I hadn't seen them since my wedding, oh so many years ago. So I probably wouldn't have even considered going (except to support my mom). I'm all torn up over this. I hate having to make these kinds of decisions.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cardstock craziness

Lifetime Moments is clearancing out their 8.5x11 Bazzill cardstock. If you hurry, there's still a few sheets left (very few). I myself lost my mind and purchased over 200 sheets, it might be closer to 300 sheets. Hey, it was all 50% off (because of how much I purchased). Plus I was so close to free shipping, it was better to spend more to save the minimum $9, probably more, in shipping. Plus, most of it was free since I won a GC. How's that for lots of justification. I have noooooo idea where in the heck I'm going to put all of this. I really don't have room for it, sigh. So if you need any letter-size cardstock (perfect for cards), you know where to find me.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

We've got an appetizer baking in the oven, then we need to pack up the car with gifts and more food for the drive over to M&C's. It will be a small gathering tonight, only our side of the family (which I will enjoy). Tomorrow, there will be twice as many people with C's side there also. Should be interesting with a 3 year old, the twins, and a newborn. I'm looking forward to all the kid time.

Thus far, it has been our easiest Christmas. The timing was right so I wasn't too stressed out for work. We're not going out of town. Shopping was easy. I got almost all my cards out (still looking for a few addresses ).

I'm especially thrilled with the gifts I got for A. His big gift came to the office a couple weeks ago and I bought his little gift on the way home on Friday. He took care of his dad and brothers (without too much prompting) and we even got a couple extra things for people. My side of the family decided to not exchange gifts, which worked out for the best since we were all running around with the funeral plans and such. Shipped gifts would have probably ended up on empty doorsteps which would have been bad.

Well, A's loading up the car and I need to finish getting ready. Merry Christmas and hope Santa's good to you this year!

Coupon fun and frustration

Did my usual Sunday grocery shopping this morning, but had to go by myself because A was working. On the one hand, I like shopping by myself because I can wander up and down each aisle looking for unadvertised specials and combine them with coupons. On the other hand, I can't watch the cashier because I'm too busy unloading the cart, so it is difficult for me to check prices (more on that later).

I'm still debating which store to shop at. I used to go to the one down the street (less than two miles), but they are always running out of the advertised specials because it is such a popular location. But then they opened a branch less than half a mile away so I started shopping there. Much quieter, but smaller and not quite as large a selection. For example, today I went to the larger store and they had several items I could not find at the smaller store. On the other hand, the smaller store is in my city so my tax dollars would benefit me more (not that I spend that much, see below, lol).

Today, I spent $33.38; coupon savings was $23 (woo hoo!) and some change. Of course, I had my grocery store club card or the total would have been another $30 more. Ridiculous, isn't it? Yeah, some people don't like giving up their personal info. If so, sign up and give a fake name/address. But then, you wouldn't get the extra coupons in the mail which saved me $5 today. So yeah, you wanna help me save money? I've give you my name and address. (I used to be much more careful about that stuff, but with computers and the internet being what it is today, I figure privacy is a lost cause.)

I scored huge in the meat dept. There were a bunch of markdowns for meat with sell-by dates for next week. Since I'll cook most of it today, no problem. Chicken thighs for 65 cents/pound. Ground beef (yeah, it was the high fat version, but oh well) for 99 cents/pound. But my best score was cornish game hens. It was an advertised special, and I had a coupon so two hens cost me 13 cents! And since they were already frozen, I just stuck them in the freezer for later. I still have to make another trip to the a different store since I refuse to buy vegetables at their outrageous prices.

Back to my frustration at the checkout. I should have checked my recipt while I was there, but I had a cart full of groceries (even though I originally had four items on my shopping list, lol) and there was a huge line. Turns out, I was overcharged $2.50 on the clearance vitamins I bought. That's a lot! Plus, it is the principle of it all. So I will be making a trip to the grocery store tomorrow after work (it is literally on the way home). And I'll pick up another pack of cornish game hens. I've already made room in the freezer, lol.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Japanese spaghetti and meatballs

No, I'm not talking about the Japanese-style spaghetti you get in Japan or Little Tokyo. I'm talking about the yummy dinner A made last night. We had some leftover sauce from this oddly named recipe, which tasted like soy sauce chicken. A bought some ground turkey and made healthy meatballs with oatmeal and flax seed for filler. Then he cooked up some udon noodles and added the leftover sauce. Add in some steamed asparagus and yum! Hope he continues with this cooking trend; he's cooked three nights this week already!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Old technology to the rescue

We're one of the few people on the planet without cable, satellite, fiber optics, or some other form of television besides the regular ol' network stations. My bil just called to ask us to tape "Heros" since his satellite is out. Of course, this means he'll have to dust off and hook up his old VHS machine to watch the tape, lol.

It's December


Can you believe that it's December already? So what's going on with my roses? I usually trim them back after Christmas. But I'm getting lots of new growth right now. On all of the bushes, front and back yard. Crazy isn't it? Hmmmmm, global warming anyone?

Haven't started Christmas cards. Still need to decide if we'll do photos. I bought Santa hats last year on clearance and A agreed that we could do a photo shoot with them. Now, just to remind him of that.

Still have lots of Christmas shopping to do. Bought A a really great gift (at least I think it is great, lol). Spent a LOT more than I usually do. Good thing we cut back on other people, lol.

Actually, we don't spend that much at Christmas. People talk about spending hundreds of dollars on their kids. On the one hand, I am shocked. If they took that money every year and put it into a 529 account for their kids, think of the gain on the kid's college fund. On the other hand, if you bought them a computer, that's way more than a couple hundred bucks. How much do kids really need anyway? Do they really have to have the latest gaming console, and new clothes from American Eagle, and an iPod, plus stocking stuffers? Yeah, just call me Scrooge.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Domestication

I'm no Martha Stewart, though I put forth some domestic effort this weekend. Made chicken soup with matzo balls yesterday. Took some over to bil's today. They're all sick so I thought sil might not feel like cooking, plus isn't chicken soup the universal cure all?

At bil's, the girls were bawling their heads off. Poor kids were over tired, with stuffed up noses. Finally, we took C out of the crib in the hopes that E would fall asleep. Little C's nose started running and she was fussy, but I didn't mind. There will come a time when the girls won't want to be held so I need to enjoy this while I can. C fell asleep in my arms, sooo sweet!

Did a bit of Christmas shopping. Only got one present out of the way; A really wasn't interested in shopping. :(

Then for dinner tonight, I tried a new recipe. It was a variation of soy sauce chicken. A liked it so I think it will go into the rotation. Then I tried a new muffin recipe. Another hit. I told A not to expect this every weekend, lol. I'm definitely better on the cooking front than the cleaning front, though I've been putting some effort into that also.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Talk about cruel

On the way home, A went to the grocery store. Since we were gone for Thanksgiving, our fridge was pretty bare. I had asked him to pick up bananas and apples since he usually has a banana at breakfast and I had eaten half an apple without losing it. Safe foods, right? Since last night's disaster, I figured a modifed BRAT diet was the way to go. Of course, he couldn't resist and brought home a pie and just asked me to bake it. Ummmmm, isn't that rather cruel since I can't eat pie right now? Plus he bought ice cream so he could have it a la mode. He had taquitos for lunch, which I love and also couldn't eat. Which part of I can't eat much doesn't he get? And why does he have to eat all these yummy things in front of me?

Typos galore

Considering what I do for a living, it is embarrassing how many typos are in my posts here and on the various message boards I frequent. Yes, I try to do a preview so I can catch them, but you know what they say--it is easier to proofread someone else's words than your own. What does it matter really, that I have typos? I wonder if people will think that English isn't my first language. Or that I'm stupid. Or that I'm not good at my job (I'm very good at my job, by the way).

I don't think that message board posts should be held to the same standard as my professional life, though I do try to maintain a polite, but fun tone in my posts. No "shouting," no put downs, no political statements. But I try not to be boring. I want my personality to shine through. After all, if you're reading this, you must be somewhat interested in me, lol.

Progress

I had half of an apple this morning and so far so good (even though my stomach has been making horrible noises). I'm making jook aka rice porridge for lunch. Should have made it yesterday, but didn't feel like it. I was foolishly optimistic last night and had some xiao long bao (dumplings) for dinner. My stomach was gurgling so loud, A could hear it across the room. How embarrassing! But still, I was optimistic that I'd be able to go to work today. Unfortunately, I was up several times in the middle of the night, which caused me to oversleep and thus missed my carpool partner.

