Friday, September 28, 2012

Fun at work and at home!

This week can be described in several ways: gloomy, rainy, chilly, fun, unusual.

The weather turned both cold and rainy, and today was the first day I've seen the sun nearly all week. Tuesday promised 70% chance of rain, and was also the date of the Warcraft expansion. Since the game would not be playable until after midnight, I decided to spend the waiting time by sewing the cloak which I had already mostly cut out.

McCall's pattern M6446

It turned out that I had JUST enough fabric to make the cloak- I wanted to make my cape from the green Babyville Boutique PUL (polyurethane laminate) waterproof breathable stuff that I had gotten originally to make my bicycle panniers from. This way I'd have not only a green cape (like a froggy version of Little Red Riding Hood), but a useful weatherproof article of clothing to protect from the coming snow, not to mention the storms predicted the next day!

My cape turned out lovely! Some photos, sorry for the blurry ones.

Silly collar. 
You can see the lining though- it's what I made my green jumper from!

My hat matches!!

I'm not really done with it yet. There are no buttons, I simply put a few stitches where buttons should go. Five buttons is not enough- they will need to go all the way down to the hem. I may even need to add a flapped zipper for further frontal weather-proofing. With only five buttons, the front gaped open and the bottom flapped and did not cover my legs. I think a zipper will be needed to make sure that the holes between buttons don't let in rain, since it is the leading surface. There should be a button holding the collar closed also, but since I sewed the front shut, I wanted to leave enough room to pull the cape over my head. I will most likely add invisible zippers to the arm slits. They are handy if you need to do things, but on the bicycle I will likely be riding with my arms inside so that the cape is held over me protecting my legs, and also to keep my arms dry from the elbow down. I'm not entirely certain how to wear the hood. Yes, it kind of fits over the helmet... I'd have to secure it up there somehow to keep wind from blowing the hood back off. The last photo is how I wore it Tuesday morning. I need the hat to protect my glasses from excessive rain so that I can still see through them!

Yay froggy cape! I mean, come on- it's a CAPE! I've always wanted one :)


This week was also CPI training. It stands for Crisis Prevention Intervention. We were taught non-violent ways to deal with acting-out individuals. Basically, we learned how to react to anxious, defensive, and finally acting out people. I do most of the stuff they mentioned already just by being nice. If someone is having a bad day, you offer support and such, if they are misbehaving, such as not sitting in their seat, you offer ultimatums with positive options first. You'd say "Suzie, as soon as you sit down we can go home" and then the "if you can't sit properly I'll have to write you up". That kind of thing. Nice people sort of do this already.

What I thought was the best part of this class, though, was the section on physical contact. They aren't teaching us how to deal with violent behavior or how to properly restrain such individuals- that's another class- but we DID get to learn how to get out of grabs. Theoretically, I now know how to snatch myself out of someone's hands if they were to grab my arm with one or both hands. I should be able to break a simple choke hold on my neck. I should be able to not let someone snatch my hair. If someone bites me, I can perhaps get them to let go. Oh and we blocked kicks.

I say "should" and "perhaps" for all this because in a real situation there are a lot of factors affecting the scene such as size, space to work in, and frankly if I can remember all that in the instant I need it. If a kid bites me am I really going to remember to push my arm further into their mouth to create that odd pressure that is supposed to make them loosen their grip so I can then snatch my arm out- or am I just going to react and snatch loose and tear my skin off?

In any case, it was something new and different in what has become sort of a monotonous job.


Today is payday!! /happydance

We had yummy lunch before I was dropped off at work,a dn on the way home, we went to Home Depot. I haven't found any really good spots to get dirt from on my commute (ok, and I admit that most of the time I forgot to even look), so I wanted to buy potting soil for the poor adopted plant. My mom also gave me a really neat froggy container to move my plant into. When she visited, she informed me that I have a daisy-like flowery plant, she said "mum". Well, she showed me at the grocery store last Sunday during our Chopped shopping, and the leaves certainly did look like that. So I bought a small bag of dirt, and then a clay pot. I have been trying to preserve the hydroponic Basil we got from the store also, and it deserved a better home than the plastic Mum pail.

