Thursday, December 31, 2009

Okay, one more for the year

I have already started moving forward with my plans for the New Year. I have enrolled in an online course for 'Practical Skills' for veterinary assistants. AND, I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of a couple books on the same subject. Class starts January 20 and basically lessons are released every Wednesday and Friday for 6 weeks. I am excited to take this class because, even though it's an online course, working in a vet hospital will allow me to ask my co-workers if I'm confused or need a real life demonstration.
I also am planning on starting a fun project with my sister this spring. I have no idea how it's going to work out, but I think it will be a blast. My father bought her a '67 Barracuda that they started fixing. My brother go involved and money probably ran out and any number of crazy family things could've happened...whatever it was, the car has sat and Dad has tried selling it. Now, with my fathers deteriorating health, he is in a wheelchair and has had a ramp built out his side has blocked the car into the back yard. I, with my extra time to think about how to spend my time, had the idea to work with my sister to fix the car. Of course it will take some time due to timing...around work and other obligations. But she also said there are just a few minor things that need fixing. Oh, and money will be a bit of an issue...we will only be able to do what we can when we have the money. Especially since it needs 4 new tires, among the other bits.
It looks like this, except 'ours' is black and not so shiny, YET.

So stayed tuned...I may even start a separate blog to chronicle the car adventure. We shall see.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

December 30, 2009

I figure this to probably be my last blog of 2009, but you never know, something magical may happen between now and January 1 that I simply can't wait to post. I guess we'll have to see about that.
At any rate, we are coming up to the end of this year pretty quickly. I am finally relaxing at home for a full day off from work. I have just put in a 7-day work week, which is just kind of strange with Christmas falling in there. It is nice to have the extra hours now, though, since Saturday was my last day at the bagel shop, after all. Not that 'not going to work' is actually a 'day off', but I find I am being forced to relax today. Since Monday, I have had a 'kink' in my neck that has progressively gotten worse. I am to the point where it is dangerous to drive as I can't turn my head to either side without being in excruciating pain. The heating pad and I have become great friends over last night and this morning. It's not really helping with the pain, but the warmth feels nice! I figure it is due to the intense cold we've been experiencing and me being sort of hunchbacked to keep warm while out walking the dogs.
But, as I 'days off' really. The house certainly isn't going to clean itself (I've given up waiting for that to happen). This morning, Hubby and I got coffee before he went off to work, to give us a chance to chit-chat a bit. Then, off to run my errands: transfer station, bank, grocery store, feed store for dog food, then back home to clean. Since I am not scheduled to work again until Monday, I am quitting for today to rest my neck and back, and I will pick up again tomorrow. The house is mostly clean from having family over for Christmas Eve, anyway.
Now, for the new year.
Priority #1, obviously: find new job! I have been told by a friend who works for the company that I am hoping will find a place for me, that if I keep bugging them, and let them know I would be okay working til midnight, that I could possibly get in fairly quickly. While I am not a night owl, by any means, I could certainly make it work until they could find more reasonable hours for me. Or, maybe I'd love it? Who knows?
#2: get back into shape. This is not only a need to be healthy again, but almost a necessity to be productive at my current job. Lifting 50# bags of dog food is definitely easier if you are conditioned! And I'm sure it will keep the whiplash to a minimum.
#3: I'd love to take my Etsy stuff to the next level. I believe once I am on a schedule that doesn't have me getting up at 4:30a.m. that I will be able to focus more during the day. Right now, once noon rolls around, I feel like I've already put in an entire day and I'm ready for beddy. But I'd love to be able to use the daylight hours for creative purposes. I'm putting serious thought into making jewelry with my handmade paper. I think it would be a nice addition to my shop, but that means putting my efforts into yet another project instead of focusing on making what I already do, better. Perhaps a few months down the road I will move onto that? (Wow, this blogging stuff really helps to work through things!)
Being the simple girl I am, I guess that's all I have for the new year's expectations. Although, I am also putting more effort into my current job. I had my first review yesterday. It was my '90 day review' but it was late. Although, working only 2 days a week there, I'm probably just about 90 days 'worked'. Anyway, it was all positive. They really like me and the manager said the owner (who is also one of the doctors) is really pleased with me. I knew I was doing okay...I mean, I walk, clean, feed dogs and cats and help with restraining animals for shots and x-rays and stuff...not rocket science. But they have changed my job title and description. I believe it is their hope that I will learn what the technicians do and possibly start taking bloods and giving vaccines when they are in a bind. For me, this is really an enormous step forward. I have been giving second thoughts to actually wanting to learn these things, but then I go back and forth. So, for me to feel comfortable, I want to learn outside the job too. I can certainly learn on the job, but I also like not going into things 'blind'. I guess that could be Priority #4: learn veterinary medicine in spare time!! :)

Celebratorily speaking (yes, I believe I did just make up a word), we are having dinner with friends for new year's eve. Originally, we were going to do our usual dinner at our favorite tapas restaurant in town. We have never had a bad experience there, and you never feel like they just want you to eat and get out so they can turn over their tables. And they serve their regular menu on new year's eve, which so few restaurants do around here. But, sadly, they are closed for the holidays and there are rumors flying that they are in the process of selling. Sad.
Instead, we are joining a couple of friends who have reserved a table for another friends' band's show. Last year, we went just to see the band, I saw the crowd inside, and we drove back home. This year, they said if you plan on seeing the show, you must make reservations. Having our original plans squashed, we decided to go for it and added ourselves to the list. It should be fun, though, as most of our friends will likely be there, as they all know the band. Plus, having a table for dinner means no fighting for floor space to stand on all night. I should be fun.

So, what are your new year's eve plans...and plans for the new year? Something fun and inspirational, I hope.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Christmas Eve party wet okay. I, of course, kept thinking of how I could have made it better and the things I did wrong. But I was reassured by a phone call today that it was a fine party and everyone was just happy to be able to get together for a night of conversation, games, trivia, and all 'round silliness. When the girls in my family get together, you better be ready for some laughs!
My kimono was so pretty! I was so excited when I got the package and I just couldn't wait to wear it. My only wish is that I had been able to spend a little more on a proper obi. I basically just wrapped some of Sisters pretty fabric around my waist and held it up with my yoga strap!! Another scrap of material was 'bloused' in the back to give the illusion that I had an authentic obi. (I didn't get any shots of that, though.) The picture isn't great, but I have to say, I kind of like the grainy texture of some of my photos after trying to 'fix' the exposure on the computer.
I wrapped all of my swap gifts in scraps of fabric. I thought it made for pretty packages. Auntie even specifically picked a gift for the fabric it was warpped in!!
We used our giant nutcracker as our 'gift protector', and I, of course, had to get another picture of me, with him!

