Thursday, June 28, 2012

Near doggy-suicide :(

After I turned onto Dad's street, my dog jumped out of the driver's side window.  I guess he recognized the street and got too excited.

He didn't fall.  He leaped. And he's too small a Yorkie to have made it without getting hurt dreadfully.

Problem was, he was on his leash and that would have caused him to tangle under the wheel and be run over.

I know it all happened in a fraction of a second, but on his way to the pavement, time slowed down eerily.  Long enough for me to consider and decide if or how I should grab him.  The car was still moving and I almost panicked.  I was afraid to stomp the brake because I thought I might yet run over him.

Maybe that's why I'm still shaking like a leaf in a storm.
I almost lost my little boy tonight.  Yes, he means that much to me.

I somehow whipped my left arm out of the driver's side window and caught him by a handful of hair on a back leg as he was dropping.  He yelped but I hauled him back in.

I sat in the driveway hugging him and crying for a few minutes before I took him into Dad's house.

The little rascal seemed like wasn't even phazed by his near-death experience.  I think it took ten years off of my own life, however.

I'm Not Ready!!!!

I'm trying to pack.. been trying all day but I don't feel ready. I dreamed last night I got all the way to Covington and left something crucial behind... like my passport.  And my carryon bag.  grrr... I'm shaking, but that could be coldness. I may not ever sleep tonight.

So right now I'm trying to dispel a little nervous energy by writing rather frantically.

I've been chatting with someone who may or may not just be teasing me.  I hope not. I'd feel really stupid.

I'm listening to samples from the new Johnny Hates Jazz album and wondering which of the songs Clark Datchler was referring to when he told me there would be some uplifting songs on the album that weren't purely love songs.  I was in a bit of a snit when I told him I was sick and tired of gooey love songs with my disappointing love life.  Well, it's true.  It made me feel better when he told me that.  I wish he would get back on Twitter -- he's hilarious!  Sounds like maybe Eternal and Lighthouse might be the ones he referred to?  I dunno, they're just samples so far.  It's nice that soooome people respond to their tweets.

So I'm waiting breathlessly for new albums from Johnny Hates Jazz and Adam Ant.  Yeah, the same thing applies about Clark Datchler as Adam Ant.  LOL  Shhh... don't tell on me!  Well, you could tell either of THEM, but I doubt either would come running to meet me.

I got a nasty sunburn on Saturday.  Yesterday came the huge blisters in a patch the size of my palm (ooh, lucky me for having small hands, eh?).  Then the skin came off.  Itches maddeningly.  Dad doctored me up with copious amounts of Neosporin tonight when I dropped my dog off.   He said he thinks I might have a new layer of skin grown over the raw places by maybe tomorrow night.  I hope... this is gross and disgusting and itches constantly.  Dad cried when I left.  Kind of casts a pall over my trip.  Of course I'm coming back! And he better be here when I do.  Could he have been upset about what happened to my back?

By the way, if you are the praying type, I'd appreciate a prayer for my skin to grow back in the next couple of days.  My immune system freaked out with the sunburn and made it all worse.

Is it any surprise that I would want to see other places in the world, when this town has never held more for me than sadness?  I don't think I'll find happiness on another continent, but I need to broaden my horizons.  I need some inspiration.  I need a reason to go ooooonnnn.... Sorry, did I wax a bit melodramatic then?

I just don't want to live with regrets I can avoid.  And I want to see some beautiful things, being as my life lacks beauty.  *sigh*  That part is true.  And it might be even partially my fault.  As to the rest of the fault, it would be an amalgamation of people I've known and it's pointless to blame anybody else anyway.

Shaking... okay, that's nerves.  Anticipation.  I do the same before a first date too.  Sometimes every date.  LOL

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Stone Temple Pilots and One Cold Shower

There are things I know I should be doing but I am dog tired after the ride back from Georgia (with swollen legs, naturally) and there's not a lot I can do without making the sunburn blisters on my back burst painfully.

Ooh yeah, gross. I'm aware that they are supposed to go away on their own, but every time I move my shoulders forward... They rupture. I know the blood serum is supposed to stay there and protect the damaged skin, but I can't immobilize my arms and even sleeping on my side is difficult. I've already hurt my shoulder doing it, so I have to just hope for rapid healing with no complications.

This may be God's way of ensuring I don't run for a few more days. :). My shins still scream when I squat or kneel, though they are better. I wonder if the 14 steps in my aunt and uncle's house helped but they sure didn't feel like it at the time.

My running bra crosses over my back exactly where the blisters are. I'm not putting it on now for any reason. The blood serum stings and itches when it hits the rest of my skin. What am I, Poison Ivy? Lol. Allergic to my own blood components. Eww.

I turned on some Stone Temple Pilots ("Sex Type Thing" -- specifically for my mood - it was the perfect deathrace/crawl/rush hour theme song on Atlanta's 285 yesterday) and took a cold shower I hoped would help. I tried some of my tea tree oil soap, but when it hit the blisters it felt like I was stabbed. Yeah, ouch. Then I tried my in-shower lotion just to moisturize. Maybe it helped.

More pastry roller pressed into medical service. This time I put Neosporin Plus and pure aloe gel on it, and spread it over the painful-but-undiscovered blister zone. Suddenly, the itching and stinging went blissfully cool and silent. :) The relief lasted a good ten minutes.

And now I have turned to Hydroxyzine. I figure if it doesn't calm the itching, it'll at least knock me out. And if it doesn't?

There's another cold shower in my near future.

Smellin' Like a Pickle

I'm trying out a sunburn remedy that makes no sense to me.

Apple Cider Vinegar. Internet sites rave about the magical sunburn-relieving properties of vinegar.

It's acetic acid, for Pete's sake! On burned skin? Well, even aloe is causing me to sting quite a bit, so this can't be too much worse, I suppose. At least I can saturate a hand towel in the mixture of vinegar and water and completely cover the burned parts of me.

News flash: it still stings if my shoulders and back are even slightly flexed. I suppose that's my desiccated skin tearing apart. Oh get over it. That's just what happens. Skin burns. Moisture is sucked out. Dehydrated skin tears and eventually peels away.

It just does.

So I suppose molting is inevitable. Lol

Supposedly, vinegar helps with the redness and swelling of a sunburn. This is as good a time as any to test a few homeopathic remedies.

Oatmeal may be next. Eh... I'll have to buy some more before I can grind it into powder first. I don't think I have enough after my recent love affair with oats. Lol

Hmm. I just realized I still have some of my homemade tea tree oil soap. :). I could try it, but it does sometimes dry my skin so that might be counter-productive.

Otterbox Confuses Me

Otterbox did send me a replacement case last week, in the color I requested because my original color was unavailable. It was sent 2nd day Air, I believe, so it arrived quickly. Yay!

I came home from Georgia last night to find a FedEx padded envelope waiting in me from... Otterbox. I suppose this is the one they sent after I told them they made a mistake and they claimed that it was just an error on paper, and they were sending the right one all along.

Okay. I accepted that. As of last night I had my old Otterbox and the replacement, because they didn't send the mailer they said they would, for return of the old broken case. I assumed Quality Control would be looking at it as with any possibly faulty item.

Today the mailman knocked on my door to let me know he was leaving a package. I thought it was someone else knocking so I threw on a shirt (ouch! My sunburn!!!) and went out to find....

Another package from Otterbox.

Inside this one WAS a green Commuter case. The same one they said they weren't sending. Merely an error on paper, according to the nice lady I spoke to on the phone.

Still no information for sending returns to them, so here I sit with one in-use Otterbox Defender, one defunct Otterbox Defender, one new Otterbox Defender, and one new Otterbox Commuter fit for the army.

I'm guessing that in a large company, it might be difficult to know what is actually going on between department sections. I'm sure I was given answers that were honest, though possibly a little ignorant.

Hey, all I was hoping for was a replacement case similar in color to my old one, and I got it, so now I'm considering what I'm supposed to do with the others...

Gosh, I need a nap. Lol

Life's A Beach

Back from the beach and family reunion.

After a very long overnight drive (truthfully, my brother did all of the driving there and back), we arrived in Georgia at my Uncle David & Aunt Diana's house at 5 in the morning. It couldn't be helped.

Dylan, their dog, jumped up in the truck with us when we arrived and I had to do a double-take because he looked just like my sweet Terra, who is gone but never far from my thoughts.

The next day we went to see our Grandmother and Aunt Nell, who just lost her husband a couple of weeks ago.

Saturday we went to the beach at Hilton Head, South Carolina, which was lovely. I discovered by accident how to find sand dollars. They felt like sandpapery disks under my feet, but I was a little too creeped out to dig one up, so my brother took care of getting a few for his son who was enjoying his first visit to the beach by building sand castles.

I regret not getting any pictures actually AT the beach, but I didn't trust all the strangers around not to steal either my phone or my camera if I had left it lying there unattended. There was no way to really hide either one, unfortunately.

I suppose a disposable camera could have been bought, but I'm not the only one who can buy one. *sigh* Next time. I guess I don't have to hold onto that little twinge of regret myself, just being an aunt. Still, I beat myself up over parent things I didn't think of, though I'm not a parent.

I did think to buy a queen-sized orange flat sheet to lay out on the sand do that our towels would stay a little less sandy. We piled some sand on the edges to hold it down in the wind i think it worked pretty well! It also gave us an easy way to find our spot on the beach. And I wasnt the first person to think of it -- i saw another sheet a short distance away, in aqua. Niiice!

First thing that happened, of course, was that I got (accidentally) sprayed with a little sand by my nephew, while I was lying on my towel, sunning myself. Lol. Well, you can't go to a beach and avoid a little sand. :D. No worries. I ended up with it all over me anyway, even stuck to my scalp and in my mouth. I blame the waves for that.

