Monthly Archives: September 2009

Desk Projects.

We had a crazy night last week (or was it the week before last? Time, it’s a blur…) when the cat access door to the garage was accidentally left blocked overnight. The significance of that is, that’s where they go to take care of their “delicate” necessities. Since their access was blocked, clean-up was a necessity in the house the next morning and our losses included the kitchen rug and the batting from their purple pillow. The batting replacement required a trip to the crafty-land of Michael’s.

Michael’s is a place I like to wander through and “ooohhhh” and “awwwww” over things. Much like fireworks. I think they’re beautiful and well arranged, but have no idea nor desire (usually) to figure out how to do what I’m supposed to do with the stuff.

But this time I had a mission. I had to conquer something.

I needed to replace the batting in their pillow, which I found for $3.27 on the back wall of the store. Then I remembered that I needed a coaster for my desk. I searched and found the picture coasters that Noonie suggested in the comments of this post, but they were sold in a package of four for $12. Even with my 40% off coupon, that was enough to make me feel non-committal about them. So, I carried them around for awhile, like they were a very expensive doll that I wanted but couldn’t afford. I thought and thought while carrying them.

I happened to wander over to the bare frame and wood pieces section and thought to myself, “Cork board. I wonder if they have cork board?” Why, yes, they did. Four 6×6″ squares for $6, minus 40%, equals a reasonable price. Yay!

When I got home, I got to work.

First I grabbed the biggest cup I will be using, and used the base as a guide for how big around the coaster should be.

Then I grabbed my mouse pad for the pattern.

And photocopied it on the reduction setting. Then I cut out the outer parts on half of the pattern to use as a stencil.

I put my stencil on the cork board, grabbed my permanent marker and blackened the “outer” sections I’d cut out and then used my mad art skillz to draw in the “inner” details. Tony says there’s a scary face in that drawing, but I shrug his fears off because I’m not a scared little ninny like he is.

The other project I did was install a notebook arm inside my rolltop desk. This required that I make the cord hole a bit larger so the clamp of the arm would have something to clamp onto. That involved drills and saws and measurements, only to realize after I was all done with my hole making, that the clamp part of it easily disassembled and the hole didn’t need to be all THAT big, so the project really shouldn’t have been as complicated and manly as I made it out to be.

Oh! And check out the cubby hole area that I previously opened up (off to the right side of the picture). Remember how I pulled the frame off to give myself some working room? Well, turned out the sides of the cubby were unfinished, since they weren’t ever expected to be seen by the light of day. Since I didn’t want to go to all the trouble to finish it, I came up with the idea to glue a large scroll pattern over the unfinished area. I think it looks great!

And to wrap it all up, replacing the batting was really no big deal and the kitties love their clean, puffy, purple pillow with the new batting in it.

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Filed under I Stimulate the Economy, I'm Never too Old to Learn, Time Consumers

Love & Loathe – 09/29/09

Love:

* “Networking” (air quote usage) with friends over lunch. I’ve never had so many “lunches” crammed into one month in all my whole life!

* Earlier this year I wished for a summer, the kind I used to get when I was a kid between school years. I know, be careful what you wish for… *impish grin* but I sure have enjoyed my grown-up summertime. Since that wish came true, I really wish I could go to Hawaii this year.

* Spending so much time with my beloved cats. I sure do love their fuzzy ears, warm tummies and soft paws. I even love their exclamation point tails.

* Getting my projects done. Yesterday I tackled my disorganized guest room. Technically, it’s not really a guest room, it’s my insomnia room. The place I go when i can’t sleep and need absolute quiet and darkness. I tackled it and I’m so happy with it. It cleaned up real nice.

* Reading books and winning books — many thanks to Paula for the book I won on her website.

* Vince for all his computer help this month.

* Crock pot liners. These are God’s gifts to people who don’t like cleaning cooked on gunk off of large crockery.

Loathe:

* This will the last time for my “09” date bookends. *sniffle* As a consolation, I’m pointing out the third nine in the middle.