I made Sakitinis when people arrived. I even ordered a can of Lychees to use in place of olives. Spicy snacks in pretty bowls were really enough to make me happy. I think I may have a problem...I love pretty bowls!
Steph made a BEAUTIFUL cake. It was a sponge cake with whipped cream frosting and fresh fruit. A traditional Japanese Christmas would include this dessert. I felt terrible because we never actually got to eat it! She and I had a small piece, but it was really late and everyone was getting ready to leave when we remembered it was there. Like I said...laughs galore...we just forget everything else!
The 'make-your-own' sushi wasn't the grand event I thought it would be, but it was fun. A few of us made some rolls and everyone just shared. When the party moved into the living room, we just never made it back in to make more. I didn't mean for this to look so dirty...My first sushi roll turned out HUGE and I meant for this to be like a cigar!!
I had also made Miso Soup from scratch (I boiled the seaweed to make the stock and everything!), and everyone liked that. I burned most of the tempura vegetable 'nests' but apparently my youngest sister likes burnt food...she ate most of them. I was glad for that, since I was pretty sure the mistake had spoiled the party.
Moxie fit right in with or 'theme' (since pugs were originally bred for Chinese Royalty, I think, and I was pretty loose with Japanese theme...I called it 'Asian'). Auntie dressed in a pretty '50's inspire dress with an obi-type sash and a pretty Asian parasol (which I didn't get pictures of). And baby sister dressed as Anime Gothic Lolita (? I'm not sure the proper term...she and our other sister had gone to an Anime convention and made cute outfits to wear there). I wish I could have that blue hair always.

Now...for the 'racy' swap gift I got. I almost didn't include it because it was so random. And completely un-p.c. But, I put it together with one of my handmade paper ornaments with origami so that it was just a birthday card. And, actually, my sister got it and she had wanted one of my ornaments anyway. She thought the card was funny, too, though, so...
Here it is...
It is a birthday card from from the '50's. Inside it says, 'No plesant' and in the bottom corner it says, 'so solly please'. It is one of those things you just can't believe...but it is vintage...this used to be an acceptable birthday card to give to someone! It is strange how times change.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It's Coming...

So, today was my last chance to get the bulk of my Holiday errands done. And boy, did I make the most of it. I have been washing dishes, washing linens, cleaning the kitchen, making dashi soup stock for my miso soup, shopping, more shopping (all food and more gifts!), wrapping gifts (still have to wrap Hubby's stuff, though), shoveling the driveway, and much, much more. I went to bed last night thinking, 'oh, crap! I need space in my driveway for 2 more cars!' So, today I had to shovel a lot more of my driveway than I normally would.
Not a great picture, but it's hard to get good contrast in a picture of snow. But, I think, and boy oh boy do I hope, that this will be the last of my shoveling duties for awhile!
On another note, but still related to Christmas, I am actually looking forward to Christmas Day. After work, of course. My hubby is...well, his family is Jewish. His parents took him and his older brother to Temple until they were each Bar Mitvah-ed, then they were left to decide for themselves what they believed. But Christmas is such a high profile holiday that just about everybody is home for the day (or more), so everybody celebrates in their own way. I left most of my family back in Michigan when I was 20 and moved out East with my Aunt (my mom's baby sister...she is just 4 years older than I). Then a few years later, my mom and dad moved my sisters out here. Before we had family out here, Aunt and I just spent the holidays with any other friends of ours who were without family. It was a ton of fun...just friends having dinner and hanging out. When there was more family, we decided to do Christmas Eve together so that we could still have Christmas day for fun with friends. Hubby's Jewish tradition was to go to the movies and have Chinese food for Christmas day, as that was about all that was open for business on Christmas Day when he was a kid. Every year, the theater gets more and more crowded and the Chinese restaurants seem to do a good business...and I don't really think it's because more Jews are moving to the area...but, I could be wrong.
Anyway, this year, we may be doing Christmas Day with friends! I'm kind of excited, as I really miss that from the 'old days'. Plus, this Christmas we are seeing the Sherlock Holmes movie with Robert Downey, Jr.
Now, I know he has had a sorted past with all the drug use and whatnot.
But, I just get so gooey inside when I see him. I remember so little from my youth, but one thing I remember was my grandmother taking Aunt and I to see Chances Are. I'm pretty sure it was his first movie, and I'm pretty sure he was the reason I wanted to see it.
Hubby mentioned a second option, but I can't remember what it was and I'm pretty sure if he goes to see the other one, we'll be seeing different movies!

Oh, and I can't wait for A CHRISTMAS STORY to start tomorrow night!! I love that movie!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

my goodness, the 'to do' list does grow!