I painted my new clay pot. Green glazed ones were much more expensive (compared to regular pots), that I decided to paint it myself. I happen to have a whole box of Crayola paint and brushes too. It's washable kid's paint, but I have no idea if it will wash off the pot. I figure at least I had fun doing the painting.

So here you go, Stephie- the baby pictures!

The painted Basil pot.

Poor wilted Basil. 
Honestly I can't believe it survived this long on nothing but tap water.


LOOK!!! I'm getting flowers!

So, I must have done something right by these little guys, because one has survived with no dirt at all, and the other with barely any. With their pretty new pots I hope they will continue to do well. I'm hoping the Mum doesn't mind not having a drain hole, but it is a very tall vase-thing so I don't think it will.


I think that's everything. My panda bear in Warcraft is still a baby, but I'm enjoying it when I do play. Someone at work gave me the great idea when we were discussing crafts and beaded jewelry that I could likely sell beaded ornament covers very well, so I might try that soon. I'll have to get a small collection of beads. One of the kids on my bus really likes Disney princesses, and has several pictures of Snow White and a few dwarves. I may very well end up being Doc for Halloween. It sounds like a fun costume that should be fairly simple to create and not costly. The beard may be the hardest thing, and I can make that from yarn, perhaps without even cutting it, so it may be still usable. My mom got me striped tights! I can't wait to wear them in October, they are bright and fun. My new black shoes will look great with them.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Fun Weekend Antics

Well, my last post wasn't all that great, but I'm happy to report that things seem to be back to normal.
Thank goodness!

Scenes like this while biking home every day helped. I don't think I'll ever get tired of this view.

My parents came to visit also. They brought their bikes, so we all escorted Jamie to work. We had to fix a flat tire on mom's bike, but it didn't take long at all. She may need a new tire soon because it looked like the rubber had a bulge in it. She thinks it may be because the bike was hanging low on the rack and the tire was near the car's exhaust pipe. We were back on our way quickly, and then after we left Jamie at work we stopped at the grocery store to pick out our mystery ingredients for our home version of Chopped!

I need to go work on Jamie's shorts, so you just get some more pictures. I can't justify working on my rain cape (which I might need here very shortly from the forecast) until I get something done with the first sewing project in line.

Geese along the trail :)

And deer! Can you see both of them?

Fall is coming.

My dad is having a blast, hehe. 
My pictures of mom and Jamie were blurry, and my attempted shot of myself is dumb because I was making a stupid face as I tried to not only get myself in the shot, but also not crash.

Fixing the flat tire.

Putting it back together. Yay teamwork!

Can you guess what one of our ingredients is?

Other ingredients, mostly donuts. 
We had a fun time trying to figure out how to transport the donuts in a flimsy delicate flat box. We had found a solution by lightly strapping it down with tiny bungies with hooks punched through the cardboard edges, but they didn't like the looseness.

Isn't this pretty?! 
Ingredients are: pork loin, pumpkin, peas and glazed donuts. 
The donuts are mixed into the pea puree in the rice. The pumpkin is sweet and cinnamony, the rice is slightly sweet, and then the pork loin is pan-fried with a crunchy outside, but was tender enough to eat with just a fork. There is a topping of onion and tomato that also made the rice very interesting with textures and tasty.

Jamie said there would be no photographing dessert, but that's not fair. 
Ingredients are: pears, rum, cottage cheese, and blue corn tortilla chips.
Mom and dad both had second helpings. The chips were still crunchy and were sweet and salty. The pears were cooked in the rum. I'm not sure how well the taste of the rum came out (we should cook with it more! hehe), but the pears were delicious and the cottage cheese went with it pretty well. This was very hot when we were served too. It was an odd dessert, but a successful one I think.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Post # WTF-ever

I don't want to write, but I will because I should share the tiny tidbits of my life, and, well, freaking go on a rant.