After more self-diagnosis and research online, I decided I do have food poisoning and not the flu. Who knows? Since I am slowly getting better, I decided to skip the doctor and hope that rest and light foods will get me back on my feet. Mom says to drink tea, honey water, and avoid fats. Cousin says to drink whiskey honey water and avoid cold foods. Online says to avoid caffeine and alcohol and diary. Me, I'm just happy if something stays in my system for more than a few minutes (or hours if I'm lucky).

This is my first (as far as I know) bout of food poisoning. I've got a pretty tough stomach and also have a sensitive nose and taste buds when it comes to off flavors. I'm much more likely than A to toss food or detect moldy cheese or the like so I think I'm pretty good at avoiding spoiled foods. I have no idea what could have caused this since everything I ate was also consumed by several other people. Guess I was just the (un)lucky one.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

So why haven't I lost any weight?

Yesterday, I had a cup of coffee, half a Luna bar, a few sips of a milkshake, and some water. And none of it stayed in me. Today I had a bit of oatmeal, which didn't stay in me. Though the half cup of broth did. Along with half a package of ramen. Considering how many calories I've consumed (and lost), shouldn't I weigh less? I figure I should get something for my pain these past two days.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thankful for

Family, especially A since he had to put up with me on the long drive home, friends, food. I'm thankful for a safe drive to and from visiting family for Thanksgiving. But I'm not thankful for the flu. I thought I had food poisoning, which I'm sure you can imagine made for an uncomfortable drive home. I slept almost the whole ride home. Had some water, half a Luna bar (and neither stayed in my system for long). But now I think I've got the flu. I'm feeling quite miserable at the moment.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Two left hands

That's what it looks like I have based on my dishwashing gloves. Sometimes it is three left hands. Somehow, the right gloves always get a hole, tear, or somehow wear out before the left gloves. So I always have an abundance of left gloves, at least until I get frustrated and throw them out.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Help me spend some (SB) money

Can you believe I'm asking? My favorite online scrapbook store is having a sale with free shipping (over $20, but that's way too easy to do), plus I have a gift certificate to spend there. Unfortunately, a lot of what I want is out of stock. Even though my wish list a mile long, I still haven't come up with $20 of stuff to buy. Guess I'm not in a buying mood.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A la Victoria Beckham


I'm still getting used to it. It is weird shampooing my hair because there isn't a lot of hair to lather. How do guys wash their hair? Also, my neck is always cold so I've taken to wearing scarves again.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Free rice

Check out this website. It is a fun way to test your vocabulary and get rice donated to the UN World Food Program. Each time you get a word wrong, the vocabulary level drops by one. If you get three right in a row, the vocabulary level increases by one. So it is really easy to drop levels, but not so easy to go up.

What I find surprising is I'm getting so many words correct. If you asked me to define, use the word in a sentence, or even pronounce the words, I couldn't do any of that for even half of them. What the heck does pellucid or homburg mean? Yet, by calculated guesswork, I'm getting most of them right.

In less than 24 hours, I've donated a few thousand grains of rice. :)

A little variety please

As I noted a few days ago, I made shepard's pie on Sunday. On Monday, A baked a meatloaf freezer dinner. Hmmmm, ground beef two days in a row? Then last night we had hot dogs. Yet another form of ground up meat. A little variety please! What about some chicken? shrimp? or even no meat? I guess I shouldn't' complain since A fixed dinner two nights in a row. But he just doesn't get that I need more variety since I bring leftovers for lunch. I had shepard's pie for lunch Monday and Tuesday. Can you tell I'm getting a little tired of meat and potatoes? Good thing I'm working offsite today so I'll have something different for lunch. It will be catered and I'm pretty sure shepard's pie and meatloaf are not standard on catering menus, lol.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Back to cooking

After a hiatus from cooking, I'm getting back into the swing of things. A is thrilled with the freezer dinners, but I'm not. But if it gets him to "cook" (throw the foil pan in the oven), that's one less dinner I have to plan.

So to combat that (and save $), I've gotta get back to cooking. Tonight's dinner wasn't totally from scratch, but I had a bunch of stuff to use up so I had to be creative. I had leftover gravy in the fridge, plus 10 lbs of potatoes. What does that sound like to you? To me, that sounds like shepard's pie. Browned a pound of ground beef with chopped onions. Added a pound of frozen mixed veggies and the gravy. Cooked up half the potatoes and mashed them (still have some left and will make corn potato chowder with it). Should have made the mashed potatoes a little drier, but still, the dish was tasty. And relatively cheap. We each had a huge serving, I made two lunches, and we've got enough for another dinner, if not two.

Had a bunch of apples and pears that were gonna go bad so made a crisp. It was a little too sweet and A thought the oatmeal in the topping was a little too raw, but not bad for making it up. On the other hand, anything with one and a half sticks of butter and one and a quarter cup of sugar has got to taste good, right?

Friday, November 02, 2007

Make and Take Freezer Dinners, take 2

Last Saturday, I did one of those freezer dinner things again. This time, I was by myself since A had to help his dad. It took me just over 2 hours to prepare 10 dinners. I went to Dinner My Way again since I had a coupon for their $199 special (12 entrees for $199). Now you're say, but wait, you just said that you prepared 10 dinners, what happened to the other two? This leads me to my tips for using these places.

First, don't go on the last day of the menu. There's a good chance that some of the ingredients aren't fresh or that they may even run out of ingredients. That's why I said I prepared 10 meals. Meal 11, she ran out of ingredients, but had one frozen already. That was okay with me. Meal 12, I thought the chicken had freezer burn so I asked for something else. She didn't have any more chicken for that dish so she gave me another meal that had been prepared. And, I didn't have to make the sauce for one dish because she had extras frozen. If I didn't have all that, I probably would have been there another 15-20 minutes.

Second, prepare the most complicated dishes first. You're not as tired and it is easier to follow the directions.

Third, it helps to have a large cooler (or two) to bring the food home in.

Fourth, before you go make these dinners, clear out at least two shelves in your freezer. I filled two freezer shelves and half a fridge shelf.

We're averaging 5 servings per meal. Not too bad, but still, more than what we'd spend on our own. It has been nice to not have to do any prep work though.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Blah, halloween

My carpooler was anxious to leave work on time so she could get home for the trick or treaters. Me, I was just happy to get home. A cooked dinner (yahoo!) and we're vegging in front of the TV.

The porch and kitchen lights are out, the universal sign for "don't ring the doorbell," lol. We did have one kid knock and ring, but hopefully, she'll be the only one.

So, in celebration of tonight, Happy Halloween, even if I am a humbug.

Monday, October 29, 2007

$3.09

In keeping with our bad luck of buying gas when price rise, I bought gas today at $3.09. Seven cents more than yesterday. Ouch!

Tag!

One of my fellow LMers/bloggers decided to torture me again and tagged me (B, just kidding! love ya!). Here are the rules (and you know I love rules, if only so I know what rules I'm breaking, lol):

1-Link to your tagger (see above), and also post these rules on your blog. (done!)

2-Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird. (see below)

3-Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs. (yeah right)

4- Let them know they are TAGGED by leaving a comment on their blog. (see 3 above)

Seven facts, you want me to think that hard?!!?!

1. I considering getting rid of worm bin and just having compost bins.
2. I'm obsessed with saving money.
3. I hate getting my hands dirty.
4. I love fried foods.
5. I hate these tagging things.
6. I don't shower every day.
7. I never wanted to have a career and I now I do.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

How do you count your savings?

I was talking to a friend about this and I find our different methods of calculating interesting. When I talk about what I save, I do really mean what I save, the dollars that come out of my paycheck and go into a savings account. (I'm saying I, but really, I'm talking about what A and I both save.) She also counts interest and company match on 401K. Since I have no control over those things, I don't count them. My method is easier for me because I can say I put $XXX into my health savings account and $XXX into my 401K and $XXX into saving and each of those numbers is a certain percentage of my income, if I wanted to calculate it that way. I'm not sure how to calculate the interest since that varies. 401K is easy to calculate since I know what the company match is. Anyway, in case you can't tell, we've got a little healthy competition going on as to who can save more. For quite a while, I was "winning." But since her DH makes about 3X what A makes (that's just a guess), she's pulled ahead.

No LM crop for me

In my never-ending quest to be organized, I was going through my e-mail and deleting ones I didn't need any more. I have a folder named LM crop and it contains all the e-mails from the 2004 and a few from the 2006 crop. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, for 2006, there was a crop forum on the message board so there aren't that many e-mails from then. I'm glad I saved the 2004 e-mails because they brought back so many fun memories. I'll have to print them out and put them in that album (yep, still working on that one).