Tomorrow (Wednesday) was going to be my last chance to do my last minute bits for my Family Dinner on Thursday (since I will be working Thursday morning, I only have a couple hours to get ready before people arrive). I have to get to the transfer station to take care of my mounding recycling and trash. That may end up as me taking a bag of trash to work with me to dump in the 'company' bin. We'll see. It is just that, after this ridiculous storm, our roads are crap. The storm was Sunday. It is now Tuesday night. The road I live on is basically one lane of tire tracks. The 'main' roads are fairly clear, but they thaw during the day just to freeze when the temperature begins to drop again in the evening. It is really sad how badly they deal with this weather out here. I guess 'hearty New Englanders' can only be if there is a 4-wheel drive in the driveway?
At any rate, due to the roads and my Chevy Cavalier not getting along too well, I am driving as little as possible. As luck would have it, my dad called yesterday asking me about his dog, Chin. He's having issues with his 'be-hind'. My dad is pretty much housebound in a wheelchair and can't easily get his puppy to the doctor. So, knowing that I am working at an animal hospital, he asked me a few things and I ended up offering to drive out to take a look at Chin. I'm not a Vet. I'm not a Technician. I have merely assisted with a few things and I am confident, if the problem is just what I think it is, that I can take care of it at home. We shall see, I suppose, but that means driving out to his place which is a 45 minute drive on a good day. I'm meeting my sister there so she can help before she goes to work. Then I can stop off at the grocery store near Dad's house and finish my food shopping for my party, and hopefully get home with enough time to do all the prep I need to finish before Thursday.
I had ordered some of my Japanese staples from an Asian grocer online. I forgot some stuff, well, actually, I realized too late that it was a lot cheaper online than at the grocery stores, I placed another order, fingers crossed that I would get it in time. Every day I tracked the package on FedEx. With the storm, I think, it seemed to be pushed from a Saturday/Monday delivery to Tuesday (today). After work, seeing no package, I checked the tracking to see that it had been 'left on front porch'. But where is it??? With flashlight in hand, I searched the front yard. There are no footprints to my front door, and no package at my side door. My brilliant mind deduced that the neighbors must have it. But how do you go to your neighbors and say, 'do you have a package for me?' Well, I didn't have to, as minutes after Hubby drove off to play poker, the doorbell rang and the girl from across the street said, 'I think this is yours. Your 38, right?' Yippeeeee! I've never been so happy to get a box full of seaweed!!
Unfortunately(Fortunately?) Christmas week does not mean any extra time off for me. Instead, I am off tomorrow (so that I can run errands and get ready for Thursday...and now help dad), but then I work a short day Thursday, then Friday morning, Saturday is my last day at the bagel shop and then I am going straight over to the Vet.Hospital to work til close, then I'll be working Sunday (the other kennel girl is leaving Thursday through Sunday)...then my usual Monday, Tuesday shifts. However, after that, I am flying by the seat of my pants, working only 2 days a week. I have exactly 2 weeks to find another job before I start to worry about the mortgage payments. Despite all of that, I am eager to be done with bagels! (Though, I'll miss the free coffee!)
I think I'll end your misery, whoever has managed to hold on till the end of this amazingly dull post....
I am hoping to get lots of fun shots at the party Thursday...

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Not really...we finally got snow!! Our friend just turned ...gulp...47 yesterday. She has had quite a year, and not in a particularly good way. Keeping in mind her age, imagine your oldest daughter deciding she can't take care of her 3 year old daughter! Sadly, this friend is the SECOND of my friends to have this happen. I also know an ex-co-worker who is in her 50's who is now caring for her 15 and 10 year old grandchildren!!

Wait...I'm way off track from my original starting point here...
Friends decided T. needed a night out, so we all met up at a local bar and celebrated for a few hours. I was excited to go out, and as usual as the time grew nearer to actually leaving the house, I wanted to stay in. They had been predicting a massive snow storm for the area to start anywhere between 4pm and midnight. Everyone was meeting up at 5, Hubby was working til 6, and I had been begging for the snow to start since 2! Without the snow storm, we had no good reason to miss a friend's birthday party, so we went. And of course I had fun. I always's just the act of leaving the house and GOING somewhere. Around 9 or so, half of the group moved on to the next bar; while the other half went home. Hubby and I hadn't eaten all day so we got a table and had dinner before we went home. It was a nice night. We actually got to see people we haven't seen in forever. And in a totally uncharacteristic move, I left Hubby's side and mingled!
But I think that's it for socializing until New Year's Eve. That means I can concentrate on MY party. I put the finishing touches on decorating the house yesterday.

I am so excited about these clever paper lanterns. I got a dozen of them on etsy (here) and they are so cool up close...dragonflies and koi...I just love them.

Today I'm making my eggnog...which is actually a recipe I got about 14 years ago from one of Hubby's co-workers. But I have consistently made it EVERY YEAR. One year I cut the batch in half because it makes so much, but then I was sad to not have any left over for Christmas now it's all or nothing (so...ALL).
I'm also going to try my hand at homemade green tea ice cream. I don't have an ice cream maker, so it will probably be a little more checking and stirring, but the recipe seems fairly simple.
I'll be wrapping gifts today, trying to find some fun Japanese music on Pandora (which is proving to be quite difficult), a little bit of 'maintenance' cleaning, and shoveling my car out for work tomorrow. I'm hoping there will be some time for a glass of scotch, a fire, and gazing at the snow, too.
Some of my chores for the day will have to wait until Wednesday since I can't really get out of my drive or down the road right now.
I am still excited to be leaving my bagel shop job. Last night I had a friend ask, 'so, I'll ask...what now? what do you want to be when you grow up?' To which I replied, 'That's the thing...I don't think I want to BE anything. I have never found one thing that holds my interest long enough to make it a lifelong thing.' Now, in the past, this has been sort of hard for me to accept, but I have such an odd feeling of joy from quitting my job I hate, while having nothing lined up to take it's place, that I think I've finally come to terms with this aspect of my personality. Something will come up. I mean, I can't NOT work...bills tend to keep coming whether or not money is coming in. But in the meantime, I have made sure there is enough to give me some time to find something. Hubby was offered a full-time position the day after I quit my job. And, being the type of person I am, if things get desperate, I don't have any problem taking what I can get until things heat up in the job market.
I'm actually happy again.
And I think this will help with my creative side. I am hoping to get some new stuff going, but I also have had some stuff in a shop in Maine...none of which as sold apparently...that I will likely have them send back after the new year. It's all stuff that I think is really cute, and I thought it might do better in a retail setting where people could see and touch (it's stuff I had sold at my first craft fair), but no luck there. oh, well...

Is everyone else ready for their Holiday parties? I told someone last night that our Christmas party is just like a night at the 'kid's table'! One of my favorite parts of being grown up...still getting to act like a kid. I am looking forward to all the laughs and silliness on Christmas Eve. Then, a movie and Chinese dinner on Christmas Day.
How about New Year's Eve? The past few years we've had plans then bailed and stayed in. This year, we have the same plan as last year, but I don't think Hubby's going to let me get away with 'it's too crowded in there, let's go home'. But I need that sometimes. Like I said, I always end up having fun...I just need to be pushed into it sometimes.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday afternoon...what to do?

