Yardwork and Moving Forward

It’s been a busy weekend for me.  Got things done around the house, plotted out World Domination, and Cleared The Yard (phase 1).  My fingernails hurt.  That reminds me …it’s summer now, which means the nails need cut down and manicured.  Long manicured nails don’t work for me in summer – too many things going on that result in wrecking said manicure.  Therefore it’s time to chop ’em off, clean up the edges all nicely, and go on about my business.

This weekend’s business involved a lot of hard work that I’m paying for today, but I like the progress that was made.

I started on The Backyard.

Before:

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More ‘before’, with Darnell (the random neighborhood cat) pictured in top right.2

Six hours later, this is what I accomplished with a rake and shovel:

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Here’s a shot looking out from my bedroom window. Note the missing iceplant.
There was also a line of fake plastic rocks that is now MIA.

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Today, I hurt. Last night I hurt so much that I woke up in the middle of the night wanting to vomit from how painful my arms felt.  No vomiting occurred, thank goodness.

The photo above shows how I got a large section almost completely cleared. The goal is to get the rest of that stuff pulled up so it’s just back to bare dirt.  Now I’m planning my next step, and I think this is how it will work out:

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Top-down view, fence at the top, hopefully vegetable planters and a compost box will be off at the left.  Potted plants – probably jasmine – I want to grow up to cover the fence; at least a large portion of it that isn’t currently covered.  In between, railroad-tie-style rectangular beams of wood will split up the yard while providing something similar to tiers.

Like this, but using rock filler instead of sod:

The yard slants down in kind of a curve, and has a fairly steep grade.  The section of squiggles along the bottom of the drawing would be that red bark/mulch stuff.  The top section (top right in drawing) will be flat enough for a nice patio area, and then just have to figure out if it would look better with a tarp cover or a pergola cover.

Awwww:

 

My goal is not to spend a lot of money, just to make something inexpensive that’s enjoyable for us while we’re living here and also improve the value when we sell.  Any additional reading/art nooks I can create in the meantime… thumbs up.  🙂

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Let Us Take A Moment To Raise Our Glasses

Hi!  Hey, how’s it going?  Good?  Great.  I’d like to take a moment to talk about something fun (to switch it up), and do a shout-out.  A birthday shoutout, even.  You see, my friend has deactivated her Facebook BUT I’m still going to write a post and then link it on my Facebook because there are quite a few of our mutual friends there, and I still want to share the love with the Internets.  🙂

ANYWAY.  Story time!

Once upon a time there was this girl who liked to dance.  She was like…five, or some such crap.  [Look, it’s what you do in PA. You go to dance class. You wear the feathers.]

That girl’s name was Maria.

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I too enjoy dancing (and had to wear an equally horrendous spangled outfit), but that’s not why we met.  We met because we grew up in a town of like sixty people, and our moms went to high school together.  (This is not a Your Mom joke, so shut up.)  Anyway, we met when we were in ….first grade, I think.  I distinctly recall being in sixth grade together but it gets kind of fuzzy then and I’m about three feet tall in the photo below so let’s just call it first grade.

We met, and she was awesome, and we went to places like Sea World together.

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We did other stuff together that kids do.  Painting and such.  Here we are being very serious about painting pumpkins.  The focus! The intensity! The …..fashion.  Don’t fight the fashion. Don’t act like you don’t want both a jean jacket and an Aliquippa sweatshirt because you know you do.

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So, me and this Maria chick got along pretty well.  We went on a crapload of adventures. Some of them involved stuff like pony riding and being very serious about petting zoos.


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I didn’t enjoy all the parts of the petting zoo, but it was still pretty fun.

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Time passed, grades passed, and oh yeah we were in the same homeroom for all four years of high school (not to mention we were in the BEST homeroom).  I’m third from the left and she’s second from the right, and again, please pay attention to ALL the glorious 90’s attire.

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School continued, and we kept going on adventures – we went to Cedar Point! We got sunburned! It was awesome! We all wore scrunchies and some of us opted to look like a crackhead in the photos.

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We graduated in 1999, because that was a great year, and I’d also like to take a moment to send love to my other ’99 Band Crew.  🙂

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Maria and I kept in touch, and time passed.