As for 2007, it just wasn't meant to be. I really thought about it. I had a free ticket I could use. If I had committed to going in the summer, we could have pulled it off. But then, the China trip came along, work was crazy, and $$ was an issue (as usual). So, no crop this year for me. Now that it is so close, I'm really bummed. I'm glad that it isn't being discussed much on the boards since that would make me even more bummed. But I hope people will talk about it afterwards. I wanna know what I missed.

Friday, October 26, 2007

What to write

I have so many thoughts it's tough to sort them out. I could talk about how "poor" I am (again) or about the terrible Southern California wildfires or more thoughts on Uncle T or vent about work or my contacts or write about a million other things. Don't know why I'm so tired. Still have that darn cough. Wish I was visiting with S and C.

I'm off to read Harry Potter and drink some tea for a little relaxation.

Friday, October 19, 2007

We have crickets working for us

One nice surprise when I got home from China was our new garage door. Well, it really wasn't a surprise since the door/opener has been sitting in our garage for over a year until A finally got around to putting them up (I could post a page-long vent about that, but I won't). Our old door was an old-fashioned wooden door and I was always afraid the door would collapse on my car as I drove in/out of the garage. This was not an unfounded fear since each of the door springs has broken over time and the replacements did not inspire confidence in me.

The garage is sooooo much lighter now since this door has windows. It is so smooth and quiet. Not totally quiet since it sounds like little crickets chirping when the door opens/closes. So cute!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

So tired

Understandably, I think. Not sleeping too well. Went to see FIL last night. A went this morning and his brother was there most of the day. So far, he's gotten six units of blood. I have no idea how much blood is in one of those drip bags. But six units sure seems like a lot.

I do have lots of ideas for more interesting posts (instead of ill family members) and I also wanna get scrapping again. Hopefully soon.

Monday, October 15, 2007

I do not have a black cloud over my head

But that's what people are saying about me. :( So the latest is that my FIL is in ICU. Now this is the one that is really getting to me. All my aunties? Not much I could do. I am more worried about my mom and how she was doing with both of her sisters being seriously ill. But my FIL, that hits close to home, both emotionally and physically. My FIL lives close by. Poor A was so stressed when he called me at work to let me know. Thank goodness his other brother is already on his way down here for a visit. He'll be down here tomorrow night and we should have more info on dad then.

On a positive note, my cousin called to give me an (overly) optimistic update on my aunt and my uncle in SF called me to let me know his wife came home today and to think me for the China photos I sent.

Still, now we both cringe when the phone rings.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The magic number

I hit the magic number last week, for three days! Woo hoo! What the heck am I talking about? My weight, silly. I wanted to hit that number before I left for China, but I didn't. Then, while traveling I figured I would gain weight since I was eating three big meals a day, much more than I normally eat. In fact, mom gained weight her first week! I dunno, maybe stress, maybe it is that time of the month, but whatever the reason, I know at my "advanced" age, I can still hit the magic number. Now, if only I could stay at this weight. That's my new goal for now.

Actually, I was wondering I could hit my pre-wedding weight (which is about 10% less than what I weigh now). I used to try on my Chinese wedding dress on my anniversary to see if I could still wear it. And I could, for several years. Don't remember when I stopped trying it on. That might a little extreme. But I'm thinking about it.

And it continues

Talked to my mom today. Now I have bad news from the other side of the family. An aunt was driving her cats to the vet and totaled her car. She was in the hospital for a few days, but is home now. From what I heard, I think she'll be okay, thank goodness.

And work has its ups and downs. Not thrilled to be working 12 hours days again. A's not thrilled either. I'm still sick, but still getting better.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

My phone is ringing off the hook...

and it isn't good news. I've been getting updates about my aunt (in SF) from my cousin, which is good since she's a nurse and can ask the doctor lots of questions and help translate the answers for me. My aunt's surgery was yesterday and unfortunately, they could not remove the tumor. Right now, they're giving her 6 months to a year to live.

Tonight, I get a call from my brother, asking if I have my cousin's cell #. He doesn't tell me why he needs it and seems a bit hesitant so I don't press him. Unfortunately, no, but I know someone who does. After I get the number, I call him back (at Uncle J's), but by then, he's already on the road with my mom (she's finally going home!). Of course, now I get to worry about my brother driving for hours on the road (taking my mom home and then he'll drive back home and go to work tomorrow morning). And do you think I could get him to call me or send me an e-mail to let me know he's okay, of course not!

The reason he wanted my cousin's cell # was so they could get an update on Uncle B (husband of my aunt above). It turns out that Uncle B fell in the elevator today and was in the emergency room. So between calling to get updates, getting phone numbers, returning calls, my ear is sore and I haven't gotten anything done. Plus I still have to call my mom tonight.

So if bad things come in threes, I hope this was the third, and last item.

On a more amusing note, A asked me how many people I talked to (since I lost track of how many phone calls) and it was seven (cousin's DH, cousin 1, cousin 2, Uncle J, Auntie M, my brother, my mom). And if the phone line hadn't been tied up, with all these phone calls, I probably would have talked to another cousin.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

China photos

I've been plesantly surprised and pleased at all the comments I've received regarding my China photos (send me an e-mail if you want a link). Surprised because they were taken with a point-and-shoot camera, not a DSLR. Surprised because the photos/subject matter doesn't seem extraordinary to me. Surprised because so many people were surprised at how primative China still is. Pleased because even though I was using a point-and-shoot camera and my contacts were bothering me the whole time I was in China, I think I managed to get some good shots. Pleased because I put a lot of effort into the commentary. Pleased because people took the time to thank me for the photos. Thank you!

Cough, hack, cough

It sounds like I've got it really bad this time. I managed to stay healthy during the entire China trip, but got sick as soon as I got home. It's been a week now, and I'm tired of coughing and sneezing. Since I woke up today with more congestion than ever, I'm staying home in the hopes of knocking out this cold. I'm gonna dose myself with vitamins and herbal tea and hope they do the trick.

Debating whether or not I should go to the doctor. I hate going to the doctor. The truth is, I won't go to the doctor unless I absolutely have to because I think it is a waste of money for someone to tell me I have a viral infection and to just let it run its course. But I always worry that it might be something serious, like walking pneumonia, or something I can't cure with OTC meds. I'm sure the worrying doesn't help. But that's how I am. I think I'll give it a couple more days and hope the extra sleep, vitamins, and rest cure me.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Guess I overdid it

Since I've come down with a full-fledged cold. I did go back to work early, partly because we are so short-handed at the moment and partly because I wanted to save my vacation time because my aunts are ill (more on that later). I was surprised and pleased and worried that the first four people I saw all said, "Thank goodness you came back early!" Though there wasn't that much for me to do except go through the 462 e-mails I got while I was out.

I was pretty tired and had a bit of a sore throat. It also took three days for my ears to clear. Or maybe it was the beginning of my cold. My throat is better now, but I'm soooooo tired. I took a two and a half hour nap today. Probably could have slept longer, but I asked A to wake me up after an hour, so he did, but then told me to go back to sleep. He went out to get some dinner and I finally got up to eat. Hope I can fall asleep tonight.

Missed a baby shower today and bunco tonight. Would have missed them anyways if I came back on my original schedule. Ah well.

As for my soap opera life, I think that people wouldn't believe it. A few days before we left for China, my aunt had brain surgery. We went to see her a few hours before we left for the airport and she wasn't doing so well. Unfortunately, we didn't get any news about her while we were in China so my mom was a bit worried. But we did find out that my other aunt (in San Francisco) was going to have surgery the next week, which was a shock to us. Hence part of my urgency to come home early.

As it turns out, my aunt went to the hospital early to prep her for surgery. They needed to stabilize her fluids and blood sugar because she wasn't healthy enough for the surgery as is. My uncle is still in China because he couldn't change his flight. Now I wish I had dragged him to the airport with me and he could have come home early. But he wasn't ready to leave. Since he's 89 years old, he wouldn't be able to "camp out" at the airport by himself, like my mom and I were prepared to do (thank goodness we didn't have to). Yep, I've got stress in my life.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Home Sweet Home

Yahoo! I'm finally home! Did ya miss me? Did ya even notice I was gone? For those of you out of the loop, I went to China with my mom and some other relatives. We visited her childhood home, saw a tiny bit of Hong Kong/Macau, and then spent a week on Hainan island (China) with other relatives. Add in more travel time for me (had to fly to Sacramento and get Mom before heading out to San Francisco Int'l airport) and I was gone for just over two weeks.

