Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Doggie Weigh In

August 10, 2010 1:40 pm the dog weighed in at 54 pounds. DOWN 7.4 pounds from a month ago! That's all. Nothing more to report.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Everywhere I look, I am reminded that I need to organize the things in my life. If my closet is too full, all I need do is get some of those plastic hooks that hang 5 items at a time and then drop down to only occupy one hanger space on my rod. If my purse is crowded I need a "kangaroo" thing that allows me to cram my stuff into multiple compartments that keep things in their place and also I can take the container and the contents out quickly and move it to a new purse already organized. If I have too much paperwork in the house, there are decorative boxes and file folders and envelopes and furniture made to hold all that stuff. If I have lots of jewelry there are people sized cabinets, some with mirrors, to hold my gems. The Container Store, which I adore, is devoted to providing solutions for storing and organizing our stuff. Elaborate closet systems, stacking plastic trays, kitchen storage drawers on wheels, racks, shoeboxes and shelving abound here. In the bathroom there are shower organizers and linen closets to hold my stuff. In my kitchen I have a holder for plastic grocery bags, several cannisters, a utensil organizer, knife block and so on. And while I agree that these organization tools are helpful and necessary in some cases, they don't address the root of the problem. It's not so much that I am disorganized, but rather that I have too much stuff.  When I think of what I had growing up compared to now, I marvel at how much stuff I actually have. It's not just me either. There are entire television programs devoted to helping people clean up the clutter and simplify their lives. As a society we have simply accumulated too much stuff.  The solution to this problem isn't buying more stuff to organize the mess, it's giving away items and reducing what you have to a reasonable amount of things. After that, you can organize what's left. Having 50 plastic storage bins to hold your collection of shoes, isn't organization; it's excess.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

My Keeshond is fat...

What is a Keeshond you ask?  Well I have an Amazon ad for an owner's guide for Keeshond because there are ZERO books in the normal bookstores and local pet stores available on Keeshonden. Nothing cute for Keeshonden is available anywhere here in the Midwest that I can find. If you had ever read an owner's guide about Keeshonden before you got one, you would find they are prone to being overweight, which I didn't know.

So anyway, my dog is fat. He's so fat he was having a hard time walking. Yes he's torn both ACL's in his back legs at different times (chasing rabbits) which makes walking more difficult than it would be normally BUT being fat is the biggest issue for him. Why he's fat is a long story that would involve finger pointing so let's not go there.  Let's just say he was getting entirely too much food and I was not the one feeding him.

At a recent vet visit I had his thyroid checked and it's very low. So in addition to getting too much food and gaining weight, he has a thyroid problem and along with his allergies he's a lot of work and takes lots of pills. Something had to be done about his weight because in his present state he was headed for an early death or becoming crippled. In either case I felt guilty that I had let things get to the point where I was contemplating giving him away to someone who would be better able to care for him. The thought was breaking my heart.

I had to take control in a way that would not create more tension in my household. So, a shopping trip to the local Walmart yielded a daily pill box with slots for medicines Sun through Sat and with AM and PM boxes for each day, and 20, 1 cup Pyrex bowls with covers.  "HUH?", you say. Let me explain. The pill box which is clearly intended for adults who have a hard time keeping track of their medicines is now being used for the dogs twice daily allergy and thyroid meds, plus benadryl twice a day. Confusing? Perhaps. Not anymore.  Remember those bowls? The dog is fed twice a day and now he gets pre-measured amounts. Every 10 days I now fill his Pyrex bowls with a measured scoop of light dry food and then a measured scoop of wet food and refrigerate. Feeding him is as simple as opening a bowl. No can to open, no dry food to measure, just open and serve.

As I fill his Pyrex bowls I am amazed by how much "light" dry he was getting before this. It was easily 3-4 times what he needed, daily. Unbelievable. I'm surprised the dog wasn't fatter. But now about 9 days in he seems to be slightly more active and he looks like he might have lost a little weight. He goes back to the vet for a weigh in soon, perhaps 10 days. We'll see how it goes. I can only hope he's making some progress.

It's been a while since I blogged...

It's been just over a year since I put anything in this blog. Wow! A lot has transpired, but do I really want to try to remember all the important things and squeeze them into one blog? More importantly do you want to read it? Probably not. So I'm left with trying to sum up the last year blog-style. My son had to have knee surgery last summer and now he's ok. I can't remember the fall or Christmas season, which is most likely my brain's self defense mechanism kicking in to keep me sane.

Then the spring-time house improvement/repair bug kicked in. I had the entire deck floor replaced in the early spring, which was under warranty thank goodness and should probably get an entire blog unto itself, but not today. We pushed back the fence in my yard over the useless berm to reveal 26 feet of previously unused backyard. It's not good for much, but it makes the yard look open and spacious. We added ceiling lights to bedrooms that didn't have them and added recessed lights in the family room and den. I got landscaping and trees for my birthday and recently added a battery back up to my storm sump pump. Oh, and updated all my insurance needs. It's not very exciting but it's necessary to keep things in good repair and to do the small things that make a big impact.

On an entirely different note, I found a restaurant a while back called Mimi's Cafe. The food is decent homemade fare done by someone who has a bit of a gourmet in him. They also do fresh breads and muffins and they are decadent. I, personally, adore the spiced buttermilk muffin. If you warm it for 30 seconds then add some fresh sweet butter on the inside, it's simply divine.
I wish I had one now.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

It's hard to be green sometimes...