Fast forward to when she came out to San Diego to visit me (in 2006ish?).  I introduced her to a friend of mine, and then a couple years later introduced her to another friend of mine who would be taking their engagement photos.

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Her wedding was at the Bellagio in Vegas in 2009, and it was awesome.  I did the wedding makeup for her and her maid of honor – not like they even needed any, but it’s a weddin’. You get dolled up. 🙂

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The event was amazing.

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We partied a whole freaking lot.
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All of us partied, even Jason.

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More time passed, and she got all glammed up and came to my wedding in 2011.

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She’s always super classy, in case you didn’t know.

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We generally are always really freaking fabulous, also in case you didn’t know.

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Her mom made little candies as favors for my wedding, which was both thoughtful and delicious.

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We still have adventures!  She partied with me in Phoenix, one of my favorite cities during the months of November to February, and introduced me to a whole crew of people who (like her) are extra fabulous.

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So, the short version is that this chick is SUPER EPIC ULTRA MEGA FANTASTIC, and I am happy that we are still friends, and need the whole internet to wish her a happy birthday.  We may not have a ton of photos together, but that’s because it’s hard to take them and be in them at the same time.  😉

Happy birthday to one of my favorite yinzers.  Here’s to many more shenanigans, you crazy broad.  Muahahaha!

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Ain’t Nobody Got Time For Titles

Every time I clean the house, I want to tell the internet.  HEY!  Hey, my house is clean! Okay, it’s not pristine but… but I’ve done things.  Adult things.  It’s cool.

Last night I reactivated my Pinterest account, and that was kind of fun.  Everybody likes bookmarking, right?  This gives you pictures as well.  That’s nice.  Browsing boards and updating my own stuff got me remembering how much I enjoy healthy eating (veggies om nom nom), so looking through the pictures inspired me to make a big list of groceries to buy.

Today I went and bought the groceries, am working on meal plans for the week (because you can’t eat good food if you don’t buy it first), cleaned the kitchen (!!!), reorganized the utility area by the washer-dryer (!!!!!!!!!!), updated the cats’ litter area (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), and put things in the shed (NO PUNCTUATION AVAILABLE).  [FYI, I am terrified of our shed.]

Uh, then I actually put all my groceries away, threw out the old crap in the fridge, cleaned off my desk, and am now getting ready to crochet another cup cozy for J’s coworker.

Woot, I crocheted it! Crotch-et-ed. That’s how we pronounce it because we’re classy. Heyyy it’s a thing I made and it’s functional. Aw yeah.

We don’t have a pantry but I’m planning on reorganizing our storage areas (which are um, not really much of any storage areas).  On top of the fridge, in the hutch, one big drawer, and the shelves on the microwave stand.  I guess that will help me keep on top of what’s available to make and also make it easier to make.

That might not have made sense, but whatever.

In other news, I’m trying to cope with the mental madhouse my brain has become. It feels like lots of little birds are trying to build nests, take flight, and kill each other. And they’re all telling me how awful I am.  I’m not coping really well with all the stress lately.

Anyway, at least my kitchen is clean.

NO SERIOUSLY CATS WHY ARE YOU PLAYING IN THE LITTER KNOCK IT OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have a great night.

So We Got Robbed And This Is The Post Where I Talk About That

For years I’ve said – and believed –t hat the only consistency in my life is inconsistency.  My mantra has proved itself correct once again.

I spent a good part of yesterday evening cleaning glass out of our kitchen sink.

It came from a broken window, which is how people got in.

Again.

The FIRST time they broke in they were able to jimmy the window open so there wasn’t really a mess.

Let me reiterate – we got robbed three weeks ago. Nearly three weeks exactly; the first incident was March 26.  I noted (with mild amusement) that my last blog post was made on March 26, about how things were going well but it was a bit hectic.

They took some electronics, jewelry, weapons; little stuff.  They left the window open, didn’t hurt the kitties, there wasn’t really that much of a mess (except a bunch of things hastily pulled open / looked through).  Someone jimmied the kitchen window open, let their partner in through the back door, they were fairly…uh, polite? Respectful?  I only use those words because they didn’t break or mess up things too badly.  It still sucked, but it was kind of easier to cope with because there was less of a mess.  I spent the entire night cleaning, crying a little here and there, and generally feeling disappointed in humanity.