We were originally scheduled to come back on Friday (after a 3 day post-China extension in Hong Kong), but Mom developed the "China hack," probably because of being tired, the air pollution, the smoking, and the weather. It was hot and humid, but the hotels and restaurants were cold so all that temperature change didn't help. Also, it was impossible to regulate the temperature in the hotel rooms, it was almost always too cold or too hot. If we turned the air off, the humidity was unbearable, but with the air on, it got too cold. While in China, we desperately tried to change our flight, but no such luck. The airline said they were overbooked and wouldn't even put our names on a waiting list.

So since we were going to be in HK anyways, I decided our best bet would be to camp out at the airport until they put us on a waiting list. As it turns out, we didn't have to resort to such drastic measures. Here's how my day went.

  • Left the hotel in Haikou (Hainan Island) at 6:15 am to catch the 8:50 flight.
  • Had security question me about my contact lens solution (the same solution in the same baggie that went from OC to SFO to HK to Haikou). Had no idea what the guy was saying. My aunt also didn't understand him. Two other security guys were like, why are you questioning her and waved us on.
  • Flew to Hong Kong. Went through immigration, picked up our luggage, then promptly turned around and went upstairs to Departures to find the Cathay Pacific counter.
  • Contrary to what we were told over the phone, the flight still had open seats and the wonderfully kind agent got me an aisle seat with Mom next to me. It was done quickly and easily and best of all, no flight change fee.
  • We had five hours before our flight so we decided to just walk around the airport for a while. We could have gone into HK, but we just weren't up to it. I tried calling the hotel to cancel our reservation, but that was a joke. Couldn't find an internet cafe without a huge line.
  • Decided to go to the boarding gate, which involved passing through immigration/security and then taking a train to the boarding area. Forgot to take my camera out of my pocket, so had to get wanded.
  • Found a free computer/telephone center sponsored by a local telecommunications company and e-mailed the hotel to cancel my HK rooms, my brother so he could pick us up from the airport, and my honey.
  • Didn't trust the e-mail to the hotel so found an HK phone number and called hotels.com. The poor girl (I assume she was in India) didn't know how to cancel my reservation because it had been made online by someone other than me so I got transferred back to the US to a wonderful agent (Joye, I love you!), who couldn't hear half the things I was saying (and vice versa) because of our lousy connection, was patient and helpful and cancelled my reservation no problem, tried to get the hotel to waive their cancellation policy (billing me for one night because I was cancelling too late)-no such luck, and said she'd send me some sort of vouchers to use on a future booking. Such a relief to know I wouldn't have to pay for three nights I wasn't using.
  • Bought a cup of tea to drink on the plane, but didn't realize I'd have to go through another security check by the airlines so it was taken away.
  • Had the child from heck sitting behind us. Threw a tantrum the first 45 minutes so the flight. Either cried or kicked our chairs for most of the flight. Had a huge person sitting in front of me, who reclined his seat all the way for most of the flight. Was unable to sleep more than an hour or two. But we were coming home, which was really all that matter.
  • Thank goodness my brother read his e-mail and was waiting for us at the airport (so I didn't have to deal with Super Shuttle or Bart or a taxi and yet more expense). Went to my aunt's (the one scheduled for surgery next week). She looks awful, but was so happy to see us. Had my first upset stomach of the trip, maybe from lack of sleep? Called the airline and was able to change my flight home.
  • Went out to dinner, but finally had to rush everyone so I could catch my flight.
  • Got to the airport 40 minutes before the flight took off. Cutting it a little close, but since it was late, the airport wasn't busy and I got through check-in and security in 15 minutes.
Right now, I'm suffering from the worse case of jetlag I've ever had. Still deciding if I should go to work tomorrow or not. I'm just so happy to be home.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I need more memory

I'm terribly afraid I'm forgetting something for my trip and I won't be able to buy a replacement. But what do I really need other than my glasses, contact lenses/solutions, a good pair of walking shoes, and a credit card? Do I need the 35 lbs of stuff I've packed so far?

A and I got into a little tiff (no, not TIF, lol) about memory cards. He bought me a 1GB card and we had a 128MB card sitting around. The camera came with a 16MB card, which is good for like, 5 photos at the highest resolution. (A little aside, Panasonic now has 16GB cards! I remember when memory was like $2/MB and we were thrilled to get a 48MB card for $70-it included a card reader too!) I was a little irritated when he suggested bringing that 16MB card. Like I really want to hassle with switching cards for 5 photos. I'd rather just delete some.

I mentioned to him a few times that I wasn't sure I had enough memory since I tend to take lots of photos. When I was into taking photos (back in the film days), I'd carry two cameras (or at least two lenses), and swap my film as needed (bw, ISO). I'd take a roll or more a day when I was someplace scenic or I was trying to be artsy (someday, I'll show you my chair series). Right now, I've got enough memory to take 24 photos a day at the next to highest setting. I hate that I'm feeling inhibited, that I can't take photos at the highest setting. Granted, this is just a point and shoot camera, but still, I've got a good eye. I'm pretty sure I can still get some great photos. (yes, yes, I know I could have just gone out and bought a memory card; the point is, A didn't think I needed more memory even after I explained it to him and he's the one who usually buys the electronics.)

So tomorrow morning, we're gonna go out and buy another memory card. Nothing like waiting until the last minute. Thank goodness for Target.

I'm gonna miss

While on my trip (I just can't call it a vacation), I'm going to miss

Waking to coffee (A makes coffee for us every morning)
Wasting time surfing the web
The fall season premieres
Target
Calling friends on my cell phone
E-mail
Last, but certainly not least, my honey

Friday, September 14, 2007

Blogging etiquette

Or should that be blogging netiquette? maybe that's redundant? In any case, when someone comments on my blog, am I supposed to comment back, even if just to say thanks? If someone asks a question, of course I try to answer. But otherwise, am I supposed to thank people for their comments? Maybe if I did, I'd get more, lol.

I've seen both practices and have no idea which is "correct."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Woo hoo!

I won! I won! What did I win? A $100 gc to my favorite scrapbook store! They have something called Scrapfest a couple times a year and I've participated in every one. This is the first year I only got the minimum # of points, but that didn't matter. That was enough for one entry and that was enough to win something. And not just a little something, but a big something. There was only prize that was bigger. This is a wonderful cap to a relatively awful summer. It made me so happy!

I have no idea what I'm going to buy. I do have an extra long wish list there, but it doesn't have a lot of new stuff on it. Then there the Memory Trends tradeshow next week which may show more new stuff, then the show in January and, and, and...it is never ending, lol.

Self-medicating

I was self-medicating for a health problem for the past week or so. I spent a bit of time online researching and also a lot of time running to different stores to get what I needed. I was definitely showing improvement, but not quite cured. Since I'm leaving for my trip in a couple of days, I finally decided to go to the doctor. I hate going to the doctor. I hate waiting. I hate getting the EOBs and being annoyed at how much my copay is. My prescriptions were over $50, and that was for the generic versions. Obviously, they weren't on Target's $4 generic list (too bad). The doctor's visit will probably be $60, $40 if I'm lucky. A keeps telling me that we have the money to pay for health care, but I keep thinking that if I just had a little more time, I could have cured myself with natural remedies that cost less.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Ugg, spending more money

One thing I always calculate into travel costs in extras like clothes and toiletries. I didn't do too bad in the clothing department. I got a pair of shorts for $4 and a skirt for $8 on clearance. Too bad I couldn't find any pants or shoes.

Today I spent a ton on OTC meds, you know, just in case. Stuff like bug spray, itch cream (mosquitoes love me), and cold medicine. I'm still debating on buying Immodium. Never took it before, never had the need too. It's ridiculous. I've got almost a gallon baggie full of stuff. Yes, I've read that you can buy most anything you need in China/HK, but do I really want to be looking for a drug store when I don't feel well?

The biggest expense was a new digital camera. I'm still trying to figure out how it works. My old digital didn't have as many bells and whistles and I think it took better photos. Oh well, gotta move with the times. That 5 second lag between pressing the shutter button and having the photo taken was just too long.

Also bought a new suitcase. I tried, but there was no way I could fit everything into a carry on. Besides, it would have been over the weight limit for the airline.

I'm running out of time. But I guess that means I'm running out of time to spend money, lol.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

In a couple of weeks...

