Monday, April 27, 2015

A Productive Day.

Okay, so, somehow in the past year or two, my skin has decided that it no longer appreciates what I do for it. It has given me hell almost every day, no matter what I try. This is pretty impressive, since I managed to get through a high-stress, super-dry deployment with minor issues--once I discovered daily moisturizer. Over the past year I have also discovered toner, charcoal, and facials. I've been going to the same spa pretty much since I started acting like a girl... but my usual gal is out for medical reasons for a while. Bless her heart, I love her to death, but it turns out Ms. A is actually way better for my skin anyways! After cleaning me up a couple weeks ago, she gave me some specific recipes and tips for my skin. I finally got around to making the toner she recommends, which is less drying and probably more protective than what I have been using [although I did love it, too]. It made my skin feel &*^#$A(#$ fantastic. Highly recommend.
The other project I finished today [which I had been only mildly putting off], was transplanting the start of my windowsill herb garden. I found the planter at Big Lots [my god, I love that store]. I had to leave a spot for the Rosemary, which wasn't quite ready yet. And actually, I might sub the Rosemary for a different herb, because I'm thinking it needs to be kept more dry than the others?
On the top shelf, I believe that is Cilantro, Dill, Thyme, Lavender, and the one that is growing well is actually catnip, but don't tell them that. I had to restart my Dill and Thyme, and accidentally doubled up on Cilantro. The planter below has Parsley, Sage, Oregano, and... um... Basil. The herbs I use pretty much all day every day. To the left you'll also see ThePlantThatWillNotDie, doing quite well this year [it's going to bloom!]. There's still a little room for Miss Maow to sit herself in the window, but I'll be damn glad when we give HellCat back to his dad, because he likes to eat my aloe.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Return From my Accidental Hiatus

Well, you all know I kind of drop off the face of the map here and there, and this spring has been an incredibly... well, let's use the word "interesting"... time. Going through my photos, I can gauge that it's been roughly over a month since I've posted something, so I've got a lot of catching up to do. That means either a super-long post, or very brief ramblings and more focus on photos. I think I'm a bit more drawn to the second option. 

First things first--in early March I went to DC to appeal to the powers that be to deem me "Broken." Still waiting to hear back on how that went. But let's just say it was an ordeal, and it was kind of a nightmare. I think I slept for two days straight when I came home. 

One of the amazing things--and I have taken tons of photos--has been the progression of my flower bed. The crocuses have stopped blooming, unfortunately, and I'll miss them; however, the wild tulips are starting to come in and they are just gorgeous.  I've planted a ton of stuff since the crocuses bloomed; they kind of got me inspired. I've got bleeding hearts, a strawberry, dahlias, and some lily of the valley in pots around my front yard. I also added some gladiolus and lupine to the back of the flower bed, as well as to some planter boxes in the side yard. Most recently, I sowed some lavender, columbine, and alyssum, and I cant wait to see them sprouting. I've ordered some hens-and-chicks to fill out the ones that exist, and I picked up some red ones yesterday. I also found a "black" columbine and some wormwood, so those need to be replanted.

Perhaps the biggest change from last month is these guys. John Snow the Betta finally passed on after a couple weeks of looking really sickly. I had a couple days with Liu Kang, who unexpectedly died. He has been replaced with Gorgeous George [get the reference?]. He's a dragon-scale Betta, and the picture doesn't show how iridescent and shiny he is. On the other side, say hello to Cash. I've been thinking about getting a dog for a long time--and looking around the past few months. When I saw his face I fell in so much love. He looks a lot like my Nelly, who died a couple years ago. He is Australian Cattle-dog, Dachshund, and American Staff [which is so painfully obvious]. He is amazing and hilarious, but he has a little to work on in the manners and kitty departments. It's a slow process, but we have classes later this week and he is really bright. I forgot how exhausting and consuming it is to have a dog... but I also forgot how good their love feels.

 Another side project I have been focused on is making my desk a more inviting place to work--for homework and to help keep me from laying in bed on the internet all day. I found this old wicker shelf at Goodwill for like $5, but when I bought it, it was solid white. A bit of black spray paint and a silver paint marker, and voila, much better. I'm working on complementing it with trinkets and such lovelies, but currently the bottom shelf mostly houses my laptop. I had a hard time doing homework with the lights not quite reaching, so I bought this cute little hanging thinggie over at Big Lots and filled it with Christmas lights. now that I look over, half the lights are burnt out, so I may switch it back to a candle. But it was a fun and easy project.