* I still don’t know what I should do with that knick knack shack I removed from my rolltop desk. For now, I stuck it in the corner, because that’s what one should do with bad things.

* How quickly this month has gone by.

One Last Thing:

Am I the only one with a 12 year old’s sense of humor, who thinks that what they named this product is not only hilarious, but totally appropriate, given the end result of eating them?

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Pruning and Healing.

I did some yard work last weekend, pruning back some of my plants.

My gardenia tree bloomed so profusely this year, leaving a bunch of browned out, spent blooms at the end of its arms like crumpled, well used napkins. My guava tree actually fruited this year, but lost all its leaves in the process and my artichoke plant renewed itself, but didn’t produce any artichokes. My fig tree only made three figs, so I pruned that back pretty profusely in the hopes it will make more next year. My rose bush had dead heads galore, effectively stumping it as to what it was supposed to do next. I hadn’t paid attention to my geraniums and they had become long and gangly, with blooms and leaves only at the ends of three foot long tentacles.

My plants are the perfect example of how I let my life become this past year. Still growing, reaching for the sun, but the soul and roots need desperate attention. I let myself become unbalanced and uncentered.

Saija pointed out in the comments of the previous post that there must be so much around here that I’m doing. Yes, I would say so.

I make sure I swim laps every morning for 45 minutes, for obvious reasons (at least to me). Exercise is good for my health — emotional and physical. I check online job sources (monster, indeed.com, EDD’s website, and a couple of others — if you know of others, please do let me know in the comments). I also make sure I get out of the house each day, if even for just a short drive and I’ve been doing little organizational projects around the house. And cooking.

This past week, I had lunch with my two bosses from the job I held four years ago, the bosses from whom I inherited my fish that I’ve come to love so much. That lunch was a big step for me (several reasons, which I won’t get into here), but it turned out to be a really positive experience, a healing experience. I’m so glad I reached out to them.

I also had lunch with a dear friend in San Diego on her 40th birthday. It was accidental on my part, I had forgotten it was her birthday, but it meant so much to me (and her, I think) to be a part of her day. Since I was in San Diego, I stopped by Sea World for a couple hours just to say “hi” to all the critters. You know how I love critters… and chocolate funnel cake.

I am at peace with where I’m at right now. I know the “right” job for me is out there, the timing just has to line up and I know it will. It’s happened too often in the past for it not to happen again.

In the meantime, I’m pruning my roots and healing my soul and, as my sister-in-law stated tonight, I’m also “networking” with all these lunches I’m doing. Networking is important.

As I tell Tony nightly, I’m very busy being unemployed!

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Filed under I have Friends, Money Hump Building

Love & Loathe – 09/22/09

Love:

* Today is nephew Huck’s 3rd birthday. Or “dirtday” as he calls it. Happy Birthday, little guy!

* Nephew kisses. Huck asks for “Regular Kisses” (instead of Kissy-Monster kisses which I understand can be a little overwhelming), but there’s nothing “regular” about “Regular Kisses.” They are so full of sweetness and little boy goodness, and I especially love kissing their little necks. Mmmm. Delicious and delectable.

* I’m having fun getting to know my kitchen and cooking. I love making my husband’s tummy rumble when he walks in the door because of the yummy smells.

* Finding 1 lb. bags of rigatoni pasta at Big Lots for $.90. What a bargain!

* Finding boneless pork chops at Costco for $2.49/lb. I spent $12, got home and discovered that there were 16 chops in there. That’s a lot of choppy goodness.

* How I restrained myself from saying how much I love the “09” date bookends.

* Finding weird job ads. This week there was the guy with a list of job duties 3 pages long, the highlights included, “speak to wife about divorce,” and “speak to divorce attorney,” and “arrange poker games with friends,” and “follow-up on rebates”… all for the whopping amount of $5.62/hour. Or the other one, all it says is, “Seeking an assistant to help sales manager, drama background helpful!!! Call Al.” Like, why would a drama background be helpful (with three exclamation points)?