I'll be in China. Before you say, oh wow, or cool! or have fun! take note that I have no desire to go, that I think it will be a horrible trip. So why am I going? Because my mom asked me to accompany her. Considering how many things she's asked of me, how could I say no? Other than my mom, I'm not thrilled with the people we're going with (yes, they are relatives). It has been nothing but a headache with the visa, trying to get info out of the planners, trying to get everything done at work before I go (yep, 10-12 hour days are the norm now). My mom had problems getting her passport and bad me, was hoping it wouldn't get resolved in time. No such luck.

So I'm resigned to going. Kicking and screaming. Wish me luck with keeping my temper in check.

Monday, September 03, 2007

No wonder I feel poor

Several months ago, I talked A into tracking our income/expenses again. We did this a few years ago and it is interesting to compare what we spend now versus then. At first, we were going to track money for three months, then six months. I figured six months was good, especially since our six months included Christmas, the months we paid property tax, and the month I recieved my work bonus. So it gave us a more realistic overview. But now that we've done this for nine months, might as well go for a whole year right?

Some months we're better at tracking than others. Some things we're better at tracking than others. Like A always forgets to put in the lottery tickets and Sunday paper. I've forgotten to put in my paycheck a couple of times. Even so, I can't figure out why we're several thousand dollars in the red. I mean, we're paying all the bills so we must have the money, right? I know we've had some unexpected expenses, like my upcoming trip (more on that in another post). A's car habit. That came out of savings. Our savings acct. is smaller, but not as small as that red amount.

You know, I'm pretty good with math. Took a year of college calculus. Took college statistics. Unfortunately, I don't remember any of it. Plus, I never understood math theory. Most mathamatics is rather instinctive to me, in that I'll know if an answer is right or wrong, but I can't figure out why. Maybe that's why I can't figure out why we're in the red. Okay, just had a thought. Maybe I needed to "seed" my tracking by including my savings at the beginning of all of this? I'll have to think about this some more.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

My latest "go to" meal

You know how people have those good ol' standbys, a meal that is easy to fix and the ingredients are always on hand. Since it has been so hot, I've been having milk and cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (not all on the same day, of course). I guess it is relatively healthy since I'm eating high-fiber cereal, low-fat milk, and I always add fresh fruit (usually a banana). Can you tell this heat is really getting to me?

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Small, Medium, or Large (again)

After spending a significant amount of time shopping online and returning most of the purchases, I decided to take advantage of the Labor Day sales and labor over the sales, lol. As usual, I was totally frustrated with the inconsistencies in sizes. I tried on a size 6 skirt and it was loose. I tried on size 10 pants and they were tight. I tried on a medium top and it fit nicely, but was too low cut and I tried on a small in a similar style and it was falling off of my shoulders.

I bought the skirt anyways since it was so cute and I'm at my skinniest in a year so I need room to grow (or for the skirt to shrink). I finally used my Kohls giftcard from two? three? Christmases ago. Can you tell I don't like Kohls? I wouldn't have bought the skirt except it was free to me.

I know men don't have it this bad when trying on clothes. Forget all this making a woman feel good about the clothes she's buying by relabling a size 12 into a size 6. You're not fooling anyone. Basically, you're making people like me--normal, everyday people--frustrated and we're gonna shop less, not more. It isn't like I work in a business where I need to impress people; otherwise I'd feel even more pressure. Ah well, my coworkers better get used to seeing me in the same thing they've been seeing the past couple years because my wardrobe isn't getting updated any time soon.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Four eyes...

Yep, I wear glasses, more correctly, I wear contact lenses. Went to a new doctor at the practice I've been going to for years and he recommended switching to a different brand of contacts. They would be better for my eyes. Okay, but now, the problem was and is my prescription keeps changing. Oh yeah, and I had bifocal contacts and have hated them for the past year, but the doctor thought he could fix my prescription so they would work for me.

The first pair, while technically the correct prescription were waaay overpowered. I couldn't focus on anything less than 3-4 feet away. Had to wear reading glasses to cook, otherwise I might miss and chop a finger off. The next pair, couldn't see distance that well. Better than with the "original" contacts, but still not well enough for my liking. (And yes, still correct enough that I was legal and not a menace on the road.) After two tries with the bifocal lens, we've gone back to single vision lens. But again, I'm having trouble focusing close up and also mid distances. I'm back to reading glasses, though I can function without them. He's saying I might not ever be able to get back to what my vision was two years ago due to my age. Great, A says the same thing. Getting older sucks!

To add another twist to the mix, I wasn't supposed to use my current lens solution, which I've been using for years--like 15 or 20 years--with these new contacts. Did I mention I don't like change? On top of that, the lens solution he recommended was impossible to find. I went to every drug store in the area and called a bunch of others. I searched online and couldn't find it either. A few reviewer sites said it was difficult to find. No shit! Finally, I decided to buy some from the company website (I thought was very odd for them to sell directly to customers). Turns out, I waited too long because the company has decided to stop manufacturing it due to low sales of RGP lens (Rigid Gas Permeable lens). Guess everyone is going to soft lens. So last week when I picked up my latest lens, I told the optometrist that and he gave me all the rest of the bottles of the solution so I don't have to mess with yet another solution while we're figuring out the contact lens.

So this has been a torturous month and a half. Did I mention that I spend most of my work day reading? It has been hell. And the doctor thinks it could take a couple of months before my eyes settle down. I am not a happy camper. But if all this puts me in a lower powered prescription and also helps my eyes get healthier, I guess it is worth it.

It is so d@mn hot!

The powers that be are happy that is a holiday weekend, since that means a lot of people will be out of town or outside and therefore put less strain on the power grid. Since we don't have air conditioning, I guess we're already doing our part to help, lol.

Haven't been sleeping well due to the heat. Then there's the stress of work. Oh, and A is out of town and that always makes me nervous; I hate being by myself (though I'm more efficient when I'm by myself). I'll be so thankful when he's back home.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The good, the bad, the ugly

Let's start with the ugly. I stubbed my toe and now I have a blood blister. Ouch! The bad, I had a really tiring day at work. Struggled with a bunch of files. Sent e-mails to people who didn't read them. Still working on a "simple" update. Won't be done with it until next week. In the meantime, my other work is suffering.

The good, my carpooler cheered me up on the way home so I wasn't a b*tch when I got home. The bad, we didn't leave the office early enough to catch the free drawing at the farmers market. The funny, the farmers market moved and we didn't know it. The bad, the farmers market moved a few miles away instead of literally on our way home so we won't be going any more.

The good, my $600 worth of sandals from Zappos arrived. The bad, none the sandald fit that well so I'll be returning all of them. The good, free returns at Zappos, yahoo

The bad, I got an offer for some contract work but I had to turn it down.

The good, I got a package with my sister. Yahoo! Whew, glad I did this. I feel better.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Has anyone seen my blue flip flops?

How does one lose a pair of shoes? I did misplace them last year when I left them in an outer pocket of my duffle bag; I hardly ever use those pockets so I forgot I packed them there. And I did bury them under a pile of laundry for a couple of days. But this time, it has been a few weeks. I really miss my flip flops. These aren't your run-of-the-mill cheapie flip-flops. These have arch support and a toe guard and have nice cloth straps. Oh where oh where could they be?

Update
I found 'em. In the duffle bag. Like last time. Can I blame A? He's the one who put the duffle bag away without checking the pockets (maybe he was tired of seeing the bag in the hallway?). Lest you think I'm the only one to do this stuff, I was digging through all our luggage and found two of his tee shirts and a belt in another suitcase. Somehow, I think this means we have too much stuff.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Odd (and sad) dream

Last night, I had the oddest dream. I can't remember where I was, but I was with my family, mostly the older generation (it reminded me of the family reunion I went to this summer). Uncle T was there, and he was dead, but he didn't know he was dead. So we all had to be careful what we said to him because we didn't want him to know he was dead.

I hardly ever dream about people and even more rarely about those who have passed. And never so soon after they've left. I'm a little weirded out by the dream, but I'm mostly sad.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Busy day

We did our usual Saturday morning errands (bank, credit union, 7-11 to buy a newspaper, post office), plus an added stop for me to pick my new contacts (still not happy with them, did I tell you the story about 'em? can't remember).

Then we got a bit of culture. Went to the local musuem since an exhibit I wanted to see is closing this week. Nothing like cutting it close, lol. But it turns out, the gem and mummy exhibits were soooo much more interesting. Loved seeing all the beautiful gems, outlandlish jewelry, and beautiful scultures. Found the mummy exhibit to be very interesting, but cut that visit short because all the dead talk started giving me the heebee jeebees. Stuff like that usually doesn't affect me. Maybe I'm getting more sensitive in my old age.