So- the Reader's Digest version (sort of):
I have a job, I'm a bus assistant, I get paid. But I don't really like it, I'm bored, I'm worried a kid will have a seizure and I have no freaking idea what to do about it except I know to call 911 if it lasts 5 minutes. Ah! Our girl has had two notable seizures actually, one lasting all of the 2 seconds it took for me to reach for the magnet that I'm supposed to theoretically wave across her chest to maybe possibly bring her out of it, and then another time she seized for maybe 6 seconds. The magnet wasn't on her wheelchair that day (mom says it doesn't always work anyway). I suppose I'm more comfortable with the kids now, but I still don't particularly like riding on a bus instead of driving it, not to mention the pay is less. My driver does annoying things. We get along, I suppose. At least I'm not waiting around for phone calls to sub, I guess.

I adopted a plant.
I found a small green thing amid a pile of loose dirt like the victim of a murder or something. The plant was there, all its dirt scattered about, and the little plastic pot too, but nothing else to explain its appearance or where it had come from. It was in the middle of the sidewalk around our mailboxes, so it wasn't a normal spot to get dropped by someone carrying things inside, and it couldn't have fallen off a balcony. My sister has asked for baby pictures when I posted on Facebook about it, but so far I have not and don't care to photograph much of anything. You'll just have to wait for later, if the little guy lives. The pot says "red" on it. I'm assuming I might see red flowers eventually.

I rode Zoomie in the rain. It was chilly, but not so much that I had to worry about freezing. I have no rain gear, my windbreaker from last year that was pretend-rain-resistant did not survive the attempt to operate on its zipper. My plan of attack, then, was to get wet. I chose to wear things I thought would dry quickly. My brown Danskin exercise top made of polyester, and also Danskin shorts which were only 65% cotton instead of all cotton. Cotton absorbs moisture and clings to it like there is no tomorrow. I also wore my water shoes. I wasn't brave enough to dare go out in only that with bare arms and shoulders, so a Horde Warcraft hoodie went with me out the door. It got ripped off at the usual hot spot as I entered the Greenway. My dress and shoes, along with undergarment, were safe in my pannier. I got to work, changed, and left my clothes on the coat rack in the bathroom. Several people commented- one recognized my shoes, and today a nice lady driver let me know as she finally caught up with me that there is a dryer in the janitors closet if I need it. I don't think anyone was offended, frankly I don't really care about all but a couple of people, and the system worked well. I don't want to get wet when it is colder!

Zoomie got chain lube today. I had to take the White Lightning to work with me because I never remember that she needs lube until I go to ride, and then I don't have time. I got to work with the bottle of lube and stuck it in my helmet. That way I'd see it when I got my helmet to go home. So, I promptly flipped her over, and oiled the chain. I had a nice silent ride home. After the rain yesterday morning that thing had started downright screeching at me for some attention. You'd be surprised how many people ride around with noisy chains, by the way. When mine is quiet, I noticed them all.

K, there you go. That wasn't so bad. If you're happy with that, close your browsing window, move on to another blog post, or whatever. What follows is simply me venting frustrations and it may be Too Much Information. You've been warned.

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So, I don't think I've mentioned it, but I've been randomly not eating bread or pasta. As in, I randomly decided to do that just because. I want to see what happens, and how not eating those carbohydrates which typically have lots of calories will affect me. I was doing really well too. I decided not to worry about things like spaghetti night, or pizza fun nights, but would try to alter meals if it was easy to do so. Once instead of shells and cheese sauce (with tuna for me and my roommate for a TunaHelper-type meal), I put the cheese sauce over cooked broccoli and cauliflower instead. I limited strictly bread only and pasta only, which left torillas open and other options if I needed them. I was trying to make it easy so I would "be good".

I was doing really well, too. Until my sister came.

No, I'm not blaming her. Her visit happens to coincide with the few days leading up to my period, and so I think I'm blaming it.

My brain has gone freaking insane.

