Monday, January 28, 2013

Ten On Tuesday- 10 things you can do to beat the winter blahs

 Did you know that last Monday was considered "blue Monday" the most depressing day of the year? I had a week from hell.  Some of the highlights being a 5 day headache, not being able to walk the dog because it was too cold, and he was spun out of his gourd, and falling ass over teakettle down the stairs this morning.  I tripped on one of Quinn's bones.  I killed my foot.
 I had it x rayed, and it isn't broken just terribly bruised.ETA: the hospital called and the small toe is broken- they misread the radiology report.  I feel a bit vindicated because I was wondering why a bruise would be so painful.
 Quinn enjoys butt rubs.  He has to wear his gentle leader in the house because he still thinks nipping is fun.
I'm still working on this Rams and Yowes blanket- miles and miles of garter stitch in the round. More self-imposed hell.

Todays 10 on Tuesday is my idea of things you can do to banish the blahs, although I tend to get them in the heat of summer. I like winter.

1. Make your favorite food.  Your absolute favorite.
2. Shave your legs.
3. Paint your toenails a bright colour.
4. Have a movie marathon at home - all your favorites.
5. Take a walk in the snow in a different section of town.
6. Window shop and only buy a coffee.
7. Paint your bedroom.
8. Drink tea in bed with a favorite book.
9. Go to the library and get a book about a new hobby you've thought about.
10. Plan a trip- even if you're more of an armchair traveler.

Notice, in the interest of austerity, these things cost little to no money. You don't have to spend alot to have a good time.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Things You Keep In Your Car

Ahhhhh. My car. I love my car.  It is a 2008 Volkswagon Rabbit (they brought out the Rabbit, a higher end Golf, for a limited time)- and it's shiny black and it drives like nobodies business.  Parks beautifully, and can pass pretty much anything on the highway.

1. An ice scraper/snow brush. It's pink.
2. CD's- I don't store them, but I keep some in the center console.  I have a 5 disc player AND an MP3 Ipod thingy- which I can now use now that I have an Ipod.
3. Sunglasses- I wear them all the time.
4. Not in the car, but on the car I have a Minnie Mouse aerial ball, courtesy of Jewel.  Makes it easier to find your car in the parking lot.
5. Usually some used wadded up kleenex of FC's- and it makes me very angry.  I thought the whole point of kleenex was you use it once and toss it. Not him, these have 10,000 miles on them.
6. Car manual in the glove box- which I've never read.
7. Grocery bags in the hatch.
8. Gum and or/candy.
9. Change in the change thingy- I guess it's for tolls.
10. Custom Rabbit car mats- they have the Rabbit logo on them.

I'm not a person who leaves stuff in the car, and I don't have a GPS.  So, what I should probably get is one of those stickers that says "get in, sit down, shut up and hang on".

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Mighty Quinn (Quinn the Conehead)

"Come all without, come all within,
you'll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn"

Bob Dylan

It is Sunday and it is absolutely freezing outside- bitter winds, cold and clear.  It hardly ever snows when it's this cold.  We also had warm temps earlier in the week, and I noticed Magnolia buds out yesterday.  Nature can't decide what is going on.

Mr. Quinn Wolfenstein Parker had his procedure on Tuesday, and is doing well. In fact, you would never guess he went through surgery and anesthesia, he's bouncing around like a roo.  He came home with an E-collar, but that didn't last long and I had to remove it the second day. He obliged by not licking his stitches.
In other news, I purchased a BFL fleece, and it's big at 6.5 lbs.  So my method for washing goes like this:
I separate the fleece into zipper lingerie bags, purchased at the dollar store.  This particular fleece didn't seem too dirty or have much VM.  I use hot water and soak it for about 20 minutes to loosen the dirt.  You will notice a distinct aroma of "Eau de Mouton" which I don't find unpleasant. 
Next I dump out the water, add 3 squirts of Power Scour, and let that soak for at least a half hour.  You are safe to use any mild liquid detergent, and hot water, as long as you rinse in the same temperature. If you plunge it into cold water, you will get felted wool, and that's not what I want.  This product is made for wool washing and has a nice clean smell.  I can't stand the smell of blue Dawn, it makes me retch.