We fixed the window.  We got things set up with the police, our insurance, a security system inspection (originally scheduled for 4/29).  All buzz words that people ask – checkpoints.  “Did you call the cops? Did you call your insurance? What about an alarm?”  Yes.  We got all that taken care of.  I didn’t sleep for two nights but the trauma kind of… was easier to push down and start building a wall around.  We talked about what we should do to make our home more secure and started discussing what we need to do to move.  We told very few people about it – close friends and family, people that we would normally trust to watch our house, that kind of thing, but we kept it quiet.  You don’t really talk about that kind of stuff because of paranoia and also it’s really rather exhaustive.  I stopped checking in on social media, and kind of withdrew overall.  There were a few days of just sitting, trying to reorganize.  The stress did a number on both of us both physically and mentally, but we began to recover and I even started to feel like I had some energy to do anything besides lie on the couch and read.

Yesterday, the house got broken into AGAIN.  Jason came home from work around 330 and found the mess.

The mess.

First, all kitties are safe and accounted for.

Second, aside from a cloth carry-bag from a local hotel and some change, they didn’t take anything, except our remaining peace of mind.

They busted the window over the kitchen sink.  Glass and dishes were everywhere.

Bedroom: all the drawers dumped out, jewelry box again dumped out, closets ransacked, stuff under the bed pulled out.  They stepped on the laundry, messed up the furniture/bedding.   This means that – yet again – all the items that they touched needed to be re-washed, including the bedding. There is no worse feeling than knowing some random person is in your house, TOUCHING WHERE YOU SLEEP.

Bathroom: Two tiles that haven’t been sealed onto the bathtub frame had been taped on. They pulled those off, apparently looking for a hidden compartment underneath.  The cats were hiding in there/under the bed, thankfully.

Office: pulled some stuff off the shelves, overturned things under the desk, pulled the drawers out of the storage armoire and pulled more stuff out from inside of it.  Toolboxes we’d nearly forgotten about were dumped out.

Living/dining room: couch cushions flipped, some stuff pulled off the bookshelves. Books on the floor (thankfully not a lot, and MORE thankfully all the library books I borrowed seem to be all accounted for).  The memory box that I made with our wedding stuff was dumped out all over the couch. They ripped an envelope that held my veil.  I thought I would be prepared, but after seeing A) my wedding stuff everywhere, the sugar bowls opened up and rifled through, and a recipe box on the floor, the complete senselessness of it all then resulted in hysterics.

I don’t get hysterical. I don’t have big weeping fits or …scenes.

This time I went outside and sobbed on the porch.  Just a mess.  I tried to take some photos to document but can only post a couple because looking at the rest sets off the terrible thoughts in my head. Jason was able to clean up a little bit, but I was shaking pretty badly so most of the photos came out blurry.  I started shaking when Jason called me to give me the news, and continued on throughout the evening.  I’m still shaking and can’t get warm and it’s 70 degrees.

I’d apologize for Brak’s hair being all over the couch but I just hand-vacuumed it two days ago so I don’t care.  I’d apologize for the mess but …yeah. Whatever.  I want to apologize for not having more stuff but IT GOT STOLEN ALREADY BEFORE WE GOT RANSACKED.

Uh, so here’s what I saw when I walked in. Then I walked back outside and sat on the porch for a long while.

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Hey check it out here’s all my memory box stuff from the wedding dumped out and kind of ripped up. That’s cool.

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My French press appears to be alright.  Sort of pictured, some broken glass. Not totally pictured, how the sink is filled with broken glass. That’s a big painting that we were using to block the open window to keep the cats in while we cleaned up.  Also the [expletives] left the back door open so thank whatever you want to thank that they didn’t get out.

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That’s cool. Just dump that stuff everywhere. I didn’t mind having my laundry hanging up. Or my sheets and towels folded.

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I am 900% sure this is not how I left it.