I finally got to see snow today. This morning, during my 5am commute to work (I'm not sure 'commute' is the proper term since it's actually just a quick 10 minute drive down some long and winding roads), I saw snow. It was so pretty. Just some random flurries. Nothing sticking to the ground, no slippery roads...just pretty snow fluttering around me as I drove to work.
However, there is a storm on it's way, apparently. Hubby says it's supposed to start around 9 tomorrow evening, but I just heard on the radio that it won't start until midnight tomorrow. Regardless of when it actually will start, I had planned on getting an early start Sunday (not that I don't always get up at 6, but I had a schedule I needed to keep this time, so close to Christmas). I was going to go in early and get all my eggs and cream and milk for my eggnog so that I could make that Sunday afternoon (since it needs at least 3 days for the alcohol to, 'mellow out'). And Hubby was going to get into town to do his shopping this weekend, too.
Now the plan is for us both to go in tonight. I have all kinds of food to buy, but I am trying to do it in stages so that everything is fresh for dinner. This really wouldn't be an issue if not for trying to get stuff done around work and snow storms! I have notes everywhere that I keep checking and re-checking just to make sure that I don't forget something important. I am also going to have to do a lot of prep Wednesday, since I do have to work the day of our dinner. The good news is that my co-worker is going to come in and work 10 to close so I can go home by noon at the very latest.
So, now, I'm just killing time before having to go shopping.
We were also planning on going out for a friend's birthday celebration (sounds like it's basically going to be a cape cod pub crawl), but if the weather turns out as bad as they say, I'd much rather sit by the fire with a glass of wine or scotch. I guess we'll see what happens.
On an unrelated note...I found another tail in my yard. I am sure it is a different one, as it is much bigger. But it's still by the side porch and appears to have come from a squirrel. Do they lose their tails? I mean, why are there animal tails strewn about my driveway?? Weird.
I think now, I will go search the internet for a hairstyle. I am saving money by not getting it cut, so it is at a very ugly stage where it just looks like a hair helmet. At least it's hat season!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday energy

Our holiday plans are piling up, and chores are bunching into each other. How can it be just over a week until Christmas? I have, as many of you know, quit my 'full-time' job. (I use the quotes only because it WAS my full-time job, then I cut my hours for sanity, then got another part-time job and had to cut my hours even more. It is simply the closer to full-time of my two part-time jobs.) Christmas week was going to be one of those 'short' weeks, with an extra day off. Instead, I am working every day that week except for Wednesday. So it's a very full week. On top of work, I am also hosting our family holiday party on Christmas Eve, so I am doing all sorts of things in my time away from my job. Including lots of trips to the grocery store, work parties, dinner with Dad and the sisters tomorrow, cleaning (mostly making sure the pet smells and fur are minimal!), shopping for those last minutes for Hubby, and wrapping gifts (which I just remembered!). Plus I am now working tomorrow for a few hours, so there goes that day off. I wanted to make Dad this Polish poppy seed cake he used to always make. That was going to be my afternoon task tomorrow, but I am actually doing it now, since my baking time slot is no longer available tomorrow. Now, this wouldn't be an issue if it wasn't for the fact that, once the dough is made and filled and rolled, it has to sit to rise for 90 minutes...then bake for 30 more minutes. It's now after 9pm and it's not in the oven yet. This is very late for me. Especially after working an 11 hour day today. No lunch break because of an afternoon meeting today. (It was a crazy day at work today. Not only did we have a meeting, but we also broke in the new laser so there were surgeries all day and every doctor was there, plus two extras! Crazy, I tell you.)
Anyway, my energy levels are low, and I have been determined to not drink this week, so I really just want to crawl into bed and curl up with the pets. I had one tiny glass of scotch the other night because it was very cold and rainy, and I thought the weather warranted it.

Sunday was the holiday party for my animal job. It was a brunch at a restaurant that I have always wanted to visit but it is far too expensive for the likes of us. So we went. It was shaping up to be a pretty nice day by the time we went, and there was a Christmas stroll going on in our town, so we thought we'd check it out after brunch. The SECOND we stepped out of the restaurant, it started to pour rain. So, instead we decided to go with our original plan and decorate the house. We didn't get a tree this year even though we are having the family over. We are having a Japanese themed dinner, so I thought a smaller bonsai type arrangement would be cute. Last year, I tied some pine branches together to make a tree-like form, and it was precious. I haven't had a chance to get a shot of it in the daylight because I have been at work the past 2 days, but here's a shot just after the lights went on it. It's a teapot that Hubby's friend made him years ago...filled with rocks for weight. Then I took some boxwood, pine, and Harold Lauder's Walking stick clippings and threw them together to form a clever arrangement. It is nice to put my few months of floral arranging to good use in my own home!
I've also been getting package after package since I've only been able to do my internet shopping, as I haven't had time to get my butt into town. Tomorrow morning I'm making myself go before I have to be at work. Anyway, one package I wasn't expecting was at my doorstep when I got home from work one day last week...Someone had left their tail by my porch!!! Kinda gross, kinda creepy, kinda cool.
And lastly, I wanted to share a photo of my darling Moxie reading the paper with her Daddy. I have far too many pictures of my dog!! (Not really, how could I??!)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ah,'s just crazy