Rinse twice in clean water, and look at how clean and white it is.  After rinsing, I squeeze out the excess water gently and place the bags in the washer. I have a top loader, and then I run a spin cycle, no water, and it gets most of the water out.  Then I place the bags on a rack, and it's dry in a day or two.
The thing is not to overfill the bags- because it makes it harder to clean. This is actually something I enjoy doing, but then I like laundry anyway. Something about the process of dirty to clean appeals to me.  

I also made a little baby cardigan for an upcoming Cabbage Patch event.  I always liked this little free pattern and it was easy.  One thing I have to say, this is a FREE pattern and the designer admittedly says the instructions are rudimentary- she was sharing something she made, and it was a nice gesture. The number of complaints about it on Ravelry confuses me, because some people had trouble joining on the sleeves, the instructions were bad, blah blah.  Holy crap- it's FREE!!!!!   If you have a problem, then go and purchase a pattern for $6.00 and then you'll have recourse with the author when it goes wrong.

Anyway, the pattern is called Maile and the link is there.  It's cute, and not at all hard if you've ever done a raglan. 

(Clean) Fleece Out.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ten on Tuesday- 10 Tips for Sticking with your Fitness Routine

Number one- I don't have one.  I am not a gym bunny, I hate sweat and perspiration, and I sucked in gym class- unless it was volleyball or swimming.  And remember, I DON'T SWEAT, I GLISTEN.

2. Whatever you choose, go with a friend.  I walk, and it makes the time pass quicker if you're talking or listening.  Barring that, an Ipod is great too.

3. Get the right gear, dress properly. You don't have to spend a fortune, but layers make sense, if you get hot.

4. Try different locations-  I don't care for gym memberships because you're kind of stuck with their location and opening times.

5. Try team sports- bowling can be a hoot, or beach volleyball.

6. Walk a dog- they are the best motivators.

7. Housework counts- running up and down stairs with heavy laundry baskets is exercise.

8. Walk around a museum or gallery. The mall is too much temptation.

9. Aim for 30 minutes a day.  Park far from the building and walk, or get off a stop earlier.  Walk at lunchtime if you can.

10. Most important, I don't know how many people I hear say it, I HATE (the gym, running, pilates, yoga...whatever)- do something you enjoy.  And don't call it exercise.

My motivation is to feel better, and stay in shape. I can do stairs and hills now like no-ones business with very little effort involved.  Take it in small steps, and reward yourself for all your efforts.  Just try not to do it with food-

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Goals for 2013

Goals?  Not sure if I refer to them as goals or resolutions.  How about aspirations?

1. No junk food.  No buying it, and no eating it. It makes me feel crummy.

2. Save money, and pay off our mortgage.  It's do-able.

3. Do more of the things I love, and make time for them.  Reading, knitting, quilting, cross stitch, time with people who make me laugh.

4. Ditch or avoid anyone who makes me feel bad about myself, or is looking for someone to solve their problems.  I no longer take on other people's problems.

5. Make menu plans, no more impulse shopping. The malls bore me anyway.

6. Do some day trips when the weather is nice. I love going out in the car.

7. Be a better listener.

8. Tell my kids and DH I love them,  more often.

9. Do something nice for someone each day, and hopefully, without them knowing about it.

10. Learn to make healthier meals, and take my time doing it.

Not earth shattering, and probably boring, but that's about it.

What's happening for you in 2013?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Find A Happy Place

I like this time of year. You sort of feel full of hope, looking forward to what you may accomplish in the upcoming months.  Whether you actually do or not really isn't the point. It's the planning and dreaming and looking ahead.  That's what keeps you going.

Every year I always think about how I can make improvements.  I have lost some weight, but I'm not there yet.  I do walk the dog every day, and that has been one of the best things- for both of us. Even if it's cold, I bundle up and get out there, even if I don't feel like it.  Once I'm out, I'm happy to be out.  I mainly stay around the neighborhood and check the progress of the new houses going up. I should be paid to be a site manager.

So, I think about what makes me happy, and how I can incorporate more of those things into my life.  It's less about what makes OTHERS happy- because if you put others as a priority and listen to them, you find you get resentful.  As long as you're not hurting other people, or causing damage, then follow your particular bliss.  This is not to say become a selfish cow.  There are enough of those on the planet.

