Friday Five for March

1. I spent last weekend putting together two new pieces of furniture for my den: a computer desk and lateral file cabinet. I questioned my own sanity quite often during those two days, but in the end, both pieces look fabulous, work properly (yay!), and most importantly match another larger piece of furniture already in the room. Now, my den looks like it belongs to a grown-up, rather than a poor college student who got all her mis-matched stuff from family throw-aways or at Goodwill!


2. This weekend, I plan on relaxing (after mowing the lawn, that is)!

3. Tonight is the Art and Wine Tour in downtown Atascadero, and I am SO looking forward to it! I missed the one in December because it was just too cold, and last month it rained during the Sweetheart Stroll, so we didn't go to that. From the sound of it, there will be some great wineries pouring as well as some fantastic art displays!

4. Has anyone watched Resurrection, yet? I've been watching The Returned and wondered if Resurrection was just the American rip-off of the French show. If so, I don't know if I'll bother, because The Returned is just SO good!

5. The shoes I wore to work today (and posted about on Instagram) managed to stay on almost all day. I only took them off when I worked the counter, because I just couldn't stand for that long in them! Still, I'm pretty excited because I haven't worn heels for a long time, and I'd like to do it more often. 

Cleaning Up for the New Year

I spent this past weekend cleaning out and organizing parts of my house. I started with the bathroom, and ended up with a full garbage bag of expired prescription and OTC medications, old cosmetics and beauty products, a small box of items such as gently or barely used hair curlers, straighteners, extensions, clips and bows that is being donated to Goodwill, and gave several half-empty bottles of shampoo and conditioner to my mom. Deep inside my cabinets I found six boxes of hair colour, three cans of mousse, two detangling leave-in conditioners, two cans of hairspray, an unopened bag of Hall's throat drops, three unopened boxes of wrinkle cream (2 L'Oreal and 1 Avon), four toothbrushes, small flosses and mini toothpastes from my dental visits, and numerous other miscellaneous items I had no idea were lurking under my sink.

(I think I have enough hair c0lour to last me a while!) 

It was pretty amazing - and kinda scary, too, to think of all the money I've spent on useless crap this past year (or maybe two; I can't remember the last time I did this!). Some items I'm going to use - the detanglers, mousses, and hair sprays - and if I end up not liking them (most likely the reason they ended up under the sink to begin with), then this time I'm throwing them out! Yes, I hate the thought of wasting the money, but if it doesn't do what I want it to, it's out.

After I finished the bathroom, I decided to go through my cookbooks and magazines in the kitchen. I donated to Goodwill several old cookbooks I've never used, tore recipes out of magazines like Oxygen, Sunset, and  Cooking Light, then tossed the magazines, and put the recipes in a 3-ring binder. Then, I started organizing my Clean Eating magazines. I've been subscribing to Clean Eating since it began in 2007,  and unlike the other magazines I fully intend to keep all these, so I had a few years to sort through. Most of them had post-its on the pages with recipes I have tried and liked, or want to try but haven't yet, but without taking the magazine down and thumbing through it, I had no idea what the recipes I'd tagged were. So, I went magazine by magazine,  page by page, and wrote on an index card the date of the issue, the name of the recipe (and/or the main ingredient like salmon or pork), and the page number, then taped that to the front of the magazine. So, now all I have to do is pull a magazine out and read the card to see if it's the one I want. Hopefully this will save me hours and hours looking for recipes I want to make. (Also, in the spirit of full disclosure, I did not come up with the index card idea myself. I saw it somewhere, but can't remember where now.) 

Please ignore my horrible handwriting and monstrous misspellings!

My hope is that starting off the new year all cleaned out an organized will help me stay that way for the next 12 months and beyond! Wish me luck! Cheers!

Out with the Old, in with the New

So, among the many things we did over my four-day weekend (Jiffy Lube both cars, buy groceries for the week, bake cookies, clean up the back yard, and, oh, yeah, watch the Packers *sniff* LOSE!), my mom and I bought a new washer/dryer. Both of the old machines were starting to make funny noises and because they are about 20-plus years old, we decided it was time to replace them before the washer died with a full load of soapy wash and the dryer decided to implode. Also, our local Idler's was having a massive moving sale, so the timing was perfect.




When we pulled the old machines out to clean behind them we discovered both of them still had the labels from the place they were purchased back in my old hometown of Colfax, WA (GO BULLDOGS!!). I wonder if Randy is still in business after all these years?

And, here is our brand spankin' new washer and dryer combo! SO SHINY!!




I love how the new dryer comes with this nifty little pop-out rod where you can quickly and easily hang up freshly dried clothing!

We haven't tried them out yet - mostly because we spent all of Saturday and Sunday washing every possible thing in the house in an attempt to kill the old machines - so we don't know how well they work, but we have very high hopes!