I did it. Sort of. I called my boss yesterday morning to give my notice that I would no longer be working for him after December 31. I would love to leave, like 3 months ago, but I thought how symbolic it would be to start my new year fresh. A weight has definitely been's true. Work was still frustrating today, and I decided not to tell many of my regulars that I had decided to quit simply because I want to wait until the last possible moment to deal with all of the questions and comments about my decision. So, I called my boss so that I wouldn't have to drag on the conversation longer than it needed to be. But, he wasn't at work. I really wanted to give him as much time as possible to find my replacement, so I didn't want to wait until his return to work on Friday. He didn't answer his cell, so I left him a message and said he could call me. He still has not made any attempt to contact me. I know that he got my message, though, because one of the other girls said he called her...because one of his other employees at his other shop also gave his notice this week. I was surprised, that I was surprised, that he had not called me. And , yes, that is what I meant. It is one of the reasons I need to leave. He's not a bad person, but you can tell he is tired of his business (I know he has been trying to sell it) and it is hard to work for a person who cares so little about his business that he can't find 5 minutes in his day to call the girl who has been running his store for 2 years to confirm that he got her message. I mean, come on! Because of me, he has not had to step foot in my shop for about a year and a half! Customers are shocked when I tell them I haven't seen him in over a year. But,'s his business. I am relieved to have finally taken the GIANT step to leave, and I'm even more relived that it seems like I will not even have to train my replacement, as he will probably just give the 'Wednesday girl' extra hours. Now I kind of want to leave sooner, knowing he doesn't actually have to 'replace' me. But enough of that.
Yesterday, after the call, I did my 'at home job' of cleaning. I scrubbed the bathroom (yes, on my hands and knees to scrub the floor), cleaned the kitchen (dishes, trash, that sort of thing), did a load of 'gross' laundry (bathmat, shower curtain, dog blankets), paid my bills (online banking has made life so much easier!), packaged up my latest Etsy sale. Then I took the rest of the day for me...a delicious hot bath, steaming hot pot of coffee with Christmas movies, online surfing, hanging with the pets, and more Christmas planning. Then Hubby got home and we went grocery shopping...we had 2 bags of frozen broccoli, a bag of rice, a box of Gorgonzola cheese crackers, and a jar of pizza sauce. Dinner the night before was a concoction of the chicken we had left, a can of tomatoes, linguine, broccoli, and cheese all baked up in the oven. But now we won't need to shop for another 3 weeks. Days off never seem to really be days 'off'...why doesn't stuff take care of itself!? It's amazing to me, on the days when everything actually gets done!
After all of our money worries with me quitting, it looks like I will be working the Vet. job all Christmas week as the other kennel girl is going away for an extended holiday weekend. Can't pass up money now, plus I actually like that job.

Here's a link to see the kimono I bought (family, don't look if you want to be surprised!). I love that it was ('likely') made in the 20's. I will definitely post Christmas pictures. Since I don't have to travel, I can't forget my camera!
I'm not sure why I don't have any shots from last years '50's Christmas'? (Donna, if you have some maybe could you email me?) But here's a couple from our 'Victorian Christmas' from the year before.
This was the outfit I made for hubby. I actually took a jacket and shortened the front to make it into 'tails'! I was pretty proud of how it turned out. I was going to crop my head out of the shot, but MAN, my hair is awesome!! (I did this very early in the morning, I think)
We girls had practiced a little bit of Christmas music on our recorders, but I think we should've done our performance BEFORE drinking my eggnog...I couldn't stop laughing! My dress is actually a wedding dress I bought at a thrift shop (right after getting engaged) for $30!! I have worn that dress so many times and in so many different $30 I ever spent.
Well, kind of a strange end to this post, but I felt like it needed some pictures!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

crazy day ahead...i'm kind of nervous

I've decided to quit my coffee shop job today. This is going to cause some serious problems. The main issue, of course, being of finances. We aren't swimming in riches even with me working this job, but finding a job to pay me what I'm making now is going to be impossible. So, I've already resigned myself to having to work more than 2 jobs fairly soon. But, I'm okay with that for now because, for my own health and sanity, I must leave this job. I have saved up quite a bit of my tips over the year (I wish I'd been able to save them all...maybe I could've taken a month off!), so I can make up any lost income for a few weeks, but I will have to find something soon. And, January is not really a great time to be looking for work on Cape Cod. Plus, I don't have any real skills, so I'll have to find something in retail, food service (which I'm hoping to stay away from for awhile), or 'no experience required' type jobs.
The other issue concerns my personal married life. I like making decisions jointly, but for all my hate for my job, Hubby is more concerned with paying the mortgage. And I get that, but what I'm having trouble understanding is why he thinks I don't. So, I've just decided, this one time, I was going to do what I think is best with total disregard to how he feels about it. I know I may have to work extra hard to make up for this lost income, but I'm sure I can make it work without losing our house. He is always supportive of everything I do and doesn't blink an eye when I spend $50 at the craft store (being an artist himself, I think this is something he just understands), he thought it a great idea for me to take a random class when I thought about going into physical therapy even though nothing ever came from that, and there's never really a question about anything I ever do. He just accepts things. And I'm sure he will (well, he'll have to) accept the fact that I'm quitting.
I'm still nervous, though...

(we're getting a mix of snow and rain right now...I hear rain on the roof, but see snow softly falling outside...kooky.)

In other news, I am going to try to really clean up my etsy stuff. Bigger journals, maybe. I was thinking of turning some of my paper into hair clips or other small jewelry items. I have been thinking about it for some time, and had it also suggested by a friend which reinforced it's being a good idea. It's been on the back-burner forever though, because I've been trying to focus my energies on journals and bowls...for some consistency. I decided to take out my bags and I've mainly been selling those lately! They are all gone now. What I haven't sold has expired and so now belongs to me...yeah, new tee shirts! New year, new projects?
And then there's the holiday festivities and whatnot. We got our Hanukkah package from Hubby's parents. I always get clothing and a check. I think every sweater I own is from my mother-in-law!
Luckily, she doesn't have terrible taste. I also got a cute black top with ruffles. Casual with a bit of flare. Moxie always gets treats or a toy. Hanzo always gets some sort of treat as they aren't really sure about him since he rarely comes out to see any of our visitors. We had a friend house/pet sit for us for a few days and he said he finally saw Hanzo the day he left...4 days later!! And Hubby got his usual sweater and check. I really love my in-laws...they are super sweet people and I'd never trade them for another.
I've also had packages trickling in from etsy. We do a Yankee swap, so that everyone only spends $20 and the swapping game is usually more fun than the actual gifts you get, but oh, my the laughs...! This year the gifts are 'Asian themed' since I am throwing a Japanese inspired party. At last year's '50s party I had a 5x7" playing card with a topless girl wearing an ammunition belt and holding some sort of was from the late '50's so it counted. This year, I have an equally disturbing gift to throw in the mix, but since family sometimes reads this, I can't say what it is. I also got a package from a Asian grocery I shop online. A couple weeks ago I went shopping specifically for soup spoons, and couldn't find them. So I ordered them online for 50cents each! I am in love with them. The best part of this years theme is that I collect Japanese rice bowls and chopsticks so anything I get this year will just add to my collection!
I even scoured that marvelous indie marketplace for a vintage Kimono. I found a really pretty one for just $25 INCLUDING shipping! One of my swap gifts fell through, though, so I'm not getting too excited about anything until it's actually in my hands.

Wow...what's up with Miss Wordy today?....