Yesterday, DH and I rearranged the living room.  For some reason,  I never sit in there, and it is a nice room, with a huge picture window.  I was thinking it was because it has no tv, but I rarely turn on the set during the day (well, Judge Judy starts at 5:00 pm, and then the news)- so I'm thinking if I place my spinning wheel there, and maybe some new colour on the walls.  I have to think about this.
My house makes me happy.  It's not huge, it's comfortable, and it's not ostentatious in any way.  The street is quiet, and the neighbours are nice.  I spend alot of time in it out of choice. I feel safe and warm, and it has all my meaningful things in it.  My Bridgewater collection, my dishes, my cross stitch on the walls, knitting baskets, fiber, yarn and spinning wheels.  My animals and my family (not in order of priority). When I come home after being out, I am glad to be here.  It's a happy place.

I am happy in my kitchen.  One of the walls has been painted Jack O Lantern orange.  I have farm animals on the windowsill,  and I like spending time there.  My dishes are on display, and my cupboards are neat and organized.  If I plan ahead, I don't mind cooking a nice dinner there.  I feel accomplished, and it gives me a nice feeling when something wonderful is baking, or in the slow cooker. Ahhhhh.

My bedroom is wonderful. I have a Queen size brass bed, and simple furniture.  Nice bedlinens- I came to the conclusion that it is better to buy a higher quality, and they'll last much longer. No dust ruffles or carpets.
And the cedar chest my dad made for me.

So, on the subject of saving money, or making your life easier, here are some things that I do, and I'd love to know what everyone else does to make life simpler.

>I don't use fabric softeners, or dryer sheets.  You are putting wax on your clothes, and no one needs to smell "April Fresh"- apart from lugging the stuff home, they cost a fortune. I use plain old Sunlight powder, and a delicate wash for babies.  Send almost nothing to the dry cleaners, and use an eco-friendly one.  They put your stuff in with everyone elses, and horrible chemicals. If you learn to iron a shirt and buy washable fabrics, you'll save a ton.  And your clothes last longer too.

> Don't use spray air fresheners, or those nasty discs that turn your toilet  water blue.  I am fanatic about having a clean toilet, and I use an inexpensive cleaner, or good old Comet with bleach.  Some glass cleaner and eco-friendly spray cleaner (I buy Method) and I'm done.  Even baking soda and vinegar clean really well, just be sure to rinse.  Cut down on paper towels, and use washable rags or J-Cloths.

>I am an impulse buyer, so I find what has helped here, is to keep a list of what you have on hand, and only buy what you need once a week.  I have a pad on the fridge, and I write down what I am out of.  A menu plan is even better, and I sort of know ahead what I'm going to make.  If I don't plan, it doesn't happen, and then it's takeout- which is expensive, usually high in calories and boring.

>Bake your own muffins and quickbreads and freeze them.  Instead of buying one at the coffee shop, you can spend an afternoon making them yourself, and you'll know what is in them (some of those ones you buy are loaded with oils and high in calories)- invest in a few inexpensive tins, and buy flour and supplies in bulk, and you can bake once every couple of weeks.  Sometimes, you can get fresh berries on sale, and your own blueberry muffins are far better than anything you can buy.

>I don't have any carpet in the house, except in the basement.  One area rug upstairs.  So cleaning with a damp mop, no Swiffers or Swiffer dusters, and a damp cloth is easy.  I never use Pledge or any other kind of spray.  My grandfather was a carpenter, and he recommended a damp cloth to clean wood.

> Purchase things like toothpaste, shampoo, soap and staples in bulk, or at least at a discount. I loathe and despise big box stores, but I do have a Costco membership.  I buy TP, laundry soap, dishwasher tabs and even toothbrushes and deodorant there. If you don't need large packages, split with a friend.  You can shop for these things much more infrequently.  And less chance of running out.

>No matter what you spend at the grocery store (and not buying junk food, and shopping the store perimeter can save a ton) it is far less than going out to eat.  The price of one dinner alone could feed us here for a week, and I hate restaurants. They make you wait, it's usually a letdown, they're loud and somebody brings their annoying kids.  After all that, they make you wait to pay, and you're stuffed and cranky.  I am NOT a fun date.

Okay, I didn't mean to get so wordy, but these are some thoughts I've been having.  I think our homes are important, more so than ever, to our sanity, and if we can make them more comfortable and efficient, we'll have more time and money to spend on other things.

Fleece out.