I enjoyed it though. :) I just wish I hadn't fallen asleep in the sun. I fried my upper back, despite the sunscreen I had sprayed on myself. I also wished that I had showered off before I left the beach because having a sunburn coated with salt and sand makes for a truly unpleasant rest of the day. Lesson learned.

I spent the next two days guzzling water and Tylenol and ended up with a mild case of sun poisoning. Just the headache, fever, and pain. No nausea, thank God. Still, it's four days later and I still feel like my back has been beaten raw.

I couldn't reach the middle of my back with Solarcaine gel, so I bought some Solarcaine spray which helped immensely -- until today. Now it stings like crazy. I suppose my skin might just be splitting open, despite the moisturizer.

I repurposed a kitchen tool for some help. I used my Pampered Chef Baker's Roller to spread Solarcaine gel into those hard to reach places between my shoulders. ;). Worked like a charm!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Overheating In Purgatory

Is that fresh asphalt I smell, or are my leg hairs on fire?

On i20 west into Atlanta, the interstate is being repaved. It is 98 degrees at mid afternoon in late June.

And the vehicle we are traveling in is beginning to overheat. Know what you have to do if this happens and you can't pull over?

Believe it or not, I am the one who remembered this remedy, unpleasant as it is. (Pat me on the back -- go on -- you know you wanna!)

Despite the fact that it is a scorching hot day, you have to turn your car's heater on full blast, as hot as it will go, with the fan on high.

You voluntarily roast yourself because the heater pulls hot air off the already hot engine of the vehicle. It's an emergency way to dump excess heat from the engine when it begins to overheat.

I know, it sounds incredibly masochistic, but you probably don't want to be trapped on the side of an interstate in Georgia in the middle of summer, do ya? Just remember the tip. It has helped me more than once.

Ever hear "hotter than Georgia asphalt"? Hot enough to fry an egg on it today. I mean that quite literally.

By the way, there isn't any hair on my legs to catch fire. ;)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Thursday, June 21, 2012

All Kinds of Frustrations Today

We have been waiting for my brother's replacement phone to arrive.  His seemed to turn into a brick the other day... They promised overnight shipment for it and then did a song and dance about what overnight means to them.

To me, overnight means that if you order it on Monday night, overnight it should travel to you and somehow get into your hands by close of business Tuesday.  2 or 3 days later, not including weekends, slow drivers, and all the lame excuses in the world simply do not cut it.

If you don't mean overnight literally, then call your "service" something else that is more indicative of the actual delivery style you employ, pretty please and thank you.

FedEx is world renowned for very fast shipping, so why did that mean nearly 2 weeks in transit to get to me?    (BTW - their main hub is less than 2 hours from my house.)  I didn't even get a choice on service there.  What FedEx calls ground service takes two weeks.  What UPS calls ground service might take a week, and it's cheaper.  It makes me feel like I'm ordering something off a TV commercial back in the 80s - it'll take 4-6 weeks for delivery.

With all the modern technology we have, you have it in stock, and we have airplanes... REALLY???

Pony Express would have made a better showing, I kid you not.

So we waited half the day to find out there is no way his delivery will take place before, at the earliest, lunchtime tomorrow.  Oh, what a slippery way to describe the timetable.  Lunchtime could be whenever they say it is.  "But I didn't have time to eat my lunch until 4!"  His replacement is shrinkwrapped to a bunch of other stuff-in-delivery-limbo until they decide to let it go.

I've got to hand it to him -- he is handling his apparent frustration well.  He was calm when we last spoke, but I could hear the steam rising.

Me?  I'd have had a screaming hissy fit in the privacy of my home.  I try to avoid it in the presence of my dog.  He's a bit sensitive.  He runs to hide under the bed if I raise my voice, even if I'm just yelling after whacking my little toe yet again on something as I pass by.  Poor thing.  Maybe I'm Medusa scary or something.

It's better to vent than hold it in.  You know what happens when a volcano doesn't vent...  Explosion.

On the flip side, the delay is, well, delaying something we needed to be doing instead of waiting around, about 9 hours ago.  I'm not upset about this.  I've got free time anyway.  It's summer and I've got these glorious but completely unpaid days off.  Oh wait, they were confiscated by the circuit court for jury duty.

Sing ye not loudly of your freedom, little bird, lest the rotund and toothy cat smite thee and bite off thy feathery noggin.

My fabric did arrive.  And when I took it out, by the sheer weight of the stuff I thought I had triple-overestimated the yardage I'd needed.  I thought, how dumb.  I've messed up the math once again.  That's just like me.  I'm smart, but math terrifies me.

However.... I followed the directions and measurements precisely, and it turns out that somebody screwed up in the instructions.  There was more fabric in their design than a decent blanket, and it didn't drape... it hung.  Heavily.  Like a lead muumuu.

This was supposed to be a light and airy wrap that could be compacted into a scarf or worn even as a cardigan  or poncho, depending upon the arrangement.

Echoing Westley, the Dread Pirate Roberts:

"Oh dear God, what is that THING?"

I tried to cut it down, thinking that was the problem.  Nope. Still horrible.  And now it isn't long enough to wrap around me correctly.  So I've got what looks like one huge cut of red knit jersey, in a few separate large pieces.  I don't know what to do with them. I've got one 6 foot long piece of black knit jersey as well, that was supposed to be a copy of this project.  I didn't cut it, but I don't know what to do with it now.

Geez, I can't help that I've got big boobs.  I tried to get rid of them.  But y'all, sometimes they grow back.  With a speedy vengeance.  Suffice to say Destiny had plans for me to apparently nurse several babies and now she's getting even because it didn't happen.  Anyway, that boobage means that it takes more fabric to wrap around my top...

Grrr... I feel like such a failure right now.  Conquered by a length of red fabric.  Might as well have drawn it tightly around my throat.

If you have any suggestions about what to do with the proof of my failure, please post in the comments section.  I'll try to bite back on my self-annoyance long enough to consider it.



Retraction on Otterbox Post

I've unpublished that very angry rant of mine about the warranty on my Otterbox iPhone case.  It turns out that they had every intention of sending me the model I currently own, and in the color choice I had requested.  (My original color wasn't even available anyway.)

I'm a little embarrassed, but I think I had a right to be angry.  It looked like they were trying to screw me over, especially with the followup comment "We consider the matter to be closed."  Well.. I don't recommend that you send that as a last remark when you are sending a replacement item, just in case you make a mistake in your paperwork.

The person who was taking care of my replacement request accidentally attached the invoice for someone else's order (though it had my information typed into the top section. hmmm.  fishy?) .  In any case, as of today I've got my replacement and that's one thing I don't have to worry about, unless this one starts falling apart on me in a month as well.  The silicone wrap on this one doesn't look to be as likely to stretch out of shape.  Yay.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

FedEx, Let's get fabri-nerdy

But is it nerdy if you are waiting on fabric, rather than tech stuff? Hmm. In other words, kindly hurry your slow butt up. If you can make it from one continent to another in a day, surely you can make the 2 hour drive here today???

I've already been waiting over a week for you, after all. ;)

I'm waiting on a shipment of 6 yards of 58 inch wide knit jersey fabric in red and black. Can an occasional seamstress be considered a nerd?

No, it isn't for a pirate outfit THIS time. Lol. Maybe next time! Work now, pirate wench later. Arr!

Actually, it's for a couple of multi-garments for work, and maybe for travel. If I had a dressmaker's form, I'd show you how the finished clothes look, but I don't, and frankly, I'm not willing to commit to a form at this size, which I don't intend to keep anyway.

I could make a duct tape form, but that requires the assistance of a second person who is going to see me half naked at some point. Um, no.

No, I'm not huge, but I'm intent on sprucing myself up a bit. I'm at the painful beginning of adding running to my life, if I'm permitted, haha. Why? Great for weight loss and staying fit, and just darn fun when it doesn't hurt.

My arms, legs, and face were the first parts to show weight loss and my legs are starting to show some definition. Yeah, looks like it is going to be a "work from the outside in" kind of progression. The irony is that my calves, already shaping up, can't be seen because I'm wearing compression sleeves on them. Haha. Black ones. Yes, they look kind of sporty instead of like support hose. I would buy some colored ones if I could find running shirts for myself that... they... could.... match...

Yes, I do realize that matching running clothes at this point is as necessary as worrying about my bra straps showing when I run. They're going to show because they cross my back in an x and tend to hug around my neck annoyingly. Just a part of it, unfortunately.

The world (and I) should just be thrilled that someone now makes a serious bra for running, in my size. Actually, I think there are two! Sorry, I'll never have a cute variety of colors or styles. Need a small bra size for that. You know I don't wear a small bra. Lol. Uh oh.

I think the lack of variety for the DD sizes is revenge from flat-chested lingerie designers. Oh, if I could just let them see life from my point of view, they would not be jealous at ALL.

Running would be a lot easier if my torso would just drop a fast twenty pounds so I could get on with it. Ease up on my legs, get moving further and faster. But let's face it -- I'm not a guy and all that fitness stuff gets ridiculously complicated for women.

All this over a stupid rib? Keep your rib! I'll even give you my period as a parting gift bonus! No wonder men lose weight so easily, if they were made from dirt in the first place. A little water, and poof, there goes ten pounds!

These garments would have been a piece of cake if the local store sold jersey knit. Mmm hmm, I'm telling you. I could make all sorts of cute outfits from it. But no, they act like it is some kind of exotic special material.

It's just freaking plastic..... It used to be manufactured on the other side of the block from my house, for crying out loud. Thanks for sending fabric making jobs to China and India!

Can you tell I woke up with a headache? ;). A couple of Tylenol and a very large homemade latte will do the trick to knock it out before it becomes a migraine. I hope.