This beast hear though... It's technically a three-part project, and completing one set of candles was so exhausting that I didn't finish the other two. It was fun and interesting, but my plan for the small set of candles isn't going to work, so I'm back to collecting glassware to repurpose. The good news is it gave me a chance to experiment and refine the technique, so when I make the smallest and largest set, I'll have a better idea of what I'm doing. This project deserves it's own post though, and I'll be following up on that... uh... eventually.

Lately I've been on a muffin kick. Banana muffins in particular, but if you can make it, I can make a muffin out of it. The pomegranate blueberry ones were perhaps the biggest hit, but I also played with apple-cinnamon, blueberry-chocolate, carrot-raisin-oatmeal, and many others. They are great for a quick breakfast on the run, and they last a week or so in the fridge. 

Two last items, and that'll do it for today. I saw this guy on the street corner, by himself, with what I feel is a very powerful sign. If you can't read it, it says "Pain is not Recreational. Support Medical Cannabis." Basically, WA is now trying to force of of the MMJ shops and retailers to comply with the recreational rules--which basically hurts their business and their customers. In a nutshell, WA's legalization has kind of backfired because they didn't plan enough before they passed it. Some of us predicted this, and it's a damn shame. But we are seeing a lot of states following suit, and I feel that we will see at least MMJ legalized on a federal level within my lifetime, if not medical and recreational. 

The new quarter has started, and even though I haven't been properly released yet, I decided to go ahead and take a full courseload. I never know when I'll get the word that I'm finally free, and I don't want to land on my face when that happens. So I got set up to go to school so I can both use my GI Bill [have income] and work towards a BSEE [do something mildly useful with my life]. It worked my way through college about 7 years ago, so hopefully I can do it again... but this time the schedule isn't going to be as flexible. One of my favorite things about this campus is the rock-stacking. This pile of rocks is stacked differently almost every day I walk by it. I think I want to do something like this in my yard... but I'm not sure where I should try to get the rocks from. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

I Mean, This is "Normal," Right?

So what were you doing at 9 or 10 pm on a Saturday night? I was apparently baking. Yup. Because I'm still transitioning off nights, so why not? Banana muffins are my new "thing."

Side note, I want a cat or dog named Dinah, so I can be in the kitchen with her, every time I cook. Ha.

So, I had leftover blueberries from last time I made muffins, which was only like a week or so ago. At the Met, I saw a little thing of pomegranate... Uh... Thingies. You know. I figured, "well, I dont see this every day, and they already did the work for me, and I kinda like pomegranates... Sooo..."

...this totally happened.

You know what else happened??

  1. Can you guess? If you work at Dirty Oscar's Annex, you probably can. After scooping out half the basic banana muffin mix to use with fresh strawberries, I got down to the team business out the day: Dead Elvis Muffins. Damn straight, I made bacon-peanut-butter-banana muffins.

End of story.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

That Time of Year Again.

First, a moment of silence please, for Mr. Jon Snow, the fishie who would not die. He was about 2 years old, with a squished fin that made him gimpy. After about a week or two of acting really weird, he has finally passed on to the big muck pond in the sky. Since I still have one albino Cory left, I'm not sure whether I should downgrade the tank to a smaller one, restock the fishies, or just wait for the very last fish to die before I give up totally. On top of that, Miss Maow needed a trip to the Emergency Vet after having a bad reaction to her yearly vaccines. Not cool, considering that we are strongly considering snatching up this little guy...

Meet Hobbs... aka Ajax, if he moves in here.
Anyways, it is one of the best times of year ever in the Northwest. Everything is turning green, and the cherry blossoms are exploding everywhere. That means it's time to plant more green things! I was hoping to do it yesterday when the weather was great, but, thanks to the weather changing, I came down with a massive migraine. I used the down time to finish my math project instead. I made up for it today though, and I'm already feeling the ouch setting in. But I love to see things grow! I love that every time I come home I am met with lots of sprouting little greens, and sometimes a Bill, too.

If he's not busy showing off his belly, he
usually comes downstairs when he hears
anyone's car pull up.

So I still barely know what I'm doing when it comes to gardening, but this time I decided to stick with pretty things instead of edible things, so maybe I'll be less sad when they don't quite work out. Part of it is also growing things outside. Honestly up here, you just plop everything down and let it do--As long as you've got it in the area that gets the right amount of sun, our local weather takes care of the rest. My Bestest ever has a lovely container-garden in her front yard, and since I will likely be moving, I've made sure to mimic her garden as well as planting in the cute little flowerbed out "front."