I love to make my home look better and put in nice upgrades and when I do, I want to do so in a way that's the most ecologically friendly. I have been considering putting in wood/laminate floors on the first floor of my house. We currently have vinyl tile and cheapish carpet, basically what the builder supplied without me paying an arm and a leg for his upgrades.

So I think laminate cause it's cheap, but then I discover bamboo flooring at the local Lowes at a cost a "little" above the cost of laminate. I think GREAT this is sustainable and has a better warranty or same warranty as laminate and looks great. Oh but then I find out the cost for installation of the "wood" floor is $3.80 per square foot vs $1.99 per square foot for laminate. DOUBLE!

*sigh* I have 1520 square feet on the first floor. That's almost another $3,000! That makes bamboo way out of my budget now. I think maybe put the idea for a better floor on hold for now trying to assess if I really "must" do the floor or not.

So my thoughts turn to countertops now. I have laminate like most standard counters are. I think I'd like something more attractive more importantly heat resistant. Granite is the standard but not sustainable. I can get decent granite from $50-$85 per square foot.

Then I think recycled glass countertops would be awesome, right? They certainly are sustainable with anywhere from 80%-95% being made with recycled materials. So follow me on this thinking.. garbage like used glass bottles must be able to be purchased dirt cheap. I mean it's garbage or on it's way to being such. In its most expensive form it's GOT to be cheaper to acquire than imported ganite or marble. Certainly it's sold by the ton or acquired for a small shipping fee from a recycling plant, yes?

So then WHY does this beautiful sustainable product cost between $110-$160 per suare foot. That's $25-$75 more per square foot. It's easier to obtain, and by their own admission, these companies admit there is very little gas used for transpotation of the product to the manufacturer. Their cost is lower to begin with. Installation of the product is identical to other countertop materials. So, what's up with that.

I'll tell you. Many of the dealers for these items are in suburbs with higher incomes. It's very "fashionable" to be green among those with money. I'd like it to be more than fashionable. I'd like being green to be "the standard" by which ALL home improvement products are compared.

Why can't something that really does cost less to produce, be really affordable to the public to encourage those of us who want to do the right thing, to buy recycled products and forego the expnsive harmful products? You would think that people, if given the choice to choose green at a similar price, would choose green products over the others. I certainly would.

However I have decided for today to go with the greenest solution of all for both my floors and countertops. I'm not changing anything. That's right. The greenest thing I can do right now is NOTHING. My counters and floors are functional and NOT in disrepair. They don't "need" to be replaced; I just wanted something nice or better. What I have has already impacted the environment and I can't fix that by replacing it. What I can do is use the hell out of it until it requires replacing and THEN choose green products. Maybe by then those products will be more affordable.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Over the last few days after realizing that the probability of me getting the kind of job I want and the kind of pay I need is low, I thought perhaps going back to school might be the answer. It might not. I am currently exploring education to get certified in a few different fields all the way through to a master's in some things and a PhD in another. Of course financial aid for the older student is unlikely, but there has to be a way to do something like this right? There has to be a way to transform your life for the better right?

How do people start over in mid life? Do they know other people who pave the road? Are they somehow just more astute and know what needs to be done? How should I choose my next career? What if I choose poorly? Choices. That's what life is all about isn't it?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

So I'm unemployed again...

After 18 months of no job I finally get one for which I am overqualified and underpaid, but HEY it's money and boy did I need it. It's not like the job market is really hot for me right now. I was happy to have this job.

Now I don't even have that anymore. I could tell it was coming. I said several times to family around me, "They don't need me." They wanted to fire one woman and replace her with me but they were trying to keep her to train me on her job before letting her go.. sounds worse than it is. She knows she needs to go. They are afraid of having to pay unemployment for her. So I was let go before the legal unemployment time line kicked in. Nice huh? So I won't even get that 'cause I exhausted my old claim already.

So now it's time to think about what I can sell. My house? My car? I certainly don't need a car since I'm not going anywhwere and gas is ridiculous. Perhaps I can sell my old nice clothes and my old nice jewelry on Ebay? Would it make a financial contribution big enough to be worth it? Myself? Unfortunately I'm past my "purchase by" date. Maybe I'll sell off some of my newer furniture. I won't get near what I paid for it but It will be money, right?

Just when I thought we were getting a handle on finances and cash flow this happens. Now what? What will I have to cut out in addition to selling things? Maybe no cell phone. They are a nuisance anyway. Cable/internet? Well I'm going to need that since I'm sitting on my butt watching TV while looking for a job. That has to stay. What other luxuries? Heat? Nope, winter is coming. Electricity? Nope, need that. Water/garbage pick up? Hmm that could get nasty without it, so it's staying too. Food? Ah yes there is one place I can cut back personally.

Dog food? Yes I can give my dog regular dog food and take him off his special vet food which helps with his issues. Poor thing has allergies and chews his paws, but can I ethically make him suffer for my loss of a job? The dog is doing his job, right? He should still be paid. Keep ridiculously expensive dog food. Check.

At least I can have the surgery I need on my hernia now without it interferring with work. Of course I will need a 4 week recovery period too so I wouldn't be able to go look for a job during that time either. Surgery. There's a happy thought.

I'd take up drinking or drugs right now but I can't afford it.