My brother tells me we may be making a ten hour road trip soon... In 8 hours. Yeah. I'm kinda nervous. I should have three bags made by arrival time, in that case! Either that, or I could finish my bits-and-pieces scrap blanket. It is halfway finished.

I must have lived a previous life in the Great Depression. Something challenges me to use up every last useful bit in a useful way. Well, the useful bits of worsted yarn were wearing on my conscience so I decided to see what I could do with my favorite stitch. :).

The only catch... All those freaking ends to weave in at the end. On the bright side, this blanket is going to be an absolute riot of color that looks almost woven.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

But it's MY tennis ball!

Last night I was doing some packing, and my Yorkie, Quincy, noticed that there was a fresh, clean tennis ball in the suitcase. He must have smelled it before he ever saw it.

He has at least a dozen normal or mini sized tennis balls hidden around the house. Certainly, he is not a deprived pup.

Yet, he demanded this one. When I left the room, I returned to the sight of Quincy inside the suitcase, tipping and growling frantically at the ball, now stashed inside a mesh pocket of the suitcase. He was trying to scratch it free so that he could take off with it.

You have to understand that the ball was in there for a fairly medical purpose. One of the muscles between my shoulder blade and spine often wakes me from a sound sleep, with a shriek, as it spasms rather painfully.

I've never had any medication to make it stop. Does such a drug even exist? And how do you make a doctor believe that it is agonizing when the spasms come at 3 am or later?

I had a glass apple paperweight the size of my fist which I would lie upon to forcefully flatten the offending muscle. It worked, but it always left a bruise.

Hence the tennis ball. Same size, better shape, no metal stem to dig into soft flesh. Easier to sleep on. Believe it or not, after that back pain awakens me, I'm exhausted enough to sleep with a tennis ball pressed next to my spine.

I travel with a ball in my suitcase just in case. It's especially lonely to wake up in a strange place with pain you can't stop.

Well, I gave the ball to Quincy to play with, thinking I'd get it back when he tired of it. But the little sneak played with the ball for a noisy five minutes and then hid it from me.

I have no idea where it is. Probably in his secret hiding place under my bed with all the rest of "his" stuff that he's stolen from me.

It looks like it is time for me to buy another can of tennis balls. Maybe this time I'll have sense enough to keep the can off the floor. He commandeered the last can, removing the lid and shaking until the balls were set free for playtime.

He's a thief, but I love him.

A Run in the Park

... Was definitely NOT a walk in the park! I had forgotten how hilly the park track was. I've been training on a flat path and according to my app, I ran uphill to the tune on 75 feet.

As soon as my warmup finished and I was instructed to start running, I hit the worst hill in the park. Blah. It wore me out just going up that hill.

It fairly demoralized me that I couldn't maintain a jog when I was supposed to. What the heck is wrong with me, anyway? I suppose it was the 75 feet of hills, because my gut tells me I did worse repeating this last tub than I did the first time I ran it.

Maybe it was too much of a challenge at 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

On the brighter side, my shins didn't pain me like they have been. :D. I was able to concentrate on planting my feet firmly with each step (until the sheer fight for survival on the hills) and pushing off with my calf muscles. I could really feel a difference.

Oh. There was one other thing that changed. I noticed on my last few runs that I've been rolling my right foot to the outside on landing, trying to avoid the arch support I've never gotten situated comfortably on my right foot. I removed that one as a test to see if there was a difference.

Big difference. I actually forgot that it had ever been there and was able to put that foot to the pavement the correct way. :). I suppose I'm slowly starting to improve my gait and form. Now if my actual physical form would follow suit and start dropping pounds, this would all happen faster and with less pain.

Thanks so much. Lol

My time is bothering me, and I know I should let it go until I can run the distance without problems. I'm not a young girl anymore and I have to balance determination with sensibility. I can't afford to keep getting hurt and wait for healing to finish.

So... A goal. I suppose my goal for now should be to keep running for the entirety of each running segment, instead of taking 10 second breaks after every minute, just to survive. I gasped far too much and felt like a complete loser for it.

I'm hoping to get to a place where it stops feeling like I'll never get my breath back. Is there such a place, where you don't worry you'll die before the finish?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Dreaded Day part 2

I made Dad a bag (about a pound) of rocks for Father's Day. Okay, they were Cookies & Cream Fudge Rocks, and when I gave them to him, my brother said that the confused look on Dad's face was hilarious. :).

Oh, I got him a gift card too.

My youngest nephew knew immediately what the rocks were but he did say they did look like real rocks. Awesomeness.

Dad didn't try the candy. Said his stomach was bothering him. Oh well, maybe tomorrow. Maybe he will even tell me if he liked them or not.

Dreaded Day

Father's Day is one of the most dreaded days of the year for me. More on why, later. A hint: I can't make him happy.

Spent hours making a very artistic heartfelt card a couple of years ago, and he tossed it on the table without really looking. (I even added metal eyelets... Those things hurt to attach!) Sibling came in with a simple purchased card and he acted like it was a monumental effort. Praised and cheered, practically.

Bought him a new belt he said he needed -- but a more expensive one that was reversible -- black and brown leather. It was a good name brand from an expensive store. Not long after he made sure to kick up a huge fuss about how I bought him a cheap belt because it broke. (It was sturdy. I tested it before I bought it.)

Bought him a $400 fireplace heater in a solid wood mantel for Christmas and he complained about the workmanship and missing screws. Then he said it stopped working and demanded that I get it replaced, insinuating that I was to blame for the problem. He even said that I should buy him another gift to replace it. (10 months after Christmas.)

Three years ago, I gave him gift cards to an expensive local Italian restaurant, and he complained after that he didn't like the food there. Was it really my fault he was so damned picky?

Once I baked him a butter pecan cake -- his favorite ice cream flavor. To show me what he thought of the cake, he left it on the dining room table, where it grew moldy, waiting on me to discover on my next visit.

I wanted to buy him an iPad, to keep his mind sharp, but each time I tried to get him to try mine out, he acted like I was handing him something that was beneath him. "Get that thing away from me!". You'd have thought I was handing him a steaming sack of manure fresh from a pasture.

Oh well, gift card it is. I thought about making him some fudge, but I imagine he will sneer at that too.

It's getting to the point when I'm going to start mailing a generic card and leave it at that.

Well. I hope that all of you who exist in the favor of your fathers have a pleasant day with him, if he is still alive. I'm sure mine will be pleased when my brother and sister arrive, and then I can slip quietly away.

Reused MiO bottles. :)

I put olive oil in one and tossed it into my travel bag. (I made a moisturizing scrub while traveling.). Worked like a charm, and it was easy to control just how much oil I dispensed. My olive oil comes in a bottle with a pour spot, so a bottle that squirts just a little bit will come in handy.

I had a bottle of hand soap with about half an inch of soap left in it, but that was too low for the dispenser straw to pump out. (It was a limited edition Bath & Body Works fragrance that I love, so I wanted to use it all.).

I put in a little bit of water to get the thickened soap fluid enough to pour out and put it in a MiO bottle. It works great and the stop still bubbles like crazy. No more wasted soap. ;)

I gave my dog a bath tonight because he was scratching and biting like there was no tomorrow and looking a bit scruffy. After his flea and tick shampoo, I have found that putting my conditioner on him keeps his hair soft and less likely to tangle. (He's a Yorkie -- his hair is more like human hair than dog fur anyway.).

Of course, it works better to add half water to the conditioner, so I might put that in a MiO bottle to make his next bath easier. Full strength conditioner can be a bit hard to rinse out of a wiggly, shivering, unhappy wet dog.

Oh don't worry. After his bath and drying time, he went through his usual ultra-frisky period and then got right in my face to cuddle and give me kisses to tell me he's glad he had a bath after all. Hey, when my dog is unhappy, he hides under the bed. In my face being affectionate equals happy puppy.

Now that I think of it, I might put some of his dog shampoo in a MiO bottle too. The full sized bottles are hard to reach and grab without knocking them into the tub, but small bottles could just float right in the tub with him.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Lacy Pretty Things

I bought Interweave Crochet and found these two beauties today. I'd like to make them. :).

I can make them, IF I can find the right kind of thread to do it with. The green top would be quick, too.

The beige dress fairly well fits my old joke about crocheting myself a wedding dress. No time limit on that, of course. I think I'll just wear it to work over some capri leggings like the model.

Oh... I noticed that the blonde model has been Photoshopped. Do you see how they stretched her out to make her taller and thinner? I see it in the warping of the motifs. I believe both models were stretched. Sneaky. Why? Neither could have been unattractive before. Maybe it's so that short chicks like me believe there is hope for wearing something like that.

(Oh come on, I crocheted a more complicated lace pineapple tablecloth when I was 19. )



Water, water, everywhere

Drinking liters of water each day is the miraculous secret of easy weight loss for every person on the planet!

No it isn't. Not if you are a woman a few days in front of the dreaded worst week of your month.

I'm going to have to start scheduling three monthly weigh-ins that keep a huge distance from the point at which I realize that dropping sodas from my diet and adding 60+ ounces a day of drinking water has done no good.

I've gained ten pounds in a week. Not from eating, either.

"Well, you can't eat like a PIG and expect to lose weight!" Every time I hear that, someone's a*****e quotient rises in my perception of them. They say things like this as if i run home after work and start cramming my face with Twinkies.

The guiltiest of sneering this at me are the ones who actually DO have cookies and chips in their cabinets at all time. I have unsweetened applesauce instead. But not much stays in my 2 cabinet "pantry" that is edible food. Staples, such as a bag of sugar that takes me a year to use, though most of it is used in my bathroom for making face and body scrubs. A box of tea bags that I'm not inspired to make into tea Spices and cookbooks dominate most of my pantry. A couple of jars of pesto, a can of turkey chili, a couple of cans of soup... Some rolled oats, whole wheat pasta... No room for Twinkies and their pals, I'm afraid. Sometimes there might be some nuts or granola. Oh, some Special K protein bars. Breakfast and lunch most summer days.