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Brak & Loki, accounted for and cute. Still freaked out. In the background you can sort of see how stuff was piled up in the office. 6

Pris was not having any of it.  She stayed passed out for several hours.  She is accounted for, and equally cute.7

I’m not okay.  When stressful things happen to me, my way of coping is to look at each little fact and then find whatever ‘bright side’ can be found within each bit of logic.  It keeps me sane.

That isn’t working here.  I can’t pull any logic from any of it.  It was senseless, reckless, disrespectful, insane.  I can kind of imagine what it feels like to be raped, because I have no sense of safety or peace of mind.  I’m jumpy and unable to relax, plus I don’t want to go home, because the house just feels like a weird hotel.  None of my stuff feels like my stuff.  I feel very homeless; like the only thing I have is our little family, my purse, my Kindle, my computer and my car.

Our plans to move have been bumped up to ‘as soon as possible’.  Obviously we can’t just give a 30 day notice, and obviously we need to save for a down payment.  I am considering starting one of those crowd-funded/kickstarter projects to help us get going but right now though I can’t wrap my head around any of this.  I can’t really process more than one step in advance of what I need to do right this minute.   Like…. okay, next step… shower, set your alarm for work. You have to be in the office at 830AM.  (I’m there now, FYI.)   Okay, that’s good. How about cleaning up the glass on the kitchen counter. Not the floor, don’t think about vacuuming yet.  Okay, go pick up the laundry and just put it all in the hampers. Deal with it later. Just get it off the floor.

Today is hard though.  I’m very exhausted and can’t do anything much except stare out the window of my office, where I am now.  There is a bunch of work-related paperwork to tackle so my next step is to start on the stuff in Inbox 1.

Hopefully the insurance can help us with a little more money so we can add extra bars to the windows, fix the busted window, fix the fence, and replace a couple stolen items.  Our security system install got bumped up to high priority with the company and I think they’ll be able to do it today.

The mess was cleaned up, a very long shower was had, but I still feel broken inside.

This is very draining to talk about which is why I am making kind of a long post in hopes to not talk too much about it further.  I’m not looking for sympathy but this is too much to just hold in.  I am not okay right now though.  That is all.

Moments

The awesome thing about being a grown-up, if you didn’t know, is being able to do whatever you want. Some days that means eating half a bag of Oreos for dinner, and some days that means Swiffering your kitchen.  Mostly for me it means working until 5, sitting in traffic for 30 to 60 minutes, going grocery shopping, coming home to feed and corral three cats, making dinner for myself and someone else, trying to clean up aforementioned dinner preparations and any messes that aforementioned cats have made, and then realizing I’ve got about two hours of “free time” before bed.

Could I stay awake until 1AM? Sure. Will that make me a happy camper when my alarm goes off at 630AM? Absolutely not.  I require – yes, REQUIRE – a minimum of seven hours of sleep.  These aren’t the days of tech support, hidden away in a NOC, forwarding calls up from the second tier.  My job is in customer service, running the front office for a rather busy and large marina/conference center.  I need to be functional… and friendly.  You know who cares if my vertigo is acting up?  You know who cares if I’m randomly nauseous because my inner ear hates me?  You know who wants to hear that my cramps are bad, or my bipolar disorder is on the down side, or if there is no creamer for the coffee, or if my throat itches with allergies, or if I couldn’t get parking at that restaurant last night and had to circle for half an hour and was late today because I forgot that my car was low on gas?  NO ONE.  Nobody wants to hear that!  Not one single person.  Not even my friends and family, to tell you the truth, which is why I try to keep that stuff to a minimum online in general.  It’s also why things around here have been quiet: most of what I want to talk about comes out in a rather whinging* fashion, so it doesn’t get said.  Just keeping it clean.

However if someone out there requests me to post – regardless of good content or not – they are more than welcome to hear me venting.

What I’m really trying to say though, is that the truly awesome thing about being a grown-up is being able to do (essentially and within reason) whatever you want.  What *I* want to do is make art, and that means I’m doing it.  It’s happening in very small bites, because (see above) the two-ish free hours between the work-sleep cycle are usually for decompressing with a book or by playing WoW or by crocheting something.  Those things are all enjoyable and relaxing, and then all of a sudden it’s time for sleep.  Which, by the way, I need even more of lately because inner ear issues (and the accompanying medications) tend to really up my fatigue levels.  It’s a glorious cycle.