Loathe:

* Remember last week’s giant bump pimple and my desire NOT to pop it? Well, the next morning I was swimming and got too close to the bottom of the pool and my chin scraped the bottom of the pool, but only that side of my chin, the side with the giant bump pimple (because it was sticking out so much) and, HOLY TOOTHPICKS UNDER MY TOE NAIL did that hurt! And then I had a big, fat scab on that side of my chin. (sigh)

* Feeiing ripped off. When I bought my printer a couple years ago, I priced out the replacement ink as part of the price consideration. When I went to buy ink last month, I thought it was weird how the container had the five color inks and then an empty bubble in the packaging. I swore there was black ink when I bought my first replacement package two years ago. I got home and looked, sure enough… they used to sell the black ink with the colored ink. Apparently no longer. But they still use the old packaging to sell the colored ink.

Evidence:

One Last Thing:
On Sunday, we attended our nephew’s birthday party. I had brought along a peanut granola bar and a Hershey’s bar just in case the munchies hit while we were driving over there. You just never know, and I like to be prepared! Turns out, the munchies didn’t hit, so I put the two bars in the cup holder for later. As it happened, it was a rather warm day and, of course, even warmer in the car. So this is what we returned to when the party was over. Well, our party was over.

Things that make you go “Hmmmm…” Not sure if the moral of that story is “Nuts stand up to the heat…” or something else.

(Should I have listed this as “Not Work Safe”??)

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A Kid in the Kitchen?

You would think that being nearly 40 years old I would know my way around food and the kitchen. Not so.

In my teenage years, I started avoiding food because, for the most part, it made me feel ill and, because of that, I hated to eat. I learned later, when I had surgery for endometriosis, that one of the side effects of that disease (depending on where it grows inside of a person) can be nausea and lack of appetite. So it was for me.

As an example of my food gauche, it wasn’t until 2004 or 2005 that I learned you could cut a banana in half and it would self-seal, and you could eat the other half the next day. I was so excited about that discovery! Another example: It wasn’t until this past year that I learned you could push those little tabs in on the side of the box for aluminum foil, saran wrap, wax paper, etc. and the roll wouldn’t fall out when you were pulling some out.

I know enough to get by, but I often feel as if I’m like a kid in the kitchen and I envy and feel a little insecure around you people who have kitchen savvy and think cooking is no big deal. Those of you who think up substitute ingredients at the drop of the hat and can whip up dinners in no time flat just off the top of your head boggle my mind. I want to watch you cook, you’re like a celebrity to me, but I feel like you’ll notice how lost I am in the kitchen. I have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing in there! Me, I’m like, “What’s for dinner… salad? Sure! I’ll just make it a REALLY big one and THAT can be my dinner! And DON’T WATCH ME MAKE IT!”

The other day I read an article in the October 2009 Men’s Journal, entitled How to cook like a Man. A little misleading in that there are a lot of men who are chefs but, hey, I didn’t write the article’s title — and, oh my, what a large title it is, eh?

It was followed by an article entitled, Kitchen Tool Commandments and in that article, it said you should have two knives — a 10″ chef’s knife and a paring (or boning) knife. Do I even want to know what a “boning” knife is?? *clears throat*.

I have a chef’s knife and a paring knife, and I’ve learned over the years that I also need a mixing spoon that can stand up to heat and thick ingredients, a metal pancake turner and a couple of spatulas. That little spatula in the picture is one of my favorites, it can get inside jars like nobody’s business!

Essential ingredients that I always try to have on hand include onions (you always need onions), rice (it’s a food staple), kidney beans (I love them), fresh veggies for salads and, since I’m not vegetarian, chicken or hamburger. To make it challenging, I don’t cook with dairy products, unless they’re raw (unpasteurized) — so that eliminates most “cream of…” soups and I don’t like spending more than 15-20 minutes prepping food, so the recipes I make have to be simple and quick.

My question to you is two-fold. What ingredients or spices are essential in your house and why? And what cooking utensil is essential for you? And a bonus question: What food or kitchen tip (like the banana cut in half thing) would you pass onto your child if you were teaching them how to cook?

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Filed under I'm Never too Old to Learn, Who I am

August’s Searches.