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Random thoughts for the day

Hubby brought me home a bunch of Irises last night. It was the flower I carried at our Las Vegas wedding because that is what the woman handed me when I asked for a 'single flower'. She must've thought I meant 'one kind of flower', but they were pretty, and I liked them, so I took them. Now they are one of my favorites. I love how they are just pointy torpedos, then as they open they are like little purple Fleur-De-lis.

I think the non-winter weather is really starting to take it's toll on my emotional well-being. I have noticed that I am feeling sort of ...lost. I get to host dinner this year, and have tons of planning to do, but I just can't get in the mood with all the rainy days followed by 'sunny and 65'. I need a little snow, I think.
I am also trying to leave my coffee shop job, but am both anxious to be done with it and nervous as hell to just leave my 'major job' when I have nothing else lined up. And I am sure this is contributing to my mood these days.

On a happier note, little Moxie turned 6 years old yesterday. I will never forget her 1st birthday when I baked her a white cake with white frosting. I set out a tiny little piece for her, got my camera ready (non-digital, of course), and gave her the okay to eat the cake. After all the silliness. I kept taking pictures to use the roll of film, only to discover that the film was not advancing. I didn't get one single picture of the event. Sad. This year, she had to sit at home all day by herself as mommy and daddy worked all day.
I scored some super awesome Japanese paper lanterns on etsy last week. They are going to be so cool hanging around the house. Now I need to find a kimono. I am leaning towards a short kimono and maybe funkin' it up with some modern touches...not sure yet. There is probably no other day I will be able to wear a full on kimono, so I may just take advantage. Anybody have any ideas?

I attended a tree trimming party at my 1950's friend's house last week. I managed, some how, between two 10-hour days to make cookies to bring. They were just chocolate chip, but I added butterscotch chips and peanuts. I don't have a ton of 'vintage' clothes but I am happy to play dress up whenever I can. Plus, it makes all of our silly shenanigans all the more silly when we are all dressed up like proper ladies. I forgot my camera, of course, since I was rushing after work, pictures, but trust me, we were cute. If you'd like, here's a link to her post (hope she won't mind). Be forewarned...she's a bit long-winded (you know I love you 50sgal!).
So that's it. Today, Hubby decided to stay in bed practically all day so, in the attempt to be quiet, I have done nothing but sit here and surf the internet while listening to xmas songs on pandora (free internet radio). Not sure what else will get done, since I've already been into town to do my banking this morning (work drops and atm, of course, since it's Sunday). I was waiting for him for grocery shopping (love his discount at work!) but now I don't want to deal with everyone else being up and out, too. I do love having the roads and stores to myself so early in the morning.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

What I did last week...

I've realized it's been a week since my last post. Christmas is coming, even if the weather doesn't agree (65 degrees and sunny on December 3??? Really??) We are hosting our family Christmas Eve party this year. Hubby grew up in a Jewish family and is not particularly psyched about holiday parties, even though he doesn't celebrate any Jewish holidays either and we are actually both professed Atheist...aaaanyway...
For many years we (with my sisters, Aunt & Uncle, and whatever other family happens to be living in the area at the time) have been alternating hosts and themes. We have all gone through our years of good and bad financial times (I think we're all in the 'bad' times now) so we have been doing a Yankee swap with a maximum budget of $20 each person. A few of us like the joy of wrapping, opening, and watching others open gifts, so we spread our $20 into as many gifts as we can, so our swap sometimes goes on for quite awhile. It's fun to see who goes for which gifts...sometimes, it's fun just to see what others BUY!
This year, it's our turn. We missed this tradition two years ago when we were living on Nantucket and unable to get off the island. It was nice, but I also had to work at the shelter, so it was a good thing we hadn't planned on getting away anyway. This year, I may be working Christmas day again, but only for a few hours in the morning...someone is gotta make sure those puppies and kitties are taken care of!
Back to the eve party...our theme is Japanese. We are doing make your own sushi. I'm going to try making miso soup. And then there are a slew of other things I want to have for 'finger foods'. The homemade much stuff to take care of and research. So that is what I've been up to.
I have also been trying to keep up with my etsy shop. I have had another sale, but again, it was one of my older bags I had up. I would love to sell some bowls, but I do realize it's not something people 'need' so I am fine just being happen when someone does decide that it is a beautiful piece of functional art that they just can't live without.

OH, and here's a photo of the centerpiece I made for out table for Thanksgiving dinner. I picked up some fallen bayberry 'clumps' during our walk in the morning. I have some old floral foam (not really sure why) that I stuck the tiny branches into. Then I just set the whole thing in one of my handmade 'free-form' paper bowls that I've decided to keep for myself (selfish). I thought it was really cute.
Yes, there were just two of us, and yes, we did finish the green beans eventually. I almost forgot the best part...leftovers. Ours went into, not the 'day after' sandwich...we had a 'day after pizza'!! Gravy, stuffing, turkey, and fried onions! So good. Hubby had his with a side of cranberry sauce.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Well, I am killing time waiting for the parades to start, and editing some photos to put up on etsy (today, I hope!). Today, for the past 9 years, Hubby and I have always spent mostly alone. We ran away to Las Vegas and got married on Thanksgiving Day. Officially, Monday was our anniversary, but we always celebrate on Thanksgiving because we know, no matter where we are working in any given year, we will both have the day off to spend together.
I am remembering, today, some past Thanksgivings. When my aunt and I first moved out here, we had a small group of friends, mostly co-workers of hers from the bookstore. We were all in our 20's and most of us didn't travel home for the holidays. So we had everyone over to our house we were renting and we made a lovely dinner, everyone chatted and had punch, and then we drove down to the seashore for some running around and being kids. That was the day Hubby and I decided we were a 'couple'.
And then 5 years later, we were having Thanksgiving dinner, with our 2 friends from Sacramento, at the Excalibur in Las Vegas. Quite a contrast, but oh, what fun.