(By the way, the Special K "ten pounds in two weeks" diet didn't work, and I really pinched calories for my dinners during it. And hypoglycemia reared it's ugly head once again. )

The fridge is even worse. The freezer is dominated by bags of pecans frozen in the shells. A couple of bags of frozen veggies and cake mixes for holidays when I cook for other people to eat. Down below you may find skim milk, if you're lucky , condiments I never have much reason to use, and my bottles of tap water. Oh, there's the steel-cut oats I have ready to eat for a snack or breakfast.

So please, don't accuse me of gluttony when you haven't taken a look at what little there is to eat at my house. Oh sure, I spend a fortune on dog treats, but only my dog gets those. :)

The water is no panacea. Think of me as a balloon which is just holding onto most of the water. I've been faithfully drinking it for months. I haven't become magically slim, even with the addition of running 1.5-2 miles every couple of days.

(Before you ask, I'm not a secret or even public drinker, either.)

Of course I understand the science behind water and its work with the liver in weight loss. My liver and kidneys are perfectly healthy too. I don't add salt to my food.

I think that those people who believe water is their miracle cure must have been drinking a LOT of soda and then stopped.

Depression causes weight gain.
Not getting adequate sleep causes weight gain.
Stress causes weight gain. I don't know if you can tell, but do I seem a little stressed about my body refusing to follow natural laws for losing weight?

High calories cause weight gain.
Too few calories make your body crisis-store extra fat instead of burning the calories as needed fuel. Weight gain.

Water aids weight loss unless you're a woman with PMS, when you swell like a sausage.

Running is a great weight loss exercise. Possibly the best one.
Running when you are overweight is highly likely to cause injuries.
Running causes incredible thirst and makes me drink extra water.

Weight training makes you gain muscle mass.
Muscle is heavier than fat.

Have fun running overweight when you now have heavy muscles overlaid with the fat that the body refuses to burn for energy.

My doctor told me a few years ago that the only way for me to lose weight and keep it off would be to run five miles a day, every day, for the rest of my life. (He is a runner.)

Ok, so how do you get there from here with ever-worsening shin splints? If I don't rest when they hurt, I'm told the muscles will tear disastrously and walking might not even be possible.

Yeah, I have a right and a reason to complain, so get over it. I want to run just for the enjoyment of it.

Nearly every night now for months I've dreamed about being able to run with no injury. I didn't dream that I was anorexic-thin. I don't want that anyway. I dreamed that I was running and it was a pleasurable experience.

Ah, the wind in my hair, the bugs in my teeth! Phtbbt... Spit that out. Hmm... Extra protein?

It's a far cry from the dreams I used to have of running away from someone scary and having my feet stuck in tar.

(If you just said to yourself that I need to get laid, slap yourself upside your fool head! I can't even date who I want to, and I'm not interested in tomcatting around. Note to the one or two men that know I like them: you are going to have to ask me out. I won't humiliate myself with THAT ever again.)

I'm beginning to believe that science does not rule all. And you know what that leaves, when science fails. Magic.

Where's my wand?

Friday, June 15, 2012

My Stashbusting Blanket

Well, using a lot of very short scraps, anyway! Lol

I've used Tunisian crochet many times to create blankets, and after a start on a granny square afghan that annoyed me, decided to do it this way instead.

I wanted the result to look woven and be able to incorporate shorter lengths of yarn that wouldn't be enough for the first round of a granny square. Honestly, playing the guessing game of wondering whether my scrap yarn was long enough to complete a round got on my nerves, especially when I came up just a foot or short and had to rip out nearly a whole round of work.

This way I can add in new yarn whenever I want without wasting scraps only a few feet long. Ha.

I like the random additions. I think they add a little bohemian style with random colors in the mix. I've already gotten rid of several tiny annoying balls of yarn this way.

Bit your tongue! Throw useful yarn away? Not me! I have changed one thing from my teen years, though. No longer will there be a bag of hopelessly tangled yarn -- I can do this whenever I feel like it and put it aside if I ever run out of scraps. All I have to remember is that I used a K hook for this. ;)

What is with my calling some projects afghans and some blankets?

Afghans are light and full of holes, fine for summertime and decorative purposes. :).

Blankets are dense and warm, and not prone to toes poking through. Besides, I add foot pockets to all of my blankets. ;). That way you don't have to worry about wrapping a third of the blanket around your feet to keep them warm.

I could have held several strands of yarn together and used a huge hook to finish an afghan in just a few hours, true. But the tangling problem is a huge ordeal for me. My thinner but dense blankets with smaller stitches are snuggle warm without taking up half of a closet. ;). They're still pretty darn thick, and I like to think this stitch has a classier look than the knobbiness single crochet sometimes has.

Insomnia = Pre-Dawn Gym Time

I never slept last night. Honestly, I don't know what happened to the time, but at 4 am I showed no sign of sleepiness. (Warning... I know what it's a warning of, considering the depression I've been trying to recover from this week.)

At 4:45 I decided to go to the gym and use the elliptical because I knew my shins still wouldn't hold up for a training run today. Maybe it was the pain keeping me awake. I have got to drastically lighten the load on my poor legs.

There was nobody at the gym at all! It was a bit funny, because the signs clearly state that cardio machine use is limited to 30 minutes of use during the peak times of 5-7 am. Nobody here but us insomniac night owls!

I've never done that before, but I kinda liked doing it. :). It seems worth making a habit of I can drag my butt outta bed at such an unnatural time each day.

Still, it was a tad eerie, because I have an electronic key to get in, but so could anyone else, and there was no telling who might be hiding in there. On the brighter side, I didn't have to wear my earbuds and I played my tunes loud. Well, as loud as an iPhone will allow. :D

I was only alone until 5:25, when two men showed up. They had the whole gym but stayed near me, and that bothered me enough to start cataloging their tattoos. Just to be on the safe side.

As you do.

I wondered if they wanted to be side by side on the same style of elliptical, but I was in the middle of a 35 minute workout on mine. Well, if they want things their way, they need to get their earlier, right? I did, and I'm an avowed night owl. One did kind of a lame routine sliding his feet back and forth on one machine... I don't see what good it could possibly have done. The other just vanished. Then another woman arrived and left without coming in. Then she came back. Donut run, maybe?

I did the elliptical. Thank goodness, no shin pain but a lot of sweating and calories burned. (whatever good that'll do me, as usual.). Then I did weightlifting. Then I did 35 minutes on a bike. 2 solid hours of exertion. I know I have to rest my shin tendons from the punishment of running, but still strengthen and cross train to burn calories.

Oooh, that stinging hot shower I took right after I got home was blissful....

Maybe I can sleep now that I'm shivering?

Food For the Worms

Not only did I make a pretty mulch ring for my yard, I also decluttered a lot of cardboard boxes, recycled them, and provided food for the worms.

Yay. Multitasking. I hate cleaning. I hate gardening. Nevertheless, I'd love to have an English garden in my backyard with plenty of room for fruits, veggies, and herbs. No water access back there, though.

I have a small, crummy, shady yard in a not-so-good part of town. The local weeds are incredibly invasive, and a previous owner buried a lot of garbage under the grass.

Believe me, I would love to gut my yard and fulfill a few of my own wishes. Upkeep deters me though. I'm not into bugs, heat, humidity, weeding, dirt, or daily watering with a hose that snakes for 100+ difficult feet all the way around my house.

Yeah, it's like that. To keep something like that looking nice, it takes hours of work daily.

Can't I just get some plastic shrubs and concrete the whole darn thing? *whimper*

Please, if you can tell me a better way to get easy maintenance, speak up. I'll put in pretty stuff if I don't have to give it all my spare time.

I know some people have concerns over cardboard baking toxic. Well, the picture I took of the decomposing mulch from last year would show you some healthy enriched soil, but it was blurry and I didn't notice until I had laid the mulch and many hours had passed.

My dogwood tree is growing amazingly, and that stubborn hosta in the picture refuses to die, though I have tried to smother it for years. Lol. Besides, I'm never going to plant food under the dogwood tree anyway. Please, no lectures on my choice of mulch. I don't have the desire to deal with a truckload of local mulch all at once. I went to the county landfill once and got a load of leaves from people's yard waste to mix with mulch. It was full of non-biodegradeable and very personal garbage. Eww.




Don't Trust Otterbox - oh, I dunno!!!

Right now I'm dealing with a warranty situation with my Otterbox Defender case, which started breaking the first month I had it on my new iPhone 4s.

I was in the first round of buyers to receive a 4s, and I was so paranoid about damaging it that I kept it wrapped in bubble wrap until I purchased my case at a local Wal-Mart. I needed a case immediately, thus my choice of store.

There were only 3 color choices available: all black, pink and black, and blue and black. I chose pink, because believe it or not, I am the girly-girl type. Ruffles and ribbons don't flatter me, however. :(. I guess I'm just not anorexic looking.

First the belt clip broke. (first week)

Next it was the upper right corner when I was gently removing the case with my fingers to put my phone in an arm band while I ran. It just crumbled in my fingers. (first month)

Then a side latch broke off.

Next the back panel cracked.

After that about half an inch of the cracked back just came off, leaving my bottom port unprotected.

I'm gentle with my phone - it cost a lot of money and I depend upon it. I'm not the type who drops phones in the toilet. Too paranoid to let it happen.

At Best Buy some young ladies encouraged me to go to the Otterbox website and they would honor my warranty. The company is lauded all over the Internet for the quality of their customer service.