I have completely lost all semblance of progress I was making. I think there was progress. I was feeling great, eating fruit (mostly cantaloupe) when I wanted sweet stuff until weirdly enough, I lost all cravings. I was avoiding bread and pasta like a champ and not wishing for them at all. I was in a good mood I think nearly all the time. I felt a little skinnier and was looking forward to my sister's visit when I had planned to get her to wrap me up in duct tape for my homemade dress form- and I didn't think it would look bad. I posted about how I traced my outline for a paper doll and wasn't upset with the results.

And then I lost it all.

I'm freaking up and down in mood all the time, explosively angry at stupid times, and I can't feel the difference happening. I'll be happy, and then be ticked off at all sorts of things, and have no idea where the shift occurred. I guess that sounds like normal PMS but not for me, I don't think.

The worst part is that I'm CRAVING SOMETHING. I'll be perfectly happy and not hungry, but then I'll feel like crap. My brain says we should have something sweet to cheer us up. That bag of chocolate chips we had some of when Jessie was here sounds good. Let's eat the REST OF THE BAG. Jamie actually interrupted that one and he cooked me an omelet and to save my soul, the rest of the chocolate chips went into the trash can. Before that- I nearly ate all the Oreos. As in, NEARLY ALL OF THEM. Two packages. They did nothing bad to my stomach, so I didn't really think much about it until the guys were trying to figure out which one of them was hogging the cookies. It turned out it was ME, and I was honestly surprised. Where was I when I was chowing down on cookies??

The Oreos seemed innocent enough, as I had done no other dietary transgressions before that. At the chocolate chips, I started cursing the slip up of pizza the night before and taste of processed sugar that surely MUST be why I suddenly craved desserts and sweet things again. I promised myself to stay away.

As you can imagine, since this is a rant- it didn't freaking work.

I made brownies. Again- it seemed like a good idea at the time. I distinctly remember deciding to make them. The only reason the other box wasn't made also is that we didn't have enough eggs. I ATE 2/3 OF THEM. In two days I ate 6 brownies.

Last night we ate out at a mexican restaurant. I asked for the banana burrito-thingy dessert. I did realize that I didn't need it after a bite or two, but that didn't stop me, because at that point my stupid brain was telling me that I ordered it and it was probably expensive (eating out always is) and I wasn't paying, so I had better freaking eat it. I did. And then my stomach was telling me that I was a stupid idiot and why did I do that to it?

Someone is selling cake pops at work. I happened to have $.94 in my pocket from somewhere, so I got one and ate it. They are a dollar. I promised to bring 6 cents the next day. The next day, I instead ate another cake pop. Two bites of idiocy. I STOLE IT. Technically I stole the first one. To be honest, they are really delicious. To be even more honest- where the hell is that part of me that should be screaming that I really don't need that processed sugary-crap and why did I even consider EATING four quarters in two bites??

I don't understand it, I really don't. I recognize that I ate stupid things I didn't need, and that my brain tricked me and they did NOT, in fact, even remotely make me feel better, and actually I felt worse after eating them- not only for the guilt of failing at a goal which I was succeeding very well at, but usually also with a slightly "weird"-feeling stomach afterwards. I see that. But I made that second batch of brownies today anyway. And I've eaten them. And I'm sitting here after three brownies (properly my share of the pan, right? /sigh), with a swollen fat "weird"-feeling stomach, and I hate myself. Why can't I say no anymore?

I have the best husband in the world, and he was helping me so much with my randomly announced goal of no bread and pasta. He actually just cooked me spaghetti sauce with the other half of the cauliflower so I could have "spaghetti" for lunches. He cooks me healthy breakfast any time I ask and a lot of times he happens to be home in the morning and makes me yummy omelets when I don't ask. He is always offering the chance to ride to work and meet him for lunch breaks (although I'm sure that is for his own agenda also- he likes spending time with me, its probably not for the extra exercise). He cooks wonderful and exotic dinners for us. My favorite lately was that Thai soup with coconut milk and asparagus and potatoes and pork. I ate that nearly every day until it was almost gone. Jamie has done everything to help me.