NaBloPoMo January 2012

In With the New #31photosin31days #holidailies


Well, there she is: my new computer. It's a Sony Vaio all-in-one, so there's no tower, just the screen, keyboard and mouse. So far I'm really enjoying it - mostly I'm enjoying having a computer that works!! My old computer started dying last summer - July or August, I think - and finally gave up the ghost around the beginning of November, taking a majority of my NaNoWriMo novel with it.  (sad face!)  Anyway, it took me a while to look into different computers, but I kept coming back to this one. I loved the sleek look of it, the large screen that is a touchscreen, too,  as well as the reduced desktop clutter. I'm hoping the two of us will be very happy together for years to come!

Holiday Weekend Update

I had an amazingly successful and mostly fun weekend. If I sound surprised about that, it's because this lovely 3-day weekend was slated to be a "work weekend" wherein my mom and I would get some of our more craptastic chores and hideous repair jobs out of the way. In the end, however, none of it was as bad as we initially thought, and some of it even turned out to be kinda fun! Bring on the bullets:

  • I took my car to be smogged and not only did we get in right away, but my little baby passed - Yay!
  • We went grocery shopping - usually a crappy chore my mom and I both hate - and happened to hit Albertson's Customber Appriciation Day with included yummy samples throughout the store, coupons,  and free beer and wine tasting.
  • We got the furnace/AC filter changed. That might not seem like such a big deal, but the door to the filter has been jammed for several months, and we were afraid we'd just have to break it to get it open to change the filter. However, after trying to pry it open with a screwdriver and wiggling it around a bit, it popped open with little to no damage!
  • And finally, we tamed our wild, overgrown backyard!


Backyard Update #2

So, I finally wrote last week's backyard update, and figured I'd better do this week's while I had the chance! After all the digging mom and I did last weekend, the rain still won out and while it didn't flood, it didn't drain, either. So today we went out and widened the trench and straightened out the curve in the hopes that the water will drain easier (yes, it's supposed to rain AGAIN this coming week!).

Here it is BEFORE:




Aaaannnnddd AFTER:




It didn't take too long to get the trench widened, and since I got my ELPHie back from the Camera Hospital last week, I went around and took a few piccies:

Some berries or seeds or something on some bush I can't remember the name of now:


And I'm not sure if this is a disease or freeze damage on these leaves or what:


Doesn't matter since it's going to get ripped out along with pretty much everything else in the backyard when it gets redone.

Luckily it looks like out daffy are doing really well:




And the bees are enjoying the rosemary blossoms. Yes, we have bees in January. Weird I know.



Backyard Update Part 1

I never did get around to writing about our adventures last weekend, and there's really no point in going on about it now, so here's a quick summary:

After six straight days of rain, mom and I ventured out to dig up the backyard to find the end of the drain which was installed shortly after I moved in, what? 11, 12 years ago? Something like that. Anyway, we hadn't had any significant rain fall since then so we were totally unprepared for it and the backyard flooded something fierce! le sigh!


After doing some digging, we discovered the drain didn't end in the middle of the yard as we originally expected, but makes a sharp curve and just ... ends. The rest of the "drain" is comprised of gravel that runs along the side of the planing area by the house. Which is exactly where the flooding problem is. Brilliant. Just brilliant.


Our best guess is they simply ran out of pipe, and rather than going out to buy more, just stopped and filled in with the gravel. We suspected this after seeing two sections of pipe put together with duct tape.


Anyway, we went ahead and dug a trench all along the planter area in the hopes that the water will run down to the mouth of the drain and LEAVE OUR BACKYARD!!





Lastly, we filled in the space by our patio with some pea gravel to soak up some of the water we discovered standing there after the downpour. We sloped it so it would also run down to the drain.


It's a good thing we're planning to redo the backyard anyway, since it's pretty much destroyed now. Also, luckily (I guess) the new cars that were on my short list for purchase this summer (Toyota Corolla and Honda Fit) are now having troubles, being recalled, etc., so we're not too disappointed that we can't buy a new car this year and instead have to spend our "car money" on the backyard. Okay, maybe we're a little disappointed.


Oh, and speaking of cars, after all the work we did in the back yard, we were SO ready to head inside, clean up and have a nice, relaxing lunch and rest of the day only to discover one of the tires on my car was TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY FLAT!


So, we drove around looking for a tire store that was open on Saturday (and I'm totally cutting this whole horrible experience in halfbecause it was long and horrible and took HOURS) and luckily found Tire Pros. They were SO nice and set me up with a brand new set of four tires for under $500.00! SCORE!


So, yeah, last weekend was pretty horrible, but both mom and I survived, I got new tires, we figured we were ready for the next storm coming and I got a fun new pair of boots:


Gotta look on the bright side, right?

El Nino


Well, the Forecasters weren't kidding when they said we'd be getting a big storm today! On Saturday, mom and I bought five bags of Mexican River rocks to use as a barrier against the flooding (and which will later be used in the dry creek bed we plan to put in the back yard), and boy are we glad we did! Unfortunately we put them in front of the plants along the house hoping that would keep the water away, but the wind blew the rain right behind the bags and uncomfortably close to the house. So during a break in the action, I ran out and moved the bags up closer to the house; that really helped a lot! I also dug up some of the sod and some pavers lined up along the gravel patio on the other side of the yard, approximately where the French drain is, to help the water drain better. That seemed to help, too, as I could see the water flowing in that direction before the wind picked up and it started to rain again.