All this time I hadn't thought they would honor the warranty without the original box and receipt. I filled out their web-form, which asked what color choice I wanted to replace mine with. I would have gotten the same color I bought, to be fair, but it wasn't listed as a choice. So I picked the closest to it, which was a pink and plum combination.

The next day I received an email requiring very specific photos of my broke product, showing my name, the current date, the very obvious damage to the case, and the logo embossed on the silicone wrap for the case. I took the photos required and returned them per their specifications the same business day.

Today I received an email saying they were shipping my replacement and that the matter is resolved. When I opened the PDF they sent, I discovered that they are replacing my pink and black Defender case with a cheaper Commuter case in "envy green and gunmetal grey".

Envy, as in, "Aren't you envious of people not being forced to accept a lower quality replacement in the least popular colors available?"

The Defender series comes with the belt clip, which I obviously have, shown in the photos. Not the Commuter series, according to their own website. Obviously, mine is a Defender case. I wonder if the Commuter case even fits into the belt clip securely.

Cost differences: the Defender case costs $49.95, plus 10% sales tax - the price I paid. (Yes, our sales tax really IS that high here.)

The Commuter case : $34.95, plus the same amount of sales tax.

Now, I did have the choice of buying a cheaper case and not protecting my screen, but the one small screen scratch I had on my iPhone 3GS (withOUT a case most of its 2 1/2 year life with me, mind you - do I destroy phones?) drove me nuts and I vowed to always protect the screen after that.

If I wanted their cheaper case I would have bought it in the first place. I bought the more expensive one with the assurance it would protect my phone.

What's on my iPad? A Griffin case. It's heavy and bulky, but after 3 months, nothing has broken off. I'm really glad I didn't trust it to an Otterbox.

I really regret not buying a Lifeproof case. When our new Verizon store opens, maybe they will have something that will actually protect my phone.

(Personal info in the screen shots and photos blurred to protect my privacy, but please feel free to share if you hate bait and switch tactics perpetrated by companies like these. )



Thursday, June 14, 2012

Well, I was gonna run, but...

My shins are screaming at me again. This will be rest day 2. I just cant do it -- a little test jog proved it to me . Owwwww... I squatted down for something earlier and I could feel the muscle trying to pull away from the bone. It was excruciating.

Then there was all the yard work today. I pulled weeds, I laid and soaked cardboard, I spread mulch, and I sprinkled cayenne pepper liberally over the mulch.

What? The neighborhood cats will otherwise undo all of my hard work by treating the mulch like a litter box and kick the mulch all over the place. I'm just trying to make them stay OUT. A few sneezes might keep them away.

Kneeling while I worked put a huge painful strain on my shins as well, so I only did it once.

I don't know what I'm supposed to do here. If I do the slightest thing that makes my shins hurt and I try to run before the pain is gone (and I don't know it isn't gone until it starts hurting, ha ha), I make the problem worse. If I wait through several rest days, I lose my cardio gain and have to backtrack.

I know I didn't get enough sleep last night. I tossed and turned. But really?

Very frustrating.

Weeds vs Cardboard

I've begun the war once again. The war on Bermuda grass and Nutsedge. I turned my back for a little while and the front flowerbed was overtaken by knee-high grass. Thick, hardy stuff I'm not strong enough to pull by hand. .

So I got the hoe. And quickly realized that someone, meaning well, had scattered my four stepping stones into the flowerbed and they were invisible until I whacked them with the hoe. Dulled the hoe. Almost chopped up my garden hose as well.

Then I went for some shears, which were really dull and managed to cut only a ridiculously small amount of the grass. The only places cleared were under the stones. *sigh*

Now I'm benched with a sudden huge blister in the crook of my thumb that made itself known when the skin tore. Yeah, ouch.

Gloves? What gloves? I'm a Southern girl and I'm too tough for gardening gloves. Okay, maybe I'm wrong about that.

When I asked my dad to teach me how to do things like change the oil in my car or start the push mower, he said, "You're a girl; you can't do any of this and someday you'll have a man to do it for you anyway."

Well that wasn't true. LOL I didn't have a man to help me buy this house, either. what I have is a yard full of bullying, sneering stubborn weeds I haven't ever really managed to conquer. Last year I had the mulch under my trees gorgeously arranges a looking NICE -- for once there weren't rampant weeds growing under the trees.

And then my father, in the spirit of helpfulness, mowed the yard and gleefully sprayed freshly cut Bermuda grass with seeds, directly onto the mulch, thus planting a bumper crop of grass in the area I've worked on for the better part of twelve years. He knew what he was doing. He was laughing. It made me cry. And then it pissed me the hell off.

So here I will go again, smothering whatever is growing with layers of wet cardboard, and then covering it over with the red mulch. The cardboard is a green barrier - plastic is just a huge mess that doesn't work anyway. The cardboard rots, feeds the worms (who love cardboard), the worms feed the soil, and the next year it can just be layered again, right on top. At least with cardboard, it's biodegradable and water still gets through.

Besides, I've always got cardboard boxes coming to my house. and the mulch does look nice done this way.

I poured boiling salt water on the weeds in the driveway cracks. They still look pretty dark green to me. Not a sign of wilting. So much for avoiding chemicals. Roundup it is.

This is the south. Our weeds like to play the banjo and tell you you got a real purty mouth, boy.

I think my problem is that in March, when I should do this project, I never feel well enough to get out and do it. By the time I recover in June and actually have some time, things are out of control and the weeds have started acting like a thug street gang.

And for some reason, I have family members who think that just dropping their cigarette butts all over my carport, driveway, and yard is acceptable. What do I do about that? They don't respect my property. Maybe I should go and redistribute their trash on their own yards. "Oh, you dropped these! Thought you might want them back!". I have yet to see their yards littered like they leave mine. They give me their special non-biodegradable trash, I can give them mine! Used tampons. Lol. Would that give the message that there is one pissed off woman involved in the payback?

Well, I don't smoke, so why should I have to tolerate them treating my yard like a trash can with their soda cans and cigarette butts?

So... Do I even bother spraying Roundup on the weeds first? I suppose I will. Maybe I'll spray, then lay the wet cardboard, then get a few bags of mulch to smother things.

I'd really rather pay someone else to do it, but I can't afford the professionals and the amateurs... Well, you've gotta supervise to make sure things are actually done. I've been burned on that repeatedly.

Perhaps if I just put in an hour each day, it might eventually get done?


Jury duty

Well, I'm here and on time, waiting. Going to turn my phone off so... This would not be a good time to call. Lol

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Late Night Meltdown

I was already in an angry mood last night when I did my training run. Maybe that contributed to my inability to breathe properly while I was doing it. I also stuck to the limit of the app's time intervals, so that limited my distance.

All of that means that instead of getting into a proper breathing pattern that I controlled (by getting out of breath first, recovering, and then maintaining my breathing), I was nearly finished by the time I was in control.

Nearly finished and hurting. Shins again. According to my apps, my timing was still good, but I felt completely defeated. If not for my infernal shin splints, I could keep going and get my cardio under control sooner and improve the whole package.

Having to take so many extra rest days is preventing me from losing weight like I should, which in turn, makes running longer times nonstop much more difficult. It's a nasty little catch-22.

Actually, it's a huge catch-22. At this point, my app starts increasing my run times mercilessly. A minute or two more each new run day. It looks like I may have to start re-running some days, like last night's program. Am I supposed to keep moving forward if I didn't do the run perfectly? Am I being too hard on myself with perfectionism rearing its ugly head?

Last night I was supposed to run 3 minutes nonstop and the shin pain wouldn't let me run for longer than two minutes without a ten second walk in the middle. I pushed myself hard, but I just couldn't breathe, which made ignoring my shin pain impossible The frustration, not the pain, nearly had me in tears.

When I read about a 72 year old man winning a race over hilly terrain, I was embarrassed by my current lack of progress. Okay, he started seven years ago and I started a month and a half ago, overweight. Technically, I'm obese, and unless my breasts fall off completely, I'll always be "overweight" anyway, even if the rest of me is skin and bones.

Still, I wouldn't mind a peek into a future that shows me this is going to pay off someday. Last night I ran after four rest days. Soon I'll be traveling for nine days. That should be enough rest from using my running muscles and tendons, but I'll be walking a lot.

Will that be the right kind of "rest"? Will I be able to fit my fat rear in the plane seat comfortably? No, it's not to the point of needing a seatbelt extender, but whenever you wish you were smaller, self-perception always says you are fat. At least now I can bend over without gasping for breath now. Right?

The app coaches that if you have a really bad run it usually comes right before a breakthrough. Yeah, or a breakdown. I had the breakdown late last night.

Maybe I'll be better off in Europe and I'll eat actual meals for a change. I don't do it at home. Yesterday the only real food I had before running was a protein bar and some oats.

Yeah, all my fault, but it's difficult not to waste a lot of food when you're cooking vegetables and meats separately. Try it -- you'll get tired of eating the same thing for every meal for an entire week, while trying to eat before it all goes bad. Desire beats conscience every time, despite good intentions. Maybe I just need to make a lot of stews and freeze them so I'll have to eat my veggies.

Bad run, angry mood, dizziness... All boiled down to a serious bout of acute depression last night. I knew it was coming from the dizziness. My dog wouldn't even have anything to do with me. Dizziness is the first sign, and then the blackness of mood descends with a speed that always shocks me. It's like being pushed off a cliff.

A friend talked me through in the early hours of the morning, but I still haven't quite recovered to my usual level of medium grey emotion. It would have been worse without that conversation. Nothing is resolved in my heart, still, at least I remembered to take an antihistamine so the swelling in my face and sinuses was reduced by this morning. I'm still shaking like a leaf in a high wind though.

It's like looking into a maelstrom.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Men's Health only?

Oh you have GOT to be kidding me!

Among the versions of trail mix Planters makes is their Men's Health version.