Today, I'll watch the parade for a bit, Hubby will have to get up soon so we can grab coffee and say our 'happy holidays' to our friends, and take the dog to the beach. Then, of course, once we get home, the food prep will begin. We got a turkey breast (we don't eat the whole turkey and we are definitely not the type to make stock or soup with the carcass), I got potatoes and an acorn squash to roast, cornbread stuffing (mix...I like it all crunched up in the oven, though, so I think I'll throw some inside my squash halves), gravy ('s hubby's fav), and wine. This morning I realised we didn't get cranberry sauce, which I don't eat but Hubby's going to cry when he finds out. And we are hoping our local bakery, which is open til noon and where we go for coffee, has some rolls or some of the delicious bacon-jalapeno cornbread left.

What are your plans for Thanksgiving this year?

Sunday, November 22, 2009


It's Sunday (again) and I am wondering...should I wake Hubby so we can get a move on and make the trip to Ikea this morning? Or, should I let him sleep since he has been working his new job 9-5 five days a week, then his 'just in case things don't work out, I need a fallback' job on Saturdays, and he has several freelance projects he's been working on every night this week, plus we went out with some friends last night and didn't get home til 11:30pm.
On the other hand, this is really the last chance to do any shopping before the mad rush of Holiday shoppers. We have been trapped here due to our income situation as of late, but are getting depressed just going day to day to pay the bills but nothing else. So, we thought we'd take our annual trip to Newport, Rhode Island to hang out, visit our fav Japanese store, and ogle the mansions. Then I realized...I'm hosting Christmas Eve dinner. I have 7 on the guest list. I have 6 place settings!! So, the trip to Ikea isn't essential, I would just like to have enough plates for everyone. But then there's the fact that I convinced Hubby to go to Ikea instead of Newport, so if we don't go, then I've ruined our travel plans altogether. Maybe we can just do Newport in a few weeks??

In other news, I hate it when people comment on 'global warming' as a reaction to the daily weather. We had a pretty chilly summer, with almost an entire month of rain, before the temp got up to the 'normal' range for the season. The past few weeks we've seen 70 degree days turn into 30 degree nights, followed by 'oh, my, it could snow today' chills in the air. So when it's summer and cold and people say 'so much for global warming' I want to punch them in the face...but, I suppose I come to expect to hear it. Yesterday someone said, because it's November 20-something and 65 degrees outside, 'if this is global warming, I'll take it!' Come on, people!! It's not about the daily weather's about the fact that it's not supposed to be cold in August and warm in November!! The world's gone all topsy-turvy and it's just not right!
There wasn't any REAL point to that story except to say that yesterday it was about 65 degrees and right now my teeth are chattering from the cold (I refuse to turn on the heat until it gets down to 60 degrees INSIDE).

I've started adding my new journals to my etsy site. And I'm getting ready to start my holiday sales. I thought about offering a percentage off or something, but I've not dealt with PayPal long enough to know the ins and outs. Has anyone had to do refunds (say, for a 'bogo' deal)? How does that work and is it a total pain? Just curious, I could just check out the site and see if there are answers there, but I was wondering about any personal experiences.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sliver Linings...

I got to spend the day with my sisters at a local farm (where one of them works), while we tried to sell our stuff at their annual craft fair. Steph's homemade jams and cookies and kiddie capes sold like hotcakes! I sold one journal and one ornament. But, as I said, I got to spend the day with the girls. Plus, I got 2 free hot cocoas and a piece of pizza. And a discounted Jamaican plate full of rice, cabbage, and jerk chicken to take home!! Yummy.
I think my side of the table turned out cute, and Steph's was nice and tidy, and I think it flowed okay, considering the strange combo of my stuff with hers. Someone dripped her homemade strawberry jam onto one of my bags; but, since it was decorated with a transfer of my art, it wiped right off with a damp cloth!
And I made this cute flower arrangement for our table, too. I thought it turned out really nice.

I also now have lots of new bowls to list for holiday shoppers. Today I am hoping to get some of the photo editing and description writing done so that I can just keep on listing for the next few days. Then, stay tuned, as I am probably going to offer free shipping at some point. Try to get those procrastinators to think ahead for once, right? It would never work for me, but maybe there are some out there who are a little more sensible than I!!

Oh, and I was pretty proud of the quick embroidery job I did on my bleach stained sweater the night before the fair. You can't even tell how careless I am with that nasty stuff (I use bleach rarely, and can't even figure out how I got it on this particular sweater!!).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

one day...two posts? my, oh my!

I just wanted to post to boast! I wanted...I mean, REALLY wanted, to take a trip 'into town' (=the town halfway between me and my sisters, where we usually meet up for coffee and whatnot) and get an Eggnog Latte. But, lucky for my, Steph didn't get her stuff done yesterday and was unable to meet me. That meant I needed to take the opportunity to do some work of my own. I have decided to use up the paper I have made by just making more journals, tags, cards, or whatever stikes my fancy in the next couple of days. Then there's all the random shaped paper 'cups' (or whatever you might call them) that need to be sealed and (maybe) painted or decorated somehow. And then that's it. I'm not going to stress myself out by over-extending this time.
So, that's what I did! I have been working very hard today, taking a break for a quick lunch of cold pizza (Hubby makes the best homemade pizza!!). Now it's just about 15 minutes until I need to start thinking about what to make for dinner tonight and thought I might post a few pics of what's been happening here...
My last batch of paper was blue and I made a bunch of different shapes to use as pencil holders or little 'catch-alls' or whatever. I sealed them all today and now just have to finish them off. Not sure how, but I better figure that out! Any suggestions?
I thought the little square one with the boat would be cute in a little boys room.
I also cranked out a few journals. There are still a few to bind, but I am waiting for glue to dry on the covers.

I also found a few minutes to make a quick hang tag using a silly little design I whipped up in PhotoShop the other day. I'm pretty happy with the results considering I'm not the computer person in the family!

Oh, and lastly, I wanted to show my last bit of tomatoes from the garden. We had so many little greenies on the tomato plant when it started getting cold and I was sad they were all going to have grown in vain. Then a friend of mine said, 'bring them in and hang them in the window. They will ripen.' And I did; and, they did!

Variety...spicy or just a bad idea?