So far in the front, I've got giant golden crocuses sprouting, Wildflower Tulips starting to pop out, and some Muscari or something (like Bluebells) slowly growing in the back. My crocuses aren't filling in as densely as everyone else in the neighborhood, but I'm guessing I planted them too spread out. Again, trial and error. They'll come back thicker next year for whoever moves in though, and that will be nice. I left one more row behind everything, to plant some Dahlias come springtime--er, nowtime. After doing some research though, I found that Dahlias tend to be annuals, not perennials, so I'm less interested in paying at least $5 a pair for the roots.

That didn't stop me from grabbing one pack of them though, and we'll see how they do in the container. If I manage to keep them alive through the winter, I may plant them in the ground once I land in my real real-home house. While I was walking around in a haze, I also grabbed Columbines and Bleeding Hearts because I really love them. I figured the Lupines would be a nice filler in the back of the flowerbed since I'm more or less ditching the Dahlias. And for fun, I also grabbed an everbearing strawberry plant. I remember them being really easy to propagate.

 Last but not least, on the left, I have no idea what I'm growing. Obviously some pretty purple crocuses, but I cannot for the life of me remember what's popping out in the middle. There's two of them, but the other one is growing much slower. On the right, I paired the Bleeding Hearts with two pink Hyacinths, just to mix things up. Not pictured, I also did a row of Gladiolus, and mixed the Columbines with some of the Lupines since they're both perennials. And I also did a pot full of Lilly of the Valley... I think... That may or may not be all. It's hard for me to say. There's a lot of other random stuff growing in the flower beds, but I don't know what most of it is. I want to pull the weeds and clean it all up, but--eh, effort. Swapping over to nights soon isn't really going to help, and going to DC won't help, but hopefully in the next few weeks I'll be able to pull up the weeds and lay down some more hens-n-chicks by the big tree. Then there's the matter of the actual lawn...

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Cats-up. Ketsup. Ketchup. Catch-Up.

So, here's what my garden looks like these days... I'm excited! I can't remember what I've planted over in the little planters, but I love to watch them sprout. I can tell for sure that the Crocuses are blooming, and they're going to be yellow, because I can see the flowers that haven't finished growing yet. On the left, I forget what I have planted in the back, but I am excited to see everything together in the spring. I might still put some Dahlias in behind what's already growing, but I'm not sure. I still want to clean up the twigs and other little weeds. Not to mention the other flower beds around the house that I didn't plant--I don't know what they're growing, but stuff is sprouting too!

So, I started shopping at Costco last year. Sometimes it's great. Having an Italian in the house, it's just kind of smart to bring home 1-2 gallons of olive oil at a time. Except they're really awkward to cook with, especially with a semi-gimpy dominant hand. But. I happened to remember that I had a stopper spout like bartenders use. And of course, I'm a bit of a packrat, so I have tons of glass bottles. The first bottle I tried fit perfectly, so I ran it through the dishwasher, stripped the stickers, and behold! Easy to pour EVOO.

So I says to the Italian, "What should I put in here to flavor the oil?"
"Hmmm... How about garlic?"
"Yeah, okay, but... do you really want everything we cook to have garlic taste in it? ...Nevermind, don't answer that question."

Bless His Fishy Heart. So, when we all moved into the big house, way back when, I had a small tragedy. I thought John Snow was going to die... because I didn't take everything out of the aquarium when I moved them, and he uh, well, he got squished. I felt so bad that I broke into tears. Luckily [I suppose?] he didn't die, but since one of his belly fins did get squished, he was unable to swim normally. He would flit from leaf to leaf to stone to leaf, and you could tell how tired it made him. I -just- recently came up with this idea to make him a "handicap accessible" fishy-apartment. I added a tiny castle for him to sleep in. He seems to like it better, but now he's got a bump on one side that I'm guessing is constipation.

So much this. Story of my life. My daily struggle.  I wish I could trust more, and let life unfold. There's so much at play right now, so many details hanging up in the air, and it's both frustrating and really exciting. This is going to be a good year. But more on that later.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Why We Can't Have Nice Things: Reason Sub-Group 3

Anyone who says cats don't have personalities is just dead wrong.

I don't say this to be an instigator, but really, I have never known a cat that didn't have a vibe, a feeling, an attitude. Some of them, it just takes longer to find it than others. This morning, I had a bit of a run in with 'Cousin' Emmett, which both cracked me up and annoyed the hell out of me. And it got me to thinking about our little Pride.

She smiles. A lot.

Miss Z, aka Zero, aka Maow Maow, aka Pretty Girl
Well, she's sort of the ruling matriarch... except the boys don't really take her seriously. She used to be the runt of the house and was picked on or ignored quite a bit. She's the only one in the house that really actually knows that she's a cat. The other felines are nowhere near as self-aware. She adopted me as an itsy bitsy feral kitten, and that was about 7 or 8 years ago. Since she's more mature, she generally prefers to spend her days cuddling in the bed, or sitting on top of something high and looking down on the others. The boys do tend to pick on her quite a bit. Bless her heart, she's so small that she kind of takes the beating... although not quietly. Aside from her extreme disdain of the others--and her OCD regarding the litterbox--she is a really well-behaved kitty.