And nowhere to be seen is a women's health version. I don't care if it was endorsed by that magazine.

"Oh we will make a special mix just to keep men healthy, but women? We don't care any further than how they serve us."

So? If you're a man with the greatly mistaken idea that your health is any more precious than a woman's... Drop dead. I hope your special snack mix gives you kidney stones so you can feel worse pain than childbirth. :)

Steel Cut Oats

Heehee!

You can't just soak them in milk overnight and expect them to be ready to heat and eat in the microwave, as it turns out. ;). Ok, I only tried that with one serving. As far as I know, I'll have to stand over the stove for a full half hour stirring these things in order to make them edible.

Of course I won't do that for a mere single serving. I'll make five or six servings and then put them in canning jars to ... be reheated the rest of the week. What? That's not lazy! It's smart planning. I can assure you there is nothing noble about spending a half hour cooking every morning just for one person.

Right now they are the consistency and size of soggy Grape Nuts, and I'm waiting for them to cool. Yeah, I nuked them, so what? I have to run in a couple of hours and I need some fuel. Every day I have slept late and I need to get to bed a lot earlier.

I did find some beige knit capris for my flight, and I ordered some stretch jersey material to make one of those multi-wrap things. Yay me! I don't see the point in cutting panels and then sewing them back together in very obvious seams. I think all I will do is cut the armholes and then sew on the snaps.

My middle nephew cleared away some dread for me about running at the park. I hate that one hill... I really hate it. Running up it is a nightmare and pulls all of my energy. He said I *could* run down it, carefully. No, I had never before considered running that track in the other direction. Hahahaha. He also suggested that when I come upon that hill, I simply turn around and go the other way. :D. Brilliant, and he's only fifteen.

I put together some granola snack mix for traveling, too. A can of the Planters Energy mix, a can of their Digestive Health mix, a box of M&MS , and a box of Reese's Pieces. Some on the way, some on the way back... Hey, low blood sugar is a problem for me, so I have to plan ahead in case I'm stuck with no food and my sugar drops. Protein is the key.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Healing Day

All right ! I will stop pushing myself to cover the distance of a 5k every time I do a training run. From the ever-increasing pain in my shins yesterday, I'm not ready yet.

I will give my evil inner drill sergeant a few vacation days, while I wear my shin sleeves Yes, they do make my legs feel better from the moment I put them on.

Thursday night I ran. Friday I sprinted to and from the courthouse (it didn't hurt while I was doing it). Saturday I shopped in another city. Today... I'm going to be sitting on my bed. I already got a phone request for a third day of hang-out time with my nephew but I have to be honest: it's 1:30 on a Sunday afternoon and I'm still lying prone in bed.

I had one crazy-long dream this morning that was packed full of blatant warnings for me to be careful.

I was running a 5k race around the University I graduated from. First through the quad, running consistently with no walk breaks, which was fine for me because everybody else was doing the same. There was some fellow already on the other side far ahead, so maybe we just wanted to not be embarrassed by a poor showing.

Then into a building on the east end of campus for water, which turned out to be Rice Krispies treats and little half cups of lemonade instead of water, but we had to run all the way up the stairs to the third floor to get it, and to continue on the designated path.

Through all of this I was rolling my eyes and glad I was finally in perfect shape for running. Light and no pain or struggle at all. (Obviously, this is perfection only possible in my dreams.) I don't even think my breathing was audible to everyone within a quarter mile of me. :). In reality, if nobody is around, I gasp and pant as loudly as I want. If someone is near, I try to choke quietly.

Through a building with lemonade and cereal instead of water? Other than expecting a side cramp shortly thereafter, I started wondering if these idiots knew anything about setting up a simple foot race. I mean, a University with a track team? Sheesh.

Shortly after exiting that building, the very torn up sidewalk developed an incline that was so steep I had to climb up, using my hands. Oh, forget about running with a few hills in your way! Ha ha. By the time I made my way up and began running again, I felt I'd lost so much time that I had to run at my fastest possible speed. Apparently, it was a shockingly fast pace because people were standing with their mouths hanging open, staring. Some were commenting about it.

At some point before I made it to the next building where the finish should have been, I became aware that I had leaned forward and was using my arms for running too. I don't know what they really were but they were more like legs. Yep. I was running like a werewolf.

Hmm. Maybe that's why people were staring. That's not something you see every day! Lol I guess shape shifting wasn't against the rules. ;)

I never could find the finish line. Nobody in or around that building could tell me where it was. Sad. It was my best running time yet. All that effort for nothing.

Me that close to finishing and not being able to. Well ha ha! Where would my brain ever get THAT thought? ;). I'm just totally clueless about that one.

First warning: don't overdo it or I'll get hurt and need weeks of recovery time that will obliterate all previous work toward my goal.

I got mad and quit, because it seemed like trying to find the finish was just a stay in Limbo anyway. I realized I needed a bathroom, and when I found one, some chick stole my phone while I was peeing, and some pervy guy stared while I was taking care of my private business.

Second warning: don't trust people with your stuff or your private matters. Lol

After trying to find her and give her a serious beating for robbing me, I headed back to my dorm, which had been rebuilt in a glamorous new architectural style that seriously dazzled my eyes. There was a karate demonstration going on behind the building which was interesting for a half second.

Then I noticed my dog was sniffing around a basket of months-old dyed Easter eggs and I made him get away before he tried to eat one. Then I noticed the huge pet snake someone had put next to the eggs. Oh, I suppose the eggs were for the snake to eat. It was a big yellow snake.

I was asking the snake's owner if it was safe to let him eat old eggs like that, when I noticed the snake's mouth closing over my dog's already-enclosed head. Yes, he had swallowed my dog that quickly! So I made his owner pull my dog back out of the snake. I was thoroughly disgusted with that reptile's greed. My poor little dog had been altered by his brief experience in the snake and was now talking to me about how scared he had been. Yes, in a human voice. Well, if I had known a near-death experience was all it took to make him speak.... He'd still be communicating in dog-speak. ;) I can't risk losing my baby boy.

Third warning: keep a cautious and protective watch over those closest to my heart.

Final subconscious commentary: yes, I need to wake up and go to the bathroom, but having skimped on sleep lately, my legs need the sleep time to heal. Or else.

I plan to take it very easy on my legs today. True Blood Season 5 Premieres tonight, so I will be resting for that.

****

Psst... Don't tell anybody, but I've been dead asleep since I posted this earlier today. It's 6:30. I guess I needed a few extra hours for reconstruction.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Nacho Cheese Microwave Potato Chips

Mmm! I think I have finally found a method that I like for making my own chips. I've been trying out lots lately.

Needed:
Microwaveable plate
Raw potatoes
Mandoline slicer
Olive oil
Brush (silicone pastry brush is my favorite)
Seasonings (I used Kernel Seasons Nacho Cheddar Popcorn Seasoning, but seasoned or plain salt is great too)

1. Wash potato.
2. Carefully use Mandoline to slice potato thinly. If you have a steady hand with a knife or peeler, you might make thin slices that way.
3. Oil the plate with olive oil, using brush or spray oil.
4. Use the brush to put oil on both sides of potato slices.
5. Arrange potato slices in a single layer on oiled plate.
6. Microwave at full power for 3-4 minutes.
7. Flip slices over (careful! Plate will be scorching hot!) and cook for another 3-4 minutes. You may need to adjust time according to your microwave's power.
8. When chips start to brown, take them out and drain on paper towel they'll get crunchier as they cool.
9. Sprinkle chips with seasonings and enjoy.

I might even try some of the other herbs and spices from my massive collection. Heaven knows, they need to be used up. Lol. These chips have a hearty crunch when they are finished. I hate that oil is necessary, but at least with olive oil it's a bit healthier, and they aren't deep fried.

Odd things I've been asked lately

"What are you doing??" - this as I was dressed in a tank top, running shorts, running shoes, shin sleeves, and a fine layer of sweat, and running, out of breath, around the building where I work. So I answered honestly - I'm running a 5k.

"What's the weather going to be like tomorrow?" - well, since I was talking to someone who never turns the tv off and often criticizes me for not making time to watch a few hours of the tv news every night, I said I have no idea. I'm not a meteorologist, and I don't watch much tv. I rarely watch the news. I can't change my dreary life, let alone the world.

"Can we stay here a while longer?" This one simultaneously amused and exasperated me, as we had been "here" at the coffee shop for five hours already. I promise, it's not *me* who likes to stay there so long! Lol. I fell asleep twice while we were there.

"Why aren't you in --- with that crowd?". :) Quite simply, that is not my crowd. They don't consider me part of their social circle and they didn't invite me. I'm probably not good enough. Oh dear. ;)

"That's just for rich people isn't it?" Well, no, anyone could go on a student tour of another country if they can afford to pay their way, because airlines don't let "poor" people (like me) travel for free. That's why there was a year to pay for the trip.

I needed that option myself. I worked a lot of extra hours to pay for it, too. Many of those hours were fraught with unhappiness knowing I could otherwise be home to sleep away my depression. I had to pay more because I'm not a student.

If you want to do something grand, sometimes you have to make it happen by yourself. It's rare that someone out there wants to pay for you to do extravagant things without you lifting a finger in return.

I wish! Most of the time when you work hard, some bill comes up or someone steals from you and you have to kiss your dreams goodbye.

They had those trips when I was a student too, but my parents wouldn't consider paying for it or trusting me to remain the good kid I always was while someone else watched over me.

By the way, there are several trips throughout the year that the "poor kids" (not my term, theirs) are taken on at no cost to themselves. Even weekend trips. Bet I wouldn't have gotten to go on one of those though.

Heck, I'm still not allowed to go on them as a chaperone People in charge get to pick and choose who they want. Some things never change.