We ended up buying a membership to the museum. Basically, if we see one more special exhibit, we'll break even. Go twice more and we're ahead. So it looks like we'll be getting more culture in the next year, lol.

Later, I'm gonna help with the kids while the guys go out and bond or something like that.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Sara

If you're interesting in learning a little more about Sara, my sister's sil, here's a link about her and her cancer fight: Sara.

This is so sad, so shocking. Less than a week after being diagnosed, she's in the hospital getting chemotherapy. I'm so thankful she has a strong support system. Poor Jake and Gracie (her little ones) must be so confused.

I'm so tired

My manager was gone for just over a week and every day, there was a new "emergency" to deal with. I had someone e-mailing me or calling me or standing at my desk at least once a day, if not three or four times a day. Such fun. Not! Then we had someone leave so I had to take over half her job. Thank goodness, there was someone else in the office to take over the other half. Obviously, I didn't have time to do any of my regular work.

He's been back a couple of days, but I'm still cleaning up the "emergencies" and trying to catch up. He's still trying to catch up his e-mails. Hopefully, we'll have a replacement soon for the person who left. Hopefully, I'll have time next week to edit the three hundred plus pages sitting on my desk. And update the five manuals I volunteered for since we're short staffed (by two people). And finish up the emergencies (can't forget those). Sigh.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Scrapbook GDA

I need to tell you about my latest scrapping deals. We were at a shopping center that happened to have Micheals. A was patient and didn't mind me taking a bit of time to shop. They had a bunch of stuff at 90% off the marked price so that's where I spent all my time. I got a scrapbook DVD and a Cuttlebug die cut for about a dollar (total) and gave them to my cousin who's interested in scrapbooking/cardmaking (she has a Cuttlebug). I also picked up a few other scrapbook goodies for myself.

Then yesterday, I was at Big Lots and they had a quite a bit of KI stuff. I love KI! Score! But I was good and just picked up a few things. Yep, will power at work, lol.

Update
We went back to Big Lots today to return one item, but went to a different Big Lots. Yep, I ended up buying a few more things. So much for will power, lol. I bought a stack of paper for $2. I guess A does know how much scrapbook paper costs because he asked how many sheets were in the pack. I told him 25. He said wow, that's really cheap per sheet. I told him he should be glad I bought just one pack since there were other papers I liked. But that if I were to use just one or two sheets, the cost per sheet was too high. Of course, I'd share my extras, but really, 23 extra sheets of paper is overkill. I learned that from all the paper I bought at the Lil Davis clearance sale a couple years ago. I'm still clearing some of that stuff out.

If you are the praying type...

please pray for Sara. She is my sister's SIL and was just diagnosed with lymphoma. While I have never met Sara in person, I feel like I know her from all the wonderful tales from my sister. In fact, one year when I was cleaning out part of my Tupperware collection, I told my sister to take anything she thought Sara might want. That's how hightly I thought of her. (Maybe you have to know me and my Tupperware obsession to understand.)

Sara has been a great source of support for my sister, who is far from the rest of her family. Sara and her DH have two children; one is an infant, less than two months old. When I hear terrible news like this, I want to shake my fist at God and cry why?!!? But since I believe in the power of prayer, I instead ask for your help. Please keep Sara and her family in your thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

I need organizational help

I try and I try and I try and I just can't seem to get organized. I can't believe I'm admitting this in public. Guess I should delete this post before I send out my resume, just in case a potential employeer finds this blog and decides this is a bad trait, lo. But until then, you get to read all about it.

It's not like I forget to do important things. I never miss deadlines at work (or home). But my papers aren't filed, I've got piles of scrapbooking stuff all over the house, stacks unread or half-read magazines threaten to fall over, the stack of ironing keeps getting higher. I've got piles to coupons to mail to friends (I may need to stop doing this since it stresses me out). I forgot to deposit a couple of checks (but I don't need the money right away so I'm okay). Maybe my problem isn't lack of organization, but too much clutter? Anyone want to help me with that?

And toddler and babies make five

Today A and I had a little adventure in babysitting. We went to visit the twins (and the rest of the family, lol), then A went to do some shopping. While he was gone, I volunteered us to babysit since M & C had some errands to run. Thank goodness he got back before they left. It started off well; G was watching a video and the girls were quiet. After a while, the girls started fussing, so I'd pick up one, play with her a bit until the other started crying. Then they'd trade places. They got tired of that quickly so somehow I managed to pick both of them up and we went outside to watch A and G play ball. That was a lot fun. A always surprises me with his patience with kids.

The girls in the meantime, were trying my patience since they both wanted to be held, but not at the same time. A little fussing, a little crying, put one down, pick the other one up, repeat, repeat, repeat, lol. If M & C were going to be gone for more than an hour, I would have let the girls cry a bit, but I didn't want M & C to be coming home to crying babies.

Anyway, I've decided I'm not cut out to watch three kids at once, or if I'm going to, I need to work up to it, lol.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Crop circles

Or maybe I should say six degrees of separation. The other day, I was thinking about all the friends I've met through scrapbooking. I met S at 2peas, I think because of a swap. Then we swapped over at LM. And finally, we met in person for lunch. Through S, I met M, M, H, W, L, and so many more wonderful people. And because of LM, I've probably met 50 or more people at crops and many more online.

Last year, I met A and T at SupperThyme. I signed up for some meals and when I gave her my e-mail address, she figured I was a scrapbooker and we got to chatting. It turns out L knows A's DH through work and hence knows A. Then last week M came down to visit her SIL. It turns out her SIL knows A too and we all ended up scrapping together. So no matter who I know in the scrapbook world, we probably have another mutual friend. Good thing we're a friendly bunch, lol.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Stressed, who me?

I've got a lot going on right now, planning for a trip (more on that in a future post), changes in management at work, trying to get layouts done for scrapfest. I had to drive downtown today and if you know me, you know how much fun it was for me. Thank goodness we have a car with GPS. The drive took waaaay longer than I planned, the wait to take care of my business was waaaaaaay longer than I planned. A HUGE thank you to the lady who gave me her number. It probably cut off an hour or two off my wait. So I gave my number to someone else. It probably saved him three hours.

I'm overplanning, overthinking, worried about things out of my control. And the bad thing is, I'm not stressed enough to be losing weight. Just stressed enough to be stressed.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Received my first Carribean scam call

I assume it was a scam. I got a call from a local area code; didn't recognize the phone number, but answered anyway. No one was on the other end. Immediately after I hung up, I got another call. Again, I didn't recognize the phone number and area code. I guess I shouldn't have answered it, but I did. FYI, 869 and 876 are area codes for the Carribean.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Garlic breath

Yep, that's what I've got. Just finished up the last of the baba ganoush (eggplant) and tzatziki (yoghurt, cucumber, dill) that I got from the farmer's market. Yum! Just thought I'd share that with all of you, lol. A certainly doesn't appreciate it.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Progress and frustration

Last week, I had yet another idea on how to organize my scrapbook supplies. But to get it to work, I needed to move or get rid of a huge stack of magazines. I asked A to help this weekend because he's put a couple of boxes of stuff in the corner of our "library" where I wanted to reorganize. I thought we'd work on this today so passed up a day of scrapping with my buds. Instead, he worked on this yesterday so I did too. I got rid of a couple shopping bags worth of magazines and started to reorganize a bookcase. Then he moved a couple boxes of stuff in front of the bookcase "to sort through later" and now I can't get to the bookcase.

I thought we'd continue on today, but A's been working on the car all day. And I'm stuck here since he's working in the driveway and my car is parked in the garage. Well, I'm not really stuck since I could drive the other car (yes, we're a 3-vehicle family), but I don't want to. And I thought A was going to cook since he's the one who suggested BBQing the pork we bought this morning. But it looks like that isn't going to happen either.

But, trying to keep a positive outlook, I've moved on to cleaning another area of the house. Unfortunately, after filling the recyling can half full of paper/magzines/newspaper, the house doesn't look any different. Actually, I think it looks more disorganized now.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

9:45

It looks like 9:45 pm is the new time for cranky old relatives to call me. With no thought as to whether or not my heart might stop when the phone rings at that hour. With no consideration that I might have to get to bed so I can get up the next morning to go to work. Grrrrr.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Yahoo! I broke 10,000!