"I'm helping....... right?"

Bill, aka Biiiiiilllll-BO, aka Billy-Boy aka Derp-Cat
When we picked Bill up, they told us he was the last of the litter to be adopted. The adoption gal laughed and said, "Look, his mom is so relieved that you're taking him--she can finally sleep!" Normally, he's the second-best behaved cat in the house. He likes to pick on his sis now and then, but he will also cuddle with her and try to give her a bath [that's usually when things start to get violent]. He plays fetch. He'll follow you around the house. He's starting to learn that snapped fingers means "no." He's really talkative, but he doesn't quite miao. He may, in fact, be a reincarnated dog. When he sleeps, he takes up half the bed. He's a good boy most of the time... Until his cousin comes to visit...

"So this is toys?"

Ichigo, aka Ichi, aka Hey Fatass, aka WHAT!
Oh, Ichi. Bless his heart. He just doesn't know how to "cat." I'm not sure if he even knows exactly what a cat is. Slowly but surely, we are teaching him. He can't cuddle. He can't play. He can't miao--like at all. He just kind of squaks, awkwardly. He loves the smell of people food, and will climb up on the bed to beg. He is the epitome of the heavy-breathing cat meme. The smell of his poops would suffocate and kill small children. He makes sure to do so at least once a day, and I've heard tell that he has put more than one love-making event to a halt. And if that doesn't stop the lovin, he will stare at you. He and Zero tend to compete over loafing territory, and he does kind of pick fights with her. On the other hand, he and Bill get along pretty well aside from occasional playtime tumbles. Normally he's the most annoying cat in the house. Until Cousin Emmett is here...

Shown here in obnoxious trouble mode.

Emmett, aka HEY STOP IT, aka GET DOWN, aka WTF, CAT?!?!
Emmett's Real Dad is in the military, so when he goes away, guess who comes to stay? In respect to his Indian heritage, I am now his Auntie and everyone here is his cousin. But when he comes to visit, everything gets turned upside down--literally. He's a bad influence on Bill, who goes from being a sweet, well-behaved, cuddle-bug to a secondary terror. He blatantly attacks Zero. He even attacks Ichi! He climbs on everything. He walks on everything. And then he gets stuck and can't remember how to get back down. He has a backwards schedule... so, during the day he is cute and adorable because all he wants to do is hide under the covers and sleep; but once people-bedtime hits, it's playtime for him, which means bouncing off the walls and making as much noise as felinely possible. He may even attack your feet while you sleep--under the covers, or sticking out. He may climb on your face and attempt to suffocate you.

Shown here in adorable powered down mode.
So, now that you know the basics, here is what happened today that made me laugh and growl at the same time. You "train" cats with squirt bottles, right? I mean, assuming it's possible at all. Well. The most common offense for getting squirted in this house is picking on Zero. So although she doesn't like the squirt bottle, she knows that it is generally actually in her defense, and hardly ever meant for her. If she's doing something wrong [the worst she does is climb or sit somewhere inappropriate] I can usually get away with talking nice to her and/or moving her to where she belongs.

In true faux-dog fashion, Bill has learned a lot from the squirt bottle. If he's being rambunctious, all it takes is an angry look and a shake of the bottle to calm him down--and he'll usually scamper off, too. [One time his dad-folk shook the bottle at him as a joke, and not knowing what he was 'bad' for, Bill let out the saddest and most pitiful miao you could imagine. It was hilariously heartbreaking!]. He's also learning that snapped fingers mean to knock it off. Ichi at least has common sense. So when he was being a bully this morning, he got squirted. "Oh, hey, I don't like this." So he went down stairs. Logic, right?


Not for Emmett. Keep in mind, this happened in about a ten minute time span. After Bill and Ichi got their 'whoopins,' Emmett made a pass at Z. I squirted. He licked himself for a second... made another pass at Z. I squirted furiously. He retreated. Cleaned himself up, again. And then... you guessed it, dumb cat made a third attempt at picking on her! Something about the first two just wasn't enough to get through to him. He got a face-full of squirt water. Although he stayed put this time, he continued scowling her way, seeming to weigh the options in his little kitty brain. I think it was starting to sink in... 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

[Insert Clever Title Here]

I keep blogging in fitz and starts. It's true that I'm doing less than I used to, but I'm still doing enough that I should be writing about.