I am soooooo tired from my kennel job this week. I am happy to have a one job for just 2 days, a day off, then a different job for 3 days, then a day off. BUT, sometimes I wonder if it actually makes life MORE difficult? I mean, I love working with animals, so Mondays and Tuesdays I at least get to spend time with those funny little quadrupeds. But some days are so busy, and only being there two days, it almost seems as soon as I am back in the groove, it's time to move on to the next half of the week. I'm not complaining...I'm just exhausted from the craziness that ensued in the last minutes of work last night and caused me to race through my tasks and wonder all night 'have I forgotten something?'
Now it is Wednesday and I am enjoying the view out my back door...well, I am enjoying the color of the sky (November grey) and the half-leaved trees (autumnal oranges), and watching everything blow around in the crisp air. What I am wondering, though, is how is it that the neighbors leaves are blowing across and into our yard, but our leaves are not blowing in the same direction and going into the next neighbors yard? Is it possible that we are in some sort of 'eye' where all the leaves of the neighborhood are swirling around and ending up in our yard? Like some sort of leaf tornado?? We spent all day Sunday raking and bagging leaves (well, it seemed like all day, but I do remember finding time to sit back and enjoy a glass of wine in the back yard during this week of Indian Summer weather). I really like the looks of the leaves on the ground, and I think it is a futile chore considering all of our hard work has basically been undone with the falling of the rest of the trees leaves...however, we just spent a good chunk of dough to have a real lawn put in (thank goodness my coffee shop job has me in contact with lots of nice laborers and business owners who like me!) and we really don't want to kill it. So a-rakin' we must go. AGAIN!
I'm not really sure the point of this post...I think I may be putting off the work I need to do. I have all day today, then a few hours the next couple days, and then I need to be finished up with my craft fair wares Saturday. I started painting the bowls I had sealed....I think they are cute, but putting yourself out there at a craft fair really is hard when you're just new at it. I hope this year goes better than last year because I feel like the stuff I am bringing shows a little more focus. Ugh! Art!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

All sorts of crazy!

Let's start by saying that, despite all my good intentions for Sunday morning chores... sitting with the computer, cup of fresh brewed coffee, and listening to my friend hosting a local radio show always seems to be more fun for me. Call me 'crazy'!

I was going to try to meet friends in town for a 'crafty shopping' trip, but Hubby has had such a crazy schedule since getting a new (yes...another new) job this week AND keeping his other recent new job. I have not seen him more than a couple minutes in passing since Thursday evening. He worked 9-5 all week at his new design job. Then Friday, he still had to work his grocery job 6-midnight, so I saw him all of 15 minutes Friday. Saturday, I worked 7-2, while he worked noon-6pm...needless to say, he brought home a bottle of wine that I am surprised he hadn't started drinking on the way home!! So, today, is 'OUR' day. He is, of course, still sleeping, but this gives me a chance to catch up on stuff (i.e.: blog reading/writing!).
I have been working like crazy, though, to get stuff together for the craft fair next Sunday. This is the same one we did last year. I hope we get the great weather we are having today, but I am cursed when it comes to the weather and my involvement in events. Last year, I concentrated on cards and sheets of handmade paper and some painted bags. I sold some cards, some paper, and a bookmark. This year, specifically in the last couple months, I have been experimenting with paper 'forms'...bowls, trays and that sort of thing made with my handmade paper. I like it because no two are alike, and the possibilities are endless. The problem is that I have been trying to do it fairly quickly so that I have some stuff to sell...I'm afraid I am going to have quite a measly supply of product. Luckily, I was only really doing this because my sister wanted me to share a table with her...and then our aunt decided that maybe she would try to have some things to put on our table. We should have no trouble, at all, filling one table.
The other upside to all of this is that I have not been feeling creative at the point where I was considering ignoring my etsy shop for a bit to try to relax and let things flow as they will...but, now I have been doing nothing but creating in my spare time! In the end, if I don't sell anything at the craft fair, I'll have a ton of new stuff for my etsy shop!

Anyone else involved in any Holiday craft fairs? It is certainly the season for them...lots of holiday shoppers getting in the mood. Christmas music is already playing in stores...decorations are going up. In this crazy premature (in my opinion) Christmas frenzy, I keep forgetting Thanksgiving (and my wedding anniversary) are right around the corner! Don't get me wrong...I am listening to my 'Martinis and Mistletoe' CD at least once each visit to my studio, but I am blaming it on my 'highly susceptible to suggestions' personality! It all started when I heard Harry Connick, Jr. at the craft store. Which lead to an Eggnog Latte at the cafe. And it was all downhill from there! I just have to keep reminding myself of our anniversary, because Hubby will not forget, and I will look silly!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Personal life update:

I think I have forgotten to mention that our little girl, Moxie, has been drug free for OVER 3 WEEKS!! That's right, folks...I think that pug has healed right up. No more limping, and no more prescription meds. Of course, she decided not to heal until AFTER I ran back to the vet for a refill, which I have not touched! At least, possibly because she is small and her fracture was tiny...basically it looked like a hair in the x-ray...the drugs were not expensive. And now we have them in case...well, I guess in case she develops some sort of arthritis and has 'bad days'??
We have her on supplements, however, but I'm very okay with that. They are natural and keep her joints healthy and that makes me happy. She's the best pug EVER!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tea party pictures

Sunday I got dressed up and went out to celebrate a dear friend's birthday. It's a big birthday for her, she is in her first year of homemaking as a career, and wanted to throw herself a shindig to rival all shindigs. Of course, upon my arrival, it didn't take long for her to say, 'Oh, Jen, I'm sorry, I didn't think to get anything to drink!' Of course, she had tea, but I have apparently turned into the girl who 'drinks'. After several refrains of 'I don't need booze to have a good time,' she sent her hubby out for whiskey sour fixin's. He and I have turned into drinking buddies, so I'm not sure he cared about making the trip.
Here are a few pictures of the event.
Here's the BEGINNING of the lovely spread she put out. Petit fours, cucumber sandwiches, smoked salmon and cream cheese on pumpernickel, cookies, cupcakes, and bread pudding (made with leftover cake!), ham salad, chicken salad...oh may!
I had Steph take a picture of just me, since I never get proof of my existence at any gathering. My dress is not terribly puffy, but considering the petticoat I am wearing is from my $30 Goodwill wedding dress and actually reaches the floor. (Behind the scenes secret: it's pulled up to my chest and hooked with pins.)
before Steph showed up...after Steph showed up.
Our silly outdoor fun was made possible by the crazy warm weather we had. Which is strange, considering the fact that pretty much any time I go visit these friends, it rains.
Now, that's the best tastin' pickle I ever heard!