I few days ago I was incredibly tired, but I didn't realize it at the time. Jamie had dinner ready when I walked in the door- the stew I had suggested when we had gone shopping. The fresh vegetables in all their whole chunky glory laying there in the cart had put in my head the wonderful image of those huge chunks in a delicious hot stew. Jamie was listening (of course) and he had that made for me, over mashed potatoes. I didn't even have to take the dogs out, I literally sat right down with the bowl and ate while we watched tv. When I was done he asked me if I needed more, because I must have had that look on my face. I remember telling him that what I really wanted was more mashed potatoes and a ton of butter. He said that was really unhealthy for me, but how about a dessert? He proceeded to make me strawberries with a bit of whipped cream (He whips it fresh. I don't like whipped cream except for his for some reason, He does something special I guess.) I enjoyed my dessert, and wiped a bit of extra cream from the mixer. I was almost falling asleep on the couch, so I ended up going to bed at 6:30. I appreciated the very special attention and treatment, but I'm not sure I've told him yet.

During the shopping trip I also requested vitamins. So far they don't seem to be helping the mood swings or random cravings (its been 3 days, without having to take birth control pills this week I forgot a vitamin yesterday), but they are supposed to be good for you so I'm glad they were cheap.

The ONLY good thing about the last week and a half is that my period started on time on Tuesday, and THAT is something I don't have to worry about in the slightest. I use a Keeper Mooncup, which is completely hassle- and worry-free. Thank goodness.

I'm seriously hoping all this madness can be blamed solely on this time of the month, because I take my next birth-control pill on Sunday and with luck, this will all be over on Monday. I'm sick and tired of this random yo-yoing, and my complete lack of willpower (and complete lack of motivation to DO anything- I'm supposed to be doing a fun no-pattern re-creation of Jamie's favorite shorts and...bleh). I LIKE being happy, and this is not it. I feel like going and crying now. Actually, I already did a little, when I got to the part about Jamie. Stupid hormones (I hope).

And puppies, I hope you understand that I'm cuddling you extra because I really did not mean to make you so sad earlier by screaming at you, even if you are incredibly freaking annoying because I'm in a bad mood.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Oh Happy Day!

There are several reasons why today (actually the last two days) is wonderful happy day.

I felt like superwoman!

As the week wears on, I definitely notice my legs getting weaker in my commutes to and from work, with the best ride being the one first thing in the morning, and the worst usually at the end of the day. I've found out that my route along the bike path is 4.6 miles one way, so I'm now up to bicycling 18 miles every day! Not cycling over the summer didn't hurt my abilities too much, but it did effect them a little bit.

Friday, however, was a complete 180 in terms of bicycling. I don't get it.

That morning, I zoomed along with tires and generator humming, feeling as if I could just go ahead and set out across the US and not stop until I reached the other side- I felt like I could keep pedaling forever, and I was going pretty darned fast too. I was almost sad to get to work. On the ride home I still had plenty of energy. I was carrying a free zucchini that someone had brought in to work. I also stopped to get more apples from the orchard in the park, so that I could eat them with peanut butter as I had craved doing the day before. I climbed the trees to get the really good apples, dress hiked up with the hem in my mouth to serve as a basket, bike shorts showing, I didn't care.

Not the greatest picture in the world, I wanted to eat it too much.

Jamie cooked up the zucchini for me before he headed off for work because it ended up getting some of the skin bruised and worn off where it was pushed against the metal rod of the rack. I thought it was absolutely delicious!

I sliced up three of the apples to take with me to work that afternoon, and brought peanut butter too of course. My ride in was possibly the fastest of the entire week. I shifted into 5th gear before I even reached the bike path, and I even spent a good bit of the ride in 6th gear! ZOOM! It felt wonderful, and the apples were freaking fantastic. They might have been the most wonderful apples ever. I also had the perfect amount of peanut butter to go with them, I was very happy.

On the last ride home, I was still in great shape and in a higher gear than usual. I could feel my muscles still getting tired super-fast when they had to work up a slight hill, but they could maintain that higher gear without complaining. Weird. So that was the first two awesome things- superwoman and awesome free food.