I’ve got some things in the hopper though.  The one taking the most precedence because of the time limit is a piece for a charity art auction.  There is no theme, there’s total freedom to paint whatever you want, which (as most artists know) means that too many choices results in a stalemate.  They’ve provided me with a 12”x12” canvas, and it took me over a week of solid creative block to think up an idea to paint.  I figured out what I wanted to do this past Thursday, did up a quick computer-generated draft, and hope to knock out the first phase today.  With luck it’ll be completed by tomorrow and then I can get it back to them this upcoming Thursday.  Local peeps can go check it out – for charity!! – on Saturday, April 6, 2013, from 6pm to 11pm.  Bonus round: they can hang out with me. Woot!

So anyway, that’s been fun.  A very short list of the other things going on in my non-office-job hours are:

–          Finally got a proper system setup at home, complete with all the programs I need to get back on the track of digital art that was put on hold waaaay back in 2009ish when a) my computer died and b) we were house-hunting.

–          Crafted up some business cards for drunkbunny
dbbizcards

–          Crafted up some business cards for Say It With Style

–          Got the website up and running for SayItWithStyle.biz but still working on content and social media

–          Crafted up some business cards and promo cards for Praise Pittsburgh

–          Got the website up and running for PraisePittsburgh.com but still working on content and social media. Planning for an end-of-March launch date.

–          Archiving the stuff on my old hosting account and switching to a new hosting company so that I can stop wasting money on an account I don’t use

–          Getting all things drunkbunny ready for prints and web portfolios

–          Getting web portfolios for Young Enterprises (parent company) and Say It With Style (subsidiary) split up appropriately

–          Doing some new sketches for drunkbunny based on the daily emails I receive from Dictionary.com’s “Word of the Day”

Somewhere in there I’m supposed to find time to work out, have a social life, and stand tall when this inimitable blasted depression shows up, but I’m not gonna lie: it is WAY easier to just go to sleep.  Ain’t nobody got time for that indeed.  The problem is I want to curl up in my home library with tea and a good book, but there’s no library without a house, and there’s no house without a foundation.  So that’s what I’m doing now – building the foundation.  This is on top of all the stuff I’ve got going on at work, which usually involves cramming sixty hours of work into forty hours of pay.

You’ll excuse me, then, if I go into hibernation for a couple weeks here and there. This is also why I enjoy going to all J’s hockey games: it gives me an opportunity to go out of the house but with much less social responsibility than if I were to go to a bar or a club or a party.  People call me, text me, email me, hit me up on Facebook, and I see it, but I either forget about it or am too busy to respond, and then just don’t have it in me to respond at all.  But anyway, that’s where I’m at, and you know where to find me.  (If you don’t:  Facebook or email.  That’s the quickest and best way.)

Stay classy; I’m still here.  Just quieter.
*MAN I don’t get to use that word enough. It’s one of my favorites. 🙂

Adventures in Domesticity

Hello!  It’s been a minute.  I’ve been busy in that way that completes the things you need to get done, but not the things you want to get done.  It’s all for the greater good, apparently.

Essentially time after work is spent corralling, feeding, herding, and cleaning up after the cats.  We’re all on a pretty good schedule and things are finally settling down.

Last weekend I was rather domestic and built a succulent garden (and cleaned, and .  I finally got everything properly potted, but here’s what I’ve got so far.

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Before

I had to dig out a bunch of that dirt that neighborhood strays had crapped in, scour the bricks of the porch (causing hordes of ants to climb everywhere), and paint the bricks.  Whomever ‘built’ the weird little planter area  decided the best way to do it would be set concrete blocks in cement.  I doubt there was any measuring or leveling.  In theory it’s a nice idea, it reality it made things a hassle.

The next step was to measure the area, head to Home Depot, buy the wood, stain and paint it, then put it together to cover up everything while being strong enough to hold the brilliant plant idea I came up with.  (“Brilliant” typically means “In Over Your Head” with my projects.)  After we got everything situated, the only thing left to do was add plants.