It just took this long for the teenage me to get to do some of the stuff I wanted way back then. :) But I hate to break it to you -- if I had the means to pay other kids' way for them, I've got nephews that would get first priority over strangers' kids.

Self Destruction

I was chosen for the first jury panel this morning and told that my vacation won't be held against me. Yay. Then I am yours during my term, circuit court. Though I am still pissed you are usurping my precious time off.

I forgot some papers I needed and with 7 minutes before jury selection time, I jogged to my car and back. No, it wasn't a long distance but it was certainly the WRONG thing to do.

When I sat down my shin tendons started aching. Then they started throbbing. Then they started to really hurt. I tried stretching in the bench and massaging too but the pain came from inside by the bone.

I have to face the fact that I can not run two days in a row without serious pain. Hopefully I can eventually conquer this problem. Tibialis anterior tendinitis. You know, there's a four letter word expressly for this situation. Very Anglo-Saxon sounding.

Something else I'm probably doing wrong in my usual spirit of self-destructive competitiveness: I've turned every training run into a 5k. Literally going the distance. Sure, it's a decent challenge for my heart, but I shouldn't do that to my legs.

This is a two steps forward, one step back deal. If I don't stop torturing myself, it might turn into one step forward and two steps back until that muscle snaps and rolls up like a cheap roller blind.

I suppose I should just stick to the strict regimen of my training app and stop trying to add in extra warmup and cool down times that actually include yet more running.

I'm possessed by something that demands I increase my distance at the same time I'm trying to get through the third week of an 8 week gradual training program.

What happens is hat it puts me out of commission for at least two full-rest days, and that means that I'm slipping behind on my alternating days training schedule.

Yeah, stupid and self-destructive, but I only have myself to blame. I want results NOW -- I don't want to wait a reasonable amount it time increasing my distance a smidgen at a time.

Instant gratification. Guilty, right here.

Maybe if I go a little easier and stick to the training I will beat the shin splints plaguing me for good.

Well, at least the cardio aspect of it all is getting in line. Now I have two full days to do no running. Gee, thanks. I'll take "it's going to take more than another five weeks to finish" for $500, Mr. Trebek

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Elliptical Before Run?

My water bottle right now... Because I have a dark sense of humor. ;). Oh yeah, that's a scarf I made draped in the background. I think it's lovely.

(very expensive yarn that is no longer available, OF FREAKING COURSE.)

Trying to push the water... Yes, goofy hand-decorated recycled bottles are a must if you want to drink your water with a smirk.

What would happen if I went to the gym and got on the elliptical before I went to do my training run? Would it make breathing easier by forcing me to breathe deeper a while beforehand, thus making my run a little easier?

Would it make my pre-run stretch session more advantageous?

Would I be committing overkill and possibly hurt myself? Hmm.

Classroom Creation & Pay for the Red Man

Once again, inspired by Pinterest. :)

I'm going to make curtains for my classroom this year, now that there is once again a local source of fabric. And yes, I'll probably go a little overboard and make a set for every holiday, provided there are holiday fabrics to choose from.

:D. A little whimsy is a good thing, yes?

I saw photos of a polka-dot stenciled wall and thought it was Cricut-cut vinyl. No, just paint. But why couldn't I use my Cricut to cut paper or vinyl and simply hot glue a wavy series of bubble across my walls? Or some other shape that provides a little interesting motion? Stars in undulatingly incrementally increasing sizes?

Nothing says I can't, and I'm truly the purple sparkly sheep to make it happen. Ooh, and I can add glitter too. /Win!

I need to bring some life into my room. A little eye-candy never hurt anyone, and I do try to create posters in Photoshop with bright visual appeal.

Hey, that reminds me... I've got my Pop Art class I should be working on. And I believe my class on mobile Keynote scrapbooking starts tomorrow.

But then again, jury duty rears its head and takes over the tiny little unpaid summer break that I have. and I thought I would actually be allowed to relax and prepare for my trip. Maybe even get some Christmas gifts going, considering that I've now received a third request for a soft and cuddly crocheted blanket.

A woman now owes the jolly red man three. The three must be appeased. A woman will require the rest of her pay to purchase the expensive materials. Lol

(I'm going to miss Jaqen on Game of Thrones. I hope they flout canon and bring him back. I hope Tom Wlashchiha gets a lot of roles in movies I can actually see. I hope i can someday hear how that monster of a surname is pronounced. Yeah, it's like that.)

Oh, did I just dispel a myth? No, teachers don't get paid vacation time. We get paid for 200 8 hour days of work, and all the extra days and hours we put in on our own time are not compensated.

Confused that I get 12 paychecks a year? Okay, let's take your monthly pay and only give you part of your take-home pay. About 4/5 of it is yours and the rest is held back for that summertime check. Oh, I'm sorry, you get all of your money every month, don't you?

I don't. I'm a teacher. That June check is the pay from five months last fall that I wasn't paid 100%. I'm not complaining. It makes budgeting and paying bills less complicated. It works for me. ;) I just want people to understand I'm not getting paid for days off. And now I'm not going to be getting my days off, it would appear.

*sigh*. I hope they will let me have a notebook or a project to work on if I'm going to have to wait around a lot. I hope I can figure out where to park. This is going to wreck the relaxing effect of my massage just before I have to show up. Argh.

Jury Duty, Travel, & Writing

Just yesterday, I received a summons to appear for jury duty... THIS Friday. Why does the local court only give a couple days' notice, anyway?

Don't start on civic responsibility. I'm perfectly willing to do it, provided they can work around my travel abroad that is staring me in the face.

I've been paying for this trip for 13 months now and it has cost me no small amount. Surely they will be flexible around that? I'll do it next week or even when I get back, but I'm hoping they don't try to pull the civic slavery bit on me. I was just called about four months ago the last time.

I suppose I will have to take them the invoice proving my travel dates and the money I will lose if they don't help me.

If they ruin this for me or force me to decide on being arrested... Well, let's just say I'm going to be a hostile juror.

Maybe they won't call me. And if the defendant is someone who was a student at my school anytime in the last 13 years, surely they would consider that prejudicial to the case. After all, I've seen a lot of my mental predictions about future criminals come true.

It doesn't make me happy. But try to warn a kid of the dark path they are treading and they will puff up with the attitude that they are too slick to get busted for anything, that they are special and entitled to do what they want.

Some only become pliant and willing to listen to reason after incarceration. And some just learn new ways to commit crimes while they are in jail.

They probably won't like my attitude about punishment, either. If you intentionally harm someone, I think you should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Unless, of course, you can undo what you've done.

You'll let me know how that time travel thing works out, won't you, Sparky? Hmm. There's an idea for some fiction writing. Butterfly effect indeed.

Farewell, Ray Bradbury. You will be missed. Thanks for all your valuable fiction contributions.

I need to get back to the story I'm writing. I still have a few plot details to hammer out but I need some inspiration. It's hard to write scenes with a lot of physical action in them when you are alone 24/7.

No, I don't count my dog. He is a wonderful little fellow, but inspires no thoughts of my leading man. Lol The only blocking I've managed with him is trying to block his kissy little face when he wants to play.

I had a strange thought yesterday. I've actually been writing (non-school required) fiction since 7th grade. I don't know why I keep thinking that I've only been writing in the last five years. I wrote in middle school, high school, college.... Maybe I don't remember my personal writing because I hated writing requirements in school with such a flaming passion. For decades I claimed to hate writing because I couldn't write what I wanted to.

Why didn't I do more? I was afraid I'd get caught and be publicly embarrassed for my efforts. At that point, ridicule was everything to be terrified of, for me. I just wanted to please. And I never really accomplished it. *sigh*

It took me a long time to decide that pleasing myself was the only important venture. I still struggle to give myself permission for that.

I also knew that if I did any writing, I'd get in trouble at home for the crime of WASTING PAPER, as if paper wasn't incredibly cheap and easy for us to get at any store. We weren't wealthy, but we weren't the paupers *someone* tried to convince us we were, whenever we needed something like shoes. I got in trouble many times when I was caught drawing because I was WASTING PAPER.

Heaven help me if I had ever tried to write about what was hurting me. I had no privacy as a child, teen, or even young adult. It is contradictory to my secretive nature that I post these blogs where others can read them.

I suppose this is the memoir someone told me I should write. I'm still trying to figure out if he meant that dismissively or encouragingly. "Write a book about your life like I did," (and then maybe you'll stop talking to *me*, because I'm not interested in knowing you.) or "You should write a book about it because it will help you and maybe help someone else." Oh, those subtle nuances of intention. They just can't be determined by mere email.

Ah, if only I could write songs. Or even poetry. Okay, you can stop laughing. Those "poems" of mine are simply purgatives. Creating something beautiful and original seems to be roadblocked out of my reach.

As a teacher, I have to say that encouraging a child's creativity, imagination, and cognitive development is most certainly NEVER a waste of paper. Stomping it out at every turn is wrong, however.

I can draw, and I can write. Ha! I learned anyway, though my efforts are still rather rough around the edges. I have more to learn. I'll work on forgiving those who tried to smother my creativity, because there is still time for me to make something of my life that will make me happy.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Small Town Blues, Blahs, & the Refusal to Settle

Living in a small town as a kid had a very few perks. There wasn't much to my world. I didn't need much. Heaven knows, if I had known there was anything else out there, I might have wanted more.

I was in an actual city (a small city, but about five times bigger than my piddly little town) on Sunday. We went into Target and I realized they sell stuff I didn't even know existed. And that was just looking at the makeup section of the store.

Wow. It's a good thing wearing makeup isn't a big interest of mine. Sure, I wear it, but I don't like for itto be what people notice about me. Maybe that's why I've never had people flocking around lil ole glam me. She only exists around Halloween, and only on those Halloweens I actually get to leave the house. Yeah, the fun part of my life has really closed up on me and there wasn't much to begin with.