A little late, considering it’s already the middle of September, but I thought I’d give you the most popular Google searches that have brought people a-visiting here at the Jammie J House.

Starting with the zinger of “cat throwing up and clenching stomach.” Now let me say this about that, if your cat is throwing up and clenching his stomach at the same time, your cat apparently has hands, not paws and belongs in Narnia. I assume Narnian cats get fur balls, too.

dead hummingbird” — dear heavens above, please don’t let me see that. I love those little birds way too much.

husband gyn appointment” — ummm, not sure what’s going on here, but if you’re trying to get pregnant and it’s not working? This could be your problem.

no shampoo hair” — nope, no shampoo hair here. For reals.

jammy siting on the tolit.com” — we all sit on the “tolit” at one point or another throughout the day, most of us multiple times a day. Not sure I’d buy the domain name for it, though, and really not sure I’d be Googling it –“toilit siting” is not that special or unique.

poop largest” — you might find something about that in the Guinness Book of World Records and I can tell you that I wouldn’t want to be the one taking measurements.

j clips for hair why so expensive” — probably because the inventors have bills to pay?

price “deep scaling” 94107” — I don’t live in the 94107, but for the zip I live in, it was pretty expensive.

she gently rubs my bald head” — *ahem* Good for you. I’d say she’s probably a keeper…

…and it’s Thursday! We’re heading to Disneyland tonight just to hang out and enjoy the Mickey Mouse ambient goodness.

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Filed under We're all searching for something

Love & Loathe – 09/15/09

Love:

* “09” date bookends. Yep, that’s gonna be on my “love” lists through the end of this month.

* Spending time at home with my pets, especially since the weather cooled off suddenly on Sunday. Don’t miss all that frivolous office A/C one bit (now).

* Snug’s determination — he reclaimed the corner that I stole from him for my files (sort of). This picture was taken the first day he reclaimed the territory, before he realized he could “settle in” to the cat bed. Look at his butt all jacked up in the air. HA!.

* My favorite snack of all time — watermelon and blueberries. I love how it tastes and I really love how it looks.

* Catching up with the people on my reference list. I truly had no idea how much fun that part of being unemployed could be. I certainly don’t remember it being this much fun 3 1/2 years ago!

* How Nephew Huck calls Tony “Uncle Toy” (still) and wishes people “Happy Dirtday” instead of “Happy Birthday”… now THAT is some funny stuff right there. (Click to see video!) So, Happy Dirtday to my mother-in-law (it was the 11th)!

* Also, this video’s pretty funny of Tony’s mom reading her birthday card from us to Nephew Huck… (click to see) Oh, go on, click it. You need to laugh.

*Oh! Today is the day they’re having the evening seminar at my old work for their clients. I don’t have to do anything for it — no late night, no calling the caterer, no phone calls to confirm RSVPs — oh, the bliss!! I did choose to answer some questions from my work friend re: the prep of it. I’m nice that way.

* Our community’s landscapers. They are such a nice group of hardworking men.

* That Mr. White seems to be OK after last week’s exciting escapade.

Loathe:

* Rats in my back yard. Need to go to Home Depot and get a new rat trap, the old one is too rusty.

*Under the skin pimple bumps. Cures, anyone?

* That Tony has to work two jobs. I miss him.

One Last Thing:

You know how I love my catalogs in the mail, right? So I got this one in the mail and I was all, “Cool! No gap-toothed model, yay!” So I’m browsing it, and the first few pages I’m thinking, “Cool clothes, too bad the styles are all cute now that I have nowhere to wear them…” Then I get to the fourth page in and can’t help but be a little surprised because, there, right there, as big as you please is a foot, bigger than all the models, taking up the ENTIRE PAGE!

Now, it’s a nice foot, I’m sure, as feet go, and a nice sandal and everything. But, the size of it in comparison … it’s like the foot of King Kong’s wife. My, oh my — my grandma would remember the early-1900’s, when if someone glimpsed your ankle you were considered on the “racy” side of women.

Tell me I’m not the only one who finds that just a little … bizarre?

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Filed under Love/Loathe