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After

This makes me much happier. It also rained all week, and two days ago one of the strays knocked over a rectangular planter, but it seems to be mostly okay.  Jason straightened it up and I’ll deal with making sure all the plants are snug in their homes (they don’t look too bad).

Oh, I also re-did the container gardens on the porch.  There are two small succulents at about 1100 and 1200 in the left arrangement, and those are from the wedding.  THAT makes me happy.  Now that they’ve been replanted in good soil and watered, they’ve come back from being dormant, and are blending right in with the rest of the crew.

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Container gardens

Did you guys know that I have another blog?  Yes.  Domesticity (http://dmestic.wordpress.com/) except I haven’t updated since 2010. Everything seems to just fall into place in this blog, so this is where most of the updates happen.  Also, as the kittens slowly settle down and stop requiring me to pay attention to them every single nanosecond (else they’ll destroy everything), I have a smidgen more time to do things not involving them.  Things that are a touch more relaxing, like drinking tea, or writing an email, or looking at the internet.  That latter part is tough because they tend to want to jump up and down on the laptop specifically when I’m using it, making updates rather difficult.

Bonus round: my home office finally has a desktop system, which is loaded up with Adobe’s CS6 Suite.  It only took me five years to get back on track, but there was that whole search-and-buy a house thing, and that wedding thing, so life was a bit hectic.

See, there’s this thing floating around the Interwebs, one of those memes, and it says (essentially) that “When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to grow up. Uh, this sh/t is NOT what I expected.”
Here’s the part where (if I was a kid), I’d brag all about how I cleaned my room AND put away the laundry AND made my bed.  Then I did the dishes! They’re put away!!

Anyway, since I’m an adult, you get to hear me being excited over my accomplishments of that single day last weekend, which include:
-going to the doctor
-going to Home Depot
-bought a ton of plants and supplies for the succulent gardens
-brought the plants and supplies home AND set them up (the painting/potting adventure (during which I spilled white latex paint all over the driveway had to wait until there was more daylight)
-made yet another homemade smoothie and dinner in efforts to get myself healthy and back in shape (now I’m drinking juice concoctions on a regular basis, mostly thanks to Casa De Juice)
-washed and put away the majority of the dishes (which is impressive because the majority of all dishes we owned were everywhere but in their proper place)
-cleaned out the spice drawer and made a spice area elsewhere (!!! there was stuff from 2004, you guys! it’s cleaned out! we now have a cat food drawer, oh man. OH MAN.)
-reorganized the kitchen and cleaned it
-SWIFFERED
-cleaned out the utility area and made room for the kittens’ litter to be moved over
-actually cleaned the litter (argh)

I know there was more, but that’s a metric ton of stuff for me to do on my day off, which is typically reserved for sitting on the couch With Snacks, reading and passing out when whatever’s on TV bores me to unconsciousness.  I even broke a sweat.

That was two weekends ago (oh, I had a birthday on Jan 10th, so last weekend was all about partying it up). This weekend was reserved for more standard cleaning involving laundry and vacuuming; psuedo-spring cleaning.  My next domestic project for today/tomorrow is to reorganize my linen storage area and office, then tackle the huge pile of freshly cleaned laundry.  I need to reorganize the office to make it more conducive to art stuff and also kitty-proof it.  The sun is out but not strong and there’s a nice breeze, so I’ve got the house brightened up and am hoping my allergies stop sucking my life away. I’ve sneezed more in the past two months than I have in my life; seriously.  Sneezing fits are not something that happen to me, nor are constantly itchy eyes and throat.  People that suffer from this constantly have my sympathies.

The juicing thing has been good. I’ve been making daquiri-looking concoctions at home, and drinking juice blends as meal replacement every couple days.  It’s helping a lot, because my weight and skin were making me very unhappy.  Now that the house is much more organized, the space is here to do that stuff at home.

Anyway, it’s been a long strange trip, but for the most part, 2013 is off to a great start.  I’m even doing yoga a bit more frequently.  Now to remember this feeling when it gets crazy…