Not even sure where I left off, to be honest! I went on leave and visited my grandma, and when I came back I started taking my math class for the quarter. It's not particularly difficult, but it's where they wanted me after the placement exam. It's a review at least, so I'll be ready to move on... all the way up to Calc 3 [scaredface!]. I'm still trying to figure out exactly what I'm going to do as far as tuition and GI Bill goes, and work. But, if I play my cards right, I might be able to get a MSE by 2020, and be working on a PhD as well! With minimum out of pocket expenses, even!

I've been slacking on crafting, arting, and even cooking. Mostly my life has been math, cleaning, and work. I'm on the night shift again, so my days are completely upside down. For some reason, I've been sleeping WAY too much lately. I'm trying to get my medication, vitamins, and minerals back on track, but it's been more of a struggle than usual. Lately I've been reading about adrenal dysfunction and how that affects... well, nearly everything, really... and I'm pretty sure that my adventures in hormonal birth control, coffee, and whatever else lifestyle choices you want to lump in there have more or less caused some sort of issue with my hormones. This is a thought I've had before, of course, but it just makes so much sense. I don't know why this isn't more well-known knowledge, or a bigger deal to more people in general. I'm going to try and take better care of myself, but it's going to be a huge struggle. I figure since this year is technically my 30th birthday [more on that joke later], it's about damn time I take care of myself. I've already started by quitting smoking, now I just need to work on a healthier diet and the right kinds of fitness. [I'm about a month in to that quitting, so let's see how much longer I can make it stick!!]

But anyways, that's not really what I wanted to write about today. As of some time today--like I said, I slept pretty much through all daylight--we recovered our house. Long story. My kitchen has been freed from the oppressor, and I celebrated by rebelliously cooking my butt off. Well, not literally, or I wouldn't be talking about diets... but anyways yeah. I make two different kinds of banana bread. I made what I think is my official Best Mac N Cheese So Far. I also experimented with meatloaf cupcakes. Although mine look nothing like anything you'll find on Pinterest, they were really tasty. Snackbar couldn't find the french-fried-onions at the store while he was out, so half-way joking I said "oh, just get Funyuns instead." Best. Joke. Ingredient. EVER. Best [non]-Mistake Ever. Crushed up, they make the BEST topping. I even put some in the meatloafs because I was running short on breadcrumbs. Delicious meal. I wish I was hungry so I could eat some more. But alas, that D-word is looming...

Friday, January 9, 2015


So, the New Year has started, and I've been busy as all get out. I was able to start college again--I'm taking one math class to get caught up before I start full-time next quarter. I spent the New Year in a hotel in SC, as I did last year, so I could visit my wacky grandma. We had a blast and went out to lunch. I had to cut my trip short to make it back for school, or I would have visited my other grandma and my dad too. I don't remember how I got into it this time, but I have started the genealogy thing again. It's a blast, and I have found some really interesting folks. So far nothing much worth noting; I keep getting stuck since a handful of my folks came from Canada and Ireland and I don't have access to those records... because I didn't pay for a world-wide account. Maybe later. 

I am very very achy today, and I'm not sure if it's because I've been going to class every day or some other reason. But I'm taking it easy today either way. I need to get to work on my letters... For the record, my medical board was denied. So I have a few more days to put together my rebuttal and request for a formal hearing. Which I should be doing now, instead of this. 

For art stuffs... Here is a glimpse at a projecting I'm doing for Dirty Jose. I couldn't find the right size canvas at first, so I coated an old one I never finished in gesso and tried my hand at it anyways. Did NOT turn out like I wanted... and while organizing a bunch of paperwork, I found the canvases that I could have sworn I'd bought before. So I'm redoing the whole thing. The quote he requested is from a Bad Religion song, and I'm trying to figure out what else I can factor in to the work to make it more cohesive. 

 One thing that is consistently making me smile, like on a daily basis, is the garden! I planted bulbs back in November, and they are starting to pop up! Although I'm pretty sure a few of them were eaten, there's enough of them left to make me grin. The garden by the kitchen window is sprouting at a rate that is noticeable daily, although I still can't see the Crocus. My extra bulbs I planted in pots, so I can take with them with if/when I move. Those Crocus are popping right up, and I can't remember what the huge ones are in the other pot, but I love having them next to the door. 
And just for fun, here is your adorable kitty pic of the day. She decided to cuddle him, which is kind of against her nature. Ever the sweet boy, Bill decided it was bath time. I guess I managed to take this when he was making an exceptionally derpy face. I missed my kitties!

In other news, after geeking out on Musical Tesla coils off and on all night, I have decided I MUST play with them.