Then, Friday was also my first payday. Whoohoo! I wanted some Chinese food to celebrate, but my roommate had another idea and we went to the Thai Kitchen instead. I had some odd stir-fry dish over lettuce, Jamie tried spicy jungle noodles, and our roommate had another type of stir-fry-looking dish with broccoli and carrots in it. I decided mine would be better with brown rice instead of lettuce, and Jamie claimed to not feel any heat whatsoever from his noodles, though they were good. It was supposed to have been a testing experience because Pappy's eyes water when eating them or something. Silly boys.

Today I wanted to go shopping. I had no particular goals, but I knew I wanted to visit the bike shop for a look around, and I wanted to see our local Goodwill store. I had planned to bike there by myself, but Jamie wanted to come too, so we all made a field trip of it. At the bike store Jamie decided that my flat tires are unacceptable- he got the thorn-resistant tubes for me. There is a neat display with cut tubes to show you how the thorn-resistant ones are incredibly thick on the outer section so that sharp things theoretically cannot penetrate to give you a flat tire.


I can personally attest that the Bell brand tubes that can be bought at Wal-Mart are not worth the cheaper price. My last two flats were due to failures at the inner seam, and I've checked to be sure my rim-tape was in good condition. Two tubes failed in a long un-patchable split in different locations (on the SAME DAY!). Not fun. I don't think I'll wait to experience another flat before I install these new tubes- I'll keep the old ones as spares.

If I had gone by myself to see these stores its likely that's all that would have happened: me seeing the stores. With Jamie along, he felt like treating me to some actual shopping. I got several shoes, a couple pairs of pants, and shirts! Without further ado- the spoils of Goodwill shopping:

Nice comfy black pants with flared legs. Vince size 4.

The most comfortable jeans EVER! Very thick soft denim.
Gap curvey ultra low rise size 6A.

Merino wool! 
Says Kate Hill in it, and Italian Merino Wool, but that's it.

Soft Old Navy shirt size S.

<3 pink
George brand size XS/ECH (0/2).

Look Tig: silk! 
The vest is a bit short, though. I'll need a tank top underneath or a simple dress maybe.
Tag says Valerie Stevens Petites Pure Silk. Care tag says its a 6P for size I'm guessing.

I love that two items were the same color- this shirt makes me feel very girly and pretty.
Axcess brand size S.

Before I get to shoes I simply MUST explain the wonders of my husband in a clothing department. That man can not only fly through the racks to find cute clothes (and he has great taste), but he can look at something and know if it the right size with near-perfect accuracy. I have no idea what size I am, and even if I did so many companies label clothing in the same size when their fit could be wildly different. I would spend hours looking through clothes and have to put them all back. Jamie only had a little bit of difficulty when he tried to give me size 14 girl's jeans when I need 16s- the fit is just too different from one size to the other for young girls when he is right that they LOOKED the same as the women's pants he had found. Anyway, we did not spend an entire day in Goodwill to find all this awesome stuff. In fact I felt very rushed until I came out of the dressing room and realized just how much stuff I was actually getting. Wow!

Ha! Size 4 L.E.I. girl's shoes. I could not resist these adorable things.
Jamie was a little bit confused about the size and I had to explain that shoe-people are dumb, and a size 4 in girls IS a size 6 in women's shoes.

Silly flash went off.

Jamie found these slightly dressy casual black shoes for me. Very comfortable.
No more water shoes with my red-checkered black dress! (Incidently, that's the outfit I wore yesterday.)
They say Franco Sarto on the bottom. I Googled that and just got a $70 pair of shoes for $3!

These were so comfortable I had to get them too. They are Keds and made of suede I think.
Yeah, Jamie found them too. I might not have looked at them twice for the mousy color.
Did I mention they were comfortable?

Yay for new stuff! 

Tomorrow I think shall be a day of laundry and bike-love as Zoomie gets her new tubes, and likely a bath. We also have our weekly pot-luck to go to with Pappy.

I hope your days have been happy too :)