10k of what, you ask? Yesterday, I finally reduced my e-mails to fewer than 10,000. Of course, that lasted less than 24 hours. But by the end of today, I brought it back down again. Monday will probably be okay because our parent company is on vacation. I expect the count to go back up on Tuesday. And by the end of the month when we get busy again? I hope, hope, hope, I can keep under 11,000.

Why so many you ask? Since I'm a project lead, I get cc'd on almost every e-mail for every project in the department. Plus I get pseudo-management e-mails. Yes, I know how to keep only the last of a mail thread. Yes, I know how to delete e-mails after a question is answered. But we have 11 pages of active projects and that's a lot of e-mails.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The scrapbook store didn't want my money

Yesterday, I stopped by my least favorite store to buy some rub-ons to finish a layout from the crop weekend. I had something I could use, but it wasn't exactly right. I was all set to pay the outrageous prices at this store, but alas, they didn't have anything close to what I wanted. Come on, who doesn't stock white rub-on letters? I can think of at least three brands/fonts that would work for me. They had only one brand in stock and it wasn't the right color. Since I had some time, I wandered around the store and was pleasantly surprised that the store wasn't as outrageously priced as I thought. Some things were a dollar more than other places, but then some things were a dollar or two less than other places. This is one reason I like shopping online. Most online scrapbook stores charge MSRP or a little less. Brick and Mortar stores sometimes charge more than MSRP. I did end up buying one small item, so they got $4.30 out of me. Now I have to decide if I should go to another LSS or just use what I have.

My scrapping weekend

I recently got back from a 4-day crop with my scrapping buddies. I got way more done than I normally do. I attribute that to several factors. One, I planned better and packed more efficiently. Two, I did mostly one photo layouts with very little journaling. Soooo much easier and faster. Three, I was (am) feeling a lot better about my pages. It is inevitable that I compare my pages to everyone else's, but I finally think that my pages can hold their own. I used a lot more embellishments than I normally do, but still, it was a lot less than what most people use.

Another thing I was happy about was that I was able to share my supplies with everyone there. Since I flew to this crop, I wasn't able to bring everything I own, though I did bring a lot, lol. Usually, it is ribbon I share, but this time, it was flowers. I'm always borrowing paper and stuff from everyone else, so sometimes I feel guilty. I know everyone is happy to share, but still....

We made a couple of shopping trips, one to a new store and one to the usual place. The new store, oh my! Great selection, good prices. The store looked very modern/industrial/art store-like, which I liked. The bad part was it was about half an hour from the B&B (did I mention we were staying at a B&B?), too far to make multiple trips (like any of us needed to buy more).

There is one downside to getting lots of pages done. I need to figure out how to organize my pages. Should I file them chronologically? By subject? Themed albums? Some combination of these? What do you do? I need to buy some more pages too. Does anyone have a good supplier for K&Co pages? Right now, they are my favorite, but Michaels doesn't carry them anymore. They are a little expensive so it was great when I could use my 40% off coupon on them.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Independence Day!

Truly, I feel fortunate to live here in America. We're not a perfect country, but we have the power to change, to improve, to speak our minds. I've done some traveling overseas and really, we do have it better here.

As we were driving around today, I noticed a dearth of flags. There were only two homes with flags in the neighborhood. Both families are immigrants. What does that say about the rest of us? Are we taking today for granted? Are we too busy shopping or BBQing?

I remember my dad would put up our flag every holiday. I loved helping him take down the flag at the end of the day. I used to know the proper way to fold a flag, but unfortunately, I don't remember anymore.

Thank you America!

Packing for a crop

You'd think that since I usually crop away from home, and have flown to crops several times, I'd have the packing down to a science. Science experiment is more like it. I have one huge crop tote, but I can't fill it full of paper and metal embellishments because it will be too heavy. My other suitcases are too big or too small or soft-sided or too heavy or something else doesn't quite fit my needs. Of course, I'm too cheap to buy a new suitcase (have you priced suitcases recently?).

What I really need to do is get rid of stuff so I don't feel the need to bring everything, just in case. You know, because I might need something in the six boxes of ribbon, the two boxes of flowers (it was just one a few weeks ago and should be three now), the two cases of brads and eyelets and if I left any of that home, heaven forbid I'm forced to improvise or borrow. On the plus side, I'm not bringing my stamps (well, just two, no three, no four if I can find the set I'm looking for, lol).

Thus far, I have the above mentioned tote filled, a "small" carry on almost filled, and a largish suitcase half filled with clothes and a lamp (yes, I need the lamp and until Ott comes out with the lamp they announced in January, this lamp will have to to). The rest of the suitcase will be filled with more scrap stuff. I'm not looking forward to unpacking when I get home.

Monday, July 02, 2007

How much do you spend on a meal?

I just got back from the grocery store and spent a whopping $25 (big mistake shopping today since everyone is shopping for 4th of July). I say "whopping" because that's for one meal (including sides). Granted, I'm making more than usual because I want to take some over to my SIL's so she doesn't have to cook tomorrow, plus we'll have leftovers for us. But still. It was only two small bags of groceries. On the other hand, I spent $25 yesterday, just on dinner and dessert for myself for Girls Night Out. Let's say I get six meals out of this. That's about $4/meal. I guess that's not too bad, though I like to keep meals under $2.50 each when cooking at home.

Update on yesterday's post

I managed to fill two grocery bags with craft stuff in addition to the previously mentioned box. All went to the local Boys and Girls Club. I also filled another grocery bag with miscellaneous paper to be tossed. Of course, the house doesn't look any neater, sigh.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Why can't I toss things?

I been working at it for a couple hours and all I've managed to purge is one (small) box of scrapbook stuff. It is about the size of an LM order/priority mail box so that says a lot about how little I can part with. That's a couple hundred sheets of patterned paper, bunch of yarn from my fiber obession days, and a few miscellaneous items I'm RAKing on LM. Must be pretty crappy stuff since no one has taken them off my hands, lol. Back to work. Hopefully, I'll have more to donate and more to RAK soon.

Friday, June 29, 2007

It's that time of the year again

When all the sneak peeks for Summer CHA. CHA is the Craft and Hobby Association; they have a huge trade show twice a year; the last show was in January. Over the past couple of years, it has become more and more of a scrapbook show, much to the chagrin of other hobby exhibitors.

All of the scrapbook message boards and stores are posting sneak peeks. So far, it looks like flowers are still in. I'm also noticing an Asian trend, yah! Unfortunately, the messy ink/distressed look is still in. Doesn't anyone believe in clean lines anymore? The same design at the edge and middle of the page? I used to never like the look. I wouldn't say I like it now. But I don't really have a choice if I like the rest of design; Basic Grey comes to mind.

Anyway, I'm really getting tired of all the new stuff. Too many trends have come and gone. So I look, but I really don't need anything new (so far, lol).

Monday, June 25, 2007

Another LSS bites the dust

I was so excited to find a new LSS a couple years ago. It turns out, the owner has a monthly club that she ran out of her garage, but decided to expand into a real storefront. The store was small, but she always had the latest and greatest. She did so well, she expanded into the space next door. Unfortunately, the store was way too hot in the summer and way too cold in the winter. So she found another space and moved there a couple months ago. I didn't go there much because it was even more out of my way.

It seems that it was all too much work so she's closing her store. She'll still have her online community/store and monthly club, but I'm not involved with either of those. I'll miss it. I did benefit from the 40% off sale, but tried to refrain from buying too much. It's always sad to see a small, successful business close. The ironic thing is she's still got her Grand Opening sign up.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Confession time

So what was the real reason I took last Thursday off? Because A was out of town and I wanted one day of not coming home to an empty house. Actually, sometimes I do come home to an empty house, but then, I know A will be home shortly afterwards, KWIM?

Now that A's home (a day early, hurray!!!), I can confess, lol. I couldn't say anything earlier and ask for support because of my weird privacy thing where I don't want anyone to know when I'm home alone.

I'm usually the one running off to visit friends and family. I tried to count the number of times he's gone without me and I don't think it's even ten times, whereas I'm gone 2 to 5 times a year. If A hadn't planned on doing car stuff with his brother the entire time, I would have invited myself along. (I did that the last time he had a car thing, but I think he wasn't too happy about it, lol.)

Hopefully, I'll get a good night's sleep since when I'm home alone, I usually wake up early and can't get back to sleep.

Friday, June 22, 2007

That bill almost gave me a heart attack!

I usually let A open the bills (since he writes the checks), but for some unknown reason, I decided to open our credit card bill. First page looks fine. Just quickly glanced at the second page. Then I looked at the top of the first page where the balance due box is. Gasp! It was two and a half times higher than our usual bill. Gasp!