There just isn't much to do in a small town if you don't put on airs and style yourself as some kind of local aristocracy. I mean really... No famous people live here, and nobody I'd count as important to the world does either. No generous humanitarian millionaires either. Just a bunch of rednecks trying to lord it over the rest of the rednecks. And a few criminal so-called local leaders who have embarrassed us all by getting our town on 20/20 for their misdeeds.

The town is fine. It's the people that are a problem.

Supplies are starting to dwindle, and there is absolutely no culture to be found here. Snobby people think that they are cultured, but really... What have they learned? What do they share with their community? Oh right, their idea of community ends outside their circle of friends.

Want to learn something? You have to drive at least an hour to find a place that even offers classes. Want to teach something? You still have to drive to get supplies for the class. Might as well write a book.

If you want to see a stage performance, you have to drive two or three hours and even then, the offerings are pretty bland fare. I want to see an Adam Ant concert, but I think the closest is 8 hours away. I know. It's a big country, only so many days in a month, have to consider the demographic, rednecks in general weren't too nice to him the last time he toured here... All very valid reasons I understand reasonably. Still, it sucks being in a small town that feels like it is in a distant dark pit where no contact with the outside world really exists.

If I hated my job (which I don't) I could just run away somewhere else! Oh yeah, sure. Easy for you to say. You have no intention of doing it yourself so that you can see your advice is faulty.

I am the only one to pay all the bills and those bills include a mortgage that still has to be paid even if I pay rent someplace else. If I had a husband to "take care of everything" while I found another great teaching job elsewhere... Sure. Easy. Yeah, right.

I'm not getting married to anyone other than a fellow who adores me. :) yeah, I know "good luck finding one." Lol. Well guess what? I've had a lot of alone time to think about what I want in a man, and my standards have risen, because I know I deserve better than I've seen. (There is only one item on my "list", and I shouldn't have to say what that is. If you have to ask, then you aren't doing it.)

And I don't have to settle.

Hopefully, you didn't settle either.

Heehee and no, I don't hate men. I realize sometimes it might seem that way, but really, it is unfair to hate the ones I don't know. :D. I only detest the ones who have wronged me or are trying to wrong me. The rest still have a fair shot at friendship, at least. ;) maybe more.

Travel Crafting? Maybe So

I saw a Hipstagram movie that someone had made with something close to 1000 photos and music in under three minutes. It was a "life flashes before your eyes in a millisecond" project interspersed with word cards and it was fabulous.

I want to do something similar with my photos when I return from Italy. :)

I'd also like to create a shadow box for each city that I visited. :). Should I include Madrid and London even though I will only see their airports? Well, I suppose that depends on whether I get anything interesting from those four hours. :D

It seems that my ability to get off a plane and get through an airport quickly has been underestimated by my future traveling companions. Oh yeah, I can get anxious enough to go faster than it would seem possible, and I believe I'm the only runner in the bunch.

It ain't my first time at the rodeo. I've flown solo before and all that without anybody to hold my hand. I think they should be more concerned that I will outpace them. It's a distinct possibility. ;)

I've also seen a map with little hearts cut from maps of places traveled to. Neat idea. :)

I would love to lead some travel groups myself. I just don't know IF I could get enough people interested in going for next summer. Dare I try? My future roommate is going on a tour of Switzerland next summer -- if I could get enough kids interested and able to go, I'd definitely take them with me next year.

Suggestions are welcome for any other travel crafts anyone would like to suggest. And of course, if anyone is interested in coming with me, I'll set up that tour for next summer. :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Run 7 - an improvement

My shins didn't hurt very much while I was running. Sure, I could feel them being taxed with the effort, but it wasn't the sharp pain of a few days ago.

Wouldn't you know, halfway through the run breathing became easier and recovery periods needed were shorter.

It's the first half of the run that's the challenge, for some reason. If I could just do my official training run when things aren't hurting quite so much, ah, it would be much nicer. I worry about running out of steam, though.

After finishing the 5k training run, I decided to finish at 3.2 miles by walking the rest of the distance. But then I decided to try to speed up my mile timing so I kept jogging on and off. :).

That part was much easier. I just wish it didn't take so long for me to get into the "zone" where I need to be to run comfortably.

My shins are aching just a little bit right now, but I believe some Tylenol will take care of it.

So, progress. I just have to keep reminding myself that speed comes later, when I can manage the breathing and distance. Right now I'm astounded that I ran that first 5k at 45 minutes with no training and no warmup that day.

I did start that race running, whereas my training runs start with 5 minutes of walking, so I suppose that accounts for my crummy finishing times now. I suppose I pushed myself harder than I knew I could handle back when I didn't know what to expect. Lol

Here's to continuing to improve. :). Considering that I haven't been "a runner" since I was 14, and I'm now 41, maybe I'm not doing so badly after all.

Dreading the Run

Needless to say, I'm a little bit frightened. My anterior femoral cutaneous nerve caused problems last time. Gee, it's a good thing it wasn't that OTHER femoral nerve causing problems, or there would go my love life. Wait, I don't have one anyway. Lol.

So, last time my shins actually caused serious pain and not just a little soreness or discomfort. That's what I'm afraid of - that sharp pain coming back and oh, say, making walking impossible.

I'm afraid, I'm afraid, I'm afraid. First step is admitting there is a problem, right? But this is the kind of fear that roadblocks any kind of exercise for ... Oh, months the last time.

I have to get over that. I'm stretching right now. I may be running in the dark if I don't hurry up.

The neurosurgeon told me that I have the spine of a 19 year old. And that losing weight may help this nerve problem. So which wins out? The numbness that makes my leg collapse or my trying to utilize it for weight loss that should help with the nerve pain?

What a catch-22.

Bootmaking

Here I sit on the edge of the tub, soaking my feet in some lovely rose scented hot Epsom salt-water. For some reason, the lovely pink color turned yellow when the water hit it. Lol. Okay, I made it several years ago and the soap dye I used was obviously a bit unstable. It's fine. The salt still works.

I'm hoping it will help with my sore toe. :D I removed a hangnail last night. My cuticles grow way too long at the edges so I get these long daggers of very sharp nail that grow parallel to my nail beds, and into my toes.

Yeah, ouch. Just one of those things because I don't have flat monkey toenails. ;). Mine are really curved at the sides, and while this lets me have cute little feet, conventional pedicure wisdom does not help.

But those hangnails. Well, leave them, and they become ingrown. Try to cut them, and they just end up shorter and harder to maneuver into a less painful position. All I can do is pry them up and slowly pull on them until they break off. Trust me, it takes months longer for them to come back than if I try trimming my toenails in some silly way. (These aren't a part of my nail, okay? Definitely cuticles). What I need is a boyfriend with a foot fetish.

*snicker* Okay, maybe not, but I can see where that might have its perks. Lol

Today I'm feeling the resultant soreness from the tearing and bleeding. I'm just trying to help nature take its course. If I leave them alone, well, letting infection occur is truly one of those overrated experiences in life. I'll pass.

As you do. ;)

I saw a pattern for some cuddly warm crocheted boots but I do not see paying $8 for a pattern that is for personal use only. So I've been trying to draft my own version in a different stitch and method.

If it is stealing to copy a boot which has a leg cuff, instep, and sole, then I'll bet that bootmaker thousands of years ago is really angry that all shoemakers have copycatted him. Mmhmm. That's right. Hardly an original idea, is it?

I've been trying to make my own design while reading fan fiction (because I CAN crochet without looking) and I haven't come up with a sole design that satisfies me. I'd like to make my own size-scalable pattern. But I realize that techniques which work for my own small feet don't necessarily suffice for women with Sasquatch feet.

Oh don't get mad. I've got little feet. You know what they say about a man with big feet? What it means?

He is less clumsy and definitely more stable for walking. ;). Small footed clumsy woman here.

I know I can figure out the boots. I don't like the bubble-leg style the original designer used anyway. Straight legs for me. There is always a way....

When I was a little girl, I sat in our backyard braiding longleaf pine needles and wondering how I could make something with them. A few years later, I taught myself to make coiled baskets with them. :)

So don't tell me what I can't do. It just makes me more determined to prove you wrong.

Wolf at the Door

There's a wolf howling at my door, trying to get in the house.

Really just an ex of mine but you can probably understand the metaphor. He's predatory and selfish. He's been out of my life for a while and being the user that he is, I have to say I'd rather stay alone if he is my only option.

Right now he nags me wanting to get measurements of the steps my dad made to match my high bed. Seems he has an elderly dog that needs a helping hand getting into the bed and mine will be easy to copy.

Said he would come by to measure them in Friday and then (as usual) kept me waiting all day and then didn't show up. Today he was texting me wanting to know if I was home at lunchtime.

Then he tried a page out of the Christian Grey playbook: sent me a message saying he was coming over at 4:30. Not asking if it was okay or if I'd be home. Just telling me how it was going to be.

Makes me wonder if he thought he could get away with pushing me around while he was planning to be here.

Don't mess with me dude. I'm sufficiently threatened that I would get away with defending myself. As was proclaimed in "Dead Again," karmically speaking, self-defense is very cool. By the way, thanks for the sleepless night of worry, you jerk.

Well, guess what? I wasn't even at home for Mr. Pushy. I was at the dentist, and then I was shopping. Truthfully, I didn't get the texts until much later because I thought it would be rude to leave the ringer on my cell on during my appointment.

I don't respond well to being pushed around. It really gets my back up.

Some part of me says be polite and just let him measure the steps. Another part of me says that's not what he wants and don't trust him at all. Forget being polite. Just continue telling him to stay the hell away from me. I spent too much time being treated worse than a slave.

And yet another part says to take the steps outside and let him copycat the design, and then send him on his way without setting foot in my house.