Hmmm, this required a line by line check. lots of gasoline charges. Oh yeah, I haven't been carpooling as much. Okay. A plane ticket, but that was less than $200. The usual Target and grocery store charges. I found the culprit on page 2--house insurance. A had told me he charged it, but I forgot. Guess we'll be raiding the savings account to pay this month's bill.

Which leads me to my mini-rant. A knew this huge bill was coming so he was depositing all of our checks into the checking account. My logic is, deposit it into the savings account and just write a check from that. At least we'd be earning interest on it. There isn't enough in the checking account to cover the bill so we have to dip into short-term savings anyway. That's why we have that account. To cover big bills or unexpected bills. Sigh, obviously we have different money styles.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Celebrating the first day of summer

I took today off, just for the heck of it. Didn't know it was the first day of summer when I chose today. Just figured we weren't very busy at work, plus I'm maxing out on vacation days so it was a good time to take a day just for me.

I had high hopes of getting a lot done, but as usual, I've piddled the day away, which is okay for a vacation day, right? I did get my haircut. I thought my hairdresser wouldn't be as busy since it was a weekday, but I had to wait a bit for her and her next appointment had to wait a bit for her to finish with me. That's usual for her, but since she takes only 15 minutes to cut my hair, I'm usually in and out in less than a half hour so I don't mind waiting. Plus she's got a pretty good magazine selection, lol.

Let's see, haircut, check. Water the yard, check. Make deposit, opps. Transfer $, check. Post office, opps. Scrapbook, check...sort of. Update finances, check. Not bad for a lazy day.

Hope you had a wonderful first day of summer and the rest of summer is full of fun for you.

More garbage vents

A and I are pretty much with the paper recycling program, but still not doing anything about the cans and jars. The latter are still going into the regular trash, though I think on the weekends, we will be better about taking them out to the recycle can. That's when I empty the compost jar.

The new cans are so huge and noisy; I can hear the cans being taken out all night the night before garbage pickup. As much as I'd like to be a SAHW, I think I'd have to find something to do on garbage day. I took a vacation day today so was home. Since a different truck picks up the different cans, I heard the garbage trucks come by three times. The first was before 8:00 am, the last around 1:00. And now, I get to hear the various neighbors dragging the cans back in.

Parking is a bear on garbage day too. Though much of that can be blamed on people having too much junk or too many cars so they can't use their garage.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Inhibited

That's how I would describe my scrapbooking. Always afraid my page won't turn out like I envisioned. Worried that my pages aren't "good enough." Not wanting to use up the last bit of that patterned paper/doo dad/ribbon because I might need it for something else. Never mind that I have enough supplies to create about a thousand pages. Maybe I should say overwhelmed instead. Too many supplies. Too many ideas. Too many photos. Too many thoughts. Were it not for the wonderful friends I've made through this hobby, I think I'd stop scrapbooking.

Ouch!

Was out in the yard for a bit on Saturday and got a little sunburn. Didn't think I was out there long enough to burn, plus it wasn't during prime burning hours (mid day). Let this be a lesson to you: Always wear sunscreen or at least a hat and shirt (I was wearing a tank top).

Saturday, June 16, 2007

102

I took one of those online quizes to check your life expectancy and it said I should live to be 102. Guess that's why I'm so obsessive about savings. Its gotta last a long time.

I went to a family reunion a few weeks ago and saw several aunts and uncles, all in their 70s and 80s and 90s, all still going strong. Most of them are moving a little (okay, a lot) slower than I remember. Most of them needed me to repeat whatever I said, but all in all, they're in good health. Guess that means I'm blessed with good genes, even if I don't think I want to live till 102.

Sometimes it just hits you

We were shopping for a Father's Day card last night (yes, I know, bad scrapper not to make the card, plus nothing like waiting till the last minute), when it hit me. I wasn't buying a card for Uncle T like I usually do. :(

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Garbage cans

A few weeks ago, we got our new garbage cans from the company our city contracted with. I thought I wouldn't like them and I'm right. First of all, they are HUGE! 95 gallons! And we've got three of them, one for trash, one for green waste, and one for recycling. All good right? Except a few years ago, our garbage fees increased to build a new processing center to recycle at the dump. Now our garbage fees have increased to pay for this new system, and we're the ones doing the sorting.

I consider us better than average reduce/reuse/recyclers. If you use number of garbage cans as an indicator (the 32 gallon size), we're doing way better than our neighbors. We average less than two garbage cans a week, including yard waste. Much of our yard waste and all of our kitchen scraps are composted. Bottles, newspaper, and cardboard are recycled. Still usable items are donated. Even the dreaded Styrofoam peanuts get reused (FYI, many mailbox/shipping places will take your clean Styrofoam peanuts off your hands).

But now, I have to work even harder at sorting. I have to remember to throw my paper into the paper recycling bag (and not toss something like a food wrapper or plastic wrapper from a magazine on top of it). Cans and non-CRV bottles? Forget it! There is no way I'm going to take the time and energy to rinse them out and take them out to the recycle bin. Easy you say? First of all, I don't have a lot of counter space and I'd rather use that space for food prep or storage. But, let's say I get with the program. Now I have wet cans. I can either dry them (a waste) or let them dry on the counter since I don't want to carry wet cans through the house and out to the yard (plus, nothing wet is supposed to go in the recycle bin). Oh, but I can store the cans in a plastic bag you say? Oh no I can't. Plastic shopping bags go in the trash, not the recycle bin. I don't want to store wet items in a paper bag for obvious reason. See why I'm not with the program yet? But let's say I can get beyond this. Since I don't want empty cans taking up space in the kitchen, I've got to take them out to the recycle bin. Which is on the side of the house since the three huge cans won't fit in the garage. So I either have to go out the front door and through the side gate or out the sliding glass door (which involves opening the shades and unlocking the double locks and reversing the process when I come in). Am I lazy? Maybe.

But on to more venting. Heaven help you if you put toss the wrong item into the wrong bin (like I did this afternoon). I had swept the porch and accidently tossed the bucket into the recycle bin, instead of the trash bin. I did reach in and pull out some leaves and such, but the dirt and everything that fell to the bottom is gonna stay there. With the bin being about four feet high, I had a hard time reaching in. Truth be told, I'm kinda scared of the bins since they're so huge. I keep telling A, you could stuff a body in them and no one would know (I've obviously been watching too much crime TV).

Anyway, yes, recycling is a good thing. I just wish it wasn't since a hassle around the house.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Addicted to

salty snacks. Dare I admit I just ate half a can of Pringles? (that's about 500 calories for those of you who count 'em.) Or should I even be admitting that I buy Pringles? I know I could finish off the rest of the can without any (immediate) problem, though I admit, all this salt is making my mouth sting a little.

I should know better than to have salty snacks in the house during this time of the month. Sigh, some people think it is all in my head, but what else explains the incredible salt cravings I get once a month? Good thing I'm too cheap to buy too many snacks, lol. Although I still have a Pringles coupon in my stash.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Another reason I'm so slow at scrapping

Over at Lifetime Moments, they've started Summer ScrapFest, a three month motivational scrapping frenzy. This time around, there is a new format, with one challenge a day. Today is day 3 and I've already got ideas for today and day 1. We didn't have any plans for the afternoon, so while A took a nap, I thought I'd scrap. I spent some time looking through the LM gallery to get some ideas, wrote out my journaling, and then did a draft of the layout on the computer. I even spent some time playing with Photoshop Elements, but decided I really am a traditional scrapper and am not ready to venture into the digital realm.

Okay, I'm ready pick out papers and scrap! Went to get my photo and discovered that was in portrait orientation, not landscape like I thought I remembered. Grrrr, back to the drawing board.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Five days from now...

I'm supposed to do something with the seedlings my neighbor gave me. Only, I don't know what. She came by as A and I were working out in the yard. She had some seedlings in a pot and thought I might like them. Only I have no idea what they are (flowers? veggies?). My neighbor only speaks Mandarin and I only speak English so communication was a bit of a problem. I did figure out that she was coming back from visiting her neighbor who gave her the seedlings (I think).

Then she wanted to know if I wanted some other seedlings. Some sort of melon (I think), from Taiwan (I think). She went out to her backyard and brought it out some more seedlings. I'm supposed to plant them against the fence (or maybe that's where she planted them?). And in five days, I'm supposed to do something (what???) and not worry if (what???). And during the day (what???) and during the evening, when I get home from work, I should (what???). And in five days, if I haven't killed off the plants, I'll try to figure out the next step.